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Media Sentry's Data Gathering Methods Challenged
March 18, 2004
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The CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) is currently trying to convince the court that they should be able to force ISP’s to hand over information (name, address, phone #, etc) of 29 individuals they claim made available thousands of copyrighted mp3s on the FastTrack Network. The judge has heard all of the deliberations and a decision will be made on Monday.

Shaw, one of the Canadian ISPs, made a few interesting arguments. The following quotes are taken from the notes made available at Everything that is quoted is taken from’s notes; keep in mind they are not exact quotes from Shaw’s attorney.

“At least one of the IP addressed could not have been active at the time it is alleged to have been used for copyright infringement”

This remark is interesting. Shaw cannot lie and claim that one of the IP’s listed by the CRIA could not have been active, since they would find themselves in big trouble if they made false claims in court. Shaw argues that Media Sentry – the company hired by the CRIA – provided very inaccurate data to the CRIA. This is a very serious and dangerous mistake because an argument can be made that since they identified an IP that was not active; they probably made other mistakes and could have possibly identified the wrong IP in other instances. This means that the CRIA could be suing the wrong person because of an error Media Sentry made.

Here is another argument that Shaw presented in court:

“Even if the IP’S are accurate, there is no evidence of any downloading except that which may have been carried out by the plaintiff’s agent (Media century); there is no evidence that anyone listened to the files in question to determine whether they were in fact audio files, where the files were from, or whether they were in fact Media century decoy files;”

This is an important argument since it clearly indicates that sufficient evidence to go forward with this case has not been presented nor obtained. The FastTrack Network has become infested with fake (decoy) files. Past downloading experience reported by various individuals on FastTrack usually attests to a plethora of fake files. Many individuals often a report a majority of files downloads are fake, corrupt or bogus.

Many time people try to download off the greatest amout of sources, with the logic “if 200 people have this file, chances are it must be good.” This logic has proven to be false. Should these 200 people be targeted by the CRIA for sharing fake files? Some people don’t delete fakes and aren’t even aware that others can download this file from them. Where is the proof that these 29 Canadian file sharers uploaded thousands of mp3’s? Where is the proof that they weren’t uploading fake, or decoy files?

Shaw went on to state the following

“Kazaa’s installation default is to make your files shared, so that it is possible that the Kazaa users were not aware that they were making files available; that knowing an IP address cannot tell you whether it is being used by one person, one computer, or a neighbour piggy-backing on an unprotected wireless router, a user in a cybercafe, or several hundred people in a school or business.”

This is an excellent point. Anyone who has some knowledge of wireless networks and war driving knows that ANY wireless network can be broken into. Currently, there is no software that can prevent a dedicated person from breaking into a wireless network. Steps can be taken to add protection to a wireless network, but a patient individual can still bypass any protection. Should these people be responsible if someone broke into their wireless network and downloaded copyrighted material?

In addition to the arguments Shaw presented in court, there’s one argument often used that was not made. File sharers with a DSL connection usually do not have a static IP. For instance, if they log off the internet and then log back on 2 minutes later, they will have a different IP address. If Media Sentry captures the IP address at 10:30pm EST and the person with that IP address logs off the internet 2 minutes later, IP # will be given to someone else shortly after.

If Media Sentry’s clock is 5-10 minutes ahead or behind the clock of the ISP belonging to IP #, they will be fingering the wrong person! In addition to not providing sufficient evidence against file sharers, the CRIA can not claim that Media Sentry’s data gathering methods are accurate either.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Organizations/Initiatives
Technology News :: Security

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