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Piracy Privacy Sony The Media Your Rights Online

Sony, Universal and Fox Caught Pirating Through BitTorrent 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the hand-in-cookie-jar dept.
New submitter Bad_Feeling sends in a followup to the story we discussed on Monday about a new site that scanned a few popular torrent trackers and linked torrents to IP addresses. The folks at TorrentFreak decided to check IP addresses belonging to major companies in the entertainment industry and published lists of pirated files from several, including Fox, Sony, and NBC Universal. Of course, they used the information to make a slightly different point than the industry usually does: "By highlighting the above our intention is not to get anyone into trouble, and for that reason we masked out the end of the IP addresses to avoid a witch hunt. An IP address is not a person, IP addresses can be shared among many people, and anyone can be behind a keyboard at any given time."
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Sony, Universal and Fox Caught Pirating Through BitTorrent

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  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:21AM (#38368864)

    ...that if a property is doing sluggishly the PR arms of the studios put it out on the 'net to try to raise buzz. The irony is that then the legal arms of these same companies go after those very people the other side of their company want to resuscitate their ailing properties by word-of-mouth.

    It's cynical, hypocritical and just downright fucked up.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:22AM (#38368872)

    By highlighting the above our intention is not to get anyone into trouble . . .

    This quote is not from Hollywood studios but the author of the article on torrentfreak. This is somewhat of a non-story. It is possible that an employee of a studio is downloading via torrents without permission. After all, how many people do you know use their work networks to download pirated content. Their companies most likely do not approve of such actions. This is only a story if a high-ranking employee is pirating. If the downloading was authorized, what was the purpose? If someone from the legal/copyright department is doing so to verify that their content is on the internet, that's well within the scope of their jobs.

  • by HopefulIntern (1759406) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:23AM (#38368888)
    Not only that, but if they are indeed sharing, you could argue that all the stuff you have downloaded were from their IPs, so really the rightsholders were giving it out for free.
  • It's a TRAP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Jynx (806942) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:29AM (#38368936) Homepage
    FTA:

    "In a response Buma/Stemra issued a press release stating that their IP-addresses were spoofed. A very unlikely scenario, but one that will be welcomed by BitTorrent pirates worldwide. In fact, they’d encourage Sony, Universal and Fox to say something similar. After all, if it’s so easy to spoof an IP-address, then accused file-sharers can use this same defense against copyright holders."

    This is quite a smart move. Getting these big organisations to explain this away will only add credence to the valid reasons that the public should be able to use to protect themselves. It doesn't matter what your personal opinion is on the morals of the situation the plain fact is an IP is not a person and the clearer this is made to the judges the better. Of course there is a the chance that the IPs were added manually by the guys who set the project up, they already admitted that there is still test data in there (do a check for 192.168.*.*) so it's far from perfect.
  • by jpapon (1877296) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:29AM (#38368938) Journal

    If they are downloading them, they are sharing them as well.

    That's simply not true. They could have turned off uploading.

  • by jpapon (1877296) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:36AM (#38369006) Journal

    how many people do you know use their work networks to download pirated content

    None, actually. That's a really stupid thing to do... The only thing worse than being slapped with a 100k fine for downloading some music is also getting fired over it.

  • Re:Dumb argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darfeld (1147131) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:38AM (#38369028)

    It seems to me it's not so much about giving up enforcement than pointing out that ip isn't a good way to identify law breakers.

    It more like, a murderer used a stolen cars ( Or the murderer give/sell the car away) and the police arrest the owner of the car...

  • by glop (181086) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:40AM (#38369040)

    Actually it's pretty much a story if it's low-level employees doing it.
    Come on! the MPAA and RIAA are always trying to get ISPs to police their customers and make sure nobody is using their connection to pirate stuff.
    But then they can't even block their own freaking employees from going to torrents and pirating copyrighted works?

    I mean, it should be easier to control employees than customers, no? So this makes the point of the ISPs that have long said that they can't monitor their customers and make sure they don't pirate.

  • Re:It's a TRAP! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by laffer1 (701823) <[luke] [at] [foolishgames.com]> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:43AM (#38369078) Homepage Journal

    This has always been my problem with these lawsuits. An IP address has never been equal to a person. NAT and wifi are two reasons that it could be anyone in the area or household. Then when you throw malware into the mix it could literally be anyone. As you've pointed out, spoofing could also be done to frame someone.

    This is also the reason I won't run tor here. I don't think a judge or prosecutor would understand that anyone can be downloading through my IP address.

  • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:02AM (#38369270) Journal
    It's not about being totally hidden. It's about being more hidden than the spaz next door.
  • by jpapon (1877296) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:13AM (#38369362) Journal
    I download torrents all the time without uploading anything. There are many ways of preventing outbound traffic...
  • Re:Dumb argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bws111 (1216812) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:15AM (#38369380)

    Good grief, are you really that dumb? Presumption of innocence means you are not guilty until proven otherwise (ie at trial). It does NOT refer to what the police do or who they consider guilty (a suspect). The stuff that happens BEFORE the trial is based on 'probable cause'. If your car is seen fleeing a crime scene, there is good reason (probable cause) to think you were involved. No, you have not been PROVEN to be involved yet, that would occur at trial. Same thing with an IP address. No, it does not mean the owner of the address is the guilty party, but there is probable cause to think he is, and that probable cause opens the door to the collection of further evidence and legal action. Nobody has been convicted or successfully sued based solely on an IP address.

  • by Rennt (582550) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:18AM (#38369408)

    It is possible that an employee of a studio is downloading via torrents without permission

    Well yes, naturally. The thing is these companies are the same ones telling courts that an IP address connected to a swarm constitutes positive identification and proof of guilt for whoever the IP address was assigned to at the time.

    If someone from the legal/copyright department is doing so to verify that their content is on the internet, that's well within the scope of their jobs.

    Again, true. And more evidence that an IP address does not equal proof of infringement.

    They deserve to squirm on the hook for this one. Totally a newsworthy story.

  • by Terrasque (796014) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:22AM (#38369448) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure it's easy to poison a tracker into giving out IPs that aren't actually torrenting.

    The protocol is dead simple, actually. HTTP GET's and decoder for bencoded [theory.org] formats, and you're halfway to making a database already. Add some web crawling for torrents, and you're set.

    Tracker protocol:
    http://wiki.theory.org/BitTorrent_Tracker_Protocol [theory.org]

    GET announce example from there:

    hxxp://some.tracker.com:999/announce
    ?info_hash=12345678901234567890
    &peer_id=ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST
    &ip=255.255.255.255
    &port=6881
    &downloaded=1234
    &left=98765
    &event=stopped

    And it will answer with a list of active peers (with IP) it already have on that info_hash, in bencoded format.

    Bencoded format example:

    d4:spaml1:a1:bee represents the dictionary { "spam" => [ "a", "b" ] }

    This is more or less a weekend project, if even that.

  • by delinear (991444) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:43AM (#38369654)
    Because this is about showing how shady the labels are, not about retaliating in kind. We all know it's trivial to find out who these people are, there's no need for TF to stoop to their level (you know the first thing that would happen if they did is some script kiddies would go for a DoS attack and TF would take flak over it or be accused of implicitly instigating it).
  • by theVP (835556) * on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:15AM (#38370010)
    I am going to go out on a limb and say that your corporate environment does not give every workstation their own public IP address.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:27AM (#38370124) Homepage

    They offered their "property" up in a fashion that assumes that other people will continue to redistribute it on their behalf. No pro-corporate legal interpretation of the Copyright Act will really change that.

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