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Media Government The Courts News

Rapidshare Ordered To Filter Content 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you-like-busywork dept.
A Cow writes "TorrentFreak reports that the Regional Court in Hamburg, Germany, has ruled that file-hosting service Rapidshare must proactively filter certain content. Music industry outfit GEMA asked the court to ban Rapidshare from making 5,000 tracks from its catalogue available on the Internet." Reader biabia brings an update to a related case in Italy involving four Google executives. The issue in that situation revolves around Google's response time in taking down a video that was deemed to be a privacy violation. Google is worried that a verdict against them could lead to mandatory pre-screening of all public videos that are uploaded onto their websites. Those proceedings have now been postponed until late September.
Update: 6/24 at 17:45 GMT by SS: The article originally reported that Rapidshare was fined $34 million. No such fine has been imposed — $34 million was the estimated value of the tracks hosted on Rapidshare.
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Rapidshare Ordered To Filter Content

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  • Re:How to filter? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:02PM (#28455791)

    The only way I can see Rapidshare counteracting this is to deny downloads of anything that appears encrypted, so if someone uploads a RAR file or a data blob that doesn't correspond to a known format, it would be automatically removed.

    However, it wouldn't be hard at all to get around this by attaching a header onto an encrypted blob and telling people to just cut off the first x bytes off the front of the file.

  • Re:But How? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rysc (136391) * <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:19PM (#28456055) Homepage Journal

    We already know exactly how this will go. RS already bans certain types of 'objectionable' porn, so such material is routinely uploaded as password protected RARs. The intended audience does not report it, so it remains up.

  • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Informative)

    by Taagehornet (984739) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:32PM (#28456261)

    Mininova and other websites took over as the leading Torrent hubs.

    Just to correct an all too common misunderstanding, Mininova really cannot be compared to The Pirate Bay.

    Mininova is nothing more than an index [wikipedia.org]. Mininova does not operate a tracker [wikipedia.org]. The majority (if not all) of the torrent files found at Mininova would be pretty useless if the Pirate Bay servers weren't around to do the heavy lifting.

    The torrent network really isn't as decentralized as most people seem to think; torrent traffic would take a major hit if the servers at TPB were shut down ...at least for a while.

  • Re:Surprised (Score:3, Informative)

    by Not The Real Me (538784) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @03:22PM (#28457937)

    "...Why would anyone choose that over Bittorrent..."

    Unless something is extremely popular on Bittorrent and/or has a lot of seeders, it can take days to download. And in cases of lack of seeds, not downloadable at all.

  • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @04:33PM (#28459145)

    Yes, you can. I rewrote a torrent client that neither downloaded nor uploaded data. Just polled the tracker for information on connected users, the same as the various torrent indexes use to gather data on # clients, avg completion, etc.

    It also made itself known as a client, so that other users would ask it for pieces, but that was just to gather statistics on how well a torrent spread across the swarm. You could write a client that none of the other clients would know about(ie, never told the tracker "hey, I'm participating", just asked who was participating).

    Most anti-"known bad users" features rely on the investigator's client contacting you to see if you are really sharing(not just on the tracker list). If they didn't have to prove you were actually sharing something, they could just snarf the list from the tracker and no-one else would even know.

    But then it would be trivial to spoof IPs onto the tracker and they'd be getting in even more trouble for falsely prosecuting little old ladies and printers.

  • Re:Surprised (Score:2, Informative)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @04:39PM (#28459235) Journal

    Bittorrent [theory.org], simplified:

    • torrent file contains tracker and file information (sha1 for verification)
    • client connects to tracker (http/https)
    • tracker sends list of peers (up to 50, randomly selected)
    • client connects to peers, determines what pieces peers have
    • client uploads/downloads

    So it would be straightforward to have a custom client poll the tracker for peers and then connect to determine if they have the full file or not. If they do, you can download entirely from them (they won't request any chunks from you) to prove full redistribution.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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