UTC's Interview With MP3 Shield
February 16 2004
MP3 Shield's creator "err0rsm1th" has taken the time to talk with us . Sharing with us his reasons for writing MP3 Shield and future improvements to the program.
What inspired you to write MP3 Shield ?
It all started a few weeks back, my girlfriend asked me to make her a
CD with her favorite songs, since I was too lazy to start ripping songs
from various CDs and burning them, I turned to KaZaA.
Being the lazy person that I am, I never took the time to actually listen
to the songs that I downloaded; not knowing that a few were corrupted, I
burned the CD and gave it to my girl. You can imagine her reaction when
she played the CD and heard a loud screechy noise coming out of her
After that incident I did some research and found an article in the Boston
Globe about a company that claims to “fools would-be pirates some 300
million times a month by flooding file-sharing networks with decoys.”
So using my amazing *smile* programming skills, I wrote a simple program
that will scan MP3 files to determine if the file is corrupted. I gave the
app to a few friends who really liked it, and they convinced me to write a
more user friendly version.
How big of an in-pack do you think MP3 Shield could have on the P2P community ?
I’m not sure how big of an impact my app will have on the file sharing
community, but I do know that file sharing has been on a steady decline,
and I believe that one of the most significant reasons for this decline is
the wide spread of fake / corrupt files on the p2p networks, especially
Companies like Overpeer use KaZaA’s own hashing / multi-transfer system
against itself; if you download a song from 10 different sources, then it
only takes one corrupt source to ruin an entire transfer. And if someone
downloaded a corrupt file and neglected to delete it from his computer,
then he is unknowingly aiding the spread of the corrupt files to other
If everybody in the world used MP3 Shield, then no one will ever download
a corrupt file, and the spread of these files will decrease substantially.
Then maybe people will be less aggravated and start using KaZaA again.
I also recommend using a p2p firewall program like peerguardian that will
block out known IPs of the RIAA and company; this will also reduce the
number of fake seeds.
Do you think the RIAA and their ilk will find a way to bypass MP3 Shield ?
They already have -- as soon as we released MP3 Shield they’ve changed
their corruption method. This is why we decided to include an automatic
updater in the app that will update (only if the user wants obviously) the
corruption filters every five days. And we ask all our users to upload any
corrupt file that was not identified by MP3S to our file depository
There have been a lot of reports that file sharing is on a decline. Do you believe these reports ?
File sharing is here to stay; just because less people are using KaZaA
doesn’t mean people are downloading less files. On contraire, because the
RIAA made it such a hassle to download files using KaZaA and ilk, people
are now turning to community based file sharing clients / networks such as
IRC chat rooms, DC++ hubs, and Torrent forums.
What’s more, these new file sharing methods facilitate larger files to be
downloaded and shared -- with KaZaA you could never download a whole movie
/ album / video game as easy as it is with Bit torrent.
I think what the RIAA really did was passing on the buck to the movie and
video game industries. Last year the RIAA reported that total US sales
were $12 billion USD, compare that with the $40 billion sales the video
game industry made or the $100 billion that the movie industry made and
you’ll get the bigger picture.
I have heard that you are working on a new version of MP3 Shield and it will work with P2P programs other than KaZaA. Is this true and if so what are the other P2P programs will it work with ?
Yes, we’re working to greatly improve on the current version of MP3
Shield; we have three updates that we are working on:
i. Making MP3S compatible with Ares, Bit torrent, iMesh, and Shareaza.
ii. Add MPG/DiVX/AVI filters.
iii. Incorporate a socks 5 proxy firewall into MP3S that will block out
corrupt packets; so even if you download a file that is partially
corrupted, the firewall will block out the IP of the corrupt packet
sender, forcing KaZaA to download the rest of the file from other users.
When can we look for this version to come out ?
I’m very busy at work right now (doing this as a hobby), and constantly
updating the corruption filters does take a lot of time as well, so don’t
expect version 2.0 before the end of February.
MP3 Shield has an auto update a lot people in the P2P community would rather update on there own. Will the new version of MP3 Shield include an auto update ?
Updating the filters is crucial for keeping up with new corruption
methods; if someone chooses not to update that his / her choice. MP3
Shield checks for updates every five days, it does not download nor run
anything if the user chooses not to update. Version 2.0 will also contain
an auto updater, but we’ll let the user decide the frequency of such
Most of us know about the amount of time and money involved in writing a program. How have you been funding your efforts ?
It didn’t cost me a dime writing MP3 Shield, I coded everything myself
using off the shelf code that I’ve previously written during my tenure at
my current employment, and a good friend and a colleague of mine designed
the GUI and web site. The only out of pocket expense that we incurred was
the hosting fee, and we got a really good deal on that as well ($200 a
year with unlimited bandwidth).
It’s a damn shame that more and more freeware authors are cashing in on
the gullibility of their users by bundling their software with Spy ware and
Ad ware. Then again why would someone invest the time and effort creating
software and not get anything in return… on that note, PLEASE SUPPORT OUR
CAUSE AND DONATE ;-)
I want to thank err0rsm1th for his time and his answering of our questions. Keep up the great work.
Download MP3 SHIELD FROM HERE