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MPAA Ignores Usenet, Goes After Bittorrent 232

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-wouldn't-you-too dept.
mjeppsen writes "The Motion Picture Association of America is turning a blind eye towards movie piracy on Usenet, going after torrent link sites instead. PC Magazine says it is because the studios are in bed with GUBA, who is also shilling downloadable movies for the MPAA at a premium price."
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MPAA Ignores Usenet, Goes After Bittorrent

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  • Shhhhhhhhh (Score:5, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:44AM (#16500585) Homepage Journal
    Ethay irstfay uleray ofway ethay usenetway isway ouyay oday otnay alktay aboutway ethay usenetway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by xtracto (837672)
      Does anyone know about a nice usenet client for Linux to download binaries?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
        No [rebelbase.com].
      • by jascat (602034)
        nzbget [sourceforge.net]
      • by MightyYar (622222)
        nget [sourceforge.net] for the command-line crowd. Nothing fancy but good if you know what you are looking for, and great for fetching daily postings along with cron.
      • by tolan-b (230077)
        hellanzb [hellanzb.com] beats nzbget for me. Used to use the latter but switched as hellanzb handles unparring, unrarring, fetching nzbs from newzbin by id and whatnot too.

        Nice FF plugin as well, hellafox. [z0g.org]
      • Re:Shhhhhhhhh (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jaruzel (804522) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:43AM (#16501383) Homepage Journal
        Who needs a client? [easynews.com]

        -Jar.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jrockway (229604)
          What's nice about easynews is that their servers reassemble split RARs and extract the enclosure. So if you find something you want to watch, you can just click download and the .avi (or whatever) immediately starts downloading. It's really an awesome interface.

          If the RIAA/MPAA/TV Networks provided a site like that (for a similar price; $10/month), I think piracy would be stamped out forever.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by it0 (567968)
        Newsan [zwanebloem.nl]: This one has a web frontend and more wierd features. It's hard to install though.

        I should now I wrote it..
      • by Shads (4567)
        Binary News Reaper, with a giganews account ;)
        • by Shads (4567)
          Sorry, early day. Linux client, I always like AUB (assemble usenet binaries) it leaches entire groups at a time. Something to be said for that if you got the space and time to sort.
  • by the Gray Mouser (1013773) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:44AM (#16500591)
    The article misses a major point.

    The MPAA is perfectly free to choose who to go after. If they choose to allow GUBA to continue (at least for now), that is their right. It doesn't take away from their valid position to protect their copyrights.

    As an aside, I had never heard of GUBA before this. I may have to look into it...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bl00d6789 (714958) *
      Actually, it hurts future arguments they try to make against other infringers, or at least it should (the law has a funny way of bending in the favor of these major copyright holders/campaign contributors). See, owners of intellectual propery are charged with a responsibility called due diligence. They are required to take reasonable action to protect their property, or they lose the ability to enforce their rights at all. If they want to openly give permission to GUBA to distribute copyrighted material,
      • No authority (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:57AM (#16500765) Homepage
        I think the due diligence requirement you're speaking of only applies to trademark. With copyright, your awareness and failure-to-sue some other guilty party could conceivably be brough up in court as a defense.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laches_(equity) [wikipedia.org]

        But I don't think this defense works very often. The copyright holder could basically say "we have to use our resources sparingly; there's so much infringement out there that we can't bring cases except where there's a very good chance of winning"
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Not to mention that it's not like they're not bringing cases. All they have to say is "We intend to go after other sites later, we've got out hands full with dozens or hundreds of lawsuits already now".
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            If they're going to go that far, it wouldn't take more more effort/money to have their laywer platoon crank out a standard "cease and desist" letter, noting that any "ignorance of the law" plea would be impossible as of the date of the letter. In other words, "Stop it, or we *will* come after you at a time and date of our choosing. You have been warned. Ignorance is no excuse."

            Just fill in the target's name and send it via recorded delivery.

        • by dpilot (134227)
          Give them a break, they're suing as fast as they can. Didn't they recently open another 8000 lawsuits? There are now 3e8 people in the US, so it will take them a big to give us all our opportunity.
      • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:05AM (#16500857) Homepage
        See, owners of intellectual propery are charged with a responsibility called due diligence.

        No they're not.

