Research: 23.8% of Internet traffic involves copyrighted work

A study carried out by brand and trademark monitoring firm Envisional found that 23.8 per cent of global Internet traffic involves digital theft, with BitTorrent accounting for almost half (11.4 per cent). And traffic numbers for the United States, showed that over 17 per cent of the US Internet traffic is estimated to be infringing, with BitTorrent responsible for more than half (nine per cent).

The study by Dr David Price, Head of Piracy Intelligence for Envisional, was commissioned by NBCUniversal. It also found that infringing cyberlocker sites accounted for 5.1 per cent and infringing video streaming sites accounted for 1.4 per cent of global traffic. Other peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and file sharing arenas contributed the rest of the infringing traffic.

Additionally, the analysis of the top 10,000 peer-to-peer swarms (as measured by the number of active downloaders or ‘leechers’ on the PublicBT tracker, the largest and most popular BitTorrent tracker) found that 99.24 per cent of the non-pornographic material was copyrighted material.

The study was released in conjunction with a panel discussion sponsored by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, observed that nearly one-quarter of the traffic on the Internet involves the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material such as movies, TV shows, music and video games. “Whether you call it piracy, digital theft, illegal downloading or unauthorized streaming, it’s stealing the creative work of others. The real victims are the 2.4 million Americans working in film and television, and the millions of other workers in the United States and abroad whose livelihoods depend on the creation, sale and distribution of copyrighted material,” he said.

“Our society would not tolerate a situation where one-quarter of all the traffic in and out of the bakeries, butcher shops and grocery stores involved stolen merchandise, and we cannot tolerate the vast explosion of digital theft on the Internet. With download speeds and server capacity increasing every day, the problem will only get worse if we don’t do something about it. The time for governments and industries to act is now,” he declared.

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