Piracy, Public Access, and Preservation

An Exploration of Sustainable Accessibility in a Public Torrent Index


Members of the Pirate Parties International have claimed that torrent networks have the potential to function as repositories for popular cultural materials and historical primary source data. The Pirate Bay is the world's most popular public index for tracking and downloading torrents. Using a snapshot of torrents on the site, this study considers the potential for torrent networks to preserve and provide access to cultural materials in the form of digital media content. Metadata from 2.1 million torrents were categorized by media type and the robustness of given torrents was assessed. Trends over time, such as number of uploads and volume, were also investigated. This study found that relatively few torrents exhibit long-term survivability, even though the overall volume in the index shows continuous increase.

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Piracy Research - John D. Martin III