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BitTorrent transfers account for one-third of all upstream traffic during peak hours.This massive network use has received plenty of interest from Internet providers over the years, but AT&T is planning to take it to the next level.A new patent awarded to the Intellectual Property division of the Texas-based company describes a system that can accurately measure the flow of both legitimate and infringing file-sharing traffic.Titled “Method and apparatus for automated end to end content tracking in peer-to-peer environments,” the patent covers an advanced monitoring system that can detect how often a certain title is downloaded. AT&T says this information can then be used to address network congestion or counter piracy.The flow-chart below shows the various steps involved in the detection and tracking process.AT&T Torrent trackerThe system described by AT&T focuses specifically on torrents, which are gathered from search engines and other websites through RSS feeds. Discovered content is collected in a database and the system then downloads the torrent and records information on the people who are downloading.In the patent AT&T notes that peer-to-peer traffic accounts for a large percentage of traffic generated on the Internet, some of which results in a loss of revenue for copyright holders.“For example, some content may be legitimately purchased and downloaded by users via P2P. However, some content may be pirated and illegally copied and distributed P2P violating copyright laws and reducing revenue for the content producers and distributors,” the company explains.AT&T’s system will be able to detect what is most downloaded on P2P-networks, suggesting that this information can be used to track and counter piracy.“The present disclosure automatically tracks content that is downloaded in a peer-to-peer environment. In doing so, the present disclosure automatically identifies the most popular content titles to monitor and tracks and identifies a number of unique peers for each of the content titles.”In addition, there is a content analysis component that will verify whether the downloaded files are indeed what the title suggests. This will be useful to filter out spam files and viruses that are mislabeled as popular videos or music.