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LegalTorrents Launches Copyright-Compliant Tracker

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the presumption-of-download dept.

Media 113

drDugan writes "Many legitimate media providers are using Bittorrent to distribute content, but the recent Pirate Bay legal verdict and closures left many content downloads unavailable. Along with the ongoing legal issues at Mininova and other sites, options have been scarce for legitimate Bittorrent tracking service. Once a torrent is created with a tracker URL, that tracker has to stay running for normal distribution to continue. LegalTorrents.com has quietly launched a solution with three open Bittorent trackers for its members, including a fully automated, community-based flagging system to blacklist and immediately remove copyright-infringing content. Users submit SHA1 hash values for content with infringing materials. Site members can include and track their own published materials regardless of flagging."

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slashvertisement (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065514)

This slashvertisement conveniently left out the fact that
1) You need to add the hash via their website, which for you need a member account and
2) Member accounts start at $20 an year up to $399 an year

While the trackers itself are "open", as in everyone can get the peers via them, you need to add the hash first for it to function. So no, this isn't open tracker.

Re:Legal torrents (2, Interesting)

IceDiver (321368) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065588)

I fail to see that this will do much good when the bittorrent protocol is blcked on many ISPs (including mine).

Re:Legal torrents (3, Insightful)

greensoap (566467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065710)

I don't know the figures, but I would venture to guess that AT&T and Comcast are the two largest ISP's providing DSL and Cable (at least in California). Neither of them block bittorrent, maybe its time to get a new ISP. You know, one that doesn't block legitimate file transfer protocols.

Re:Legal torrents (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067024)

I fail to see that this will do much good when the bittorrent protocol is blcked on many ISPs (including mine).

I was under the impression it uses the TCP protocol (maybe UDP under some of the new versions IIRC). They wouldn't be blocking TCP on you. Just encrypt your traffic and lower the number of connections you allow, and you'll be back in business. They cannot "block" bittorrent, not possible, but they can make it slow, that is for sure.

Rob Malda Blows Goats!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30065594)

Example of a goat [goatse.fr]

Re:slashvertisement (5, Informative)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065752)

Actually, this is not accurate, the trackers are open, and can be used without adding the hash to the website. Unfortunately, a completely open system is open to abuse, copyright infringement, and other issues.

To publish your own content, or content you have a license to distribute, membership is required to "whitelist" content, and prevent automatic removal by blacklisting. This is the solution we have come up with to minimize and prevent abuse.

Any logged in user can flag content as copyright infringing, here
http://www.legaltorrents.com/flag_content [legaltorrents.com]
and unless that hash value is in the whitelist (added by a member), the tracker will remove it in about 15 minutes.

Re:slashvertisement (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30065956)

"Adding hash value is not required for the tracking to start. You can try the service without a membership. However, taking this step prevents other users from flagging the content as copyright infringing, and removing it from the tracker automatically."

from http://www.legaltorrents.com/about/member_self_publishing [legaltorrents.com]

Re:slashvertisement (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066222)

This is the solution we have come up with to minimize and prevent abuse.

Is that to imply you are involved with this service (beyond member that is)?
I had a question that doesn't appear in the FAQ

Plenty of places state how the site will respond to a member that uploads someone elses content, and a very partial description of how DMCA requests are handled - but only from the assuming I am a criminal view.

If I was to become a member, and publish my own works where I have the copyright on that work, how do you defend MY rights against DMCA notices?

To actually qualify for safe harbor provisions, the site is required by law to notify me of a take down notice, and upon my reply that I do in fact own the copyright, are required by law to put that content back up (and provide the entity sending the takedown with my contact info)

Does the site do this? Am I as a rights holder going to still be treated like a criminal when some fool sends an illegal takedown notice to you? Will the site follow the law and inform me?
Will I be compensated if this does not happen, out side of me having to press charges for damages in civil court? (If you do not notify me, you do not qualify for safe harbor, and my own lawsuit will almost certainly win, and odds are the fool sending the takedown can sue you successfully too)

The FAQ states so many places how the rights of IP-thieves (IE RIAA and co) are protected, and not a single mention of how real IP holders rights are protected if at all.

Just curious...

Re:slashvertisement (3, Informative)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066626)

There are several steps to qualify for safe harbors, and we will follow each of them to the letter. We have not yet had to reply to any DMCA takedowns yet - all the content on the website must have a share-friendly license before content can be uploaded.

In such a situation, we will both defend the rights of our customers and provide them all the information possible to resolve the issue. I disagree the FAQ is slanted toward "IP-thieves". This does not represent the ethos of LegalTorrents.

Fred von Lohmann from the EFF provides an excellent .pdf review for service providers; there is a recently updated version here:
http://www.law.depaul.edu/centers_institutes/ciplit/niro_symposium_09/pdf/paper_cohn1.pdf [depaul.edu]
plus EFF has a wiki page with additional details: http://ilt.eff.org/index.php/Copyright:_Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act [eff.org]

A DMCA request from The Tetris Company? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068058)

We have not yet had to reply to any DMCA takedowns yet - all the content on the website must have a share-friendly license before content can be uploaded.

Say someone develops a video game in the vein of Quadra [google.com] , Quadrapassel [gnome.org] , or KBlocks [flickr.com] . These games are free software, and they implement substantially the same rules as Tetris. The Tetris Company claims that other computer programs that implement the rules of Tetris infringe the copyright in Tetris, despite a U.S. Copyright Office publication to the contrary [copyright.gov] . If someone develops a Free video game with the same rules as Tetris and hosts a mirror of the game on LegalTorrents, how do you plan to handle a DMCA request from The Tetris Company?

