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Måns Svensson

Måns Svensson

Senior lecturer (Leave of Absence)

Måns Svensson

Professionalization, Gender and Anonymity in the Global File Sharing Community


  • Måns Svensson
  • Stefan Larsson
  • Marcin De Kaminski


  • Roberto Braga
  • Giovanni Caruso

Summary, in English

This article presents the analysis of a large survey on file-sharing that was conducted in April 2011 with over 75,000 respondents from all over the world. The study, also known as The Research Bay, due to that it was conducted in collaboration with the infamous BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay, by the Cybernorms research group. The aim of the online study of The Pirate Bay community has been to describe a file sharing community from within and thereby to shed light on the underlying demographics and social structures of the phenomenon that has emerged as one of the greatest challenges to IP law ever.

The results indicate that this community of mainly bitTorrentfile-sharers to a large extent is a male community (93.8 % of the respondents were male) of a younger generation (77.3 percent were younger than 30 years of age). These results, in combination with the fact that the relatively low share of uploaders are more inclined to seek protection from identification via encrypted means than the rest and the fact that offline sharing is common, is an indication of that the file sharing community is differentiated within. This is in the article discussed in terms of a professionalization or specialization existing in the file-sharing community, that includes different roles in an “eco system” of sharing files and consuming media. This means that those informants we have found via the Pirate Bay website may represent a link in a bigger chain, as a technology competent and vital link for a larger structure of which BitTorrent plays an important, but not all-encompassing, part.


  • Department of Sociology of Law
  • Centre for Work, Technology and Social Change (WTS)
  • Lund University Internet Institute (LUii)

Publishing year







Piracy Effect

Document type

Book chapter


Mimesis edizioni


  • Information Systems, Social aspects
  • Law and Society


  • File-sharing
  • Copyright
  • Intellectual Property
  • The Pirate Bay
  • Online piracy



Research group

  • Cybernorms