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January 29 2014

20:49

AT&T Develops Credits System to Limit File-Sharing Bandwidth

When a consumer subscribes to an Internet package, either at home or on a cellphone, it’s generally accepted that he can use it for whatever applications he likes, whether that’s web browsing, sending or receiving emails, watching video, or listening to music.

Of course, bandwidth is a finite resource so it is fairly common for service providers to put a cap on data transfers in order to manage their services. For example, a user with a 3GB per month limit on a cellphone contract might use it all in the first couple of weeks watching YouTube, and as a result might need to consider upgrading to a more spacious package.

Fair enough, but what if a service provider started to dictate what types of data could be accessed each month on a particular package? What if emails and web browsing were acceptable kinds of traffic but others, such as video downloading and file-sharing, resulted in subscribers being subjected to penalties? A new system developed at telecoms giant AT&T appears to envision just that kind of scenario.

The system is revealed in a patent filed by AT&T Mobility in September 2013 and published this month. Its stated aim is to stop customers from “abusing a telecommunications system” by consuming too much bandwidth.

Titled “Prevention Of Bandwidth Abuse Of A Communications System”, the patent is likely to get net neutrality advocates hot under the collar as rather than targeting bandwidth consumption overall, it seeks to penalize the transfer of certain kinds of data linked to “excessive” consumption.

“When a user communicates over a channel, the type of communication is checked to determine if it is of a type that will use an excessive amount of bandwidth,” the patent reads.

The system works by awarding the subscriber with “credits” and subtracting from those when monitored traffic is deemed to have been consumed in potentially bandwidth-hungry fashion.

“The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if it is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity,” the patent application reads.

“If the data is permissible, the user is provided another allotment of credits equal to the initial allotment. If the data is non-permissible, the user is provided an allotment of credits less than the initial allotment,” it continues.

By marking some traffic type usages as acceptable and others not, the system described by the patent application can develop in a couple of directions. The subscriber can remain in “credit” and continue about his Internet activity as usual, or find that his “credits” are diminishing towards zero. At this point he can be asked to pay more money, be subjected to sanctions that affect his ability to communicate (such as by blocking movie downloading), or be incentivized to maintain preferred consumption habits.

“Various restriction policies also can be applied, such as levying additional fees and/or terminating the user’s access to the channel. Also, incentives can be provided to entice the user [to] curb the misuse,” the patent filed by AT&T Mobility Ii Llc adds.

Earlier this month a federal appeals court in Washington struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. Shortly after AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson offered reassurances that his company was committed to an open Internet.

Where legitimate traffic management ends and the open Internet begins will become apparent in the months and years to come.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 23 2014

20:20

Is Your ISP Messing With BitTorrent Traffic? Find Out

throttlingHundreds of ISPs all over the world limit and restrict BitTorrent traffic on their networks. Unfortunately, this is something that most of these companies are quite secretive about.

Thanks to data collected by Measurement Lab (M-Lab) the public is now able to take a look at the frequency of these BitTorrent throttling practices. Among other tools, M-Lab runs the Glasnost application developed by the Max Planck Institute.

At TorrentFreak we have been keeping an eye on the changes in BitTorrent meddling among ISPs around the world, and today’s data is the latest installment. The throttling percentages for various countries and ISPs are based on M-Lab tests that were performed between December 2012 and December 2013.

Looking at the list of countries where at least 100 tests were performed, South Korea (74%), Malaysia (61%) and Singapore (53%) come out on top. Poland is the first European country with 35%, quickly followed by the UK with 28%.

Greece and Romania stand out in a positive sense, as only 7% and 9% of the tested BitTorrent connections were limited. The United States, Canada and Australia perform relatively well too, with throttling rates of 14%, 17% and 18% respectively.

BitTorrent throttling % country ranking (Dec. 12 to Dec 13)

throttled-countries

The next step is to look in more detail at several of the individual countries to see which ISPs throttle the most.

United States

BitTorrent throttling in the US is not as prevalent as it used to be. After Comcast was exposed for interfering with customers’ file-sharing traffic, the throttling percentage took a dive from nearly 50% to only 3% in the period between 2010 and 2012.

Over the past year, however, Comcast’s throttling levels started to rise again to 12%. Cox is currently the worst of the larger ISPs when it comes to BitTorrent throttling with 13%, more than double what it was in early 2012.

Verizon runs the least interference on the BitTorrent traffic of its customers, 6% for Verizon business and 9% for regular accounts.

Worst: Cox (13%)

Best: Verizon (6%)

UK

In the UK, BitTorrent throttling rates are relatively high. Orange is currently the worst offender as it limits 38% of the tested connections. BT comes in second place with 35%, which is down from 65% during the first months of 2012.

At TalkTalk and BSkyB BitTorrent users are better off with throttling percentages of 10% and 17% respectively. For BSkyB this is a hefty increase, as the throttling rate is up from only 4% two years ago.

Worst: BT and Orange (35 and 38%)

Best: TalkTalk (10%)

Canada

Traditionally, nearly all of the major Internet providers in Canada have been heavy throttlers. Rogers in particular has a bad reputation, as it limited more than three-quarters of all BitTorrent traffic for years on end. This year, however, there are signs of improvement.

During 2013 Rogers interfered with only 20% of all BitTorrent transfers, down from 80% two years ago. Bell has shown the most progress though, moving 77% to 8% this year. Eastlink is currently the worst performing ISP in Canada, limiting 31% of all tested connections.

BitTorrent users in Canada are best off at Cogeco and Telus with 3% and 0% respectively.

Worst: Eastlink (31%)

Best: Bell (8%)

Australia

BitTorrent is extremely popular in Australia, but over the past year BitTorrent throttling has been relatively moderate.

iiNet is the worst offender interfering with 21% of BitTorrent downloads, up from 11%. Dodo performs the best of the larger ISPs, with a throttling rate of 12%.

Worst: iiNet (21%)

Best: Dodo (12%)

All in all we can say that BitTorrent traffic is still heavily limited, mostly in Asia. In all countries there are quite large differences between various ISPs. For BitTorrent users it is wise to ask ISPs about their traffic management policies and take a look at the M-Lab data before signing up.

