She said that such a study had never been conducted before in Latvia. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Culture. The audit was conducted over February, March and April 2020.
“A survey was first conducted on how many residents of Latvia use torrents, how regularly, and what the user profile is. Then there was an audit to compare with the survey data, revealing the real situation. The data was quite shocking,” said Kotzeva.
The audit concludes that in April this year nearly 116 000 Latvian Internet users visited the ten most popular film, series, music, computer programs, photos, e-books and other content torrent sites, together with nearly 12 million page views, 86% more than in February, when 6 332 000 views were registered. In March, 139 687 visitors visited torrents, 22% more than in February, when 114 382 Latvian Internet users visited these illegal sites.
More than a fifth or 21.6% of Internet users have admitted to using torrented downloads during the last half-year. More than half of those who have acknowledged using these sites do so more often than once or a few times a month.
“Torrent users are different: managers, housewives, field workers, students and pensioners,” said Kotzeva.
Torrent films are downloaded by 67%, 43% - series, 32% - computer games, 27.8% music, 15% - e-books.
The audit will be good material for law enforcement authorities, specifically the State Police, since the study showed the twenty most popular sites, Kotzeva said. “The police have to sit down and outline a battle plan,” Kotzeva added.
“It is important for Latvia that we use more legal content, local media have more money to produce quality content, their series, their films,” said Kotzeva.