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Piracy

100 P2P Users Upload 75% of Content 269

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-must-be-very-busy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers say that about 100 people (called pirates in the article) are responsible for 75 percent of all downloading on BitTorrent (and the same group does 66 percent of all uploading), and says that the way to shut down the p2p network is simply to disincentive that relatively small number of people. The other large group identified in the study were people (such as from copyright enforcement agencies) who uploaded fake content to frustrate other users. No suggestions were made about how to prevent people from uploading fake content — but it was suggested that the first group could have their ad revenue cut or could be heavily fined."
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100 P2P Users Upload 75% of Content

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  • Little Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:19PM (#35010344)

    I don’t really get (and the article didn’t really seem to explain) how these elite uploaders of the pirated content receive this ad-revenue. Are they saying that the people who post the bulk of the infringing torrents on various networks receive ad-revenue from the indexing sites (where the ads would be displayed)? I don’t understand how ad revenue flows from the indexing sites to the users who upload the content.

    It almost seems like these guys asked themselves “why do they do it”, looked at a torrent site, saw the ads, and just said “ah, that’s why” and wrote a paper.

    Also, the suggestion in this article to provide “disincentives” to the people uploading the bulk of pirated content is kind of obvious and silly. If the media industry had any way of actually doing this, it would have been done a long time ago. I think it’s already recognized by most people that the bulk of pirated content originates from a small number of sources. I can’t imagine that big media hasn’t been trying unsuccessfully to shut this group down for quite a while.

    Unless I’m missing something, this whole article comes across as another one of these ridiculous studies where after 3 years of research and a few million dollars they reveal that fire is hot and scissors can be sharp. I file this right next to

    • Re:Little Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:26PM (#35010422)

      Augh! What the heck happened to the rest of my words!

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I think the author(s) of the article are confused... they very well may be confusing "uploading" with "seeding".
      • by NFN_NLN (633283)

        I think the author(s) of the article are confused... they very well may be confusing "uploading" with "seeding".

        Something is confusing here: " about 100 people (called pirates in the article) are responsible for 75 percent of all downloading on BitTorrent"

        100 people are responsible for 75% of downloads on BT? My question is, who are these 99 other people?

    • Re:Little Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:50PM (#35010758)

      This "study" is complete bullshit. The only source of data for their study are two sites. One is Mininova, which doesn't deal in material that infringes copyright and hasn't for a year and a half. The other is The Pirate Bay, which I don't even know what the hell the current status is, because I remember they sold themselves, then they didn't sell themselves, then they did and created two new public indexers, then were going to go legit and . . . whatever. Anyway, the point being, who the fuck still uses TPB and how is it a relevant source of data on Bit Torrent anymore?

      So, the source of their data is clearly flawed. They're stressing points about "piracy" when one site isn't even "piracy" related and the other is . . . whatever the fuck it is, anymore.

      Second, they claim that 100 people are responsible for almost all of the UPLOADS (that is, 100 people are responsible for almost all of the content being put out there). You can assume that they're counting scene release accounts as one person, when they're probably many more. Also, again, they're saying that 100 people are responsible for that much content . . . ON THOSE TWO SITES. Not "all of bit torrent". That would be fucking absurd of them to claim *that*.

      And, finally, yes, they actually do say that the incentive for most of the uploaders is that they get revenue from ads on the indexing sites as well as money from VIP subscriptions to the sites for faster bandwidth. All of which is essentially bullshit, unless there is some secret deal where TPB and other sites are cutting big checks to Axxo and Klaxxon and all these other guys who are out there spreading content around, which I doubt.

      It seems that these "researches" simply can't grasp the idea that a lot of these people get a kick out of sharing for sharing's sake and that respect (and maybe credits toward their future download ratio at private sites) is all they're looking to receive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dinojemr (261460)

        If you read the actual this press release describes ( http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.2327v2 [arxiv.org] ), it explains that the "Top Publishers" usually try to promote the URLs of their own websites. This can be done by adding the URL to the filenames in the torrents (such as HarryPotter-slashdot.org.avi ) or in the metadata on the portal. The publisher makes profit from ads or subscriptions to the site they own, not from ads on the indexing sites.

        The 100 p2p users basically refers to 100 unique IPs that were responsible fo

        • Re:Little Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:23PM (#35012804)

          If you read the actual this press release describes ( http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.2327v2 [arxiv.org] ), it explains that the "Top Publishers" usually try to promote the URLs of their own websites. This can be done by adding the URL to the filenames in the torrents (such as HarryPotter-slashdot.org.avi ) or in the metadata on the portal. The publisher makes profit from ads or subscriptions to the site they own, not from ads on the indexing sites.

