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Tuesday, October 01, 2013

There Are 430 Million Active Pirates Out There

A recent survey has discovered that online piracy is growing rapidly (well, this wasn’t a news). According to the estimations, 432 million people per month used the worldwide web to access copyright infringing material. Within a month, all these pirates consumed 9,567 petabytes of illegal content, mostly via BitTorrent. To put it simply, about 25% of all Internet traffic is attributed to piracy.

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The conclusion of the report was also nothing new – despite anti-piracy policies and enforcement actions, piracy cannot be stopped. The researchers admit that the practice of infringement is “tenacious and persistent”. Sometimes the industry succeeds in limiting infringement, but not for long. At the moment, the piracy universe not just persists in attracting more users, but also hungrily consumes increasing amounts of bandwidth.

Among the most visible trends the observers point at direct download “cyberlockers” losing plenty of visitors within the last couple years, while other platforms, on the contrary, expanded their user bases. So, within 2012, the number of pirates using cyberlockers decreased by 8%, and the most obvious reason for this is MegaUpload shutdown. In the meantime, the number of file-sharers using BitTorrent and video streaming platforms grew by 27% and 22% accordingly.

Today most illegal file-sharers use direct download and torrent services, both accounting for 200 million unique users per month. This figures excluded users who never download any infringing content, and their share is only 4% for BitTorrent and 8% for direct download services.

The total bandwidth generated by illegal file-sharers in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific is estimated at over 9,500 petabytes of data – so, you can guess that global traffic far exceeded 10,000 petabytes. Here BitTorrent is the absolute leader, and this makes sense – people both download and upload content, thus generating twice as much traffic. At the same time, cyberlocker users downloaded relatively little data – about 338 petabytes per month.

Talking about regional trends, direct download services are preferred in the Asia-Pacific region, and BitTorrent is popular in Europe and North America. Although there is no clear way these numbers could be translated into losses for the entertainment industry, the latter will undoubtedly leave no opportunity unused to turn the results of the survey to its advantage.

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