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Cyber Sleuths vs. Secret Networks 640

Posted by michael
from the call-your-ten,-and-raise-you-ten-more dept.
amnfinch writes "I saw this article on BBC news and frankly, I was blown away. Just another example of the relentless campaign to treat file swappers as criminals when their 'crime' is murky at best." Sir Haxalot provides an article on the flip-side: "CNN has a story on 'exclusive' Peer to Peer networks, that require 'knowing the right people and having a wealth of content on your hard disk to get into the clique.'"
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Cyber Sleuths vs. Secret Networks

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  • by James A. A. Joyce (681634) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:02PM (#6564141) Journal
    From the BBC story [bbc.co.uk]:


    "Mark Ishikawa, a former hacker, is the CEO of BayTSP, arguably one of the most recognised and biggest companies working in the business of patrolling the web to unmask violators of copyrighted music.

    From his Silicon Valley base he told BBC News Online: "There is no lock that can't be picked and our technology ensures that there is not a rock in the world you can hide under if you are sharing files.""


    It's not about whether or not there's a lock to pick, nor how strong it is; it's about the fact that there's about 30 million locks which have to be picked at any one time.
    That's why clamping down on P2P is going to be so hard. It's not because of the difficult of catching people - after all, most of the make virtually no effort to cover their tracks even when using centralised services - but the fact that there are simply so many of them. It's like trying to delete every single byte of data on a hard disk - it's not very easy to do at all without completely destroying the disk itself.
    • It's a deterent (Score:4, Insightful)

      by binaryDigit (557647) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:06PM (#6564203)
      It's not about whether or not there's a lock to pick, nor how strong it is; it's about the fact that there's about 30 million locks which have to be picked at any one time.

      The RIAA doesn't want to prosecute everyone who shares files, they want more people to stop sharing files. The idea is that if for everyone they do go after 10 (or whatever) other people will stop.
      • by James A. A. Joyce (681634) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:16PM (#6564315) Journal
        The thing is, though people may well be deterred, I think they will probably continue to use P2P after short time anyway when they see geeks carrying on like nothing's happened.

        Joe Sixpack: Wow! I can download ten songs a day for free!
        Joe Sixpack's friend: Cool! So am I!

        One week later

        Joe Sixpack: I got a letter from the record companies. They tracked me down, so I think I'll stop.
        Joe Sixpack's friend: Wow, guess I'd better stop too.

        They stop. One week later, Joe Sixpack and Joe Sixpack's friend see a Geek using a P2P service

        Joe Sixpack: Dude, I thought the record companies sued you if you shared files.
        Geek: Only a few people. They're just trying to scare everyone else straight.
        Joe Sixpack: Really?

        One week later

        Joe Sixpack: Wow! I'm downloading more songs than ever before, and the record companies really haven't busted me!
        Joe Sixpack's friend: Me too!

        They all live happily ever after, except for the media giants which have to switch to a proper business model. The end.
      • by FreeUser (11483) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:26PM (#6564404)
        The RIAA doesn't want to prosecute everyone who shares files, they want more people to stop sharing files. The idea is that if for everyone they do go after 10 (or whatever) other people will stop.

        The idea is wrong, both ethically and practically. Ethically it is absolutely heinous to make some people pay an exaggerated price in order to frighten others. Indeed it could be argued that it is unconstitutional (14th amendment) to go around destroying some lives in order to 'communicate' a point to others (some are getting very, very harsh treatment, while others are being left alone). Practically, deterrence has been shown not to work, as we see every day with speeding and the woefully ineffectual and counterproductive War on Drugs(tm, Reagan & Daddy Bush). Indeed, deterrence of such crimes is only marginally effective at best, and more often ineffective altogether, particularly with teens, whose notorious "it will never happen to me" attitude is more or less hardwired into their biology and often remains intact well into adulthood. The entire youthful 'immortality syndrome' conspires against any such efforts at deterrence at several levels, something the RIAA and other cartels seem to be unable to grasp (talk about not knowing your market, or your customers).

