Study: 97.9% of BitTorrent files likely illegal

Researchers at the University of Ballarat in Australia have released the results of a new study which shows that 89% of BitTorrent files are definitely illegally shared, and the majority of the rest of the files likely are as well.

The university’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory studied a random sample of 1000 active seeded files on torrent trackers. Only 0.3% of the files could be definitively determined to not be infringing on any copyrights.

Study: 97.9% of BitTorrent files likely illegal

Considering the files that were legally ambiguous, the study determined that 97.9 percent of BitTorrent files likely are illegal. “[M]any files were tagged as amateur (suggesting no copyright infringement) but further inspection revealed that they were in fact infringing,” wrote the researchers who worked on the project.

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Results of the Australian research are similar to a study done by Princeton University earlier this year that determined 99% of BitTorrent content to be illegal. Both studies found that all files in movie, music, and television categories were infringing.

The Australian study was funded by Village Roadshow, a member of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft. AFACT is currently involved in a high profile copyright infringement lawsuit against iiNET, one of the nation’s largest internet providers. AFACT has taken iiNET to the Federal Court in an attempt to hold ISPs liable for their customers’ online copyright infringements. The case had been ruled in AFACT’s favor, however an appeal has been filed to bring the case back to trial next month.

So what does all this mean in the grand scheme of things? Probably not much right now, considering that most attempts to stifle illegal file sharing seem to be failing. Also, emerging reports state that piracy may not be as monetarily damaging to the entertainment industry as once thought. And, besides, who thought that anyone was searching torrents for legal files anyway?

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