Re:A DMCA request from The Tetris Company? (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30069230)

Presumably, if the author of the software says it doesn't infringe, the site will put it back up. The whole point of the DMCA safe harbor provisions is that the host doesn't have to judge whether there is any copyright infringement - they just have to (first) trust the claim of copyright infringement by the complainant, and take the material down when requested, and (then) trust the claim of non-infringement by the uploader, and put it back up when requested. After that, it's up to the courts to decide, and any penalties will be against the person who uploaded the material, not the host.

Re:A DMCA request from The Tetris Company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30069900)

After that, it's up to the courts to decide, and any penalties will be against the person who uploaded the material, not the host.

You know, you could and should have just stopped the statement after "decide", but yeah, I'd have to agree that odds are the uploader would be punished in court even if he/she held the copyright on the content uploaded.

The DMCA requires two weeks of downtime (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30071564)

Presumably, if the author of the software says it doesn't infringe, the site will put it back up.

The problem with the DMCA safe harbor is that it enforces at least 2 weeks of downtime before a service provider relying on the safe harbor can put the work back up. Quoting 17 USC 512(g): "the service provider [...] replaces the removed material and ceases disabling access to it not less than 10, nor more than 14, business days following receipt of the counter notice".

Re:slashvertisement (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068658)

We have not yet had to reply to any DMCA takedowns yet - all the content on the website must have a share-friendly license before content can be uploaded.

Huh? Didn't you just start this thing?

Re:slashvertisement (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066260)

In other words, until you're big enough to have one asshat flag you and "tough luck, you'll need a membership to stop it being deleted". I guess you're technically correct but given the number of asshats on the Internet I'd say it works out the same. Unless there's some ToS problem, I'd just add all the open trackers like OpenBitTorrent, The HiddenTracker, OpenBitTorrent.kg, PublicBitTorrent and BitTrk [wikipedia.org] . Host the torrent yourself, everybody loks at that but honestly nobody looks at what tracker(s) you're using unless they're ALL down.

Re:slashvertisement (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067156)

This is the solution we have come up with to minimize and prevent abuse.

This is good work, drDugan. I'm glad you identified yourself as part of the project.

I currently distribute my own original, Creative Commons-licensed content via bittorrent (under my professional name, not "PopeRatzo"), and I plan to sign up for an account right away. Thanks to you and the others involved in legaltorrents.com.

Re:slashvertisement (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30069488)

BTW, don't let the normal Slashdot flamers get you down, man. The community really needed a site like yours.

Even though people like Blizzard have been using bittorrent for years to distribute patches and such, many ISPs (not to mention idiots like the *IAA orgs) are still stuck in the bittorrent = piracy mindset.

Re:slashvertisement (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065768)

Which is a shame, somewhere with unabiguously legal content available freely and freely would be great. I have plenty of content [lifeinmegapixels.com] that i would happily share freely, but im not going to pay to share it. Id bet there's a few others in a similar situation aswell.

On the other hand, even if such a place did exist, having only 512kbit upload would make sharing multi-gigabyte, multi-gigapixel images tedious anyway.

Consider The Internet Archive (2, Interesting)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30069158)

Which is a shame, somewhere with unabiguously legal content available freely and freely would be great. I have plenty of content [lifeinmegapixels.com] that i would happily share freely, but im not going to pay to share it. Id bet there's a few others in a similar situation aswell.

If you're serious, consider The Internet Archive [archive.org] . Servers around the world, zero cost, unlimited uploading and downloading for all, and no size limits (as far as I know). IA hosts a lot of large files (full-length movies, DVDs, some periodic TV shows upload broadcast-quality episodes). I'm sure they'll host your images too.

On the other hand, even if such a place did exist, having only 512kbit upload would make sharing multi-gigabyte, multi-gigapixel images tedious anyway.

So are you looking for gratis hosting or aren't you?

Re:Consider The Internet Archive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30070616)

thanks, looks good, ill look into it (i am the GP, but cant be bothered to log in at work)

Re:slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066150)

eeeehhhh....

I'm still able to access, use, search, and download stuff with piratebay.

Closure???

Hi-diddly-ho (1)

CrimsonScythe (876496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066318)

For some reason I thought of this clip [youtube.com] . In light of this, I think we shall call it TheFlandersBay.

A tracker, for copyright-complaint .torrents? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30065534)

All copyright complaints must now be posted by uploading a .torrent [goatse.fr] file to that tracker?

Nobody uses torrents anymore anyway.

Legal Torrents (3, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065570)

Torrents that have been approved by your masters, is more like it.

Re:Legal Torrents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30065784)

I, for one, welcome my torrent-approving overlords.

... why bother? (2, Informative)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065586)

There's no benefit as whatever may be available on "their" side isn't as appealing anyhow. Wake up, give people what they want and you'll make money. Keep trying to force your business model on people, you'll go under.

Re:... why bother? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066212)

Wake up, give people what they want and you'll make money.

No, SELL people what they want and you MIGHT make money, if your expenses don't exceed your revenue. Giving stuff away doesn't usually turn a profit.

Re:... why bother? (1)

Inschato (1350323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067030)

Giving stuff away can certainly turn a profit if it's used as advertising for other services/products.

Re:... why bother? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068092)

Giving stuff away can certainly turn a profit if it's used as advertising for other services/products.