        A teenager sees a few thousand people get busted, out of several million, and (virtually every one) rightly concludes that they'll never be prosecuted. Indeed, any one filesharer is far more likely to be killed in a car accident than to be brought to trial by the cartels, and we've seen what a deterrence death by physical mutiliation resulting from a high speed automobile impact has on teen driving ... i.e. none whatsoever.
    • yes and besides, his argument loses quite a much point, like, they're saying they are these uberhaxors who can go ANYWHERE, and do go ANYWHERE they like(which is of course, pretty much illegal, and impossible). what they're saying is that if i trade cdr's with my local biker gang(with 'files', he even implies that they are controlling anything that offers files, that means, they're bigger than google!) or if i copy mp3's with my neighbour through direct cable they still will find me! this guy sounds a bit
    • "There is no lock that can't be picked and our technology ensures that there is not a rock in the world you can hide under if you are sharing files."
      Didn't this guy hear about the DMCA? You're not allowed to pick my lock even if all it is is a loosely tied string.

      Oh, wait - does the DMCA only apply when it's being used against the little guy by a huge corporation and never the opposite?

  • uhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:03PM (#6564159) Homepage
    when their 'crime' is murky at best.

    Actually, it's pretty clear. Distributing copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission is illegal. Nothing murky about it. The sense that I seem to get from slashdot is people really, really want to share files, so they tell themselves there's nothing wrong with it.
    • Re:uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ryants (310088) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:07PM (#6564207)
      Distributing copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission is
      illegal.
      ... so they tell themselves there's nothing
      wrong with it.
      Legal and illegal != right and wrong.
      • Re:uhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:30PM (#6564434)
        Please try to describe in instance where distributing copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission is 'right'.
        • Please try to describe in instance where distributing copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission is 'right'.

          Easy.

          FM broadcast usage... it's called mandatory broadcast licensing.

          Analog tape recording and swapping, legally defined as "fair usage".

          Why is the digital equivalent (128K MP3 via P2P) of taping and tape trading illegal?

          Campaign contributions aka legal bribery to elected Federal officians. If you want to construct some great moral principle out of this, be my guest. But don'

    • Copyright law (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ka9dgx (72702) *
      IANAL - I don't need anyones permission to excercise my fair use rights. In fact, it's not a right if I have to ask permission, is it?

      It's not at all clear that sharing a file with a friend is illegal, and it's clearly not immoral.

      Copyright exists to provide incentives to push works into the public domain, not to keep them out of it.

      --Mike--

      • Re:Copyright law (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:24PM (#6564382) Journal
        "Copyright exists to provide incentives to push works into the public domain, not to keep them out of it."

        Copyrights exist to provide an incentive to push works into the public domain, by providing a means for the publisher to make money off the published work. Sharing files with friends deprives him of that income. I don't see how sharing files with friends is 'clearly not immoral' (though one could argue that it isn't).
        • Copyrights exist to provide an incentive to push works into the public domain
          What public domain? The same folks telling people that filesharing is causing the end of the world and imposing ludacris damage estimates on 22 yr olds in college have effectively legislated away the public domain. At this point I don't even know if we'd be allowed to play the national anthem without a licence if the same laws in place now were there when the thing was written.
    • Re:uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:18PM (#6564336) Journal
      True, but maybe he meant 'crime' as opposed to 'misdemeanor'. Swapping songs is wrong, but the punishment should fit the crime. Sharing a few songs does not warrant being served with multi-million dollar lawsuits, being treated worse than a drunk driver, or being bullied into handing over your live savings to the RIAA. It's the RIAA's tactics and the way file swappers are treated, that has people up in arms, not the fact that they're going after the swappers in itself.

      The RIAA is clearly trying a scare tactic, by making examples out of a few individuals. It's a bit like the old days, when they would cut off the hands of shoplifters (though not quite as bad). Respectable people like you and me may shrug about that, but just you wait until you are singled out for being made into an example... and you don't have to have committed any actual crime; if the RIAA dislikes what you do, you're a viable target. Look at that student with the search engine.
    • Re:uhhh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by techstar25 (556988)
      Here is what makes it murky: This guy isn't looking for copyrighted files, he's looking for file swappers, whether the swapper owns the copyright or not. What I do in my own house (hard drive) is my business, and I don't want anyone peeking in my windows (ports) without my permission.

      And yes, I swap a lot of files that I own the copyright to. I am a musician and I like to make my music available to everyone. More people trade on Kazaa than visit mp3.com on any given day so it just makes sense to use P2P t
      • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:16PM (#6565004) Journal
        What I do in my own house (hard drive) is my business, and I don't want anyone peeking in my windows (ports) without my permission.

