Tag Archives: bittorrent

ceBIT 2011: Interview with Peter Sunde from ThePirateBay and Flattr


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During ceBIT a few days ago, Charbax caught up with ThePirateBay and Flattr co-founder Peter Sunde. Peter is a hero to many Internet users, and the bane of existence to others. He and his websites are controversial but it’s obvious after talking with him only a moment or two that he passionately believes in what he’s doing. Whether you feel that the use of torrents is right or wrong, this interview is definitely an eye-opener.

Flattr is touted as being “the worlds first social micro-payment system.” It’s definitely an interesting concept. Create a monthly account on the site and spread the love amongst blog posts and other content creations that you “flatter” through the month. At the end of the month, the money you put into your account is divided equally among the “things” that you enjoyed. You don’t have to mess around with making small donations through PayPal or another source. You can easily choose to donate to the projects that matter most to you.

A “thing” on Flattr is considered to be nearly any type of content imaginable: it’s “any item which can include a blog entry, the blog itself, comments on a blog post, a tune, video, software or … whatever you have created.” That’s right – a thing is something YOU create. Not only can you donate money to the things you enjoy and believe in, you can also earn money into a revenue account for the things YOU create!

Sunde’s other little project is called ThePirateBay. Whether you “pirate” or not, I’m sure you’ve heard of the project in the news. The site was originally established in November 2003 by the Swedish anti-copyright organization Piratbyran. It has run as a separate entity since mid-2004, though.

TPB (as it is commonly called) lets users search for and download BitTorrent files (or torrents). These are small files which contain metadata needed to download data files from others. The torrents include categories such as audio, video, applications/software, games and pornography. Registration is not necessary to download the torrent files, but there are still more than four million registered users. As of November, 2008, TPB boasted more than 25 million unique visitors.

Sunde is quick to point out that there are good things that the BitTorrent protocol can be used for. Not everything offered on the site is considered to be “illegal.” Torrents can be used to share music and work by independent artists as well as Linux distributions, for example.

There have been demonstrations all over the world by people – dressed, of course, as pirates – in support of the work Peter and his friends are doing. Those who are a part of the anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement tend to speak out loudly in protest of the many lawsuits TPB has had to face.

Peter indicates that he travels approximately 25 days of every month. Instead of being fun as those of us who don’t leave our homes would assume, Peter says that it “sucks.” He laughs that it’s bad for his health, but knows he won’t stop any time soon.

He believes in the work he does with a passion that is unparalleled. Can you say the same thing about your work? It would be a fantastic thing if more of the people in this world were as passionate and dedicated to what they do on a daily basis.

This video was filmed by Charbax of ARMdevices at CeBIT 2011 in Hannover Germany.

How Far is Too Far in the Fight Against Piracy?

Piracy is rampant, whether you like it or not. People are stealing that which does not belong to them every second of every day. Torrenting sites are making a killing by providing a means to an end. Companies are tearing their hair out trying to figure out how to stop the criminals. Some companies, however, are taking things a little too far. SuddenLink gives their customers three strikes or warnings, and then cuts off their Internet for six months without a refund of any type. More than that… they do so without solid evidence or any charges being brought by proper authorities.

SuddenLink Communications has dubbed themselves judge, jury and executioner with their new policy. According to a company representative, they are required by DMCA law to take such an aggressive stance – an absolutely false claim. There is nothing in the Terms of Service about the three-strike rule. The closest thing is a small statement:

“If you continue to transfer Copyrighted Material illegally, you are violating Suddenlink’s policies and Suddenlink may take further action, including limiting your Internet download capacity, suspending or terminating your account, or a range of other measures.”

Suddenlink has gone on record to say that they are within their rights, much as Comcast did a few years back when they began blocking BitTorrent traffic.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel this is a little too extreme, or is the company hitting the nail on the proverbial head? Following is a copy of the chat transcript between a customer who lost their service for six months and a representative of SuddenLink. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Customer: I want to reconnect my internet service. They said I got 3 DMCA letters and they said that by law I had to be disconnected. Is that true?

