Canadians may complain about high internet bills, low download limits and too few choices for providers, but that certainly isn’t stopping people from illegally downloading songs like crazy.
A new study of BitTorrent users has found that Canadians are fourth in the world for unauthorized music downloads on the popular BitTorrent file-sharing network. Only the U.S., Britain and Italy rank higher, but on a per capita basis, Canadians download more unauthorized music than any of those countries.
On a per-person basis, Canadians downloaded nearly two-and-a-half times as many unauthorized songs as Americans in the first half of 2012 (23.95 million in Canada, versus 96.68 million in the U.S.).
The first-ever Digital Music Index from analytics firm MusicMetric found the most pirated piece of music in Canada in the first half of 2012 was the Kanye West and Jay-Z album Watch The Throne.
But expressed as a percentage of total sales and downloads, the most pirated piece of music in Canada was the Hedley album Storms — suggesting that Hedley fans are the most likely to download pirated music.
Overall, the study found that about three billion songs and albums were downloaded through the BitTorrent network in the first half of 2012.
Music piracy has been the target of numerous lawsuits in the U.S., some of which have resulted in huge fines for downloaders. Canada has had few such lawsuits, but it has seen at least one lawsuit against unauthorized downloading of movies, which appears to have been abandoned.
The high rates of intellectual property piracy in Canada have been a source of tension between the U.S. and Canada, with the U.S. pressuring Canada for years to toughen its approach to piracy.
And, as the MusicMetric study itself has shown, it’s fairly easy to track computers that connect to file-sharing networks.