December 14, 2004 12:01 PM PST

MPAA targets core BitTorrent, eDonkey users

Related Stories

BitTorrent servers under attack

December 2, 2004

Hollywood lawsuits to strike Net pirates

November 4, 2004

Kazaa loses P2P crown

October 11, 2004
update The Motion Picture Association of America launched a new legal campaign Tuesday targeting the BitTorrent and eDonkey file-swapping networks, two technologies widely used to trade movies online.

Ratcheting up its previous online antipiracy efforts, the Hollywood group is working with law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to target and arrest individuals who play a critical role in the functioning of each type of network.

Criminal actions have already been filed in Europe, including the seizure of seven Net-connected servers, with their operator still wanted by French police, a representative of the French government said.

News.context

What's new:
The MPAA is working with law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to target and arrest individuals who play a critical role in the functioning of BitTorrent and eDonkey.

Bottom line:
The legal actions mark a strong new attack on peer-to-peer networks, which have continued to thrive over the past several years despite lawsuits against software developers and individuals.

More stories on this topic

"These people are parasites, leeching off the creative activity of others," said John Malcolm, the MPAA's director of worldwide antipiracy operations. They "serve as traffic cops connecting those who want to steal movies with those who have a copy and want to provide it."

The cross-border legal actions mark a strong new attack on peer-to-peer networks, which have continued to thrive over the past several years despite lawsuits against software developers and nearly 7,000 individuals accused of trading copyrighted music online.

BitTorrent and eDonkey each have grown rapidly over the past two years, threatening to become to the movie industry what Napster initially was to the record labels. Each technology is designed specifically to speed downloads of very large files, and has been used widely to distribute full-length movies, computer games and software.

BitTorrent in particular has become a recent concern for Hollywood companies desperate to stop video piracy before it cuts into their soaring DVD sales revenues. The threat of potential criminal penalties substantially raises the stakes for those helping to distribute a film using the technology, in what the studios hope will be a more effective deterrence than previous actions.

According to Net monitoring firm BayTSP, eDonkey recently passed up Kazaa as the most popular file-swapping network in the world, measured by number of users. Other network monitors have said that BitTorrent has long been the most popular measured by the amount of data transferred between users.

Who's being sued?
Understanding exactly who has been targeted in the latest peer-to-peer dragnet requires a little understanding of how each network works, however.

In the early days of Napster, a central server operated by that company kept a huge index of all content available on the network and where it was located, matching downloaders with people who had a particular piece of content. The recording industry was able to successfully sue Napster after judges said that a centrally operated index made the company legally responsible for piracy on the network.

Record labels and movie studios then sued a second generation of file-swapping companies, which offered decentralized services in which the

CONTINUED:
Page 1 | 2

21 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Partial Files and Your Privacy
The very strengths of a successful peer to peer network of BitTorrent and eDonkey are its weakness.

Unlike FastTrack (e.g. Kazaa) or Gnutella, both BitTorrent and eDonkey force you to share partial files. Shards or fragments of a file are already available for download to other users regardless whether that file has been completely downloaded or not. Sharing these scattered fragments uses less resources than the whole, and people are more likely to find the file by piecing fragments together which would otherwise be more difficult to find on leech tolerant networks (e.g. FastTrack and Gnutella). Also, BitTorrent and eDonkey files use hashes (e.g. fingerprint), which make it nearly impossible to spoof.

BitTorrent and eDonkey force you to share partial files that presumably have a unique fingerprint. The RIAA and MPAA are using finger print identification programs and can spot potential violators without having to download the entire file! Your partial files are in effect being served to the rest of the community, and you can become ensared in the dragnet.

Piracy is a real problem whether it is music, movies or software. Intellectual property holders have a right to protect their interests.

The other practical implications are this fingerprint technology could be used to: (1) identify and track distribution of dissident material; (2) identify downloading habits of groups or individuals. Privacy is sacrificed.

I believe the purpose of most P2P networks is not to evade detection or enable clandestine activities, but offer another medium to share files which might not otherwise be available.

The next step in P2P evolution will probably be security and encryption controls that will make the experience more anonymous. Anonymity coupled with forced sharing of bandwidth will foster more participation than merely forced sharing of specific partial uploads.
Posted by Konrad (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But
But if your only facilitating the transfer of pieces of files with no way of knowing what that piece is part of, your more or less acting as an ISP. You not only cant prevent people from using your service for illegal traffic, but you have no way of knowing if the material is illegal.

Not to mention the fact that since when is a fragmented segment of inoperable and unidentifyable compiled code covered under the copyright of the original work? Wouldnt it be fair use?

