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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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:13AM (#38368794)

    So surely the companies are distributing the movies to everyone. As they are the rights holder, it should be legal to download it?

    • by gmuslera (3436) * on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:21AM (#38368866) Homepage Journal
      If they are downloading them, they are sharing them as well. Would be great that those 3 companies sue each other out of existence for sharing bittorrents of the movies of the other companies.
    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:28AM (#38368926)

      It still doesn't make it legal to redistribute it...

    • They first downloaded the movie and then were seeding it. The purpose of doing this is to log the IPs of other peers in the swarm. Call peer block lists ineffective but it hasn't harmed my activity, and I block the bogon ranges, and government and corporate ranges.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:32AM (#38368970)

        peerblock + bluetack list (p2p) + any torrenting app = you won't/can't be tracked by any industry in any legal fashion. It literally is that simple these days.

        confirms that even of the thousands of torrents I've downloaded over the years, my IP address comes up with zero records.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          peerblock + bluetack list (p2p) + any torrenting app

          Bluetack appears to have been taken off the air.

        • by thomst (1640045) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:15PM (#38371738) Homepage

          peerblock + bluetack list (p2p) + any torrenting app = you won't/can't be tracked by any industry in any legal fashion. It literally is that simple these days.

          No it's not.

          ALL of the URLs that bluetack points to have been "suspended" by Vectrohost.com, and bluetack's own page is now just a plea for contributions.

    • by KnightMB (823876) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:23AM (#38369454)
      I don't know why this article at torrentfreak doesn't just list the IP address, it only took me all of 3 minutes to figure what the real IPs were.

      For the world to see now:

      208.84.225.10
      United States (US), California, Culver City
      Downloaded files
      Conan the Barbarian 2011 ... 80p DTS AC3 dxva-LoNeWolf (12.19 GB) Nov, 2011
      The Black Keys - Lonely Boy (7.50 MB) Nov, 2011
      VA - Dubstep Meditations - 2010 [FLAC] (336.47 MB) Nov, 2011
      {www.scenetime.com}Beavis ... port.480p.WEB-DL.x264-mSD (75.64 MB) Nov, 2011
      [ www.TorrentDay.com ] - ... rls.S01E08.HDTV.XviD-P0W4 (183.19 MB) Nov, 2011

      208.73.113.6
      United States (US), Florida, Fort Lauderdale
      Downloaded files
      Beatport Halloween Trance 2011 {aSBo} (389.74 MB) Dec, 2011
      Cowboys and Aliens [2010] dvd rip nlx (1.28 GB) Dec, 2011
      Game of Thrones Season 1 Complete 720p (14.53 GB) Nov, 2011
      2.Broke.Girls.S01E08.HDTV.XviD-P0W4.avi (174.89 MB) Nov, 2011
      How.to.Make.It.in.America ... 20p.HDTV.x264-IMMERSE.mkv (1013.61 MB) Nov, 2011

      216.205.224.10
      United States (US), California, Valley Village
      Downloaded files
      Super 8 2011 1080p BRRip ... ac vice (HDScene Release) (3.70 GB)
      • by delinear (991444) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:43AM (#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 syousef (465911) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:15AM (#38368808) Journal

    ...out of existence!!!

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:17AM (#38368828)

    Didn't we discuss to death that the site www.youhavedownloaded.com was a hoax? I mean we're talking about a site that says "Don't take it seriously" at the bottom of every page. Also apparently I've downloaded a single episode of some series I've never heard of (mid-season mind you), and my IP has been static for about 8 years now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:23AM (#38368884)

      Oh sorry that was me. I've been living in your roof for 3 years now.
      How's Sally doing in school?

