File-sharing services have been around for very long time, starting predominantly with Napster, which provided users the ability to share and download music for free. A lot has changed since, and new services have come up but it appears BitTorrent has made the biggest impact off late. Torrent sites have cropped up everywhere and while most of the illegal file sharing, which makes up for most of the traffic on the protocol, went unnoticed, things are changing now. There are major actions taken by large record companies, along with the software industry to curb piracy. This has resulted in recent attacks on individuals who have to face the law for downloading and sharing pirated content off the web.

All of the recent incidents and lawsuits seem to be affecting BitTorrent traffic. Sandvine, a research agency has released a report that looks at the global internet trends and traffic consumption across countries. One of the startling observations is the drop in BitTorrent traffic in the U.S. The United States, where most of the large corporations are housed have been successful in targeting users, which has led to some amount of fear and caution. This has to led to a clear drip in BitTorrent traffic, while almost all of the other countries remain unaffected. Infact, BitTorrent traffic in most of the countries continues to accelerate and dominate the bandwidth consumption.

BitTorrent loses motion in the US

BitTorrent loses motion in the U.S

Sandvine’s study looked at the upload and download data consumption to find these results. The observations were noticed on all the fixed line Internet connections. File-sharing hasn’t become a phenomenon on the mobile front just yet, although there are clients available for most popular mobile platforms. The higher cost of the service is probably the primary reason for this.

In Europe and in Latin America, BitTorrent dominates the bandwidth consumption charts. In most cases, YouTube and eDonkey, another older file-sharing service make up the second and third place spots. YouTube is also right up there with these services, when it comes to download. BitTorrent is extremely popular in the Asia-Pacific regions, with an upstream share of some 43.89 percent. YouTube is the most popular when it comes to downstream shares, followed closely by BitTorrent. PPStream, a popular Chinese video service provider also makes a mark in the list. 

Clearly, BitTorrent is a dominating force as far as demands go, but there has been a drop in the traffic demands over the months due to the shutdown of popular file sharing services. Unlike BitTorrent, which requires a client, file hosting services allow users to download files using just a web browser. Megaupload was one of the largest services around and it was shut down by the U.S Justice Department. Other file hosting services started taking caution by introducing steps to try and reduce illegal file-sharing, at least between free account users.

Of course, the law isn’t strict enough or equipped enough in majority of the other countries. India, off late has taken a strong stand and ISPs have chosen to block The Pirate Bay and a bunch of other torrent hosting sites to curb piracy. A while back, a Kolkata court also ordered the blocking of some 100+ pirated music sites in India. There aren’t any reported incidents of individuals using P2P services, being targeted by law, so far.

Image credit: Getty Images

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