If I wrote down on a piece of paper 3 random words from "Romeo and Juliet" not knowing the source could I be sued? More to the point.. should it be legal to sue me?
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Link Flag
Partial Files and Your Privacy
The very strengths of a successful peer to peer network of BitTorrent and eDonkey are its weakness.

Unlike FastTrack (e.g. Kazaa) or Gnutella, both BitTorrent and eDonkey force you to share partial files. Shards or fragments of a file are already available for download to other users regardless whether that file has been completely downloaded or not. Sharing these scattered fragments uses less resources than the whole, and people are more likely to find the file by piecing fragments together which would otherwise be more difficult to find on leech tolerant networks (e.g. FastTrack and Gnutella). Also, BitTorrent and eDonkey files use hashes (e.g. fingerprint), which make it nearly impossible to spoof.

BitTorrent and eDonkey force you to share partial files that presumably have a unique fingerprint. The RIAA and MPAA are using finger print identification programs and can spot potential violators without having to download the entire file! Your partial files are in effect being served to the rest of the community, and you can become ensared in the dragnet.

Piracy is a real problem whether it is music, movies or software. Intellectual property holders have a right to protect their interests.

The other practical implications are this fingerprint technology could be used to: (1) identify and track distribution of dissident material; (2) identify downloading habits of groups or individuals. Privacy is sacrificed.

I believe the purpose of most P2P networks is not to evade detection or enable clandestine activities, but offer another medium to share files which might not otherwise be available.

The next step in P2P evolution will probably be security and encryption controls that will make the experience more anonymous. Anonymity coupled with forced sharing of bandwidth will foster more participation than merely forced sharing of specific partial uploads.
Posted by Konrad (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But
But if your only facilitating the transfer of pieces of files with no way of knowing what that piece is part of, your more or less acting as an ISP. You not only cant prevent people from using your service for illegal traffic, but you have no way of knowing if the material is illegal.

Not to mention the fact that since when is a fragmented segment of inoperable and unidentifyable compiled code covered under the copyright of the original work? Wouldnt it be fair use?

If I wrote down on a piece of paper 3 random words from "Romeo and Juliet" not knowing the source could I be sued? More to the point.. should it be legal to sue me?
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Link Flag
I actually hope they come after me.
The only "stuff" I download are movies I already own. I'd love to hear the ***holes from the MPAA's rational for coming after a person who already owns a copy. Not only a copy but my DVD collection is 400 disks and growing. I'll fight this with every penny I have. Screw the MPAA.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I actually hope they come after me.
The only "stuff" I download are movies I already own. I'd love to hear the ***holes from the MPAA's rational for coming after a person who already owns a copy. Not only a copy but my DVD collection is 400 disks and growing. I'll fight this with every penny I have. Screw the MPAA.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pot calling kettles black.
Where they get the nerve to call other people parasites is beyond me. They have been leeching off artists since the recording industry started.

Copyright, is only relevant with commercial production techniques. Sure there needs to be rules to protect businesses investment in media production hardware, but to claim the needs more protection when media production is cost effective for the individual is farcical. The entertainment industry no longer requires the massive investment in physical media, that needs the sort of protection that copyright was created for.
Posted by Burnsie001 (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pot calling kettles black.
Where they get the nerve to call other people parasites is beyond me. They have been leeching off artists since the recording industry started.

Copyright, is only relevant with commercial production techniques. Sure there needs to be rules to protect businesses investment in media production hardware, but to claim the needs more protection when media production is cost effective for the individual is farcical. The entertainment industry no longer requires the massive investment in physical media, that needs the sort of protection that copyright was created for.
Posted by Burnsie001 (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Destroying technology because of abuse
Hollywood may find they have killed their own industry in this mad pursuit to try to control something that cannot be controlled. As fast as they shut down one technology, another will spring up.

However, in the case of BitTorrent, they have a serious problem - BitTorrent is used for the distribution of any kind of computer files - and the courts can be shown that it is being used for distribution of things like the latest Mozilla or Firefox distributions, as well as many other software distributions - particularly large or very popular ones.

It seems unlikely to me that lawyers will want to try to set a precedence of 'well, if this can be used for illegal purposes, it must not be permitted at all', since of course, one could say the same thing about music and video - since they can be used for illegal purposes, perhaps the courts should just rule that movie and music of any sort should be illegal.
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Destroying technology because of abuse
Hollywood may find they have killed their own industry in this mad pursuit to try to control something that cannot be controlled. As fast as they shut down one technology, another will spring up.

However, in the case of BitTorrent, they have a serious problem - BitTorrent is used for the distribution of any kind of computer files - and the courts can be shown that it is being used for distribution of things like the latest Mozilla or Firefox distributions, as well as many other software distributions - particularly large or very popular ones.

