August 25, 2005 10:34 AM PDT

Studios mine P2P logs to sue swappers

Hollywood studios filed a new round of lawsuits against file swappers on Thursday, for the first time using peer-to-peer companies' own data to track down individuals accused of trading movies online.

The Motion Picture Association of America said it filed 286 lawsuits against people around the United States based on information acquired from file-trading sites shut down earlier in the year. Most of those sites were hubs connecting people using the BitTorrent technology, a peer-to-peer application designed for speeding downloads of large files.

The group previously said in February that a Texas court had ordered that the server logs of one big site, called LokiTorrent, be turned over to Hollywood investigators. An MPAA spokeswoman said that none of Thursday's suits were related to that action, however.

Hollywood lawyers are hoping that the fear of exposure will dissuade more people from trying to download movies for free online.

"Internet movie thieves be warned: You have no friends in the online community when you are engaging in copyright theft," MPAA Senior Vice President John Malcom said in a statement.

Studios launched an aggressive new campaign against individual file swappers and peer-to-peer services last December, in particular targeting the BitTorrent hubs that served as jumping-off points for downloading a wide array of software and movies.

Many of the most popular sites, including SuprNova, LokiTorrent and others, have since shut down, either voluntarily or on the heels of lawsuits.

Although it is widely used for piracy, BitTorrent is increasingly being tapped for wholly legitimate applications such as distributing open-source software. Web browser company Opera Software has even built the technology into the latest version of its Net-surfing software.

BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has warned in the past that using his technology to distribute material illegally is a "dumb idea," because the file-swapping tool is not designed to hide the identity of anyone using it.

As with previous lawsuits filed by the MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America, this round of cases is aimed at anonymous "John Does" identified only by their Internet addresses. The defendants' true identities will be sought through a later court process.

28 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Attn all lawyers: Go to hell, scumbags
Lawyers are only a drag on society.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Settle Down, Bob BoB
BoB BoB, of course you are right. But name calling denotes a lack of
intellectualism that lawyers despise back. To really tick 'em off you
must sound like you have a pair of verbs and adjectives to rub
together.

Please try again and resubmit your name calling in a more refined
way. That'll show 'em.
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Link Flag
Attn all lawyers: Go to hell, scumbags
Lawyers are only a drag on society.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Settle Down, Bob BoB
BoB BoB, of course you are right. But name calling denotes a lack of
intellectualism that lawyers despise back. To really tick 'em off you
must sound like you have a pair of verbs and adjectives to rub
together.

Please try again and resubmit your name calling in a more refined
way. That'll show 'em.
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Link Flag
Okay, so now sites will start deleting their logs...
or change the information stored in log files. Of course they could always turn off logging all together.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Huh?
Logs? What logs? Nobody said anything about logs? Cripes!
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Link Flag
Okay, so now sites will start deleting their logs...
or change the information stored in log files. Of course they could always turn off logging all together.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Huh?
Logs? What logs? Nobody said anything about logs? Cripes!
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Link Flag
This case should be easy to defend!
Dont be afraid, it is possible to find a good defence line in any P2P case! Screaming around it is just industrial propaganda!
Posted by cocos2000 (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This case should be easy to defend!
Dont be afraid, it is possible to find a good defence line in any P2P case! Screaming around it is just industrial propaganda!
Posted by cocos2000 (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
just another reason to overhaul copyright law
since when was a good idea to sue your own customers? copyright law really has grown to beastly proportions-and the beast is hungry.
Posted by Dibbs (158 comments )
Reply Link Flag
just another reason to overhaul copyright law
since when was a good idea to sue your own customers? copyright law really has grown to beastly proportions-and the beast is hungry.
Posted by Dibbs (158 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear John
I have taken your advice and stopped downloading illegal movies online. I have however joined a monthly subscription service where the DVD comes right to my front door and goes back in the mail the next day.
And I want to thank you for your advice as I am no longer in fear of you violating my privacy with my ISP. I also want to thank you for increasing my movie collection not to mention the quality by burning my own. I am now making 6-9 full 1:1 copies per week. Far better than I ever did on P2P and the quality is outstanding.

Sincerely,
A happy burner

P.S
I stopped subscribing to HBO and Cinemax which has more than covered the cost for blanks and my monthly service. My wife was a little mad when I bought another DVD burner until I handed her every season of Sex in the City. Now my life is perfect.
Posted by Buzz_Friendly (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm Watching Buzz right Now
We have your IP, Buzz and tonight, whilst you are watching the
illegal copies of Sex in the City and banging your better half - we're
gonna give you such a purple nurple.
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Link Flag
Dear John
I have taken your advice and stopped downloading illegal movies online. I have however joined a monthly subscription service where the DVD comes right to my front door and goes back in the mail the next day.
And I want to thank you for your advice as I am no longer in fear of you violating my privacy with my ISP. I also want to thank you for increasing my movie collection not to mention the quality by burning my own. I am now making 6-9 full 1:1 copies per week. Far better than I ever did on P2P and the quality is outstanding.

Sincerely,
A happy burner

P.S
I stopped subscribing to HBO and Cinemax which has more than covered the cost for blanks and my monthly service. My wife was a little mad when I bought another DVD burner until I handed her every season of Sex in the City. Now my life is perfect.
Posted by Buzz_Friendly (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm Watching Buzz right Now
We have your IP, Buzz and tonight, whilst you are watching the
illegal copies of Sex in the City and banging your better half - we're
gonna give you such a purple nurple.
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Link Flag
ok now
Something seems a bit asinine about their ways of looking through log files to obtain the ip address of movie swappers, the information on that area seems a little grey and too few details were given on this.

