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Courts Force Danish ISP to Block Torrent Tracker

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the forest-meet-trees dept.

Censorship 145

Pirate writes "A Danish court ruled in favor of the IFPI, and ordered the Danish ISP Tele2 to block all access to the popular BitTorrent tracker. The Pirate Bay, currently ranked 28th in the list of most visited sites in Denmark, is working on countermeasures."

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Well... (3, Funny)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293078)

Goodbye, direct access. Hello, proxy!

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293696)

The really funny part is that it likely took a ton of money and a lot of time, yet the decision will become completely invalid and worthless in the space of 20 minutes, and for very little cost (basically - however long it takes for the average Joe Dane to find and learn how to use TOR).

Usually a given business will do its level best to avoid solutions that are expensive and practically worthless... unless they're desperate, at which point a dying business will begin to clutch at anything and everything to save itself - no expenses spared.

Doesn't anyone stop and think before they act anymore? Forget the fact that rights are being trampled for a minute: This is just wasteful and insane on the IFPI's part, a "solution" akin to transporting water around with a giant colander.

One has to wonder at the sheer stupidity of certain industries these days...

/P

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295418)

One has to wonder at the sheer stupidity of certain industries these days...
Although it looks like stupidity to us, it really is all about greed. There's a notion that no matter how successful a company is, it has to grow at a faster pace year after year after year. Unfortunately, there are border conditions and limitations to growth. We've seen this unchecked insistence on growth bring down businesses before. In fact, it's about to bring down an institution vital to our financial markets, the companies that insure bonds. For decades, they've been hugely successful, insuring the investors who buy bonds that the municipal entity that is selling those bonds will pay its commitments. For this, they charge a few percent and make a shitload of money. A few years ago, they decided that they had to grow grow grow, so they started insuring the shakiest investments since the tulip - subprime mortgages. So now, they are losing money hand over fist. Remember, these are the outfits that are supposed to protect investors from this sort of behavior.

So, what does this boring explanation have to do with the record industry and why they are doomed? Because at one time, they were making lots of money making a product. But it just wasn't enough for them. They had to show continual growth and they did so by cannibalizing their best modes of marketing their products. Internet Radio, for instance. For decades, radio has existed to promote record sales. Internet radio was doing that very thing when the the record industry, realizing that someone was making money that wasn't them, decided they had to either get any money that Internet Radio was making or at least destroy Internet Radio while trying.

Back in the 80s, cool young MBAs used to say "Greed is Good". There was even a popular movie that said that very thing. They were completely wrong, and now that those 1980 vintage MBAs are turning 50 and realizing that all those BMWs and condos and blow-job rings they bought their girlfriends on credit now have to be paid for, and that congress, acting at the behest of the credit industry passed a bankruptcy bill that takes away their only out, things are looking kind of shitty.

Greed is not good. Teach your kids.

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297232)

the decision will become completely invalid and worthless in the space of 20 minutes, and for very little cost (basically - however long it takes for the average Joe Dane to find and learn how to use TOR).
Hardly. The average Joe Dane is going to switch to a different tracker site, or a different P2P system. Even if they manage somehow get TOR working (e.g. by finding one of the simple-to-use repackaged versions) they're unlikely to find it particularly usable -- it crawls. Seriously, I just tried using it to do a web search, and it took about five minutes, compared to five seconds without TOR. That is a technology that might appeal to a dissident in fear of his life, but your average low-attention-span teenaged pirate is hardly going to put up with a sixty-fold slowdown!

Forget the fact that rights are being trampled for a minute
Yes, they are, but at least this ruling will reduce that for a little while until the pirates find another way to trample on the rights of the authors and musicians whose hard work they are appropriating.

Oh, wait, did you mean the pirates' rights? Do please elaborate; I don't recall seeing a "right to download other people's IP for free" in any laws recently.

Sorry, but there is no defense in this case. Blocking BitTorrent per se would be trampling on people's rights, because BitTorrent is a neutral technology that is used for many legitimate purposes. But The Pirate Bay is not like that. There's a hint in the name, see? The Pirate Bay is openly and unashamedly dedicated to supporting and promoting illegal activity. Pirate Bay apologists are constantly telling us that the website itself is legal, and it's only the people who use it who are violating copyright law. Well, if that's the case, what exactly is wrong with stopping people from using it to violate copyright law?

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298724)

The Pirate Bay is openly and unashamedly dedicated to supporting and promoting illegal activity.
I'd rather see them act illegally than immorally, as the corporations who have bribed and cajoled the government into passing our existing set of ridiculous IP laws have unashamedly done. Both in the states and around the world. Copyright law, as it stands today, is completely out of whack. It does damn little to promote the public good, and a lot to increase costs to everyone.

