More than 75 Percent of Content in Major Cyberlockers Infringe on Copyrights

At least 78 percent of the material in the 30 most popular streaming and downloading lockers violates copyright, according to a study by UK online brand management company NetNames. The study shows that intellectual property theft is big business, with the 15 top streaming and 15 top download lockers averaging $3.2 million in revenue and $2.3 million in profit annually.

The study was carried out by NetNames on behalf of The Digital Citizens Alliance, a non-profit coalition of individuals and businesses. It examined download sites like Mega, Rapidgator and Depositfiles, and download lockers including, and in April and May 2014.

The amount of copyright infringing material is estimated to be higher than 78 percent, because pornography, which represents over 10 percent of content, was not categorized as copyrighted or not, although the bulk was believed to infringe copyright.

NetNames determined revenue from premium accounts, advertising, and in some cases third-party software fees, as well as costs from hosting, staffing, affiliate schemes, and relatively minor costs including legal fees. It concluded that all of the lockers studied were profitable, with profit ratios 63.4 percent for direct download cyberlockers and of 87.6 percent for streaming lockers.

The study authors urge Mastercard and Visa to follow PayPal’s lead in copyright protection policy. Several lockers are hosted in the US, making it the most popular country for hosting and CDN services among lockers.

“Some people like look at these sites through rose tinted glasses, and argue they’re for sharing amongst friends,” David Price, Director of Piracy Analysis at NetNames told The Register. “But it’s all about money and the generation of revenues. It’s all about downloading, it’s not about backing things up.”

Governments and the broad internet community have struggled to find an effective method for reducing copyright infringement, despite attempts by multiple governments to raise awareness, and lawsuits such as the case between LeaseWeb and an adult publisher which was settled in June.