P2P Raid in Germany Shows Little Effect, According to ipoque Survey

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On 23 May, the state prosecutor's office of Cologne, Germany, announced in a press release a massive police action against 3,500 eDonkey users who had shared copyright-protected material. This campaign has been supported by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). According to a survey conducted by ipoque, this reportedly "major strike" against Internet piracy has only had a short-term effect on P2P downloads. Only three weeks after the campaign, download volume is back to its previous level.

P2P traffic currently makes up between 50% (day-time) and 80% (night-time) of Germany's Internet traffic. Thereof about 50% is eDonkey (mainly eMule), 45% BitTorrent and 2.5% Gnutella. Of these P2P networks, only BitTorrent is known to be significantly used for exchange of legal content.

Survey proves poor effectiveness of this massive action

Illegal P2P file sharing has had tremendous effects on the film and music industry. Now they are struggling to curb Internet piracy. ipoque's survey demonstrates that user behavior remains unaffected by their efforts. The massive police action initiated by the state prosecutor's office of Cologne, Germany, supported by the German branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) caused a short-term decrease of P2P downloads of 15%. In the course of only three weeks, download volume bounced back to its previous level.

ipoque's survey is based on anonymized date supplied by some large German network operators representing about 250,000 German Internet users. Data has been collected at German ISPs with mostly private customers and some big universities. Only data from networks with no P2P filtering has been included. This allows to draw some conclusions on the P2P usage of German Internet users. The following graph shows the floating 20-day average of these aggregated P2P volume data.

Future behavior or P2P user

ipoque predicts that such massive legal actions will not significantly change the overall amount of illegal downloads. It will only drive users to new, more elusive file sharing platforms (for instance Mute with its multi-hop approach) or other countermeasures such as encrypted hard drives.

Instead, a combination of technical barriers in combination with a sensible legal deterrence–like it is, for instance, found in public transportation systems–may prove to be more effective. For the music industry, this would have the advantage to regain some of the lost reputation among its potential customers.

About ipoque

ipoque has been founded in Leipzig, Germany, in the beginning of 2005. The company specializes in professional solutions for application- and user-aware traffic management and analysis. Its line of hardware traffic managers for Gigabit and Fast Ethernet allows an effective control of undesired network applications. These include file sharing in peer-to-peer networks (P2P), instant messaging (IM) and Voice over IP (VoIP) including the popular Skype. In addition to the bandwidth management, all network traffic can be captured and analyzed in real-time. ipoque offers its customers consultancy services and the development of individual traffic management and analysis solutions based on its standard products. ipoque's customers comprise enterprises of all sizes, public and educational institutions and Internet service providers. More information at http://www.ipoque.com.

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Klaus Mochalski
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