Torrents increased by 50-percent over the past year, as internet users uploaded rising amounts of content – much of it copyrighted – despite attempts by content owners to lock down access to high profile sites like The Pirate Bay. In fact, the site now lists more than 2.8m files, TorrentFreak points out, predominantly video, and with uploads rising by half in 2013 and doubling compared to two years ago.
The growth is all the more surprising given the difficulties The Pirate Bay and other Torrent tracking sites have experienced in the courts, with numerous attempts to take them down or block them from general access. That has included having BitTorrent and uTorrent removed – though later restored – from the auto-complete Google search box, to make the software tougher to find.
However, it’s not all good news for torrent lovers. BitTorrent traffic is said to have dropped in the US for the first time back in November, potentially a sign that more viewers are turning to on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and iTunes for a simpler, legal fix.
That’s certainly what Netflix has claimed, with the company arguing that illegal torrent rates declined when it launched its streaming service in different locations. BitTorrent took issue with that, however, pointing out that not all of its traffic is illegally-shared media.
Still, it’s what torrents are most commonly associated with. Most popular download in 2013 was Game of Thrones, the hotly-anticipated season finale of which was reportedly downloaded 5.9 million times.