Digital Movie Sales Increase After Pirate Sites Shut Down

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After the government cracked down on piracy websites, movie sales have increased.

Piracy sites like Megaupload and Megavideo were recently forced to shut down. Just after their shutdown, many people began legally purchasing movies. America and 11 other countries said they saw an increase in digital sales after the sites were closed.

Some reports indicate movie sales were up six to 10 percent, much higher than studios expected. They believe this rise is directly related to the shutting down of piracy sites.

“We conclude that shutting down Megaupload and Megavideo caused some customers to shift from cyberlocker-based piracy to purchasing or renting through legal digital channels,” a study said.

Brett Danaher, Wellesley College professor, and Michael D. Smith, Carnegie Mellon University professor, received two reports from Hollywood studios after the sites were shut down in 2012. They found that weekly digital movie sales increased by 10,500 and 15,300 units.

It’s also not just movie purchases seeing an increase, as movie rentals were up following the shutdown as well. They found people rented between 13,700 and 24,000 more on-demand movies than they did when Megaupload was online.

The study only focused on digital sales, though, and did not analyze how it affected packaged media, theatrical or physical rentals.

Researchers are also unsure the trend will continue.

“We do not know whether the sales increase will persist or if these new consumers will eventually find their way back to alternative piracy channels,” the authors said.

Cyberlockers and torrents account for 25 percent of all Internet traffic according to Cisco Systems’ Visual Networking Index.