University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar > Is Content Publishing in BitTorrent Altruistic or Profit-Driven?

Is Content Publishing in BitTorrent Altruistic or Profit-Driven?

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BitTorrent is the most popular P2P content delivery application where individual users share various type of content with tens of thousands of other users. The growing popularity of BitTorrent is primarily due to the availability of valuable content without any cost for the consumers. However, apart from required resources, publishing (sharing) valuable (and often copyrighted) content has serious legal implications for user who publish the material (or publishers). This raises a question that whether (at least major) content publishers behave in an altruistic fashion or have other incentives such as financial. In this study, we identify the content publishers of more than 55k torrents in 2 major BitTorrent portals and examine their behavior. We demonstrate that a small fraction of publishers are responsible for 66% of published content and 75% of the downloads. Our investigations reveal that these major publishers respond to two different profiles. On one hand, antipiracy agencies and malicious publishers publish a large amount of fake files to protect copyrighted content and spread malware respectively. On the other hand, content publishing in BitTorrent is largely driven by companies with financial incentive. Therefore, if these companies lose their interest or are unable to publish content, BitTorrent traffic/portals may disappear or at least their associated traffic will significantly reduce.

The work is based on the paper in CoNext 2010.

Ruben’s home page: http://www.it.uc3m.es/rcuevas

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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