But advertising eventually has to point to a product for sale. Say I develop a video game for PCs or Android phones that isn't massively multiplayer. What should go into the "demo" that I distribute freely, and what should I restrict to draw revenue?

Re:... why bother? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30070424)

Giving stuff away can certainly turn a profit if it's used as advertising for other services/products.

The advertising industry subsists off the companies that actually sell products. It isn't an end in itself. When people make money advertising movies, promoting albums, showcasing books, free game demos, etc. etc., it is because the people or companies making those products pay them from the money they make selling those products.

And you want to replace this with what? The content producers make equivalent money from advertising? Advertising what? Movies, albums, books and games that are all taken for free? Not an option. Are you suggesting they advertise products that can't be pirated only? Say - Iron Man 2 will be funded by sticking ads for toothpaste at the start and end of it?

Yeah, right.

Re:... why bother? (2, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066402)

Wake up, give people what they want and you'll make money.

My understanding is that what pirates want, is the same thing but without having to hand over money.

Or is this about to be another person arguing that the customer should be able to force the seller to hand over the goods at whatever price the customer fancies (including nothing) - or else they'll just take it for free anyway. Or perhaps the other argument that if you give your most valuable asset away for free, you'll magically make more money from nebulous side benefits?

"Give people what they want and you'll make money?" Uh, no. Sell people what they want and you'll make money.

Re:... why bother? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067382)

What people want is reasonable prices. When companies make insane profits (not saying that they don't have a right to, cuz they do), they're obviously charging way more than is necessary - pirating is people's way of saying "I like what you're producing, but you're charging too much - cut the cost and I'll buy it". I guarantee that if the average new movie price was $10 instead of $25, they'd sell a LOT more dvd's and there'd be a lot less pirating going on. Same with seasons of tv shows - since the cost of producing the show is covered by advertising, everything they make beyond the $4-$5 it costs to make the dvd/packaging is pure profit. If seasons of tv shows dropped to $25 from $55, you'd sell a hell of a lot more and there'd be less pirating too.

Re:... why bother? (0, Flamebait)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068012)

I guarantee that if the average new movie price was $10 instead of $25, they'd sell a LOT more dvd's and there'd be a lot less pirating going on

The average price of the movie I buy is $10. I haven't seen a lot of movies above that except in the first month or so of release.

So, you could wait, like I do, or pay more. But instead you decide to pirate it.

If you said "I don't believe in copyright" I would think you were honest; naive and wrong, but honest. I think you just want something for nothing and are stretching to justify it.

Re:... why bother? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068656)

No, I buy them on sale, but I'm a collector. Don't assume.

Just because I know many people who do pirate for that very reason (that they're too expensive) doesn't mean I do. But hey, you can just go ahead and look like a jackass without having a clue about my spending habits!

Re:... why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30070136)

I'm a collector

Is that your way of saying you illegally download thousands of movies just for the sake of it, without even bothering to watch any of them, so that you can have the biggest "collection" of movies, increase the size of your e-penis and "win filesharing"?

Most people would agree that the downloading is the fun part, having to watch 1.5 hours of some crappy movie is far less entertaining.

Re:... why bother? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30068816)

So how do you define 'insane profits'? Exactly whose profits are you objecting to? Is it the content provider, the retailer, the trucking company, the energy company heating the producers building? Do you really expect anyone to believe that you check the balance sheet of whatever provider you are pirating from to make sure that the profit is 'too high' first (and what exactly are you looking at to make your insanity determination)? Please give us some examples of the 'insane profits' that you see, because I am sure a lot of people would like to invest in these companies.

Since you mentioned television, we can take a quick look at that. CBS (the number one network in the US) had a profit of $440M on revenues of $2269M in their third quarter. Of that $2269M in revenue, a whopping $47M came from 'home entertainment' (which includes your DVD sales). Clearly they are not cleaning up on those sales quite like you think they are. By the way, last year in the third quarter they had a LOSS of $7580M dollars. I am sure during that time you did not pirate anything from them, right?

Re:... why bother? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30070260)

I wish you hadn't posted as AC.

So how do you define 'insane profits'? Exactly whose profits are you objecting to? Is it the content provider, the retailer, the trucking company, the energy company heating the producers building? Do you really expect anyone to believe that you check the balance sheet of whatever provider you are pirating from to make sure that the profit is 'too high' first (and what exactly are you looking at to make your insanity determination)? Please give us some examples of the 'insane profits' that you see, because I am sure a lot of people would like to invest in these companies.

Since you mentioned television, we can take a quick look at that. CBS (the number one network in the US) had a profit of $440M on revenues of $2269M in their third quarter. Of that $2269M in revenue, a whopping $47M came from 'home entertainment' (which includes your DVD sales). Clearly they are not cleaning up on those sales quite like you think they are. By the way, last year in the third quarter they had a LOSS of $7580M dollars. I am sure during that time you did not pirate anything from them, right?

This is an excellent reply that deserves to be read.

DRM (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067746)

My understanding is that what pirates want, is the same thing but without having to hand over money.

It depends on the pirate. For music, I think you're almost always right.

For TV and movies, what some pirates want is unDRMed files. They're willing to pay for it, but it's not for sale at any price. Try playing a BluRay with mplayer sometime, or get a cablecard driver for Linux, and you quickly run into trouble. Pirates offer files without DRM.

Same goes for most offline Windows games too. If the non-pirate version requires a weirdo CDROM driver that does fuck-knows-what to your system, then they could offer the game for free but it still wouldn't be nearly as good as the pirated version.

