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A Glimpse At Piracy In the UK and Beyond 132

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bigbrother-now-with-fun-graphs dept.
Zocalo writes "The BBC has a fascinating look into the music download habits of the UK population based on stats compiled by Musicmetric. The stats, gathered through the monitoring of BitTorrent swarms and geo-locating the IPs, shows the hotspots for music copyright infringement across the UK and regional preferences for certain types of music. Some of the outliers are somewhat unusual though, suggesting some problems with the methodology or sample size, unless people on the Isle of Wight really do prefer trumpet-playing crooner Louis Armstrong to the likes of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran who top the lists nationwide. Not in the UK? There are some global stats on the ' Most pirated near you? tab' of the story. Better yet, if you want to crunch the numbers for yourself all of the data has been made available at the Musicmatch website under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike license and a RESTful API to access the data (free for non-commercial use, but requiring an API token) is also available."
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A Glimpse At Piracy In the UK and Beyond

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday September 17, 2012 @08:41PM (#41369805)

    Now take Sir Francis Drake, the Spanish all despise him,
    But to the British he's a hero and they idolize him,
    It's how you look at buccaneers that makes them bad or good,
    And I see us as members of a noble brotherhood.

    Hey ho ho - We're honorable men,
    And before we lose our tempers we will always count to ten,
    On occasion there may be someone you have to execute,
    But when you're a professional pirate, you don't have to wear a suit!

    • Privateers/Pirates were government sanctioned and were stealing the Spanish and Portuguese bounty looted from the native Americans

      Is government sponsored stealing of already stolen goods still stealing?

  • Link correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Monday September 17, 2012 @08:58PM (#41369937) Homepage
    That second link to Musicmetric (incorrectly labelled Musicmatch) for the download of the raw data should actually go here [musicmetric.com] since it's a little hard to find the link on the Musicmetric website. So much for posting comments into the Firehose to help the editors edit, huh? ;)
    • Re:Link correction (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:56AM (#41371827)
      Since most of the world thinks I am somewhere in the Midlands or North of England on the basis of my IP, but I am in London, I suspect that the geolocation returns the address of one of your (ISP's) data centres, making the data worthless.
      • by Inda (580031)
        That's true for me too.

        Sometimes "it" guesses I'm in the South West of England.

        Sometimes "it" uses one of the switches six hops away from me which is in Birmingham.
      • All it shows is where your ISP has declared where your current IP is based ...

        They only monitored public Torrents, they did not monitor any private torrents, they did not monitor any other file exchange protocols (Music is relatively small and can easily be exchanged without Bittorrent)

        Another worthless survey, that seems to show that China and Japan do not share much music (Really!)

  • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Monday September 17, 2012 @09:19PM (#41370065)

    For those too lazy to look. Here's the Top 20 "pirate" countries.

    1. United States
    2. United Kingdom
    3. Italy
    4. Canada
    5. Brazil
    6. Australia
    7. Spain
    8. India
    9. France
    10. Philippines
    11. Mexico
    12. Netherlands
    13. Portugal
    14. Poland
    15. Greece
    16. Hungary
    17. Chile
    18. Romania
    19. Sweden
    20. Belgium

    Interesting is the absence of China and Russia, countries not known for having authoritarian copy laws. Maybe the Chinese and Russians are happier exchanging thumb drives and DVDRs. I would be very worried, if I were Hu and Putin, of all that info that can't be censored or monitored with a few key strokes.

    While the presence of India at #8 isn't surprising, given its huge population, somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil and Philiippines that you don't expect to have the broadband speed necessary for a decent BT download.

    • by rbprbp (2731083) on Monday September 17, 2012 @09:50PM (#41370261) Homepage

      given its huge population, somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil and Philiippines that you don't expect to have the broadband speed necessary for a decent BT download.

      I am Brazilian. Most people here - at least people living in larger cities - have 1 to 5 Mbps internet at home, which is than enough for occasional torrenting (i.e. not leeching/seeding 24/7). People with slower connections use 4shared/Rapidshare/etc... to download a low-quality copy of the movie they want to watch, or a 128k MP3 rip of the CD they want to listen to.