        They are required to take reasonable action to protect their property, or they lose the ability to enforce their rights at all.

        That's pretty incorrect. There are some estoppel arguments, I suppose, and with trademarks, the trademark will simply cease to exist if it can't function as a source identifier. But really, no one is required to litigate.
      • by westlake (615356)
        See, owners of intellectual property are charged with a responsibility called due diligence. They are required to take reasonable action to protect their property, or they lose the ability to enforce their rights at all.

        Unlike trademarks, copyrights have explicit constitutional protection in the United States.

        The exercise of "due diligence" may -- someday -- limit damages for the infringement in good faith of so-called orphaned works. Infringement Is Everywhere: Congress Addresses 'Orphaned Works" [law.com]

        But

  • by calbanese (169547) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:44AM (#16500595) Homepage
    You do not talk about Usenet.
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:46AM (#16500609)
    It's just easier to find and sue torrent abusers.
    • Having looked at the Guba Website [guba.com], I'd be amazed if they could find anything on there. There seems to be some horrific bugs in the javascript making the site damn near impossible to navigate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      Actually, I have to wonder about that.

      If I register with e.g GigaNews or whoever, they have at the very least my contact / credit card details, and even if they may not leave private information to just about anyone, I wouldn't be too confident in antipiracy organizations not being capable of using their user registries to proceed with their investigation.

      My point is -- at least with BT, I wouldn't be registering myself on some company. With Usenet, you often have both that way for them to attack you, as we
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SCPRedMage (838040)
        With a torrent, all they have to do is start downloading the files themselves, and they get a nice, neat list of IPs for everyone sharing their content.

        With UseNet, it'd be alot harder for them to locate people downloading the binaries, and it's pretty easy to hide your identity when you're uploading, too.
        • That and the fact that UseNet downloaders are not sharing files (like torrent users). So they can't bust them for distribution.
      • by tolan-b (230077)
        I believe GN only keep a record of what you've downloaded for 3 days.
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Yeah, you just go on believing that... whatever makes you feel warm and safe, just make sure you sleep with your slippers on. The floor in the cells can get mighty cold.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Right. My ISP's NNTP server carries all of the binary newsgroups. The only people doing uploading are the ISP themselves, and they could argue that they are just caching (I don't know how well this would stand up in court, however).

      Interestingly, I'm told that they stopped hosting binary newsgroups a couple of years ago, saw their international bandwidth bills shoot through the roof from BitTorrent, and brought back the binaries. The moral of this story is 'if you offer DRM-free movies at reasonable qua

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sponga (739683)
      Dont you think the programs out there made it too easy for users to get the illegal files and doesn't present any challenge like we used to get 'in the old days'. I liked the private days when things were kept small and it was a little more time consuming or challenging to get the file.
      See we used to sneak into our local $2 cinema and the guys would not care who were standing way at the other end; the only reason they set a guy up there and later secured the doors even more was because everybody started abu
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by OSS_ilation (922367)
    because I was starting to get the impression they were a little too focused on all the great music they were putting out lately.
  • How do they do that? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:50AM (#16500667)
    I'd never heard of GUBA, but I'm real curious how they "index" multimedia that's got names like "4er0s1x03.rar" (that's "Heros, season 1 episode 3" for the unitiated). People name things like that to avoid getting caught by *AA filter bots. Seriously, how can they index all that stuff with all those cute non-machine-readable names?
  • by arun_s (877518)
    Hadn't heard of this before. The wiki page calls this "a video hosting service similar to YouTube. It also sells and rents videos in Windows Media DRM restricted formats. It was founded in 1998 as a Usenet service provider."
    Asking as someone who wasn't around when Usenet was the biggest thing, is this really as proliferate as torrent sites?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bl00d6789 (714958) *
      There is almost nothing available through torrents which hasn't been posted to Usenet within the past 90 days. So, if you have a Usenet provider with 3 months' retention (e.g. Giganews), Usenet is huge. But more importantly, unlike a torrent, it's reliable. You may find a torrent, but if it has no seeds, you can't download the files. With Usenet, if you've found the articles, the only limit is the speed of the connection between you and your provider.
    • Usenet and ISPs (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:32AM (#16501223) Homepage Journal
      Usenet is definitely big, but the problem (or maybe the reason it's still around) is that many people find it a lot harder to use than BT.

