Degban, the anti-piracy company that once took down
comedian Dave Gorman's Flickr account because it thought photos of distinctive typography were actually its client's porn (and then blamed it on being hacked), has put together some very interesting (that's a colloquialism for "??!?") piracy numbers at its site
Degban's "State of Piracy" page
introduces itself with some rather ominous wording about piracy and the importance (and difficulty) of compiling accurate numbers.
When it comes to statistical data regarding content piracy, the complexity of the data and its abundance is utterly mind boggling. The data channels are scattered across geographical borders and scientific dimensions. The nature of the matter effects the data gathering process, resulting in datasets with chaotic orders and unclean results sets.
It is of grave importance, regardless of the challenge, to understand the trends and fashions behind content piracy as a thriving organism . Furthermore, appreciation of statical [sic] data regarding content piracy can be advantageous from a business intelligence point of view.
And some very fine "statical" data it is. The first chart posted
is of the pie variety, breaking down the "market share" of several file storage lockers. Most of the contenders hover somewhere between 4-6% of the "market," possibly giving some credence to the MPAA's claims that Megaupload made the Internet go 'round by driving 99% of the traffic that wasn't Netflix (heavily paraphrased).
The data Degban has collected also shows the US firmly holding the lead
in terms of "Origins of Pirate Peers." (USA! USA! USA!) How this number (185,290) is derived remains a mystery, but whatever it is, it's nearly nine times as much as Russia (28,001). So... who's doing all this piracy? Atlantans, apparently.
As can be seen by this chart, Atlanta is more than twice as piratey as Tacoma (?!?), the second place pirate haven, in terms of numbers lying along a Y-axis. Again, no further information is provided as to what
these numbers represent, but we can certainly assume that Atlanta is the problem and Tacoma isn't helping. Once we venture beyond these two homegrown pirate bays, we see pirating is a major issue in such metropolises as Chalfont, PA and Iselin, NJ. Other cities/villages/unincorporated townships appear on the list as well, leading to questions of "Where is that, exactly?" and "Didn't that one guy used to live there... the serial killer/general store proprietor?" Cities with large populations -- New York and LA -- are pretty far down the list, which might make a lesser anti-piracy company question the quality of its data.
Degban really drives home the "Atlantans heart pirating" point with its next info-less graphic.
From this graphic portrayal of the United States battling a post-adolescent breakout of Venn diagram remnants, we can only draw one conclusion: if piracy is to be stopped, Atlanta has got to go. No more DMCA requests. No more lousy legislation. No more half-assed, self-serving infographics. You kill something by cutting off its head. The MPAA will be able to return millions of bag boys to their copyright-protected jobs
just as soon as someone detaches Atlanta from the internet. And, from what I can tell of the map above, at that point, nearly all piracy will have gone away. If only Degban had made this clear earlier, we could have done away with all these lawsuits and focused in on the real piracy cancer: Atlanta.
Now, the numbers contributing to these SHOCKING bar graphs might possibly be found in this detailed, interactive (click over to Degban's site to experience this in all its glory) Google Map, which pinpoints where these "peers" are located
, as well as the number of peers operating at each inverted teardrop.
Yes. There are some numbers in there, alright. Some low
numbers. In fact, it's tough to find any location with more than 5 "peers." How these scattered points add up to over 10,000 pirating Atlantans is beyond me, especially considering Atlanta itself has no data point at all
. None. Zip. Zero. Clearly, Degban processes data in a far advanced way, in which "0" peers means, "more than double the piracy impact of Tacoma, in which Tacoma is the number two piracy center."
You may also want to check out the dates on this map. It looks like the last data harvest was back in the spring of 2010. "OLD NEWS!!!" I hear you yell like a bunch of irate
Redditors. But, how can that be? "Data is important," Degban tells us in the intro, along with this:
This section is regularly and automatically kept up to date.
From the looks of it, "regularly" means "once per decade." And "automatically" means "please delete this word from this sentence before publishing this page."
So, we have a bunch of numbers that don't add up, aren't current and do little more than randomly drop circles on maps and rub bars affectionately up against sky-high Y-axises. And yet, Degban is a well-known name in the piracy world, one that understands the "grave importance" of accurate and up-to-date statistics. To fight your enemy successfully, you must know them, and from what I'm seeing here, Degban is nearly 100% sure someone's pirating stuff somewhere.
Godspeed, number wranglers! Remind me to keep one hand on my content when passing through the muggy climes of Hotlanta or the suicidal murkiness of upstate Washington! And tell Vkontakte.ru
that everyone's extremely disappointed in its lack of effort on the file sharing front.