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Streaming services gain customers amid illegal file-sharing clamp-downs

Published onsdag 10 juli 2013 kl 17.11
"This is just the tip of the iceberg."
(2:16 min)
More Swedes opt for legal streaming services instead of illegal downloads. Photo: Scanpix

When it comes to watching movies and TV series online, more and more Swedes are turning away from downloading and streaming pirated movies and are opting for legal, pay-per-view services instead. Stricter laws and clamp-downs on file-sharing sites could also explain the drop. Just this week, police raided and closed down Swedish piracy site Undertexter.se.

According to surveys by Swedish media consultancy firm Mediavision, streaming of pirated movies has decreased by 10 percent this year. Illegal downloads have gone down by seven percent.

Analysts put the drop down to the introduction of subscription services like Netflix and HBO Nordic. Both launched in Sweden in 2012.

The companies provide on-demand streaming, which means customers watch movies and TV shows online, without having to download any files to their computers.

Lovisa Hübinette is among those who have quit downloading pirated movies in favour of online streaming.

"I used to download before and stopped because I felt guilty," Hübinette tells Swedish Radio News.

She adds that she also got nervous about downloading because of stricter laws against it.

In Sweden, the so-called Ipred-law was introduced in 2009 with the aim of making it easier to combat illegal file-sharing.

This week, Swedish police confiscated servers and computers in two raids against the subtitle-sharing site Undertexter.se.

Those behind the site are suspected of copyright infringements after providing an archive of subtitles which are added to movies that are spread illegally online.

Still, around 1million Swedes continue to download pirated movies. But Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of Viaplay - a company that offers online streaming of movies, TV series and sports events - believes more and more Swedes will start subscribing to streaming services.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg and it will continue, just as it has in the US where nearly every other person have these kinds of subscriptions," Ekdahl tells Swedish Radio News.

Most streaming services offer between 2,000 and 10,000 movies and TV-series.

But proponents of file-sharing believe consumers should have free access to cultural products.

After Tuesday's raids, Undertexter.se posted a defiant message online.

"We must do everything to stop the antipirates who are trying to stop your and my right to spread interpretations of dialogue as well as the spread of Swedish culture," the site said.

Interviews by Johanna Johansson of Swedish Radio News.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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