          People actually go to those sites? I mean, I haven't clicked on a link inside those .NFO files or typed in the addresses contained in the filename, and never needed it. If the file is what I want, great, if not, delete and move on.

          I can't see selling ads to a site that's hard to get to as being very popular unless people somehow expect lots of new stuff to be posted there... heck, I think the index sites would make more money.

          Or is there some part of this culture I'm not aware of?

      • by h00manist (800926) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:56PM (#35011694) Journal
        The "study" may be BS. But it does raise the issue of how to disagree with the law, disobey it, without being punished for it. You are essentially risking punishment for ignoring the law. It may be a small issue, it may be a stupid law, but if someone picks you out for punishment, you could be set up, screwed, and ruined big-time. Cheating on taxes, drinking a beer in the wrong place/time, smoking a joint, downloading copyrighted things, running a red light, all of these things could set you up as a target for someone who wants to make an example out of you or whatever. For example I refused to comply with a local law requiring me to check ID for every user that used a computer at the cybercafe. (No, not in the US). I just couldn't agree. However, eventually a user abused the law, and now I'm answering in their place in a defamation case, perhaps being forced to pay thousands in damages - alleging I allowed the defamation by not following the law. They too felt abused by their boss apparently, and went to a cybercafe to send some emails accusing the boss of corruption and a dozen four-letter word things. Well, it's a big crime here. Not checking the ID is nothing, but now I'm caught as a target in bigger issues.

        So disagreeing with the law is legal, scoffing at the law may result in nothing much of the time, but it's actually perhaps best to consider better ways to protest the law, while checking your options in case you are required to show your compliance with the laws.
    • by Jbain (1453725)

      I don't think these researchers understand the concept of "e-penis"

    • by mochan_s (536939)

      I don’t really get (and the article didn’t really seem to explain) how these elite uploaders of the pirated content receive this ad-revenue. Are they saying that the people who post the bulk of the infringing torrents on various networks receive ad-revenue from the indexing sites (where the ads would be displayed)? I don’t understand how ad revenue flows from the indexing sites to the users who upload the content.

      Because those 100 users are bots. Yes, they upload 75% of the content but it'

    • If you are confused.

      Here is a great article of how piracy works or used to work only a few years ago. I believe it hasn't really changed since then.

      http://web.archive.org/web/20060519095624/http://old.wheresthebeef.co.uk/show.php/guide/2600_Guide_to_Internet_Piracy-TYDJ.txt [archive.org]

    • The "real" article [uc3m.es] is a little more clear than the summary linked here.

      The authors claim that a lot of BitTorrent content comes from people who either (a) own a private BitTorrent portal and use it to lure customers (who then share it for free on the rest of the Internet), or (b) promote some for-profit website via the torrent. These websites are promoted by (i) tacking their domain name onto the main download file, (ii) putting the URL into "the textbox" on the torrent search engine (I think this probably

  • Contradiction (Score:5, Informative)

    by DanTheStone (1212500) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:25PM (#35010408)
    Headline says uploading, summary and linked article say downloading. Headline is wrong.
    • 100 people are responsible for uploading the content that 75% of the internet downloads.
    • by Seumas (6865)

      No, the article says UPLOADING. Not downloading. The article is talking about the sources of content, like Axxo, Klaxxon, etc.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:33PM (#35010514)

    Don't they realize that artists are being disincentivized from creating content? That means only the safest, accountant-friendly products get made (e.g. crappy romantic comedies and bubblegum pop). I'm a big movie buff and it's infuriating that Hollywood is getting so creatively conservative.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:38PM (#35010574) Journal

      On the contrary. The existence of P2P incentivizes artists to make content worth paying for.

      • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:46PM (#35010688) Homepage Journal
        No, your post is consistent with GodfatherofSoul's. Most people will only pay for stuff they can understand—ergo, comparative junk. Remember that Avatar was the highest-grossing film of all time, followed by Titanic.
        • That's because, obviously, Avatar and Titanic are the two best movies ever made. We all know performance at the box office is indicative of movie quality. I mean, look at how well Tansformers 2 did.
        • This ultimately has very little if anything to do with piracy and everything to do with simple demographic realities. There are more average joes than pretentious analytical aesthetes. Mediocre, "easily understood" movies sell because they appeal to a larger base of consumers at the center of the bell curve. Nuanced and complex movies only "connect" with a smaller pool of intellectuals at the higher end of the curve. There could be no piracy at all and that would never change the ratio (notice I don't say s
      • by thynk (653762)

        You have an excellent point. I offer evidence of this with the movie "The Man From Earth". I don't recall this excellent movie ever being in theaters, and when the producer found it was being shared online, asked for a small donation if you downloaded it and enjoyed it. I kicked in a couple of bucks because I want to encourage this sort of marketing.

