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  • BitTorrent Crackdown Center Prepares to Punish Pirates

    In a few months millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be actively monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all the major ISPs. Those caught sharing copyright works will receive several warning messages and will be punished if they continue to infringe. Today the center responsible for administering the scheme announced its Executive Board, which surprisingly enough doesn’t include any neutral executives.

    Starting this summer, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) will start to track down ‘pirates’ as part of an agreement with all major U.S. Internet providers.

    Last year the parties agreed on a system through which copyright infringers are warned that their behavior is unacceptable. After six warnings ISPs may then take a variety of repressive measures, which includes slowing down the offender’s connection and temporary disconnections.
    The new plan was announced under the name ‘Copyright Alerts‘ last year and will be implemented by all parties by July 12, 2012. As this deadline nears, the CCI today unveiled several key players who are going to lead the group.
    Surprisingly, the Executive Board is exclusively made up of representatives from the RIAA, MPAA and the ISPs.

    RIAA’s Steven Marks has been appointed as Vice Chairman and General Counsel, MPAA’s Marianne Grant is the Senior Vice President, Comcast’s Alan Lewine is Senior Counsel, Verizon’s Thomas Dailey is Chairman, Viacom’s Daniel Mandil is Associate General Counsel and AT&T’s Brent Olson is Vice President of Public Policy.
    For an organization that aims to educate Internet users in a responsible way, consumer rights representatives are completely absent from the Executive Board.
    However, the Advisory Board does include public rights advocates including Jerry Berman, the Chairman of the Internet Education Foundation and founder of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge.
    The latter says it wasn’t an easy decision to accept the position. Sohn is especially worried about the threat of Internet disconnections.

    “I still have concerns about some of the points in the agreement. One of the most prominent is the threat that consumers could have their access to the Internet cut off,” he says.
    “I will ask at the appropriate time for the ISPs to promise not to interpret the agreement’s ‘temporary restriction’ provision as allowing for suspension of user Internet accounts. This provision is most troubling because an individual could lose access to the Internet just on the basis of suspicion alone.”
    The CCI will be headed by copyright and consumer protection expert Jill Lesser, who will serve as Executive Director.

    Unlike some members of the advisory board, Lesser is delighted with her appointment and is eager to start sending out the first batch of alerts.
    “I am excited to lead CCI as it begins this constructive effort to reduce and deter online copyright infringement in a way that is centered on education and deterrence, not punishment,” she said. “This unprecedented collaboration demonstrates that when content providers and distributors work together we can protect copyright and empower consumers at the same time.”

    As expected, CCI is mainly focusing on the educational component of the scheme, but in essence it’s deterrence through punishment.
    While we now know a little bit more about the people who will lead CCI, the organization has yet to announce the company that will be responsible for tracking down millions of BitTorrent pirates. Last year sources told TorrentFreak that DtecNet got the lucrative contract, but that was the last we heard of it.
    One thing’s for certain, the company that gets the contract will have to be reviewed by an independent expert to see if their evidence gathering techniques pass the scrutiny test. But even when the end-stage tracking evidence is solid, there will always be many wrongful accusations, not least because people run unsecured Wi-Fi networks and ISPs make mistakes.

    Those wrongfully accused Internet subscribers have the right to call for an independent review at the cost of a $35 filing fee. These disputes will then be handled by the American Arbitration Association, CCI announced today.
    While the CCI is confident that the alerts are an effective way of deterring online piracy we have our doubts. For one, the monitoring system is relatively easy to bypass through aproxy or VPN. Secondly, the multi-million dollar plan only covers a few of the many sources of online piracy.

    The millions of U.S. Internet users who download via cyberlockers and streaming portals are not affected by this agreement at all, as these downloads are impossible for third parties to track.
    Time will tell who’s right.
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. cola's Avatar
      cola -
      Don't they already track people on public torrent sites anyways? I know HBO and NBC have been pretty aggressive about sending DMCAs to people downloading from public trackers.
    1. CyberCitizen's Avatar
      CyberCitizen -
      What I Don't Like Is The $35 Filing Fee.

