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.

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  • Stefan

    Nice article on a terrible subject. Do you have a link to the envisional study by any chance?

    Stefan

  • http://zachowe.com Zach Howe

    “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.”

    New business models need to happen. Piracy won’t go away with any law. Stop misleading people into thinking otherwise. Piracy cannot be stopped. Sooner or later you will have to accept it.

    • Veryon

      It’s harmful to progress, growth, creativity and much more if we have censorship and look at “piracy” as a criminal act. Furthermore, any criminal act must be understood in its motivations, and if you set the price for a loaf of bread at $1’000.-, you will get criminals. It is too late to try to set up an Internet police. People are already in a later phase of the revolution. It’s inevitable.

  • Sam Flintlock

    “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”.

    That’s a positive thing, surely? And why the scare quotes around “legal”? It’s binary. Things are either legal or not. It’s not down to your personal opinion of the sites in question. You can argue that the sites are unethical or untrustworthy, but that isn’t the same thing.

    That said, I’m highly cynical about this development. It’s my view this is a marketing ploy by the Pirate Bay, not something driven by any commitment to music or DIY culture. (Let alone digital snake oil salesmen like Kim Dotcom).

    Part of the issue is that the sites in question have such prominence that many artists don’t really get that there are other options. It’s seen as a choice between this or selling your soul to the music industry.

    And people like you have helped that situation. By failing to publicise alternatives to the old models (Kickstarter isn’t even on your links list and they’re obvious), you have contributed to that situation. Despite your opposition to the Pirate Bay, you have actively strengthened their hand on this matter.

    Worse, you link to sites like Amazon without a word of criticism. (Apparently tax avoidance, union busting and appalling working conditions are ok with an “ethical fan”). Same with Spotify (who are, in collusion with the major labels to pay indie labels who aren’t on Merlin far less money they they should be getting. But, of course, that’s the major record labels screwing over musicians, so that’s not your problem. Spotify also refuse to allow unsigned bands on their site, which is obviously in the interests of the labels).

    As an ethical fan, why don’t you do an investigation into the claims that Sony are using sweatshops?

    To counter the current publicity stunt by the pirate sites, we need to do more than going “piracy is bad” and telling people to trust the system that has screwed over so many musicians. (Some of whom are personal friends of mine). We need to push for a genuine alternative to both. More ethical. More credible. More utopian.

    • http://twitter.com/ethicalfan EthicalFan

      Kickstarter is not a new “model”. Kickstarter is regression to patronage – artists relying on charity. Copyright creates wealth for individuals and drives investment.