You make a finite amount of money. Typically, that money gets spent on essentials, like paying the rent, your bills and procuring fine single malt scotches. With so many needs to attend to, by the end of the month, most folks find themselves with precious little scratch left over to spend on their wants, meaning that decisions and sacrifices will have to be made. Will you be going out to dinner or seeing a movie? Socking away a bit of coin for a rainy day or for a vacation? Buying software or… not? After all, why buy when you can pirate everything most of today’s popular titles for the low, low cost of free? Well, we’ll tell you. Before you decide to go torrent an application or game you’ve been keen on, consider our 10 practical arguments against piracy, and always try to remember — you get what you pay for.
Can’t wait for the October 25th launch of Battlefield 3? Neither can a lot of other people – and some of them aren’t waiting. As can only be expected for such a high-profile title, a leaked copy of the PC version of the game has worked its way onto the Internet in the form of – you guessed it – a torrent. Aspiring pirates shouldn’t rush out to download the torrent, though. You still won’t be able to play Battlefield 3 even with those illegal disc images in hand thanks to EA’s always-on DRM.
A Stockholm District Court has handed down its sentence against Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, and he’ll be spared the whip, but little else. Assuming he ever turns up, he’ll be forced to serve a one year jail sentence and pony up a cool $1.1 million to pay off his debt to society. Svartholm’s fate was decided separately from his fellow Pirate Bay crew as a result of medical complications that prevented him from attending the original trial; however, these same complications prevented him from attending the new proceedings as well. As if being sentenced to a prison term without being present wasn’t bizarre enough, Svartholm’s lawyer admits he has no clue where is client is, or even if he is dead or alive.
File-swapping gamers turning to torrents to get their illicit game on may have found themselves scratching their heads earlier this year after downloading a copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Back in May, a leaked copy of the game hit the ‘Net, and while it was listed as a Beta version it was anything but. Instead, it was an experiment carried out by the Vigilant Defender anti-piracy group. While it began with fun – offering up the actual game’s first few levels – it ended in… a questionnaire?
The Hurt Locker is known in BitTorrent circles as more than just an Oscar winning blockbuster, but also the poster child for movie industry lawsuits. The maker of the film, Voltage Pictures, has been working alongside the U.S. Copyright Group to pursue over 24,583 IP address across almost a dozen ISP’s. Up until recently the lawsuit has only been expanding, but now suddenly the folks over at TorrentFreak are reporting that all but 2,300 of the defendants are being dropped from the case.
A recent hacker attack against hosting provider Reality Check Network resulted in a massive blackout for several popular torrent sites, TorrentFreak reports. The attack took place on Saturday morning, corrupting the Master Boot Records (MBRs) of several servers, RCN said.
"We are writing this letter to inform you that a very targeted malicious attack took place on our network this morning at 6AM EST. As a result, most of our server operating systems have been corrupted resulting in the current downtime," the company wrote to the affected customers.
"We have access to all backups and have already figured out a strategy for bringing your servers back up, and have all hands on deck working to restore service," Reality Check Network President Moisey Uretsky added.
Much to the dismay of conspiracy theorists, the hacker in question doesn't appear to be a hired goon of the RIAA. Instead, Reality Check Network said "it was the result of an ex-employee" who had worked for the company for three years and "had intimate knowledge" of the systems.
Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Peter Sunde, the three outspoken founders of the popular torrent tracking site The Pirate Bay, have been told to take their shenanigans out The Netherlands, or face the consequences. Failure to do so will result in fines of 50,000 euros (around US$64,590) per day.
This is the second time in two summers the trio have been told get out of Dodge, so to speak. Last summer, an anti-piracy outfit took TPB's founders to court, where a judge ultimately ordered them to remove a list of torrents linking to copyrighted works and to ban Dutch users from accessing the site.
Sunde and company opted to appeal the case, and this latest ruling confirms the one from a year ago. The judge did not, however rule that TPB is guilty of copyright infringement, but did say that the site's operators assist in copyright infringement by both allowing and encouraging users to share torrents.
While TPB and its founders will likely remain ever defiant, the case sets a precedent that might be used against other torrent sites.
A young Argentinian hacker, known only by his sobriquet Ch Russo, claims to have successfully slipped past The Pirate Bay's defenses, gaining access to the torrent site's administrative control panel. An SQL injection vulnerability discovered by Ch Russo and a couple of his chums exposed the site's user database, which is said to contain account information belonging to around 4 million users. However, the hacker denies altering or deleting information.
The trio also resisted the temptation of selling the data to the companies assisting the entertainment industry in its fight against piracy. “Probably these groups would be very interested in this information, but we are not [trying] to sell it,” Russo told security blog KrebsOnSecurity in a phone interview. “Instead we wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well protected.”
If the ongoing legal offensive against 5,000 Hurt Locker downloaders is meant to serve as a deterrent, the makers of the film have made little headway. According to torrent-centric site TorrentFreak, the mass litigation tactic hasn't deterred people from downloading the film. The film even figured on the list of the 25 most downloaded movie torrents during the month of June with around 200,000 downloads. The site further revealed that nearly a quarter of all those downloads originated in the US.
The producers of the movie are backed by a company called the U.S. Copyright Group, which is overseeing similar efforts on part of other film makers. Despite efforts to justify such litigiousness as an effective deterrent against piracy, there are many who believe it is nothing more than a witch-hunt triggered at extorting large sums from the downloaders.
Another popular torrent search engine finds itself staring down the barrel. A U.S District judge has ordered IsoHunt to remove all unauthorized content. The order is not merely restricted to the removal of infringing dot-torrent files, though, but further requires that IsoHunt limit the scope of its search function to only legal content “using or based on infringement-related terms.”
However, IsoHunt owner Gary Fung believes a keyword-based filtering system will render the search engine useless. “Filtering against keywords. It amounts to nothing less than taking down our search engine,” Fung told Wired in a telephone interview. He contends that by banning certain keywords altogether would make it difficult for the search engine to display even legal content.
The court has asked IsoHunt to purge the site of all unauthorized content within 14 days of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) furnishing it with a list of all such content.