Study shows 97% of torrents relate to infringing copyright content

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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One thought on “Study shows 97% of torrents relate to infringing copyright content”

  1. Darryl Moore says:

    Wow. The figures I found most telling were these ones.

    “For the trackers that we scraped, we recorded a minimum of 117,420,061 current seeds.”

    “we can show that at least a million
    different files are being shared on BitTorrent”

    Over a million files with 117 million seeders. Wow again!

    The study did not seem to determine the number of real people responsible for the infringements, however when you consider that the proportion of leachers vs. seeders for public trackers is usually very high this would tend to suggest that there must be millions of individuals around the world that are freely participating in this mass copyright violation. Astounding!

    The study does a great job of illustrating the serious need for world copyright reform. That is a conclusion that few would argue with, including your arch nemesis, Dr. Geist.

    The question in this light is; is it reasonable to criminalize the actions of so many people as is the current trend in copyright reform?

    When you have so many people (millions) who have made it clear through their actions, that they do not agree with the extent of rights granted to copyright holders, and when enforcing those rights becomes a significant burden to the state, and requires the loss of privacy and private property rights for the individual, perhaps it is time to look for more imaginative solutions rather than simply giving more powers of enforcement to the established industries.

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