Germans seek out series for downloads

Germans are watching more TV series on illegal online portals, according to a study by German copyright production association GVU.

The study, which looked at pirated titles available on German-language sites, found while piracy was up across the board, the number of TV series available on online streaming portals grew hugely in 2009. GVU counted more than 300,000 pirated series titles on 90 streaming sites, compared to less than 30,000 a year ago. The GVU study only looked at large sites specifically targeting German-speaking users.

In total, TV series accounted for fully 64 per cent of the pirated works on German streaming sites, GVU found, with feature films making up 32 per cent of titles available. The remaining 4 per cent were pornography titles. A title usually corresponds to a feature film or a single episode of a TV series.

The spike in illegal streaming comes as Germany’s two largest commercial broadcasters, RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1, are reportedly working to set up a German clone of Hulu — an open, online platform to legally screen TV series from several broadcasters. Legal action against the bulk of the sites is unlikely since the vast majority are hosted on servers located outside Germany, where the GVU and German authorities have no jurisdiction.

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