        Ahhh, the classic "what I do in my own house" defence. Presumably you think that within the privacy of your own home it's OK for you to do anything, regardless of whether society considers it legal or illegal.

        By that rationale, you're allowed to rape, torture and murder people without a care in the world as long as you do it at home. After all, it is your house.

        Please, stop living in a dreamworld and come back to reality. Just because it's your house it doensn't make you immune from the law - right or wrong - within it.
        • True, but there are certain things that we are entitled to do in our homes with a "reasonable" expectation of privacy. (noticable a certain Texas law that was struck down by the Supreme Court a few weeks ago).

          The above example, while not directly related to the "fileswapping" argument, is pertitinent in that if you are doing something illegal, the "Justice" system has a process to follow to prove that you are breaking the law. They do so, so that your rights are protected and to make sure that they are no
    • Re:uhhh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Eyston (462981)
      All the RIAA knows is that you downloaded a song. That in itself is not illegal. What if you own that song but it is on a copy-protected CD and you want to be able to play it on your MP3 player? Is that also illegal? Under Fair Use I would think not, but IANAL.

      -Eyston
    • Distributing copyrighted material is not the same as sharing files. I share files all the time, and so does anybody who browses the net.

      So when saomeone says files swapping/sharing is illegal, they are wrong.

      You do not need the copyright holder permission to exercise fair use.

      hat is where it gets murkey. Is it fair us to download a copyrighted file that I already own? foe example, I have song 'A' on cd I bought. Can I download song 'A' from the net?
      Is it illegal to share a file? hard to say, since it has
    • Actually, it's pretty clear. Distributing copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission is illegal. Nothing murky about it. The sense that I seem to get from slashdot is people really, really want to share files, so they tell themselves there's nothing wrong with it.

      There's nothing wrong with it.

      These multinational corporations have, for years, had a free ride on our backs, and the backs of the artists they exploit. They fix prices, pay crap to the bulk of their workers, and 90% of the
    • Re:uhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kaltkalt (620110) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:39PM (#6564510)
      File sharing copyright infringement is malum prohibitum, not malum in se. People shouldn't go to jail for trivial little malum prohibitum offenses. The fun(ny) part is watching the RIAA, etc try to convince the world that file sharing is really malum in se. At that, we all laugh our collective asses off, as that notion is sillier than potsmoking causing toxic overdoses and woldwide terrorism.

      The only thing wrong with filesharing is that there is a statute which, by sheer overbreadth, makes it technically illegal. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with filesharing copyrighted material.
  • "We find between 1.5 million to two million copyright infringements a day and we have a very high effectiveness rate. About 85% of the people we send notices to go away and we never see them again."
  • by DrLudicrous (607375) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:04PM (#6564171) Homepage
    What about newsgroups? I hear about people trading very large amounts of data via newsgroups all the time, including entire CD's. It seems to be more reliable than peer-to-peer, and it's private. And what about the IRC? I've heard of people getting software shipped to them before it's even released to the general public because of good contacts on IRC channels!
    • what about IRC? There are now PUBLIC web spiders that search IRC networks for bots that are carrying Warez (music, movies, etc).

      You search em, they tell you what server, channel, and bot to hit up for your stuff.

      Newsgroups are a pain in the ass to get anything from. UUDECODE and other formats are used and generally the files are split over MANY messsages.
      • Newsgroups are a pain in the ass to get anything from. UUDECODE and other formats are used and generally the files are split over MANY messsages.
        There are tools [shemes.com] available to simplify downloading from newsgroups.
      • Newsgroups are a pain in the ass to get anything from. UUDECODE and other formats are used and generally the files are split over MANY messsages.

        UUDECODE is passe. yEnc is better and smaller. Yes the posts are split up over multiple messages, but who cares. There are many newsreaders that will automatically sort, download, and decode the messages so that they appeared as one file to the user. With the introduction of PAR files, multipart RAR (which are sent as multiple articles themselves) work great

    • From the BBC article:
      This involves launching robotic searches across the internet, on all major peer-to-peer networks, in 65,000 newsgroups, FTP sites, Internet Relay chat channels and auction and retail sites.
      Newsgroups are extremely non-private. You put the files on your ISP's server, which broadcasts to (almost) every other ISP in the world.
      • Anonymity is far more easily achieved on Usenet than in other P2P situations.
        • Take a look at the headers of a news message some time. You'll see a list of every news server it passed through, in the order that they saw the message. So you can find out what ISP the message was sent from (possibly what user IP sent it), or the server that erased the Received: headers.