      What If Your Providing A Service Like Tor & Someone Uses It To Download Something, You Then Get Flagged. You Have To Pay To Clear Your Name. You Should Be Able To Provide That Service Without Having To Worry About Your ISP Cutting You Off.

      Not That I Am In The US Nor Do I Have To Worry About This Yet.
    1. nless00's Avatar
      nless00 -
      I can see increase in private trackers and proxy, and encryption.
    1. netjuba's Avatar
      netjuba -
      thats why we love tpb all of torren trackers need to transfer to eu or ru hk servers
    1. xJohnxSmithx's Avatar
      xJohnxSmithx -
      How do they know which file you are transferring? Would renaming these files make them undetectable? Or do they look inside the files? Cuz it couldn't be that hard to make a tracker which lists files properly but has a different name connected to the .torrent correct?
      cheers
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Quote Originally Posted by xJohnxSmithx View Post
      How do they know which file you are transferring? Would renaming these files make them undetectable? Or do they look inside the files? Cuz it couldn't be that hard to make a tracker which lists files properly but has a different name connected to the .torrent correct?
      cheers
      No, that wouldn't work. There are hashes on each file being shared, and that is what identifies the parts you have. The names really don't mean that much since the Industries essentially get on the trackers and download particular files that they want to see some money for. These tend to be big-name bombs that are deeply in the hole in terms of profit. These "agencies" then send out multitudes of letters to ISPs that are known by the IP addresses that show up in BT clients. Those (so far) dumb enough to reply get entangled in proving their innocence or paying a "small fee" to make their "legal troubles" go away. It's a huge scam, and now it seems EVERYONE who gets a letter will have to pay a minimum of $35 to prove their innocence.

      Hell of a fucking scam- either you pay a large amount, or you pay $35 to clear your name. Either way, they get 2X the cost of a DVD for every letter sent out.
    1. ilcantar's Avatar
      ilcantar -
      I'm not trying to get off topic here but , torrenting/downloading is really the only reliable way to see the media that you only want to see once.

      For instance I've had accounts with netflix and blockbuster and they are quite unreliable at times. Let's say you want to see a tv series. Well they will have the series for rent but , two of the discs are unqueueable because they don't have disk 3 and 5 of a six disc set.

      The legit services are so shitty and they wonder why torrents are so popular. WAKE UP MPAA!! It's because they offer a better service!!

      I've gone the legit route and it's a pain in the fucking ass half the time. You spend money and don't get what you want.
      Or you can torrent and get exactly what you want for free.

      It's you own fault things are the way they are.
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      I'd pay money for non-DRM torrents rather than get discs in the mail for free, trueness.
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Quote Originally Posted by mjmacky View Post
      I'd pay money for non-DRM torrents rather than get discs in the mail for free, trueness.
      How much you offerin'?
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Quote Originally Posted by megabyteme View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mjmacky View Post
      I'd pay money for non-DRM torrents rather than get discs in the mail for free, trueness.
      How much you offerin'?
      Dollar an episode
    1. manker's Avatar
      manker -
      Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
      It's a huge scam, and now it seems EVERYONE who gets a letter will have to pay a minimum of $35 to prove their innocence.
      I'm not getting that at all.

      You can choose to clear your name, if you wish and it will cost $35, but there is no point. You get a further five warnings before your IP can take measures like traffic shaping or disconnections. Measures that many ISPs already commonly undertake if they detect torrent traffic.

      On the face of it, this is a good thing for US torrenteers.
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Quote Originally Posted by manker View Post
      On the face of it, this is a good thing for US torrenteers.
      Look at the notorious scumbags who each have a hand in this. It is a moneymaker, and a HUGE one at that. The ISPs have thus far been the wall standing between the downloaders and the money-seeking Industries. Now they will be working TOGETHER. Bad. Bad. Bad.
    1. EricPost's Avatar
      EricPost -
      If the ISPs wanted to end piracy all they have to do is start charging by actual usage. Charge so much per month per mb and that'd kill off all piracy. Since no pirates would most likely get a smaller bill they'd love it
    1. manker's Avatar
      manker -
      Quote Originally Posted by megabyteme View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by manker View Post
      On the face of it, this is a good thing for US torrenteers.
      Look at the notorious scumbags who each have a hand in this. It is a moneymaker, and a HUGE one at that. The ISPs have thus far been the wall standing between the downloaders and the money-seeking Industries. Now they will be working TOGETHER. Bad. Bad. Bad.
      The glass is half full, mbm

