By Jeff on May 10th, 2010
One common email we have been getting is people notifying us that they see live Humble Bundle key links around the internet on various forums, 4chan, and even Steam! I decided to look into this a little bit and try to guess how big of a phenomenon it is.
After some simple math, I estimate that over 25% of Humble Indie Bundle downloads are 'pirated' -- that is, users download from shared links from forums and other places without actually contributing anything. Note: that is not including BitTorrent and other sources.
How do people pirate the bundle? When I say this bundle is DRM-free -- I really mean DRM-free. Not only do the games themselves have no copy protection (not even a simple serial number check), but the Humble Indie Bundle website has limited copy protection. That means there are no download limits, everything is reachable on the command-line with 'wget', you can resume downloads, and do anything else you would expect to be able to do with a personal download link.
25% seems incredible given that you can simply pay $0.01 to be completely legitimate. Is this figure correct? Let's take a look at some raw download data.