If we haven’t mentioned your Internet Provider above, an overview of all the data is available here. Those who want to know whether BitTorrent traffic is being limited by their ISP can test their connection with the Glasnost tool.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 18 2014

13:05

ABC’s 7 Day Streaming Delay Triggers Piracy Surge

abcOne of the main motivations for people to download and stream TV-shows from unauthorized sources is availability. If fans can’t get a show through legal channels they turn to pirated alternatives.

This is one of the reasons why Hulu and Netflix drastically decreased TV-show piracy in the U.S. Viewers are happy with these legal streaming options, but not all studios see that as a success.

Starting last Monday, ABC began delaying the availability of new episodes on Watch ABC and Hulu. Viewers without a cable subscription or Hulu Plus account now have to wait a full week before they can catch up with their favorite show online.

With this move ABC hopes to generate extra revenue, However, at the same time they are boosting piracy of their shows, and not just by a few percent.

Research by Tru Optik shows that the number of BitTorrent downloads for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s winter premiere skyrocketed. The show saw a near 600% spike in United States downloads compared to previous episodes.

The increase can in part be explained by the streaming delay, as there was no significant increase in regular TV ratings or talk about the show on social media.

Other ABC shows were affected by the change as well according to Tru Optik’s data. In fact, all ABC shows saw an increase of at least 50% or more in BitTorrent downloads compared to their last original episode.

abc

TorrentFreak talked to Tru Optik’s Executive Vice President Chris Medina, who expects that the piracy numbers of ABC shows will be up by millions, compared to previous years.

“Every decision a network makes has an impact on the demand and consumption of their content. The data makes it clear that tens of millions more illegal downloads of ABC shows will occur in 2014 as a result of this policy change,” Medina says.

There is no doubt that streaming delays are not in the best interests of TV-viewers. Although it might be a good business decision in the short-term, one has to doubt whether driving people to ‘pirated’ content is a wise choice. To many viewers it is clearly a step backward.

Instead of artificial restrictions the public demands flexibility when it comes to entertainment, and right now video streaming sites and BitTorrent do a better job at this than ABC. This sentiment is also reflected in the comments on Hulu.

“Internet savvy people who want to watch the episode will find a way to do so. They are out there in multiples. This is foolish on ABC’s part because they lose out on advertising eyeballs. By the time the episode shows up, many people will have already watched it by ‘other means’,” one commenter on Hulu notes.

This is not the first time a streaming delay had led to a surge in piracy. In 2011 Fox took a similar decision, which also turned many people towards pirate channels.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 16 2014

21:47

And The Most Downloaded Torrent of 2013 is…. Completely Legal

Earlier today we published a list of the top 20 most-pirated artists. With well over 5 million downloads this chart was topped by Bruno Mars. Interestingly enough, the honor of the most-downloaded artist on BitTorrent goes to a legal download.

BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the immensely popular file-sharing client uTorrent, has just released an overview detailing the successes of its “bundles” program alongside a list of the most-downloaded legal content.

The company regularly teams up with artists to release free content. One of the top stars last year was Moby, who shared several tracks from his 11th studio album ‘Innocents’ for free via the popular file-sharing platform.

According to BitTorrent Inc., this bundle with free tracks was the most-shared torrent of 2013, with a staggering 8.9 million downloads. Not a big surprise, as more than 85,000 people are still actively sharing the tracks at the time of writing.

moby

The second most-shared bundle is the Epic Meal Time video bundle with 8.6 million downloads, followed by Kaskade’s tracks with 4.1 million downloads.

The secret behind BitTorrent’s bundle program is that the torrents are included with every download of the uTorrent and BitTorrent mainline applications. Since these clients are installed by dozens of millions of people, the numbers add up quickly.

“164,383 BitTorrent Bundles are downloaded around the world, every day. These projects have been downloaded 60 million times, by fans in over 170 countries around the world,” BitTorrent Inc. notes.

Bragging rights aside, the downloads also bring value to the artists in question. They are able to reach millions of new fans which may eventually boosts concert visits and sales.

Moby, for example, managed to add 419,000 people to his email list via the bundle. In addition, 130,000 people clicked through to the iTunes store while 68,000 new remixes of his tracks were created.

That can be considered quite a success.

The top 20 most-downloaded bundles are listed below. More stats and background information on the program is available in the 2013 BitTorrent report.


bittorrent report

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 15 2014

18:26

Symantec Patent Helps BitTorrent Users to Spot Malware and Fakes

symantecWith an estimated quarter billion active users per month, BitTorrent is a lucrative target for scammers and malware peddlers.

Every day thousands of “fake” torrents are uploaded from malicious sources, often labeled with the names of popular movies or TV-shows. Needless to say, those who download these torrents don’t get what they were looking for. Instead they are redirected to scam websites or lured into installing malware.

This malware problem is far from new, but most recently it has gained the attention of Symantec, one of the largest computer security vendors in the world.

Last week the company filed a patent application for a technology that aims to counter the problem. Symantec says that since most torrent sites do a bad job at keeping malicious torrents off their sites they have come up with a solution.

“While the BitTorrent protocol represents a popular method for distributing files, this protocol also represents a common means for distributing malicious software. Unfortunately, torrent hosting sites generally fail to provide sufficient information to reliably predict whether such files are trustworthy,” Symantec writes.

Symantec has developed a system than evaluates the trustworthiness of files that are downloaded via BitTorrent. Unlike traditional virus scans, where the file itself is malicious or not, the technology uses the reputation of other downloaders, and several other factors to make the evaluation.

“For example, if an entity has been involved in several torrent transactions that involved malware-infected target files, the reputation information associated with the entity may indicate that the entity has a poor reputation, indicating a high likelihood that the target file represents a potential security risk.”

The factors on which the trustworthiness of a file is based include the original uploaders, torrent sites, trackers and other peers. For example, if an IP-address of a seeder is linked to several malicious torrents, it will get a low reputation score.

The picture below shows an overview of these variables, with a reputation score ranging from 0 to 100% for each.


sym=rep

When a file is categorized as a potential threat based on the reputation score, several “security actions” can be taken. These range from shutting down the download to blocking access to the file in question.

“Examples of such security actions include, without limitation, alerting a user of the potential security risk, blocking access to the target file until overridden by the user, blocking network traffic associated with the torrent transaction, quarantining the target file, and/or deleting the target file,” Symantec writes.


symantec

The security vendor believes that its system is able to prevent or at least reduce the distribution of malware through BitTorrent.

