Technology

Hobbit tops 2013 most pirated films

The Hobbit film poster
Peter Jackson's first instalment of the Hobbit trilogy was the most pirated film of 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the most pirated film of 2013, according to the website TorrentFreak.

More than 8.4m people downloaded the film using BitTorrent networks which allow peer-to-peer file sharing.

Quentin Tarantino's movie Django Unchained took second place in the list with 8.1m downloads.

Piracy remains popular in part due to the delay between a film being shown at a cinema and its release for download or streaming, said TorrentFreak.

The year's top grossing movie Iron Man 3 also appeared on the list, but the hugely popular film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire did not feature.

TorrentFreak compiles its list from various sources including download statistics reported by public BitTorrent trackers.

Uploads to The Pirate Bay increased by 50% in 2013

But its figures do not include illegal online streaming or cyberlocker downloads, which allow users to share files if they have access to a password, so the total number of pirated films could be much higher.

'Jobs at risk'

The battle against piracy has seen several courts around the world order internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. The site hosts links to download mostly pirated music and video.

It has had to change domain names six times in a bid to get around the site-blocking moves.

Despite this the site saw an increase in uploads of 50% during the past year with 2.8m files being listed.

A spokesperson for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said that piracy puts jobs in the entertainment industry at risk and prevented future investment in entertainment.

"Piracy threatens the livelihoods of over 1.5 million people whose jobs rely on the continued success of films, TV programmes and other forms of entertainment that are created in the UK.

"The people running websites providing access to pirated content are doing it to make money... and Fact has helped bring criminal convictions against site operators."

Although The Pirate Bay has seen an increase in the number of illegally shared files legitimate digital services have helped boost the sales of video and music in the UK according to figures released at the start of the year.

Digital sales of video grew by 40% in 2013, helping to offset a 6.8% decline in sales of physical formats. This was helped by services like Spotify, Netflix and iTunes.

The overall UK music, video and games market was worth £5.4 billion in 2013, up 4% on 2012's total of £5.1 billion.

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