    • by advocate_one (662832) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:42AM (#38369068)
      No, they had me dead to rights on all the torrents they had my IP listed for... the latest episodes of "Glee", "2 Broke Girls", "New Girl" and "How I met Your Mother"... plus a Miley Cyrus discography I was pulling down for my daughter (honest!!!)...
    • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:43AM (#38369080) Homepage

      Hoax? No, they had certainly scanned TPB for recent torrents - they listed me accurately, that's not a coincidence. That doesn't mean their lists are complete, accurate or anything like that, I'm sure it's easy to poison a tracker into giving out IPs that aren't actually torrenting. Maybe the trackers add some random IPs too for plausible deniability? Whatever the case, the legal value is hogwash. Why should it be a joke anyway? Grab a torrent, connect to the tracker, voila you get a list of IPs to stuff in a database. That and being illegal too, at least in my country so in any it'd be thrown out on that basis alone. But it's not like they did something magic.

      • by Terrasque (796014) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:22AM (#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 GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:15AM (#38369376) Journal

      I entered the IP of one of my seedboxes which is also a Tor exit node (did the lookup through Tor, using HTTPS to the site, using a secure and anonymous browser). That exit node has Bittorrent blocked and it's on a dynamic IP that changes often. 4 out of the 8 torrents displayed were ones that I'd downloaded, 1 was recent and the other 3 had been on there for a long time. The seedbox has around 500 torrents on it.

      It also showed results for the German exit node I was viewing it through.

  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:21AM (#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 jpapon (1877296)
      Not really... As the rights holder they can distribute it for free to as many people as they want. They can also say that those people do NOT have the right to distribute it to others. It's not the fault of the PR arm if the people they give a work to proceed to do something illegal with it.
      • by plover (150551) *

        Not really... As the rights holder they can distribute it for free to as many people as they want. They can also say that those people do NOT have the right to distribute it to others. It's not the fault of the PR arm if the people they give a work to proceed to do something illegal with it.

        I *so* want to be on the jury of a trial testing that bit of legal theory.

        • by jpapon (1877296) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:09AM (#38369318) Journal
          It's not a theory. It's put into practice all the time... The PR arm distributes copies for publicity to many people (critics, celebrities, etc) . If those people start distributing their free copies, I guarantee they'll be in court as soon as they're caught.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:22AM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jpapon (1877296)

      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.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Well, I haven't heard anyone admit to it but receiving C&D letters was the reason filtering was turned on at a previous employer of mine. And there was no witch hunt tone, just a "This is what we're doing, this is why we're doing it, please remember that what you do on the company network can be tracked back to us and reflect poorly on the company." Never heard of anyone getting punished for it, then again I of course didn't have access to anyone's HR files. That said, I don't live in the US...

      • Fortunately people never do anything stupid.

      • by Chelloveck (14643)

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

        None, actually. That's a really stupid thing to do...

        Yeah, no kidding. My cable modem is way faster than my employer's measly little 10 Mbit link!

    • by glop (181086) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:40AM (#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.

    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:09AM (#38369320) Journal

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

      I'm flabbergasted that this is actually possible, unless the employee in question is privileged in particular ways, such as by being a network administrator.

      After all, how many people do you know use their work networks to download pirated content.

      None. Those who use torrents do so at home.

      Reputable companies which are large enough to have an IT department will have strict enforcement of many network policies, especially those which are related to commercial risk. Where I work, everything other than ports 80 and 443 must be opened on a per-node and per destination basis. If you need ftp or ssh, you have to state the specific need and how it relates to the business. Also, even ports 80 and 443 are heavily filtered so that social media sites (youtube, facebook, etc.), name redirection sites (dyndns and its ilk), file lockers (megaupload, etc.), webmail (gmail, hotmail, etc.) and all sites hosting questionable activities are blocked. I suspect running a client for IRC or BitTorrent would get you nowhere. There are probably some ways around this, but looking for them would be stupid and might set off career-threatening alarm bells.

    • by Rennt (582550) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:18AM (#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 MightyYar (622222)

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

      Indeed, one of the people with whom we pass around "The Hard Drive" is an IP lawyer for one of the big media companies.

