Blocking piracy has been unsuccessful, but a new UK plan under Operation Creative goes after the root of piracy: the creators. Instead of stopping users downloading illegal material, Operation Creative creates a blacklist to stop advertising on these sites.
It seems to be working, with a 73 per cent decline in advertising revenue on these sites.
The UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) launched the operation in 2013. It offers a blacklist to advertising agencies and individual networks, allowing them to remove ads from the sites. Considering most ad networks automate the process, it is a smart move to make sure brands are not advertised on torrenting services.
The blacklist also shows “under police investigation” banners on the piracy site instead of normal ads. Most sites quickly remove the banners however, to keep users active on the site.
Even though the lack of advertising might make piracy creators think twice about building and managing a site, most seem apathetic to a lack of salary. Popular torrenting service Popcorn Time runs without any adverts, working for the community. Popcorn Time also plans to move from dedicated servers to peer-to-peer, removing a lot of the bandwidth cost.
Plenty of volunteers work on these sites to learn coding skills and genuinely believe they’re offering a service to people visiting. The Pirate Bay distribution following the shutdown shows that thousands of people are willing to win the service for no financial gain.
The doors for making money through piracy are closing quickly, with donations through PayPal getting shut down quickly. It is only a matter of time before piracy is a financially crippling move, but we doubt that will hurt the industry in terms of active torrenters.