Archive for the ‘File Sharing’ Category
14 Jan

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies on BitTorrent

The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, “Get Smart” tops the chart this week.

We do not link to actual torrent files because linking to files that link to files that may be copyrighted is something that might get us in trouble.

The data is collected by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. Currently both DVDrips, DVD Screeners and R5 rips are counted.

RSS feed for the weekly DVDrip chart.

Week ending October 20, 2008
Ranking (last week) Movie Rating / Trailer
1 (3) Get Smart 7.2 / trailer
2 (new) Journey to the Center of the Earth 6.3 / trailer
3 (1) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 6.9 / trailer
4 (back) Wanted 7.1 / trailer
5 (2) The Incredible Hulk 7.5 / trailer
6 (4) Iron Man 8.1 / trailer
7 (new) Transsiberian 7.1 / trailer
8 (6) Hancock 6.7 / trailer
5 (new) Dance of the Dead 6.3 / trailer
10 (new) Red 7.3 / trailer

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

Pirate Bay Tricks Anti-Pirates with Fake Peers

The Pirate Bay has always made it clear that they don’t obey takedown requests from content owners. That doesn’t stop Hollywood from going after the Pirate Bay’s users, however, and they do so on a large scale. The Pirate Bay is well aware of these pirate tracking outfits, and does what it can to give them a hard time. Reporting fake peers is one of the tricks they use.

pirate bayMost often, companies such as BayTSP and MediaSentry are hired to connect to BitTorrent trackers, and send takedown notices to the users (via their ISP) who download movies, TV-shows or music albums of a company they represent. This is a fairly easy process, since BitTorrent is far from anonymous: Every user necessarily broadcasts his or her IP-address to other peers in the swarm.

Sometimes anti-piracy outfits use their own trackers to gather evidence. Last week we reported that The Pirate Bay started to actively remove these suspicious trackers from their torrents, with some help from Running a tracker is not required though, to collect information from BitTorrent users. In fact, many attempt to use publicly available trackers such as The Pirate Bay to do so. However, the tracker owners are aware of this, and trick these tracking companies by polluting the list of IP-addresses the tracker returns. That is one of the techniques The Pirate Bay uses, just to show how flawed the evidence gathering is.

Polluting the evidence works like this. When a client asks for a list of peers who are downloading the same torrent, the tracker software automatically inserts several “random IP addresses” that are not in the swarm. They are based on existing sub-nets, but might be from people who may not even be aware that BitTorrent exists. This means that the evidence that’s being gathered by anti-piracy companies includes IPs that belong to people that were not downloading the movie or album they are accused of. Perfect deniability, as the people who coded the tracker software explain.

Of course, this doesn’t work when the pirate-tracking company requires itself to connect to the peer, before the IP-address is collected, since it is impossible to connect to a non-existing peer. A representative from BayTSP told TorrentFreak that they have such a requirement, but several others are less thorough, which makes their claims useless, and impossible to defend in court.

The best solution is of course to ban these anti-piracy companies from using the tracker in the first place. This is something The Pirate Bay is working on as well, and they have blocked many IP-ranges already, but it’s impossible to ban them all. Unlike most of the suits in Hollywood, the companies that go after illicit file-sharers are experts in their field, and know more about BitTorrent than many users. They try to circumvent blocklists such as PeerGuardian whenever possible, and change IPs when they are marked.

Pirate Bay co-founder TiAMO told TorrentFreak that he has several criteria on which he can pick out the suspicious users that might be collecting IP-addresses. He also said that he’s working on a automated warning system which will operate as a sniffer on a monitor port. That project is far from complete, but has the potential to detect suspicious behavior more easily.

Nevertheless, it is impossible (as the name might give away) to keep the prying eyes of Hollywood off public trackers. Even private trackers are far from secure, as most anti-piracy companies have accounts at the larger communities. The private in “private tracker” merely refers to the fact that you have to login, and has nothing to do with “security”. The Pirate Bay (and other tracker owners) take several measures to prevent their users from being tracked by anti-piracy outfits, but there’s only so much they can do.

