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BitTorrent Remains Powerhouse Network
January 31, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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The month of December 2004 was an ill-fated month for BitTorrent. First, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) began a worldwide campaign to eradicate BitTorrent and eDonke2000 indexing and listing sites. On the surface, the effort seemed successful as Youceff Torrent (BitTorrent), ShareConnector (ED2K) and many others were forced off line.

The second blow came on December 19, 2004, when Sloncek announced that would discontinue its existence as a BitTorrent listing site. Many feared this would spell the end of BitTorrent and the exchange of large files. The MPAA's plan is and was to eliminate or seriously damage the trading of movie files over the BitTorrent network.

After the initial success of placing fear into BitTorrent tracker operators and forcing several sites offline, the mainstream media heralded these events as a great victory for the MPAA and impending doom for file-sharing.

However, after a month and half since the fall of and the MPAA's anti-piracy campaign, the BitTorrent network not only remains fully intact, it still is by far the largest file-sharing network.

While such an inference is clearly supported by examining the number of Torrent sites available, Slyck decided to speak with CacheLogic's founder and CTO, Andrew Parker. CacheLogic's comparison and analysis of the BitTorrent network from December 2004 to present yielded no appreciable change in the size of the network, despite the loss of SuprNova. Andrew explains this phenomenal occurrence.

"I believe the situation is quite simple. There is a lot of demand from subscribers to access content via P2P. The MPAA took a decision to pursue the weak point in the BitTorrent architecture (i.e. pursuing the most popular trackers) and the developers and user community resisted by looking for methods to work around that - i.e. tracker search sites, eXeem etc. Every time a weak point in architecture has been exploited by the RIAA/MPAA a technical solution to work around it has been created. I don't see this trend changing."

"I believe that the MPAA needs to consider P2P as an opportunity rather than a threat. I think that we need to learn from the past. The introduction of the photocopier didn't result in people trying to photocopy entire books, VCR's didn't result in the death of the cinema or home rental market."

"By taking advantage of the enormous savings possible in their distribution costs the MPAA should treat P2P distribution as an additional step in the Cinema -> Pay Per View -> DVD Rental -> DVD Purchase - > Broadcast TV lifecycle."

"iTunes (and similar offerings) hasn't eradicated the distribution of MP3 via underground channels but it has given users the choice of how they obtain content and a way for the music industry to harness online distribution, its now time they looked at something similar for video as the consumer electronics industry has already started making portable video playback devices which will only drive people's desire to get video content."

Demonstrating that BitTorrent remains the most dominant network, Andrew provided the following current Internet snapshot (HTTP=red, Other non-P2P=blue, BitTorrent=gray, eDonkey2000=purple, FastTrack=turquoise, Gnutella=yellow, Other P2P=green, “Recognizing”=brown):

While CacheLogic demonstrated consistence regarding BitTorrent's fortitude, BigChampagne's CEO Eric Garland suggests that BitTorrent has actually grown since December 2004. BigChampagne is an online media-tracking firm that monitors the trends of major file-sharing networks.

",, and are all on the rise. Donations to sites are up. Even SuprNova has active mirrors up (Bi-Torrent)....I think it is not unreasonable to conclude at this point that given all of the attention in the media, there is now greater access to media via BitTorrent than before the campaign."

Overall growth in torrent files: 13.5%

Growth in Seeders: 24%

Growth in Leechers: 25.6%

Growth in Concurrent Users (users signed-in to popular --public-- torrent
sites): 28%

"This is the unintended consequence of very high profile anti-piracy campaigns, and we have seen the same effect time and time again, starting with the original Napster lawsuit."

The interaction from the copyright industry has done more to promote file-sharing rather than destroy it. When the RIAA caused Napster to implode, P2P rebounded to heights never thought possible. Now, the MPAA is learning a similar lesson, as BitTorrent continues to reign supreme.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Statistics/Analysis

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