Often times the most pirated movies each week can't streamed or rented online to begin with. That's according to piracydata.org, a new website that — simply by pointing out the lack of convenient viewing options — is trying to shift some responsibility for rampant internet piracy back to content rights holders. Each week, the list tracks the top 10 most pirated movies on BitTorrent (using data provided by TorrentFreak) and searches out where and how they can be watched digitally. At first, the results may surprise you, particularly since we're talking about very recent films.
For example, over the last three weeks, just 53 percent of the top ten movies have been available in some digital form. Unfortunately that number is significantly skewed, largely because the top ten list often includes movies that haven't been released on DVD, Blu-ray, or as a digital copy yet. Right now, White House Down, Elysium, and 2 Guns are among the most pirated films, but those titles aren't on shelves yet. "If a particular film isn't available for stream or purchase at a given moment, however, it does not justify stealing it from the creators and makers who worked hard to make it," an MPAA spokesperson told Adweek. Of the titles that have been properly released, nearly all of them can be viewed digitally in some capacity.
When that's the case, the availability of digital purchases far outweighs that of cheaper, timed online rentals. But here too the data is shaky, or at least not updated frequently enough. Pacific Rim is listed as unavailable for rental, but as of this week, the movie can be rented from iTunes, Google Play, and other vendors. None of the current top 10 movies can be streamed from Netflix. Again, that's not necessarily surprising, as new films rarely make a quick transition to the streaming services. As such, piracydata.org doesn't make the most compelling argument that movie studios are to blame when their titles are illegally torrented. But making films available sooner after their theatrical run — and as rentals — could very well help improve the situation.