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

IFPI Wins Danish File-Sharing Case

A man who was tracked sharing over 13,000 music tracks on Direct Connect back in 2005 has lost his appeal. The Vestre Landsret, one of Denmark’s higher courts, has ordered the middle-aged man to pay $24,400 (160,000 kroner) in compensation.

denmarkAs far as anti-piracy headlines go, the IFPI would prefer those coming from Denmark recently to be kept as quiet as possible. Back in September, Danish ISPs rejected the IFPI “3 strikes” proposals and then the anti-piracy group lost two court cases where alleged file-sharers used the so-called ‘wireless defense’.

This week, however, the IFPI and Danish Antipiratgruppen achieved a small victory in the case of a middle-aged man from Aalborg who used Direct Connect (DC) to share around 13,000 music files in 2005.

According to a report, the IFPI/Antipiratgruppen tracked activity which it linked to an IP address registered to the man. Obviously – as in all such cases – it was not possible to positively identify the person at the keyboard simply via the IP address, but the man made some admissions in what appears to be a generally weak defense, and these seem to help seal his fate.

Having previously lost his case in the district court, the man appealed and the case went to the Vestre Landsret, one of Denmark’s highest courts.

The defendant claimed that he couldn’t figure out how to use Direct Connect but admitted visiting the software’s homepage, albeit on an old PC which dated back to the mid 1990’s. It was also made clear in court that the man did not operate any type of wireless network, eliminating a defense which proved successful in other cases.

The ruling from the Vestre Landsret which was announced yesterday morning, stated that the man was guilty of copyright infringement. “The Court held that no person other than him [the defendant] could have used the IP address, and therefore he was sentenced,” said Antipiratgruppen lawyer, Maria Fred Lund.

The defendant was ordered to pay 160,000 kroner ($24,400) in damages, which was substantially less than the 440,000 kroner ($67,200) the anti-pirates wanted. He was also ordered to delete the music files he had obtained illegally.

Although the damages are less than the IFPI would’ve liked, the defendant’s lawyer, Per OverBech, says they could appeal to get the damages reduced. The court calculated the damages based on the losses estimated to have been suffered following the breach of copyright. The Vestre Landsret set an amount of 80,000 kroner ($12,200) and used the principle of ‘double-up’ to reach a final figure of 160,000 kroner ($24,400).

The ‘double up’ provision in Danish law is comprised of two parts. The first part covers the losses estimated to have been suffered following the breach of copyright. The court then doubles this amount to cover the actual losses and the documenting of such losses, which Antipiratgruppen and IFPI did not do.

“It is worth noting that it certainly pays to deal critically with the requirements of Antipiratgruppen,” said Per OverBech. “But in this case, the Vestre Landsret applied the principle of double-up, and I do not think there is reason for this,” noting that Antipiratgruppen provided no evidence to prove that sales had declined due to the alleged file-sharing activities of his client.

OverBech admits that it is unlikely that he will achieve an acquittal for his client but could go to the Supreme Court to contest the ‘double up’ principle applied by Vestre Landsret.

Thanks Peter_Pan

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

Top 10 Most Pirated TV Shows on BitTorrent

TV shows are by far the most wanted files on BitTorrent, and according to some, it’s becoming the modern day TiVo. But what are all those people downloading?

heroesSimilar to last week, Heroes is leading the chart. Prison Break is missing since there wasn’t a new episode. A notable newcomer is Californication, which makes its first entry in the top 10.

The data presented here is collected by TorrentFreak from a representative sample of BitTorrent sites and is for informational and educational reference only.

Top Downloads October 12 – October 19
Ranking (last week) TV-show
1 (1) Heroes
2 (3) Dexter
3 (back) House
4 (7) Desperate Housewives
5 (6) Smallville
6 (back) Fringe
7 (5) Grey’s Anatomy
8 (back) Entourage
9 (new) Californication
10 (8) Stargate Atlantis

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

Pirate Bay Celebrates Microsoft’s Global Anti-Piracy Day

Today, Microsoft announced Global Anti-Piracy Day, to draw attention to the ever growing piracy problem. While Microsoft itself celebrates October 21st by launching anti-piracy enforcement actions in 49 countries, The Pirate Bay does so by linking to counterfeit Microsoft products on their frontpage – in every country in the world.

