A study by computer science researchers at the University of Birmingham concludes monitoring of illegal downloads is being done on a large scale, and that there are around 10 different monitoring firms in operation. The researchers discovered that torrent users that download popular content will have their IP address logged within 3 hours of starting a download, but poor collection methods may mean that the evidence collected by these firms may not stand up in court.
Any file in the top 100, such as the recent The Dark Knight Rises film, would be noticed quickly, but even less well-known films and music could lead to people showing up on various radars, with no distinction between serial file-sharers and newbies to copyright infringement.
The researchers found that there were around 10 different monitoring firms in operation, but only a handful of these were copyright groups. Some were security firms and research labs, but six of them were difficult to identify, concealing their identity behind third-party hosting firms.
“Many firms are simply sitting on the data,” Dr. Tom Chothia, head of the study, revealed. “Such monitoring is easy to do and the data is out there so they think they may as well collect it as it may be valuable in future.”