          Yes, receiving anonymously is fairly easy (if you use a server that doesn't keep download records), but sending anonymously is somewhat more difficult.

      • ... which broadcasts to (almost) every other ISP in the world.

        Almost every other ISP? I highly doubt it. Are binary groups to be found anywhere but on for-pay services which get subscriptions exactly for this reason, the availability of copyrighted material?

      • I use a usenet [usenetserver.com] service that respects my right to privacy by not keeping access logs.

        That's probably about as anonymous as I'm going to get without being my own usenet feed.
    • What about newsgroups?

      The security of newsgroups depends entirely on whose news server you're using. If the nntp server you're accessing records your ip along with your requests, then you can be tracked in the same way as they're using for p2p. Ditto IRC, though usually with IRC, someone will setup a temp ftp site and tell interested parties what the ip address and username/password is to access the site.
  • let's fight back (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gnaythan1 (214245) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:04PM (#6564177)
    according to this http://www.techcentralstation.com/1051/techwrapper .jsp?PID=1051-250&CID=1051-072903B

    quote:
    "Recently, Republican Senator Sam Brownback offered an amendment to an FTC reauthorization bill that would force "owners of digital media products to file an actual case in a court of law in order to obtain the identifying information of an ISP subscriber" rather than the current standard where the subpoena power is virtually unchecked."


    Sounds like Sam Brownback has the right idea, and I want to give him some encouragement...

    It seems that money is the only thing these people seem to care about, so I think I will take what I would have spent on a music CD (about 20 bucks) and send a money order to this guys campaign fund instead. I think I will add a nice little note on why I did that. Too bad I can't vote for him directly...

    I think I'll send a note to my senator as well, along with a copy of the Brownback note, explaining why I'm not sending HIM any money.

    Twenty bucks isn't much.... but what happens if just one percent of the people who read this do the same thing? Hell I might make this an ongoing project, and send twenty bucks a month to whatever congress-critter seems to deserve it the most at the moment.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:04PM (#6564178) Homepage
    Thinking of hiding behind nicknames like "hottdudeXXX" or "bluemonkey13" or even installing new software to cloak your identity? Think again, says Mr Ishikawa.

    "We got an e-mail last week from someone saying 'How did you find me? I used Peer Guardian' and he thought that would save him from our spiders. There is nowhere to hide."


    What about P2P networks that encrypt all traffic? How are they going to determine what media you have (based on the 30s that they apparently download from you) when it's all encrypted?

    How about when I trading legal copies of music (like SHN/FLAC/etc Grateful Dead shows?) Will these 30s clips match up?

    Of course the article is narrow on details.

    This "spider" crap worries me.
  • 'Crime'? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heir2chaos (656103) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:05PM (#6564186)
    Look, I file swap, but it is still illegal to trade copyrighted material. Everyone that trades files knows this, it is just that they don't care. It's just like speeding, it's illegal, but it doesn't matter until you get caught.
    • Re:'Crime'? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:32PM (#6564454) Homepage Journal
      "...trade copyrighted material"
      no its not. I can freely trade you my copy of "The Hobbit", for your copy of "Jaws".
      You can even resell your copy! as a mattter of fact, there is probably a place where you can get copyrighted material for free! its called the Library.

      Now if you copy and redistribute computer data, that is probably a different matter, but I don't think its been fully put to the test.

  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06 @ e m ail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:05PM (#6564189)
    Ignoring the implication of the phrase, I find this list really hard to accept:

    Busta Rhymes: Pass the Courvoisier
    U2: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
    Bon Jovi: You Give Love A Bad Name
    Van Halen: Hot for Teacher

    • don't worry, it's another RIAA tactic. Tell people on the Internet about the most popular downloads on P2P networks so that they can pinpoint you easily.

      Only the idiots will believe this crap, they will go and download the files, and they will be able to quickly find you because NO ONE ELSE WOULD DOWNLOAD THAT CRAP.

      Busta Rhymes my ass :)
  • Going away (Score:5, Funny)

    by henrygb (668225) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:06PM (#6564198)
    "About 85% of the people we send notices to go away and we never see them again"

    Especially if they have dynamically allocated IP addresses.