You don't even need a proxy (2, Informative)

Laz10 (708792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296210)

All they do is to block thepiratebay.org in their DNS servers.
Nothing prevents everyone from using OpenDNS instead. So it is very easy to work around the block.

Re:You don't even need a proxy (2, Informative)

Carthag (643047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298170)

or hosts file editing, or a million other ways. DNS blocks are notoriously useless and though I don't know the internal decision process of Tele2, it almost looks like an empty gesture to satisfy the courts while not changing anything for real.

what's next? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293092)

Google? Because google cache will have all the pertinent information anyway.

Re:what's next? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293240)

You mean Google runs a tracker as well as just caching the contents of a .torrent file? Last time I checked, TPB ran both a .torrent hosting and indexing service and a BitTorrent tracker.

Re:what's next? (2, Interesting)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293376)

You mean Google runs a tracker...
No, but I believe the GP is getting at the fact that Google can be USED like a tracker and because of the cached links they provide those are somewhere on their servers. If that's the case shouldn't they be held to the same standards as the pirate bay?

Just because a gun maker makes a gun for general "sport" doesn't mean it shouldn't be held to gun laws. Even if the laws are for a gun that you know is just for killing someone.

Re:what's next? (1, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293616)

No, but I believe the GP is getting at the fact that Google can be USED like a tracker...

How? Does Google's cache software support the Bittorrent tracker protocol? If so, how do I use a .torrent that's been configured to use a different tracker server to use Google's instead?

Re:what's next? (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293676)

The question would be that of intent and purpose, I imagine.

First purpose:

Google is a very general search engine, it hosts nothing. The question of its cache is still up for debate, but things can and have been removed from it. Google can not arguably be considered responsible for what is linked to on its site, since it controls nothing outside of the google domain (unless explicitly noted.)

TPB is very specific, they host torrents and make no bones about it. They host trackers, which coordinate the transfers. They are in every way responsible for the torrents being uploaded, though it's the users that are actively violating the copyrights.

And intent:

Google is essentially a query driven directory where (the majority of) results point externally to the site. Google directs anyone to anything that matches the search term with no mind paid to the content, the author of the content or the poster of the content. Were you to remove the Google cache (the only part that arguably violates copyright,) Google would continue to function.

TPB is dedicated around the hosting and location of torrents. Were you to remove the tracker and delist torrents of material whose distribution via bittorrent was not permitted, TPB's usefulness would plummet massively. The same goes for pretty much any site like TPB.

The purpose and intent of search engines and sites like TPB are very, very different.

Re:what's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22295272)

The problem is that Google arguably has an administrative layer where the representatives of Google have a very large role in shaping what is kept on there. The Pirate Bay does not - anyone can post anything on there. Google will remove you if they just _think_ you are abusing their PageRank algorithm. The Pirate Bay will only remove your torrent if it's reported that it contains something grossly illegal such as child pornography. Otherwise, The Pirate Bay administration does not step in, does not look at the content of the torrent, and just concentrates on keeping the servers up.

When cast in that light, it certaninly looks like Google should be held to a higher standard than The Pirate Bay because Google goes out of their way to police their users whereas The Pirate Bay does not.

Re:what's next? (5, Interesting)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296458)

I always wondered why folks didn't use other Internet technologies such as DNS to get around the "blocking" issue?

What's to prevent all the tracker information from being put into a master DNS server with a low TTL, and building up torrent search software which queries DNS?

You could store this into TXT records and query DNS to find the results;

"Thomas-Edison-The-Lost-Chord-1888" IN TXT a9cd93da939d9c9

The TXT being a unique code which again is looked up in DNS

a9cd93da939d9c9.subdomain.domain.toplevel

And the result is a list of IP's that are currently seeding the torrent,
and thus BT can subscribe to. I can do a dynamic DNS update to
add my client to the list of machines seeding the torrent.

So there is no HTTP traffic involved in this exchange. The DNS is
typically provided by the ISP, so caching would be in effect. So
you want TTLs to be low. The clients will be querying against the ISP's
DNS server. Dynamic DNS would be to the parent DNS server. The ISP could
blackhole the zone by putting in a dummy record, but that can be overcome
by using the root DNS servers or using any of the many open DNS servers.

Anyway, my thoughts on the subject. ICMP would be another protocol one could
potentially use to get around this too.

Re:what's next? (2, Insightful)

paul248 (536459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298176)

An ISP would just have to filter any DNS packet which contains a banned hostname. It doesn't really matter which DNS server you're using. As far as I know, encrypting a DNS request isn't very feasible.

Re:what's next? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22298650)

Duh. The ISP can and will block outbound DNS to anything != their own server.
Don't underestimate the ability of consumer-focussed ISPs to violate every RFC in existance with impunity, as long as Joe Sixpack can access hotmail and youtube :)

Re:what's next? (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296960)

Google is a very general search engine, it hosts nothing.

