File sharing makes people sad

It's bad enough that file sharing is illegal, immoral, nasty, evil and dangerous, but the news just got a lot worse for those poor pirates: their low-down ways could be giving them the blues. TorrentFreak reports that a new study from the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that avid file sharers were more likely to be depressed than members of the law abiding, churchgoing citizenry.

We've spent a lot of time thinking and talking about piracy, but through all of that it never crossed our minds that torrents could be the reason we live our unbalanced, sad, anger filled lives in sorrow, held back only by hard (but legal!) drugs. But now it all seems so clear – or does it?

The study came to this startling conclusion by keeping tabs on how 216 students used the campus network. The results were then cross referenced with a self-rated depression scale (try it for yourself here!). Long story short, the people who spent the most time pirating were the saddest campers in the bunch.

Aside from being big time pirates, the same users tended to spent a lot more time online period, particularly chatting and sending e-mail. The depression had no connection, of course, with the fact that the depressed students might have been spending too much time online in general. No, none at all.

Study participant

Since file sharing, and unsafe internet browsing habits, are potentially a danger to our health, it is quite obvious that the medium must be regulated and/or neutered to prevent harm from coming to any poor unsuspecting grandmother who falls into the seedy world of BitTorrent. That's where lead researcher Dr. Sriram Chellappan's spyware comes in.

“The software would be a cost-effective and an in-home tool that could proactively prompt users to seek medical help if their internet usage patterns indicate possible depression,” he says. “The software could also be installed on campus networks to notify counselors of students whose internet usage patterns are indicative of depressive behavior.”

This is clearly another solid reason for ISPs to block all access to any site that could possibly be used for piracy. Not only is it a crime: it could be bad for your kids! And let's not forget about the dangers of second-hand piracy...

And remember: if you experience symptoms of sadness, self-hate, remorse, or sorrow for more than four hours after pirating, seek medical help right away. Or just let us know if piracy makes you sad in the comments section below.

Image via Gazeta Technologie

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61 Comments

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I have decreased my habit of pirating stuff to almost zero now,and i haven't gotten that much happier. anyways, my point is, this "study" is a total BS. Either the people who conduct these studies don't know what science is or the Universal Studios paid these guys to publish the opposite results lol

Last night I downloaded a movie and an album and an aplication from the Pirate Bay, and now I beat up my wife, raped my daughter and now I took the test and it says this.

Probably Meets criteria for DSM -IV Major Depressive Disorder. Further assessment is needed to determine if Major Depressive Disorder is present
Your answers suggest that depression might be a problem for you. We recommend that you talk about it with your health care professional soon. Depression affects many people. There are good treatments for it.

I think I better seek help.

This whole thing is completely bogus, just like my above statements.

This article has a massive flaw. There's only a correlation; a causal link hasn't been found.
In the summer, ice-cream sales go up. Summer doesn't cause higher sales. The warmer weather...etc. does.


It's bad enough that file sharing is illegal, immoral, nasty, evil and dangerous

What?? Are you being serious?

Is lending a book to a friend illegal, immoral, nasty, evil, and dangerous too? Because that's exactly the same thing we're talking about, yet you wouldn't call a public library those things would you?

i think file sharing makes people sad when they cant find what it is that they are looking for. maybe they come across all these websites claiming to have file X but they are really trying to get you to buy a membership to some premium download access plan to some shady web hosting

Since when is sharing files illegal, immoral, nasty, evil and dangerous?

Oh, you mean illegal, immoral, nasty evil and dangerous file sharing.. not sending photos to my family or posting that word document for people to help me revise.

Appreciate the humorous slant of this Neowin article, but curious I clicked through to the TorrentFreak editorial & then on to the research paper. The original research simply matched psychological test results with the amounts of different types of internet usage -- the part that's new is that rather than rely on students self-reporting how & how much they used the internet, their network connections were monitored. Cisco NetFlow was already being used by the university's IT dept. "for troubleshooting network connections and policy enforcement", so they used that data for students enrolled in the study to compile the report's statistics. Of course you can make statistics say pretty much whatever you like -- I've often heard/read that numbers don't lie, but that ignores both limited data sets & the people doing the interpretation... published results are often misleading at best, completely dishonest at worst.

Holman based his article on TorrentFreak's writeup: "File-Sharing is Linked to Depression...". I don't wish to criticize either. Both do however skip over the part of the study that could potentially effect almost everyone -- monitoring usage to predict behavior &/or psychological health so whatever authorities can then *proactively* intervene, which is how the researchers propose that their work should be used. *If* they had only found an alleged connection between file sharing & depression that would be one thing, **but their research links pretty much all on-line usage** -- you could summarize it as heavy internet use is unhealthy. This might be used to justify monitoring, if only for alleged additional research, while the results might provide justification of things like blocking or using caps etc. Five years ago I wouldn't have been concerned, but 5 years ago school systems hadn't yet decided to ban things like cupcakes & cookies & bake sales because such foods contribute to the epidemic of obesity. Five years ago employers didn't demand access to employee Facebook accounts. Five years ago I'd never heard of SOPA or PIPA.

I think some of you are missing the sarcasm in the article. Clearly the OP sees the stupidity. The original TorrentFreak article also explains the idiocy in the "research".

But for those who seriously conducted this study, if combined with some common sense it would show that depressed people spend more time file sharing, not the other way around.