      Internet service providers are a powerful bunch and collectively employ more people, I'm talking American stats because this isn't affecting the UK or other places that don't matter so much, than the entire movie industry. They also have the free trade ethos firmly behind them, which is something I hear you guise take completely seriously. If a judge considers that a restriction of trade has been put on any particular ISP, then that restriction will be repealed. And quickly.

      This is a compromise whereupon the ISPs have said to the representatives of the movie industry that they will pay lip-service to them in a public way which will scare a lot of individuals into renouncing piracy, but the reality is that the measures they are prepared to take are less punative than the ones already in place.

      This works especially well for the ISPs too, because while their customers clamoured to switch after receiving a solitary warning letter, now it will be widely known that they can receive up to SIX of them before it becomes an issue.

      In summary; this is absolutely fine if you're not a reactionary.
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Quote Originally Posted by LoungeOverlord View Post
      In summary; this is absolutely fine if you're not a reactionary.
      I'm not being reactionary, I'm just saying, "Burn them to the ground and eat their children before they start doing this". That's all.
    1. ilcantar's Avatar
      ilcantar -
      I have to ask.
      If I am just using a webui (rutorrent) for my seedbox and do not have a torrent client installed on my pc will this monitoring bullshit pick up the webui or do you actually have to be running utorrent ect. on you pc through your home connection to get monitored. As far as the downloading via ftp from the seedbox I would assume that would be under the radar. Let me hear what you think.
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Quote Originally Posted by megabyteme View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by LoungeOverlord View Post
      In summary; this is absolutely fine if you're not a reactionary.
      I'm not being reactionary, I'm just saying, "Burn them to the ground and eat their children before they start doing this". That's all.
      Can I borrow them before they're eaten?
    1. OldIronTits's Avatar
      OldIronTits -
      Quote Originally Posted by ilcantar View Post
      I have to ask.
      If I am just using a webui (rutorrent) for my seedbox and do not have a torrent client installed on my pc will this monitoring bullshit pick up the webui or do you actually have to be running utorrent ect. on you pc through your home connection to get monitored. As far as the downloading via ftp from the seedbox I would assume that would be under the radar. Let me hear what you think.
      Running your webui on your PC will not directly get you in any trouble.

      You only can be prosecuted in the US for SHARING ("uploading"). Downloading is fine. The servers of your seedbox are doing the sharing. If the courts go after your seedbox server, they (the seedbox company) give you up & provide facts of a contract between you and them for seedboxing, only then can you possibly get in trouble. Having said that, I have not heard of any reports of such (specific) cases executed anywhere in the world.
    1. stan's Avatar
      stan -
      Safer to have a non-USA box and seedbox company nowadays.
    1. usr's Avatar
      usr -
      Quote Originally Posted by ilcantar View Post
      I have to ask.
      If I am just using a webui (rutorrent) for my seedbox and do not have a torrent client installed on my pc will this monitoring bullshit pick up the webui or do you actually have to be running utorrent ect. on you pc through your home connection to get monitored. As far as the downloading via ftp from the seedbox I would assume that would be under the radar. Let me hear what you think.
      Yeah you will be under the radar for whatever they are monitoring. I do not think anything more is necessary but if you want to take if a few steps further... Use HTTPs for webui if you are not already and most important don't use FTP, use FTPS or something encrypted to get the file from the server to yourself. Again I don't think it is necessary to go that far but if you are trying to stop all monitoring that should pretty much do it.

      Also to consider is how you are getting the torrent files in the first place. Proxy through your seedbox if you can to browse the sites, use HTTPs when possible bla bla.

      again I think you have already covered all the bases that matter, just trying to see how to turn the tin foil hat in to a tinfoil helmet.