Study Says Peer to Peer Piracy isn't Dying Off, it's Growing

By Tom Pritchard on at

In recent times the state of piracy has changed quite considerably. Studies have pointed to a rise in streaming piracy and the decline of peer-to-peer based methods like torrenting. But, a new study says that P2P piracy isn't dying off. It remains as popular as ever, and is actually growing in popularity in some parts of the world.

The entertainment industry has been focussing on streaming piracy in recent years, in part thanks to the rise in illicit streaming boxes that are pre-loaded with software that enables the non-technically inclined to watch content without having to pay for it. Which is understandable. Streaming isn't as easy to track as torrenting, so they're cracking down on anyone facilitating illegal access to content instead.

But the new study from Irdeto shows P2P piracy is still relevant, a conclusion it made by examining web traffic to 962 piracy sites in 19 countries where P2P is used the most. As it turns out countries like Russia, the Ukraine, Australia, India, and the Netherlands were more prone to P2P piracy, while other like Germany, France, the US, and the UK are more streaming-inclined.

The study also found that rates of P2P piracy grew in eight countries where piracy is on the rise, except Germany. For some reason the German pirates really love their streaming.

Peter Cossack, Irdeto’s VP of Cybersecurity Services said:

“While many expect P2P piracy to be taken over by streaming and direct downloads, it’s clear that this has not happened yet. P2P piracy is still a big threat to the industry, in which the overall piracy problem is growing.

“While the increase in bandwidth and social media has facilitated growth in content redistribution piracy, particularly around live sporting events, it is clear that other forms of piracy are not going away any time soon.”

But Torrentfreak notes there are some problems with the study, which make interpreting the results problematic. It notes that the results are not weighted, meaning the P2P-crazy Russia is massively over represented in the data. There's also a selection bias, since all 19 countries were chosen because of their high P2P use, and only includes desktop visits. Considering streaming is easy (and popular) on mobile devices, this could have an impact on the final result.

But the study still makes important points about how P2P piracy can't be disregarded. It found that P2P was more popular amongst the 'committed pirates' while casual pirates were more streaming inclined. It also claims most of the content being streamed was sourced from P2P sources, meaning they play an incredibly important role in the pirate world. [Torrentfreak]