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Film Piracy Surges Amid COVID-19 While Studios Offer No Solution

These days, it’s definitely much easier to catch a movie or TV series without shelling out so much as a penny. However, it might not be the case for everyone, as not every piece of entertainment might be as readily available as many might think.

Recently, film piracy has seen quite a substantial rise as movie studios are taking off their upcoming films off the release schedule while cinemas are being closed down indefinitely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grind the world into a halt. Despite many of these movies finding their way to streaming services or being launched as direct-to-video, a lot of them have been region-locked due to various circumstances.

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This lack of accessibility is prevalent in the likes of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, the latter of which is notorious for being only available in the US, Canada and select countries in Europe. We’re not surprised if at least a fifth of those 50 million subscribers on Disney+ are actually not in any of those countries, and are using a VPN. Renting or buying the newer movies is out of the question, as even then, they are also region-locked, for some reason.

You get the drift — it’s just not so easy for folks to catch a new movie or TV show without having to look the other way, and it’s puzzling, to say the least.

Despite these streaming services being treasure troves for popular series such as Star Trek: Picard, The Mandalorian and the entire Skywalker Saga, many frustrated fans have taken to either using a VPN to catch them, or even resorting to going to illegal streaming sites or illegally downloading them. But can one really blame those deprived of the entertainment they so crave by the coronavirus, and, to a lesser degree, the movie studios themselves?

Credit: Muso (via BBC)

A study by digital piracy analytics firm Muso has unveiled that piracy has increased about 41.4% in the US and 42.5% in the UK alone (via Forbes), and looks set to increase a lot more. Interestingly, most digital content can be found in these two regions alone, but yet the pirates are still winning out.

The situation looks even more dire in places without proper access to the above entertainment, such as Italy (66%), India (63%) and Spain (50%). Of course, the numbers fluctuate based on when the countries have been in lockdown, but it will no doubt increase in time.

The dependence on pirated movies and shows might only decrease if movie studios and streamers open up their doors just a little more to make their content more legally accessible to the masses.

Already, video game publishers and devs have done so to amazing effect, so we’re hoping that it’s just a matter of time before the movie and TV industry follows. The coronavirus is going to be here for a while, and the movie and TV studios need to buck up to adapt to the current sitch. But for now, the pirates continue to reign supreme.


In any case, if you’re still on the lookout for any legally-free shows, we’ve got you covered:


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