Professionalization, Gender and Anonymity in the Global File Sharing Community

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This article presents the analysis of a large survey on file-sharing that was conducted in April 2011 with over 75,000 respondents from all over the world. The study, also known as The Research Bay, due to that it was conducted in collaboration with the infamous BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay, by the Cybernorms research group. The aim of the online study of The Pirate Bay community has been to describe a file sharing community from within and thereby to shed light on the underlying demographics and social structures of the phenomenon that has emerged as one of the greatest challenges to IP law ever.

The results indicate that this community of mainly bitTorrentfile-sharers to a large extent is a male community (93.8 % of the respondents were male) of a younger generation (77.3 percent were younger than 30 years of age). These results, in combination with the fact that the relatively low share of uploaders are more inclined to seek protection from identification via encrypted means than the rest and the fact that offline sharing is common, is an indication of that the file sharing community is differentiated within. This is in the article discussed in terms of a professionalization or specialization existing in the file-sharing community, that includes different roles in an “eco system” of sharing files and consuming media. This means that those informants we have found via the Pirate Bay website may represent a link in a bigger chain, as a technology competent and vital link for a larger structure of which BitTorrent plays an important, but not all-encompassing, part.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Systems, Social aspects
  • Law and Society


  • File-sharing, Copyright, Intellectual Property, The Pirate Bay, Online piracy
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPiracy Effect
EditorsRoberto Braga, Giovanni Caruso
PublisherMimesis edizioni
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

This article, and book, is released in Italian too.

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Related research output

Måns Svensson, Stefan Larsson & De Kaminski, M., 2013, Piracy Effect. Norme, Pratiche e studi di caso. Roberto, B. & Giovanni, C. (eds.). Mimesis edizioni, p. 65-77

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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