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People Pirated Many More Files (And Many Fewer Ships) in 2013

While there were zero Somali pirate hijackings this year - the amount of content that was uploaded to The Pirate Bay this year increased by 50 percent

Here's a 2014 prediction: this might be the year where "piracy" refers only to a crime committed using a computer, not a ship. While there were zero Somali pirate hijackings in 2013, the amount of content that was uploaded to The Pirate Bay increased by 50 percent.

Torrent Freak's blog reports that there are now over 2.8 million files shared on The Pirate Bay, and that at one point there were over 18 million people using the site to both upload and download files. This is despite The Pirate Bay's ongoing struggle to keep its servers up and running, as it searches for a home country. In its tenth year in existence, the site had to switch domain names six times.

According to Torrent Freak, people are largely pirating videos, which make up 54 percent of the total shared files. "Audio, which includes music, is the second most-shared category with 17% of all peers, followed by porn (13%), other (6%), games (5%) and software (5%)," they write.

As internet piracy increases, high-seas piracy has plummeted. In 2009, there were 52 vessels pirated in the Indian Ocean. This year, not a single one. David Yanofsky at Quartz breaks down why:




But swashbuckling piracy hasn't gone away entirely just yet. Nine vessels were attacked by pirates off the Horn of Africa, although none were hijacked. Off the western coast of Africa, 31 vessels were fired upon, and nine were successfully captured in the Gulf of Guinea, Yanofsky reports. But the trends are certainly moving in opposite directions, like two ships in the night.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Importance of Irish Pirates
In True Pirate Form, the Pirate Bay Can’t Find Anyone to Take It In

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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