Shit for money can't compete against good stuff for free, but good stuff for money might be able to compete with good stuff for free. Or maybe not, but if publishers don't even try, then I'm not going to cry for them.

Re:DRM (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30070222)

For TV and movies, what some pirates want is unDRMed files. They're willing to pay for it, but it's not for sale at any price. Try playing a BluRay with mplayer sometime, or get a cablecard driver for Linux, and you quickly run into trouble. Pirates offer files without DRM.

I'll grant you its not easy (nor was playing DVDs on Linux when they first appeared mind you), but I have played Blu-Rays in mplayer on Linux. Anyway, I assume that these pirates that are willing to pay but just want a lack of DRM are buying the disc as well as downloading? That would be the way to get what you want without ripping off the company (willing to pay), right? But I doubt it happens often. And as you say, this is just Blu-Ray. I don't know, but I would imagine the overwhelming majority of pirated movies and TV are just regular SD that they could get on DVD.

As regards Windows games that you raise, piracy is rampant regardless of "weirdo CDROM drivers". Its clear from a large number of games without such DRM that avoiding this isn't a mainstream motivation for pirating the games.

Re:... why bother? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30070600)

If I could get the service I get from torrents (practically any film/album on demand, at the highest available quality, with a decent download speed, in an open format) at a reasonable price from a legitimate vendor then I and a lot of other people would use it. There will always be pirates. There have always been pirates. The problem is that currently the pirates get a much better deal and often get a services that isn't provided at all by the people are trying to distribute this content through legal channels. And most of what they do to stop the pirates only harms their legitimate customers. I've never been forced to sit through a "piracy is a crime" ad at the start of a pirated film.

I don't think piracy is right. But there are some good reasons behind it and the only moves I've seen from the (for example) the RIAA and MPAA are threats rather than offers of a decent alternative service.

Re:... why charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067636)

"There's no benefit as whatever may be available on "their" side isn't as appealing anyhow. Wake up, give people what they want and you'll make money. Keep trying to force your business model on people, you'll go under"*

People:==free stuff
Business model:==charge money
???
PROFIT!

*Funny stuff aside I'll let the audience figure out why those (you know who) who are "forcing their business model" aren't actually going out of business. Maybe slashdot needs less rhetoric and more reality check?

Re:... why bother? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068118)

Keep trying to force your business model on people, you'll go under.

Yeah, just like the cable companies, Microsoft, Apple with it's iPhone, etc...

You use the term "people" like they're some single object that all wants the same thing. As long as *some* people want the product, and revenue exceeds costs, then *any* company can remain solvent, regardless of how you personally feel about it.

Still, it validates the technology (1, Redundant)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065596)

It's a bit like the invention of fire. You can't suppress it, despite its danger - sure, people are burned with it every day (and there are people out there who use it to burn people!) but if you want to cook food or refine metal, you can't throw it out.

There are legitimate users of BitTorrent technologies, and there will continue to be legitimate uses of it. This site/service, whether it's directly useful to you or not, serves as documentation of that fact.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (4, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065702)

Exactly, a site and set of trackers dedicated to legal material will facilitate the argument that there are, in fact, legal uses for torrents. This fact is utterly lost on many legislators thanks to the lobbying of Big Content. They need all the help they can get to see beyond the lobbyists and this is a step in the right direction. If the LegalTorrents community can demonstrate that a community can self-regulate to avoid infringement it will make the arguments of the RIAA more transparently false.

Big Content will eventually die off simply because they aren't needed anymore. Artists no longer need big labels to publish their content and the more tools that artists have to avoid Big Content the better.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (4, Interesting)

Hobophile (602318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066096)

Exactly, a site and set of trackers dedicated to legal material will facilitate the argument that there are, in fact, legal uses for torrents.

The name of this particular service - LegalTorrents.com - serves to focus undue attention on the ubiquity of torrents providing access to infringing content.

Moreover, it comes down squarely on the wrong side of an important issue: torrents themselves are arguably never illegal, in that they only provide a means of finding content, and leave the actual distribution up to participating clients. Google indexes plenty of content that is either illegal or infringing, and though they deal with plenty of copyright-related complaints, they have not seen the need to establish an explicitly "legal" search service.

The company would also do a tremendous disservice to those advocating legitimate uses of torrents, if the number of torrents it tracks becomes a convenient shorthand for the number of legal torrents available. It might be good for business to publicize those numbers, to the extent they aren't readily visible, even if it is very bad for other legitimate users of the protocol. For instance, it would be trivial to assert that only 5% of torrents are available through LegalTorrents.com, and to imply that the other 95% are somehow illegal or questionable.

Frankly, it would be better for everyone if they had simply picked a name they could brand and advertise effectively. I can't see "LegalTorrents.com" getting the same sort of traction with Fortune 100 businesses as Akamai has, and it draws an inordinate amount of attention to the fact that the legality of the underlying protocol is controversial.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066170)

"For instance, it would be trivial to assert that only 5% of torrents are available through LegalTorrents.com, and to imply that the other 95% are somehow illegal or questionable."

and yet you're the only one who is making such an absurd and asinine claim.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066916)

Given the RIAA's contrived statistics on damages, I'd say his prediction is pretty solid.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (2, Insightful)

Hobophile (602318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067120)

and yet you're the only one who is making such an absurd and asinine claim.

Really?

