The Pirate Bay is known to have a penchant for theatrics. Staying true to their form, they have announced that they are getting rid of their “earthly form and ascending into the next stage”. In ordinary speak, what the infamous Swedish torrent website is trying to convey is that they are ditching the traditional web hosting model in favor of cloud hosting.
TorrentFreak explains that The Pirate Bay is currently hosted at cloud hosting companies in two countries where they run several Virtual Machine (VM) instances. Running on virtual machines reduces both cost and complexity, since no physical maintenance is required. The added benefit of this arrangement is that it makes bringing down The Pirate Bay even more difficult. If they are kicked off by a cloud hosting service, they can just hop onto the next cloud host and deploy their virtual machines over there in matter of hours if not minutes. Thus, the threat of a server seizure bringing down TPB is reduced drastically.
However, The Pirate Bay isn’t ditching all its servers. There are still two components it’s not placing in the cloud. The load balancer and transit-routers are still owned and operated by The Pirate Bay. This apparently helps in hiding the location of the cloud provider and protects the privacy of users.
“All communication with users goes through TPB’s load balancer, which is a disk-less server with all the configuration in RAM. The load balancer is not in the same country as the transit-router or the cloud servers,” The Pirate Bay informed TorrentFreak. “The communication between the load balancer and the virtual servers is encrypted. So even if a cloud provider found out they’re running TPB, they can’t look at the content of user traffic or user’s IP-addresses.”
The pirates seem to have put a quite a bit of effort into making it tough for the law enforcement agencies. “If the police decide to raid us again there are no servers to take, just a transit router. If they follow the trail to the next country and find the load balancer, there is just a disk-less server there. In case they find out where the cloud provider is, all they can get are encrypted disk-images,” The Pirate Bay explained. “They have to be quick about it too, if the servers have been out of communication with the load balancer for 8 hours they automatically shut down. When the servers are booted up, access is only granted to those who have the encryption password,” they add.
uTorrent, a popular torrent client for OS X, Windows and Linux, will start displaying ads to fund its parent company, BitTorrent Inc. BitTorrent currently generates roughly $15-$20 million in revenue every year, however, these numbers should rise exponentially after the displaying of ads on uTorrent. As of now, all revenue for BitTorrent came from the popular BitTorrent toolbar which users can optionally install when installing uTorrent. The ads will appear as “sponsored torrents” within the uTorrent application. BitTorrent has said the following about the introduction of ads to their app:
“This new build will display a featured torrent at the top of your torrent list. This featured torrent space will be used to offer a variety of different types of content. We are working towards bringing you offers that are relevant to you.”
If you’re unaware, uTorrent started as a minimal BitTorrent client for the most savvy torrenters. However, this has greatly changed over time as uTorrent is now the most popular of all BitTorrent clients on the net. BitTorrent has said that there isn’t a way to remove the ads as of now, but I’m guessing that we may see a premium version of uTorrent in the future, however, that is just my speculation. These ads will start appearing within uTorrent when the next build is released.
BitTorrent is the fastest and easiest way to transfer and distribute files. However, for the last few years, the world of torrent technology is trying hard to get rid of the stigma associated with it. Founders from torrent sites like The Pirate Bay were charged as guilty and this poses a huge risk for torrent technology. At this point, any legitimate business based on torrents comes out like a ray of hope. A few days ago, we saw BitTorrent trying to clear the name of torrent technology by creating its own content distribution network based on torrents.
This time, the Internet Archive is embracing torrent technology to make thousands of legacy files available to users. The Internet Archive is good at what it does, and with this new distribution strategy, they will reach a much wider audience. These files being distributed include old record albums, book collections, movies, radio shows and much more. John Gilmore, the founder of the EFF had this to say in a blog post announcing this release:
I supported the original creation of BitTorrent because I believe in building technology to make it easy for communities to share what they have. The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn’t just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive.
Not only can you download files, but you can also contribute files to The Internet Archive torrents through http://archive.org/upload or http://archive.org/create. This makes it a true community, and provides a long-term solution for archiving of files, in an easier and better manner.
The internet is a digital content haven. It has created a profitable industry for content producers as well as content hosting mediums. Though, the best thing to have happened, is the rise of indie artists. If you are an artist, you no longer needs to have a record label branding or million dollar contracts to sell content. All you need to do is pick a content-hosting service, and you are good to go.