While this may be the case, there certainly are downsides too. Symantec’s automated categorizing systems have sometimes provided false positives, which in this system would lead to the blocking of legitimate files. TorrentFreak learned that the hard way earlier.

Symantec is not the only computer security vendor to take an interest in BitTorrent recently. McAfee previously submitted a patent for a system that can detect and block pirated material from any website, and present users with authorized and legal alternatives instead.

At the moment it’s unclear whether Symantec has already developed the technology, or whether it has plans to bring it to the market in the near future. So for now, BitTorrent users have to follow common sense if they want to avoid trouble, which usually involves reading comments.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 14 2014

18:22

Regular Churchgoers Less Likely to Become Music Pirates

religion1The debate over whether it’s acceptable to engage in any kind of piracy is likely to persist for many years, as those with vested interests argue over whether the act is tantamount to stealing or is morally permissible.

While that argument continues, researchers at Manchester University in the UK have been looking at links between those who regularly attend places of worship and various low-level offenses including the downloading of copyrighted music.

As part of the project, last July 1,214 18 to 34-year-olds were asked about their faiths and how often, if ever, they attend a place of worship. They were also asked how often they engage in minor offenses such as music piracy, littering, drug use, shoplifting, fare dodging and non-attendance at work or school.

Project leader and PhD student Mark Littler informs TorrentFreak that in terms of music piracy respondents were asked whether they had previously downloaded music (excluding freely-given or promotional items) without paying for it. They were also asked how often they attend a religious establishment (every day, every week, every month or never), excluding weddings, funerals and other similar events.

“This research implies that the act of visiting a place of worship may trigger a significant reduction in the likelihood of involvement in certain types of criminal and delinquent behavior,” Littler explains.

Littler says the project’s findings suggest that regular attendance at a place of worship is linked to a “significant” reduction in the likelihood of involvement in low-level offenses, including the downloading of copyrighted material without permission. Furthermore, instances of offending progressively decreased in those who attended religious establishments more often.

While Littler says this suggests that religious groups have a norm against piracy, that does not necessarily amount to a blow against atheism.

“Religious practice is just one way of gaining exposure to the pro-social behavioral norms that are at the heart of this relationship; other, more secular, activities may equally serve a similar role,” he concludes.

The study was funded by the Bill Hill Charitable Trust and is due to be published later in 2014.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 03 2014

18:27

Good ‘Pirate’ Reviews More Important Than Piracy Itself, Game Devs Say

assaultandroidCountless thousands of regular Hollywood blockbusters aside, ‘workprints’ (unfinished copies of movies) always capture the imagination when they appear online. Sometimes appearing months in advance of an official release, these curiosities offer a rare glimpse into the movie making process with their missing special effects and sometimes uneven plots.

While the studios are universally outraged at the appearance of workprints, they don’t seem to affect sales of completed movies when they are officially released. It seems that the public has enough insight to realize that what they’re seeing is not the finished product.

For other media, computer games for example, unfinished but playable products can simply appear shoddy or second-rate. There is nothing that shouts out “this is not what you’ll get in the shops”, and as a result word can get round that Game X is not the high-quality product it should be.

This is a situation that Witch Beam, the creators of the multi-format shooter Assault Android Cactus, have found themselves in. Designer Sanatana Mishra says that after sending out an early build of the game to a number of people in the press and gaming community, someone leaked it online.

The leak itself became evident when a Steam user wrote negatively about the play mechanics in the ‘alpha’ version of the game, a label used by the dev team. Interestingly, Witch Beam weren’t so concerned with the piracy itself, but bad reviews from pirates was a different matter.

“The thing is we don’t see piracy itself as a problem for us specifically since our biggest adversary is exposure, and not any perceived market saturation, but leaking a preview build really hurt us,” Mishra told Polygon.

“It was simply not ready for public consumption, as it was full of bugs with tutorial/difficulty curve issues, things that we know a previewer can understand while still seeing the core of the game.”

So now Witch Beam are left with a dilemma – leave the pirates alone and pretend their bad reviews will exist in a vacuum, or do something to fix the problem. Doing nothing isn’t an option so the company is now considering uploading a finished version of Assault Android Cactus to the sites where it’s currently being distributed in unfinished form.

“Ideally we would like everyone to buy the game, but if they don’t buy the game the next best thing is they play the game, and if they are going to play the game I really want them to have the best experience they possibly can,” Mishra told Polygon.

For those interested in testing the game out in the meantime Mishra is asking people not to try the leaked version but the free demo they’re making available or the Steam and DRM-free Humble versions

“At least then [we'll] know for sure the people who hate it played the best possible version,” he concludes.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

January 02 2014

11:57

File-Sharing Boosts Creation of New Hit Music, Research Finds

GoogleDMCAseptSince the emergence of peer-to-peer file-sharing in 1999 music sales have dropped by more than half.

The RIAA and other industry players link these billion dollar losses to online piracy, claiming that more has to be done to protect their copyrights.

Interestingly, new research published by Glynn Lunney Jr., Professor of Law at Tulane University, suggests that the alleged file-sharing losses may actually be in line with the core intentions of copyright law.

Under the U.S. constitution Congress has the authority to enact copyright law “to Promote the Progress of Science.” Over the years courts have clarified that to do so, copyright law must “encourage the creation of new works” and “encourage the dissemination of existing works.”

It is clear that file-sharing encourages the distribution of existing music, and in a paper titled “A Case Study of File Sharing and Music Output” the professor examines what the connection is between music piracy and the creation of new music.

To this end, the research looks at the appearance of new and existing artists and tracks in the hit charts, to see whether there were any significant changes in the years after file-sharing hit the mainstream. The results of this analysis are quite surprising, to say the least.

The paper provides empirical evidence that file sharing did not reduce the creation of new hit songs. Instead, more new music entered the hit charts, an effect that’s driven by existing artists.

The data shows that the output from existing artists increased, while new artists appeared less frequently in the hit charts. However, since the new material from existing artists was greater than the loss from new artists, the “creation” of new music increased overall.

“Specifically, the [result] suggests that the 58.92 percent decline in record sales would be associated with a net increase of 20.6 new songs in the study’s sample annually, all else constant,” Professor Lunney writes.

The paper suggests that this increase in output may be directly related to the decline in revenue, and the researcher describes two effects of file-sharing that impacted creation of new music.

