Top 50 U.S. Universities Ranked by BitTorrent Usage 2012

Despite numerous efforts by the government and entertainment industries, many college students still use BitTorrent to gain access to the latest movies, music and games. While most universities have strict anti-piracy policies in place, there are always groups of students who continue undeterred. Today we look at the top universities in the United States ranked by BitTorrent usage.

In recent years, US colleges and universities have undertaken measures to reduce piracy.

In 2010 the U.S. Government added a new requirement for colleges and universities to stop illicit file-sharing on their networks. This legislation puts a defiant school at risk of losing federal funding if it doesn’t do enough to stop illicit file-sharers on its campus.

Schools across the country responded appropriately to the new rules and some institutions have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars installing anti-file-sharing systems on their networks. However, this doesn’t mean that college piracy has been completely eliminated.

There’s still plenty of unauthorized swapping going on at colleges, even on BitTorrent, which is the most heavily monitored file-sharing platform.

With help from ScanEye, TorrentFreak has obtained a list of the most active U.S. universities on BitTorrent networks this year. ScanEye monitors hundreds of thousands of public torrent files and based on IP-addresses they can track downloaders back to individual universities, when these are listed as the IP-owner.

As can be seen on the table below, Rutgers University leads the list with 1809 “hits” since November last year, almost twice as many as New York University which comes in second place with 986 hits.

University Of Houston, University of Southern California, and Texas A&M University complete the top 5.

To put the “hits” in perspective, a large Internet provider such as Comcast has several million, and even Disney has over a hundred hits. While some students (or staff) still use BitTorrent on the university network, BitTorrent use is certainly not rampant.

As a disclaimer, we have to mention that not all of the files downloaded at these universities are being shared without permission. There is plenty of legal content available on BitTorrent. However, a quick glimpse at the most downloaded content reveals that unauthorized sharing is relatively popular.

At Rutgers University the top 5 most downloaded files comprises the movies Fast Five, Cars 2 and Puss in Boots, the game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and the album The Dreamer, The Believer by Common. Typical student downloads such as Microsoft Office for Mac and cult films such as Pulp Fiction are high up the list of most shared files at Rutgers University.

Below is the full list of the top 50 universities ranked by BitTorrent usage.

Update: MIT was not included in the data we received initially, and should be on top of the list below with 2,315 hits.

Update: Here is the ranking of universities based on the student population (Thanks Zac!)

Universities ranked by BitTorrent usage
# University Hits
torrentfreak.com
1 Rutgers University 1809
2 New York University 986
3 University Of Houston 795
4 University of Southern California 776
5 Texas A&M University 768
6 The George Washington University 767
7 University of Minnesota 720
8 State University of New York at Buffalo 610
9 University of Maryland 602
10 Tennessee State University 530
11 Northeastern University 513
12 Michigan State University 495
13 Wayne State University 488
14 Columbia University 479
15 Boston University 467
16 Vanderbilt University 460
17 North Carolina Central University 450
18 University of California, San Diego 435
19 Old Dominion University 425
20 Ohio State University 395
21 University of Michigan 388
22 Case Western Reserve University 387
23 University of Texas at San Antonio 382
24 Sonoma State University 381
25 The Pennsylvania State University 381
26 University of Colorado 378
27 Virginia State University 378
28 Villanova University 377
29 Purdue University 375
30 Indiana University 374
31 Clemson University 374
32 Lindenwood University 366
33 Harvard University 361
34 Marquette University 360
35 Grambling State University 358
36 University of California at Berkeley 355
37 University of Arizona 343
38 University of Washington 341
39 Fordham University 334
40 University of Illinois 333
41 Georgetown University 329
42 University of Nebraska-Lincoln 324
43 Montclair State University 322
44 University of Wisconsin Madison 319
45 University of Utah 311
46 University of Delaware 301
47 University of Pennsylvania 300
48 Duke University 298
49 University of Hawaii 295
50 State University of New York at Stony Brook 291
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