Streaming hacking is decreasing but not live sports
Piracy of the audiovisual sector seems to be on the decline while piracy of sports programmes is on the rise. Access to streaming can be accessible through social networks such as Facebook or Instagram but also through video platforms such as YouTube or Twitch.
Pirate live streaming is used on average by more than one million Internet users in France every month, mainly for sports viewing. The economic impact of piracy of sports broadcasts is estimated at nearly 500 million euros for federations and leagues as well as broadcasters, with the loss of several hundred thousand subscribers.
What is difficult for actors wishing to ban the broadcasting of live sports competition is that their intervention must be almost immediate. The damage caused lasts only as long as the broadcast. In order to do so, it would be necessary to ensure better cooperation of actors on the Internet.
The HADOPI body indicates that the jurisdictional or administrative means of blocking pirate sites should be adapted, in particular by giving the future French regulatory authority new prerogatives enabling it to identify sites or services dedicated to piracy, to act with technical intermediaries in order to deprive pirate sites of broadcasting possibilities and to promote agreements between sports players and Internet service providers. Cooperation with intermediaries would allow a faster and therefore more effective intervention against illegal retransmissions.
The French company Mediametrie, specialized in audience measurement, had indicated a 19% drop of illegal streaming between January and December 2018, thanks in particular to video on demand services. Conversely, the streaming of sports content is on the rise: it is estimated that it increased by 54% between August and September 2018, during the 2018 Football World Cup. Similarly, the PSG-Liverpool game had reached an illegal audience record with more than 390,0000 Internet users in 2018.
France was able to consult other European countries on their practices in the fight against sports piracy. For example, Portugal is fighting against sports piracy by blocking sites that retransmit live broadcasts thanks to an agreement resulting from a dispute with Portuguese Internet Service Providers. In the first six months of the trial, illegal sites saw their traffic decrease by 75%. The only disadvantage is that the blocking is not done by the IP address of the site but only by its domain name.
On the other hand, in France, discussions with ISPs seem to remain difficult: they explain that their cooperation entails a risk of “overblocking” and the cost of blocking sites. Another problem was mentioned, particularly regarding the different types of subscription. In order to follow all sports competitions, one must be a subscriber to RMC Sport, beIN Sports and Canal+, i.e. a total of 70 euros per month. In order to face this, popular sports competitions are bound to lead to an increase in piracy. In the United Kingdom, for example, the Mayweather-McGregor boxing game caused 3 million acts of piracy.