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Bitcoin Piracy

'Tor and Bitcoin Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts' (torrentfreak.com) 103

An anonymous reader writes: A new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office identifies a wide range of 'business models' that are used by pirate sites. The organization, which announced a new collaboration with Europol this week, signals Bitcoin and the Tor network as two key threats to ongoing anti-piracy efforts. According to the research, several infringing business models rely on encryption-based technologies. The Tor network and Bitcoin, for example, are repeatedly mentioned as part of this "shadow landscape." "It more and more relies on new encrypted technologies like the TOR browser and the Bitcoin virtual currency, which are employed by infringers of IPR to generate income and hide the proceeds of crime from the authorities," the report reads.
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'Tor and Bitcoin Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    No one I know has ever paid money for pirated media. That's kind of the entire point. What is this drivel about business models?

    • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @03:31PM (#52520053)

      No one I know has ever paid money for pirated media. That's kind of the entire point. What is this drivel about business models?

      Advertising and/or malware distribution. Don't be dense.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Speaking of the obvious, this would be more interesting if they just admitted that trying to stop pirate sites is impossible and artists should just try to compete by offering a better product.

        • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @04:03PM (#52520313) Journal
          How do you offer a better product at better than free? People obviously want the artist's product; and a rational person wants that product for the lowest price.
          • by PatientZero ( 25929 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @04:14PM (#52520403)

            A rational person also wants to be able to consume said content easily. The content producers are doing their damnedest to make it as difficult as possible. Why can't I type in a movie name and watch it on my Tivo? Oh sure, it searches Netflix and Amazon and Xfinity and Hulu and . . . but then when you choose your provider (you can't always see the cost so it's hard to choose) you still have to search again in the actual app to watch it.

            But then you can't download it to pause/rewind quickly, or you have to watch commercials, or you only have 24 hours to watch it, or you can't watch it in Bumfuckistan, or . . . WTF! I am happy to pay for content. I would be happier if the content providers got their shit together instead of fighting content sharing and wringing their hands over Bitcoin.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              While that's true, Napster and Gnutella were easier than anything I've used, and probably easier than anything possible. Spotify is about as easy, except I have to pay for Spotify.

              Do you think anyone today outside a few eccentrics would buy music online if Napster hadn't been stopped? The music industry never stopped piracy, but they stopped the spread of such simple tools as a household item. Don't tell me Bittorrent is anything like opening an application, punching in something (Metallica, Avengers,

              • If you read the Napster business plan from 2001, it seems very similar to that of Spotify: $10 for unlimited music streams. If they would have jumped on board everybody would be using it and the studios would be making money hand over fist.

                Instead most people listen to their music on Youtube or ad-supported Spotify, which pays a pittance compared to the paid Spotify.

                • Napster was originally a robust, decentralized p2p network for sharing entire directories full of individual files. Unlike bittorrent (sharing a torrent context), Napster would find a file of the same size, name, and content and transfer that. Its demise spawned Kazaa, Limewire, Gnutella, Edonkey, and such.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Malware free, easy download without fake download buttons, extras like artwork, lossless encoding...

            How do you think Amazon and iTunes sell anything if The Pirate Bay constantly undercuts them?

            • Malware free, easy download without fake download buttons, extras like artwork, lossless encoding...

              Malware in pure data like flac, ogg, opus or mp3, how? Use a reputable site like The Pirate Bay. Most music torrents include artwork. If you want lossless encoding, you're far more likely to find it in a torrent rather than a pay site.

              Plus, try to find actual music on a pay site -- all you get is corporate prolefeed apparently indeed made with a versificator, because that's what sells. Most music I prefer was made in 80's-90's and it wasn't mainstream even then, so good luck finding the copyright holder

              • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

                Malware in pure data like flac, ogg, opus or mp3, how?

                Some vulnerable software can be exploited with media files, a well known case is the stagefright bug in Android. I don't think it is common on filesharing networks though. Much more common are files that aren't pure data. The goal is to trick you into launching an executable, like "music.mp3.exe".
                Also many tracker sites are riddled with ads and malware, even some of the most popular ones. If you don't notice it, it is probably because your adblocker is doing a good job.