      Generally -- at least in the good 'ol days -- Usenet was a service that you got from your ISP. Along with x many email addresses and everything else, ISPs would advertise their Usenet breadth and retention. A good ISP would have its own servers that would mirror the popular newsgroups and retain articles for a set length of time, usually 90 days.

      As the size of the newsgroups grew and grew (a 90-day cache must be up in the petabyte range now), and its popularity with average readers waned, fewer ISPs kept good feeds. Now, if you want a really good newsfeed, you may have to pay for it, or you're going to have to do some research on your ISP's web page to figure out how to access theirs, and what groups they have and what their retention rate is. Some ISPs don't carry the binary groups, or have short retention spans.

      I know that with Comcast, they have a fairly complete newsfeed, but they limit you to 2GB per month of transfer; basically if you want to leech more than that, you have to go to a different provider like Giganews. (This is tremendously dumb on Comcast's part, because if I download gigs of stuff from somebody else's servers on the internet, Comcast has to pay for that traffic from their higher-tier ISP; if I download it directly from Comcast's servers, then it's free for them, since it only ever travels over their wires. They already have the content on the servers, so that's a sunk cost.)

      The WP article on Usenet is fairly good:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet [wikipedia.org]
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        I know that with Comcast, they have a fairly complete newsfeed, but they limit you to 2GB per month of transfer; basically if you want to leech more than that, you have to go to a different provider like Giganews. (This is tremendously dumb on Comcast's part, because if I download gigs of stuff from somebody else's servers on the internet, Comcast has to pay for that traffic from their higher-tier ISP; if I download it directly from Comcast's servers, then it's free for them, since it only ever travels over

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283)
      Asking as someone who wasn't around when Usenet was the biggest thing, is this really as proliferate as torrent sites?
      --


      Oh yeah! The only thing that realy shut down the popularity was the very lousy spam to content ratio. It was worse than the current e-mail situation. For the most part, it became useless except for the few with lots of time on their hands to sift through the rubble heap that remained of usenet.

      Like in the early days of e-mail, It was very popular for finding information online. Now it'
  • Uh-huh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Otter (3800) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:55AM (#16500731) Journal
    Because if they *had* sued this "Guba" thing, you idiots would be congratulating them for their meticulous fairness and consistency and expressing relief that they hadn't "lost the moral high ground" by failing to take legal action against someone...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dylan_- (1661)

      ecause if they *had* sued this "Guba" thing, you idiots would be congratulating them for their meticulous fairness and consistency

      "idiots"? How does this make anyone an idiot? It makes perfect sense to critisize the MPAA when they sue people and to also criticize them when the fail to do so. This way, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. Which is kind of the point. What you're proposing leaves them a way to wriggle out of their damnation, and that just won't do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jb.hl.com (782137)
      I know you were being sarcastic, but of course not. They wouldn't support anything that stops them from downloading the "shit" (which they so willingly download and consume) the RIAA/MPAA member companies make.
      • Re:Uh-huh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kentrel (526003) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:35PM (#16506483) Journal
        I agree. For a site full of supposedly intelligent people there are a lot of angry boys who think it's their right to download the latest shit the MPAA\RIAA have to offer, and fuck them if they try to protect their investments. Whether it's their right or not is a legal issue - the real question is why do they waste their time on that shit anyway, whether they get it for free or not? Are hours of their lives watching this crap really well spent?

        When they're on their death beds will they look back on their lives and say "I'm glad I never kissed a girl, it was much more fun watching the latest Hollywood bullshit, then bitching about it, and all for free, hahahalolroflmao..."

  • It seems that the primary difference, from what I've been reading, between Guba.com and bittorrent is at least with the former, the MPAA has a chance at some money coming their way. From the FAQ:

    What is the difference between buying and renting a video on GUBA Premium?

    Rent - If you rent a video on GUBA Premium it will be available for viewing from your computer for a limited period of time (most likely 24 hours). The 24 hour period commences at the moment that you click on the "Play" button in Windows Media Player (and not when you begin the download.) Rental videos most often restrict what you can do with the video--meaning that you can't burn it to CD or copy it to another computer. Please note that depending on license terms you may have up to 30 days to begin playing the video before which time it is no longer accessible. Be sure to check the details on your "My Favorites" page.

