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.
It's been a busy week for BitTorrents! I've showed you how to download them, how to tweak the heck out of a great program you can use to download them, and how to remotely access your BitTorrent downloads through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. You, young padawan, are now fully grounded in the ways of the torrent. But you are no Jedi yet...
The final task that awaits you isn't so much related to the act of downloading information via BitTorrent as it is contributing to the cloud of data that you're usually pulling from. Yes, that's right. You're going to learn how to make your own .torrent file for distribution via your tracker of choice. While I realize there's a handy feature in uTorrent that allows you do this rather effortlessly, you're limited to working on one torrent at a time via this method. What if you want to make a whole bunch of .torrent files corresponding to a larger number of files you want to make available for download?
In that case, you're going to need the Download of the Week: MakeTorrent. Click the jump to see how it works!
BitTorrent has plenty of practical and legal uses, but sadly, if you're one of the millions of people using it, you're probably breaking the law. A student at Princeton University by the name of Sauhard Sahi has conducted a study of more than 1,000 random files acquired using the trackerless Mainline DHT, and found that more than 99% of them infringe on copyrights. I somehow doubt this news will shock or amaze you, but at least one interesting discovery was made and it makes a pretty compelling argument against those who would try to claim that DRM helps prevent piracy.
According to Sahi's findings, movies and TV shows are among the most popular files being downloaded, and he argues that the onerous DRM which accompanies protected video could be to blame for this trend. This would also explain why music downloading is on the decline, and points out the sad reality that people who download video legally often have to deal with far more challenges than pirates operating over BitTorrent. It certainly makes an interesting hypothesis, but you could also argue that BitTorrent is a bit too much of a hassle just to track down a $0.99 song, but might be more worthwhile for those looking for a $20 DVD.
Sahi's results only reflect data collected from Mainline DHT, but its hard to argue with these numbers, even if they are off plus or minus a few percentage points. Do you think BitTorrent can continue to function as a viable medium with such a high percentage of abuse? It will certainly be interesting to see how things play out over the next few years, or if governments will ever get involved. What do you think?
Boo. That's exactly what the various advertising networks on the Internet are saying to one another as they possess your browsing experience without your knowledge. Okay, so the situation isn't that grim--it's not as if the various Web tracking services and advertising networks are typing strange messages into your search boxes or sending you off to arcane locations via your address bar. Still, nobody likes the feeling like their activities are being looked at.
And that's where the Firefox add-on Ghostery comes into the picture. Like Casper, this friendly little ghost-themed program does an excellent job of showing you exactly who's tuning in to your Web activity. But that's not all--this extension does a bit more than just notify you of the fellow spooks in the room.
Click the jump to check out the rest of Ghostery's feature-set!
Half the internet says The Pirate Bay is dead; The other half says the first half has no idea what it's talking about. Popular BitTorrent index The Pirate Bay is never without controversy, it seems. But is the site's latest move to kill its BitTorrent tracker for good really that much of a white flag? I don't think so, because decentralized BitTorrent tracking has already been here for quite some time now. If anything, The Pirate Bay is just trying to cover its poop deck from additional legal threats.
Here's the deal. For the last many years, anyone could head on over to The Pirate Bay site, do a quick search for a piece of content, download the associated .torrent file, and connect up to The Pirate Bay's tracker. The tracker would, in turn, find you a number of peers to connect to and your BitTorrent client of choice would commence the download of bits and pieces of your file from these multiple sources. Easy.
When a tracker fails to work--or gets forcibly removed from the Internet--you can keep on transferring bits and pieces of a file to those you're already connected to. If you want to start a new download, however, you'll be unable to find any peers seeding the file for you. The same holds true in reverse: Without a tracker, others on the Internet won't be able to connect to you either.
To solve these problems, BitTorrent has embraced two technologies that, together, transform the art of downloading files into a truly peer-to-peer solution: DHT and Mirror Links.
It's been a wild and crazy six year run for the The Pirate Bay, the world's most popular torrent tracking site, but by all accounts, it looks as though TPB's founders are finally ready to quit sailing through legal waters and have decided to bring the torrent tracker to port.
"Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It's the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well," the ever-defiant Pirate Bay bandits wrote in a blog entry.
At its peak, TPB helped coordinate the downloads of more than 25 million peers, but it's no secret that many of those were illicit downloads for everything from pirated movies and television shows, to cracked videogames and closed-source operating systems, particularly Windows. Earlier this year, TPB's legal troubles culminated in a high profile court case in which a Swedish judge ultimately sentenced the torrent tracking site's four founders to a year in jail and ordered them to pay 30 million krono ($3.6 million) to a handful of entertainment companies.
Hit the jump to find out what TPB's founders are up to next.
If you’re wondering whether or not you should bring that personal bottle of hand sanitizer with you to work today, Google has got your back. With their latest tool, the Flu Trends, Google is tracking where flu outbreaks are happening – and doing so weeks before the CDC is.
Google’s Flu Trends follows its users’ searches. Once a search for “flu symptoms” or “muscle aches” is tracked, it’s aggregated to its location and placed on a map. Since the Feds have taken notice, Google has been willingly sharing its information with the Epidemiology and Prevention Brach of the Influenza division of the CDC.
Thanks to the accuracy and speed of the Flu Trends map, lives could actually be saved. The flu still kills many elderly people and those with weak immune systems each year.
Who knows what Google will think of next? But goodness knows their all seeing eye is being put to good use.
The best kinds of system applications are the ones that make your life easier without you having to lift a finger. While the freeware applications we're profiling in this weekly roundup still require you to input a few settings, they're great tools to help automate some of the critical parts of your daily computer life. From hotkey creation utilities to applications that help you conserve power by turning off your PC at specified intervals, these freeware tools are must-have additions to your computing repertoire!
Click the jump to check out this week's batch of free, awesome apps!