Olympic Torrents More Popular Than Ever

This week, close to two million people have downloaded the Olympics opening ceremony, which makes it the most pirated TV-show of the week - again. The International Olympic Committee is not too happy about it, and they are urging the Swedish government to take on The Pirate Bay.

top gearLast week we reported that the Opening Ceremony had been downloaded by more than a million people, and this figure has doubled over the past 7 days. However, there is less demand for the other Olympic events, as most of these get less than 20,000 downloads.

Compared to 2004, the availability of Olympic events on BitTorrent has grown significantly, both in quantity and quality. Interestingly, the demand for Olympic torrents is the greatest in China, as 65% of the people who downloaded the Openings Ceremony come from the host country.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is not pleased seeing their shows on BitTorrent sites though. Yesterday they even sent a letter (read it here) to the Swedish Minister of Justice, urging her to take on The Pirate Bay. From the letter, it looks like they have been reading last week’s article. “Our technical advisor Informs us that as many as 1 million copies of the Opening Ceremony have been illegally downloaded worldwide, with the most significant activity taking place through Pirate Bay,” they write.

The IOC claims to have contacted The Pirate Bay with a takedown request, but turned to the Minister when they got no response. The Pirate Bay denies this, and Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde writes: “The phone hasn’t rung. And I guess their e-mail probably got caught in the Chinese firewall, since TPB is blocked there.”

From the letter, it seems that the IOC is predicting that the Closing Ceremony will hit BitTorrent immediately after the fireworks. “We are also gravely concerned about the upcoming Closing Ceremony on August 24, as it is entirely predictable that illegal copies of that event will be immediately made available through the Pirate Bay.” They are right of course, and we’re afraid that the Swedish government can’t do much about it either.

Today, the Minister said in a radio interview that The Pirate Bay is not really good promotion for Sweden (although some would disagree), but that there is indeed little they can do to stop the tracker from hosting torrent files.

It is not clear why the IOC is going after the Pirate Bay, and not any of the other BitTorrent sites. Of course, they are the most outspoken, but the majority of all the Olympic torrents are downloaded from other sites. Most BitTorrent sites do take down torrents when they are asked to, so it might be a good idea to start there….

Below is this week’s chart of the most pirated TV-shows on BitTorrent, the Olympics Opening Ceremony tops the chart again. The data for the TV-torrent chart is collected by TorrentFreak from a representative sample of BitTorrent sites and is for informational and educational reference only.

Top Downloads August 10 – August 17


Ranking (last week) TV-show
1 (1) Olympics 2008 Opening Ceremony
2 (2) Weeds
3 (3) Eureka
4 (4) Generation Kill
5 (5) Burn Notice
6 (back) Stargate Atlantis
7 (new) Fifth Gear
8 (10) Mad Men
9 (6) Psych
10 (back) Mythbusters

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