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Piracy Music The Courts

ISP To Court: BitTorrent Usage Doesn't Equal Piracy (torrentfreak.com) 175

An anonymous reader writes: The music industry has long argued that evidence of BitTorrent is evidence of piracy, and ISPs have generally gone along with them. But now, ISP Cox Communications is pushing back against that claim. They have been sued by publishers for failing to halt service for users alleged to have pirated music. Not only has Cox argued that the piracy evidence is invalid, they're also contesting the idea that BitTorrent is only used for piracy (PDF). "Instead of generalizing BitTorrent traffic as copyright infringement, the music companies should offer direct proof that Cox subscribers pirated their work. Any other allegations are inappropriate and misleading according to Cox." The company says, "the Court should preclude Plaintiffs from relying on mere innuendo that BitTorrent inherently allows individuals to infringe Plaintiffs' copyrights."
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ISP To Court: BitTorrent Usage Doesn't Equal Piracy

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  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:23AM (#50939949) Homepage Journal

    Aside from file sharing, how many programs use BitTorrent? I'm not challenging the defense here, as I also don't equate BitTorrent with piracy, especially since my main use is personal file synchronization using BitSync and downloading Linux ISOs.

    I seem to recall that Blizzard's Battle.net uses it, which I suspect is a non-trivial percentage of traffic. Do any other game management systems make use of it?

    • by JestersGrind ( 2549938 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:30AM (#50939989)

      Facebook and Twitter also use BitTorrent. http://arstechnica.com/busines... [arstechnica.com]

    • windows 10 update system uses a bittorrent like system

    • by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:40AM (#50940081)
      I use BTSync to synchronise my own files to my various devices.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by balbeir ( 557475 )

        I use BTSync to synchronise my own files to my various devices.

        Same here. And it works like a charm.

        • I use BTSync to synchronise my own files to my various devices.

          Same here. And it works like a charm.

          BTSync has no conflict detection. The newest file wins. This is scary to me and the main reason that I don't use BTsync. I use syncthing which is similiar but also opensource and has built-in conflict detection.

    • by Rob MacDonald ( 3394145 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:44AM (#50940103)
      Bittorrent is a protocol. Almost anything that uses p2p in the backend is using bittorrent. Game updates, OS updates, linux distros, this can and is being done via the bittorrent protocol. Windows 10 offers peering for updates to your local network and even to the internet, while I didn't dig deep into it, this is p2p at its core, while it may not be using bittorrent (TM) but the technology is essentially the same. Peering. Without bittorrent and similar technology, we can expect the internet to fall apart as soon as all those developing nations login and start streaming HD. IRC is a huge source of piracy, so me logging into a linux support channel makes me a pirate? Just using the torrent protocol makes me a pirate? It's well above and beyond a "defense". If we allow them to paint anyone using that protocol as a criminal, what's next? Email? Newsgroups? IM? As long as there is a system and a method to allow data sharing, data will be shared. As long as there is data, people will want to share it. I personally feel that technology has been ignored to back shelved because of the stigma put on torrents. It comes up during any discussion around traffic. "We all know what bittorrent is for...." No, we know what a lot of people use it for, and we know what it was designed for, and the two are not mutually exclusive.
      • I also wonder whether the knowledge from the music companies is outdated or misleading. When p2p started to become popular with Napster, it was easy to associate all p2p with illegal sharing purposes. While Napster might have had other uses, the predominant use was pirated music. There was however a need then and now for p2p as a method to distribute bandwidth. Today many companies need p2p to distribute their content because standing up more centralized servers is not always a good way to distribute large
        • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
          Let's be honest. It's not functionally better. It just offloads the cost of distribution to the consumer. I'm sure any gamer on a metered connection, or data cap, "loves" the p2p method of game updates.
          • Well except that only one machine on my network has to download it, and then every other machine on my local network grabs it from the one that has it, which not only helps lower my usage towards the data cap, it also helps ISPs for the same reason (and keeps the transfers on their network as well) which helps alleviate congestion from the ISP to the backbone(s).

        • I also wonder whether the knowledge from the music companies is outdated or misleading..

          Outdated? Absolutely. Misleading? More like flat out lying. I wouldn't be surprised if the **AA cartel is still using Napster numbers to claim that they are being ruined by piracy.