                • The goal is to trick you into launching an executable, like "music.mp3.exe".

                  Crap, I got both wine and wine-binfmt installed, I'm vulnerable! Not sure how the torrent will chmod +x it, though.

          • Piracy isn't free. For just one example, many people feel a tiny bit of guilt over not supporting the creators, enough so that some will buy the product after testing it, or will even buy a legal copy first and then pirate the improved quality (DRM-free) version. Another example is the time spent searching and other conveniences that are worth more than $1 per song to people, and for practical purposes unavailable to pirates.

            Neither of those are absolute, of course, and people might be unwilling to support

            • That twinge of guilt is normalized out after a decade. We don't feel guilt about eliminating 97.78% of American agricultural jobs; today we talk about manufacture a lot, but 10 years ago NOBODY CARED. It's now a political issue; 10 years ago, we were jabbering a lot about STEM college degrees, and 10 years from now we'll have forgotten about the manufacture thing (because it's an artifact dredged up from the past) because the standard American job is IT--racking servers, running cables, the fast food wor

          • How do you offer a better product at better than free? People obviously want the artist's product; and a rational person wants that product for the lowest price.

            Bottled water. For most people in the US, tap water is free. (Essentially) And bottled water is tap water most of the time. And it is a $6.6BILLION business! http://www.statista.com/topics... [statista.com]

            And since many pirates are paying for VPN services and seed boxes, it ain't even competing with free!

            • That's because bottled water is perceived as better water--a purer, more natural, healthier alternative to tap water. People have a belief that tap water is toxic. I filter my tap water because it turns porcelain surfaces yellow with a biological film suffused with an iron-sulfate pigment.

      • Well, I am here in Canada often looking for DVDs of Bollywood movies. The only place I can buy then are $1 DVDs at ethnic grocery stores.

        So yah, I have paid in the past, now its more online, some sudo legit IPTV/streaming providers stream movies netflix style, but its grey as a lot of streamed movies have no Copyright registration here in Canada.

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        Isn't that the MafIAA's business model?

        * Sony Rootkit
        * Unskippable ads on DVDs
        * etc.. etc...

      • by bug1 ( 96678 )

        Copyright infringement happened before there was websites, and it will continue to happen even if there is no business model.

        And how about you grow up, no need for insults.

    • You need to expand your world view more. Piracy is common in China.

      * http://www.techrepublic.com/ar... [techrepublic.com]

      BitCoin is a red herring.

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        I've been to what looked like a legitimate video store in a mall in Malaysia. By "legitimate," I mean the employees were all wearing polo shirts with the store logo embroidered on them, the product was all neatly arrange on shelves in alphabetical order, the whole bit. There was one shelf right inside the front door offering "imported" DVDs for something like $40. Everything else in the entire store were Asian bootlegs. When I told one of the employees that you couldn't buy the original Star Wars Trilogy in

    • Probably they mean the usual business model of the websites. You know, advertisement revenue, Gold Accounts [knowyourmeme.com] and such.

    • IDK, banning TOR or bitcoin might be a bad idea, but piracy has been a business for some people beyond doubt. Or how did kim dotcom get rich? he wasn't paid by the content owners to stop, was he.

    • All those proxy/vpn services that people pay for directly market to torrent users. Some are paying for anonymity for the sole purpose of pirating.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Some are paying for anonymity for the sole purpose of pirating.

        True.

        And some (most?) of them would be more than happy to pay several times the amount they pay for the VPN service for commercial services for various media, provided said services provided said media in reasonable (read: non-encumbered) ways, and with close to complete catalogues.

        At least I would.

        Instead, I pay directly to musicians (using Bandcamp, for example) that I like, swear about the limitations of Netflix et al and torrent what I can't easily get via the current ilk of paid services. I'd be happy

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      No one I know has ever paid money for pirated media. That's kind of the entire point. What is this drivel about business models?