“First, it shifted output along the music-other margin and led to fewer new artists, as some individuals, given the lower returns available in music, decided to devote their time and creativity elsewhere,” Professor Lunney writes.

“Second, it shifted output along the work-leisure margin and led to more new music from existing artists, as the lower returns led existing artists to substitute work for leisure,” he adds.

Since the increased output by existing artists is greater than the decrease from new artists, the end result is an increase in new hits.

“Because the second marginal effect outweighed the first, file sharing, even assuming that it caused the decline in record sales, led to the creation, on balance, of more new hit songs.”

Keeping in mind that copyright intends to promote “the Progress of Science” by encouraging the distribution and creation of new works, Professor Lunney can only conclude that sharing music without permission of the owner should be legal under copyright law.

“Given that file sharing thus advances both of copyright’s purported objectives, there would seem to be only one reasonable answer as to whether file sharing, at least with respect to music, should be legal under copyright law,” Professor Lunney writes.

This leads to the counter-intuitive conclusion that the music industry’s claim that copyright law should be enforced to protect artists’ revenues to protect the creation of new music, falls flat.

“The proposition that file sharing reduces revenue and therefore must reduce creative output is both neat and plausible. Yet, as this study has shown, for music, it is also wrong,” Lunney concludes.

While the research sheds a new light on the connaction between music piracy and copyright, one has to doubt whether it’s a good thing to have “more of the same” as a result.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

December 31 2013

09:45

‘The Hobbit’ Most Pirated Film of 2013

hobbitWith well over eight million downloads The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey leads our list of most-shared movies on BitTorrent networks in 2013.

Django Unchained and Fast And Furious 6 are not far behind, coming in at second and third place respectively.

As is the case every year, the top 10 list has a few notable absentees in 2013. The top grossing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is missing for example, and Man of Steel didn’t make the cut either.

Gangster Squad is perhaps the biggest surprise in this year’s list, as it grossed the least of all films, $105,200,903 worldwide.

The list shows that movie piracy remains popular, especially for films that are not yet available for download or streaming due to release delays.

Whether all these pirated downloads threaten box office revenues is unclear though. Previously researchers found no evidence that BitTorrent piracy hurts US box office returns.

And indeed, with roughly $11 billion in revenues the U.S. box office is about to close its best year in history. That said, DVD sales, rentals and on-demand services are perhaps more likely to be impacted.

Below we have compiled a list of the most-pirated films on BitTorrent networks in 2013. The data is estimated by TorrentFreak based on several sources, including download statistics reported by public BitTorrent trackers. Files downloaded between January 1st and mid-December are counted, which means that the list has a bias towards films that were released earlier in the year.

It is worth noting that online streaming and cyberlocker downloads are not included since there are no public sources to draw data from. The total piracy numbers will therefore be significantly higher.

Most Downloaded Movies on BitTorrent, 2013 rank movie est. downloads worldwide grosses torrentfreak.com 1 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
8,400,000 $1,017,003,568 2 Django Unchained 8,100,000 $425,368,238 3 Fast And Furious 6 7,900,000 $788,679,850 4 Iron Man 3 7,600,000 $1,215,439,994 5 Silver Linings Playbook 7,500,000 $236,412,453 6 Star Trek Into Darkness 7,400,000 $467,365,246 7 Gangster Squad 7,200,000 $105,200,903 8 Now You See Me 7,000,000 $351,723,989 9 The Hangover Part 3 6,900,000 $351,000,072 10 World War Z 6,700,000 $540,007,876

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

December 30 2013

18:46

Pirate Bay Uploads Surge 50% in a Year, Despite Anti-Piracy Efforts

tpb-logo2013 has been an eventful year for The Pirate Bay, to say the least.

The site celebrated its tenth anniversary, but with pressure from copyright holders mounting, it had to switch domain names no less than six times.

In addition, the site continues to be censored by courts all around the world, which have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site.

The idea behind these anti-piracy efforts is that people will eventually stop using The Pirate Bay. Thus far, however, traffic to the infamous torrent site continues to grow, and so is the number of torrents being uploaded.

Over the past year the number of new torrents added to The Pirate Bay went up 50%, and the uploads doubled compared to two years ago.

The bar chart below shows the progress of The Pirate Bay’s monthly uploads. In November 2011, 38,319 torrent files were added to the site, growing to 50,411 the year after, up to 74,195 last month.

tpb-uploads

In total The Pirate Bay now indexes around 2.8 million torrent links, which point to a variety of content ranging from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to vintage Linux distributions.

A snapshot taken earlier this month reveals that these torrents were being shared by 18,911,877 people, which includes both seeders and leechers.

The chart below, which is based on The Pirate Bay’s categories, shows that video is by far the most-shared content. More than half of all “peers” (10,258,076) share video files, which is 54% of the total.

Audio, which includes music, is the second most-shared category with 17% of all peers, followed by porn (13%), other (6%), games (5%) and software (5%).

pirate bay peers

The Pirate Bay’s continued growth shows that the site is not suffering much from the recent anti-piracy efforts.

On the contrary, the site is taking concrete steps to counter future blocking and takedown attempts. During the coming year the notorious torrent site plans to go underground, using a peer-to-peer browser which will make it impossible to censor or shut down the site.

Copyright holders won’t sit still though and will use everything within their means to stop The Pirate Bay from expanding.

With the above in mind, it is safe to conclude that 2014 will prove to be another eventful year.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

Reposted bysofiasdenian

December 28 2013

20:08

BitTorrent Zeitgeist: What People Searched for in 2013

2013-tagDuring December, all self-respecting search engines produce an overview of the most popular search terms of the past year.

These lists give insight into recent trends, and in 2013 Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker and iPhone 5s were the top trending searches on Google.

But what about torrent search engines? With billions of searches every year it’s worth taking a look at the most-entered keywords on the dominant file-sharing network.

There is no central database of searches available, but Kickass.to, one of the top three torrent sites in terms of visitors, was kind enough to share the most popular search terms of 2013 with us. This list is based on millions of searches and gives an indication of what people were looking for on BitTorrent networks during the last 12 months.

Topping the lists this year is YIFY, which refers to the popular movie release group. The group has millions of dedicated followers who use the ‘YIFY’ tag to find its recent releases. The movies World War Z and Iron Man 3 complete the top three.

