Tag Archives: torrent

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.

LimeWire is Back in the Game

That took even less time than I expected. I had a feeling we’d see popular P2P client LimeWire again, but I didn’t think it would be this fast. Reports are surfacing that the software has already been resurrected by a group of self-named hackers. “Not only has a secret dev team reanimated the hugely popular client, but they have also made a few significant changes which make it better and more streamlined than before.”

“Shortly after the software was forced to shut down, a horde of piratical monkeys climbed aboard the abandoned ship, mended its sails, polished its cannons, and released it free to the community.” All dependencies on LimeWire LLC’s servers have been removed, all remote settings have been disabled, the Ask toolbar has been unbundled, and all features of LimeWire PRO have been activated for free. Thus, the creators claim that LimeWire Pirate Edition (LPE) will work better than the last stable version of the old client.

The RIAA better head back to the drawing board.

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DDoS Attacks Bring Down the U.S. Copyright Office

Anonymous initiated a DDoS attack against the U.S. Copyright Office yesterday in an attempt to show their disdain against the defenders of copyright law. The site was knocked completely offline for about thirty minutes. The following few hours showed it crawling along with slow loading times and rendering it useless. Even several hours after the attacks began, most links on the site would not work.

Anonymous spearheaded Operation Payback a few months ago. Their targets to date have included the RIAA, the MPAA and the UK Copyright Office. “Anonymous sees itself as the defenders of the Internet. Anonymous is rather a loose coalition of individuals who see the crackdowns against file-sharing, done in the name of copyright protection, as contrary to the very freedom of the Internet.”

Do you feel this is an intelligent way to protest against something you believe is wrong?

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Where Do You Draw the Line?

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In August, the Consumerist wrote an article that asked “Which Illegal Activities Get a Pass From You?” Whether it’s torrenting media, going over the speed limit, underage drinking, or taking office supplies home, many have different definitions of what they consider to be “stealing” and “illegal.” This video raises a question about how your moral compass guides you when it comes to these life choices.

Lamarr knows that people think they “beat the system” by using torrents to obtain music, movies and software that they cannot afford. They feel that since they cannot afford it, it’s perfectly okay to steal it. It all depends on your moral upbringing.

Torrenting definitely is stealing, folks. It’s taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Taking things from the office or school that you want to use at home is stealing. Speeding is illegal. In the long run, it’s hurting someone when you do these things wrong.

Lamarr chooses not to break the law. However, he points out that he doesn’t judge anyone who does. It’s not his place to do, nor is it mine.

Where do you draw the line? Where does your moral compass stand?

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RIAA Slams the Door on Another Music Site – Mulve

Mulve was the hottest music-sharing site to hit the Internet in a long time… may it rest in peace. Within a few days, the site was seeing more than 30,000 visitors a day and they were carrying out around 15000 searches every hour. It wasn’t exactly a P2P site, since nothing was ever uploaded by the users. That didn’t stop the RIAA from shutting it down, though.

Even though Mulve didn’t host illegal files, the RIAA discovered that a tiny element of the site was hosted with US-based Hostgator. As soon as that element was taken offline, the entire site crumbled. “Just letting you know that Mulve has received a DMCA take down request from the RIAA, so it needed to be taken offline,” a Mulve spokesman said.

The developers are reportedly working on changes to make the site better and stronger than it already was. There’s no word yet, though, as to when service may be restored. The data is pulled from insanely fast Russian servers which are connected to the country’s biggest social networking site. It has been reported that downloading from Mulve is as safe as one can get when downloading anything these days.

Now we get to argue and discuss this issue… do you feel that any site such as Mulve should be forced offline? After all, it IS yet another way to pirate music. The files are supposedly completely legal. But morally… can you download something for free that you know you would have had to otherwise pay for?

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.

What Free Video Software Do You Use?

I came across two new pieces of software today that are both classified as “must-have”. They’re also both classified as being free. Both programs come from Miro, and are completely open-source. Developers are welcome to submit ideas for improvement to help enhance the video experience the Miro team is bringing to the table.

Miro Video Converter has presets that will convert video to the correct sizes and formats for popular phones, iPods, and other media players, including Android and Apple devices, as well as the PSP! It also can convert virtually any video file to MP4, Theora, or MP3!

The Miro Video Player is so much more than a simple video viewing tool. It can play almost any video file and offers over 6,000 free internet TV shows and video podcasts. It has a gorgeous and intuitive interface that is actually a joy to use. You can even use it to download torrents and podcasts, in addition to watching your media.

You have to love software that is easy to use, powerful, does what it says it will, is nice to look at and won’t cost you a penny!

How to Stream Music to Your Xbox with Vuze

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Vuze is a program that allows you to stream your music, videos and even photos through your Xbox 360 console. Billy submitted this screencast, which details step-by-step how to set up Vuze and get started streaming your files.

