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Piracy Your Rights Online

Most Torrent Downloaders Are Monitored, Study Finds 309

derekmead writes "A new study from Birmingham University in the U.K. found that people will likely be monitored within hours of downloading popular torrents by at least one of ten or more major monitoring firms. The team, led by security researcher Tom Chothia, ran software that acted like a BitTorrent client for three years and recorded all of the connections made to it. At SecureComm conference in Padua, Italy this week, the team announced that they found huge monitoring operations tracking downloaders that have been up and running for at least the entirety of their research. According to the team's presentation (PDF), monitors were only regularly detected in Top 100 torrents, while monitoring of more obscure material was more spotty. What's really mysterious is who all of the firms are. Chothia's crew found around 10 different monitoring entities, of which a few were identifiable as security companies, copyright firms, or other torrent researchers. But six entities could not be identified because they were masked through third party hosting. Now, despite firms focusing mostly on just the top few searches out there at any given time, that's still a massive amount of user data to collect and store. Why? Well, if a reverse class-action lawsuit were feasible, those treasure troves of stored data would be extremely valuable."
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Most Torrent Downloaders Are Monitored, Study Finds

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  • Analytics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:02PM (#41223657)

    A friend of mine works for a UK company ( that provides artist popularity data to record companies and other entities (top list providers, etc). One of their data points are monitoring of music torrents. Note that this data is not for the purpose of lawsuits but just to see which artists/albums/songs are popular in different countries and regions (even down to city level using geoip lookup). Their spiders/crawers/monitors they have deployed are, AFAIK, hosted by a 3rd party hosting provider. I also know there's another competing company in the UK doing the same thing.

  • Incorrect title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:15PM (#41223813)

    "We only detected monitors in Top 100 torrents; this implies that copyright enforcement agencies are monitoring only the most popular content music and movie on public trackers," the team says in its presentation paper.

    So only people downloading the latest movies/music are monitored.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:51PM (#41224353)
    Block lists don't work. The lists are overly broad and include a lot of ranges that are clearly not an entity you need to be worried about. Also, it's unlikely that the content holders would do their own research... it's going to be outsourced contractors that clearly would know the value in swapping out IPs.
  • Re:This just in.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:31PM (#41224895)

    it's not stealing, copying there is no theft and it was already ruled by high courts in switzerland that people that pirate wouldn't have paid for it in the first place so there is no sales lost. []

    I've pirated and cut cable since 1996 when i started off downloading off passed around FTP servers and Newsgroups.

    I still use newsgroups and torrents nowdays and a Western Digitial WDTV Live plus with a usb wifi adapter plugged in to stream downloaded movies off a shared drive on my lan to my tv.

    I pirate television due to spam, I hate a 30 minute television show is streatched to 1 hour due to commercials every 3 minutes and they play so many commercials they actually have to remind you what you were watching "will be right back with xxx show in a few minutes"

    got fed up with spam in 96 so cut cable and pirated ever since, where I live we have 1 local theater within a 50 mile radius and ticket prices are 13.50 for 1 person, if I take my family that's just over 40 bucks in tickets only plus another 10-20 for popcorn/soda FUCK THAT.

    I pirate movies so I can enjoy them at home with my family on my surround sound (7.1 bluray rips ftw on [] and can actually save money.

    Why would I pay the same price to buy the movie on Bluray to go see it in a stinky, noisy, stuffy theater? movies are to be enjoyed at home alone or with loved ones, not in a gymnasium full of strangers lip smacking, gorging, laughing, glow of phone texting, etc.

    Movie theaters in the 60, 70's and even 80's were a social experience, people dressed up in suits and ties, women in fancy dresses to go out to the movies, it became a social event almost as going to a church in a way. But the 90's then 2000's came long that made home theater systems as good or better quality than theaters and we now have it how it's supposed to be, movies should be an intimate enjoyment, an escape from reality which is better at home or with loved ones than a gym full of noisy, nasty, strangers.

    so I'll pirate till I die :) [] [] []
    newsgroups which are free since my ISP offers them freely
    there are still FTP sites floating around as well still used

    fuck spam television and mpaa

    Theater system is dead, Strangers all up in some gymnasium to watch a movie is a dead model. It's time to adapt or die.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:51PM (#41225181) Journal

    Shareware for the PC in the days before I started to use Linux was just impossible to keep up. 10 dollars here, 10 dollars there... it just never ends. I recently made the mistake of paying for a license for Sublime Text 2. Then I had the need for a plugin to edit files directly over SSH. That plugin wants money too. No doubt more plugins are useful and want money too. And I still need to get a winzip license and pay for god knows how many more tools.

