News Incopro research finds that 97% of the most visited pirate film and TV sites contain malware or credit card scams

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Incopro, the online rights monitoring and protection business founded by niche media law firm, Wiggin, and developed by Simon Baggs (Wiggin Partner)  and Bret Boivin (formerly of Warner Bros. and NBCU) has carried out research on behalf of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness. Incopro analysed 30 of the most frequently used illegal film and TV sites in the UK and found that:

  • 97% (29 out of 30 sites) contained malware or credit card scams
  • 90% (27 out of 30 sites) contained malware/other ‘Potentially Unwanted Programmes’ (PUPs) designed to deceive or defraud unwitting viewers.
  • The rogue sites are also rife with credit card scams, with over two thirds (67%) of the 30 sites containing credit card fraud scams.

Simon Baggs comments: “There is a powerful message here to consumers who wish to find safe and legal ways to access their favourite film & TV content – not only do pirate sites damage the UK’s creative industries but more often than not, the ‘bogus features’ they  find on these sites may open them up to serious security risks.

“Crucially however, this research should serve as another string to the creative industries’ bow when it comes to educating their consumers about the benefits of accessing content through legal channels. The creative industries are already working on a whole range of initiatives to tackle piracy but if we are to ensure that the UK remains a creative powerhouse, education is a key component in the battle against piracy.”

Kieron Sharp, Director General, Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said: “There’s a lot of work being done to block and take down these sites but as this research has shown, it’s also important that consumers have their wits about them  when watching film and TV online. Not only are you putting your personal security at risk, by using pirate websites you could be helping fund the organised criminal gangs who run these sites as a front for other cyber scams.

“The creative industries support 1.68 million jobs in the UK and so it’s vital that they continue to flourish. This research provides additional support to the sector in its on-going work to educate consumers about not only the value of the content they consume, but the risk involved in using illegal sites.”

Incopro used The Alexa Rank to identify the top 30 most popular pirate websites in the UK in terms of traffic – equating to a 40% market share – and accessed five film and five TV shows from each analyse the prevalence of unwanted extras that consumers are subjected to.