A recent study by Sauhard Sahi has found that only around 1% of files swapped via the BitTorrent P2P protocol are done so legally, meaning that around the other 99% is copyrighted. But that’s only one part of the study, and not even the cool part.
According to the study, there is a statistically notable correlation between how locked down files are with DRM and how much their swapped illegally. More DRM means more copyright infringement. Only 10% of the files found in Mr. Sahi’s study were music files.
Back in the days of Limewire and Kazaa, people were basically only concerned with getting music files. But now, as Jacqui Cheng over at Ars Technica puts it,
why would you bother going to BitTorrent, which may have misnamed and poorly encoded MP3s, when you could easily spend less than a dollar, getting exactly what you want from a place that you trust?
The contrast with the decline in the popularity of music piracy is the considerable rise in that of video piracy. A staggering 46% of the files found in Mr. Sahi’s study were movies and shows are still very much DRMed when purchased through legal channels.
The question this raises is whether or not the trend we’ve seen in piracy and DRM will hold with TV shows: when you can download episodes of Lost without DRM, will people still be out there pirating it in the same numbers?