  • How secure is this? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CmdrWass (570427)
    From the original post:

    'knowing the right people and having a wealth of content on your hard disk to get into the clique.'"

    If anyone already on the network can allow someone onto the network, then there is still a possibility of someone charming their way into the trust of others. They need to take it one step further, and give a unique public key/private key to each individual, and have a single person responsible for adding people to the network. Otherwise, if anyone on the network can invite anyo
    • by stratjakt (596332)
      Why dont you ask all the folks in DoD, RaZoR1911, FairLiGHT, etc how secure this is?

      Yeah, your circle of trust can be corrupted.

      It's still safer to be the guy in the limo distributing bricks of cocaine, than the kid on the streetcorner selling it in $10 bags.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:07PM (#6564205)
    They have been described as Hollywood's digital detectives and they have a warning for anyone illegally trading music or movies: "You can run but you can never hide."

    Hell, given that most computer geeks have trouble getting out of their chair, let alone run, I'd say they're in pretty deep trouble ...
  • by KrispyKringle (672903) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:08PM (#6564220)
    I don't see why the RIAA or other copyright holders would be all that concerned about private sharing networks. Security, even in regards to copyrights, is a balance between how expensive the system is and how expensive an intrusion is.

    A private network can never have the volume of sharing, and hence harm to the copyright holders, that the big public networks like Kazaa have. And the cost of tracking them down is prohibitive. So I don't see this as something the RIAA needs to get worked up over any time soon. "Private" sharing, in some form or another, has been going on for decades. Analog tapes and software piracy before the days of the Internet are just two examples of tacitly-accepted piracy which was simply too low-volume to be an issue.

    Now, if something like Freenet were to provide fully anonymous, public sharing with the ease-of use and pervasiveness of Kazaa, I think the RIAA would be scared.

    • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:13PM (#6564276) Homepage
      Now, if something like Freenet were to provide fully anonymous, public sharing with the ease-of use and pervasiveness of Kazaa, I think the RIAA would be scared.

      Duh, that's why they are publically saying it is hard to use in every article they can. They want the public to be afraid to even try it.

      They know that us geeks don't care, but they know that the public only believes what they are fed.

      If Joe Blow 13 year old (clueless) hears that Freenet is hard to use over and over, he is less likely to try it.

    • A private network can never have the volume of sharing, and hence harm to the copyright holders, that the big public networks like Kazaa have. And the cost of tracking them down is prohibitive. So I don't see this as something the RIAA needs to get worked up over any time soon. "Private" sharing, in some form or another, has been going on for decades. Analog tapes and software piracy before the days of the Internet are just two examples of tacitly-accepted piracy which was simply too low-volume to be an iss
  • It is illegal to publicly distribute copyrighted works without the copyright holder's consent.

    People who use any publically available service to upload copyrighted works without the copyright holder's consent are breaking the law.

    If you consider this crime to be a measure of "civil disobedience" against the evil entertainment industry, then you should be prepared to face jail time as many famous practitioners of civil disobedience have in the past.

    I don't understand what is so "murky" about this issue.
  • There is no lock that can't be picked and our technology ensures that there is not a rock in the world you can hide under if you are sharing files.

    In non-RIAA-threatening lingo : "we know how to run tcpdump".
    • In non-RIAA-threatening lingo : "we know how to run tcpdump".

      Nah. I doubt they're that intelligent. They probably just mean that they can look at the username, and then type netstat from their Win command prompt (guess there's no DOS prompt anymore, eh?).

  • Like the recently-pulled WASTE [stricken.org]?

    getting a large number of people that you trust using the same network -- so that you have access to large amounts of files -- is going to be a bigger problem than security, and that's a big problem in and of itself, really. Are the other private groups/programs that can be used for filesharing?

  • "If you have an active internet address or connection and you are actively sharing files, our spiders will find you."

    Sounds like something the "Your computer is broadcasting an internet address" guys could use. It could link to a place selling Raid by mail.

  • Hi tech (Score:5, Funny)

    by bytesmythe (58644) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ehtymsetyb'> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:11PM (#6564252)
    "Using our matching technology, we identify the user name, the protocol they're using, which file-sharing protocol if it's just a web protocol or not. But the most important piece of information we detect is their IP address," explained Mr Ishikawa.

    "Matching Technology"? Oh no! They've learned to use regular expressions to parse an unencrypted text stream! Good lord! Now no one will be safe swapping files online! However will the file sharers bypass the modern technological marvel of grep?

