Girls Don’t Pirate?

    September 20, 2011

A survey was conducted over at the Pirate Bay, perhaps the most well-known of the bit torrent search engines, and besides the expected finds–downloaders have moved on from Napster-like mp3 downloads and are targeting movies–there’s an interesting tidbit about the fairer sex. That is, they don’t download.

Or, at least, they don’t stop their bit torrent search to take part in on-site surveys, which leads to one of the major problems when dealing with statistics from a survey, bias, of course. The fact that these surveys are normally voluntary-response based means that, although Pirate Bay got over 75,000 responses, PB visitors could easily overlook or ignore the survey prompt, which skews the findings.

But then again, considering the response rate was substantial, it could also mean that girls don’t pirate, and if they do, they don’t use Pirate Bay to do so.

The details about the Pirate Bay’s survey comes from, and according to their article, Pirate Bay partnered with the Cybernorms research group, which bases its operations at the Lund University in Sweden. The goal survey, even with its built-in potential for bias, was to “conduct the largest survey among file-sharers.” Apparently, the results won’t be available until November, but there has been some data released, and these findings are about what you’d expect.

Pirates (or file-sharers, depending on which side of the fence you sit) want movies and instead of ceasing these actions, they would rather find more anonymous ways of downloading. This, quite honestly, should not come as a surprise. Even the data about female downloaders, five percent, according to the responses, isn’t considered shocking, but then again, maybe females don’t want to answer questions about their file-sharing habits, either.

And therein lies the rub with voluntary response surveys. It’s more likely that there are less female pirates than there are males, but the nature of the survey also lends itself to the idea that maybe these same women are just more private about their activities, anonymous surveys or not.

Then again, it could be a case of the “men do it like this, women do it like this,” with males downloading and females spending their time on Twitter and Facebook.

Another area of note is the idea that despite the incredible corporate backlash, file-sharers/pirates/downloaders/thieves/rebels–call them what you will–have no intention of slowing down. From TorrentFreak’s post:

According to the researchers it wont be easy to stop people from sharing files. Aside from seeking more ways to download torrents anonymously, the respondents are also increasingly seeking alternative sharing options, such as swapping USB-sticks and sharing files directly with friends via mobile phones.

Which means, at least in the United States where ISPs and entertainment content producers are close bedfellows, the legislative efforts of trying to turn the Internet into a cable TV package will continue unabated as well.