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A Week in the Life of the Most Popular BitTorrent Swarms

2010-06-17, Scanlon, Mark, Hannaway, Alan, Kechadi, Tahar

The popularity of peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution is consistently increasing since the late 1990’s. In 2008, P2P traffic accounted for over half of the world’s Internet traffic. P2P networks lend themselves well to the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material due to their ease of use, the abundance of material available and the apparent anonymity awarded to the downloaders. This paper presents the results of an investigation conducted on the top 100 most popular BitTorrent swarms over the course of one week. The purpose of this investigation is to quantify the scale of unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material through the use of the BitTorrent protocol. Each IP address, which was discovered over the period of the weeklong investigation, is mapped through the use of a geolocation database, which results in the ability to determine where the participation in these swarms is prominent worldwide.