Aussie Bittorrent Usage Is Dropping

We're no longer a nation of torrenting pirates, apparently -- or at least the takeup of bittorrent is slowing.

Photo by Mmaxer (Shutterstock). Juha Saarinen at ITNews reports on a Swinburne University Of Technology study that looked at the use of BitTorrent file sharing services has dipped to its lowest level in four years, with 77 per cent of those surveyed saying they never used file sharing services, up from 73 per cent in 2009. Music still appears to be the main object of file sharing, and you're apparently also more likely to be male if you do engage in a bit of illicit torrenting. It's suggested that there's a growing understanding of the legal issues surrounding torrents, especially as they related to the iiNet trial, and that may have led to the slight dip in user numbers.

Australians using BitTorrent less: study [ITNews]


    I know a lot of people that have switched to Usenet; faster, safer and better for automation.

      Absolutely, I've ditched 98% of all the other crap for Usenet, did this quite a few years ago. Will never look back.

        I think usenet may be an age thing. While I was at uni I wasn't willing to pay for downloads (TV/film mostly), but now convienience is much more of an issue i'm happy to pay for downloads that are fast and of acceptable quality (using sickbeard).

        I think that as you get older less people will be using torrents, especially the more 'hardcore' downloaders.
        At the younger end of the spectrum, I suspect that torrents are still the entry level medium. (or streaming sites)

    It could be linked to availability of Spotify and similar services in Australia. Stream for free rather than download for free?

      Spotify has certainly stopped 98% of my music pirating needs. I certainly look there before looking at torrent sites.
      Similarly ABC iView has given me new Dr Who without me needing to get it elsewhere.
      If we just had legal ways to view all the shows I want I'd be able to be entirely legit.
      I'd even be happy to pay to do so, I pay for a premium Spotify membership just so I know I'm contributing, if that was the only way to access tv shows I'd pay for them too.

        +1 for iview reducing my torrenting. It's always there, it's available on any computer I like (or idevice), it's free, and it's instant to start watching. The sheer convenience helps balance out the fact they only have a limited set of shows available at any point, and there's always something I haven't watched yet.

        Legitimate and convenient access to the material has reduced torrenting. Exactly what we said would happen all along.

    I wonder how many people use file-sharing services without realising that they are file-sharing services? There was the apparently pointless anti-piracy campaign targeted at people like that recently.

    Yeah, BitTorrent is so 2001. In terms of music you have options like Spotify and like you said, Usenet so much better especially with SSL.

      Usenet is so 1980. Sorry - had to say it.

      Why would you care about SSL on Usenet?

      The police would not care about Usenet enough to wiretap you (my proof is lack of police action on torrents) and media companies aren't going ask their employees to risk jail by doing illegal wiretaps.

        Exactly, all your ISP needs is an application layer firewall and then they can see everything inside your ssl traffic. Ssl is no protection at all.

    Sorry, but if someone came to me and , regardless of whatever promises of confidentiality they make, turned around and asked 'Do you use file sharing services' of course I am going to say no. Especially if it is a Uni since it's not hard for RIAA/MPAA to say 'Here's a million dolloars to carry out research on file sharers and give us the data'

    the question is: Is there a comparable rise in music, movie, game sales??

    That was their (MPAA etc) biggest argument wasn't it. A pirate is a lost sale

    Alternate conclusion: There was a decline in people who publicly admit to piracy. Reasons might include fear of legal consequences, including fines and criminal charges, due to increased awareness of the consequences of such action.

      Or that it's a lot easier to download legally these days.

    The other thing is all the US show are finished ATM and will not start untill the End of Sept. So there is not much to download these days.

    One day the studios will expand legal streaming and the number of people torrenting will drop more

    I use Unblock-US, Netflix, Steam, Pandora Radio, ABC i-View, all of which has stopped almost ALL of my pirating

    Streaming and digital downloads are much easier and faster than torrenting for quite a small cost

      Using unblock-us is not legal by the way. Just in case you think that protects you. I use it too though, Hulu rocks... Anything you don't want in hd is fine on streams

    Reposting the same comment i made on ITNews here becuase i believe it's relevant - but just wanted to say in response to bob that netflix is great and all but useless on a plane or in areas of low 3G speed. Your solution also still doesn't cover some of the stuff i watch & listen to regularly.

    Mr Gane from AFACT is wrong. Getting something without payment is not the primary motivation, at all. Firstly, using bittorrent or any other file sharing service always costs money somewhere along the line, whether it be needing a bigger internet plan, a VPN, or a subscription to file sharing services like wupload,, depositfiles, etc.

    Secondly none of this would actually be necessary for many people if you just gave us the movies and TV shows at a reasonable cost, in an open format that we can play on whatever we like. $6 to rent a movie from google play store for 2 days is not a reasonable cost, nor is $20 to download a movie from Apple which can only be played on Apple devices. $2 per TV show episode is outrageously expensive when the americans can have unlimited access for $8 per month. Geoblocking content is also really annoying, as is the unavailability of most of google play and all of Amazon Prime to Australians.

    People will pay for convienence. I'd happily give the money I spend on VPN + bittorrent private tracker membership + file sharing premium subs back to the content producers, but the backwards business models of your clients won't let me do that.

    This is why people pirate, Mr Gane. It has nothing to do with cost.

      You say that it "has nothing to do with cost", but you make statements such as "$2 per TV show episode is outrageously expensive".

      Sounds like cost is definitely a consideration for some people who pirate.

        Cost is part of it, but not in the way that you portray it. Most people, myself included, are happy to pay for the content however we don't want to pay outrageous amounts. I currently pay for content by paying for a VPN each month and paying for my Hulu Plus account. It means that rather than paying the $2 per episode to watch something 5 months after it was released elsewhere, I can watch unlimited amounts of shows for $10 a month as soon as they are out in the US.

    +1 for fight club ref.... exactly dont make it main stream.
    cause then it will b just as bad

    I use bittorrent for linux distro and Android ROM downloads. Turns out there are perfectly legal and legit reasons for using bittorrent.

    could be more users masking their activities via a VPN.

    Exactly U$ER, I was going to post: "In other news, the same organization reports an unexplained rise in VPN communication."

    there is 2 divides on this, one is that low tech people, are using netflix, itunes store and renting their movies and tv shows. then there are the more high tech peeps, that get their media via any source they can, and that requires, torrents, usenet, rapidshare, and iirc distrubution channels, dont forget, local harddrive to hardrive transfer's between mates.

    through into the mix what a person will pay for vs what they will not, and you have people usually watching it then if they like it enough then they buy a copy to own, obviously this is not everyone, but, the more technically aware you are, then the barriers of entry go down to getting what you want.

    the exponential choices we have, makes finding quality that you are willing to pay for, just that harder, and its simply due to choices, when there were less choices, people as a proportion paid for that lack of choice, now people pay for the right choice, even if they are sampling everything else for free, regardless, of what big business wants, and the laws that get instituted to protect companies, rather then civilians.

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