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Scam Sites - A New Threat to P2P
April 27, 2004
Thomas Mennecke
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The RIAA and MPAA have been a constant threat in the P2P world. While they pose some danger to the activities of online users, it is one that can be sufficiently handled with the proper application of intellect. Even to new comers in the file-sharing world, it is hard to escape the media blitz the RIAA's lawsuit campaign is receiving.

Looking to avoid potentially devastating RIAA lawsuits, many individuals have been duped into paying for P2P software that is already free. The most infamous of these scams is Kazaa Gold. Kazaa Gold is basically the Kazaa Media Desktop Pro version that someone downloaded, then offer the software for a ridiculous price of $39.95.

While Kazaa has been corrupted most frequently by unscrupulous individuals, other P2P software such as WinMX has also been bastardized. If you follow the link, one will notice that one can pay up to $22.95 for access to already free networks such as eDonkey2000, Morpheus, Grokster, Limewire. These website are also cunning as they display shameful quotes such as "The real legal download source on [the] Internet", or "100% legal". While file-sharing software is indeed legal, the copyright variable is typically tucked away.

So far, the only P2P network to make any kind of effort to eliminate this deceptive software is Sharman Networks. Last year, Sharman sent Google a DMCA violation notice to remove links to Kazaa Gold. The effort was initially successful, however if one was to conduct a search for Kazaa Gold today, numerous results to this ghastly software still exists.

WinMX has become perhaps the second most violated program. Considering the lack of updates and little information on the official WinMX website, those looking for an update may easily fall for one of the many scamware sites. The link in this paragraphs' example is available for $14.95. Unfortunately, FrontCode Technologies (the legitimate intellectual property rights owner of WinMX) has made zero effort to combat this issue.

The most frightening aspect of these scamware sites is their proliferation. As more people become aware of the RIAA's lawsuits, individuals are becoming victim to the allure of such phrases as "100% legal."

With Google’s “hear no evil, see no evil” policy, the only way these programs can be combated is by the P2P developers. P2P United, who claims to stand up for the file-sharing community, can make tremendous strides in gaining public favor by aggressively pursuing such scam sites that victimize not only the users, but also the members of this lobby group. It is indeed an odd situation that Sharman Networks has been the only file-sharing company to make any kind of effort in this arena.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Security
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Other

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