A report issued by MarkMonitor, an online brand protection business, indicates that websites offering pirated digital media content such as RapidShare.com, Megavideo.com and Megaupload.com, attract over 53 billion hits per year in total. Meanwhile, websites offering counterfeit items are attracting more than 92 million hits per year.

Aware of the increasing impact of IP theft on businesses, the US Chamber of Commerce commissioned MarkMonitor to carry out an independent study of online traffic trends to infringing websites, to identify and locate some of the worst offenders in the trade.

The report highlights that the amount of traffic generated by these websites - and the number of locations used to host and register them - indicates the complexity in finding a solution to the global problem of online piracy and counterfeiting. North America and Western Europe host the majority of pirated and counterfeit content, according to the report, but the issue pervades geographic barriers.

Laura Graham, Solicitor comments that while the report is restricted to website hits rather than actual downloads/purchases, it highlights the unrelenting interest in pirated content via both P2P and “one click” hosting platforms, and the apparent need for more effective enforcement measures going forward.