  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06 @ e m ail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:13PM (#6564274)
    As reported [macslash.org] on MacSlash [macslash.org], Buymusic.com is violating copyrights. Jody Whitesides, a musician, found an old CD [buymusic.com] he made for sale on the Buymusic.com site without ever being informed/asked/paid. He checked and also found albums from friends of his. As it turns out, they all had dealings with a brick and mortar distribution company called Orchard in the 90's that supposedly went out of business. They didn't and now it seems that anyone who had dealings with them might be on Buymusic.com without their knowledge, consent or recompense.
    • Since I posted here, an AC on Macslash posted what they claim is a portion of the Orchard contract:

      You grant to us throughout the Territory during the Sales Period the

      NON-EXCLUSIVE rights to sell, copy, sublicense, distribute and otherwise
      exploit any and all of your Recordings by any and all means and media
      (whether now known or existing in the future), including, without
      limitation, the non-exclusive rights to sell, distribute and otherwise
      exploit any and all of your Recordings throughout E-Stores incl

    • Uh. Wow. Here is my band from Mpls, the Lovejoys. [buymusic.com] I think that someone is going to have to get a kick in the head.

      You know, I don't care if its on P2P, but someone *selling* songs off my record is not fucking cool. I sure not getting any $$$ Orchard is NOT a label! It is/was? only for distribution. They have NO rights to this. This was paid out of our pockets. All of it.

      Hmm - this may make it to my journal...I've got some calls to make tonight. BTW - We have some CDs left (the band is no more), if

  • $anonymity (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kuleiana (629890)
    As human beings we have the right to anonymity as a basic human privelege. We should not abuse that right to harm others, nor should we be denied the right to not be public if we wish. The RIAA and similar organizations seek to eliminate that right in a certain venue in an attempt to control more resources utterly, i.e., the musical recordings of the artists who they supposedly, fully "represent".

    Does anyone remember what happened to anon.penet.fi? And now hotmail.com and the equivalent msn are owned by
  • by TrollBridge (550878) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:15PM (#6564292) Homepage Journal
    "...when their 'crime' is murky at best."

    I really wish article submitters would stick with the facts and stop injecting their opinions into the stories they are submitting. Statements such as that only makes one sound like a zealot (granted, though, there are plenty of people who agree with it).

  • Sometimes I can't believe what makes the front page. Apparently it comes as a shock to Michael that groups of people who trust each other will provide software and other collections of bits to others on the group.

    I remember people using war-ftpd [jgaa.com] to share so-called "warez" to each other, long before the average person had ever heard of Winamp.

    How is it newsworthy that people do the same thing with music?

    Ugh ugh ugh.

    If this story is worth the front page, then this comment is worth reading.

    Hint: neither i
  • Private warez sites have existed since the first modem. They've never been immune from police. I don't see how a site full of mp3's is any different than a site full of adobe software (and if it's a private ftp site, chances are it's gonna have a bit of both). I'm not making any moral judgments on such sites, but am merely wondering why this is something considered "new" and why anyone would think that it is secure from prosecution?
    • I'm not making any moral judgments on such sites, but am merely wondering why this is something considered "new" and why anyone would think that it is secure from prosecution?

      Because warez and ftp was a geek thing.

      Ever since Napster and Kazaa, file sharing has been accessible to the lowest common denominator Joe Sixpack and Sally Soccer Mom trading popular media--music and movies.

  • Pinkerton? (Score:5, Funny)

    by cosyne (324176) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:16PM (#6564308) Homepage
    As well as making money, Mr Ishikawa's vision for BayTSP is to become a hi-tech version of Pinkerton, the legendary detective agency that protected presidents like Abraham Lincoln ...