BillTPBTo celebrate Global Anti-Piracy Day, The Pirate Bay has decided to replace their well known logo with the mugshot of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Below the mugshot it reads “Bill Gates made me do it,” referring to his ‘criminal’ history.

Although the company does send out DMCA takedown requests to BitTorrent site owners, Millions of Microsoft products are being pirated on BitTorrent and other filesharing networks every year.

Of course, Microsoft is doing all it can to prevent people from installing illegally obtained copies of their products, with their ‘Windows Genuine Advantage‘ system as the flagship solution. Similar to most other anti-piracy measures, it also hurts honest customers, as it has a false positive rate of more than 20%. The pirates will get what they want one way or another.

What Microsoft does not do, however, is sue individual downloaders. Unlike the RIAA they don’t think that the people who are potential customers are the right targets in their battle against piracy. Instead, they mostly target resellers who sell illicit copies of their products. “Legitimate businesses struggle to compete against these illegal resellers who undercut their prices and contribute to the 20 percent software piracy rate in the U.S.,” the company states.

The Pirate Bay has no commercial interests, but contrary to what Microsoft would have hoped for, they are not very responsive to letters from Microsoft either. In addition, we seriously doubt that ‘Global Anti-Piracy Day’ is the success they want it to be, now Bill Gates’ is on the frontpage of the largest BitTorrent tracker on the Internet.

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

‘Shocking’ 61% of all Upstream Internet Traffic is P2P

Sandvine, best known for manufacturing the hardware that slowed down BitTorrent users on Comcast, has released an Internet traffic trends report today. The report shows that, on average, P2P traffic is responsible for more than half of the upstream traffic, but mostly the report seems an attempt to sell their traffic shaping products.

Over the years, many Internet traffic reports have been published. Back in 2004, long before the BitTorrent boom had started, studies already indicated that BitTorrent was responsible for an impressive 35% of all Internet traffic.

Since then, we’ve seen a couple of dozen reports, all with a totally different outcome. Some estimate that P2P traffic represents approximately 50% of the total traffic, while others go as high as 85%, or as low as 20%. The overall consensus seems to be that there is little consensus, or is there?

We think we might have spotted a trend, not so much in the data, but in the companies that publish these reports. Most Internet traffic research is conducted by companies that offer traffic shaping and broadband management solutions. Cachelogic, Ipoque, Sandvine, they all sell (or sold) products that help ISPs to manage their traffic.

Consequently, it is not a big surprise that their presentation of the results is often a little biased. After all, it is in their best interests to overestimate the devastating effects P2P traffic has, and convince ISPs that they need to throttle these awful bandwidth hogs.

Or as Sandvine co-founder Dave Caputo puts it: “Bulk bandwidth applications like P2P are on all day, everyday and are unaffected by changes to network utilization. This reinforces the importance of protecting real-time applications that are sensitive to jitter and latency during times of peak usage.”

In Sandvine’s report we see that P2P represents less than a quarter of all downstream traffic, and even less during peak times. Web traffic is most dominant and online media streaming sites take up nearly 16%.


On the upstream side, P2P traffic takes up 61% of all traffic (the black makes it even more scary), followed by web-browsing, tunneling and VoIP traffic.


Interestingly, the amount of bandwidth that is transferred on the Internet has more than quadrupled since the first reports came out a few years ago, and it is likely to quadruple again in only a few years. Unlike Sandvine suggests, throttling is not the solution. Investing in the network is.

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

Tackling College Piracy: At What Cost?

The Higher Education Opportunity (HEO) Act of 2008 requires US universities and colleges to undertake measures to reduce piracy, and go after students who use filesharing networks to share copyrighted files. A recent study found that, per institution, between $350,000 and $500,000 a year is spent tackling the piracy problem.

campus piracyThe methods universities use to reduce piracy on their networks have been scrutinized in our ‘Tackling College Piracy’ series. Most of them have been found to be technologically ineffective, working only at the psychological level. The main problem with the “technological approach” is that it’s impossible to distinguish authorized from unauthorized network traffic. Nonetheless, these anti-piracy efforts are quite expensive.