In a lawsuit filed in August 2009, BREIN [wikipedia.org] claimed that "80 to 90 percent of all torrents... [link] to copyrighted material." (citation [pcmag.com] )

All that remains is to take the number of torrents on LegalTorrents.com, estimate the number of torrents available through other sites, compare the two numbers, then revise upward the estimate of illegal torrents.

Absurd and asinine it may be, but such claims are already being made.

Admittedly, it's overstating the importance of LegalTorrents.com by quite a lot. This is a site that has tried and failed to reinvent itself a number of times over the last six years, and seems destined to fail again.

But in response to the claim that it will someday support the argument that torrents have substantially non-infringing uses, it's fair to point out that it is far more likely to damage such arguments.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

burris (122191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067992)

But in response to the claim that it will someday support the argument that torrents have substantially non-infringing uses, it's fair to point out that it is far more likely to damage such arguments.

Sayeth the SCOTUS:

[...]The staple article of commerce doctrine must strike a balance between a copyright holder‘s legitimate demand for effective -- not merely symbolic -- protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce. Accordingly, the sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses.

That's from the Betamax case (emphasis mine,) and it was affirmed in Grokster. It doesn't matter if 90% of users are infringing. Notwithstanding evidence that the software creators intended their users to infringe or induced them to do so, it's enough that the software is merely capable of some significant noninfringing use. Significant here refers to the quality of the use, not the quantity.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (2, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066334)

Torrents themselves do not infringe copyrights.

They might however be unauthorized derived works of the material whose hashes they contain.

For sure though once a tracker has knowledge that one of their torrents is being used to facilitate copyright infringement they become an accessory if they fail to remove it.

Copyright infringment is BS. Aiding and abetting, however, I'd be more apt to buy.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (3, Interesting)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068900)

If torrent files are derivative works because they contain hashes of other works, then any work with a bibliography is a derivative of the works it references. Hashes merely identify the a work; they aren't a copy of it.

Moreover, to the best of my knowledge as a non-lawyer, if something wouldn't qualify for copyright on its own (and thus isn't a work at all) then it can't be a derivative work. Hashes certainly wouldn't qualify by themselves, and it's rather unlikely that any torrent file containing them would either.

The "aiding and abetting" argument would indeed be the most sound approach. To that end—if you wish to support copyright—then once the copyright holder has established in court that a given swarm (identified by hash) is infringing on their copyrights, or the court has granted them an injunction pending a final decision, then you should blacklist that particular hash. However, allowing the swarm to continue when its illegality has not been established in a court of law should never be considered "aiding and abetting", since the tracker doesn't have "knowledge that one of their torrents is being used to facilitate copyright infringement"; they only have the copyright holder's allegations to that effect.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30069228)

Moreover, it comes down squarely on the wrong side of an important issue: torrents themselves are arguably never illegal, in that they only provide a means of finding content, and leave the actual distribution up to participating clients.

Your are correct. But since the world does not see it that way we have also registered LegalGoogleSearch.com because we all know that regular Google.com indexes illegal content.

Self-Regulating Communities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066138)

"If the [...] community can demonstrate that a community can self-regulate [...]" ...the government will do everything in it's power to keep it's power and underline the need of any community for government to regulate the community.

In capitalist America, bit-torrent shares you.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066636)

Exactly, a site and set of trackers dedicated to legal material will facilitate the argument that there are, in fact, legal uses for torrents.

This isn't the only one either. bt.etree.org has been around for quite some time.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067092)

Does it validate the technology?

I suppose a "self-regulating community" is full of people who are familiar with exactly who holds the rights to distribute a million and one different pieces of content, and I'm sure they're all incentivized to remove the most popular stuff before downloading it? If this worked effectively of course ultimately there would be no value in anyone ever posting infringing material, so of course the measure is that after some time if there is a low ratio of content published to content removed then self-regulating does not work.

If anyone can submit hashes for infringing material and they ought to be respected (well, I suppose they'd have to be or you'd knowingly be distributing infringing material) then it's going to be abused any time someone posts something unpopular.

I don't see how this adds any legal validity to "LegalTorrents" though, since it is the DMCA or DMCA-like laws that establish how material should be identified as infringing and what the legally accepted processes are for taking it down or contesting a take-down. If you step outside the protections the DMCA (in theory) offers you, then what protections do you actually have? You may be trying to do the right thing(tm), but that's not necessarily how a court will make a judgment, which let's face it is what matters.

Calling yourself "LegalTorrents" isn't very considerate with respect to your users, who are susceptible to being sued by the MPAA/RIAA in exactly the same way they could be sued for downloading, and consequently sharing, from any number of alternative trackers.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068174)

Uhhh...dude? Big content has one BIG fricking advantage you seem to be missing. You see, you are under the naive impression that by proving your argument with common sense, you, the little guy, might actually win. Wrong son, so wrong it ain't even funny.

The reason it is so wrong is big content has these thing called "lobbyists" that carry a magic wand called a "big fat check". Now you see with enough of these "big fat checks" you can get a congress critter to say blue skies are green, the moon is made out of cheese, hell you can back the money truck up to the Fed because they'll just declare you "too big to fail" and pass the bill off on the peasants! Ain't that nice?

So you see your reasonable arguments and sites like legal torrents are worth exactly jack and squat without a bunch of those big checks filled with nice zeroes. See DMCA and the Disney eternal copyright extensions for examples. As long as bribery is legal those magic wands will trump your logical thinking every. single. time. Sorry but that's just the way they roll in DC.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068208)

Artists no longer need big labels to publish their content

Over the past decade, this has become true of books, music, and short film. But in interactive entertainment, three companies (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) act as gatekeepers to the market, and they prefer to deal with big labels over individual developers. Individuals can self-publish games on PCs, but PC gaming has serious drawbacks that I've discussed numerous times in the past.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (3, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065812)

I'd think the use of BitTorrent for things like World of Warcraft updates [arstechnica.com] , for about 5 years, is more validation than someone hosting a pay-to-join tracker for legal content.