      • by Romeozulu (248240)

        Yes, a sane rational person would think this, but unfortunately, this is not how the world works. What this really does is make movie companies do only safe content, crap that sells to the mindless masses. It's sad, but it's true.

        • by bberens (965711)
          Businesses will always attempt to do the work that gives them the largest profit margins. That's true no matter how much content someone "steals."
        • Why would they produce something else? If the effect of p2p were gone completly, then artistic and creative movies would make more... and so would the safe, mindless crap. The mindless crap comes ahead still. Some producers and directors really are in it for the art, but the executives who decide what gets made arn't interested in that. All they care aboue is how much the movie will cost, and how much it will make.
          • by jedidiah (1196)

            This is what separates real artists from bean counters.

            The fact that Hollywood is being run by bean counters is completely orthogonal to the issue of piracy.

      • Your argument does not follow. With the availability of all content for $0 on P2P networks, that implies that no content is worth paying for. How does $0 content incentivize artists to make anything?
        • With the availability of all content for $0 on P2P networks, that implies that no content is worth paying for.

          No it doesn't; market value isn't the only value people recognize, despite what many economists lead us to believe.
          There is a use value [wikipedia.org], which can only be recognized by the person after (s)he has consumed the media, and so only after (s)he feels the need to repay the producer for the value they have provided.

    • by hipp5 (1635263) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:44PM (#35010654)
      You're trying to tell me that they didn't make crappy movies and music before the advent of P2P? Because that's absolute bullshit. The only reason why it seems like there were so many great movies and such great music in the past was because we've forgotten all the crap. You're also comparing the yearly volume of recent releases to a back-catalogue containing 100 years worth of good movies and music. I file your comment under "when I was young I used to walk 10 miles to school in the snow".
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        ...it is like I sometimes like to say:

        The biggest threat to Big Media is not "Piracy" but their own back
        catalog.

        Even if you force everyone to pay for the stuff, you are still
        left with the problem of the old stuff competing with new stuff. With
        the durability of digital formats, the old stuff can linger in people's
        personal collections for years or even decades.

        $20 and $15 box sets for shows made 20 or 50 years ago co

    • by binkzz (779594)
      If anyone people who make movies for the love of making good cinema might make more movies, and people who make movies just to cash in might make fewer.
    • by Znork (31774)

      The fact that the number of movies produced is constantly rising indicates otherwise. But with what, 11000 plus movies made last year (5000 in the US) according to IMDB, competition is murderous; especially with other media competing ever more.

      In murderous competition most traditional stagnant corporations will retreat to least common denominator, particularly if they're mainly selling their advertising budget rather than any content. Add a few gimmicks to sell, but don't do anything risky in the content or

    • Most of the movies I actually like these days come from China. Now, please tell me China doesn't have a piracy problem so I can laugh in your face. The stupid thing here is that all the big name Hollywood shit gets pirated instantly. All the indie art house stuff must reach a certain threshold of popularity before pirating occurs (most of the time). So yes, add me to the chorus of people saying your logic is completely broken.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:36PM (#35010558)

    These people don't really seem to understand the P2P hierarchy. Content gets pirated by groups, who release it to top sites, which sell slots to people and have affiliations to closed torrent trackers. The users of those trackers then leak the stuff to the public p2p networks. So yes, there may be a closed group doing the actual leaking, however, that does not mean the content does not exist and that no-one will take their place once they are gone. It's utterly ridiculous to think you will stop pirating by attacking the lowest part of the food chain.

  • by rs1n (1867908) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:37PM (#35010568)
    Here's a quote:

    "In our opinion," the authors of the study conclude, "the success of BitTorrent lies in the availability of popular content which is typically protected by copyright law, and people who take the risk of publishing that content do it because they receive an economic benefit. If in the future these users lose their incentive, either because of a decrease in advertising income or due to having to pay very expensive fines, BitTorrent would very likely cease to offer this content, which would make people stop using the application on a massive scale."

    These people have no clue how torrents and seeding works. When someone completes a torrent, they can choose to then seed that download. There is no economic incentive there whatsoever. The seeder gets absolutely nothing out of seeding. All it takes is one person to make an initial seed, and then if each downloader joins in seeding that content, then the number of seeds grows exponentially. Anyone can create a torrent, and anyone can seed. These guys make it sound like there is some sort of main repository from which all other downloaders get their torrents.