    Buy - If you buy a video on GUBA Premium it is available for your enjoyment indefinitely, usually on up to 2 devices (check the individual file for the specific license rights.) In addition, you can back it up to a DVD-R or sync it to a Windows capable ("Playsforsure") mobile device.

    Explanations for all of these rights are defined in the FAQ listed below (My Rights for Renting & Buying Videos.)
    Why am I not able to play the movie I just rented/bought?

    Your computer must have the following minimum system requirements to play the movie you rented/bought:

            * Operating System: Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional SP-2 or Windows Media Center
            * Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
            * Windows Media Player 9 or higher
            * A 300KBps or better Internet connection: We recommend Cable or DSL connection


    So right there, Guba has some sort of DRM system in place that keeps people from just watching any movie at any time - and since they use the Usenet archives at times to snag their movies, the MPAA doesn't have to worry about "clean" copies - they'll still get paid for crappy Usenet archive copies that Joe Geek ripped from the DVD.

    But there's something else that Guba offers as well: tracking of content. Does Hollywood want to know what movie might be a good pick? What if there's been a lot of traffic in "Santa Claus versus the Martians", and it's pretty constant - maybe rereleasing the DVD will make some cash.

    Either way, the selective nature of just what the MPAA will go after and what they won't is rather interesting. I read through the artcle which seemed to show pretty clearly that the MPAA can ignore copyright violation when it wants to. Anyone else have a better idea than I why that may be?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259)
      Either way, the selective nature of just what the MPAA will go after and what they won't is rather interesting. I read through the artcle which seemed to show pretty clearly that the MPAA can ignore copyright violation when it wants to. Anyone else have a better idea than I why that may be?

      It's perfectly simple. With trademarks, if you do not defend it, you risk losing it. That does not apply to copyright (or patents); they're yours whether you go after infringers or not.

      More to the point though, GUBA will
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jardine (398197)
      What if there's been a lot of traffic in "Santa Claus versus the Martians", and it's pretty constant - maybe rereleasing the DVD will make some cash.

      If you're referring to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians [archive.org], it's in the public domain now. So anyone can rerelease it on DVD.
  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:03AM (#16500827) Homepage

    Bittorrent is more or less centralized. Centralized targets are easy to shutdown and pillage.

    Usenet is decentralized and distributed. It would be very hard to deal with. So this is just a matter of the MPAA/RIAA picking the low hanging fruits. Governments had trouble censoring Usenet, the MPAA/RIAA aren't going to do much better.

    The easy money is going after the centralized servers and then getting the big ISPs to pull the plug on Usenet. First, steer people away from the clients. If they don't know that it exists, they don't get the service. Second, stop providing clients. That raises the bar even further. So no NNTP client from the ISPs, and I bet MS Windows doesn't even ship with a program that can handle NNTP either. Even ten years ago, back when people were constantly fiddling with their computers, something like 65% kept the default programs and configurations, the percentage must be much higher nowadays. Lastly, when their Usenet usage drops enough, they can quietly pull the plug.

    Since as a side effect of being distributed and decentralized, Usenet is dreadfully difficult to track or censor or charge extra for. The largest ISPs are owned by MPAA/RIAA interests anyway and not being able to charge extra rubs them the wrong way. So, these interests steer people instead to Facebook, MySpace, and other ad revenue generators. Many western governments appear to have issues with free flow of information, and especially troubled by sources that are difficult to censor. Remember, Usenet got around blocks that even seasoned reporters couldn't when covering dramatic events like the fall of eastern block governments or even China's Tienamen Square massacre.

    For those who don't know, Usenet is a distributed, decentralized, threaded messaging network which predates the Internet. There are problems with how it is designed, but keep in mind that it was set up in the mid-70's and back then if you were on the network, you were probably supposed to be there, eventally helped improve it, and for the most part were accountable.

    If (when) the One Laptop Per Child project takes, of then the mesh network will need a new communications network with many of the characteristics of Usenet. HTTP just is not practical over slow, intermittent connections, so without a distributed, decentralized communications system, mesh users are cut out of web forums and such. Even e-mail is difficult if several of the nodes between you and your correspondents are frequently down or out of contact.

