Site blocking is effective, but is it enough to deter organised crime groups operating these sites?
The Indonesia based IndoXXI group, which controls a large number of illegal piracy websites and applications, has “claimed” that it had officially closed its operations as of January 1st. The Minister of Communications and Information (KOMINFO), Mr. Johnny Plate, continues to be vocal in the media, encouraging both consumers and piracy site operators to do the right thing, commenting, “[IndoXXI] took the initiative not to show pirated content. That’s a good initiative.”
However, since this announced closure, many other piracy sites, including some obvious copycat clones of IndoXXI, have become available. These new piracy sites were quickly identified by the Video Coalition of Indonesia (VCI) and immediately referred to KOMINFO to be blocked. In the last 7 days, over 200 new piracy sites have been identified and referred to KOMINFO.
But is site blocking by itelf enough to deter this profitable online crime? Following the December release of an AVIA commissioned YouGov survey which found that 63% of Indonesians access piracy streaming websites, the Indonesian government vowed to identify and prosecute those operating the IndoXXI piracy websites unless they cease their operations. The sudden increase in new piracy sites would suggest the operators are not listening to the government’s warning.
The Video Coalition of Indonesia (VCI), although appreciative of the site blocking, implore the government to criminally prosecute those operators behind the piracy websites who are stealing content and illegally monetising movies and TV shows.
Mira Lesmana, one of indonesia’s most prominent producer, commented, “The Indonesian content industry finance, create and distribute the movies and TV shows that our people love. However piracy websites allow criminals to make money from our hard work. How is this fair? We need to be able to recoup our financial investments to fund new creative content. We encourage the government to track down and prosecute those Indonesian-based operators who are behind these networks of piracy sites.”
Neil Gane, the General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) stated, “Society does not accept blatant theft from retail malls and neither should it be accepted on the internet. Unfortunately online piracy is an easy form of theft. It is also organised crime, pure and simple, with crime syndicates such as IndoXXI, LK21, Bioskoperen making substantial illicit profit from operating piracy streaming websites. Many syndicates and individuals associated with the piracy ecosystem are involved in other criminal endeavours including illicit online gambling, and there is a likelihood that part of the illegal proceeds are used to finance these other crimes.”
The financial damage that online piracy does to Indonesia’s creative industries is without dispute. However, the damage done to consumers themselves, because of the nexus between content piracy and malware, is only beginning to be understood. Accessing piracy streaming websites like IndoXXI is fraught with risks. Unfortunately the appetite for ‘free’ blinkers some consumers from the real risks of malware infection. The type of malware embedded within advertisements or content files can include particularly harmful malware such as ransomware or remote access trojans which allows the hacker to activate and record from the device’s webcam without the victim being aware.
Members of the VCI include AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), APFI, APROFI, GPBSI, Emtek Group, MNC Group, Viva Group, Telkom Indonesia, Cinema 21 Group, CGV, Cinemaxx, HOOQ, iflix, Viu, GoPlay, Rewind, SuperSoccerTV and Catchplay.
About the Asia Video Industry Association
The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) is the trade association for the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific. It serves as the interlocutor for the industry with governments across the region, leads the fight against video piracy and provides insight into the video industry through reports and conferences aimed to support a vibrant video industry.
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