Piracy has become a hot topic in Canada now that there are calls to implement the first website blocking scheme in North America.
One outfit that’s kept a close eye on piracy-related developments in recent years is Ontario-based broadband management company Sandvine.
For years, Sandvine has monitored Internet traffic trends throughout the world. Some of these developments are, at least partially, linked to piracy. This includes the market share of BitTorrent traffic.
In recent years the percentage of BitTorrent-related Internet traffic has dropped significantly and newly released data by Sandvine shows that this is no different in Canada.
Between 2014 and 2017 the aggregate daily traffic share of BitTorrent dropped from 15.1% to a measly 1.6% on fixed networks. This suggests that absolute traffic also took a significant hit.
While Sandvine believes that most torrent traffic was infringement related, the drop doesn’t mean that video piracy is no longer an issue. A lot of this activity has moved to streaming sites and dedicated streaming boxes.
In its report, the company specifically highlights the issue of fully-loaded Kodi boxes. While the Kodi media player itself is perfectly legal, when paired with pirate add-ons it causes problems for copyright holders.
In Canada, it is estimated that nearly 10% of all households have access to a Kodi-powered device. More than two-thirds of these (71%) have their devices configured to access pirated content.
This brings the total of Canadian households with access to ‘pirate’ Kodi addons to 7%, which is slightly higher than the 6% in the US. This figure should not be underestimated, according to Sandvine.
“Sandvine believes that emergent forms of piracy such as the ‘Fully-Loaded’ Kodi ecosystem and subscription television piracy represent a real threat to the revenue streams of network operators,” the company says.
“Not only because the content is being stolen, but because in some instance subscribers are paying to pirate these services, with no money going into the pockets of the content creators or rights holders.”
It is worth noting that Sandvine doesn’t measure the traffic that’s generated by regular pirate streaming sites or other devices. So the total percentage of streaming pirates is much higher.
Finally, we have to mention that the Canadian company is not a neutral party in the blocking debate. As a company that sells blocking solutions, it could possibly benefit from the website blocking plans that triggered the release of these data.