Aren't there already totally free trackers for legal content (like Linux ISOs, etc)?

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066052)

Aren't there already totally free trackers for legal content (like Linux ISOs, etc)?

Yes there are, but as the summary states, the biggest ones of those are the trackers being shut down by lawsuits.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066350)

Hey that's right!

Blizzard might actually be a big bad corporation on OUR side here.

If ISPs start interfering with WoW's ability to update itself...

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068590)

I think it's a cunning scheme.

If you have a very popular website that hosts torrents, and its name is "The Pirate Bay", it has certain connotations, and an undesirable association is formed. Well, then, if so much is in the name, then another website hosting torrents named "Legal Torrents" might go a long way towards reversing that association!

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065910)

It's a bit like the invention of fire. You can't suppress it, despite its danger - sure, people are burned with it every day (...) but if you want to cook food (...) you can't throw it out.

Between my kitchen cooktop, oven and microwave - all of which run on electricity - I'd say that was a very poor example. The last time I cooked something with fire, like an actual burning flame was when I went camping. Or in a cabin on a stove using either gas or wood. The only time you'd find a flame in my kitchen is if I'm trying to flambé something or I've set the kitchen on fire, where the latter is far more likely. Particularly since the former would probably lead to the latter.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (2, Informative)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066152)

It depends on where you live, but out here on the West (U.S.) Coast, the prevalent heating fuel is natural gas, which is used in the vast majority of forced air furnace and hot water heaters. They work with open flame. Unless you have an electric hot water heater (they do exist, but are phenomenally expensive to run, by comparison, according to my brother-in-law in Florida who has one), it's very likely that your hot water needs are met by fire.

If that's not enough, there's more: Your house likely has copper plumbing pipe in it. Which would have been sweated together with an open flame. You probably have neighbors who occasionally grill meat either over charcoal or natural gas. The list goes on and on.

In other words, it's unlikely that you can entirely escape the metaphor, and even if you can, all it does is demonstrate that you are an outlier.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066618)

Somehow I don't relate how they welded my water pipes to cooking, the charcoal grill is a decent point though. I think here in Norway anyone using gas would be the outlier, it's almost all electric here. Yes, we use oil and and gas and wood for space heating and water heaters but almost noone for cooking - normally people boil initially cold water so the water heater isn't involved either. Besides, you can quite easily burn yourself without a flame, so wasn't like that it's safer. Just that most here cook without fire :)

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067658)

It depends on where you live, but out here on the West (U.S.) Coast, the prevalent heating fuel is natural gas...

The ironic part of that is that electricity is probably cheaper at this point, given how much natural gas prices have increased.

I've always thought someone should design a clothes dryer based on tying into your home's heat pump system. Have a three-way switching valve on the freon lines. When you're heating clothes, you're either cooling your house (if it needs to be cooled further) or cooling the outside coils. That way, for half the year, in addition to making your dryer cost less, you're also making your air conditioning cost less.... Not sure how feasible this would be in terms of getting the interior of the clothes dryer up to the needed temperatures, though.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068910)

Heat pump systems do not work that way, unfortunately. They are typically just a reversible air conditioner hooked up to forced air ducts.

I would love to see a heat pump system that had high and low pressure refrigerant lines, individual throttles in each room, and tie-in ports for things like refrigerators. It always strikes me as inefficient that we stick a refrigerator up against a wall in an insulated room and then chill the room itself.

On the other hand, such a system would also suffer from some scale inefficiencies, so I guess that's why it's not done. Still, individual room climate control and a reduction in the cross section of the transport piping would have *some* benefit, wouldn't they?

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066012)

There are legitimate users of BitTorrent technologies, and there will continue to be legitimate uses of it

And even if there weren't legitimate users, there should be, if only the legislation weren't so absurd. The fact is that current "intellectual property" regulation is completely arbitrary, imposed by the corrupt organizations that have taken over our culture.

They want to use analogies as long as it benefits them, they call it "piracy" and "just like stealing" when someone copies something, yet they forget that when one buys a physical object one is entitled to do anything with it. When I buy a cat, it's not "piracy" to let it procreate and give or sell the kittens, even if I'm reducing the potential profits of the cat breeder.

"Intellectual property" is a privilege, not a right. It's an abstract concept invented for the sole purpose of creating an incentive for artistic and scientific work. When that incentive stops working it's time to end the privilege.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (1)

Cal27 (1610211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067542)

When I buy a cat, it's not "piracy" to let it procreate and give or sell the kittens, even if I'm reducing the potential profits of the cat breeder.

We'll see what the Feline Breeding Association of America has to say about that.

Re:Still, it validates the technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30074154)

They say "Time for a cat massage"! OHHHH look at my widdle baby. Oh my stars; your cat pajamas are fabulous. etc.

Who cares? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30065646)

Ah, right, the media industry cares. Maybe they will use it. I hear they have atrocious up/down ratios though. When will they get through their thick heads that the cat is out of the bag? There will never be a time again when people have no way of communicating with one another across huge distances without needing someone else to approve the message. Digital information can be copied at next to no cost. If you believe that you can make people attribute value to something which can be copied and transported at negligible cost, then you're delusional.