      • The same was true in Argentina about two years ago, but Rapidshare/4shared/etc has slowly died in favour of streaming sites like Cuevana. Most people either stream movies, and the rest torrent them.

    • You need more information for your comments or your list to be an indication of anything. Is it per capita or total offenses is? does this include every nation or just some with data?

      You talk about India being a likely candidate, yet Portugal is number 13 with a population of 10.5 million, yet Japan is not listed, is one of the most technologically driven countries on earth, and has more than ten times the people (123 million).This is notable because when you look, it is by total TORRENTS the last six mo
    • by Anonymous Coward

      In China, pirated music an movies are easier to find than the real thing. It's just done via disks and sellers on carts or in shops.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Most likely they just arranged these numbers to put pressure on the countries on the list. They know that China and Russia wouldn't do anything anyway.
      Still, Brazil has a population of 200 million and the Philippines of 100 million, I wouldn't categorize them as "smaller".

    • by Xest (935314)

      I think Brazil is bigger, and much of it's population living with much more modern internet connections than you think is the case.

      Keep in mind Brazil is hosting both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. That's not something some small "3rd World" nation can trivially afford to do.

      No, Brazil is the 7th biggest economy in the world putting it right behind the UK, some estimates nowadays even putting it as larger than the UK, but certainly making it bigger than Italy, Canada, India, Russia.

      Yes, that's right.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Uh, Brazil's one of the largest countries in the world and its economy (despite poverty and inequality) is in the top 10, and growing...

    • by slim (1652)

      Interesting is the absence of China and Russia, countries not known for having authoritarian copy laws

      I don't know what the copyright laws are in China or Russia. But in a hypothetical country where filesharing is legal, there would be no illegal filesharing, by definition.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ok, their metrics are somewhat broken. I had never heard of Billy Van before seeing the metric listing him as the most downloaded artist in India.
      Made me think who-tf is he?
      So some Google-fu lists this: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/08/how-billy-van-went-from-2000-to-100000-fans-case-study.html
      They released a *legit* BitTorrent Bundle. In their own words, "We encouraged the sharing of free music."

      So calling every download on BitTorrent illegal is kinda broken. This article wouldn't stand the rigorous

      • Quite true. I would also assume some of the public torrent traffic would be from legal torrents like Linux distribution downloads or game patches via torrents. And good find...
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I would also assume some of the public torrent traffic would be from legal torrents like Linux distribution downloads

          I know it's probably impossible, but it would be nice to see at least an attempt at quantifying statements like this. I mean, is "some" 10% or 0.0065%?

    • by Inda (580031)
      Here's my own research:

      1. Find a release.
      2. Find the torrent.
      3. Connect.

      4. Realise that there are only 5,000 seeds/peers on the largest torrent site on the internet.

      5. Realise 5,000 is a very small number.

      On a side note, Avatar, the largest total download ever: Could I find a simple 700mb copy the other day with seeds? Could I bollocks.

      Could I pay for a simple 700mb copy? Could I bollocks.

      Piracy. It's all bollocks.
    • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @08:55AM (#41373275)

      I spend a considerable amount of time and Russia and Ukraine on business. Let's put it this way: ALL THERE IS in Russia and Ukraine is piracy. Let me give you some examples.

      - you can go down to the corner shop and buy DVDs and CDs of your favorite movies, music, and/or games. They are all pirated, and professionally so.
      - companies that sell legitimate entertainment products last about a week in most places before they close for lack of sales.
      - even large electronics outlets sell pirated goods
      - use of torrent is extremely widespread
      - you'd be hard pressed to find anybody under 20 who has ever legitimately paid for music or games, ever. and i really mean that.
      - a major university in ukraine that i know of has on its campus intranet a 400+TB system exclusively for piracy. I mean, university set up, where people upload movies, music, games, software, etc. this is actually a university function that they figure saves them on outgoing bandwidth.
      - the first thing people do when they buy a new computer is to take it to a local 'repair shop' where for $5-$10 you get a full suite of every application you might want, nicely installed. This practice is extremely widespread.

      if you think "fine, because these are disadvantaged countries..'" well, you're only fooling yourself. while the per capita gdp of those countries is somehwat low, it is also highly unequal. the ones with the PCs, ipads, and university educations doing the pirating are highly likely to be quite well off indeed.

      the authoritarian laws are there. there is simply no will to enforce them.