Um sure they do, they host dynamically generated html files filled with links.

TPB is very specific, they host torrents and make no bones about it.

So the pirate bay hosts files that contain links? Gee, where have I seen that before?

Google is essentially a query driven directory where (the majority of) results point externally to the site.

And TPB is essentially a query driven directory where 100% of the results point externally. (remember, the hosted .torrent files are just files that contain a link, just like google serves up.)

The purpose and intent of search engines and sites like TPB are very, very different.

But their actual execution, is pretty much identical.

Re:what's next? (5, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294534)

No, it can't. Both your post and the one I originally replied to show a lack of understanding of how BitTorrent works. There are 2 layers of indirection, the tracker and the .torrent file, and they are separate.

The actual file (or rather, chunk) copies are held by peers, and transferred only between peers. In order to be able to get chunks, though, you need to know who the peers are, so that you can communicate with them.

The identities of those peers are provided by a tracker. Trackers are the equivalent of BitTorrent servers -- a client contacts them and, using the BitTorrent protocol, they inform the client of how to contact other peers.

A .torrent file is a file containing all the necessary metadata about a torrent. Names of files, hashes, and how to contact the trackers for that torrent.

An indexing site, or Google, can readily provide you the .torrent file. All this tells you is how to contact the trackers. It does not contain sufficient information to actually contact peers and download the torrent.

A tracker, given a .torrent file, can actually be used by clients to contact peers for download. As such, its level of facilitation in the download and sharing process is much higher.

Both a .torrent and a tracker are necessary for BitTorrent to function. Sites providing searching or caching, like Google, can provide the .torrent -- they cannot provide the tracker. Simply having a cached .torrent file provided by Google, if the trackers it references are shut down, would do you no good.

(PEX and such complicate matters.)

Re:what's next? (2, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295506)

Yes, but the order appears to block PirateBay. It's not a tracker (unless they do that as well), but rather a site that offers content-keywords-based search for torrents (more precisely trackers) that are stored at other locations. Since they don't host the trackers themselves but only provide links to them (unless they do both, in which case, I am wrong), their content (being purely web content) can be gotten from the Google cache.

Re:what's next? (4, Informative)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296046)

Hosting trackers is the primary function of TPB; they're one of the most common and reliable tracker hosts. I'm also fairly certain their search feature only includes torrents for which TPB is the tracker. They don't host any of the actual contents, though; you won't see a TPB server acting as a seed. They merely act as coordinators, collecting and redistributing lists of the IP addresses and stats of the various clients participating in the torrent.

Re:what's next? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296200)

Interesting. I didn't know that. Well, certainly, if that's true, Google cache would not help.

Re:what's next? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296698)

Yeah, TPB is a tracker. Listing torrents is their more-obvious feature, but providing the tracker is the more-useful one. Additionally, TorrentFreak article and Slashdot article both refer to it as a "tracker". I haven't read deep enough to see if the original order referred to it as a tracker, but, for reasons discussed already, the tracking component is what someone clever would target, as the "Google argument" doesn't work for it.

Re:what's next? (4, Insightful)

kwark (512736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296758)

Most (all!) torrents I download from TPB don't set the private flag, so they can be "tracked" using the trackerless feature in the more intelligent clients. So a cached .torrent file will just do fine, it may take a bit longer to get the bits flowing but they will get there eventually.

Re:what's next? (1)

BungaDunga (801391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298754)

Out of curiosity, how do trackerless torrents work? That is to say, if I download a .torrent file and run it sans tracker, how do I get connected to peers in the first place?

they don't get it. (4, Interesting)

B00yah (213676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293094)

Sure, they're blocking traffic to that specific tracker, but that doesn't really fix the "issue". Torrent trackers are like hydras, cut off one, and two will grow back in its place. Focusing on TPB will not end piracy via torrents, just as shutting down the original nova didn't over a year ago, and all the other trackers that have been closed down in between.

Re:they don't get it. (2, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293294)

Quite correct. Likely the only outcome of this is that the ISP in question starts bleeding 1,000s of customers per day.

Proxies, alternative sites, usenet, etc. etc. Plenty of alternatives. They will never win with this approach. All they are doing in criminalizing the majority of their population. Which is foolish since politicians are supposed to represent their citizens and not the interests of overseas companies.

Not that any of them do truly represent the majority of citizens of course.

Re:they don't get it. (4, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293442)

Quite correct. Likely the only outcome of this is that the ISP in question starts bleeding 1,000s of customers per day.

