Is file sharing really America’s problem?

by mcastellon on May 10, 2006

Google Trends proves what we all have known for a long time – file sharing is not necessarily a problem localized to just the United States. In fact, in many instances, searches for file-sharing apps in other nations drastically outpace those in the U.S.

For years the RIAA have attempted to reform American copyright laws in an attempt to curb what they consider gross piracy among Americans. They have even lobbied to push those laws overseas in an attempt to create a more uniform code of laws that will prevent piracy globally.

However, who is really using the internet to pirate copyrighted materials? Using Google Trends, I set out to answer, or at least address, this very question.

Who is using Google to search for bit torrent? Take a look at the results here:

1. Vancouver Canada
2. Manchester United Kingdom
3. Edinburgh United Kingdom
4. Perth Australia
5. Sydney Australia
6. Toronto Canada
7. Sheffield United Kingdom
8. Birmingham United Kingdom
9. Montreal Canada
10. Santiago Chile

U.S. cities don’t appear at all on this list of top 10 cities/countries producing search inquiries into the popular fire sharing method.

Next, let’s see who is searching for Limewire, another widely used file sharing client:

1. Edinburgh United Kingdom
2. Manchester United Kingdom
3. Brisbane Australia
4. Birmingham United Kingdom
5. Perth Australia
6. Sydney Australia
7. Montreal Canada
8. Toronto Canada
9. Amsterdam Netherlands
10. Melbourne Australia

Again, we see the U.S. doesn’t even appear in the top 10 cities/countries searching for Limewire using Google. Countries searching for MP3 are also surprising:

1. Izmir Turkey
2. Ankara Turkey
3. Istanbul Turkey
4. Warsaw Poland
5. Buenos Aires Argentina
6. Guangzhou Mainland China
7. Nanjing Mainland China
8. Beijing Mainland China
9. Santiago Chile
10. Hangzhou Mainland China

It should be noted that piracy cannot be solely measured on Google search terms by region. But, this does offer ample evidence that a very large amount of users overseas are out-searching Americans for popular piracy-related materials. And while Google Trends is still in beta and its reliability isn’t 100 percent, it’s important to keep examining web trends to determine the truth.

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