The Pirate Bay vs Pirate Pay: Microsoft Funds War
A Russian company says its "Pirate Pay" project can eliminate online piracy by blocking web users from sharing files via the BitTorrent system.
The people behind Pirate Pay (not to be confused with The Pirate Bay) came up with an alternative method of combating illegal file-sharing via BitTorrent. To help them get started, they received $100,000 from Microsoft.
The first major test of the Pirate Pay system involved attempting to block distribution of a Russian movie titled "Vysotsky: Thank God, I'm Alive". Pirate Pay says it managed to block 44,845 illegal downloads of that film in a single month. (Source: piratepay.ru)
The Pirate Pay Stops Pirates, Not Torrents
Exactly how Pirate Pay works is being kept secret to avoid tipping off pirates and hackers. However, it appears that the method involves flooding pirates' computers with bogus information so they attempt to connect to non-existent file sources.
The BitTorrent technology itself is perfectly legal and can be used to share any and all large files. For example, updates to open source software can be downloaded much faster via torrent technology.
However, torrents are also used extensively for illegally transferring copyrighted material like films and music, which require extremely large files.
BitTorrent files, also known simply as torrents, are shared by breaking the file into many small pieces. This allows a single user to receive different pieces of a file from many sources at the same time.
It's like watering your lawn with many hoses at once: The whole job gets done faster. The effect of any one source suffering a slow or broken connection doesn't much impact the speed and volume of the overall flow.
The Pirate Bay Blocked in UK, Netherlands
One of the best known sites for finding files that are available for torrent sharing is The Pirate Bay. As a result, several countries, including Britain and Holland, have taken steps to block access to this popular Swedish file-sharing site.
But one of the problems with illegal use of torrents is that blocking a website listing torrent details doesn't stop the file-sharing itself. Instead, users simply visit another site to find the torrents they want.
Pirate Pay Methods Work, But A Mystery
Apparently, Pirate Pay has found a way to confuse the pirates, selectively stopping the transfer of illegal materials without interfering with anyone who wants to send or receive material in accordance with copyright laws.
However, the technology also seems to make it very difficult for anyone to measure how successful the effort to block illegal torrent transfers really has been.
Assuming Pirate Pay actually blocked nearly 45,000 attempted transfers of Vysotsky, there's no telling how many transfers did get through during the same period, nor how many individual users were prevented from sharing that film.
Pirate Pay plans to charge copyright holders on a file-by-file basis, with costs ranging from $12,000 to $50,000. In deciding whether Pirate Pay is worth this cost, copyright holders will probably consider how much piracy is actually prevented by this method, and how much they are actually losing in potential sales because of such illegal copying. (Source: torrentfreak.com)
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