Proxies, alternative sites, usenet, etc. etc. Plenty of alternatives.
If past cases in Denmark are in indication Tele2 is just the first ISP to block access, all other ISPs in Denmark will soon follow. In short, if you live in Denmark, there really will be no alternatives. That being said however, there are other ways of establishing access other then switching ISPs (such as proxies as mentioned above). I'll be watching this closely as I can't wait to see the creative solutions that are going to be devised to prevent his sort of blocking in the future. Maybe we should take some notes from the botnets and see if there's a way to rework some of the tech like fast-flux DNS in a positive way to circumvent censorship.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293802)

Maybe we should take some notes from the botnets and see if there's a way to rework some of the tech like fast-flux DNS in a positive way to circumvent censorship.

On the down side, it would be handing the *AA/IFPI a huge propaganda cudgel... "Look! those filthy pirates use the same techniques that h4x0rz use! Therefore if you use P2P, YOU are a h4x0r!"

/P

Re:they don't get it. (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294206)

If past cases in Denmark are in indication Tele2 is just the first ISP to block access, all other ISPs in Denmark will soon follow. In short, if you live in Denmark, there really will be no alternatives.
If just one tenth of every Danish Tele2 customer that reads this phoned up their customer service and asked them why all out of a sudden, they can't access The Piratebay, they would soon have to reverse their decision. Angry customers on phone is expensive. Or better yet, tell them that you will switch to another ISP that doesn't block torrent sites.

Re:they don't get it. (4, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294406)

If just one tenth of every Danish Tele2 customer that reads this phoned up their customer service and asked them why all out of a sudden, they can't access The Piratebay, they would soon have to reverse their decision. Angry customers on phone is expensive. Or better yet, tell them that you will switch to another ISP that doesn't block torrent sites.
It isn't a question of wanting to do anything, they were ordered by the court to block access. Not living in Denmark I can't say for sure, but I'd be very surprised if after being ordered by a court to do something, Tele2 can just say "nah, we're not going to do that, too many people complained", and not immediately be closed down by the police.

Re:they don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22298322)

"Not living in Denmark I can't say for sure, but I'd be very surprised if after being ordered by a court to do something, Tele2 can just say "nah, we're not going to do that, too many people complained", and not immediately be closed down by the police."

It's worked for Microsoft for years, all over the EU.

Re:they don't get it. (4, Interesting)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295138)

Tele2 doesn't give a rats ass for its customers. They recently "upgraded" many customers to higher bandwidth because they are under pressure for competition, but they made a mistake that cause a large userbase to be downgraded instead. Tele2's support admitted the mistake and admitted that they _did_not_ actively went out to fix this. Each and every customer has to detect their degraded line themselves and then call support (and then wait 5 days until it is fixed). Tele2 has recently been bought and I do not give them very long anymore with their absolutely sub-standard service.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294856)

As I wrote elsewhere, TDC and Telia have both stated to comon.dk that they will not be implementing this blocking unless they lose a court case. Also this is only a DNS level blocking, so its easily circumvented.

What I would like to know, how does this play with the Nordic trade agreements? Norway, Denmark Sweden (and others?) have a common agreement much like the EU with free trade (I think). Since TPB is legal in Sweden and this block will hinder them doing buisness (they make money on their ads) won't this be a bit of a problem?

Re:they don't get it. (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295020)

As I wrote elsewhere, TDC and Telia have both stated to comon.dk that they will not be implementing this blocking unless they lose a court case.
It's good to hear the other ISPs aren't going to fold as easy this time as they did in the past, but putting something like that out on the table is likely to be seen as an invitation to take them to court.

What I would like to know, how does this play with the Nordic trade agreements? Norway, Denmark Sweden (and others?) have a common agreement much like the EU with free trade (I think). Since TPB is legal in Sweden and this block will hinder them doing buisness (they make money on their ads) won't this be a bit of a problem?
Now that is an interesting question. Unfortunately I don't know much about EU law, and even less so about Nordic law, so I can't really offer any insight on this one. Though as these sorts of cases become more and more common I think this will be a story repeated often enough, and it's going to be interesting to see how all this settles out at the international level. Worst case scenario, each country implements their own equivalent of the great firewall of China and custom filters traffic based on the legality of the content in their country. Of course that does lead to the interesting question of what happens to traffic routed through a country but not originating in, or going to, that country.

I'm very interested to see if someone can actually come up with a working darknet implementation. In the past all attempts at a darknet either didn't scale, weren't secure, had horrendous performance problems, or some combination of the above.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

weber (36246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297066)

It's just a DNS thing, so using something like OpenDNS circumvents it easily.

Re:they don't get it. (2, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297196)

True for now, but if it becomes common for people to bypass the restriction like that they'll be forced to implement other forms of blocking. Most likely they'll block the IPs that the DNS record maps to, which of course can be gotten around in other ways. It's an arms race and as I said before, it will be interesting to see the blocking and counter-blocking tech develop.

