This time last year, I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. David Price of London-based NetNames shortly after they released a report on the scale and scope of media piracy worldwide. Presently, Dr. Price is in Washington DC where, along with collaborator Tom Galvin of the Digital Citizens Alliance, he officially released a new report on piracy, this one focused entirely on sites known as cyberlockers. Titled “Behind the Cyberlocker Door,” the report focuses on the top thirty sites that use this technology to facilitate and profit from the illegal distribution of copyrighted content like motion pictures, music, books, and video games. The report describes how these black-market businesses function, and how they earn their money. And among the more striking aspects of the study is the fact that Visa and Master Card, despite claims to the contrary, are facilitating transactions for these cyberlocker sites. Moreover, users of these sites may be surprised to learn that signing up for premium accounts to enable faster downloads could well expose them to malware designed to enable identity theft.
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