      • Most of all the paid Newsgroups servers are geared to pirating.

    • In addition to install images of GNU/Linux distributions, the LibreOffice suite's installer is available as a torrent.

    • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:49AM (#50940153) Homepage Journal

      World of Tanks uses BT for its updates. You may choose a http alternative but download times will balloon to days; everyone who can't use BT uses them, and overwhelms the update servers every time there is something to update, so using BT to get the update through peer players is no-brainer.

      • Then why not put the update installer on a service that can't be overwhelmed, such as Amazon S3? Or is S3/CloudFront too expensive for Wargaming?

        • Because it's already on a service that can't be overwhelmed: Bittorrent.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Not every "service that can't be overwhelmed" is equally accessible to users across all networks. I'm under the impression that S3 is accessible to more users than BitTorrent.

            • S3 would be more expensive and less reliable (simply due to being somewhat more centralized). The only people who could use S3 and can't use Bittorrent are those on ISPs that block Bittorrent.

              • And as ISPs continue to push subscribers onto carrier-grade network address translation (CGNAT) to work around IPv4 address exhaustion, "ISPs that block BitTorrent" are likely to become more and more common.

              • And Wargaming.eu are cheapsakes. Why provide a solution that supports 100% of playerbase flawlessly and pay for it if you can provide one that works for 90% for free and give a half-assed cheap workaround for the rest. That's their approach to most problems with their games, e.g the top 1% of players suffering abysmal matchmaking and all players of tier 8 (maybe 10%) suffering hopelessly long queues awaiting a match.

        • I'm curious about that too... If I'm reading their pricing schedule correctly, S3 is generally $0.01 per 10000 GET requests...WoT claims to have 45 million regular players, that's $45 for the requests, so not too bad... but it's $0.01 per GB transferred... if we say each update is 500MB, that's roughly $225,000 for all of the players to update. I can see why they use BT.

          • To put half a cent per update per user into perspective, we first need to understand how much continuing revenue per user per update period the publisher derives.

            • That doesn't matter...

              $225,000 is still $225,000, regardless of how small a percentage it might be...

              There is no reason to leave that money on the table, if you don't have to.

              • [The game's revenue model] doesn't matter... [...] There is no reason to leave that money on the table, if you don't have to.

                Other than to improve the user experience for those subscribers behind networks that disallow access to BitTorrent, which could help them remain subscribers.

                • I suppose that depends on the players. World of Tanks is a F2P (aka freemium) game... I bet the majority of the 45 million players don't pay a cent. Do you want to pay extra to retain them? If they're a whale, it makes sense.. They could offer "priority downloads" to them, but I don't know.

                  • Make non-BT updates available to Gold Star accounts that pay a small monthly fee that also gain ingame credits to the value of the fee with each month. Effectively make access on a non-BT ISP tied to a guaranteed minimum spend. SImple.
          • Their updates often go into 4GB area.

            • That's nuts! Sounds like they send you the entire game on every update? Maybe they need to look into binary diffs... or maybe that's post-diff, which is even crazier.

    • archive.org also provides downloads with BitTorrent

    • by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:59AM (#50940247)

      I use it for things such a LibreOffice downloads and ISO images of things such as The Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) and I know World of Warcraft uses it for its update engine. There are also a lot of other non-infringing uses of the protocol. The media companies just want the protocol and anything like it to be declared blanket illegal as it is an effective way to transfer large files which the media companies would like all such ability removed from the internet. They want both control over the content itself as well as any possible method of transferring such content so they can double-dip like they do on cable TV.

    • Game distribution platforms? I'm not sure Steam is using it, but I know one that does.

    • Blizzard uses torrents to distribute files for their game purchases, downloads, patches, and updates. And with the Legacy of the Void finally available, Starcraft 2 seems to be going as strong as ever. Even though we do seem to be past peak WoW, that's huge.

      Also, every Linux distort I can recall fetching recently offers a torrent as an alternative to a monolithic download.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2015 @12:32PM (#50940577)

      Aside from file sharing, how many programs use BitTorrent? I'm not challenging the defense here, as I also don't equate BitTorrent with piracy, especially since my main use is personal file synchronization using BitSync and downloading Linux ISOs.