The top 10 contains three other movie title related searches: Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness and Now You See Me. The search term 2013, often used to find recent movies, is listed in sixth place.

Traditionally, TV-shows are much sought after on BitTorrent as well, and it’s no different this year. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Dexter made it into the top 10, followed by The Walking Dead and Suits further down the list.

Adult related searches are surprisingly absent among the popular search terms, and the same is true for music and game searches. The only non-video search in the top 50 is Windows 8 in 40th place.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that ITA, a term used to find Italian content and the most searched for keyword in 2011, dropped out of the top 50 entirely. This can be explained by the fact that KickassTorrent was blocked by all Italian Internet providers last year.

Below is the full list of the 50 most-entered search phrases on Kickass.to (minus site specific searches). This list will be different for each torrent site, but we assume that the top searches will be popular on other indexes as well.

1. yify
2. world war z
3. iron man 3
4. breaking bad
5. man of steel
6. 2013
7. game of thrones
8. Star Trek Into Darkness
9. now you see me
10. dexter
11. pacific rim
12. the lord of the rings appendices
13. despicable me 2
14. this is the end
15. french
16. jack reacher
17. the walking dead
18. oblivion
19. a good day to die hard
20. elysium
22. suits
22. fast and furious 6
23. arrow
24. true blood
25. the conjuring
26. after earth
27. White House Down
28. Django Unchained
29. percy jackson sea of monsters
30. 2 guns
31. gangster squad
32. olympus has fallen
33. under the dome
34. jack the giant slayer
35. warm bodies
36. life of pi
37. pain and gain
38. Hansel and Gretel 2013
39. spartacus
40. windows 8
41. grown ups 2
42. 1080p
43. hindi
44. red 2
45. skyfall
46. the hobbit
47. movie 43
48. argo
49. how i met your mother
50. telugu

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

December 26 2013

11:59

Exposed: BitTorrent Pirates at the European Parliament, And More Unexpected Places

european parliamentMost TorrentFreak readers know that when you use BitTorrent without a VPN, the whole world is able to see what you’re downloading and where from.

Dozens of companies collect data on alleged BitTorrent users, either for analytics purposes or for future legal action.

With help from BitTorrent tracking outfit ScanEye we have been keeping an eye on interesting “pirate” venues over the years, and it’s become a holiday tradition to share some of our findings.

This year we put the spotlight on the European Parliament, where several MEPs are proposing to decriminalize file-sharing for personal use. When we look at the prevalence of piracy in Brussels, it’s safe to say that this plan is partly in the interests of the lawmakers themselves.

Below is a sample taken from dozens of recent “hits” of European Parliament IP-addresses on various BitTorrent trackers. The pirated downloads include newer movies such as Elysium, classic films such as The Ten Commandments and TV-shows including Breaking Bad.


European Parliament pirates

ep-pirates-2013

Of course, the European Parliament is not the only political arena where people pirate files. The same is true at the U.S. House of Representatives, although we saw much fewer hits than the year before.

The decrease in activity may be due to the fact that the House has implemented a rather strict anti-P2P policy. This resulted in a Spotify-block, much to the annoyance of the RIAA who saw it as overbroad censorship.


U.S. House of Representatives pirates

reps-2013

Outside of the political sphere there is also plenty of piracy, and the offices of movie studios and record labels are no exception. Again, there appears to be a downward trend in most of these places, perhaps in part due to our previous coverage.

However, there are still plenty of interesting “hits” left such as the following titles which are linked to IP-addresses operated by Paramount Pictures.


Paramount Pictures pirates

paramount-2013

When it comes to online piracy no place appears to be without sin. Earlier this year we highlighted that there are also plenty of BitTorrent pirates at the Vatican, and the new pope didn’t do much to change this.

Below are the most recent hits from Holy See, in the Vatican City State, which are a mix of video entertainment and software.


vatican-2013

The above is just the tip of the iceberg, as we could list many more unexpected locations where people pirate movies, software and TV-shows. As with most BitTorrent tracking software there is a chance that some results may be spoofed, but this is rare.

If we have to learn something from this exercise, then it’s that there are BitTorrent pirates in all decent sized companies and institutions. But that shouldn’t really be much of a surprise to most people by now.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

December 20 2013

19:38

The Matrix ASCII: Oldest Torrent Alive Turns 10 Years Old

matrix-ascii-smallA decade ago the Internet looked vastly different from how it does today. Torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and Torrentz were only a few months old, while Facebook and YouTube didn’t even exist.

Back then BitTorrent was a relatively unknown technology that, for the first time in history, allowed users to share large videos with groups of people all over the world.

One of the torrents that gained quite a bit of traction in the early days is an ASCII version of The Matrix. This piece of fan art is a re-coded version of the original movie in green text on a black background, resulting in a rather unique viewing experience.

Thanks to BitTorrent, the creator of The Matrix ASCII was able to share his work with thousands of people. Exactly 10 years ago today on December 20, 2003, the torrent for this release was created.

A few weeks later the torrent file was first shared online, along with an ASCII DVD cover and insert. In the months and years that followed thousands of copies of the film were downloaded worldwide, and even today it is still being shared by a dozen people every day.

To the best of our knowledge, this means that The Matrix ASCII is the oldest torrent that’s still being actively shared.


The.Matrix-ASCII screencap

matrix-ascii-large

Perhaps worried that Hollywood wouldn’t appreciate the effort, the DVD file comes with a small disclaimer.

“This work is a parody. As such I do not believe that this DVD has any possibility of competing with the original in any market. It is not for sale,” the disclaimer reads.

Prospective downloaders have very little to worry about though, as Warner Bros. is not known to go after this type of fan-art that’s created for non-commercial use.

The people who’ve downloaded a copy of The Matrix thus far responded mostly positively after watching the ASCII movie. That is, those who knew what to expect.

“This is absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! EASILY one of the coolest things I’ve EVER seen! Where’d you get the notion to do something like this!?!?!?!” one person noted in a comment highlighted on The Matrix ASCII website.

Others, who assumed that they had downloaded a copy of the original Matrix movie, were less happy with the ASCII version.

“Dude, tell me what to do with this Matrix ASCII, cause the picture is all green n stuff, can’t even see what’s going on. And, its in 4 VOB files, but why?” was the response of an unhappy downloader.