    Ok, that may not be the best example there, guys.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:16PM (#6564313)
    As well as making money, Mr Ishikawa's vision for BayTSP is to become a hi-tech version of Pinkerton, the legendary detective agency that protected presidents like Abraham Lincoln and hunted outlaws like Jesse James.
    The Pinkertons did a great job protecting Lincoln, except for the assassination part and their hunt for Jesse James was a success only in that it didn't result in a capture.
    • by El (94934) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:21PM (#6564362)
      This is a excellent analogy; the Pinkerton men were almost universally hated assholes who made a habit out of violating people's rights and using strongarm tactics to do their master's bidding. When companies needed somebody to beat up strikers to end a strike, who did they call? Pinkerton.
  • Underground (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ispinstr (637677)
    Trading is just going to move underground. If you have a smaller trading group with enough suppliers of content, there is no need to share with everybody in the world. A virtual, private P2P will be tough to track down. This is not really a bad thing. It will cut down on the trading of files by most people since suppliers are hard to find. It will go back to trading between friends which has been around for decades now but now it will be digital sharing rather than analog.
  • CNN story (Score:3, Insightful)

    by harmonica (29841) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:20PM (#6564355)
    "You'll know they're talking, but you won't know what they're saying. It's quite impossible to crack the algorithms," said Lowrey, whose company, Endeavors Technology, is designing a file-sharing system for corporate clients.

    Actually, you don't even know they're talking. A program can send small encrypted blocks regardless of whether the user actually sent a message. If nothing is to be exchanged some no-op message can be transferred which is as large as a normal encrypted message block. Don't let the attacker know more than necessary.

    As for the elitist country-club type of sharing cliques - those always existed. Whether they are using private IRC channels, FTP or some newer p2p system like DC, that's not much of a difference. Of course release groups don't let anybody join, to name one example.

    The problem with private circles - they can always be infiltrated by 'traitors'. It's not a technical problem anymore once a person feels threatened enough to cooperate with the police.
  • Cringley did a profile of Ishikawa last year [pbs.org].
  • by jemenake (595948) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:22PM (#6564369)
    CNN has a story on 'exclusive' Peer to Peer networks, that require 'knowing the right people and having a wealth of content on your hard disk to get into the clique
    Over the last several months, I've begun to conclude that something like this is the only way that file swapping can really endure. Basically, my idea was that each person's file swapping client would only make/accept connections to/from people that you trust: friends, family, etc.

    The twist would be that the system would allow relaying of searches and of actual files. In other words, if I request a file that is on my friend's friend's computer, then the file has to come through the computer of our mutual friend. The whole idea is to keep things as encapsulated as possible... kinda like how terrorist cells work.

    Now, I know that this increases network traffic... adds a lot of opportunities for a "weaker link" in the chain (imagine if one of the people in the relay chain is using a 56k modem)... decreases the "connectedness" of the whole sharing network, etc. However, I think this is the only real way to keep the RIAA from just being able to download a song and, *pow*, have the IP of someone to sue.

    Also, some of these problems mentioned might be assuaged by the fact that people might feel more comfortable leaving their stuff shared. I, for one, have gobs and gobs of stuff that I could share, but I don't... because I have way too much to lose. However, if I knew that the only people who could connect to me would be people that I know... I'd have tons of stuff up and shared... 24/7.

    The strange thing is that it seems to me that this was Aimster's plan, but they got shut down for some reason. But I don't know why.
  • by mnemotronic (586021) <mnemotronic.netscape@net> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:31PM (#6564440) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA has stated they need to hack into private networks, otherwise known as VPNs, to track down the naughty copyright violators:
    "If users think that any particular service guarantees their anonymity, they're wrong,"
    Naturally the RIAA will need to inspect and decode every single packet sent using an encrypted protocol to determine if it contains copyrighted material. The NSA may be able to do this (not that we'll ever know), but I really doubt if a bunch of limp-noodle Hollywood lawyerswine have the funding or technical ability to do it. Supposing though, that through some miracle, they can pull it off. How will organizations that employ VPNs or PPTP for legitimate business purposes react when they hear that the RIAA is cracking their transactions?
  • HA! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wwest4 (183559) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:33PM (#6564469)
    This article is the funniest thing I have read in a long time.


    "This is just over a few hours and I have almost 14,000 records with a variety of different titles ranging from Daddy Day Care to Anger Management and Charlie's Angels."


    What the BBC didn't mention is that she is using the newest ueber-kewl anti-piracy spider PACKETNEWS.COM [packetnews.com]

    For any similar industry stoolie morons lurking here - welcome to the net. You must be new here. "Pirates" switched from BBS to FTP to HTTP to IRC to P2P. The next step will be using crypto to obtain anonynimity that WILL foil IP traces. You will have to do better than chasing down sharers with a glorified webcrawler:

    inform your clients that resistance is futile and they have to change their business model to catch up with new distribution technologies that the net enables.

    Nice try though, and again: welcome to the digital era.