      • by Dreen (1349993)

        - a major university in ukraine that i know of has on its campus intranet a 400+TB system exclusively for piracy. I mean, university set up, where people upload movies, music, games, software, etc. this is actually a university function that they figure saves them on outgoing bandwidth.

        Ooh I remember the times of FTP hubs on all uni networks in Poland. All administered by students on the uni WAN. They only forbid it like 5 years ago. Those were the days...

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      No Japan either, probably because they tend not to use the same trackers as western countries and so were not monitored. They also use other P2P apps that are almost unused in the west such as Share and Perfect Dark, which again where not part of the study.

      • "No Japan either, probably because they tend not to use the same trackers as western countries and so were not monitored. They also use other P2P apps that are almost unused in the west such as Share and Perfect Dark, which again where not part of the study."

        Missed that big fish. Yes it's probably down to the weird solutions that Japan has developed for certain technnical problems: love hotels, automatic taxi doors, toilet paper-free toilets, etc. I suspect it's also partly due to the "honor" system where i

    • Where's Germany? Did they not collect any data for it?

    • somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil

      Since Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world both by geographical area and population, most of the other countries in the list are the smaller ones...

    • Actually, being third world only promotes piracy, because of the huge price difference.
      In Argentina, salaries start at about 300USD per month (and there's probably people making way less too). Middle class (ie: a software developer) might start at 1k USD per month.

      The Star Wars Trilogy costs 150 USD here (say this a few days ago). A Blu Ray reader costs around 300 USD, and each movie between 30USD and 50USD usually.
      ~10% of one's salary is way too much for a single movie. Broadband costs me less than a on

  • Why would people who pirate things not use an anonymizing proxy? Is there something about the bidirectional aspect of bittorrent protocol that stops this working?

    I tried one for web browsing when they were discussing the establishment of the great firewall of Australia (which failed to eventuate), and while it did slow things down, it seemed to work fine. Websites that guessed at my location would be completely wrong.

    • Re:Silly pirates? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Seumas (6865) on Monday September 17, 2012 @09:49PM (#41370253)

      There is no such thing. In fact, most anonymizing and/or VPN services flat out state in their TOS that they will respond accordingly to all legal requests for information.

      Anyway, it's kind of a waste of breath for us as a community of geeks to bother engaging people (like the journalist writing that article) in conversation when they don't even care enough to put the hyperbole aside and use rational words to discuss the topic. Starting off any discussion with the loaded word "piracy" or "pirate" in the title or opening paragraph is silly and unprofessional. It'd be like someone writing an article about a guy investigating government corruption by calling him an "anti-government terrorist" and asking him "why do you hate 'Merica?!"

      As for "copyright infringement", and "file sharing", there's little point in people getting their panties in a twist. Technology evolves and so do industries. We already have services like MOG and NETFLIX, which replace what a lot of questionable activities used to provide, for a combined total of a whopping $13 USD/mo. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we should find more content available to more people in massive libraries like both of these services for *very affordable* subscriptions. When that finally happens, the idea of bothering with file sharing becomes silly unless you are really and truly destitute. For everyone else, it'd be absurd to waste precious time finding and downloading crap via these other methods when they could just pay $5 for an almost limitless library of music or $10 for an endless library of movies and television. The only possible exception will remain books, where there seems to be no equivalent and you'll be stuck paying the $30-$60 per book that we do, today.

      • Re:Silly pirates? (Score:4, Informative)

        by godel_56 (1287256) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:11AM (#41371399)

        There is no such thing. In fact, most anonymizing and/or VPN services flat out state in their TOS that they will respond accordingly to all legal requests for information.

        Some VPNs claim there IS NO information if the authorities come calling

        http://torrentfreak.com/which-vpn-providers-really-take-anonymity-seriously-111007/

      • And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we should find more content available to more people in massive libraries like both of these services for *very affordable* subscriptions.

