Just a few hours after the video of the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony was posted on BitTorrent, it has already been downloaded by tens of thousands of people.
In 2008 Olympic torrents were hugely popular, especially the Opening Ceremony which was downloaded by nearly 5 million people. It is doubtful that this 2008 Olympic record will be broken this year, but nonetheless, there is plenty of interest on BitTorrent for the 2010 Opening Ceremony.
As with most big sporting events there are huge commercial interests involved in the Olympics. This is one of the main reasons why the International Olympic Committee and broadcasters such as NBC have announced a piracy crackdown, trying to prevent their content from leaking online.
“Our aim is to make access to pirated material inconvenient, low quality and hard to find,” said Rick Cotton, NBC’s Executive Vice President commenting on their Olympic mission. It is needless to say that this mission has already failed miserably.
The Opening Ceremony could be watched online through dozens of illegal streams last night, and a few hours later a high quality video of the entire broadcast appeared on file-sharing networks including BitTorrent. Thus far, nearly 100,000 people have downloaded the Opening Ceremony through BitTorrent.
A quick look at the locations of the downloaders reveals that roughly a quarter are Canadians. Another 15% of the downloaders come from the United States, followed by the UK with 5% and The Netherlands and Australia both with 4%.
In the coming days many of the sporting events will also surface online illegally, but the interest for the opening and closing ceremonies tend to be the highest, based on download numbers from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
It is expected that the International Olympic Committee will be outraged over this massive rights violation. In 2008 they urged Sweden to take action against the Pirate Bay over the Olympic torrents that they hosted, without result.
Maybe they should start offering their own sponsored downloads in 2012? There is plenty of demand for it.