      I seem to recall that Blizzard's Battle.net uses it, which I suspect is a non-trivial percentage of traffic. Do any other game management systems make use of it?

      The UK Government use BitTorrent.

      https://data.gov.uk/dataset/coins

    • Here's a list of 8 I found... can't vouch for it but google said it so it must be true :P http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8... [makeuseof.com]
    • BitTorrent usage != Piracy
      Internet usage != Porn

      But ...
    • Activision/Blizzard distributes its games and patches (for example world of warcraft) through a customized bit torrent tool.
    • There's Bittorrent Sync, which is file transfer, but it's designed to share your files to you.

      (though yes, anyone with the key can get a copy of the share, so therefore you can argue it can be used for piracy, but I just use it for my "personal cloud")

    • Most MMOs that I know of use it, they have pretty much adopted the tech all over the place in the FTP MMO arena. IIRC the "World Of" games use it,World Of Tanks/Warships/Warplanes, Perfect World, Terra, just a ton of 'em so I really don't see how they can have a leg to stand on when BT is so popular for patches and updates in the gaming arena.
    • yes many mmos make use of it.
  • by steveg ( 55825 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:23AM (#50939951)

    Um. Who is this, and what did they do with Cox?

  • Once they have argued that BitTorrent use is automatically infringing, Plaintiffs seek to introduce other testimony and documents showing that some proportion of data traffic on Cox’s network is associated with BitTorrent in order to mislead the jury into thinking that Cox knew or should have known about the infringement that Plaintiffs allege.

    Offhand I can think off two different uses of BitTorrent that are legal: Linux distributions and Blizzard game updates. I would suspect Cox came come up with more. The music companies have been trying to shortcut the process for a long time. They tried sue a collection of IPs without filing separately. They argued they don't need to do a cursory look at each case before filing DMCA takedown notices.

    • Ignore. I'm undoing a bad moderation.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I had to convince my previous boss of the same fact. Security called him to say that I was using the piracy tool BitTorrent. I sent him this link: http://linuxtracker.org/index.php?page=torrents [linuxtracker.org] and told them to leave me alone.

    They never did accept that I was using Tor as a quick way to view our public services from outside the network.

    I should have asked them to pay me in Bitcoin just to see their reaction.

  • Good ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:25AM (#50939965) Homepage

    It's time these guys got held to some damned level of standards instead of just making sweeping, bullshit claims like "if they used this protocol they were doing teh piracy".

    If they have specific evidence of specific infringement, use it. But simply accusing based on using the protocol is completely wrong. The problem is the copyright cartels essentially want a veto on any technology on the grounds it might be used to infringe. It doesn't work that way, but they keep pushing for it. And some idiot lawmakers are inclined to give it to them.

    The courts need to start slapping them down and saying "innuendo and snide suggestion is not evidence, and things which aren't infringing aren't illegal.

    "Once they have argued that BitTorrent use is automatically infringing, Plaintiffs seek to introduce other testimony and documents showing that some proportion of data traffic on Cox's network is associated with BitTorrent in order to mislead the jury into thinking that Cox knew or should have known about the infringement that Plaintiffs allege."

    Can we introduce into court that all statements made by representatives of the copyright cartel are self serving statements by lying assholes who routinely mislead courts and make claims with no evidence, and routinely resort to obfuscation and perjury to bypass meeting any legal threshold for evidence?

    Because that would be awesome.

    • Simple: We start counting their statements as perjurious or contemptuous on the grounds that claiming bittorrent = piracy is as offensive to sense as claiming having a kitchen knife = murder.

    • you missed the point. "The problem is the copyright cartels essentially want a veto on any technology on the grounds it might be used to infringe." Nope. The want to destroy and de-legitimize any technology that can compete with their stranglehold dinosaur of a business model. They couldn't buy the patents and make it disappear, so they went to plan B. "It's only used for piracy" Actually it's being used to save the fucking internet, provide streaming services and a bunch of other fantastic stuff that
      • Actually, bit torrent has been marketed to the copyright cartel and they have actively investigated it and there is increasing adoption. Not in the way the pirates want, of course, but as a means to reduce their bandwidth costs by offloading it to their viewers. Such schemes do not allow freeloaders, of course, nor do they interoperate with other bit torrent clients like utorrent. Nor do the copyright cartel describe them as bit torrent, but one of the issues for any traffic shaping service is to discrimina

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Minwee ( 522556 )

      That's just crazy.