Suddenlink rep: Yes, your internet was disconnected due to DMCA. When the internet is disconnected due to DMCA, it can not be reconnected for a minimum of 6 months.

Customer: The DMCA makes that requirement?

Suddenlink rep: Yes.

Customer: So you’re stating, for the record, that by law, the DMCA law, that you have to disconnect users for receiving 3 DMCA letters?

Suddenlink rep: You have no choice in the matter.

Suddenlink rep: It is the DMCA policy that it can not be reconnected for 6 months.

Suddenlink rep: It may be the DMCA policy or it may be the way we go about following the DMCA guidelines.

Customer: The law states that?

Suddenlink rep: Once the 3rd offense occurs, it can not be reconnected for 6 months.

Suddenlink Rep: The information I have on the DMCA states: This law was enacted in 1998 to protect against illegal downloading of copyrighted material like movies, music, etc. As an Internet Service Provider (ISP), Suddenlink , and other ISPs, must implement a policy of terminating internet service of customers who repeatedly share copyrighted files.

Comcast Makes Me Gag

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (or EFF) has found Comcast guilty of traffic shaping. This is a practice where Comcast intentionally slows down your internet connection. The program they used to detect this shaping is an open-source application called WireShark. Apparently, Comcast feels that they need to interrupt some of their customer’s connections a bit if they think the customer may be using lets say BitTorrent to download perfectly legal Linux Distros. Or, maybe the customer is like me and sends tons of data up and down… legally and legitimately… in the course of business.

This is kinda sad. It’s kinda scary. It’s kinda sickening. Well… it makes me…

Yeah. It’s “Comcastic”.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

A Torrent of Comcast BitTorrent Conspiracies

Stephanie (AKA Script) is also having issues with Comcast:

In reference to your Ustream video about Comcast. I too am an unfortunate Comcast subscriber. I was wondering are you using Comcast Home or Business service? The reason I am asking is that I have a feeling that those of us who use home service are going to be pretty much forced to buy the business service in order to maintain the downloading speeds that we are use to. It’s just a hunch but I have noticed an increasingly high number of Comcast business TV ads lately with the promise of 12Mbps download speed. I am curious about your take on this. Because I think the motivation behind flagging certain users is driven by some monetary gain not because they want to necessarily care about the spread of torrents.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t recommend running a business on any kind of connection that Comcast provides!!! No way. I recently “upgraded” my residential plan to business merely because I could attain a marginally better upload rate. Comcast didn’t force me to make that decision.

However, they’re still mistreating many their customers.

I download torrents from legitimate sites especially a lot of FLAC’s and I also distribute FLAC’s from myself and other indie artist who allow their music to be shared. This indiscriminate profiling of users based on a filetype or protocol they use, is tantamount to racial profiling (something I know a bit about) and it really angers me. Anyway I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the possibility that Comcast might be doing this for monetary gain.

Oh, but… Comcast hasn’t admitted to any wrongdoing on their part. It’s their service, and they can do with it what they wish – but when they don’t tell customers what’s going on, we get a little pissy.

Because of politics and payoffs, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. This is not a system ruled by free enterprise. It’s all about control – and Comcast is pushing a drug that you simply cannot shake. They’re getting to be the only dealer in town. Qwest is just as bad around here; I’d move to FIOS in a heartbeat, but because of the same anti-competitive, anti-consumer regulations… I can’t get Verizon’s service in my area.

BitTorrent for Windows Media Center is Coming!

There’s no code to look at right now, but I’m surprised this news hasn’t been picked up anywhere (that I can see)? The author says that there’s currently no download available, but it’s still an amazing application to look forward to – especially if it beats Ted. Here’s some of the features the dev is planning, per the Aufero blog:

  • Aufero uses about fifty sources for its information gathering, a lot of it is irrelevant but over time it gathers more relevant information about present and future. For instance it definitely is worth scheduling the download of “Magnum P.I. ‘trailer'” (scheduled for release sometime in ’07) already today.
  • Notification of relevant events through mail when you are not in front of your TV.
  • Automatic download of videos on your Wish List as Torrents becomes available (give it some hours to monitor activity after something is released)
  • Aufero is written completely from scratch with the sole purpose of being a Vista Media Center application.
  • Seemlessly play non-WMV (eg. XviD etc) on XBox360 using Aufero’s media library (requires TVersity)