    • by delinear (991444)
      Well then at the very least this highlights that the studios need to clean their own house before they start witch hunts elsewhere. Why they wouldn't have blocked such sites/software is baffling - it's clearly a huge PR loss in the making when they're desperately trying to win the PR war in the eyes of a largely indifferent public. There are also all kinds of laws about agency and when one is acting as an agent of one's company which it's easy to fall foul of.
  • It's a TRAP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Jynx (806942) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:29AM (#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.
    • Re:It's a TRAP! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by laffer1 (701823) <luke&foolishgames,com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:43AM (#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 bws111 (1216812)

        Of course an IP address is not equal to a person. A fingerprint found at a crime scene does not prove the person committed the crime either. Both are starting points for further investigation and collection of evidence. The only way you are legally going to be able to do the further investigation and collection of evidence is by initiating legal action via a lawsuit.

      • NAT and wifi are two reasons that it could be anyone in the area or household

        Within the household, the head of household is under contract with the ISP not to allow any copyright infringement to happen over the ISP's wire. Within the area, the head of household is under contract with the ISP to use WPA2 with a strong password.

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:44AM (#38369090) Homepage Journal

    I did a search on some IP addresses assigned to overseas US military facilities. Let's just say it turns out US soldiers like transsexuals and big girls. And possibly big transsexual girls.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      I did a search on some IP addresses assigned to overseas US military facilities. Let's just say it turns out US soldiers like transsexuals and big girls. And possibly big transsexual girls.

      Give us the IPs or it didn't happen.

    • by sorak (246725)

      I did a search on some IP addresses assigned to overseas US military facilities. Let's just say it turns out US soldiers like transsexuals and big girls. And possibly big transsexual girls.

      The military: fighting for our right to spank it to almost any kind of porn we like. I say "you can have your fat transvestite porn, if you want, soldier. You've earned it!"

  • Irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by stms (1132653) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @08:58AM (#38369222)

    Quick pass PROTECTIP or SOPA and then we can catch these companies pirating content then shut them down for a felony pirating offense since Company=Person=IP address.

    • Re:Irony (Score:4, Informative)

      by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:29AM (#38369518) Journal

      As someone else has stated, as long as the person at the company is downloading the items on the behalf of the company who is the copyright holder, neither PROTECTIP nor SOPA will apply because the company and by extension the person have the legal right to make copies while people who are not authorized to make copies do not have a legal right to make copies.
       
      And, if an employee is downloading without permission and thus making unauthorized copies of a work, said employee is almost guaranteed to be violating corporate use policies and can be fired for such use.
       
      Really, it is that simple.

      • as long as the person at the company is downloading the items on the behalf of the company who is the copyright holder

        But has any evidence come to light that, say, Warner Bros. employees have permission from Universal?

  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@NOSpAM.uberm00.net> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:15AM (#38369374) Homepage Journal

    If they're from the studios, they own the copyright to the properties so they have the legal right to download them. Sure, people make the argument that if they're on a BT tracker they're "distributing" the file so they're giving everyone else the legal right to download it, but that's not how IP law works. Besides, they'll say they were only downloading them to support their enforcement actions against other downloaders.

  • 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.

    Well, actually, in a corporate environment, that is almost always false and in every single corporate behavior policy involving computer and network access I have ever seen it has stated that one is responsible for anything done under one's ID and from one's computer if one is logged into one's computer.

    Also, I wonder if the IP addresses are for an open guest internet co

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium.yahoo@com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @09:40AM (#38369634)

    In a response Buma/Stemra issued a press release stating that their IP-addresses were spoofed.

    A spoofed IP address does not receive return packets unless you hijack the address or PAT the specific traffic on the router/firewall responsible for the address. I doubt Buma/Stemra had an outage long enough for someone to snag some files. If someone malicious owns their router/firewall there would be more mischief than this.

  • They could have been looking for IP addresses to send DMCA notices to.

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