Re:they don't get it. (2, Informative)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298026)

Actually, the current case isn't against Tele2, but DMT2 (who I've never heard of). I think that the reason that IFPI have gone for DMT2 (and in the previous case about AllOfMP3.com) is that they're a very small ISP that are more likely to give up rather than try to throw money at a fight that's a waste from their cost-benefit view. If they went for some of the bigger ISPs like TDC or Telenor, they'd probably actually have a fight on their hands, because if Telenor started bleeding customers on this, it'd probably be a lot more than DMT2 stands to lose, and more than a proper legal fight would cost.

Anyway, I'm using OpenDNS and TPB is working fine for me, and I think I'll go there now and start downloading and sharing all the most popular torrents on my ph4t p1p3 - can you say multimegaupload? Hells to the yeah.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

the_one(2) (1117139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298070)

they don't really block the sites. they just have corrupted DNS-servers that says that thepiratebay.org and others point to IP addresses which aren't tpb

Re:they don't get it. (1)

untitled.london (1047042) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294578)

Oh Danish Govt. I wish you had more spine.

Lets hope this spurs a little more of that Danish ingenuity that we've come to love and enjoy.

Skype & Kazaa. (okay, admittedly Kazaa was built on Frankel's work, but it was a fairly decent implementation, though I preferred morpheus at the time)

Re:they don't get it. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22293354)

They're not even doing that, this is a DNS level block. A few sub domains pointing to 83.140.176.146 should enlighten the Danish judiciary.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

I'm a banana (1139431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293746)

Woah! Then all the Danish people need to do is to write the corresponding entry in their hosts file, isn't it? This is a very lame kind of blocking.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

J0nne (924579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293910)

Or just use openDNS.

Re:they don't get it. (4, Interesting)

rmccann (792082) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293978)

Nope. It's easier than that. If I have a domain example.com, then I just need to point piratebay.example.com to the pirate bay. Then people can type in piratebay.example.com into their web browser and voilà, it's the pirate bay. This is advantagous because it means thousands of people all over the world can do it.

Re:they don't get it. (5, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294132)

TPB will have to change their end first. currently, the site redirects you to http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org] if you go to their site without thepiratebay.org in the host, e.g. : http://83.140.176.146 [83.140.176.146]

you'll have to put thepiratebay.org in your hosts file until they change it.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297642)

I'd say the hosts-file fix is easier, since the address of the tracker is written in the .torrent.
So for every torrent you download, you need to change the address.

Or you could just use DNS

Re:they don't get it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22293752)

Yes, how very true. The MAFIAA should realise that waging war against trackers is futile. Perhaps they should look at this graph to see their lack of success [alexa.com] .

Re:they don't get it. (1)

Teppic_52 (982950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295674)

Can someone explain how parent is a troll?
The graph is quite interesting.

Re:they don't get it. (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297084)

"Sure, they're blocking traffic to that specific tracker, but that doesn't really fix the "issue". Torrent trackers are like hydras, cut off one, and two will grow back in its place. Focusing on TPB will not end piracy via torrents, just as shutting down the original nova didn't over a year ago, and all the other trackers that have been closed down in between."

This sounds pretty close to a straw man argument -- deliberately misrepresenting your opponent's position so you can tear it down.

Which is more likely:

  • the IFPI is really that stupid, and they really do think that shutting down TPB will end piracy.
  • they know that piracy will never go away, but they're making their best effort to make it a pain in the ass to pirate stuff.

I agree that it's fun to make fun of the enemy, but I think it's also important to understand your enemy.

The corollary to your argument is that the IFPI member companies should just lower prices, make more content easily available, and abolish overly-restrive DRM -- or better yet, get rid of it completely.

Trouble is, their member companies have been doing just this. It's an uphill battle, but it's pretty clear that they're listening to the market forces -- and more importantly, listening to the pirates. Slowly but surely, it's happening. Unfortunately, doing exactly what we've told them to do hasn't helped them much; piracy is bigger than ever.

So, I can see why they believe it's in their best interest to use both the carrot and the stick: offer more cheap, DRM-free stuff for the folks who were serious when they said that it's what would convince them to give up piracy... but at the same time, try to give a little grief to those who'll continue to proudly fly the jolly roger no matter how many concessions the entertainment industry makes.

IFPI (5, Interesting)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293100)

"It's very frightening that IFPI can get through the courts with something like this. In Turkey and China its the state that decides what information the people can access and what should be censored. In Denmark its apparently the record industry,"

I think that sums it up quite nicely.