      If this kind of thing keeps up, we may start seeing stupid laws about how "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

      You just can't run a country like that. It would never work.

  • by JestersGrind ( 2549938 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:27AM (#50939975)

    I'm sure that I would get flagged using that kind of logic. I don't download anything illegally, but I play Blizzard games. The Blizzard downloader uses BitTorrent. And it makes sense for them because it eases the pressure of millions of clients downloading when they can share the load between them. This is just laziness and greed on the part of the music industry.

    • by dysmal ( 3361085 )
      Using their twisted logic, I've pirated 30GB in the past 2 months... Except that I didn't pirate anything... I just made the mistake of playing Starcraft2 and having patch after patch after patch rammed down my throat.
  • Interesting Bit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oshkrozz ( 1051896 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:30AM (#50939987)
    I suspect what is starting to happen is COX is starting to realize that before it was fairly passive, all they had to do was hand over info. However, with TIPP and other programs being pushed through it will cost them actual dollars to police for the entertainment industry, payments that can not be so easy to extract from users. They want to now make sure that burden is placed on the entertainment industry and not themselves. There is no altruistic goal here, just who has to pay.
  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:36AM (#50940049)

    I've had both residential and now business grade internet with Cox, and I've been generally happy with the service. It's been reliable, tech support when I've needed it has actually been helpful and on-site repairs are usually same-day or early the next day. The only real problem I had was when their repairmen mis-coded a service call and I got billed for it. But Cox billing fixed it right away.

    So it doesn't surprise me that Cox is bucking the anti-consumer wave by challenging music industry subpoenas. And it's also good business, so they don't have a bunch of lawyers poking around their data, while paying their own lawyers to watch over them.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      If you have a choice, consider Cox.

      Cox was family owned until fairly recently. As a corporation, little has changed from the users' POV. They seem to score well at DSLReports.com and SamKnows.com. My experience has always (~20 years) been excellent--speed, tech support, reliability, billing questions, etc.

      There was a substantial free speed increase several months ago, and then a substantial price increase about 2 months ago. Still better than any other ISP I'm aware of.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @11:44AM (#50940107) Homepage Journal

    I have to agree. I get my books, movies, and whatever else I buy from the Humble Bundle (that isn't a video game) using torrents. 100% legit and paid for.

  • an ISP standing up the the **IA mafia.... something is going on behind the scenes...

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @12:05PM (#50940311) Journal

    BitTorrent Usage Doesn't Equal Piracy

    Then you're doing it wrong.

  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @12:40PM (#50940645)

    prove the recipient doesn't have a license for the use of the IP?

      Even if the holder of a license is able to prove that an individual obtained a copy via what ever protocol, be it from a swarm, FTP or any method, how is that proof the recipient lacks license? How much longer do we have to wait before the burden of proof is restored to a legal level from the current mobster level that exists?

    • Not relevant. They key part of bittorrent is that the seeder indiscriminately provides the data. The argument has always been one of "making available" for piracy. That is a trivial thing to check.

  • Using normal mail should of course also be considered illegal.
    HTTP has also been involved in crimes. Your Facebook viewing is definately illegal.

  • by Shadow IT Ninja ( 3891909 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @01:08PM (#50940919)
    The Cancer Genomics Hub [ucsc.edu] uses BitTorrent based software to distribute huge public domain data sets (multiple TB each) from DNA sequencing and related studies. BitTorrent is simply the most efficient way to distribute data on such a scale. This does get interesting when you are at a university which is under pressure from the RIAA to shut down BitTorrent, however. I had to spend way too much time working this all out with a firewall administrator.
  • They seem to be implying that it is industry practice to just cut someone off from the internet becuase someone deteced that you used the BT Protocol for something unknown and unspecified. First off, how would a rights owner even know I was using bittorrent without knowing which torrent I was DLing? My ISP could sense general torrent traffic, but from my understanding it is the rights holders that do the snooping, and all they do if torrent their own work and write down peer addresses.
  • really music piracy off years ago plenty of legit methods that are even free you hear your songs these days. in other words the horse is dead quit beating it.

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