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Thread: How "legal" is it to create a tracker?

  1. #1
    Rart's Avatar Hold The Line
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    I've seen all these posts about TPB, swedish trackers being shut down, and the pirate bay buyers trying to buy out other large trackers to create a collection of legal trackers, and even putting TPB on nasdaq.

    Then theres the paranoia, extreme anonymity of some trackers, especially higher levels ones, and posts describing how "off shore banking accounts" and "offshore server hosts" are quite common when creating trackers. Then there's the fact that all sites have these long disclaimers, terms of use, and all this other crap.

    But if trackers are legal, since you must have the legal right to the products you are downloading and distributing, whats with the paranoia? Why be afraid of the law when it should be perfectly legal?

    And with that, how are places like TPB being shut down? Did they conduct other illegal activity such as distributing copyrighted and illegal material themselves? Did they use illegal means to acquire files? How are law enforcement getting the right to crack down and arrest all sorts of people? (Filesoup?)...

    If its legal to create a site where theres a disclaimer saying you must have the rights in order to distribute/dl, whats so illegal about it?

    /discuss

  2. BitTorrent   -   #2
    KushBlow's Avatar Zen BT Rep: +8BT Rep +8
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    It is illegal to assist in copyright infringement. The warez is not distributed by the tracker itself but it is hosted by it.

    Think of it this way - if you know Warez-BB, it is just a forum for posting links to other servers such as RS that host the warez. WBB itself does not have an upload option, therefore it does not host the illegal files...unlike trackers where their servers DO host it (or are somehow linked to it). On top of that the WBB server is located in Hong Kong where file-sharing is legal.

    There are multiple charges such as copyright infringment and conspiracy to defraud but you really have to know the multiple legal acts and laws which I have no interest in reading.

    Edit1: I may have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about.
    Edit2: The location of the server hosting the illegal files may depend on the legality of it.
    Last edited by KushBlow; 08-10-2009 at 03:13 AM.

  3. BitTorrent   -   #3
    Rart's Avatar Hold The Line
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    But isn't a tracker not technically hosting any files because they only host the torrent file that points to a file?

  4. BitTorrent   -   #4
    KushBlow's Avatar Zen BT Rep: +8BT Rep +8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rart View Post
    But isn't a tracker not technically hosting any files because they only host the torrent file that points to a file?
    It might be because of that torrent file that the anti-pirate groups find the servers that the .torrent file is hosted one which then traces back to the tracker which hosted it.

  5. BitTorrent   -   #5
    megabyteme's Avatar PROF MALINGERER BT Rep: +18BT Rep +18BT Rep +18BT Rep +18
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    You both make good points. Right now, corporations are attempting to "protect" their interests, but have never had to do so on a scale of this magnitude. They are still thinking that they should have complete control of their products.

    Some of us believe that information should be "free" and available to everyone. Many bands would (and do) give away their music. Some authors have done the same. To these people, their art is not about money- it is about producing something that they enjoy and enjoy sharing with others. The same can be said about anyone who writes open source programs.

    There is a war of philosophies here. Corporations are entirely focused on money. People who share files find that the only value of something is to give it to someone else who can benefit from having it. Money is of very little concern. Sites need support to pay their expenses, but generally they do it for other reasons.

    There are sites that do profit from "piracy". Whether through donations, ads, or people paying to leech some (but I would argue few)make money. I have heard that TPB made a lot from ads and possibly some from donations to buy "Sealand". Which they never did, but there were supposedly 10's of thousands donated for the cause. (I would be interested in more details on that one).

    Overall, I believe that sites making money from file sharing will eventually cause some backlash against our community. Corporations will sniff out the money like bloodhounds!

    I have also heard of comparisons between Google and trackers. The arguments tend to say that Google is an indexing and search system not too dissimilar from the trackers. Google has a lot of money to defend itself. Small trackers do not. Especially when "legal tricks" occur that give trackers no chance of winning. Even TPB failed to get a fair trial.

    Another argument in favor of file-sharing is that copyright laws were originally designed for businesses to protect themselves from other businesses stealing their intellectual property. They were never meant to be used against consumers. This makes sense because few of us knew anything about copyright laws prior to the last decade- we did not need to. Right now, the RIAA and the MPAA are using their teams of lawyers to bully citizens out of large sums of money. Most individuals cannot even afford decent attorneys, yet alone good ones. This has essentially turned into a racketeering scheme. Pay up, or we will take everything you own. Just look at the $700k "judgment" against the college kid.