Once Vuze is installed, go ahead and open it up. Grab a song out of your iTunes folder and drag it into the Vuze library. Now you’re going to need to set up your devices. Drag your song over to the device you want — in this case, the Xbox 360. Vuze will automatically sync it over the wireless network.

Sign in to your Xbox, and be sure you’re connected to the wireless network. Open up the destination folder, and you’ll see your file there automagically. Vuze will detect whether or not the video format will playback on the device you select, and convert the file for playback if necessary.

Keep in mind that while Vuze is a BitTorrent client, you still should always pay for music, videos, and software you download. We don’t condone stealing files — ever.

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Software Piracy

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Matt is a YouTube community member who watches us regularly. He recently sent me a very interesting email, asking about my thoughts on piracy, and how to put a stop to it. Piracy of music, software and movies is rampant these days, and there is just no one sure-fire way to put an end to it.

I had some questions about piracy issues on the Internet today. I watch your videos everyday on Youtube and find them very informative. I noticed that you haven’t done a video on anti-piracy. I was wondering about your thoughts on how software piracy or piracy in general should be stopped on the Internet. Is it the software developer’s responsibility to stop users from cracking their program? Or… is it the users’ responsibility to resist using the program without paying? How can piracy best be slowed down?

My personal thought on this is that piracy will never completely go away. Piracy can be slowed down, but not completely stopped. A lot of software piracy happens because users want to use a program but are unaware of the program’s ability. This motivates them to crack the software to try it for themselves. I think a demo of all commercial software today would help decrease software piracy. I’m sure there are many more motives as to why people crack commercial software. I’m not sure of what they are exactly, but I was wondering about your thoughts on this. Thanks.

Piracy is nothing to joke about. I’ve seen too many people admit that they pirate, and that they’re proud of it. That’s not fair… at all. It is SO much easier to approach a vendor and ask if they have a review or NFR (not for resale) copy. You can write up a review after receiving it. Bang! You have free software… legally. It’s simple. DON’T. PIRATE.
If you don’t want to pay for it, find freeware. Find Open-Source alternatives. Develop your own! In many cases, Open-Source or free software is better than the paid alternative. You’d be better serving the developers and yourself by taking a moral approach to this situation. If you can’t find a legal, free alternative or don’t want to spend the money, then the answer is simple. Don’t use the software!

POST UPDATE After this was posted, I received some excellent thoughts from “Terminator” in our chat room.

I watch your videos on YouTube a lot these days, and I just saw your video about piracy. I am against it in general, but its not the same as stealing a car (or a cup of coffe). Well it is the same, but not through the eyes of the consumers. The problem is that you get a choice. Will you buy this car… or will you take the other one, thats the same, for free. What would you do? I think this is the major problem of software piracy. If you would go to jail or have to pay a lot of money for stealing the software, then everything would be different. I think, or rather, I’m sure we dont need all that pirated software and free movies and all that. People download movies they dont even watch, just because they can. Before downloading was possible, you could still see all the movies on tv when they came out. When I go and buy a movie, people look at me and ask me why I didnt just downloaded it. We got pretty spoiled. We were all fine before that trend began. Of all the people I know in my neighborhood, maybe 95 % dont have even one original piece of software. As you said, there are tons of free programs that are very good and you can use them without spending a buck. If people started facing consequences, then everything would change overnight. Consequences are the key, but not an easy thing to make possible. If we would face them, we would suddenly realize, that we can survive without all that pirated stuff that we “really” needed the other day, and just get freeware versions.


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What is a Torrent? Is BitTorrent Legal?

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MadMike wrote in to ask what exactly a Torrent file is, and whether or not they are legal. He also is wondering how you can tell if something IS illegal or not.

A Torrent file isn’t really a file to download, rather it’s a link pointing to where you can download a file from. Torrenting Torrent is a method of distributing large amounts of data widely without the original distributor incurring the entire costs of hardware, hosting and bandwidth resources. Instead, when data is distributed using the Torrent protocol, each recipient supplies pieces of the data to newer recipients, reducing the cost and burden on any given individual source, providing redundancy against system problems, and reducing dependence on the original distributor.

Now, let’s get into the legalities of Torrenting files. I personally use Torrents to download my Linux distros. By downloading them this way, I get them much faster. It saves the companies hosting dollars. Instead of having to supply hosting for the different distros, the developers can simply put them up on a Torrent, and share them that way. That is perfectly legal. Also, downloading different Virtual Machines for VMWare is legal.

The way you get into illegalities, is when you download something that is being distributed without owner permission. This covers most music, film and programs for a computer. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, such as with Indie music or films. They want their stuff circulated, to bring attention to it. For the most part, though, artists and companies do not agree for you to obtain their material without paying for it.

One other thing to remember is that any P2P type file sharing program can cause you to get malware on your computer. Many files that are available for download have attached viruses, trojans, spam, and the like. Simply downloading the seemingly harmless file and trying to “play” it in your favorite media player can quickly infect your machine.

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