BitTorrent Creator Opens Online Search

By David Worthington and Nate Mook | Published May 25, 2005, 7:57 PM

BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has launched an online search that links to torrent files, which are used to download content via the protocol. The move comes in the midst of a crackdown by the entertainment industry in conjunction with Federal agencies against illegal file sharing happening on BitTorrent Web sites.

Along with the online search comes a new decentralized BitTorrent client that eliminates the need for a "tracker" - Web sites that aggregate torrent files. In essence, this means that while the Feds may have gained some ground by shutting down tracker Web sites, actual file sharing and the ability to search for illicit content will not be brought to a standstill.

In a previous report, BetaNews detailed how a BitTorrent-based file sharing program named eXeem demonstrated the resiliency of file sharing proponents, emerging just days after operations at the Suprnova.org Web site were suspended. eXeem was the first BitTorrent-based file sharing program with a decentralized tracker.

In terms of illegal file sharing, BitTorrent itself is not the culprit. It is simply a communications protocol that facilitates efficient distribution of very large files. On the flipside, it was not uncommon for those particular files to be copyrighted music, movies or television programming.

Operationally, a "seed" file, or one complete file, is all that is needed to initiate a BitTorrent download. Once initiated, seeds are downloaded by file sharers who obtain "bits" of the master file over peer-to-peer networks. The efficiency of distribution scales upward as more file sharers download.

A "tracker" is a dedicated server that receives information from individuals and generates a dynamic register of peers that can be used by client software to download a particular file.

It is these dedicated tracker servers that have drawn the attention of authorities. Wednesday, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced that they had "squashed" one of the world's largest BitTorrent Web sites, called Elite Torrents, in an operation called D-Elite. During the raid, warrants were issued against prominent members of the organization who are credited for posting a copy of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith before the film's cinematic debut.

Commenting on the actions taken by the U.S. Government, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) President and CEO Dan Glickman said, "Today’s actions are bad news for Internet movie thieves and good news for preserving the magic of the movies. Shutting down illegal file swapping networks like Elite Torrents is an essential part of our fight to stop movie thieves from stealing copyrighted materials."

A statement published on the BitTorrent Web site offers an opposing view: "BitTorrent gives you the same freedom to publish previously enjoyed by only a select few with special equipment and lots of money. ("Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one" -- journalist A.J. Liebling.)"

BitTorrent has been used by a number of legitimate organizations to distribute large files, including Linux distributions of Red Hat and Mandriva.

The BitTorrent Web site claims that bandwidth is being donated by match making Web site Hot or Not. Hot or Not co-founder James Hong told BetaNews his company is only hosting the binary client downloads, and not the actual online search operation. Creator Bram Cohen does not make money selling BitTorrent, but does request donations for his work.

MPAA and RIAA representatives were not available for comment by press time.

BitTorrent is available for download for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Comments

Low piracy rate doesn't result in lower prices contrary to vendors claims......

New Zealand has the world's second lowest software piracy rate out of 87 countries studied by analyst IDC, but Kiwis aren't being rewarded with lower pricing, paying far more than most for some common packages.

Read more here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/s...2106,3288240a28,00.html

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New Zealand is the best place ever, Kiwi's rule!

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If I remember correctly, illegal transferring prereleased movies via P2P actually increased the ticket sales for some movies. The only downside to this is that if the user who downloads the movie doesn't like it then they wont go to the cinema to buy a ticket.

But is it morally wrong to distribute a crap film? ;-P

I think copyrighted material that's just about to be released needs to be more widely known before the release so that the customers can make an "informed" decision as to whether or not to buy it (such as XBox2 and PS3).

Whenever you have a mother server to gather information from clients, your going to have a target for authorities. Whether legal or illegal activities are taking place, someone always wants to know what your doing.

Invitation only networks are nice enough, but what's the point if your using an open protocol where ISPs can easily look into what your doing?

I'm just saying that people should be allowed to run a secured private network where activities within it are deemed "unknown".

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I don't think it's about morality, but about legality. Downloading prereleased movies through P2P is against the law in a lot of countries.

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And the darwin award goes to MasterSpy. Good work decoding that puzzle.

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"Wednesday, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced that they had "squashed" one of the world's largest BitTorrent Web sites"

Well that must mean theres no other problems and our homeland is secure

yay!

seriously theres about a million things more important for them to be doing other then shuting down a website for hosting text files

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What they do seems quite useless, for each tracker they shut down, 3 new will sprout :)

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Instead of looking for "Revenge of the Sith" online shouldn't the Dept. of Homeland Security be looking for Bin Laden? I feel SO safe now.

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The Department of Homeland Security is not an anti-terrorist organization. It was created by the Gov't by combining about 2 dozen already exisiting agencies so that they could be more easily coordinated and interoperable. One of those agencies is Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

What does Immigration and Customs Enforcement and do?

Investigations into money laundering. the illegal trade in arts and antiquities, intellectual property crimes with an international dimension among numerous other responsibilities.

The right people did the right job. Your poor attempt at a bad joke did nothing but display your ignorance. Now go put your tinfoil hat back on.

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Come on guys. I for one don't want Bin Laden being able to watch "Revenge of the Sith" from his cave. The US must remove this sort of thing from the internet so Bin Laden will have to go to the movie theater to see it. Hopefully we can nab him while he watch's, or he might choke on the popcorn.

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"The right people did the right job. Your poor attempt at a bad joke did nothing but display your ignorance. Now go put your tinfoil hat back on. "

Actually they did not because the site is hosting text files not programs it's total crap that we put up with in this country did you know that our tax dollars are going to buy viagra for level 3 sex offenders

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Did you know that Bin Laden is rumoured to be living in the U.S.A. where it will be easy to evade capture --- unless of course he starts distributing copyrighted materials. However, I've found out how to avoid capture - I go thro the Stargate and download from P346, that really confuses them! By the way, Jack O'Neil says hi.

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Bram Cohen also works for Valve... so isn't there a conflict of interest somewhere?

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no, peopel that download valve games from bt would never usually pay for them, as what they are getting cannot be played in multiplayer.

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Assuming that all too glaring exploit allowing free online play was fixed...

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Bram Cohen 2 - MPAA/RIAA 0

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Post of the day!

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement is supposed to be deporting the illegal aliens among other things. The dirty work is left to private citizens who are the targets of ridicule. The Minutemen website is flooded with obscene messages in two languages. They get DEATH threats from foreigner (criminals) who are specifically prohibited from posessing a firearm. These dirt bags continue shooting police officers and flee to an extradition free zone called MEXICO.

The nation is going to Hell; while these damned HOMELAND SECURITY fools worry about garbage like a bootleg copy of STAR WARS.

A washed out congreesman from Kansas is the new king of the MPAA...

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