Re:IFPI (1, Offtopic)

camperslo (704715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293684)

"It's very frightening that IFPI can get through the courts with something like this. In Turkey and China its the state that decides what information the people can access and what should be censored. In Denmark its apparently the record industry,"

That kind of censorship is certainly disturbing, this is truely frightening [independent.co.uk]

Re:IFPI (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293948)

Let me just pull up these assumptions:
1. TPB is illegal under Danish law
2. TPB is legal under Swedish law

Now, at this point they can react in one of three ways:
1. Give up any sort of jurisdiction because everyone "is" in Sweden from their livingroom chair. This is different than going to the Netherlands to smoke pot, it's more like routing money over your offshore account. This would make the whole world subject to the least common denominator forbidden on the Internet, which they're powerless to change. Countries like USA would have to permit international gambling and artistic nudes too strong for the US public, Germany would have to give up its hate speech and nazi memorabilia ban and don't get me started on what the oppressive regimes would have to give up. In short, not happening.

2. Try to strike at the foreign site and exercise some kind of world law via cheap shots like threatening local subsidiaries. This has generally been frowned upon by slashdot, the companies themselves that don't want to deal with every other country's law and the local courts, which feel they're being overrun by foreign law and are losing their soverignity. In the most extreme consequence, the world would be subject to the least common denominator allowed on the Internet, which would obviously be a terrible thing for the whole free world.

3. Block it at the border, keep our law in our country and lat you have your law in your country. Yes, you're building border infrastructure that could potentially be used to censor other traffic. Then again, the real-world border infrastructure we're building could potentially be used to prevent the population from escaping like in the old East Bloc, I'd say a lot of other things would have to go very wrong first before we're there. I don't want the most presmissive or the most oppressive community standard and there's no such thing as one unified global community standard. Hell, you'll find it very difficult to find one within the US or EU or even smaller areas. And a forced global standard would be the ultimate lack of local governance...

"Mr Gorbachev, Tear Down this wall!" (0, Flamebait)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294994)

I'd say a lot of other things would have to go very wrong first before we're there
The fact that this wall is going up is proof that things are already horribly wrong and only going to get worse.

As part of the Real ID act [wikipedia.org] which itself was a hitchhiker attached to a budget bill:

Waiving laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders
It's not just that they're trying to build 1 wall. In that bill they received authorization to build walls anywhere they want without regard to any laws to the contrary.

At this point I don't know whether we should push or pull. Should we try to prevent and slow down the loss of the American Dream or should we attempt to accelerate the decay so we can get on with scrapping the whole stinking pile sooner?

http://ajbenjaminjrbeta.blogspot.com/2008/01/defending-your-homeland-from-homeland.html [blogspot.com]

Re:"Mr Gorbachev, Tear Down this wall!" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22298684)

I suggest you shoot yourself in the face. That would certainly help further my American dream.

Blocking at the border (1)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297664)

Block it at the border, keep our law in our country and lat you have your law in your country.
Not going to happen as long as private cryptography is legal. Even in the unlikely case it becomes illegal, there is still steganography. Heck, they would have to make transmitting any "unexplainable" string of bits illegal.

Hey, you - the least significant transparency bits in the image you just downloaded look suspiciously random!

Re:IFPI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22294086)


"It's very frightening that IFPI can get through the courts with something like this. In Turkey and China its the state that decides what information the people can access and what should be censored. In Denmark its apparently the record industry,"

I think that sums it up quite nicely.
--
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. This comment may not be copied in any way, including but not limited to caching.

Fuck you.

Re:IFPI (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294470)

In Soviet Russia, the government controls the press. In the free world, the press controls the government.

From the danish constitution (1)

Laz10 (708792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296012)

I don't understand how they could get though a court with this either.
Danes may not be allowed to use TPB for anything "interesting", but are at liberty to do so at your own responsibility!!

http://www.folketinget.dk/pdf/constitution.pdf [folketinget.dk]

                                                  77
Any person shall be at liberty to publish his ideas
in print, in writing, and in speech, subject to his
being held responsible in a court of law. Censor-
ship and other preventive measures shall never
again be introduced.

Re:From the danish constitution (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297502)

Any person shall be at liberty to publish his ideas in print, in writing, and in speech, subject to his being held responsible in a court of law.
How exactly does this measure go against that? It's not stopping anyone publishing their ideas in print, writing, or speech. It may possibly be stopping a tiny minority of people doing so via a single very specific website, but they can easily just go to another website and publish them there without any fear of censorship.

Plus, note that it says his ideas. Not other people's ideas. So 99.999999999% of content downloaded using TPB trackers is not covered by that clause anyway.

Re:From the danish constitution (1)

Laz10 (708792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22298666)

It goes against "Censorship and other preventive measures shall never again be introduced."

I don't see how banning a website is different from banning a newspaper.
And it is not some tiny minority. The Pirate Bay is the 28th most popular website in Denmark. .. And I don't care if it was only 0.00000000001% loss of liberty. It is the principle.

Good for the goose... (4, Interesting)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293118)

If you're going to block one tracker, you have to block them all yes? What rank is Google? I can type in "insert torrent here" tor and get back a pretty solid list of torrents that way too...

