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Swedes ditch downloads for illegal streaming

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Swedes ditch downloads for illegal streaming
12:55 CEST+02:00
Swedes are turning away from file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay in favour of "safer" illegal streaming sites for new movies and TV shows, with experts claiming that Swedes would pay for content if a better solution was available.

The change is believed to be part of a long-term shift from downloading sites in favour of live-streaming portals where they are less likely to be caught.

However, experts have explained that just because users aren't downloading a file, it doesn't mean they are not breaking the law too.

Daniel Westman, researcher at the Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute (Institutet för rättsinformatik) at Stockholm University, explained that without wiretapping, it's tough to know who is performing the streaming and that users are less likely to get caught.

"Users who stream content don't make copies and don't upload content at the same time, but if they're doing it illegally then it is still a problem," he told The Local.

He argued that the problem lies in what he calls the "viewing window" between when a TV show or film is released and when it is available for viewing in Sweden.

"Although it has been a functioning model in the past, internet access and broadband speeds here in Sweden mean that the window just tests people's patience," he said.

While some streaming sites are legal, such as Netflix and HBO, other sites like the new Swefilmer.com are becoming more and more popular among impatient TV fans, especially with blockbuster television shows like Game of Thrones.

In fact, the word "Swefilmer" ranked third in the list of words that had shot up in popular Google search terms in Sweden last year. The second was Netflix.

Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reported on Monday that the people behind Swefilmer had fought to remain anonymous, with leads to the owners and operators falling dead in Russia, Australia, and the UK.

In terms of a solution, Westman believes that it's just a matter of providing the people with what they want.

"People are willing to pay if they can get what they want when they want it," he told The Local.

"But we need to have both the carrot and the stick. The content needs to be available, easy to access, fast, and reasonably priced. But there will also always be people willing to break the law, no matter how the problem is attacked."

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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