Security

Pirate Bay Takes Survey About Sharing

ThePirateBay, the notorious file-sharing site consistently accused by opponents of file-sharing of being the source of much of the piracy and deviltry in the world, launched an online survey trying to measure the habits and opinions of file sharers worldwide as part of an effort to counter what it calls entertainment-industry propaganda.

That "propaganda" includes surveys, industry research and claims about the impact of content piracy consistently found by courts to be unsubstantiated, misleading and designed only to support the anti-piracy goals of sponsors such as RIAA and MPAA rather than reflect results of legitimate research.

The Pirate Bay survey is a follow-up to one last year that polled 75,000 users about how they use file-sharing sites as well as how, when and why they use pirated content. It also compared respondents' use of pirated content with their media-buying habits, finding that those who download the most pirated content also tend to be the ones who buy the most content through paid file-sharing services, iTunes, and through other means.

ThePirateBay is outsourcing the actual research to the Cybernorms research group at the Lund University Internet Institute, which did last year's survey and has published a series of studies and analyses on the changes in behavior caused by online file sharing as well as the ongoing battle between file sharers and groups trying to stop it.

ThePirateBay survey is another designed to map what kinds of file-sharing behaviors can be considered "normal" on the Internet, as well as various efforts by file sharers to protect their anonymity, location or activities.

The goal is to give Swedish and European lawmakers a base of knowledge on laws, behaviors and the potential benefits or risks of file sharing and copyright enforcement.

Without that information European agencies in charge of creating and enforcing copyright online will have to accept as reasonable the often-debunked research and opinions of RIAA, MPAA and other copyright-enforcement groups whose efforts to protect their own interests have been rabid, overenthusiastic and often misdirected in the past.

With an alternative base of research and analysis -- which Cybernorms considers to be objective but everyone else will consider pro-piracy due to the connection with ThePirateBay -- legislators and enforcement agencies will have an alternative view of the industry and the Internet from which to work.

"Without adequate information it is impossible to adapt the legal systems in a legitimate way," Måns Svensson, PhD in Sociology of Law at Lund and study manager told file-sharing news site TorrentFreak.

Existing research shows heavy handed enforcement of the kind favored by RIAA, MPAA and encoded in the CISPA cybersecurity bill do reduce the amount of illegal file sharing, but have no effect on how people in almost any segment of a society think about it.

"People still don’t think it is wrong to share files," Svensson told TorrentFreak. "What we have is a deterrent effect due to enforcement actions, but an effect that lacks societal support. This is a dangerous development that in the long run risks undermining the trust in the democratic society."

The survey will go on today, Thursday and Friday.

If you'd like to participate, start your PirateBay survey response here.

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