Torrent Freak: US BitTorrent Traffic Grows 40% from 2011 (Sandvine)

The latest Sandvine report states that “In absolute traffic level, BitTorrent has risen in volume by over 40%”.  To clarify, in Q3 and Q4 of 2012, the amount of data used for peer-to-peer “filesharing” in the United States has grown by 40% above the volume in the same period last year.  Pro-piracy pundits will say “not all of the increase is illegitimate.”  Here is the top 25 movies being distributed right now on BitTorrent.  Not a single one is legal.  Indeed in 2011, Envisional found that none of the top 10,000 torrents were legal.


On the music side, pro-piracy advocates are working hard to feature artists who don’t mind if their recordings are distributed for free.  If you search the top torrents by distributors (seeders) you see that most of the top 10 on that list are “legal.”  However, if you search the top 25 by consumption (leechers), they are all illegal.



Cisco stated that North America used an average of 9,947 Petabytes (1 million Gigabytes) a month in 2011.  Sandvine says that overall volume has increased 120% in 2012 over 2011.  If we assume that means that in 2012, North America used an average of 21,883 Petabytes (1 million Gigabytes) a month and we assume that one movie is 1 GB, that is 31 Billion movies if it was all movies.  Its not all movies.  It is software like Microsoft Word and Rosetta Stone.  It is everything ever recorded by any artist you can name.  It is every video game . . . and every book . . . and every TV show.  Free.

Pro-piracy advocates say that we just need to accept piracy and that artists need to get a new business model.  This is false.  The $400B US telecom industry needs to follow the law.  The Sandvine report goes on to state that 42% of all US upstream traffic is used for peer-to-peer “filesharing.”  Why is 42% of all US upstream traffic is used for peer-to-peer “filesharing?” US law says that ISPs only have safe harbor from their liability due to their subscribers illegally distributing content if they have a policy for terminating repeat infringers (17 USC 512 (i).  If US ISPs had a policy for terminating repeat infringers, 42% of all US upstream internet traffic would not be used to illegall distribute music, movies, games, software and ebooks.

For some reason, the report tries to make the case that because BitTorrent is 12% of overall US traffic, down from 15% in 2011, that piracy is decreasing.  We are confused as to why Sandvine would present that facts that way.  The internet is an unusual phenomenon that grows exponentially.  The fact that Netflix grew a lot and consumes a lot of bandwidth is irrelevant to all of the additional losses faced by content owners in 2012 due to BitTorrent.