    • by hipp5 (1635263)
      I do believe that they're talking about people who initially publish files. They're talking about cutting out the drug cartels instead of going for the street dealers. That being said, my understanding was that the initial uploaders are not gaining much economic benefit (where the hell do they get this ad revenue) for there work. I always figured it was more of a notority thing to be someone who releases content.
      • by hipp5 (1635263)

        there work.

        Ouch, I've become everything that I hate.

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        I do believe that they're talking about people who initially publish files. They're talking about cutting out the drug cartels instead of going for the street dealers. That being said, my understanding was that the initial uploaders are not gaining much economic benefit (where the hell do they get this ad revenue) for there work. I always figured it was more of a notoriety* thing to be someone who releases content.

        The "economic" benefit doesn't have to be financial. The notoriety you speak of is the motivating benefit in the 'filesharing economy'. The authors of TFA either realize this and were referring to it, or they actually think there has to be a direct financial incentive motivating people to upload files.. If they think the latter they didn't research their subject well enough and their conclusions are questionable.

        In any case they are at least correct in stating the obvious: people will stop doing somethi

    • Well, perhaps he is right, and there are "some" that seed with intended benefit. Think the "accidental" release of Paris Hilton's "private" tape. You know there are some entertainment people seeding stuff on purpose somewhere. But you are right, the majority are probably just people who like to share. And sharing is caring.

    • "In our opinion," the authors of the study conclude, "the success of BitTorrent lies in the availability of popular content which is typically protected by copyright law, and people who take the risk of publishing that content do it because they receive an economic benefit. If in the future these users lose their incentive, either because of a decrease in advertising income or due to having to pay very expensive fines, BitTorrent would very likely cease to offer this content, which would make people stop using the application on a massive scale."

      In our opinion

      heh.

  • by paulsnx2 (453081) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:39PM (#35010602)

    If you have such a small number of people posting content, and they are making money (meaning they have accounts which identify them), then they would be easily tracked and prosecuted. How can this really be true?

    That said, most people "pass along" content rather than rip it themselves. Is it really possible to tell the difference between a user that passes along content they acquire from some other source using bittorrent vs a user that actually rips content and passes that content along?

    If the contributors are also the heaviest users (downloading 75 percent of the content) then it is really unlikely that they are ripping that content in the first place. How would they have the time, and why would they download what they ripped themselves? So if we assume that these "100 users" on these two sites actually contribute 66 percent of the content, and that most of that content isn't actually ripped by them, but acquired via other sources outside these sites, then does that that only 4 or 5 people are really ripping content?

    Seriously, none of this makes a great deal of sense. It seems to me that the content flow comes from a much broader bases, and that the active users on these sites are not the same as the active users on other sites.

    I see no "take these 100 out and problem solved" magic bullet here. But I'd have to see more details than this article gives to know for sure.

    • Everyone here has probably heard this, but an IP address does not represent a person. Once you replace person with IP address in the summary, everything makes sense. The best explanation is that people who download like to use a proxy to hide their identity and There are 100 or so really good proxies out there(maybe tor end nodes?). So you have thousands of people sharing using the same IP address. I have no idea what that would do to the torrenting protocol, but it might make it have issues recognizing ava
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:44PM (#35010662)
    I'd just like to say, "thank you!"
    • by porttikivi (93246) *

      I am uploading and downloading there right now, because I have Vuze running. It is glorious to be one of the few that upload! And you just dare to disincentive me by reducing my ad-venture...ad-venure...uh, whatever thing that was!

  • I've been on a variety of trackers in the past and I can assure you that 100 users are not responsible for anywhere near 75% of the content available. But even on crappy public trackers like piratebay it can't be that bad.

    it may be closer to reality to say that 5% of peers are responsible for 90% of the traffic however. There are always small clusters of high speed seedboxes running on any good tracker.

  • Ignoring all the contradictions from the article, look up any popular movie on any bittorrent site and there's tens of thousands of people downloading it. Are they saying it's the same 100 guys downloading the same file over and over?

    • Actually, it is probably the same 100 ip addresses...coming from the same few proxies used by the millions of BT users around the world...
      • This is the conclusion I jumped to as well. The fact that TFA does not even examine this possibility is ridiculous.
      • by Punto (100573)

        that makes even less sense. if people were funneling all the bittorrent traffic into 100 ip addresses, bittorrent would be useless. there's no way 100 proxies can handle 75% of all the bittorrent traffic (which is like 20% of the entire internet traffic)

  • The fact that they were only analyzing Mininova and The Pirate Bay explains the erroneous nature of their results. Those websites don't represent the entirety of BitTorrent - in fact, the real copyright-infringing pirates try to remain unaffiliated with torrent sites entirely, and private trackers represent the majority in terms of data transferrence these days in regards to BitTorrent. These "researchers" obviously know practically nothing about how the torrent tracker heirarchy works. Their article is jus
  • Their analysis demonstrates that a small group of users of these applications (around one hundred) is responsible for 66 percent of the content that is published and 75 percent of the downloads.

