Netflix Wants To Know What Movies & Shows You’re Pirating

Prison Break is apparently very popular with BitTorrent users in The Netherlands.

Prison Break is apparently very popular with BitTorrent users in The Netherlands.

A friend of mine who managed a sneaker store back in the day when people still went to malls once told me that he kept track of the most-stolen shoes, not just for the purpose of keeping his inventory straight, but so that he’d know which ones the local kids wanted the most. Seems like Netflix is taking a similar view toward video piracy.

According to Variety’s translation of a Dutch website’s interview with Netflix’s VP of content acquisition, as the company expands into new markets, it looks to see what people there are pirating. This way, Netflix knows what is popular and can offer consumers a chance to get that content without violating anyone’s copyright.

The Netflix VP points to the example of former FOX hit, Prison Break, which is about a prison break in case the name wasn’t on the nose enough for you. Apparently, the show was a big hit with BitTorrent users in The Netherlands, and thus Netflix selected it as one of the offerings when the site launched there last week.

The approach of giving pirates what they want in a legitimate format is also the notion behind a new system reportedly being planned by Comcast. In addition to using the Six Strikes warning system to alert alleged copyright violators that such behavior won’t be allowed, this proposed system would identify exactly which piece of content is being shared so that Comcast can immediately suggest a not-illegal place to buy or rent the title.