Re:Who cares? (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066248)

Well, people actually do, but only if it's worth it:

Indepedent movie Nasty Old People:
  -> Financed by a bank loan
  -> Freely distributed via bittorrent at TPB
  -> Released October 10
  -> 16 day later (October 26), they had paid 25% of the loan, all with donations

http://nastyoldpeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067256)

Wow, -75%, what a profit.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30067978)

Perhaps more tellingly, is this statement...

"We have also have received MORE than 20 000 SEK, (2000 EUR!) by now. This means we have covered more than 20 percent of the bank loan!! Thank you so much to all of you!"

So worst case scenario, they took out a EUR20,000 loan, or roughly $30,000.. which puts it in the realm of the Blair Witch Project (at least for principal shooting - google about for the nasty details of the numbers by the time they got that thing in a traditional release with any hope for the success it eventually achieved).

However.. it's -not- the Blair Witch Project.. and, as pointed out, they have -not- even recouped that $30,000 loan. Maybe eventually by the goodness of people visiting TPB or reading about it here and there, etc. they will. I certainly wish them good luck.

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

tkw954 (709413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068176)

I'm not criticizing these film-makers, but it's disingenuous for you to say that this validates some kind of sustainable financial business model. According to the second sentence, "nobody got paid". This sounds like an expensive hobby.

Re:Who cares? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30069188)

16 day later (October 26), they had paid 25% of the loan, all with donations

This is nice; however this alone does not matter. What matters is that 100% of the loan should be paid by a certain date. They still need to collect the remaining 75% and that is not guaranteed because it may well be that they have already collected from almost everyone who was likely to donate.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066302)

While it's true that bits can be distributed virtually for free, it still costs something (time, money, etc.) to produce those bits in the first place; this is what everybody seems to conveniently forget around here. I don't know what the answer is, but the free ride is not going to last forever; people need to recoup their expenses and make some kind of profit to stay in business. I suspect it will be through some kind of advertising supported model.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066698)

No, we do not forget that producing interesting bits costs time and money. That fact is beside the point. You're not selling a service, i.e. making a movie. The people who do that all get paid, because if they don't see money, they don't work. But you insist on doing something else: You're selling one of infinitely many copies of the movie. This is not going to work and complaining that it should work because it has worked in the past, when copies were not so easily made, is entirely pointless.

The other reply mentioned a movie project which recouped expenses through a donation model. That is not a payment for copies. The copies were free. The donations are given to the makers of the movie as a token of appreciation and an encouragement to do more. Would that have worked if the movie copyrights had been sold to label and the label had asked for donations? I seriously doubt it.

People who want to earn money with entertainment or other things which are shoehorned into the "property" concept by prefixing them with "intellectual" need to identify what their actual product is and realize that it is most often a service, not a product. If they don't, they're in denial and reality does not reward those who reject it.

Really? (3, Insightful)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065798)

Which version of copyrights? The MPAA and the RIAA where fair use doesn't exist? The US one where anti-circumvention tools are legal? The German version where hacking tools are illegal? Or the Canadian version where fair use and privacy actually matter ('till ACTA is signed and forces us to change our laws, at least)? Something might be legal in one situation and not in another. In the end, only the proper authorities and legal system (aka the courts and judges in most countries) of the users can fairly decide what is legal and what isn't.

And this "community-driven" system for black-flagging "illegal" content looks rife for exploitation.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30069952)

And this "community-driven" system for black-flagging "illegal" content looks rife for exploitation.

As the guy said above somewhere, members have their content put on a white list. This protects them from being black listed by the community. Isn't that great? Far more reason to be spending 20-300 dollars a year on a membership now that you have to worry about pretty much anyone trying to harass you by flagging all your stuff as infringing and causing them to be deleted within 15 minutes with no human oversight!

alternative to central torrent search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30065880)

I wonder why nobody has thought to put the torrent database on p2p network itself. people could donate their computers to act as torrent search servers.

Hashing (4, Insightful)

b1ng0 (7449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065900)

Their SHA1 hashing method will not be sufficient to detect most copyright infringements. Even one bit change in a file will result in a completely different SHA1 hash. I am the creator of pHash [phash.org] , which is well suited for this type of similarity search. The hashes do not need to be identical in order to detect duplicate or similar files, and similar files will have hashes that are "close" to one another. This is really what they should be using.

Re:Hashing (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30070998)

How does your hashing algorithm handle parody or covers? With so much user-created content on YouTube (an example of possible use from your website) would the "censors" be bogged down with material which is clearly fair-use?

I checked your site for an FAQ, but didn't find one.

Re:Hashing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30071098)

The bittorrent protocol uses SHA1 hashes. A SHA1 hash uniquely identifies a specific file being up/downloaded.

Your phash would be useless, as the torrent file doesn't contain it, and the uploader is not going to calculate it for you. As for the site itself, it's only a tracker, it does not have the original file to hash.

Already done by the eMule project! (2, Informative)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065944)

The eMule Content Database [emule-project.net] has been doing that, very successfully and for many years. Legit content, that is.

And you need no tracker in eMule. As long as the file/collection is moderately popular, once a few people download it from you it will exist in the network for ever. I know as I have published service manuals there and I can still find them after 4 years...

"closure?" (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065958)

What is with this fud about TPB being closed?

it's still there! It hasn't gone anywhere!

Why does slashdot keep quoting media sources written by people who are obviously either too old or too ignorant to type in a URL and watch a page load?!

