Online piracy on the rise again in Russia in lockdown

Online piracy on the rise again in Russia in lockdown
By bne IntelliNews July 23, 2020

The Russian market of pirated online content is growing due to the activity of illegal online casinos and bookmakers, The Bell reports on July 23 citing the study of Group-IB cyber security experts. 

As reported by bne IntelliNews, Russia used to be the world's second-largest market for pirated content, but the illegal market was purged in 2019 as legitimate online streaming services started gaining speed.

In 2019 the pirated content was axed by 25% to $63.5mn due to the closure of the largest illegal content platforms. However, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown increased the demand for online entertainment, a second wave of pirated content aggregators emerged, Group-IB notes. 

They mostly operate as illegal online cinemas and sports streaming platforms, and are financed by illegal online casinos (such as Welcome Partners and Lucky Partners) and bookmakers (1xBet, Melbet, Parimatch, Linebet, Orca88, Bwin and others).

Over 80% of all pirated content in the CIS featured advertising of illegal online gambling. 1xBet alone is estimated to have financed dubbing over 900 pirated series and films into Russian since 2015, with the monthly investment in illegal content estimated at up to RUB0.5mn.

Most of the online casinos are allegedly based in Ukraine, but are using Russian banks to monetise their operations. 

Group-IB also notes that Russian internet piracy is expanding to other markets where command of English is rather low, such as as Latin America (notably Brazil), India and Thailand.