Personally i think and feel in my opinion they will do like the RIAA, if they go after anyone it will probally be the ones they have the most to gain from, like those with big movie library's or if the log files can pinpoint or indicate the originator of the file then possibly those individuals as well.

Now i do feel like some of the other posters here when it comes to TV shows, in my opinion if i can record it on dvr or any recordable media in which most shows i do, then whats the difference in downloading a missed episode of that show other than not having to wait or guess when it will air or play again? Im already not having to pay them for recording it off of the air, it would just seem a little to much if they are pushing their controlling ways over something as trivial as over the air programming.
Posted by (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ok now
Something seems a bit asinine about their ways of looking through log files to obtain the ip address of movie swappers, the information on that area seems a little grey and too few details were given on this.

Personally i think and feel in my opinion they will do like the RIAA, if they go after anyone it will probally be the ones they have the most to gain from, like those with big movie library's or if the log files can pinpoint or indicate the originator of the file then possibly those individuals as well.

Now i do feel like some of the other posters here when it comes to TV shows, in my opinion if i can record it on dvr or any recordable media in which most shows i do, then whats the difference in downloading a missed episode of that show other than not having to wait or guess when it will air or play again? Im already not having to pay them for recording it off of the air, it would just seem a little to much if they are pushing their controlling ways over something as trivial as over the air programming.
Posted by (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Legitimate applications
BitTorrent is increasingly being tapped
for wholly legitimate applications

Hello over there!
Did it become a cliche of modern journalism to never dig the
basic facts first?

Bittorrent was created in first place like tool automating content
distribution. It does have no single feature to conceal user ids -
it wasn't designed for that.

BitTorrent makes redundant cumbersome process managing ftp
mirrors. It is easier for both users and content providers.

That's its purpose, and not made up stuff you journalists stick to
everything with P2P moniker.
Posted by Philips (400 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Legitimate applications
BitTorrent is increasingly being tapped
for wholly legitimate applications

Hello over there!
Did it become a cliche of modern journalism to never dig the
basic facts first?

Bittorrent was created in first place like tool automating content
distribution. It does have no single feature to conceal user ids -
it wasn't designed for that.

BitTorrent makes redundant cumbersome process managing ftp
mirrors. It is easier for both users and content providers.

That's its purpose, and not made up stuff you journalists stick to
everything with P2P moniker.
Posted by Philips (400 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Head in sand syndrome
I pay to watch movies in the cinema, I buy the DVDs of movies I think I'll enjoy, sometimes making sure by renting them first, and (the so-called illegal bit, due to a mis-informed judge) I make fair-use backups of my more expensive collector sets, to use instead of the original copy - making a new backup if the old one get's too scratched to use.

Personally I don't want to fill up my HD with movies, especially given that no media is forever, but I understand that people would prefer to have centrally managed media, movies and songs distributed from a central source.

However because of the massive success of DVDs, and not wanting to do anything to damage a source of income that can turn movie failures into successes, Hollywood is deliberately dragging its heels when it comes to on demand downloadable movies.

This will bite them in the backside the same way downloadable music has bitten the music industry, and no amount of suing their own customers will stop it from happening - in fact it'll just make people even more angry, and may even convert people into illegal downloaders out of spite.

Lawsuits have been a nasty PR exercise for the music business, especially when they end up suing 10 year old girls and single mothers - making themselves look like the greedy corporate monoliths they are, and Hollywood is about to go the same way.

The reality is if they want to stop the majority of piracy they will need to do two things.

First stop giving out the pre-oscar copies of movies - these are perfect copies and always end up in the hands of both DVD duplicators and illegal download servers. I don't know what the answer is as to an alternative, but this is the source of most piracy (not camcorders in the movie theatre).

The second is to provide reasonably priced downloads. This price should be much less than DVD prices, because they supply no media or any of the pointless extras that just about no one except a few fanatics watch.

In a few years about a third of the US will be able to download a movie in under five minutes, probably rising to two third by the middle of the next decade. If they don't want sales to plumet they'd better act now, and stop the lawsuits from turning legitimate customers into angry downloaders.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Head in sand syndrome
I pay to watch movies in the cinema, I buy the DVDs of movies I think I'll enjoy, sometimes making sure by renting them first, and (the so-called illegal bit, due to a mis-informed judge) I make fair-use backups of my more expensive collector sets, to use instead of the original copy - making a new backup if the old one get's too scratched to use.

Personally I don't want to fill up my HD with movies, especially given that no media is forever, but I understand that people would prefer to have centrally managed media, movies and songs distributed from a central source.

However because of the massive success of DVDs, and not wanting to do anything to damage a source of income that can turn movie failures into successes, Hollywood is deliberately dragging its heels when it comes to on demand downloadable movies.

This will bite them in the backside the same way downloadable music has bitten the music industry, and no amount of suing their own customers will stop it from happening - in fact it'll just make people even more angry, and may even convert people into illegal downloaders out of spite.

Lawsuits have been a nasty PR exercise for the music business, especially when they end up suing 10 year old girls and single mothers - making themselves look like the greedy corporate monoliths they are, and Hollywood is about to go the same way.

The reality is if they want to stop the majority of piracy they will need to do two things.

First stop giving out the pre-oscar copies of movies - these are perfect copies and always end up in the hands of both DVD duplicators and illegal download servers. I don't know what the answer is as to an alternative, but this is the source of most piracy (not camcorders in the movie theatre).

The second is to provide reasonably priced downloads. This price should be much less than DVD prices, because they supply no media or any of the pointless extras that just about no one except a few fanatics watch.

In a few years about a third of the US will be able to download a movie in under five minutes, probably rising to two third by the middle of the next decade. If they don't want sales to plumet they'd better act now, and stop the lawsuits from turning legitimate customers into angry downloaders.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
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.