Global piracy rose by 1.6 percent over the course of 2017, identifying 300.2 billion visits to piracy websites across music, TV and film, publishing, and software, said a report by MUSO, the global authority on digital piracy. The USA topped the list as the country making the most visits to piracy sites (27.9 billion), followed by Russian Federation (20.6 billion) and India (17 billion).

In India, overall visits to piracy websites in the country rose from 8.8 billion in 2016 to about 17 billion last year. Indians now visit websites offering pirated content nearly twice as much. This can also interpreted that every second, 285 Indians visit websites offering pirated music.

Nearly 75 per cent of the traffic came from mobile devices—higher than the global average of 60 percent.

The hope resulted from cheaper and faster data driven by the nation's richest man Mukesh Ambani. His Reliance Jio, which is India's first startup to turn profitable in shortest time since the launch, has unleashed a tariff war in the world's second-largest telecom market where a third of 1.3-billion Indians now own smartphones. Notably, Reliance Jio started its free services in September 2016 and then started offering cheaper data plans since April 2017. This resulted rivals to match prices to avoid losing users to the Jio's upstart. That gave subscribers access to faster data in the country. Reliance Jio is now India’s fourth largest operator with 15 percent of the total 1.15 billion wireless subscribers. Beside, Reliance Jio is also said to be working secretly with tech giant Google to develop an affordable smartphone that will work exclusively with Reliance-owned 4G network in India.

India, which is the world’s second most populous nation continues to lead the music piracy chart for the second straight year to became world's music piracy capital. Visits to websites offering unlicensed access to music more than doubled in 2017 over the previous year. Indians visited websites providing unlicensed music 9 billion times in 2017, according data shared by analytics firm MUSO to BloombergQuint.

Nevertheless, number of people listening to songs legally online is growing with each passing year thanks to a dozen of homegrown and global platforms like Gaana, Saavn, Hungama, Airtel Wynk, Apple Music, Google Music and Amazon Prime Music which let users access vast catalogues of songs online at cheap prices. Most of these platforms offer free music, and charge as little as Rs 29, or less than 50 cents, a month for ad-free access.

The number of people listening to songs legally online, according to an Ernst & Young report, is expected to jump threefold to 273 million by 2020.

Streaming apps helped the Rs 1,280-crore ($190 million) music industry struggling to tackle online piracy. In India, the organised music app market has three main players -- Bharti Airtel’s Wynk, Times Internet Gaana and Saavn. reliance Jio thus acquired Saavn last month to create a $1-billion music entity which now directly compete with its telecom operation competitor Bharti Airtel's Wynk.

Streaming websites -- other than above -- are the most popular outlet for accessing pirated content, although torrent-based film piracy slightly increased towards the end of the year. Surprisingly, torrent-based film piracy also increased globally towards the end of 2017. This could be as a result of users becoming frustrated with their regular web-streaming sites being blocked or shutdown, and therefore choosing to return to trusted and more traditional methods of piracy. Piracy by torrenting in film was more frequent than it was in TV in 2017, but still only made up around 20 percent of all film piracy.

Related Reading - Pirate Bay Founder Builds ‘Kopimashin’, A Piracy Tool Using Raspberry Pi

Going forward with piracy in India, according to the reports from the MPDA (Motion Picture Distributor’s Association), India has one of the highest film piracy rates per capita of any country in the world. According to a 2008 report by Ernst & Young accountants commissioned by the US India Business Council, pirated films led to the Indian film industry losing $959,000 and over 500,000 jobs that year.

In 2014, a number of website which include file storage sites, torrent file aggregators and Google’s URL shortener and even Google docs have been blocked in India following a complaint filed by Sony’s Multi Screen Media, which has the broadcasting rights for the FIFA World cup in which it alleged online piracy.

[The above news was first reported in Bloomberg Quint.]

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