By Francesco Bianchi, Luca Bonfanti, Luca Ferrario, Roberta Rosina, Giulia Zoccarato

Someone spots the light,
someone shares the file.

File sharing, from few passionate ones’ technology, is today a daily life reality for the majority of Internet users. Thanks to its revolutionary concept, it changed the way of living the Net, introducing the possibility of enjoying instantly all kinds of medias, from movies to music, software, books, etc… The other side of the coin of this revolution, though, is that 98% of shared materials through peer to peer services are copyrighted: inevitably, this fact turns file sharing into an almost only illegal practice. So, inside our research path, we decided to focus on what file sharing implies: which are its effects on society and on the Internet? Which are the legal and economic consequences? Is there a difference between consequences and effects? Starting from here, we agreed on designing four queries which tried to investigate Web opinions about the possible controversy of positioning divergences on the theme, from big majors to technological blogs. Effects and consequences are the center of research, while file sharing is the theme, also called piracy, to understand if this word is used as an informal/derogatory synonymous or just as a alternate technical term. The four starting queries, “file sharing” + consequences, “file sharing” + effects, piracy + consequences, piracy + effects, were designed to answer the question:

“How much the effects of copyright infringement through illegal file sharing, also called piracy, are seen as negative/damaging from an economic, legal, ethical point of view?”

Indeed, right from the start, it was clear that opinions about our controversy focused on three main fields: economic aspect, that means whether copyright owners lose profit or not; legal aspect, which includes countermeasures and lawsuits started after infractions, that are judged licit or not; ethical aspect, about security, control, privacy and the future face of the Internet. From this question, we started analyzing and digging inside datasets and queries results, to understand as deeply as we could the real essence of this controversy.


Wikipedia "See Also" analysis: a huge cloud of topics (about property)

This graph shows the connections between the third level’s “See Also” links of five pages in Wikipedia that have been chosen to represent the theme.

Web pages analysis: happenings count

Web pages analysis through Google about how much the Internet talked about file sharing and piracy effects/consequences during the last decade, crossed with most relevant theme's events.

TF-IDF: always the enimies decide what to talk about

The graph shows the results of TD-IDF analysis made on the texts taken from the first 200 web pages from Google. The queries used to search are “file sharing”+ effects, “file sharing”+ consequences, piracy effects and piracy consequences.

Geonames frequence map: Hot Spots

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Web pages analysis vs. Case Law:
Look at the finger, not at the Moon

This research allows to make a comparison between what is discussed on the web and what really matters in court, underlining the differences and the focus change between the two "places".

Named entities connections: Don't sneak inside opponents' barricade

The aim of the graph is to show if there are simple and basic connections between the main named entities in the webpages analysis, and to prove that Enemies, Neutrals and Friends live on different worlds.

Newspapers' API Analisys: Spotting the Pirates

The graph shows a list with the 10 most discussed trends per year, from 2002 to 2014. These trends are referred to the New York Times and The Guardian articles.