Despite efforts from Hollywood, game publishers, and even Microsoft, piracy continues. An analysis DCMA requests by Gadgets360 reveals that pirates are moving to services like Google Drive, OneDrive, and Mega as popular torrent websites close.
The first major site to go was The Pirate Bay, which Swedish police seized in 2014. Kickass Torrents, a rival site, was seized by the U.S. government in July of 2016, followed by Torrentz.eu weeks later.
Users have been able to access the services with only minor convenience thanks to hundreds of mirror sites. However, pirates have experienced a continual degradation in quality thanks to malicious and invasive ads.
Bing and Google have also been demoting and removing sites with Copyright Infringement notices, making it harder to discover new sites.
As a result, pirates seem to be turning to Google Drive as a distribution method for movies and TV. A total of 4,700 DMCA requests targeted the service last month, while around 100 pointed to Mega, and less than a dozen to Dropbox and OneDrive.
As one of the most active enforcers of copyright takedowns, Google doesn’t feel like a natural first choice for piracy. However, the tech giants infrastructure and polish actually makes it ideal.
While many simply list direct links to torrent trackers, others simply upload videos to YouTube in an unlisted form. This allegedly prevents an instant takedown via YouTube’s copyright system, and in return users get a well-optimized streaming experience.
Add to that the free storage, which sits at 15 GB vs OneDrive’s 5 GB, and it’s easy to see why. After a relatively simple account creation process it’s quick for users to upload content and post links to private groups and forums.
However, the most inventive use of Google’s services comes from its My Maps website. The service lets users create custom maps by adding a tag to a location and writing a description. As there is little moderation, distributors can post links to unlisted videos or Drive files.
Though Google is very quick to comply with DCMA takedowns, it seems unable to keep up with the volume. So far, a company spokesperson simply repeated the following:
“It’s against our policies to post copyright infringing links or content. Rightsholders can and do notify us when copyrighted material has been posted and we work quickly to review and take action on those notices.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft is filing patents that could stop such methods. A recently approved patent would let it block pirate content on OneDrive and other storage platforms via a Windows 10 kill switch.