Re:Good for the goose... (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293638)

It's more of a ridiculous stunt than a serious attempt to stop piracy. (Or, if it is serious, it's pretty fucking poor attempt)
There's no need to do anything except what grabs the most attention.

Re:Good for the goose... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294930)

I would like to see any country block Google for any reasonable length of time. Interesting to watch...

Re:Good for the goose... (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295838)

I say we nuke all the search engines from orbit. Only way to be sure.

Re:Good for the goose... (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297790)

Technical nitpick: Google is not a tracker. A tracker keeps track of who is downloading a particular torrent and is a hub where the peers exchange addresses.

Countermeasures? (1)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293128)

"Working on countermeasures" - Hmm.... can't they just tell the users to use Tor?

Re:Countermeasures? (2, Informative)

MSZ (26307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294714)

Solution: DHT. Works nicely - a bit slower, but you still can join the swarm.

So they just need to meet one peer that know TPB torrents. Say, on a tracker distributing Linux... Then peer exchange and DHT will take care of the problem. Mission downloaded :-)

Censorship is wrong (1)

reygahnci (1222552) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293132)

"In Turkey and China its the state that decides what information the people can access and what should be censored. In Denmark its apparently the record industry." I think it's funny that in almost every case the people are not allowed to censor for themselves... apparently Record Industries and Governments know what the public should and should not see. Censored troll is ********.

Power (2, Interesting)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293182)

It amazes me how much power the music and film industry can wield. If I recall, Sweden has a law against being pressured by outside interests? Maybe other countries should follow suit and pass their own similar laws before Hollywood becomes the law.

Re:Power-LAWS MEAN NOTHING (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297378)

Sweden has a law against being pressured by outside interests? Maybe other countries should follow suit and pass their own similar laws before Hollywood becomes the law.

Laws mean nothing until you're willing to enforce them. If just passing a law was all that was necessary, illegal immigration into the United States would have ended in 1986.

Shakespeare was right.. (5, Funny)

snehoej (1162671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293200)

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

p2p tracker (2, Interesting)

v_1_r_u_5 (462399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293212)

why not use a p2p approach for the tracker itself, with multiple entry nodes into the network? it's simple, elegant, resilient, robust, and powerful.

Re:p2p tracker (4, Informative)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293400)

You mean sometime like DHT which is the peer to peer distributed tracker? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_tracker#Trackerless_torrents [wikipedia.org]

DHT (1)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294572)

DHT was the first thing I thought of. I don't even use TPB but I torrent lots of Anime. DHT works well.

arrrr! (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293334)

arrr! batten down the hatches me hearties, and prepare to receive boarders! arrr!

of course this suddenly renews a lot of interest in technological counter measures. its interesting that this is the second time the same ISP has been hit in a similar fashion after the AllOfMP3 debacle. I wonder how specific the ruling is? for example if they allowed a domain named "ElPirateBay" on another IP address that was not mentioned in the ruling would they be in the clear? This is, after all, a touch more specific then a blanket ban on all torrents which would of been impossible to get through the courts and hence probably much easier to circumvent.

Just a DNS block. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22293342)

Changing your DNS lookup to fx. opendns.org will solve the technical side of the censorship for now.

So the issue is really the on the censorship itself and where it ends.

Re:Just a DNS block. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296348)

If an ISP really wanted to crack down, and install the kind of filtering software a lot of us have at work, one of the first things they will block is DNS rerouting and all known proxy server services. About the only thing you can do in that case is to either find a proxy that they haven't heard of (which they would be onto the second they noticed you using it a lot) or set up your own proxy server on an unfiltered box somewhere (difficult if your all the other ISP's are blocking a given site too).

Time to go underground (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293370)

Two words: FreeNet and Revolution

If they are allowing an IP company dictate federal law there, they are screwed and need to take action.

Re:Time to go underground (2, Informative)

N-icMa (1149777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294160)

First of all there is no such thing as federal law in Denmark. The country is far too small, so all lawmaking is made on a national level, with a certain level of ad-hoc rule for county mayors and other local institutions.
Secondly the court does not make, only enforce law. All laws are made in the parliament. Those laws might be corrupt, but even though I dislike the current government, I do not think we should put it down to anything but either ideology or incompetence. You should note my country also has an infamous 'deep'-linking law, basically making it illegal to systematically link to the deeper parts of another website (making e.g. Google News illegal).

Re:Time to go underground (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294422)

Ok, thanks for clarifying, but nothing you said changes the basic premise of what i was saying: toss the bastards out with force.

And before anyone accuses me of being a hypocrite, i think we should do the same here in the states.

Re:Time to go underground (1)

Nodamnnicknamesavial (1095665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295468)

Not entirely accurate - since the federal law equivalent in our case would probably be EC law. We have to conform to international treaties and such, so the question (long term) is where the EC is going on this - NOT where the danish parliament thinks it wants to go now.

