Study finds 24% of all Web traffic tied to infringement

Members of the software and entertainment industries frequently decry the widespread flow of pirated goods on the Internet, making their case for stricter enforcement mechanisms and penalties to anyone who will listen.

But how big is the problem?

A new study (PDF) conducted by Envisional and, importantly, commissioned by NBC Universal, has estimated that nearly 24 percent of all Internet traffic involves the transmission of infringing content, with nearly half of that facilitated by BitTorrent protocols.

U.K.-based Envisional culled information from torrent tracker PublicBT, concluding that after subtracting pornography, more than 99 percent of the content changing hands was infringing.

The firm, which claimed that its survey was the first of its kind, also evaluated links from so-called cyberlocker sties, as well as streaming traffic.

BitTorrent recently took to its corporate blog to defend its role in the transmission of infringing content after Google disabled some search features, such as auto-complete, for the company’s trademarked names.

“BitTorrent is a technology company that builds software and standards focused on doing good,” said Shahi Ghanem, BitTorrent’s chief strategist. “We understand that some people may use some of our technologies in ways that represent a risk to certain copyright holders, but certainly no more so than other technologies such as web browsers, DVD/CD burning software, video/audio/image codecs, ISP’s and more.”

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