        FTFY; You highlighted the wrong word. I have no interest in *renting* the media I pay for; I either own it, and can play it whenever, wherever I want, or their business model can DIAF. They are not taking my money and running when they decide the service isn't profitable enough.

        I can *buy* books, games, music for pennies, just not from big media, and that's what I do, and a bigger chunk of it goes to the author / artist per purchase. Fuck big media. Fuck it until it dies.

      • by pantaril (1624521)

        As for "copyright infringement", and "file sharing", there's little point in people getting their panties in a twist. Technology evolves and so do industries. We already have services like MOG and NETFLIX, which replace what a lot of questionable activities used to provide, for a combined total of a whopping $13 USD/mo. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we should find more content available to more people in massive libraries like both of these services for *very affordable* subscriptions.

        I wish i could share your optimism, but i think that your prediction won't come true while current copyright law is in effect. You mention netflix, they are operating since 1999, still they are only available in america and their catalog contains only fraction of available material (they contain cca 100k titles according to wikipedia. There is cca 2280k movies listed just on IMDB, there are many more titles not listed there). Why should i think that this situation will change in near future?

        The problem is,

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Lots of greedy authors accused them of theft. While the era of insanely long copyright lasts, there will be no comprehensive library of works

          FTFY. Copyright would be no problem if it only lasted as long as a patent.

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          still they are only available in america

          Then how do I pay for my Netflix subscription in British pounds and watch Netflix using a British IP address without a US VPN?

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        If you are going to defend copyright infringement/piracy, it is much more convincing if you don't then say "but as soon as I have a nice cosy subscription model to use, I will start to pay it and condemn copyright infringement/piracy".

        People who have a philosophical objection to the whole idea of copyright have a tenable position: those who merely find it easier not to pay, not really.

        I personally don't believe that, living in a capitalist society as we do, you should expect all musicians, artists, f
    • The decent ones cost money, they impact performance, and they take more knowledge to set up than just using a torrent client.
  • cash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadMaverick9 (1470565) on Monday September 17, 2012 @09:23PM (#41370087)

    If you love music, download legally

    I'd like to ...

    Where's the store that I can go to with my 20 gbp cash and a usb stick and download/buy music/software/movies?

    It doesn't exist. That's the problem.

    • Re:cash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yaruar (125933) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @05:58AM (#41372499)

      You know, it nearly did. I worked for a start-up years ago who were pioneering the music kiosk business, firstly allowing albums and mix albums to be burned on the fly, and there was a working solution for downloads of MP3s straight to devices or USB. The major labels and most of the indies were interested and signed on the dotted line. Millions of pounds were invested. Best Buy were trialing the cd burning, but even 8 years ago we knew the market needed the direct to device solution.

      The problem which killed it. Apple. They refused to allow any content to go onto their devices bypassing itunes and wouldn't even consider working with us. We had the product, we had about 80,000+ lossless albums converting merrily stored ready to rock, but apple killed the business model because like it or not iPods dominated the market.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday September 17, 2012 @09:25PM (#41370105)

    Only about 20% of copying happens over the net. The majority comes from swap parties between friends as they copy MP3s or AACs from one drive to another. (Yes there's a source for this. It was published here on /. but I can't find the article.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So maybe America should be on its own Special 301 Report list of countries that are "watched" for piracy? Kinda ironic and super funny.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Memorable quotes for
    Looker (1981)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/quotes [imdb.com]

    "John Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages *submit* to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a *free* people would voluntarily s

  • The USA is a pirated country from the native Americans. It would only be appropriate that we would be number 1 on the list. I believe we pirated German scientists in order to build our nuclear arsenal so as we could pirate more bounty! I sense a theme here!
    • by deimtee (762122)
      You are only No 1 on the totals. On a per capita basis AU is four times as piratey, and a clear winner over everyone.
      Good to see we are doing our bit to combat global warming, FSM be praised.
  • I used to live in the Isle of Wight, you inconsiderate clod!
  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday September 17, 2012 @10:09PM (#41370393)
    when the music industry steals from artists it would be good to see how bad it is and how much they are stealing from taxpayers. It could be used to warn Musicians from signing bad music deals.
    • by Shavano (2541114)
      Who held a gun to these artists' heads and made them sign contracts? Or did they do it because at the time they believed that the deal was acceptable?
      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday September 17, 2012 @11:03PM (#41370767)

        Most contracts aren't even readable. The artists don't realize that the contract often stipulates they don't get paid until they make a profit (which rarely happens).

