A new study carried out by students at the Carlos III University of Madrid, have found that it is an extreme minority of P2P users that make file-sharing services tick, with as few as 100 people responsible for 66 per cent of illegal uploads.
After taking a look at the 55,000 files that found their way on to two of the biggest P2P networks - Mininova and The Pirate Bay – they found that the majority of traffic to these files was done by the minority.
Now, this research does need to be taken with a pinch of salt – especially considering Mininova has recently 'gone legit' – but the findings are interesting, given the researchers claim to have "developed a tool that facilitates the gathering of relevant information related to thousands of files that are shared through the BitTorrent application."
Minority v majority
"The success of BitTorrent is due to the fact that a few users make a large number of contents available in exchange for receiving economic benefits", explained Professors Rubén Cuevas, Carmen Guerrero and Ángel Cuevas in a statement.
As well as "around 100 people" being responsible for 66 percent of the content that is published, they are also responsible for "75 percent of the downloads".
The information in the study could be important to copyright owners looking to nip P2P traffic in the bud, given that the study concludes that most of these 'top publishers' seed material on to the web for monetary gain.
"If, in the future, these users lost their incentive, either because of a decrease in advertising income or due to having to pay very expensive fines, BitTorrent would very likely cease to offer these contents," says the study.
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Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.