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100 P2P Users Upload 75% of Content 269

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 Tim C ( 15259 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:32PM (#35010500)

    Same reason the authorities tend to advise not to pay kidnappers, governments refuse to negotiate with terrorists, etc - as soon as you start doing that and word gets out, you'll opening the door to other people doing the same thing.

  • 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 CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:37PM (#35010564)

    I'd be willing to bet that there is a 'core' of people on tpb and others that represent a bulk of the trusted content. I, like many others, tend to download off of tpb from the 'trusted' uploaders most of the time. Coincidentally, those also tend to the the torrents with the most seeders and leechers. When you factor in the fact that many of the big torrent sites mirror to the same torrents, this really doesn't sound too far fetched. Again, I think the 100 number is a little low, though...

    I assume most of these "trusted uploaders" (like eztv on tpb for example) aren't individuals but a loose-knit group of people who know each other through the internet. Good luck taking a group like that down, it might be spread over a dozen countries or more.

  • 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 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.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:44PM (#35010662)
    I'd just like to say, "thank you!"
  • 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.
  • Re:Little Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:47PM (#35010712) Homepage Journal

    Whenever I write comments on any website these days, I CTRL+A, CTRL+C before hitting submit.

    Burned too many times.

  • 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.

  • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:09PM (#35010982)
    I doubt they are talking about those 100 literally uploading the most number of bytes. They upload quite a bit I'm sure. But I think they mean 100 people are creating the torrents which are making up the vast majority of torrent usage. 100 seems a little low based on my limited experience, but I would easily believe that less than 1000 people are at the core of "creating" the illegal content that shows up at the top of the charts on torrent sites.
  • Re:Little Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:08PM (#35012606) Journal

    I'm really fed up with "/B/" references leaking onto the wider Internet. It's like witnessing a day release programme for chronic matsturbators: you know they're just going to leave little messes everywhere which no-one wants to clear up. What's worse, they think it's clever, convinced they're part of some hep in-crowd just because they can repeat childish catchphrases (remember that word? before the Internet beat a stake through everyone's dictionaries, we didn't call everything appearing more than once on the Internet a "meme").

    As devoid of wit or insight as the underlying idea, the "Candlejack" incantation has pollut

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

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

    If you read the actual this press release describes ( [] ), 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 ) 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?

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?