It is a little misleading, ofc there is no correlation between depression and file sharing. For the geneal user it prob makes them happier....however I'm sure that some depressed ppl may spend more time on the internet and therefore use file sharing more; but it certainly isn't the cause of their depression, more a symptom in some cases.

Sadelwo said,
Most college students are handing in papers and doing finals right now. Why wouldn't they be depressed?

There ya go

Statistics/studies often say whatever they were designed to say -- the rest of the time it's open to interpretation. If I wanted to cut a deal with the university as their cell carrier I might point to this study as proof their landline-based network was so terrible that the more people used it the more clinically depressed they become. That means more health care, & with it a huge expense -- my 4G network would pay for itself.

"File sharing makes you communist"
"File sharing makes you terrorist"
"File sharing makes you anti-american"
"File sharing makes you anti-jesus"
"File sharing makes you anti-Justin Bieber"

fenderMarky said,
"File sharing makes you communist"
"File sharing makes you terrorist"
"File sharing makes you anti-american"
"File sharing makes you anti-jesus"
"File sharing makes you anti-Justin Bieber"

You know what else causes this..? BREAD

fenderMarky said,
"File sharing makes you communist"
"File sharing makes you terrorist"
"File sharing makes you anti-american"
"File sharing makes you anti-jesus"
"File sharing makes you anti-Justin Bieber"

"Marijuana directly supports terrorism"

This article comes off sounding like the paper is saying pirating causes depression, whereas it actually only says people who are more depressed tend to pirate more - a very important distinction to make.

~Johnny said,
This article comes off sounding like the paper is saying pirating causes depression, whereas it actually only says people who are more depressed tend to pirate more - a very important distinction to make.

Depression manifests itself in lots of different ways both in the way it affects people and the cause of their depression. However, generally an action taken yourself isn't one of the reasons people become depressed. It's usually a 3rd person or event that they don't have much control over that is affecting them.
So it'd be more correct in actually saying something along the lines of 'RIAA causes depression in users that pirate music.' or 'Pirates depressed due to lack of funds to buy content legally., or even as far to say 'All pirates are depressed because they get labled as pirates'.
The latter might sound strange but its not illegal to pirate everywhere in the world and some laws have differentiating approaches to how they deal with illegal copyright theaft. That in itself could cause depression due to them having laws and views pushed up on them from foreign government states. When you live in a country where its legal for joe blogs to do something, yet you're always having to watch over your shoulder.

~Johnny said,
This article comes off sounding like the paper is saying pirating causes depression, whereas it actually only says people who are more depressed tend to pirate more - a very important distinction to make.

It also says they tend to be heavier internet users in other ways -- TorrentFreak likely focused on file sharing because, well, they're TorrentFreak after all.

I think it is the contrary, people usually get sad when they pay a lot of money for bad movies, software that use once on their life, games that can be finished in 7 hours. In contrast whom download something of those get absolutely happy that they don´t spend money on crappy movies, software, games , and they have extra money to spent in beer.
Just don´t write baseless articles like this one just because mafiaa and riaa give you money is just give bad reputation.

Rolf Lorenz said,
I think it is the contrary, people usually get sad when they pay a lot of money for bad movies, software that use once on their life, games that can be finished in 7 hours. In contrast whom download something of those get absolutely happy that they don´t spend money on crappy movies, software, games , and they have extra money to spent in beer.
Just don´t write baseless articles like this one just because mafiaa and riaa give you money is just give bad reputation.

I hope you are using some wildly horrid form of sarcasm, because if you couldn't see how much this article was making fun of the study for being absolutely ridiculous, then I don't think you deserve access to a computer.

http://i164.photobucket.com/al...ifs/Antoine-Dodson-Dumb.gif

Rolf Lorenz said,
... those get absolutely happy that they don´t spend money on crappy movies, software, games , and they have extra money to spent in beer...

Yes, but from the study we might conclude that happiest of all are the students already drinking all that beer, watching the movies someone else spent the time downloading.

hAHHAHAH, What sourcery is this. Did the test I'm not depressed. This mut be the latest move to prevent piracy: fake tests. Or maybe not fake but one campus isn't really proof of anything.
I mean : "law abiding, churchgoing citizenry.".

This study is a great example of how scientist so often just see what they want to see, and ignore things that don't fit their picture.

dodgetigger said,
This study is a great example of how scientist so often just see what they want to see, and ignore things that don't fit their picture.

Scientists aren't the only kind of people who do that.

This article is a great example of how journalists so often just see what they want to see, and ignore things that don't fit their picture.

What the scientist says, and what the journalist hears, is often very different.

osm0sis said,
Exactly! The title of this article should be changed.
It will not be changed because that would cause a dip in advertising revenue.

duddit2 said,
Correlation does not imply causation!

From the facts, I would tend to believe that depressed people spend more time on the computer (or people which spend more time in front of the computer tend to be depressed), and people that are on the computer more, file share more.

or maybe depressed people spend more time filesharing, so depression causes more filesharing. Maybe all the filesharers all ate the same cereal for breakfast, thus this cereal causes filesharing and depression. What if they all shared a common interest in emo music? The plot thickens......

Athlonite said,
I want what they're smoking please

Haha yeah me too!

I mean I guess I am in the other catagory.... Pirating turns me on... knowing those software companies / different industries will never get any money just.... oughhhhhh two towels!