      I've seen pirated media distributed as encrypted RARs. To get the key, you typically have to click along through a whole bunch of advertising sites, maybe answering surveys or something similar, possibly picking up some malware along the way, who knows. I'm sure some people are naive enough to "pay for" their media that way, particularly young people who see it as being free anyway.

    • Just as important, BitCoin is about the most public form of transaction that you can have. All transactions are recorded in the block chain and supposedly available for inspection by anyone. If I wanted to fight piracy (and in all honesty I'm more anti-Disney than anti-piracy, the pirates are doing less to subvert the Constitution) then I would insist that all pirates use completely traceable transactions like BitCoin.
      • > All transactions are recorded in the block chain and supposedly available for inspection by anyone.

        Yes, they are. But they only record the sending address, receiving address, and the amount being sent. No names or other personal information. Here, look at a transaction from the most recent block, and tell me anything about the people involved:

        https://blockchain.info/tx/ce1... [blockchain.info]

        • No need to. If one wanted to find out how much the pirates were taking in, they should only need to find some way to pay them a small amount. Then look at that transaction, get the receiver and mine the block chain for all transactions to that receiver. You now have a lot of information about what your accused pirate is doing. Repeat and built up enough evidence for prosecution, much easier than any other payment system. Want to go after the other people who paid that receiver? Sure it is harder, it should
          • Then look at that transaction, get the receiver and mine the block chain for all transactions to that receiver.

            And here you hit your first major roadblock: There is only one such transaction, yours, because the address you sent your payment to was unique to you. You see, it's cheap and easy to use a different Bitcoin address for every transaction, and this is both the recommended mode of operation and the default for every modern Bitcoin wallet.

            You can try to follow the trail further; you might get lucky. Then again, the funds might change hands several times before you manage to link them to a real-world identity,

    • by DMFNR ( 1986182 )
      <quote><p>No one I know has ever paid money for pirated media. That's kind of the entire point. What is this drivel about business models?</p></quote>

      I don't know how big a thing it is anymore, but selling pirated DVDs was a pretty big thing in lower class communities. Usually they'd have a binder with discs and inkjet printed sleeves you could choose from. I've seen it at quite a few swap meets too where there will be a stand selling pirated media, some of these much more elaborat
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why would anyone need a truck with large-capacity fuel tanks?

    Sensible truck control now!

  • Wake me when the EU starts demanding a ban on knives because criminals use them to stab people, thus hindering anti-assault efforts.

    Urgh. Sometimes governments really get stupid when it comes to translating common sense to any concept that happens to be "...on a computer."

    • Urgh. Sometimes governments really get stupid when it comes to translating common sense to any concept that happens to be "...on a computer."

      Actually, they are floating plans to ban cash too. Bitcoin is just online cash, so the impetus to ban both would be largely the same.

      And, yes, this means they want complete control of every aspect of every piece of commerce that happens among their subjects.

      • by Threni ( 635302 )

        They've started banning cash in France already; you're not allowed to use cash to pay people for work unless it's under 1000 Euros or so.

    • https://www.gov.uk/buying-carr... [www.gov.uk]

      The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and a fine of £5,000.
      • That's UK not Europe.

        • You know that did not instantly leave the second the vote came in, right?
          • The Brits didn't behave like Europeans even before the vote.

            For one, they blocked most initiatives which would make the EU consistent and united. If not for their interference, we'd have means to deal with neo-nazi governments in Poland and Hungary (who now can block any "unpatriotic" legislation).

    • or perhaps "Criminal's refusal to turn themselves in hinders anti-crime efforts"
  • I thought that actual pirates might be using Tor and Bitcoin. Turns out this is another story about copyright enforcement.

    If you're using Tor instead of something like Freenet, you deserve what's coming.
    • If you're using Tor instead of something like Freenet, you deserve what's coming.

      Freenet, where once quantum computing breaks commonly used encryption algorithms, everyone is going to be revealed to be hosting child porn (unwittingly, but still) on their computers. Yeah, sounds like a really worthwhile network. :rolleyes:

  • I thought that's what those technologies were actually designed for.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pushing to ban something with many legitimate uses only because it MIGHT be used illegally is just shortsighted (and probably vote-seeking).
    Encryption, although it's needed for MANY things, is used by pirates. Better ban it.
    Automobiles/trucks can be used in robberies (or even murders, as in Nice yesterday). Better ban them.
    Planes can be crashed into skyscrapers. Better ban them.
    All criminals rely on food, so food should be banned. ... ad infinitum, ad nauseum...

