Turns out the reason people watch movies illegally online is what you always expected: They have trouble finding them elsewhere on the Internet.
A new site called PiracyData.org takes the most-pirated movies of the week and shows if the movies are available through streaming services like Netflix and Hulu or for digital rental or purchase on services like Amazon Prime or YouTube. Here is the site's most recent chart, found by the Washington Post:
As you can see, none of the week's most-pirated movies are available for streaming, and only three of the 10 are available for digital rental. PiracyData.org gets its availability information from Can I Stream It? and its piracy numbers from TorrentFreak. According to PiracyData.org, none of the most-pirated movies from the past three weeks have been available for streaming.
This trend supports the point that Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, made in an interview with Stuff magazine last May. "When we launch in a territory, the Bittorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows," he said. He believes that "people are mostly honest," and that "the best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options."
There isn't always a correlation between availability and piracy, however. "The Walking Dead was pirated 500,000 times within 16 hours despite the fact that it is available to stream for free for the next 27 days on AMC’s website," a spokesperson for the Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the film industry, told the Washington Post.
But not everyone working in entertainment is upset by piracy. "Game of Thrones" was the most pirated TV show of 2012, but a director for the HBO show, David Petrarca, said that he doesn't mind piracy as long as it creates "cultural buzz."
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Netflix's chief content officer. He is Ted Sarandos.