    There is also the issue of "fair use" which has typically allowed people to make limited numbers of copies, backups, etc. I believe that there will eventually be more of a compromise in this area since everything seems to be softening (at least there are fewer lawsuits being pursued) against individuals- mainly it is just bad publicity.

    Right now, legal team juggernauts are trying desperately to set precedents in courts around the world. Every time a major judgment occurs, it is a BIG win for anti-piracy groups.

    I fall under the category of people who care so little about the products I grab, that if I cannot get it for free, I do not need it. The record and movie industries have put out so many bad products that I am really in no rush to give them my money. That combined with the fact that they are running opposite to my beliefs about "free" information that I cannot justify supporting them.

    Ultimately, the products have become available on an infinite scale. Basic economics shows that when there is an infinite supply, price (value from consumers) drops to nothing. That is becoming very true.


    edit-I would like to give credit to the regular posters (SonsofLiberty, Darth Sushi, iLOVENZB, Nucleus, {I}{K}{E}, and everyone else) who keeps the News section up-to-date and filled with important information! It really is a valuable resource for the community.
    Last edited by megabyteme; 08-10-2009 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Credit given to News section for info in this post
    Quote Originally Posted by IdolEyes787 View Post
    The internet is a trap therefore it's inherently evil. Posts should be appropriately vile in keeping with that.

  6. BitTorrent   -   #6
    DanielleD87's Avatar bunny
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    It basically is a new war on drugs. At one point in time drugs where not illegal either.
    All it takes is a couple of good lobbyists and payed off judges and what was legal has become illegal.

    Technically, the DMCA (which goes against original copyright law and therefor should not be legal) declares a lot of once was legal illegal. As for hosting a tracker the only real law I can find that is broken is, 'Conspiracy to defraud' Which is what caught affil groups get charged with.

    It is a messy subject best avoided imho unless you're a lawyer.

  7. BitTorrent   -   #7
    megabyteme's Avatar PROF MALINGERER BT Rep: +18BT Rep +18BT Rep +18BT Rep +18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleD87 View Post
    It is a messy subject best avoided imho unless you're a lawyer.
    Exactly right, DanielleD87! Everyday "normal" people should never have to think about such a complicated legal term. Yet alone, be threatened (and in some cases bullied and robbed) by large corporations.

    In most of these "trials" there was never any real damages to the companies. No one ever sold a single copy of the down-loaded media and in a lot of instances (I image because of my own uses) the companies would never have been able to sell the product to the defendant. They were simply listening to, or viewing something because it was free. That's called fair use.
    Quote Originally Posted by IdolEyes787 View Post
    The internet is a trap therefore it's inherently evil. Posts should be appropriately vile in keeping with that.

  8. BitTorrent   -   #8
    NA_Magus's Avatar ヽ(゜▽、゜)ノ
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    Answering the original question; the tracker you create is only as legal as the content you "link" to or "host".

    I've never heard of an open-source software or anything public-domain tracker been taken down. If you have copyrighted content, there are obviously special interest groups who will look for a quick buck at your expense regardless of the laws and circumstances involved.

  9. BitTorrent   -   #9
    curtanwoo's Avatar Poster
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    If its legal to create a site where theres a disclaimer saying you must have the rights in order to distribute/dl, whats so illegal about it?

    It all depends on the country in which you establish the tracker. Obviously, The Pirate Bay has lost the case in the first court. Now there are two more and this case will probably go all the way to the Swedish Supreme Court (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_Sweden)

    This question is rather intricate and hard to answer in any detail.

    The thing about disclaimers, btw, is that they're much more useful in countries that employ something called "common law" -- which means UK and USA. In countries heavily influenced by German law, disclaimers are not that important. etc.

    If I were to start a tracker, I would host it on fiber in Khazakstan. Or something.

  10. BitTorrent   -   #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtanwoo View Post

    The thing about disclaimers, btw, is that they're much more useful in countries that employ something called "common law" -- which means UK and USA. In countries heavily influenced by German law, disclaimers are not that important. etc.

    If I were to start a tracker, I would host it on fiber in Khazakstan. Or something.
    In terms of civil litigation, including many criminal, a disclaimer, on the main page is not going to protect you...

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