Dude. This sounds awesome. Right now, my scheduled torrenting is somewhat of a kludge. I really should get my ol’ Media Center set up again, eh? Maybe I’ll try that beta of Windows Home Server and see if that works well enough…

MoveDigital is Moving Forward

You’ve probably seen the news – Senator Edwards is using BitTorrent to distribute video now! Like Dave says, it’s a big deal. I didn’t realize that Gary Lerhaupt had the Senator lined up when he emailed me about his new MoveDigital service last night. Not sure if the following points are available anywhere else, but… here are seven things you can do with MoveDigital (as relayed by Gary himself):

  • Sign in with your Prodigem account or create a new account (all Prodigem users get a free year of service).
  • Upload your files to be served as direct downloads.
  • Convert your video and audio to mobile phone format (3GP) so that they can be streamed directly from your MoveDigital mobile page.
  • Create torrents of all your stuff.
  • Use the rectangular Web widget (the rectangle to the left of each file you upload) to easily reblog your links. The HTML for the embed can be found from the Share button.
  • Once you you have your widget on your blog, people can click the Share button to directly add bandwidth into your account to help you out (each 5GB they add, adds 1 to their own account) – aka social bandwidth sharing.
  • Enjoy the fact that bandwidth on our service acts like prepaid cell phone minutes with unlimited rollover. That is, it doesn’t recycle at the end of the month and it only disappears when you use it. Moreover, for direct downloads we only charge you for bandwidth for files which are completely transferred. If someone stops half way through, no bandwidth is considered used (though torrent and mobile hosting are done per byte).

Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner

Opera is one of those Web browsers that you’ve just gotta try for yourself. For the longest while, it was relegated to the bottom of the pile for most desktop software fanatics – with ample Web browsing alternatives to be found in either Mozilla or plain ol’ Internet Explorer. Then Firefox took the world by storm, Maxthon matured, and Opera decided to change its business model (giving away its desktop browser without advertisements built-in). Today, Opera announced and released v9.0 of their desktop client – and they decided to do it in Microsoft’s own backyard. Seattle was awfully convenient for me, too! I arrived just in time to see Opera’s CEO Jon von Tetzchner arrive by boat. Must’ve taken him months to get here in that thing. If you’re looking for a Web standards-compliant browser that ships with everything (including a BitTorrent utility and the kitchen sink), give the completely free Opera a swing. Listen to Jon’s own words:

Cease and Desist

It seems that both Jake and I are now officially members of the prestigious “Cease and Desist Letter” club. We are not saddened by this turn of events, as it was wholly expected – and neither of us had ever received a “Cease and Desist Letter” before. We would much rather have received a printed form to print out and hang on our walls for posterity, but the email from Microsoft to remove the Windows Vista BitTorrent tracker will have to suffice. My question is: does the Windows User community care, either way? Should we have even bothered to do it in the first place?

Windows Vista BitTorrent Tracker

Okay, we’ve done it: VistaTorrent.com. I’ve set this up with Jake Ludington, so that (a) people can use BitTorrent to download Windows Vista Beta 2, as they’re likely using BitTorrent to do it anyway; (b) people will now have an official MD5 hash to check against any Windows Vista (Beta 2) ISO files they might download elsewhere; (c) we can help Microsoft, based on earlier reports from them and subsequent complaints from users. We’re only doing this to help, knowing that nobody wants to wait 4 weeks for a DVD to arrive when the ISO could be downloaded so much quicker through peer-to-peer networks (with a MANDATORY MD5 CHECKSUM comparison). If you send anybody anywhere, it’s all on VistaTorrent.com. This is not a crack, this is not a hack, this is not software piracy – it’s unofficial mirroring with official validation.

We are fully prepared to kill the seeded torrent upon request, but would appeal to Microsoft’s better senses – if Microsoft isn’t going to do it themselves, isn’t it better that someone trusted is doing it for them?!