Study shows 97% of torrents relate to infringing copyright content

July 23rd, 2010 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

A study by the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory  (ICSL) has found that over 97% of .torrent files that relate to copyright works shared over BitTorrent networks relate to infringing content.

The ICSL found that 0.3% of the files sampled were confirmed as being non-infringing (True Negatives); 89% were confirmed as being infringing (True Positives); 1.6% were ambiguous where they could not determine if they were infringing or not, and .91% related to pornographic torrents. Of the torrents in the top three categories (Movies, Music and TV shows), there were no legal torrents in the sample. According to the report:

“Overall, 89.3% of torrents were given a definitive legality. Of those 89.3% of torrents, 99.66% are infringing. If we assume that all of the 16 cases of ambiguous legality are not infringing, we arrive at an overall figure of 97.9% infringing content shared over BitTorrent networks.”

“Information on more than one million torrents were collected through our investigation, however there is a clear skew towards the most seeded torrents. Just 4.0% of torrents, a total of 15367, were responsible for 80% of the current seed population and 9.9% of torrents, just 38365, were responsible for 90%. Despite this, we gave names to more then 120,000 of the top 150,000 most seeded torrents, accounting for 99.36% of all seeders. This means that our 97.9% infringing figure is applicable to both the overall percentage of infringing files and total seeders. Further to this finding, there were no legal torrents in the sample for the top three categories (Movies, Music and TV shows).”

The study is by no means the first to show that the overwhelming amount of content shared over BitTorrent networks is infringing. Earlier this year Prof. Felton published a study which concluded that 99% of BitTorent content was infringing. The study also accords with the recent finding of Judge Wilson in the US Isohunt case where he found that Isohunt’s  “websites are used overwhelmingly for copyright infringement, with upwards of 95% of all dot-torrent files downloaded from Defendants’ websites corresponding to works that are infringing or at least highly likely to be infringing.”

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