Re:"closure?" (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066032)

I haven't been able to connect to tracker.prq.to for weeks.

Re:"closure?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30066304)

I just started downloading a torrent....

As my name Anonymous I can tell you ... it's working!!

Re:"closure?" (1)

Joren (312641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066250)

Anecdotally, it seems to be blocked for some people and not for others, and the blocking itself seems to be in flux. The last time I saw a post on Slashdot saying it had been closed, I tried accessing it then and could not. This time around, I can access the website. Don't know about the torrent though, haven't tried.

Re:"closure?" (1)

Joren (312641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066268)

Anecdotally, it seems to be blocked for some people and not for others, and the blocking itself seems to be in flux. The last time I saw a post on Slashdot saying it had been closed, I tried accessing it then and could not. This time around, I can access the website. Don't know about the torrent though, haven't tried.

Meant to say *tracker* - heh. Maybe I shouldn't slashdot without my green tea :)

Re:"closure?" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30068610)

it's still there! It hasn't gone anywhere!

This seems to be varying. During the last weeks, there were two days during which the main site would simply not load at all. Keep in mind that some European countries have already blocked it, and then also there are some ISPs that are doing that preventively.

News alert (1)

tirnacopu (732831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30065974)

November, 2015: the world's first and only legal movie torrents tracker announces a breakthrough as they register more than over 100 (one hundred) simultaneous active transfers. The website's administrator, who strangely declined to reveal his name (mumbling something about a "revoked geek card") credits the help and careful surveillance of the RIAA for this feat. The RIAA spokesman adds: "We are more than content with the outcome of our 1.5 (one point five) billion dollars investment in trained personnel, storage for copies of every published work in existence, recognition software and processing raw power. We look forward to the new H2D2 video formats stored on petabyte-sized disks, that will double our investment and your satisfaction".

Transparency (1, Interesting)

Alerius (851519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066710)

I would find it a little less questionable if it was made clear in the summary that the story promoting a "for pay" site had been submitted by a representative of that site.

Poor Mininova (1)

agentc0re (1406685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30066972)

"The court did not agree with Mininova’s defense that it is impossible to moderate all torrents that are uploaded to the site. It further said that Mininova is encouraging its users to download copyrighted material, helped by the several moderators that the site has in place." - http://torrentfreak.com/mininova-ordered-to-remove-all-infringing-torrents-090826/

What....Seriously? So what if i don't agree with the fact that Cops can't remove all criminals from the streets? Can i sue the city? No, because it's impossible to police everyone and everything. They are doing their best, and they expect something that they can't even provide with services they offer the community.

You know, maybe all the torrent sites should get together and shutdown for a whole month. Watch all these assholes cry because there is now NOTHING on the internet... figuratively speaking of course.

Re:Poor Mininova (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30070192)

Watch all these assholes cry because there is now NOTHING on the internet... figuratively speaking of course.

Which 'assholes'?
Anyone opposed to torrenting would likely appreciate the extra bandwidth.

Re:Poor Mininova (1)

agentc0re (1406685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30074158)

<quote><blockquote><div><p>Watch all these assholes cry because there is now NOTHING on the internet... figuratively speaking of course.</p></div>
</blockquote><p>
Anyone opposed to torrenting would likely appreciate the extra bandwidth.</p></quote>

Well it depends on the type of network that your ISP(s) are offering you with in your area. If your bandwidth is sufferring due to what you believe is someone torrenting within your networked area then your ISP is to blame and not the torrenter. That person was offered X down/up speeds and is merely using what he bought. Why are they to blame? The ISP's shouldn't be limiting the user because they don't want to provide more than enough bandwidth for everyone. They provide only what is used on average, which means you technically might not receive what you've been offered.

Torrents, torrents, torrents.. I don't know what kind of user you are but if you take advantage of any free, gnu, gpl'd type software, chances are they offer it via a torrent. It saves that group money so they don't have to purchase a high amount of monthly bandwidth usage and the user gets their download typically faster because of the torrent(depending on the active seeds).

So anyone that is opposed to torrenting probably doesn't realize that their free program that they downloaded actually relies on users torrenting it more than they do a direct download.

mod do3n (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067072)

politics openly. intentions and *BSD is dead. declined in market backwards. To the do, and with any and that the floor another troubled could save it

Why so much hassel? Just use LegitTorrents.info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067202)

Seems like a lot of crap to sift through just to post a legal torrent. Legit Torrents is a "Copyright-Compliant Tracker" with no fees and human monitored.

http://www.legittorrents.info/

Re:Why so much hassel? Just use LegitTorrents.info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30069726)

There are a some huge differences.

LegalTorrents is *hosting* the content they list on the website, and providing a network of high speed seeds with partners. They are not listing any content referencing or using trackers also used for illegal redistribution. Further, LegalTorrents is brokering financial sponsorship to the Content Creators when they opt in.

Goodbye BitTorrent, hello again Gnutella (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30067440)

..and/or SneakerNet, or whatever they come up with next. You can't stop the signal..

Does that make reporting illegal? (1)

logfish (1245392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30072972)

Is being able to report the SHA1 of the content not an admission of ownership? Reporting "I downloaded this data with this SHA1, and that was an illegal act" sounds like a stupid thing to do.

On the up-side, the SHA1 can come in very handy if you want to get the magnet link for a file, so I hope they create a Bitzi like page with "SHA1: this_and_that, is an illegal episode of Some Series, do not try to download it (quality is very good, I would rate it a 5 out of 5 for being very illegal)".

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