All in all it’s safe to say that The Matrix ASCII has become a fine piece of Internet history. The tale of its survival in itself has now become a reason for people to download it as a collectors’ item.

The question is, however, will it survive another decade?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

December 14 2013

19:40

isoHunt Founder Launches Kickstarter for P2P Clothing Line

garyobamaAfter a legal battle lasting nearly eight years, isoHunt founder Gary Fung announced the site’s closure last month.

The Canada-based Internet entrepreneur signed a $110 million settlement with the MPAA and shut down isoHunt.com, the site which he had worked on for more than a decade.

IsoHunt’s closing marked the end of an era, but despite the setback Fung is not giving up his ideals. Last month we reported that he had teamed up with an old friend, Clifford Joe, to start a new clothing line titled ‘Viva 10.23′, a reference to the date isoHunt was officially shut down.

Today the duo have launched their Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $10,230 through crowdsourcing to get the project started. People who back the project will get a T-shirt or hoodie of their choice, depending on the pledge amount.

Fung describes the concept as “political fashion” and the designs carry statements such as “Stop Watching Us” and “Freedom to Share.”

“For 11 years while I worked on isoHunt I’ve witnessed one thing: the Internet is about sharing, and file-sharing is a movement that is about more than mere files or copyright. It’s about the Freedom to share, the Freedom to create. And relatedly nowadays, the Freedom to not be spied on,” Fung told us.

“It is these freedoms, at the intersection of isoHunt closing and the erosion of privacy and other information freedoms, that gave me the idea for a clothing line. One that carries social statements with ironic twists, statements and designs in the form of t-shirts, sweaters and hoodies.”


Kickstarter Campaign Video

Viva 10.23 promises to be more than the average clothing line. True to the “sharing” spirit the founders believe in, the brand will also accept input from the public. They will create a sub-Reddit where people can submit and vote on designs and slogans for the next “P2P clothing” designs.

The majority of profits Viva 10.23 makes will be donated to organizations that support Internet freedom issues, such as EFF, Wikimedia and Openmedia.ca. Hollywood shouldn’t expect a cut, but Fung does have a word of advice for his former adversaries. If they really want to stop piracy they should do it through innovation, and not by suing people left and right.

“Give customers what they want, at high quality, with the most convenience, at the right price, at the right time. If not, battles are won but the war maybe already lost,” Fung says.

For isoHunt’s founder the clothing line is not going to be a major revenue source. He receives a one time consulting fee of $110 and continues to look for new ways to challenge the status quo.

“The Internet is a big place. I’ll continue using it to come up with new and better ways of upsetting the status quo where it’s stupid. Viva 10.23, what I envision to be a massively localized and crowdsourced political fashion platform, is one such way,” Fung says.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

December 02 2013

13:04

Russell Brand: Get My New DVD From The Pirate Bay

brand3To some, mainly those in the entertainment industries, The Pirate Bay is an evil parasite that exists on the hard work of others. It profits from content to which it has no rights and along the way disregards the wishes of artists, producers and their distributors who want to choose how and when their product is made available.

To others, and judging by its popularity that may very well be the majority, The Pirate Bay is the world’s media greatest library. Not only that, it breaks down the barriers between the rich and poor and the haves and have nots, by pricing everything at a universally affordable zero dollars, euros, pounds or yen.

Of course, there are artists out there that enjoy what the site has to offer. One only has to look at the popularity of The Promo Bay to see that there are many creators who appreciate a helping hand with their profile.

What is more unusual is when established artists, who have business deals with major companies and traditional Pirate Bay rivals, decide to give the site their endorsement.
That is exactly what happened before the weekend via the Twitter account of comedian Russell Brand.

For those that don’t know, it’s a bit of a tradition in the UK for comedians to release a new DVD around Christmas. It’s a very lucrative time for this type of product and many joke-mongers fight each other for the top sales spot. Brand has a new one out too, it’s called Messiah Complex and it’s available at retailers for around £10.00, which is not a bad price at all.

But while sales are gratefully received and all add to the chart rankings, Brand made it clear to his millions of followers that official outlets aren’t the only way of obtaining his DVD.

Brand1

As can be seen from the Tweet above, Brand not only linked to The Pirate Bay but also to a proxy site. This link enabled UK Internet users to bypass the blocks put in place by their ISPs following High Court action by the music and movie industries against The Pirate Bay.

Unsurprisingly this has caused problems. As noted by MusicWeek, Brand’s DVD was put out by 2Entertain, which in turn is owned by BBC Worldwide.

“Some people who’s [sic] jobs depend on it are angry. Complex,” Brand wrote.

Complex indeed.

2Entertain’s sister company is Demon Music Group. Not only is Demon a member of the BPI, but until last year its commercial director Adrian Sear was sitting on the BPI’s council. Since the BPI were the driving force behind the UK blockade of The Pirate Bay, one of their artists promoting a workaround will hardly be a welcome development.

Still, Brand doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I’ll watch the torrent and if I like it I will buy it. Deal?” said one Twitter user.

“As you wish mate,” Brand responded.

“If i download this illegally will that make you sad?” said another.

“I don’t mind as long as you watch it,” Brand fired back.

Whether Brand’s tweets to his 7.3 million followers will result in masses of Pirate Bay piracy remains to be seen, but given his anti-capitalist stance he’s probably quietly amused by the prospect, especially if he got his DVD payment up front.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

November 28 2013

16:45

Publisher Promotes Homeland Book Via ‘Pirate’ Subtitles

homeland-bookEvery week millions of people download the latest episode of the Showtime hit series “Homeland” via file-sharing sites.

Tens of thousands of these downloads originate from Poland, where it can take weeks before the episodes air on local TV. This huge interest in unauthorized copies has created a high demand for “pirate subtitles,” a niche which the group Hatak has been serving for years.

Many copyright holders are not happy with these pirate subtitle releases and prefer to shut these sites down. But where others see a threat, the Polish book publisher Wydawnictwo Otwarte (Open Publishing) decided to use this unauthorized distribution channel to its advantage.

The publisher is selling the Polish translation of David Kaplan’s book “Homeland: Carrie’s Run,” which is a prequel to the popular TV-series. In a unique opportunity to appeal directly to thousands of Homeland “pirates,” the publisher teamed up with group Hatak to promote the book.

