A study carried out by researchers at the Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) found that piracy on the BitTorrent network depends on a relatively small number of people. After examining the behaviour of the users who are responsible for publishing over 55,000 files on BitTorrent filesharing sites, professors Rubén Cuevas, Carmen Guerrero and Ángel Cuevas came to the conclusion that about 100 people are responsible for 66 percent of the content that is published and 75 percent of the downloads.
The study by the researchers at this public university in Madrid, in collaboration with scientists at the IMDEA Networks Institute, the University of Oregon (USA) and the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany), identifies who these users are and what their incentives for massively publishing contents are. In one group there are the "fake publishers” which are organisations fighting illegal downloading and malicious users who publish a large quantity of false files in order to protect copyrights and spread infected software. Then there is the group includes a small number of users (known as "top publishers") who massively publish contents on BitTorrent and make a profit off of this activity.
They make their cash from on-line advertising and, to a lesser degree, from VIP subscriptions held by users who wish to speed up the downloading of the contents. "If these users lose interest in this activity or are eliminated from the system, BitTorrent’s traffic will be drastically reduced", the authors of the study predict.