It seems unlikely to me that lawyers will want to try to set a precedence of 'well, if this can be used for illegal purposes, it must not be permitted at all', since of course, one could say the same thing about music and video - since they can be used for illegal purposes, perhaps the courts should just rule that movie and music of any sort should be illegal.
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Beyond U.S. law
Many popular torrent trackers may be in countries that are not under U.S. law. I have a hard time seeing how such trackers can be pressured to shut down by groups like the MPAA. Keep in mind, however that torrent clients are well identified by IP address, so I would look towards participation in trusted groups using encryption for safer data sharing.
Posted by atariboy (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Beyond U.S. law
Many popular torrent trackers may be in countries that are not under U.S. law. I have a hard time seeing how such trackers can be pressured to shut down by groups like the MPAA. Keep in mind, however that torrent clients are well identified by IP address, so I would look towards participation in trusted groups using encryption for safer data sharing.
Posted by atariboy (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here's an idea...
Why don't the respective industries look at stoping piracy a different way? By this I mean make their products more affordable to the general public. Nobody wants to spend 50-90 dollars on a video game that they'll play to it's end only once. Let's face it most of the games that come out today are limited in replayability. As for the movie industry, they could also afford to reduce their profits and by the same token cut their losses if going to the movies or renting a movie would cost less. In my area, catching a movie in the theater with my wife will cost me somewhere around 30 dollars and that includes 2 sodas and some popcorn. Now by my standards that's a lot of money to see a movie that's probably been over-hyped anyway. Sure we see the trailers on tv and stuff, but let's face it the trailers are showing us the best parts of the movie...the rest is usually crap. I grow sick of hearing multimedia industries whine about losing money to piracy, but yet see them spending ridiculous amounts of money to try and protect their product instead of just plain lowering the cost at retail. In my honest opinion, this would greatly reduce the urge of many people to obtain by any other means a product that they desire without paying for it. Sure it won't eliminate the piracy issue, but it sure will take a bite out of the problem.
It's easy for them to point the finger and call someone who might not be able to afford the "product" a thief for downloading it, but the same could be said about certain companies that put out less than worthwhile products for ridiculous amounts of money. Isn't that also thievery? If not,in the least it's deceptive.
Perhaps the truth of the matter is that the "clients" are tired of getting the bum end of the deal, and would rather get the product for free, and if they really like, go out and purchase it. Let's take the example of software: client x goes out and buys a program to modify his pictures with. He pays a crazy amount of money, only to find out the the product is riddled with bugs, and he has to hunt around the internet to find solutions to make this product work. But that's not the worst of it...he hasn't had the prodict for a full year yet and their's already a newer version out. Can he upgrade his product and get what he paid for in the first place. Probably not, so he'll have to spend even more money to either get an updated version or just purchase the whole program again. Do you think that's honest towards the client? I sure don't and neither do most consumers anymore.
I feel that by giving the client a fare shake, the industries can only expect people to better appreciate the efforts of corporate america to make their products more affordable and thus more accessible to the general public. Larger profit margins are obtained through volume and not single sales. The less it costs the more you sell. Just my rant, but perhaps it'll open peoples eyes. Thanks for reading me. ;o)
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thank You.
I completely agree with recoil. I find that nowdays the price for items that are being debated over over priced. I feel that although I know we wouldn't same if we were in their place, but the entertainment industry can afford to lose a little bit of profit by lowering prices to buy movies or theatre prices. I for one, would be more inclined as to afford myself a collection. I intend to buy all my movies after finishing my education and getting a better job, for only then would I be able to afford it. Couldn't top entertainment executives sacrafice one less diamond on their jeweled encrusted cell phones, or one less gold watch, just as to attract more fans of artists and let more people enjoy life? Life is hard enough, there is no need for anyone to make it harder by exploiting things that make life a little easier by overmilking the profits from it.

As for an offhand remark, for Most of the musicians out there, please make better music. I find that 15 dollars for a cd is a waste of money for the cr*p that comes out nowdays. I remembered when I felt cds were worth the 15 dollars.

-my 2 cents.

