Mininova's decision to remove links to copyright-protected media last week is being hailed as a victory by Dutch anti-piracy group Stichting Brein. However, it's unlikely to make much difference to network traffic and could prove a boon for independent producers.
"I didn't notice any reduction in [torrent] traffic when The Pirate Bay went down. It's hard to see how there'd be any significant change from Mininova's withdrawal," one major ISP network engineer told ZDNet.com.au.
An estimated 5 per cent of that ISP's customers use torrents. Casual downloaders might notice Mininova's absence, but a "hard-core group of dedicated quota-pushers" get their torrent files from subscription websites and won't be affected, the engineer said.
"Someone who was motivated enough to pay actual cash for access to torrent files probably makes orders of magnitude more use of it than casual users do. Making life incrementally harder for the casual users probably doesn't make a lot of difference in the grand scale of things," they said.
Telstra was unable to provide data for BigPond. "We don't do packet inspections," a spokesperson for the telco said. Other ISPs say they haven't seen a major change in traffic over the past week.
Sydney filmmaker Rohan Harris has seen a massive surge in interest since the BitTorrent tracker site turned legit. Harris uses BitTorrent to distribute his Creative Commons-licensed movies. Without illegally-copied Hollywood blockbusters dominating Mininova's index, his own work has a higher profile.
"Sites like Mininova, The Pirate Bay and isohunt have, for a lot of people, become a simple and easy way of seeing many new releases, without caring just what they are," Harris said.
"You can see by looking at commonly searched terms on the sites that many users simply search for new DVD-quality films without caring just which ones. Like flicking to whatever movie of the week is on TV."