        QUOTE: "The royalty rates granted in every recording contract are very low to start with and then companies charge back every conceivable cost to an artist's royalty account. Artists pay for recording costs, video production costs, tour support, radio promotion, sales and marketing costs, packaging costs and any other cost the record company can subtract from their royalties. Record companies also reduce royalties by "forgetting" to report sales figure, miscalculating royalties and by preventing artists from auditing record company books." http://www.gerryhemingway.com/piracy2.html [gerryhemingway.com]

      • Hey, what's it like to work for a label? How old is the youngest pirate you've prosecuted? 10... 8? How many of your customers have you prosecuted?
      • Until the rise of the internet, it was the only way any artist could hope to achieve any fame or commercial success. The label provides the capital to record the record, the experts to make it happen, the promotional machine to get people to buy it, the money to mass-produce discs, and the contacts with retail to get those discs into stores. If your independant garage-band went to the Wal-Mart headquarters and asked if they would like to sell your music, it wouldn't matter how good you are: You'd be laughed
        • by Shavano (2541114)

          Until the rise of the internet, it was the only way any artist could hope to achieve any fame or commercial success. The label provides the capital to record the record, the experts to make it happen, the promotional machine to get people to buy it, the money to mass-produce discs, and the contacts with retail to get those discs into stores. If your independant garage-band went to the Wal-Mart headquarters and asked if they would like to sell your music, it wouldn't matter how good you are: You'd be laughed out of the building. It's a little better now - with the internet, it's possible for an artist to achieve some level of fame without a label (see Jonathan Coulton) and even commercial success, but even for the most talented their dreams of one day being superstars playing to packed stadiums are impossible without the marketing machine and business management that only a label can provide.

          It sounds like you're saying that the artists are getting something of value in exchange for signing those contracts. Or am I reading you wrong?

          Anyway, regardless of the (alleged) evil in those contracts, you are not helping the artists by making unauthorized copies of their works. They do get paid something (although not much) out of what paying customers shell out. If they aren't happy with it, your copying their works without paying anybody doesn't help them at all. It doesn't tilt the scales in the

  • I would have thought that streamtuner and the like would have killed music piracy by now. I suppose most people simply do not know how convenient internet radio stations are. I haven't pirated or purchased music in years. Their is no need to do so, with hundreds of internet stations listed.
  • perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:19AM (#41372165)

    The overwhelming majority of musicians are unpaid amateurs and do it for fun.

    Of those who make a living at music, almost all derive most of their income from instrumental teaching.

    Of those who derive their income from playing, almost all are paid per performance (think session musicians, orchestral musicians etc), not on a royalty basis.

    This whole issue is about a tiny proportion of musicians (mostly modern rock & pop) who perform almost entirely for recorded distribution. The recording business talk of 'killing music' is hysterical horsesh*t.

    Human beings have been making music for over 30,000 years. Downloads are not going to stop them.

  • The most startling fact I found out when reading this article is that I am now, at 29 years old, past it. I had heard of hardly any of the "top" artists in these lists never mind pirate their music.
  • Darth Vader: Noooooooooooooooooo!
    • by kiehlster (844523)
      I guess it's how you look at the statistic. Does Canada pirate the music they love the most, or do they pirate the music that's not worth paying for? If it's the former, we can all laugh at Canada's taste in music. If it's the latter, the rest of the world has something to learn from their habits. Unfortunately, I'm assuming the former.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The problem with this survey is the fact that most UK users access via a small number of ISPs, and the IP addresses being reported are highlighting this fact. I live in Edinburgh, scotland, but a geolocate on my home ISP puts me in Oldham, just outside Manchester.

    The survey is not showing pirate hotspots, it is showing ISP locations

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