Being a proponent of open content, BitTorrent knows this fact, and it has a grand plan to monetize the massive amount of content flying and flowing around. A recent post on the BitTorrent blog announces their desire to monetize the BitTorrent stream. This is one such monetization plan.
Not only does the BitTorrent Bundle contain exclusive video, artwork and tracks from DJ Shadow’s new project Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era (1992-1996); a celebration of the vintage years which made Shadow world-famous. It’s also a glimpse into the future of creativity. This is the first BitTorrent Bundle to feature a software package offer from one of our media partners, in what promises to be a groundbreaking experiment.
According to this new model, DJ Shadow here is the content producer, and BitTorrent gets a cut from its media partners, every time his bundle is downloaded via BitTorrent. In turn, DJ Shadow gets a share of this revenue earned by BitTorrent, and everyone goes home happy. This makes sense, and at the end of the day, the artist is paid well, without all the layers of bureaucracy between the content producer and the revenue source.
Content comes in various forms. We have bloggers on the Internet who are at times, better than conventional journalists are. We have YouTube artists who sing better than the original artists do at times. There are a number of people on the Internet doing amazing things and teaching others to do it as well. The world has undergone a cultural revolution, thanks to the Internet and digital content is at the heart of this revolution. This remodeling will go a long way towards clearing the stigma associated with torrent technology, as one that steals money from artists.
Citing some changes from the latest release of uTorrent, it looks like BitTorrent is up for a company rebranding. The uTorrent about page from its build 27147 of Version 3.3 Alpha listed not BitTorrent, but Gyre Inc. as the company. The name has been changed in subsequent builds, but it sparked an investigation, and TorrentFreak has found some interesting facts.
Notice how the company name flip-flops between Gyre Inc. and BitTorrent.
BitTorrent was approached by TorrentFreak with specific questions about this rebranding. While they did not dismiss the rebranding completely, they attributed the appearance of that name to a programming error. Ernesto, who investigated the matter over at TorrentFreak, writes,
TorrentFreak contacted BitTorrent Inc. to find out more, and we were told that Gyre Inc. was listed there because of a “coding error.” The company didn’t want to confirm or deny the existence of a rebranding exercise, but did say that they “regularly test new brand and product names internally.
However, Ernesto found out that the iceberg goes deeper than this tip. Gyre Inc. was registered in January this year and lists BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker as the service agent. Moreover, the company address is identical to that of the BitTorrent San Francisco office.
The name Gyre Inc. also appears in the Share app, released by BitTorrent, and this definitely is not a branding test. Perhaps, this rebranding will let BitTorrent shed the piracy stigma associated with the word torrent. Whatever may be the case, BitTorrent seems like it is in a transition to Gyre Inc. and we hope to get some official word on this matter, soon.
Over the last year, there has been a hard crackdown on piracy, backed by lobbying efforts from the media industry. These efforts made the RIAA and the MPAA the most notorious lobbying groups of last year. Their efforts have been overshadowed by the ongoing SOPA case, but they still exist and are fully functional, nonetheless. These firms earn their daily bread by preparing infringement cases for media companies like Sony, Fox and NBC. Though, what happens when people inside these very companies are found downloading files illegally?
The guys at TorrentFreak used the web-service http://www.youhavedownloaded.com, which tracks IP addresses and links them to Torrent downloads. Using this service, they found illegal downloads taking place inside Sony and Fox. They also found illegal downloads at Google’s Corporate office in New York and at NBC Universal. Surprisingly, there were no traceable/illegal download at the Bittorrent Inc. headquarters.
Ernesto ends the article with,
Yesterday, the Dutch blog Geenstijl exposed how someone at the local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra downloaded a copy of the TV-show Entourage and video game Battlefield 3.
In a response Buma/Stemra issued a press release stating that their IP-addresses were spoofed….After all, if it’s so easy to spoof an IP-address, then accused file-sharers can use this same defense against copyright holders. Checkmate?
As said by Ernesto on TorrentFreak, an IP address is not a person. However, every employee of a company stands for its values and represents the company, especially in their behavior inside the company. Apparently, Sony and Fox have some internal policing to do before they go out and change the world. As for their anti-piracy efforts, pirates are happy, now that the messers become the messies.
The best defense that BitTorrent search engines have churned up lately is that they are “just like Google” in their operation. They allow users to search around information that is lying around the web. Until now, Google has shown little interest in these MPAA cases against torrent search engines, though it has kept a close watch on them. However, this time, Google has responded to the case as a third party in the MPAA vs. isoHunt case, even though it is not a part of any of these cases.
