Profiting from Piracy: A Measurement Study of the Cyberlocker Ecosystem
Piracy has been an ever-present danger for producers of digital goods since the rise of the internet. This ongoing work looks at the pirating ecosystem through a variety of lenses.
For the NSFIGERT video and poster competition, we present results of a measurement study of the economics of cyberlockers. These sites are a new breed of online businesses which store users’ files on remote servers and allow users to access files from any location. The number of cyberlockers has surged since 2006, likely as a function of lowered bandwidth costs and the ease with which cyberlocker services allow users to share copyrighted material.
A central, and troubling, innovation of cyberlockers is that they allow sharers of infringing content to earn money from this activity, in stark contrast to person-to-person platforms like BitTorrent. In order for cyberlockers to become popular, they must entice uploaders to share their links. We examine the payment mechanism by which cyberlockers have been able to incentivize these uploaders. Full Paper