    This makes no sense whatsoever. Anyone with even a shred of IT knowledge knows that there are a lot of downloaders, far more than the quoted 100, even if that number is limited to 75% of available content. Hell, a quick search of TPB will show single torrents with more peers than 100.

    Now, if they meant uploads, then that's slightly more believable, if they're counting each major release group as one "person". But that's a pretty bad typo to make in a paper about IT, enough that it makes me doubt the cred

  • 100 accounts!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:55PM (#35010834)
    Most of the major uploaders are actually groups of people. They have people responsible for getting content, for ripping content, for packaging and for uploading it. If any of these researchers had a clue what they were talking about they'd have realized that each one of these accounts is backed by at least 25+ people. Even if they did get the person doing the actual upload (which I doubt because that's what they specialize in) the reset of the group would just move on and find someone else to do the upload.
  • I wish them the best of luck in their effort of killing ants with a hammer. Meanwhile, there are about a zillion other methods in use, and another ten zillion being thought up. Be careful not to ruin your nice marble furniture while hammering at the ants.
  • So, a small number of stable and fast seed boxes are used by many uploaders?

    Truly, this is news...

  • So 100 people are getting 75% of the Internet's love from the downloaders. Researchers suggest that if we "disincentiveize" these people, we'll stop 75% of the downloads.

    This is bonkers.

    Sure, you could smother those 100 people with RIAA-issued pillows, but then the Internet would go to the next best 100 people providing content. Because this is a perfect marketplace, people can move to the best content. Get rid of the best content providers, and you might slightly diminish content quality, but consumer beha

  • The idea that 100 people are responsible for even 10% of all content on P2P networks is laughable. Let's just consider torrents.

    The Pirate Bay alone claims that it currently hosts 3,655,124 torrents. 75% of this is ~2.7 million, but lets say that means the 100 have uploaded 2 million torrents.

    So in 10 years (bittorrent is less than a decade old), 100 users have uploaded 2 million torrents. That works out as 2000 torrents per user per year. That means each of these 100 people uploaded on average about 5.5 torrents every day.

    5.5 torrents uploaded each day, every day for 10 years. That's what it would take to meet these researchers claims.

    Assuming that these uploaders are the ultimate source of the illicit data, and that each torrent costs on average, say $10 (assumming they are largely movies and torrents), then each of these users is spending ~$55 a day on content meant for ripping and uploading. That's ~$20,000 a year, and that's before we even consider the time and resources put into ripping and uploading.

    The numbers don't add up. Argue 1000 users and it still works out at $2000 a year and 4 torrents a week, both of which numbers I regard as still being too high. 10,000 users would seem far more feasible.

    • I'm surprised that Slashdot's Logic-And-Reason filter allowed this post through...
    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      5.5 torrents uploaded each day, every day for 10 years.

      This part isn't all that unbelievable. For example, eztv [thepiratebay.org] has uploaded over 60 torrent files in the past 5 days.

      Now, this is just a front account for a group of people, and uploading the torrent doesn't mean just one person is uploading the content to start with, but there are very likely 100 accounts on TPB just like this.

      The researchers don't really understand how BitTorrent works.

  • Although the summary is bad, this seems like a known phenomenon. I'm pretty sure they mean that 66% of the content by number of .torrent files, or 75% by GB downloaded is first-seeded by about 100 people. Honestly, the number is probably closer to 1000, but it's still a relatively small number.

    Now, I don't know how movies or music go, but as far is pirating games, there is a relatively small number of people or cells that are responsible for obtaining, cracking, and first-seeding the games.

  • Disincentivize with extreme prejudice. Presumably by overwatering the flowerbed by the basement windows.

  • If the content creators, particularly tv shows, would setup official subscription torrent rss feeds and trackers, they could cash in on it instead of spending so much money fighting the 21st century...

  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @07:50PM (#35015014)

    75% of the uploaders are behind one of 100 proxies

    Pick any torrent proxy... I'm guessing they simply gathered IP addresses and failed to examine where they originated from. People are stupid if they aren't behind a torrent proxy, with all of the lawsuit-happy organizations out there like the RIAA. It also avoids getting a DMCA notice just because you were downloading an album that got scratched up when little Johnny decided to play fetch with Fido using your CD collection.

    Funny how BTGuard seems to be one of the top uploaders! That guy is some kind of pirate!

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