BitTorrent is not the main source of digital piracy

There appears to be a shift away from BitTorrent sites as the best method of pushing pirated software and movies.

MarkMonitor, a Web site that specialises in “enterprise brand protection”,  said that its investigations suggest that most of the piracy traffic comes from direct download outfits like rapidshare.com, megavideo.com, and megaupload.com. Those three alone made up 21 billion pageviews per year

A collection of pirate sites identified by MarkMonitor generated 146 million page views per day, or 53 billion page views per year. Even the least-visited sites in the category drove 781 million hits per year.

The study didn’t track how many movies were downloaded but that would be tricky since some of the sites do not download copies to user’s machines but show them via flash players.

Rapidshare’s terms of service specifically prohibits “works the download of which violates third-party copyrights”. But the site also says that it does not open and view the files of its users, and contains no search function so that other users may look for content. Instead, each file is linked to directly by the uploader.

Not surprisingly, the MPAA condemned the study’s findings and called for the site owners to be chopped into little bits and stomped on until it could think of something more unpleasant to do.

Bob Pisano, the organization’s president and interim chief executive, told PC Magazine that the findings in the MarkMonitor report on online piracy and counterfeiting were a call to arms for both government and the private sector to do something.

But Pisana failed to notice that the enemy here were direct download sites and not the bit torrent outfits that his organisation targets.