    • by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:16AM (#16500991) Homepage
      I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you do not know about the inner workings of the standard extensions to Bittorrent. Don't feel bad; most people don't.

      Bittorrent was designed to be as decentralized as possible. Usenet still has to be hosted on servers of one kind or another; Bittorrent shares are distributed by a system of peers. The distributed database system means that Bittorrent metadata does not even need a .torrent container or tracker -- just give your DHT-enabled Bittorrent client (say, Azureus) a magnet link and a starter peer and it will retrieve metadata and content for you without any centralized organization. No tracker, no .torrent. Perfectly legal to distribute magnet links, and perfectly legal to distribute Azureus.

      PS FYI, there is at least one client installed with Windows XP capable of handling NNTP -- Outlook Express. Also, Google still has most of the worthwhile news groups.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:48AM (#16501447) Homepage Journal
        Yes, but unless there's some darknet-capable BT protocol that I'm not aware of, when you start downloading a file, you expose your IP address to everyone that you're grabbing parts of the file from. Any one of them could be a government/MPAA/RIAA spy.

        So if I want to find a bunch of would-be copyright infringers, or opposition journalists, or whatever, all I need to do is create a file with an enticing name (say, "tiananmen_square.mpg" or "TheLionKing.avi"), fill it with garbage data, and toss it out in a likely place where people will see it and start downloading. As soon as they connect, you've got their IP. Ask/subpoena/rubber-hose their ISP for the billing records, and cue the men with guns.

        With a Usenet or Usenet-like system, an individual user is only ever connecting to one server. It's centralized, but there's also more trust. You're never exposing your IP address -- and thus your identity, because the two are effectively one and the same when the government or another entity can force your ISP to reveal it -- to any unknown or untrusted people.

        In a really paranoid environment, Usenet can be compartmentalized; you would pull the feed from the person directly above you in your hierarchy, and they would pass traffic to someone else above them, without you knowing who the upstream provider is. If the network gets compromised at the bottom, it's a rather painstaking process to follow the traffic up in order to get the rest of the network. Rather than being able to grab a lot of users at once, you can only get one "cell" at a time, if it's being run as a darknet.

        Usenet seems more centralized on the surface, but in some ways it's far less so. Perhaps its security is mostly accidental rather than by design, but it can survive in situations that are highly adverse to the free flow of information, while BitTorrent basically assumes that a high percentage (all?) of the people you're exchanging traffic with are friendly, and that your IP address is OK to give out.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mochan_s (536939)

          Bittorrent only requests and exchanges parts or chunks of a file.

          I guess it's enough to get you a lawsuit, but on the other hand even being associated with an IP address is now enough to get you sued. So, it really matters anyway. Somebody could be sending out packets with your IP address saying you're a BT client with the movie.

          But, you're right. Bittorrent was mostly designed for speed of download and not privacy.

        • "So if I want to find a bunch of would-be copyright infringers, or opposition journalists, or whatever, all I need to do is create a file with an enticing name (say, "tiananmen_square.mpg" or "TheLionKing.avi"), fill it with garbage data, and toss it out in a likely place where people will see it and start downloading"

          But if the data is NOT a copyrighted work, (its filled with garbage data), then how can they sue you for that? Furthermore, it is them who have made it available! IANAL but that sounds like en

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mister Whirly (964219)
          "when you start downloading a file, you expose your IP address to everyone that you're grabbing parts of the file from. Any one of them could be a government/MPAA/RIAA spy."

          Sure, if you just use a torrent client wide open. Smart users will use something like Peer Guardian2 http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/ [phoenixlabs.org] to keep all the bad guys IP addresses from connecting to you...
    • There is another low-hanging fruit issue: you can never prevent all of the piracy for something and really, to have a measurable business effect, you don't have to. You just have to continue to make it more difficult for the vast majority of the world (i.e. doesn't read Slashdot, thinks AJAX is a brand of household cleaner, pirates things because its free, easy, and safe) to get to your content. And forcing casual users to have to understand arcane stuff about newsgroups, binaries, multi-part archives, an
    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:43AM (#16501393) Journal
      Lets be honest, the real reason they aren't going after it is that usenet is little known outside of IT circles and is pretty user unfriendly (at least to a layman).
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by fishbowl (7759)
        >usenet is little known outside of IT circles

        There is no shortage of trolls and morons on USENET, not all of whom are "in IT circles."

        I'm afraid the cat's been out of the bag for a long, long time.
  • Comcast is partnered with Giganews, does that make it ok to download TV shows then? ;)

    Seriously though, the real difference between the two (at least when it comes to finding movies and other *AA offensive material) is the ease (or lack thereof) with which it can be found by the average Joe.

    Having been on Usenet for some time, finding one episode out of the many legit postings, spam, incomplete files, bad encodings, etc... is a real hassle and PITA. Try finding a posting that was left say... 58 days ago, wh
    • Having been on Usenet for some time, finding one episode out of the many legit postings, spam, incomplete files, bad encodings, etc... is a real hassle and PITA. Try finding a posting that was left say... 58 days ago, when dealing with large files (like a 4.6 GB movie in multiple parts) and the number of headers you have to download and sort becomes quite a time consuming chore. In my experience, I have only found 2 *good* ways of finding content easily on Usenet. 1 is a serach engine in the .info realm, an
      • Newshosting offers 70 days retention for $20/month (45 days for $15/month), unlimited downloads and maxes out my 6Mbps line. I know there is at least one or two other providers with similar retentions (but possibly higher prices and/or limited Gigs/month)
      • by Dun Malg (230075)
        Without checking, I doubt that even if you subscribe to Giganews (and not with an ISP that partners with Giganews or any other usenet provider), you'll get anything close to a 58 days retention. I think 30 days is a more accurate average of the retention you'll get for most binary groups.
        Giganews has had 70 day binary retention for years, and last month they upped it to 90 days. Text retention is set for "forever" and is currently over 1200 days and climbing...
  • Nooooo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by revery (456516) <{charles} {at} {cac2.net}> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:15AM (#16500975) Homepage
    PC Magazine says it is because the studios are in bed with GUBA

    GUBA!!! You said I was the only one...
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:15AM (#16500979) Journal
    I think the MPAA doesn't care about Usenet is because the Usenet that is provied "free" by ISP's sux in a major way. Anyone with Earthlink or TimeWarner can confirm that even with PAR2 files, there is simply not enough left of just about any rar to reassemble the archive. Too many pieces just disappear.

    I guess GigaNews still isn't big enough to attract the attention of the MPAA. I hope GigaNews wouldn't give up the user's data without a fight anyway.

    Also, one person posts on usenet and there are many free "anonymous" posting servers out there. Several people download. Getting the uploaders is more important to the RI/MP-AA than the leachers/lurkers. With bittorrent, nearly eveyone who downloads also uploads so all users are just as guilty.

    Finally, the IP addresses of the users are easier to find via torrent than they are via usenet.

  • by mogrify (828588) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:17AM (#16500997) Homepage

    The Usenet as an MPAA profit center? I don't buy it.

    1. The MPAA believes that they are losing money every time a movie is downloaded without DRM.
    2. GUBA is relatively unknown, so much so that many of the commenters here have never heard of it.
    3. Usenet (if it actually existed, which it doesn't) contains an unmentionably huge amount of non-DRM content.

    So, there's no way that if the MPAA knows the full scope of the Usenet, that they would be making enough money off of GUBA to offset the perceived losses of keeping the Usenet in operation.

    Here's a better explanation: to crack down on the Usenet, the MPAA would have to put pressure on the ISPs who provide Usenet connectivity as part of their plans. ISPs don't like reducing the value of their services by limiting features (it makes it harder to justify their monthly rate hikes). And the MPAA needs to be friendly with the ISPs to keep getting those juicy log files.

    So it's not that they like the Usenet, it's just that they don't have a way to shut it off, yet.

  • Thank Average Joe. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:18AM (#16501013) Homepage Journal
    The main distinguishing feature of Bittorrent, and all the other mainstream P2P networks, is they all have nice shiny GUI-based clients. All your average Internet user needs is to hear from their token nerd friend "download blahblahwindowsclient.exe from this site, double-click it, and click yes to everything" and they're up and running with a dead-easy piracy scheme.

    Usenet piracy, however, still requires a bit of fiddling with to get working. You need to choose and install a client. You need to set it up with your server's settings. You need to learn about binaries, how to rejoin split files, how to use RAR archives, how to recreate missing parts by using multiple servers or fiddling with PAR2s, and so on.. and that's just to leech. If you want to contribute, there's another whole list of things you need to learn how to do to make usable posts.

    There's also the fact that everyone's a target with P2P. If you're leeching, you're also sharing with others, your IP is out there, and you're counted among the trackable. One file can possibly lead to hundreds or thousands of guilty trraders for the **AA to prosecute. On Usenet the only ones they can go after are the posters, and one successfully posted file can be grabbed by a virtually unlimited number of downloaders before it vanishes from the ether forever.
    • and then average internet user X ends up with a virus after downloading pr0z0rszzz.exe off of said P2P network. On P2P networks Darwin's Theory reigns supreme.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222)
      You have it right. Though I don't think copyright is settled in the digital realm (everyone HAS to make a copy to use the media!), I think that it is generally accepted that the person who presents the material will be the infringer. The best non-digital analogy would be that the authorities would go after the guy in the subway who sells bootleg DVDs, not the buyers of the bootleg DVDs. It is also generally accepted that for message boards to be possible, screening cannot be compulsory. Even Slashdot could
    • by be-fan (61476)
      Heh. I hope nobody clues the MPAA into Unison. It's a nice Mac program that makes usenet, well, usable for Mac people...
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Usenet piracy, however, still requires a bit of fiddling with to get working. You need to choose and install a client. You need to set it up with your server's settings. You need to learn about binaries, how to rejoin split files, how to use RAR archives, how to recreate missing parts by using multiple servers or fiddling with PAR2s, and so on.. and that's just to leech. If you want to contribute, there's another whole list of things you need to learn how to do to make usable posts.

      Uh... that's why there's

      • True, but Easynews is a paid service. You pay them a premium to take care of the techie end of things for you. Saying that Usenet is simple because you use Easynews is a bit like saying cooking is easy because you employ a personal chef.
    • by Achoi77 (669484)
      Seriously. To the average person, Usenet is the internet equivalent to a dump: people just leave crap lying around, and if you are willing to spend the time digging, you *may* find something you want, and get it up and running even. Usenet is totally inconvenient, especially considering the alternatives. Why should the MPAA go after the blue collar piracy when they can go after the high profile white collar ones? There is no money in going after the ghetto pirates; the MPAA has to pay it's lawyers too - it'
  • I thought I was going to get sued by the MPAA for piracy, but I only got 98% of the document before all my connections dropped. Oh well.
  • TV Shows? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edmicman (830206) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:32AM (#16501233) Homepage Journal
    Does the MPAA control TV shows, too? I have no interest in downloading full theater movies or DVD rips, but I'll grab tonight's CSI off the 'bay sometime tomorrow because my DVR is busy recording other things. Plus the shows off torrents are HD, with commercials pre-cut, so it's awesome. Where do those fit in?
  • This is why everybody who torrents should be using Azureus or uTorrent and enabling RC5 end-to-end encryption.

    It doesn't matter whether or not what you're downloading is legal or not under our messed up copyright system. It is simply a message saying "we're not going to let you stifle legitimate technologies because 'they might be used for piracy'". In fact, let's have everybody enable RC5 end-to-end encryption, and then keep trading Ubuntu images and other legal stuff back and forth.

    This, of course, can'
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by glindsey (73730)
      And to forestall the responses to my own comment... I'm an idiot. Of course they can just connect to the torrent and see every IP address connected; End-to-end encryption really only helps stop content provider traffic shaping. That'll teach me to post before thinking.

      In that case, it seems traffic over an onion network is the only solution...
  • Usenet and IRC have long been major distribution routes for "illegal content" on the internet, more technically savvy people probably get content off of the newsgroups and irc each day than have ever gotten it off of bittorrent... faster generally too... bittorrents big bonus is... it's stupid easy, click the link wait a few hours.
    • Usenet and IRC have long been major distribution routes for "illegal content" on the internet, more technically savvy people probably get content off of the newsgroups and irc each day than have ever gotten it off of bittorrent... faster generally too... bittorrents big bonus is... it's stupid easy, click the link wait a few hours.

      What us, guv'nor? Illegal content? In 'ere? Nah, ya got the wrong bloke, mate! 'onest as the day is long, sunshine. I mean, who'd a thunk it... us... 'ere... downloadin' all the

  • by celerityfm (181760) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @11:07AM (#16501719) Journal
    From a time before binaries and spam were rampant comes a far-reaching and informative paper entitled Obscenity and Indecency on the Usenet: The Legal And Political Future of Alt.Sex.Stories [indiana.edu]

    And here is a relevant quote:

    "Generally speaking, government regulation in this country seems to be most effective only when dealing with large, centralized entities (such as corporations). These entities need to pay taxes, file documents, utilize the courts, etc. These entities are also willing to put up with a number of impositions because of their overriding interest in attaining profits. However, when we are dealing with an entity that is not driven by profits and a decentralized activity that has no real controlling agent (i.e., the Usenet), the regulatory system seems to break down. The only channel of consequence to the Usenet is one of existence. Its demolition (perhaps the only real regulation available) would be a regrettable loss to society.[ 59 ]

    Moreover, even though banning the structure of the Usenet could technically be instituted in the U.S., its center of gravity would most likely shift abroad and be imported through Telnet or other methods. In that case, as with any undesirable overseas activity, a customs system could be established if there was a strong enough governmental interest. However, such a system would pose a huge burden to the international flow of information. Certainly, the argument could be made that the U.S., in implementing such an Internet customs system, might be crippling itself economically for the commerce of the future.

    Finally, one should note that the regulation of the Usenet by foreign nations can potentially affect Usenet services in this country. For example, a German prosector in Munich ordered CompuServe to discontinue service of over 200 "alt.sex" and related newsgroups on charges that they contained illegal pornographic material. [ 60 ] Since CompuServe lacked the technical means with which to tailor Usenet content simply for German subscribers, the company blocked access to these newsgroups for all of its subscribers worldwide. [ 61 ] Although CompuServe corrected its technical problem within a matter of weeks, the incident received tremendous criticism domestically. [ 62 ] One source even characterized the event as "the most dramatic and far-reaching attempt to restrict the free flow of information online." [ 63 ]"

    All that and I still firmly believe that the only reason USENET hasn't been shut down is because its too good a source of leads for catching Child Abusers/Child Pornographers -- if USENET went away then those criminals would just be driven further underground and would be harder to catch-- plus, thanks to USENET, the FBI/et al can maintain a regular series of arrests by simply perusing USENET every now and then, finding someone who hasn't masked themselves well enough and arrest them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cyberworm (710231)
      "All that and I still firmly believe that the only reason USENET hasn't been shut down is because its too good a source of leads for catching Child Abusers/Child Pornographers"

      That's a pretty narrow view of what Usenet is, considering that it's a lot more than just porn,warez, and movies.

      Over the years, it's been a great repository of information, and the exchange thereof.

      Saying that it's only around to catch kiddy porn purveyors, is at the very least, uninformed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      However, when we are dealing with an entity that is not driven by profits and a decentralized activity that has no real controlling agent (i.e., the Usenet)

      Well, that may have been true when the paper was written, but I'm not sure it's all that true now. If you want to participate in usenet, you have to sign up for an account with a profit-driven, centralized entity. That profit-driven, centralized entity had to spend quite a bit of money, time and effort setting up a datacenter that can retain all that

  • It is quite obvious, the movie companies OWN the usenet host companies.. Their plan is to make every file sharing app and platform illegal except for usenet, they are just pushing out the competition. Sue the mpaa for monopolization? ya, I'd say so..
  • by curecollector (957211) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @11:25AM (#16502043)
    When a movie/music files/whatever posted to Usenet, there is only one distributor/publisher of the questionable content. When someone downloads questionable content via BitTorrent, they are simultaneously taking on the role of downloader and distributor/publisher. If the *AA wants to go after those distributing/illegitimiately publishing their content, they'll find a lot more potential targets for litigation. Even if they went after individual Usenet servers who carry the groups and posts containing copyrighted material, the pool of BitTorrent users is simply larger.

    Also, these days, I'd wager that there are more simply people downloading via BitTorrent than binaries newsgroups, given the lower learning curve and generally faster download speeds.

The bugs you have to avoid are the ones that give the user not only the inclination to get on a plane, but also the time. -- Kay Bostic

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