You'll be on a list 3 hrs after you start downloading from pirates - study
Bad news for seeders 'n' feeders...
File sharers who download torrents from services such as The Pirate Bay can expect to find their IP address logged by copyright enforcers within three hours, according to a new study by computer scientists.
Researchers at the UK's University of Birmingham reached the finding at the end of a two-year study into how organisations are monitoring illegal file sharers.
They conclude that large scale monitoring of the most popular illegal downloads from The Pirate Bay has been taking place over the last three years. On average an illegal file sharer, using BitTorrent to download the most popular content, will be picked up and logged within three hours of starting a download. Downloads of more popular files tend to be picked up more quickly, as the paper explains.
Average time before monitors connect: 40% of the monitors that communicated with our clients made their initial connection within 3 hours of the client joining the swarm; the slowest monitor took 33 hours to make its first connection. The average time decreases for torrents appearing higher in the Top 100, implying that enforcement agencies allocate resources according to the popularity of the content they monitor.
"The monitors we detected don't actually collect any parts of the file from the alleged uploader, therefore the evidence of illegal file sharing collected by monitors may not stand up in court," Tom Chothia, one of the four researchers along with Marco Cova, Chris Novakovic and Camilo Gonzalez Toro, told El Reg.
"We found six very large scale monitors, however all of them where using third-party hosting companies. Therefore we can't be sure who they really were, or if they where monitoring for legal or for marketing purposes. We also found a further seven small scale monitors that included some security companies, hosting companies and a research lab," Chothia added.
Copyright holders carry out monitoring on file-sharing networks using two approaches: indirect monitoring, where the presence in of an IP address in a peer list of a tracker is logged, or direct monitoring, where attempts are made to download files from IP address listed in Torrent swarms are actually listed. The Birmingham researchers found that direct monitoring is happening but that indirect monitoring remains by far the most common technique applied by copyright enforcers.
A technical paper, The Unbearable Lightness of Monitoring: Direct Monitoring in BitTorrent, describing the Birmingham team's research can be found here (PDF).
The paper, more aimed at anti-piracy officers at ISPs and copyright enforcers than end-users, was presented at the SecureComm conference in Padua, Italy yesterday. ®
Genesis of a "Freetard"
"If big movie studios stopped producing drivel such as 'jack and jill' (which they should pay the audience to watch) and charged less for DVD's and cinema tickets then maybe, just maybe there would be less downloading taking place.."
And if they removed all of this DRM / content protection bullshit so that we can make fair use of the content we have paid for, then we wouldn't need download dodgy copies to make up for this lack of freedom. In fact, I'm guessing that a lot of people, realising that they are going to have to download a dodgy copy anyway, even though they have bought a DRMed to hell and back legitimate copy decide to skip the step of buying the legit copy altogether.
They used to claim that "home taping is killing music". That wasn't true then, and home copying isn't going to kill music, movies, tv or ebooks. What will kill them is this rabid obsession with content protection and control freakery. It gives end users such a shite experience with legitimate media that people are compelled to "download".
If they really want to beat the "pirates", they need to drop all of this content protection bollocks and accept a bit of "home taping" going on. That will get the public on-side, which will be the biggest and best thing that can be done to combat "piracy".
At the moment, Big Media are seen, most certainly, as bullying, money-grabbing, control freaks while the "pirates" are often perceived (wrongly) as some kid of latter day Robin Hoods / freedom fighters. Unless they turn that perception around then it won't matter how many lawyers they employ, how many web site they shut down, how many students they prosecute or how many laws they buy, they will only ever lose
No, it is not illegal. Well, not if you have the law-makers in your pocket. Although in all seriousness they could try and use the defence of "Committing a smaller crime to prevent a bigger one."
I for one await Canonical and Red Hat's enforcement officers kicking my door down for torrenting their wares mercilessly. I'll make them a nice cup of tea, we'll have a chat and maybe they'll give me a few free stickers. :)
"Or, you know, you could NOT steal the stuff"
I pay for two cable/satellite subscriptions and my TV licence. Despite paying for all that, it's often more convenient to torrent than to watch on TV.
Case in point: cycling coverage on Eurosport. My cable STB doesn't support jumping around in a recording, so if I only want to watch the last 10 minutes of a flat sprint stage I have to FFWD on-screen through four hours of coverage. And there's no resume so if someone sits on the remote I have to do it all over again from the beginning.
...and don't get me started on those unskippable "you wouldn't steal a car" warnings on DVDs.
I just want to watch the content I pay for on whatever device I choose without being insulted.