“We decided to advertise via subtitles because we wanted to show the book to all the fans of the Homeland series in Poland, no matter where they watch the show,” Maciej Migda, Managing Director at Wydawnictwo Otwarte told TorrentFreak.

The publisher explained that they wanted to plug the book in spots where people would see it as useful information instead of an ad. This means that the added text should not interfere with people’s viewing habits.

“We also wanted to inform them about the prequel book in a specific context. When they watch the credits and flashbacks from the Carrie’s past we catch them with the phrase ‘How did it all begin? Let’s read the prequel book,” Migda says.

Below is a screenshot of the subtitle file and how it appears on-screen. In this case during the opening credits the subtitles show the text “How did it start? You will learn from a book prequel “Homeland: Carrie’s Run.”


Subtitle file promoting the book

homelandsubs

TorrentFreak spoke to Karol, the Hatak group member who translates Homeland for Polish viewers. He tells us that the cooperation with the publisher is not really an ad, his main motivation is to bring the book to the attention of Homeland fans.

“It’s just information for the ‘Homeland’ fans about the new book, based on Showtime’s hit series. Unfortunately, the book promotion in Poland was really poor, so I thought placing the mention about it in subtitles was in the fans’ best interest.”

The publisher gave Hatak several copies of the Homeland book in return for the promotion, which the group gave away via their Facebook page.

“The publisher gave us a few copies of the book, so we could organize the prize competition on Facebook. In addition, we received a few copies of ‘A Captain’s Duty’ for our Facebook fans, without running an ‘ad’ in the subtitles.”

“I think it’s a really good deal that makes everyone happy and so far I haven’t had any complaints from the users,” Karol notes.

The Polish Homeland subtitles are downloaded by roughly 4,000 people every week, which results in a lot of highly targeted promotion for the book. According to the publisher, Homeland fans appreciated the guerrilla advertising which resulted in at least a few extra sales.

“The responses we got so far tell us that people appreciated the fact that we informed them about the book, and some have bought it,” Migda informs TorrentFreak.

To our knowledge this is the first time that a copyright holder has teamed up with a subtitle group to promote related content. While we don’t expect this type of promotion to become mainstream anytime soon, it is a great example of how unauthorized distribution is able to add value for copyright holders.


Publisher explains its advertising strategy in a video

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

November 20 2013

09:30

Largest Ever BitTorrent Tracker Movie Uploader Trial Concludes

In 2004 during some of the early days of the Swedish BitTorrent scene, a new private tracker appeared online. Swebits maintained a membership of up to 40,000 and was very popular with locals.

Seven years later in February 2011 the site announced it would close. News from the site suggested it had been targeted by a DDoS attack and alongside had suffered a catastrophic hardware disaster. Perhaps coincidentally, just a week before the site’s closure a Swebits user was arrested at his home following an investigation carried out by anti-piracy outfit Antipiratbyran (now Rights Alliance).

It transpired that the then 25-year-old was a moderator on Swebits and between April 2008 and November 2011 had allegedly shared huge quantities of content with the site’s users. The prosecution in the case insisted that he had uploaded many thousands of movies and TV shows after obtaining them from so-called ‘topsites’ affiliated with the warez scene.

The final case, which involved the uploading of 518 titles, concluded yesterday afternoon in the Västmanlands District Court after being reduced to ‘just’ 517 titles on a technicality.

“A film was dropped [from the case] because the statute of limitations expired,” explained prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson.

However, out of the significant remainder the defendant confessed to just 13 of the charges, the number of titles Antipiratbyran / Rights Alliance said they downloaded directly from the man and later tested. As more than 500 titles remained untested, the former Swebits moderator believes he is innocent of those charges.

Despite the reduction and counterclaim, Rasmusson said that never before had a court dealt with someone who had uploaded so many movies and TV shows online. In what is generally seen as an aggravating factor, the court heard that many of the uploads took place before the products were officially available on DVD.

Although more than 500 titles were involved in the trial, it appears only one producer is seeking damages from the now 28-year-old. Nevertheless, they are substantial.

Represented by infamous pirate-hunter Henrik Pontén of Rights Alliance, Nordisk Film AS are trying to recover more than a million dollars in damages after their title “Buried Alive” was released onto the Internet two days before its official DVD release.

According to the prosecutor, a request for a custodial sentence will be the likely outcome.

“I will probably insist on imprisonment,” he concludes.

Source: Largest Ever BitTorrent Tracker Movie Uploader Trial Concludes

November 19 2013

17:02

IsoHunt Founder Promotes “Freedom to Share” With New Clothing Line

garyobamaAfter a legal battle of nearly eight years isoHunt founder Gary Fung announced the site’s closure last month.

Fung signed a $110 million settlement with the MPAA and shut down isoHunt.com as stipulated in the agreement with the movie studios. Initially the domain was completely dead, but visitors to what was once one of the largest torrent sites are now greeted by the following message.

“A United States federal court has permanently shut down isoHunt.com because it was in violation of copyright law. If you are looking for your favorite movies or TV shows online, there are more ways than ever today to get high quality access to them on legal platforms.”

TorrentFreak reached out to Fung, who said he couldn’t go into detail about why the notice was put up, or who drafted the language. However, he did point out that his ideas on “sharing” haven’t changed a bit.


isohuntclosed

On the contrary, his work on isoHunt taught him that the freedom to share information is one of the core values of the Internet, and despite the setbacks he suffered Fung is still motivated to defend these ideas.

“I shut isoHunt down on October 23 to end the seven year battle with Hollywood, but for 11 years while I worked on isoHunt I’ve witnessed one thing: the Internet is about sharing, and file-sharing is a movement that is about more than mere files or copyright. It’s about the Freedom to share, the Freedom to create. And relatedly nowadays, the Freedom to not be spied on.”

“It is these freedoms, at the intersection of isoHunt closing and the erosion of privacy and other information freedoms, that gave me the idea for a clothing line. One that carries social statements with ironic twists, statements and designs in the form of t-shirts, sweaters and hoodies.”

This idea quickly turned into a new venture in which Fung teamed up with an old friend, Clifford Joe, who had already been working on starting his own clothing company. Today, the duo announced their plan to the world through a pre-Kickstarter project that has just gone public.

The clothing will carry the brand “Viva 10.23,” a reference to the day isoHunt was officially shut down. People can not fund anything yet, but are able to leave their email address so they are notified when the Kickstarter project goes live in a month or so.