    It is knickle and diming me to death expect the dimes are 100 dollars and the knickles are 50 bucks. And it is not like these sellers try and make it easy, NOT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAS A CREDIT CARD YOU FUCKING AMERICAN CENTRIC ASSHOLE!

    You can either give in (I actually tried to see if F2P works for MMO's and NO IT FUCKING DOES NOT) or say fuck it and be a leech but a leech with money for food.

    But YOU are only asking for a small amount. That ain't the issue. The issue is, SO IS EVERYBODY ELSE.

    Think of ads. One ad ain't a problem. A thousand ads ARE a problem. And there aren't a thousand ads out there, there are millions. You either shut them all out or go insane. And then that poor honest advertiser who really has a product you might want... well. that honest bastard is blocked out too.

    For me the killer with paying for media content was when it became clear that even if you had a song on both LP and CD and Tape AND minidisc (I am a gadget whore)... if you wanted to put it on your new fangled Mp3 player, the music industry wanted you to pay for it again. Now I am a sheep and a I love it when I am shorn but I put the limit at being skinned. Leave us sheep alive to be fleeced once a year, not skinned alive and our succelent meat sucked from out still breathing roasting corpse. Do that and even sheep might get an attitude.

    For desktop software, Winzip was the killer. It whined so much for such a basic tool (and you would need a rar license and lha etce tc) that it just became easier to ignore it and just go free software altogether.

    It was this shareware attitude that killed the Mac for me. Once was forced to use one and every tool seemed to cost money. Run Linux and you got enterprise grade software for free, use OSX and you pay for a basic text editor. Fuck that.

    This sheep is not for skinning.

  • Re:This just in.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:02PM (#41225323) Journal

    Why pay for MC Office when I can get OpenOffice free?

    If you mean "MS Office", I use LibreOffice instead because it's better, not because it's free.

    I have zero problem paying for something good. I donate to every non-ad supported website that I regularly use, and many that are ad-supported (like Slashdot). I am fortunate in that I have sufficient disposable income that I can do this.

    However, most people have considerably less disposable income as a percentage of their income than they did 15 years ago. The reason you're seeing more "free" content is because the realization is growing in the corporate world that "Oops, we succeeded in limiting the power of the middle and working class but now they don't have any money to buy our shit." Of course, paying people more is harder than trying to come up with cockamamie "free2play" business models.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, the working and middle classes (here in America) were stronger and richer than they had ever been. People were retiring with money, leaving money to their kids, expecting political power. If you go back to that period and look at the Wall Street Journal editorial pages you will see that this was a growing concern of the people at the top economically. Minorities were becoming more powerful, more prosperous. Women were becoming more powerful, more prosperous. The god-kings of Wall Street didn't want to share space at the table and "supply-side" was invented. To cement the trend, "EZ Credit" was invented, where not only could wealth be diminished, but future wealth, generational wealth could also be diminished.

    Now people don't have money. Credit has dried up. No more money left in the real estate ATM. My guess as to why new game consoles have not come out in the past several years is that there is because Sony and Microsoft's market research has told them people can't afford them in numbers like the original PS3 and Xbox.

    So now the model has changed from the $199 application to the $1.99 "app". The cable TV providers are all looking for other income streams. Today, starting salary for an auto worker, in real dollars, is about $13. In 1978, the starting salary for an auto worker, in 1978 dollars, was about $17. If you adjust for inflation, it would be like a current-day auto worker making about $5/hr. Of course we're going to have to see a lot more of these "innovative" business models.

    We're going to see a lot more changes like this in the marketplace as we move toward a minimum wage society.

  • Re:This just in.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:12PM (#41225471) Journal

    I did the whole donation thing too -- although back in the day, we called it shareware. Fully functional software that you were supposed to buy if you continued to use it beyond a certain point (usually 30-45 days).

    I think it was the point that after a hundred thousand downloads, and getting *3* checks was a bit of a turn off. Or when a guy at a computer gathering told me about this awesome software, and offered to make me a copy for free... OF MY OWN SOFTWARE. Of course, he'd been using it for a year every day and thought it was the best thing ever, but he wasn't one of the 2 checks I got. His was the 3rd after I he realized who I was.

    I realized then either I needed to write software that was less user friendly and needed more support, or I needed to change tactics.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault