The Pirate Bay and 3D objects

AnonymousWould you like to have a Guy Fawkes mask (currently better known as Anonymous mask)?  If you have a 3D printer, it is easy.   Just ask the Pirate Bay.   The Pirate Bay, the flagship of P2P sharing, recently added a new category of torrents:  physibles.  Physibles are files that describe a 3D object for 3D printers.   In other words, the Pirate Bay proposes a category for sharing 3D printable objects.

With the advent of 3D printers, we could expect soon to see copyright infringement for 3D shapes.  This is the first sign of such trend.  It will take time before 3D printers become mainstream. They are still expensive.  But once they will become cheaper, then it will be a new battle field for anti-piracy and anti counterfeiting.

Funnily, next issue of the Technicolor Security Newsletter will feature a long article on how to protect 3D CGI object.   The Pirate Bay demonstrates that it will be needed in the future.

BTJunkie is down!

After the closure of MegaUpload last month, another iconic site is closing: BTJunkie.   BTJunkie was the fifth P2P tracker site.   This is what appears on the site:

2005 – 2012
This is the end of the line my friends. The decision does not come easy, but we’ve decided to voluntarily shut down. We’ve been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it’s time to move on. It’s been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!

Are these two events correlated ?  Is this correlated to the signature of the ACTA ?  To the best of our knowledge, BTJunkie was not under any current legal suit.

The PirateBay is still active.  They will replace torrent-files by magnets on the 29th February.  Another movement in this arena.  (I’ll come back on this one later)


You have downloaded

The site youhavedownloaded is starting to make some buzz.  This is especially true, since Torrent Freak reported that some people at Fox, Google, or NBCU did download copyrighted content (or at least IP addresses registered by these companies).  Of course, with the heated debate about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), this has been used by the opponents.

The site claims to have collected information about downloaded content on BitTorrent for more than 55 million users (or rather 55 million IP addresses).  When you visit the site, it displays the allegedly downloaded content for the currently presented IP address of the visitor.  You can check the records for any IP address.  The site even offers a banner to display the results to the visitors of your site (nice way to make friends :Weary: ).

Is it serious?  The authors announce

Don’t take it seriously

The privacy policy, the contact us page — it’s all a joke. We came up with the idea of building a crawler like this and keeping the maintenance price under $300 a month. There was only one way to prove our theory worked — to implement it in practice. So we did. Now, we find ourselves with a big crawler. We knew what it did but we didn’t know how to use it. So we decided to make a joke out of it. That’s the beauty of jokes — you can make them out of anything.

However, if you have a better idea — don’t hesitate to contact us.

I would love to see a person who would claim that”yes!  the claimed content are true”.  The likelihood of such a person is low.  Serious or not, this site highlights that it is possible to collect such data by using the BitTorrent DHT and trackers.  I am doubtful about the story of large companies downloading copyrighted content.  I would expect that the proxy/firewall of such companies would ban P2P traffic or at least restrict it for trusted users.

Oh, by the way, the site did report that Technicolor did not download copyrighted content. :Angel:

Update 20-dec:  Is it serious?

With the team, we did some experiments, and found at least one positive evidence that the site has true data (using a long-tail type content)/

After The Pirate Bay, here is BayFiles

Two founders of The Pirate Bay, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde, launched in August a new service: BayFiles.  BayFiles is a cyberlocker such as MegaUpload or RapidShare.  Thus, users can upload files and share them with other public.  The upload limit, as well as the bandwidth, depends on the subscription model.  Unregistered users can share up to 250Mb whereas premium users have no limits.

When examining the available services, and the terms of service, BayFiles officially claims proper behaviour regarding copyright.

We have a policy of terminating, without notice and without recourse, accounts of subscribers or account holders who are repeat infringers of copyright, and you agree that we may apply that policy to your account or subscription in our sole judgment based upon a suspicion on our part or a notification we receive regardless of proof of infringement.

