Not so Shocking Study Finds 97 Percent of BitTorrent Files Illegal

The Australian based University of Ballarat came out with a study finding that 97 percent of files shared over BitTorrent networks contain infringing content. This really isn’t a huge revelation but does confirm what many have been saying for sometime now.

The study concluded:

Overally, 89.3% of torrents were given a definitive legality. Of those 89.3% of torrents, 99.66% are infringing. If we assume that all of the 16 cases of ambiguous legality are not infringing, we arrive at an overall figure of 97.9% infringing content shared over BitTorrent networks.

The three most shared categories were movies, music, and TV shows and of those files ZERO were found to be shared legally.

I have often written about the harm imposed by illegal downloading on the economy as a whole, but often left out of the equation is the effect on consumers. Networks are being overrun with infringing works delivered via P2P. When I go online and stream a movie or TV show, legally mind you, my user experience is almost exclusively determined by the amount of activity on my ISP. (the series of tubes is not limitless, after all) When someone else on my network is clogging up the system by pirating countless movies or the latest in software, I lose out. Moreover, as is the case with any form of theft, when a company sees a loss in profit due to shoplifting or pirating, they incur those expenses by raising prices on honest consumers.