"It is only an opinion, in a sea of opinions..."
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
Here's an idea...
Why don't the respective industries look at stoping piracy a different way? By this I mean make their products more affordable to the general public. Nobody wants to spend 50-90 dollars on a video game that they'll play to it's end only once. Let's face it most of the games that come out today are limited in replayability. As for the movie industry, they could also afford to reduce their profits and by the same token cut their losses if going to the movies or renting a movie would cost less. In my area, catching a movie in the theater with my wife will cost me somewhere around 30 dollars and that includes 2 sodas and some popcorn. Now by my standards that's a lot of money to see a movie that's probably been over-hyped anyway. Sure we see the trailers on tv and stuff, but let's face it the trailers are showing us the best parts of the movie...the rest is usually crap. I grow sick of hearing multimedia industries whine about losing money to piracy, but yet see them spending ridiculous amounts of money to try and protect their product instead of just plain lowering the cost at retail. In my honest opinion, this would greatly reduce the urge of many people to obtain by any other means a product that they desire without paying for it. Sure it won't eliminate the piracy issue, but it sure will take a bite out of the problem.
It's easy for them to point the finger and call someone who might not be able to afford the "product" a thief for downloading it, but the same could be said about certain companies that put out less than worthwhile products for ridiculous amounts of money. Isn't that also thievery? If not,in the least it's deceptive.
Perhaps the truth of the matter is that the "clients" are tired of getting the bum end of the deal, and would rather get the product for free, and if they really like, go out and purchase it. Let's take the example of software: client x goes out and buys a program to modify his pictures with. He pays a crazy amount of money, only to find out the the product is riddled with bugs, and he has to hunt around the internet to find solutions to make this product work. But that's not the worst of it...he hasn't had the prodict for a full year yet and their's already a newer version out. Can he upgrade his product and get what he paid for in the first place. Probably not, so he'll have to spend even more money to either get an updated version or just purchase the whole program again. Do you think that's honest towards the client? I sure don't and neither do most consumers anymore.
I feel that by giving the client a fare shake, the industries can only expect people to better appreciate the efforts of corporate america to make their products more affordable and thus more accessible to the general public. Larger profit margins are obtained through volume and not single sales. The less it costs the more you sell. Just my rant, but perhaps it'll open peoples eyes. Thanks for reading me. ;o)
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thank You.
I completely agree with recoil. I find that nowdays the price for items that are being debated over over priced. I feel that although I know we wouldn't same if we were in their place, but the entertainment industry can afford to lose a little bit of profit by lowering prices to buy movies or theatre prices. I for one, would be more inclined as to afford myself a collection. I intend to buy all my movies after finishing my education and getting a better job, for only then would I be able to afford it. Couldn't top entertainment executives sacrafice one less diamond on their jeweled encrusted cell phones, or one less gold watch, just as to attract more fans of artists and let more people enjoy life? Life is hard enough, there is no need for anyone to make it harder by exploiting things that make life a little easier by overmilking the profits from it.

As for an offhand remark, for Most of the musicians out there, please make better music. I find that 15 dollars for a cd is a waste of money for the cr*p that comes out nowdays. I remembered when I felt cds were worth the 15 dollars.

-my 2 cents.

"It is only an opinion, in a sea of opinions..."
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
they targetted 6 sites taht specialize in TV shows and this stuff stays on?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.getdtsdvd.com/index.shtml" target="_newWindow">http://www.getdtsdvd.com/index.shtml</a>

This cannot be legal. They're selling packaged DVD's of movies that are still in theatre. And sites that help TV show enthusiasts to trade episodes of shows (with no money exchanged) are targetted by the MPAA?

Down with piracy, but let us trade our tv shows.

To answer the inevitable question, I equate piracy with someone copying something that is readily available on the market. i.e. DVD's or CD's or books. Bootlegging by taping concerts (where it is not explicitly allowed) or movies is also a form of piracy. Trading recorded episodes via P2P filesharing is similar to trading VHS tapes of those same episodes (except it is faster and higher quality).
Posted by Xalorous (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
they targetted 6 sites taht specialize in TV shows and this stuff stays on?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.getdtsdvd.com/index.shtml" target="_newWindow">http://www.getdtsdvd.com/index.shtml</a>

This cannot be legal. They're selling packaged DVD's of movies that are still in theatre. And sites that help TV show enthusiasts to trade episodes of shows (with no money exchanged) are targetted by the MPAA?

Down with piracy, but let us trade our tv shows.

To answer the inevitable question, I equate piracy with someone copying something that is readily available on the market. i.e. DVD's or CD's or books. Bootlegging by taping concerts (where it is not explicitly allowed) or movies is also a form of piracy. Trading recorded episodes via P2P filesharing is similar to trading VHS tapes of those same episodes (except it is faster and higher quality).
Posted by Xalorous (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Somebody said you are forced to share bits of files that you are currently downloading.
What if you sent the allowed u/l bandwidth to ZERO?
Bittorrent of their site lets you do that.
Would that not prevent the MPAA slime from getting a "signature" off you for whatever file?

Also, I'd just like to add that it's DISGUSTING to burn people for d/l-ing episodes of a BROADCAST TV SERIES! It was already on the air!
Posted by Semysig (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.