Although they seem not to use detection tools, they should obey to DMCA take down notices (which was never the case with The Pirate Bay).  Furthermore, BayFiles does not offer search options or shared directories.  Thus, it is the user who will have to create the infringement by publicly publishing the sharing address.  Furthermore, BayFiles has not implemented a reward program which is often a huge incentive for illegal sharing.

And because they do not trust pirates, they put the legal fences:

If you write programs aiming to violate our Conditions of Use, you will be prosecuted and made liable for any losses occurred.

This transition from Peer-To-Peer towards cyberlockers is logical:

  • Cyberlockers are taking an increasing share of illegal sharing of copyrighted content
  • Cyberlockers are easier to monetize than tracker sites with subscription for premium services.

Cyberlockers are the new challenge in anti-piracy.

Torrent Tweet

BitTorrent has just launched a new add-on to the P2P client µTorrent (or utorrent): Torrent tweet . The name of the apps is self explanatory. It is a new way to share or chat about a given torrent. The central server, using the hash tage of the torrent, adds a unique tinyurl in the tweet. Thus, it is extremely easy to point to a torrent.

We may be skeptical about its wide usage. File sharing is often done under cover. And anonymity is probably not the salient characteristic about Twitter. Nevertheless, the use is starting and spreading. Some doubts? Choose the last movie you’ve seen at theater. Search for its torrent on Twitter, for instance “Salt + Torrent”. You’ll be surprised by the result.

BitTorrent has created a new convenient way to share torrents  :Happy:  When will we see cease and desist notice through twitter?

From Pirate Bay to Flattr

Flattr is a new Swedish “social network”. The goal of Flattr is to remunerate the creators of content you like on the Net. Our does it work?
You have to register and define a monthly sum that you will distribute. Once registered, you can add a flattr button on any of your content (blog, videos, pictures, songs…). When a flattr member likes your content, he pushes the corresponding button. Of course, you do the same. At the end of the month, your monthly sum will be equally shared between the contents you liked. The corresponding value will be credited on the account of each content owner you liked. Let’s suppose that your monthly sum is 2€. If you clicked on 10 buttons, each creator will receive 0.2€. If you clicked only once, the happy creator will be granted 2€. If you did not click, the 2€ will be given to a charity.

It is a nice business model. Flattr takes a fee of 10%. It uses a kind of micropayment.

Some potential issues:

  • It will only work if there is a network effect. For that, they need to have attractive content in other words get the buy-in of creators
  • Attractive content? One of the potential issues is the ownership of a piece of content. How to prove the ownership? How to avoid appropriating copyrighted contents?

Why such cryptic title? Does Sweden not give you a hint? One of the founders is Petter Sunde. Petter Sunde is also one of the founders of The Pirate Bay.

In any case, an interesting initiative to follow up.

Identifying providers and downloader in BitTorrent

A team of five INRIA researchers presented an interesting paper at 3rd Usenix workshop on large Scale Exploits and Emergent Threats: Spying the World from your Laptop – Identifying and Profiling Content Providers and Big Downloaders in BitTorrent. The title says everything.

Using a single machine and some “flaws” in BitTorrent protocol, they collected and analyzed 148 million IP addresses involved in more than 2 billion instances of downloads. Then, they tried to identify the content providers and the big downloaders.

For instance, for the content providers (i.e. the person who generated the first torrent of a content), they spied the tracker sites to identify new torrents. If a torrent appeared with only one source address, then it was the address of initial content provider!

With no surprise, they discovered that most of the illegal contents are provided by a limited number of content providers. The distribution shape is very long tail oriented. The top 100 contributors provide about 30% of the contents on BitTorrent! The hosting centers of the initial seeds are mostly in France and Germany but the content providers themselves were from other countries.

Interestingly, they discovered that big downloaders where often hidden behind proxies, Tor or VPN. They also identified some monitoring “sites”.

A nice view of the P2P activity.