    • This is why the police supercomputer that we'll build to destroy all crime will nuke earth from orbit when it becomes self-aware. It won't care that it itself will be destroyed in the process, as it has accomplished its task to destroy all crime and is therefore not needed anymore.

  • Piracy of intellectual property existed before the internet.

    They forgot to mention that not only tor and bitcoin, but also internet hinders anti-piracy efforts.

    Well... even if there is no TOR and Bitcoin, there is always a roster of shadowy less know payment services that will still accept and process the payments.

    • I was thinking that same thing - also: converting live performance into electrical signals; recording electrical signals digitally in a manner amenable to transmission over a packet switched network; the whole concept of exchanging currency for goods and services instead of having to barter. And, lets not forget the artists themselves. If they wouldn't produce a desirable performance, no one would want to pirate it, and so anti-piracy efforts would be much more successful.

      What they need to do is have each
    • It's all those damn computers... Back in my day... grumble grumble... :)
  • Why people can pay cash and be totally untraceable!

    Tor, bitcoin and cash also hinder government oppression based on race, religion, gender, sexuality, politics, economics, etc. etc.

  • The MPAA / RIAA and various overzealous governments have a tendency to erode privacy efforts in an effort to sustain their current methods of doing things.

    Thus, it should come as no surprise to anyone that new technology / ideas are used to help regain some of what was lost.

    Instead of trying to buy laws via your local corrupt politician, perhaps you should put some effort into figuring out WHY folks resort to such measures instead.

  • Also Eighth Amendment proves our country is soft on crime!

  • It seems these people continue to be decades behind the times...

  • Targeting the TOR and any other onion-routing network is completely unfair and an attack on human rights; it's used to enable people living in oppressive countries to have a voice, and I'm all for it.

    Bitcoin on the other hand is guilty as charged. It's been a natural from Day One for being an instrument for money laundering and illegal activity.
    • Actually, Day One for Bitcoin was buying two pizzas for 10,000 BTC, and that was 18 months after the network first booted up. Until then it was just a cryptographic curiosity. The Silk Road prosecution revealed that only 4% of bitcoin transactions were used on their black market to buy drugs and other nefarious purposes. That's not much higher than the ratio of illicit drugs to GDP worldwide (3%), and is far less than the total underground economy in the US (20%). The underground economy = black market

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @05:03PM (#52520695)
    It is probably more accurate to say TECHNOLOGY hinders anti-piracy efforts.
  • ... because, before, that stuff was only used for child porn, sex slavery, and snuff films.

    • ... because, before, that stuff was only used for child porn, sex slavery, and snuff films.

      Well sure, but that's just CNN's front page today. Chinese users will be reading and watching something else tomorrow.

  • "Piracy" is a euphemism for "equal access to cultural data".

  • At least get it right, k? Thanks

  • I see you're trying to shut something down. Would you like some help with that?

    [_] Because terrorism
    [_] Because drugs
    [_] Because for the children
    [X] I'm going to use some other shit that won't work as well as those
  • If copyright owners are actively trying to stop freedom and privacy, we should do everything in our power to reduce theirs, both politically and with our wallets.
    If not getting any money is the price artists have to pay for partnering with censorship lobbyists, so be it. I'll pay only for concerts and DRM free independent content.
    Good thing is that some game developers are already getting the hang of it and fighting piracy the right way: with decent prices and a better service.

  • My quick scan of the title of TFS had it as "Tor and Bitcoin Hinder Anti-Privacy Efforts". I guess my sub-conscious brain is smarter and/or more aware than the European Union Intellectual Property Office. Not that that's a very high bar to clear...

It isn't easy being the parent of a six-year-old. However, it's a pretty small price to pay for having somebody around the house who understands computers.

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