Most of the world's internet piracy is carried out by 100 people, according to a surprising report from a Spanish university. Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) examined the behaviour of the users who are responsible for publishing over 55,000 files on the Mininova and The Pirate Bay sites.
Professors Rubén Cuevas, Carmen Guerrero and Ángel Cuevas said that a small group of users of these applications (around one hundred) is responsible for 66 percent of the content that is published and 75 percent of the downloads. In other words: the great success of a massively used application like BitTorrent depends on a few users.
The study by the researchers at this public university in Madrid, in collaboration with scientists at the IMDEA Networks Institute, the University of Oregon (USA) and the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany), identifies who these users are and what their incentives for massively publishing contents are. In one group there are the "fake publishers” which are organisations fighting illegal downloading and malicious users who publish a large quantity of false files in order to protect copyrights and spread infected software. Then there is the group includes a small number of users (known as "top publishers") who massively publish contents on BitTorrent and make a profit off of this activity.
They make their cash from on-line advertising and, to a lesser degree, from VIP subscriptions held by users who wish to speed up the downloading of the contents. "If these users lose interest in this activity or are eliminated from the system, BitTorrent’s traffic will be drastically reduced", the authors of the study predict.