First of all, the amount of time spent dealing with allegations of infringement are huge, according to the study by the Campus Community Project. IT personnel alone spend a mean time of 750 hours at public universities, while private university IT personnel spend around 620 hours a year on this. The shorter time for private institutions generally comes about because of their smaller size, and so smaller search size, and less frequent notifications.

Overall, the costs that come with them are larger than most would expect. It was concluded that between $350,000 and $500,000 is spent annually per institution – directly and indirectly – dealing with copyright infringement notices. The quality of US education has already been questioned (most recently by US presidential candidate Barack Obama in the 3rd Presidential Debate), especially in contrast to the high cost of it. In this light, the costs incurred dealing with copyright infringements are nonsensical.

The study reports that 25% of public universities use a form of technological filtering, such as Copysense, to try and reduce infringements. As noted before, such measures are fairly inaccurate and rarely work. Less common are educational methods, which may be linked with p2p access, as at Missouri S&T. However, most universities and colleges simply disconnect pirating students from the network, and make them promise to never do it again when they want to get back on. Financial penalties are also given, but this is not yet commonplace. We will deal with this in an upcoming piece.

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

How to Bring Dead Torrents Back to Life

Eventually, particularly when trying to download old torrents, most BitTorrent users find themselves with a transfer which stops due to the swarm having no seeds, not enough peers to cover the full release, or the tracker going down. btReAnnouncer is a handy site which could prove vital in reaching that magic 100%.

fixtorrent“I’m stuck at 49.1%, seed please!!” or similar comments are fairly commonplace on BitTorrent sites. Normally the case on older torrents, essentially all the full 100% seeds have gone, leaving people all stuck at the same amount completed. Without a seed reappearing, or many other users that between them have the remaining 50.9%, the download will not complete, which is pretty frustrating.

Of equal annoyance, is a new torrent which the user knows is well seeded, yet for one reason or another it is impossible to connect to the tracker in order to complete the download. Maybe the tracker has gone down or is simply too busy to accept the connection – either way, the download isn’t getting very far without it.

The good news is that with a little perseverance it’s possible to resurrect a seemingly moribund torrent. The key to bringing the torrent back to life is the hope that an identical release is available on another tracker, and in that swarm there are people that have enough data to complete the download. But how is it possible to find the same release on other trackers?

There are manual solutions involving Google, but quick and easy is my preferred method and btReAnnouncer offers just that. The site is really easy to use, so, although it is well seeded, here is a walk-through to find more trackers tracking Michael Moore’s ‘Official’ ‘Slacker Uprising’ torrent – the same technique can be used for any release, especially ones with tracker or seeding issues.

First of all I downloaded the .torrent file from The Pirate Bay onto my PC and uploaded it to btReAnnouncer. Within a few seconds the site displayed the current primary tracker – However, it also displayed a list of 17 other tracker URLs identified as tracking the same torrent – any one or combination of which could help you to complete a stubborn download. Note that it doesn’t make sense to add more than one tracker from the same url (e.g. because they often track the same peers.

At this stage it is possible to select a new primary tracker for the torrent by ticking the checkbox and pushing the ‘ReAnnounce’ button. Then check any of the other trackers in the list to be used as an alternative and click ‘ReAnnounce’ again. To finish up and start downloading the .torrent, download it by clicking on the hyperlinked text underneath ‘Download ReAnnounced Torrent…’ and import it into your favorite client, not forgetting to point it at your previously incomplete download.

btReAnnouncer can also be used to find public sources for otherwise private torrents, just don’t forget to remove any passkeys etc from the announce URL in the torrent. If your BitTorrent client doesn’t allow you to edit or add trackers manually, this can be achieved by using another online service, TorrentEditor.

