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Original Seeds: MPAA's new target
January 12, 2005
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California based BayTSP are mercenaries to Hollywood, hired for their technical expertise. They track files which infringe on copyrights, wherever they may appear online. Using the gathered information, they provide their clients with the opportunity to send DMCA take down notices to anyone taking part in the infringement.

The information is also used by the RIAA and MPAA to sue individual file sharers.

The industry has so far been unable, or unwilling, to target all file sharers acquiring and sharing the latest files. With the chance of getting caught remaining low, the work of BayTSP has not acted as a deterrent.

However, new software from BayTSP, dubbed “FirstSource”, aims to end file sharer’s safety in numbers. The press release explains,

“FirstSource monitors for the first uploads of a client's intellectual property to the eDonkey and Bit Torrent networks. When the system spots a file name matching the client's content, it initiates a download to confirm that the file is what it appears to be. Once the content is validated, the system captures the IP (Internet Protocol) address and identifying information of other users downloading and sharing the pirated material.”

The software therefore acts to stop copyright infringement occurring on eDonkey and BitTorrent, rather than to simply stem the flow.

“The goal of the system is to make people think twice about being the first to upload a film or piece of software to those two networks. BayTSP's system already spots and collects information on people sharing. The main difference now is that it can spot the first handful of individuals,” Jim Graham, spokesperson for BayTSP, told Slyck.

The software is already being used by software companies and the MPAA. Graham does not know if the RIAA are among their clients using this software, though. He questions how effective it would be for smaller files such as singles and albums anyway.

“This is primarily targeted at movies and software,” he said.

The potential of the software could be devastating to the film and software sharing communities if the original seeds do not find a way to protect themselves.

“I've personally seen it spot what we believed to be the very first individual to share a film title on eDonkey and the BayTSP folks have told me they've seen what they believed to the first person offering a movie seed on Bit Torrent - I didn't see that one personally,” Graham boasted of the software. “In other cases it's been the first handful we've seen.”

“BayTSP is the first to admit you can't see the entire eDonkey network or spot every seed the minute it's uploaded,” he went on, “Basically we're saying we can spot the first handful of sharers. Particularly with large files you can spot the first person with 100% and then track everyone who's increasing their percentage.”

Asked if FirstSource will be able to identify the origin of every new file, Graham explained,

“It's a relatively new system. We know it's very good. I'm not sure how many titles it's been tested against, so I really can't give you an accurate number….I think over a period of a few months I could give you an accurate percentage. ”

Original seeders on BitTorrent have always known their vulnerability, which was illustrated by a recent study into the BitTorrent system. However, never before have they been such a high profile target.

Those who release files on eDonkey are new to this threat. The first few hundred to share the file will all be targets.

The community is forever coming up against seemingly impossible hurdles, but has ultimately continued to grow. Asked if this is the end of film sharing for the masses, Graham simply replied,

“It's not my place to speculate.”

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Entertainment Industry :: MPAA

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