Image via: Digital Digest
Google wants to clear its name in cases where torrent clients say they are like Google. The U.S. District Court of California grounded isoHunt last year in March by issuing a list of 1000 critical keywords; they had to filter in their searches. Google has written to the court,
This cases raises issues about the interpretation and application of the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512 et seq. (DMCA) and common-law rules governing claims for secondary copyright infringement. Google has a strong interest in both issues,
Google had taken the consent of both MPAA and isoHunt before issuing this testimony. While MPAA was not keen on having Google intervening in the case, isoHunt wanted Google to speak, hoping that it will get some support. As a sudden turn of events, Google has accepted isoHunt being a true pirate and has also criticized the MPAA for its decisions.
It seems like Google has cleared its name in the matter by setting a clear definition of what a pirate search engine does and how it is different from what Google does. Additionally, Google has also pointed out places where the MPAA is going wrong.
Have you ever wanted to share a large file via Bittorrent and then realized that creating a well functioning torrent file isn’t exactly your forte? This is the question that a new file sharing service on the block, FlashSeed, wants to ask the people.
FlashSeed calls itself a One Click Torrent Hostingsite, but if you ask me, this title can be a little bit misleading. What FlashSeed actually does is that it takes the file that you want to share and stores it onto its servers. Then it creates a torrent for that file and seeds the torrent for five days (using the web seed technique). This five day grace period allows enough time for the torrent swarm to become self sufficient.
Unregistered users can upload files upto 500MB and upon free registration, the limit is raised to 1GB. Since your uploaded file is kept on FlashSeed’s server, you can also directly download the file. So if you just need to dump a gigabyte of data somewhere but do not want to use the Bittorrent protocol, FlashSeed can be of some help. Now since FlashSeed does keep files on its own servers for some time, it is susceptible to violating copyright law. However, FlashSeed takes the safer side here and already mentions on its FAQ page, We will take down any materials that obviously violate copyright law.
A service like FlashSeed can come in handy when a user not proficient with Bittorrent would want to share a large file with a group of people. Even though Bittorrent is possibly the best way to share massive files, the learning curve often creates hurdles in the way of the average netizen.
2010 was not a good year for those looking for free movie downloads and other not-quite-legal files. Many of the file sharing sites were either shut down or forced to go legit. One of the most popular sites, The Pirate Bay, is one example of the sites being forced offline.
One of the best way to share files online is using the BitTorrent protocol. Bittorrent shared files are stored across many different personal computers over the internet, making them almost impossible to shut down. Even though a site like Pirate Bay can be shuttered, the BitTorrent shared files are still around, and there are still ways to search for them.
Recently, the TorrentFreak website posted 2010’s top 100 searches for BitTorrent downloads. Here are the top ten items from their list.
2. iron man 2
8. despicable me
10. clash of the titans
Some of those searches aren’t surprising. Others in the list leave us wondering what people were really looking for. What’s so great about frenchdownloads? If you have some clue, let us know in the comments below.
Here are a few other posts about BitTorrent, in case you are curious.
Torrent Search bar, search torrents from firefox
Best Peer to Peer (P2P) & Torrent Software Clients for File Sharing
How to Open .torrent Files?
Disable BitTorrent Integration in Opera [How To]
The Pirate Bay: Finally Silenced by Hollywood, But For How Long?
6 Tools for Anonymous Torrenting Options
Truly decentralized BitTorrent has finally been realized and is available with the release of the Tribler client. It is the first client of its kind that has reached the highest possible level of decentralization. With Tribler, files, tracker and anything regarding torrents are no longer on a single server but distributed over multiple users.
Earlier, torrents depended heavily on websites that hosted links to .torrent files or aggregated them. These websites were popular but they were all based on the server-client model. Essentially, the decentralized and peer-to-peer nature of the BitTorrent protocol was still dependent on the server-client model of the parent website.
The Tribler client is here to change this and has been released for all three popular platforms- Mac, Windows and Linux. The client has a search that is peer-to-peer in nature too. In short, Tribler is decentralized in the true essence of decentralization. You can see more on the Tribler client at Torrentfreak.
Now, coming to the RIAA bullies, this torrent client means more trouble, but at the same time more money to them. The RIAA will still try to take down the company and its backers will pour in more funds without a clue. The decentralized client will eliminate a single point of failure and will take illegal file sharing to a completely new troublesome level for them.