  • by Suppafly (179830) <slashdot.suppafly@net> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:37PM (#6564495)
    Copyrights exist to provide an incentive to push works into the public domain, by providing a means for the publisher to make money off the published work. Sharing files with friends deprives him of that income. I don't see how sharing files with friends is 'clearly not immoral' (though one could argue that it isn't).


    One could argue that since copyright is effectively broken (ie: it doesn't push anything into the public domain due to the fact that its been constantly extended every few years for the last hundred years) that there is no obligation for the populus to obey copyright laws as they gain no benefit.

    Social contracts only work if both sides hold up their end of the bargain, and in this case, the RIAA and associated industries have failed to do so. Once they start releasing material into the public domain after a relatively short amount of time, I (and I imagine many others) will start rewarding them by paying for some of the material they have copyright on.
  • If P2P dies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordOfYourPants (145342) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:41PM (#6564528)
    I'll probably just shy away from buying new CDs and DVDs in general. That's not to say I will go on a pirating rampage, but I'll stick to free and currently legal alternatives that don't leave me with a sour taste in my mouth.

    One thing I do know is that current mainstream media distribution methods are horrible. Let's take a look:

    1) Television. Most any content consists of 30% ads. Even paid content can be costly (esp. in the US) b/c if you subscribe to a blanket movie network, you may find a competing one gets exclusive access to a certain studio's movies.

    2) Radio. I live in a city with a population in the millions. I am into electronic music and have a very hard time being able to find any at, say, 4 in the afternoon. Even when I do hear it it's during some "live-to-air" session where they're continuously plugging the club's name and how great the atmosphere is. Again, it's interrupted by huge amounts of ads. I know I'm not the only one feeling this way as I've heard the same kind of gripes for different genres.

    3) PC Gaming. I can't say how many games I've wanted to try and ended up purchasing due to a lack of a demo that ended up being terrible. It was even worse in the C-64 days, where a games' box art would have screenshots from the arcade rather than the C-64 screenshots. Ever play a demo of The Sims or Sim City 4000? Neither have I.

    All that said and done, it's not hugely traumatic, just a shift in lifestyle. Don't buy games unless they have demos or incredible word of mouth, be very stingy with how many times you go to the movies (or at least support directors/writers/studios who aren't just creating the next cash grab movie), try to find an internet radio station playing what you like.

    It's not like we're going to war here and lives are at stake. I could just go nuts and warez the universe, but spending even 1ms in jail just b/c I wanted to download Glitter to see if it REALLY WAS that bad doesn't seem worth it to me.

    I know someone can reply and say I have my head in the sand, but I think it's more a matter of picking your battles carefully.
  • by Lyrrad (219543) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:52PM (#6564673) Homepage
    Quote from the BBC article:

    Two of the industry's top seven movie studios have engaged the sleuthing services of BayTSP, but because of contractual arrangements they can't be named.

    A snapshot of illegal movie downloads by BayTSP's chief technology officer Evelyn Espinosa was revealing.

    "This is just over a few hours and I have almost 14,000 records with a variety of different titles ranging from Daddy Day Care to Anger Management and Charlie's Angels."


    Well, since Daddy Day Care, Anger Management and Charlie's Angels are all Sony films, Sony must be one of their customers.
  • by PeteyG (203921) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:54PM (#6564712) Homepage Journal
    Then call me Captain Kirk.

    At my university there's a Direct Connect hub run by an anonymous student that is accessible only by people in university IP addresses. It's crazy fast, has TONS of good (and quite illegal) media, and the university looks the other way because it helps relieve the MASSIVE (and expensive) bandwidth pressure back when everyone was trying to use Kazaa.

    Makes me want to live on campus until Freenet turns into AnonymousKazaa
  • by hether (101201) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:26PM (#6565676)
    From this Sept. 2002 PBS article [pbs.org] on BayTSP

    One thing BayTSP's spider programs don't do is sit at the Internet peering points sniffing all packets as they go by. "That would be wiretapping, which is illegal," he says. "All we do is go to the same places any user could go, look at the same files anyone else could look at, and we only probe the ports on your computer that you have made public."

    The BBC article acts like this is some new big deal, but it's exactly the same thing they've been doing since at least September last year. I think they've spun the article to make it seem a lot worse than it is. Perhaps the only difference is that they have more clients demanding the info now, or that they've decided to prosecute people at a lower level of infringement?

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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