Post from: TorrentFreak

14 Jan

Sweden to Introduce Controversial Anti-Piracy Law

Sweden, home of The Pirate Bay and the most active pro-piracy lobbyists and politicians, is drafting a new law that would make it easier to go after individuals who share copyrighted files on filesharing networks such as BitTorrent. The new law, likely to be opposed by a large number of Swedes, will go into effect April 2009.

The law will make it easier for copyright holders to get a court order in order to force ISPs to release the customer info linked to a suspect IP-address. The Local reports that, although the law is based on a EU directive, the current draft goes further than that.

In order to obtain the personal details, copyright holders will have to prove that there is “probable cause” that a person, or rather an IP-address, has actually shared copyrighted material with others. With the current state of evidence gathering, where mistakes and false accusations are fairly common, this may not be that easy to achieve.

The many unsecured Wireless routers complicate the evidence gathering even further, and BitTorrent trackers have also implemented countermeasures of their own. Earlier this week we reported that the Pirate Bay tracker software automatically inserts several “random IP addresses” that are not actually downloading data. This is done on purpose, to pollute the evidence gathering of anti-piracy outfits.

The new law is also heavily opposed by Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge who told TorrentFreak: “These laws are written by digital illiterates who behave like blindfolded, drunken elephants trumpeting about in an egg packaging facility. They have no idea how much damage they’re causing, because they lack today’s literacy: an understanding of how the Internet is reshaping the power structures at their core.”

“We have good hope of putting an end to these ridiculous developments. Either the existing politicians start to understand what they’re actually doing at work all day, or they will escalate the conflict to the point where we’re replacing them in office. Either way, copyright will be scaled back,” Falkvinge added.

It is to be expected that opposition against the new anti-piracy law will be great, similar to the public outrage when Sweden introduced a wiretapping law earlier this year, and after the raid on The Pirate Bay in 2006. It wouldn’t surprise us if The Pirate Bay fights this battle at the front, clashing with local politicians and media once again.

‘Pirates’ demonstrating in Stockholm following the raid on The Pirate Bay raid in 2006

pirate bay demonstration

Post from: TorrentFreak

Categories: Torrents Tags: , , , ,
14 Jan

Wikipedia DVD Released on BitTorrent

Today, the latest edition of the Wikipedia school edition has been released by SOS Children’s Villages, a charity organization that aims to help orphans and vulnerable children worldwide. The 08/09 edition can be downloaded for free, via BitTorrent only, and comprises over 5500 hand-picked educational articles aimed at helping schools to enhance their curriculum.

wikipedia englishThis year’s Wikipedia edition for schools is the largest since the project started back in 2006. With 34,000 images and 20 million words, it is comparable to a twenty volume encyclopedia captured on a single DVD.

Without a doubt, it is the most successful “checked content” project based on the English Wikipedia, used by hundreds of schools in first and third world countries. The project was originally aimed at schools in developing countries, but because of the high quality articles – all based around the UK curriculum with an absence of adult content – it is often used on intranets in first world schools too.

To save on resources, Wikipedia for schools is only available online via BitTorrent, which practically reduces the charity’s distribution costs to zero. SOS Children CEO Andrew Cates, who is a Wikipedia administrator himself, said that they have no other choice than to use BitTorrent, since the 2.9 GB download would crush their server.

“BitTorrent was a bit disappointing in that it got us the only substantial criticisms we received online,” Cates said in an interview with Wikinews. “A lot of people find it too much effort to use. However for the period we offered a straight http: download we had huge problems with spiders eating vast bandwidth.”

“As per last year therefore our main two channels will be free download by BitTorrent and mailing the DVDs free all over the world. At a pinch we will (as before) put straight copies up for individuals who cannot get it any other way, and we have some copies on memory sticks for on distributors,” Cates added.

The .torrent file is available for download on the SOS Children’s Villages website. For those who don’t want to install a BitTorrent client, the DVD can also be downloaded from any web browser with BitLet.

A final word of advice from SOS Children’s Villages: “It helps our charity if you keep µTorrent running after your download is finished.”

Post from: TorrentFreak