Ten years ago a group of four Microsoft engineers took to the stage at a security conference in Washington, DC, and presented a paper titled “The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution”. In this paper, the authors made a compelling argument describing how the rise of information technology would make it easier and faster for people to share files, and how DRM would do little to slow the process down. At the time this premise was a bit controversial, and as the authors openly admit, it almost cost them their jobs.
BitTorrent, and the words “legit” are rarely seen in the same sentence, but the company behind one of the world’s most popular peer to peer downloading clients is hoping 2013 will be the year this all changes. Matt Mason, executive director of marketing for BitTorrent claims he’s been working non stop with content companies for the last several years, and is looking for ways to warm relations, and create partnerships to distribute content legally. As you would no doubt imagine, this is a bit of an uphill battle given how often the company’s products are used to share files illegally.
Demonoid, one of the Web's largest torrent tracking sites and one of the most popular online destinations overall, has been snuffed out by Ukrainian officials. Demonoid's destruction doesn't come as a complete surprise following a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that knocked the site to the mat last month. Fans of the site hoped it was just a temporary blip and that it would be back up and running before long, but it doesn't appear that's going to happen.
Oh, those silly governments. Internet censorship won't withstand the onslaught of web-savvy geeks! Nevertheless, the British and Dutch governments recently ordered ISPs to bar users from accessing The Pirate Bay whatsoever. Despite claims from anti-piracy groups that the blockade is being effective, new reports show that simply isn't true, and one website even explains how you can bypass the ban using only a web browser.
That high profile, open-and-shut international case the U.S. government has against Megaupload is starting to look like it might not be quite so open-and-shut after all. Today, New Zealand Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann found that the warrants used to raid Kim Dotcom's mansion were insufficient and invalid -- and she says that the Megaupload server data taken by the FBI was taken illegally.
The MegaUpload fallout continues: while the U.S. government's case for Kim Dotcom's extradition is still slowly winding its way through the New Zealand court system, other file sharing services are scrambling to preemptively batten down the hatches to try and avoid similar sanctions and woes. Today, Dropbox announced it was engaging in CYA action by discontinuing public sharing folders for new Dropbox accounts effective July 31st.
Whether it involves magnet links, Swedish domain names or founders fleeing to other countries, the digital buccaneers over at the Pirate Bay have never been one to back away from a fight with authorities. Tensions have been rising after SOPA/PIPA and the MegaUpload take down, and Pirate Bay's operators have been feeling the pressure. As such, they recently unveiled a new plan designed to protect against government seizure: combining cheap radio equipment, low-cost computers and flying drones to create airborne servers.
The demise of Megaupload has left a bit of a void in the file sharing community, and rival sites such as RapidShare are beginning to struggle with ways to combat the influx of questionable content. Last month representatives from RapidShare boldly announced to Arstechnicia that they were “not concerned” with the government crackdown on Megaupload, because file hosting is a legitimate business if operated properly. Either way it appears as though they have had to make a few policy changes as a result of their new found popularity, and these measures are clearly an attempt to drive away the un-wanted traffic and legal attention that comes along with it.
The recording industry has long been critical of Google’s handling of its search results, and several months ago, the RIAA and IFPI accused Google of profiting from piracy, and throwing up roadblocks to prevent copyright holders from removing infringing material. According to a leaked document, this war of words might be headed to court soon. Industry groups have obtained confidential legal opinions on the viability of a lawsuit against Google.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College recently got together to answer one simple question: does BitTorrent hurt U.S. box office numbers? According to this study, the answer is a resounding ‘no,’ much to the chagrin of the movie industry. The study did find a correlation in the data, but it amounts to Hollywood throwing away money.