The project page currently lists a handful of designs, including a Obama-style poster of Gary with the text “Share,” and shirts with the slogans “Stop Watching Us” and “Freedom to Share.” Fung told us that this is just an initial sample, and that Viva 10.23 invites designers from all over the world to submit their ideas and expand the product line.


rememberiso

The project page describes the concept as “political fashion” and Fung hopes to cover a wide range of Internet activism with the clothing line.

“What I’ve learned in my time working on isoHunt, is that the social, legal and political underpinnings of my work are just as important if not more so than the tech, and I see an opportunity now to bring both designers and ‘users’ together to casually campaign for what we believe in: information freedom, the freedom to share,” Fung says.

As for the revenue model, Fung notes that he will get a dollar per sale as a consulting fee. The majority of profits Viva 10.23 makes will be donated to organizations that support Internet freedom issues, such as EFF, Openmedia.ca, as well as various charities and funds for emerging musicians and filmmakers.

“This is clothing we wear to advertise causes we believe in, and clothing that funds those causes,” Fung concludes.

Source: IsoHunt Founder Promotes “Freedom to Share” With New Clothing Line

November 12 2013

18:30

Australian Government Funds BitTorrent Release Sci-Fi TV Series

screenaussieIn June 2010, Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi who together form Australia-based Distracted Media, announced a crowd-funding campaign for a brand new movie.

The Tunnel, a horror movie set in the abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, was to be financed by the 135K Project, a reference to the 135,000 frames that people could buy individually to make up the finished product.

The movie launched on BitTorrent during 2011 in a tie up with BitTorrent Inc. and indie platform VODO, was shown on TV, and also pulled off a deal with Paramount Pictures.

While BitTorrent releases are now much more common than they were a few years ago, Distracted Media’s new BitTorrent project is of particular interest due to the way it’s being funded.

Next year Distracted Media will start filming Airlock, a new sci-fi thriller TV series set on a derelict space ship and an isolated space station. They’re going to be looking to raise $100,000 via a Kickstarter campaign set to launch in the next few hours but Enzo and Julian have already secured additional significant funding from an interesting source.

Screen Australia is the Australian Federal Government’s main funding body for the promotion, development and distribution of Australian screen content. The government body has dug deep, awarding $350,000 to produce the series, a first for a BitTorrent-focused release.

Airlock

“We’ve been talking with Screen Australia’s various departments since The Tunnel was released. To their credit, some of them actually sought us out in order to work out what we did and why,” Distracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi told TorrentFreak.

“There’s still a certain amount of mystery surrounding it for many, but they get that there’s a huge potential audience there for legitimately released shows and films.”

Once the show is produced it will premiere on BitTorrent, although at the moment the show isn’t locked into BitTorrent Inc. or VODO as The Tunnel was. The episodes are likely to be released on torrents each week with other formats following after.

But despite the successes, there have been problems for Distracted to negotiate on the way.

“We faced a sizable backlash from ‘traditional’ media when we did The Tunnel, despite the torrent release being completely authorized by us and on the up-and-up,” Enzo explains.

“We even got blocked from major retailers stocking the DVDs at release despite having Transmission / Paramount on board distributing them in Australia. We also encountered resistance from Movie Extra when we wanted to release our last online show – Event Zero – via torrents as well.”

So considering those obstacles, what does it feel like to have financial backing from the government for a BitTorrent release?

“With Australia having such a huge rate of piracy per capita, the dreaded ‘t’-word is often a problem politically, so to speak, in the film and TV industry. To have Screen Australia fund Airlock with its torrent release strategy and no other traditional ‘broadcast partners’ locked in
is pretty significant for us. It feels like a vindication of the last couple of years, that people have actually been listening,” Enzo concludes.

The Airlock homepage currently features a countdown which by the time you read this should be nearing its conclusion, signaling the launch of the Kickstarter campaign which will feature all the usual perks for contributors.

Source: Australian Government Funds BitTorrent Release Sci-Fi TV Series

November 11 2013

16:49

BitTorrent Traffic Drops in America, Grows in Europe

download-keyboardOver the years we have been following various reports on Internet traffic changes, specifically in relation to BitTorrent.

One of the emerging trends is BitTorrent and P2P traffic as a whole losing its share of total Internet traffic, in North America at least. A new report published by Sandvine this morning confirms the downward spiral but also suggests that there is actually less BitTorrent traffic.

Previously BitTorrent only lost some of its share of overall Internet traffic, but now the actual bandwidth consumed by the protocol also appears to be in decline.

Compared to six months ago BitTorrent’s share of all Internet traffic during peak hours in North America dropped by 20% to 7.39%. At the same the average bandwidth consumed by Internet subscribers remained relatively stable at 44.5 gigabyte per month, suggesting that BitTorrent traffic has gone down overall.

This would be the first time in history that the bandwidth consumed by BitTorrent transfers has declined. However, the results should be interpreted with caution as the lack of growth in bandwidth consumption is suspicious, especially when compared to previous years.

The graph below shows the usage for various types of traffic during peak hours, where BitTorrent takes up 36.35% of all upstream bandwidth. Netflix is the absolute king in terms of downstream traffic here, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic during peak hours.

Impressively, Netflix and YouTube together are good for half of all downstream traffic during peak hours in North America.


op 10 Peak Period Applications (North America, Fixed Access

sandvine-2013-h2

The Sandvine report further shows that the decline in BitTorrent traffic is limited to North America. In Europe, for example, BitTorrent’s share of total Internet traffic increased over the past half-year, as did the total volume of BitTorrent traffic.

During peak hours nearly half of all upstream traffic (48%) in Europe can now be attributed to BitTorrent. In Asia-Pacific and Latin America, BitTorrent traffic is still on the rise according to Sandvine’s data, with 21% and 11% of total Internet traffic during peak hours.

Assuming that BitTorrent traffic did indeed decline in North America, there are several factors that may explain this finding. It could be that the start of the U.S. Copyright Alert System in February caused people to stop downloading, or download less.

In addition, the increased availability of legal download and streaming options may have steered people away from sharing copyrighted material via BitTorrent.

Time will tell whether the downward trend in North America will continue in the months to come, and how the global differences in BitTorrent usage will develop.

Source: BitTorrent Traffic Drops in America, Grows in Europe

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