Where we live affects what we download
Illegally downloading digital content has become the norm – movies, TV shows, music and even books are now just one click away from being ours.
In fact, the popular file-sharing site BitTorrent takes up 25.95 percent of all internet traffic in the Asia Pacific region (including Australia).
Although illegally downloading has become a common practice worldwide, a recent study by the research team at Northwestern University has found a pattern between where we live and what we download.
The study monitored over 10,000 anonymous BitTorrent users and found a strong connection between the type of content they download and the country’s economy.
For instance, BitTorrent users from countries with a small per capita GDP had an increased likelihood of sharing large files, such as movies.
But BitTorrent users in countries with a high GDP were more likely to favour small files, such as music.
“People in a given country display preferences for certain content – content that might not be readily available because of an authoritarian government or inferior communication infrastructure.” said one of the senior authors, Luís A. Nunes Amaral, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
One explanation could be that BitTorrent enables users without broadband internet to download large files, as it breaks the files down into smaller chunks.
This could explain why users in poorer countries, who are less likely to have access to broadband internet, are opting for larger content – as it has to be worth the effort.
Another pattern the study revealed was that the majority of BitTorrent users stick to one specific type of content, and only interact with others interested in the same type of content.
Although we might have access to these files, big or small, illegally downloading content is a clear sign of disrespect to the original owners.
Correctly attributing content to the creator is incredibly important, not only from a legal but also a moral standpoint.
For instance, as content marketers we are well aware that creating high-quality and engaging online content can be a time-consuming affair, so we make extra efforts to reference all source material.
Posted by Dylan Brown