The law is much too slow (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293404)

If torrents are successfully outlawed, a new legal protocol will be widespread within 90 days.

If torrents are successfully outlawed (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294328)

Say it with me: "If torrents are successfully outlawed, only outlaws will use torrents"

Not surprising, Danish courts are pro-right owners (4, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293414)

One kid was charged with DKK 200,000 (US$ 40,000) for putting links on his home page pointing to sites where you could download music unauthorized. He was never sentenced though, as he died before the case was closed, and the Danish RIAA at least had the decency not to charge his parents.

For another example, Google News is available in all Scandinavian languages, except Danish. During the bubble a similar Danish news aggregating service was shut down by the courts by a decision that could be taken as out ruling deep linking altogether.

The scary thing for me is that there see to be a strong degree of acceptance of this situation in the nerd community. There seem to be a huge gab between us and Sweden in this regard.

Denmark is also where Microsoft domination is most firm, and before that, the one market where OS/2 really penetrated. We love out corporate masters. Every action taken against corporate abuse seems to come through EU, never the Danish government (no matter their political composition).

Re:Not surprising, Danish courts are pro-right own (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293550)

It's time for one of Leif Ericson's descendants to claim North America as his ancestral land and send the *IAA back down to Hel.

Re:Not surprising, Danish courts are pro-right own (2, Insightful)

Troed (102527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294932)

While not currently related, this should be one more reason for young well-educated Danes to come over and live in Malmö/Sweden - just across the bridge from Copenhagen/Denmark. We're already building what's basically danish neighbourhoods here!

PS: And I might even sell you my apartment. It's pretty close to the subway station opening up in 2011 - for even faster travelling to Cph ;)

Re:Not surprising, Danish courts are pro-right own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22298260)

slightly off topic, but how did he die? Was it suicide due to the legal action taken against him?

This isn't the end.. (5, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293564)

First of all the court in question is "Fogedretten" which is I guess somewhat similar to a small claims court. A company can get an injunction against another if they believe the other part is doing something wrong, if the other company decides to roll over and play dead it ends there, else it can go all the way to supreme court.

IFPI decided to attack Tele2 again because they have a reputation of not fighting back, which is most likely the case here (court documents haven't been released yet) - TDC and Telia the main operators here in Denmark have stated they will not implement this unless they lose in court.

Also, the block will be a DNS level block, so it has zero effect since it will only be on Tele2 DNS servers and it wont take long for kids to figure that out.

Re:This isn't the end.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22294150)

Block at a DNS level, isn't that same that's used for blocking child porn sites?

Oh great, go ahead and block a site with millions of users with the same technique and wait for countermeasures to be published. When it's also used for blocking warez, the people into child porn won't be afraid to ask around for how to bypass the damn thing. Everyone will think they just want mp3s too, and the kids will guide pedos into the anonymous file sharing future without a second thought.

Legalize file sharing already, or this is what the future will hold for us.

Re:This isn't the end.. (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294364)

Instead of spending time and money fighting it, they accepted it and put in a token level compliance.

Certainly better than if they really tried to fight tpb and started blocking IPs or something. At least this way it's easy to work around without using slow proxies.

On censorship and the right/duty to know (1)

tommyhj (944468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22293936)

If something in my contry in censored, will I not have the right and duty to know what exactly it is, so I can avoid unintended affiliation with the content?

If so, where should I search for information about ongoing internet censorship? I live in Denmark, and one (positive) example of censorship is country-wide block of access to certain child-pornography sites. Statistics are collected about failed attempts to access those sites, and probably IP-adresses as well. The same would probably be the case for terrorist-associated sites, and sites with the feared "Anarchist Cookbook".

Should I feel entitled to a list of blocked and/or monitored sites, so I can avoid accessing them unintentionally?

I will cancel my subscription to Tele2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22294108)

I want ISPs to whine and act aggressively in courts more than IFPI does. The only way to do that is to stop giving money to those ISPs who give in.

The copyright law protects ISPs in Denmark against something like this.

11 a. It is allowed to make temporary copies, which
1) is momentary or random,
2) is an integrated and important part of a technical process,
3) only purpose is to make either a middleman's transmission of a work in a network between third parties or a legal use of a work possible and
4) does not have an independent economical value.


I want back a neutral ISP and as soon as I can no longer access TPB.org (A site I don't use very often and when I do I use it for legal purposes), and if I do use it to breach copyright, I am the one who should be prosecuted.

BitTorrent, P2P have many legal uses (5, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294168)

BitTorrent is critical for the success of Open Source and Free Software projects, in that it is used to distribute installation CD images. Distribution by HTTP alone is often prohibitively costly.

It's also important for musicians like myself [geometricvisions.com] , as well as to the musicians that are members of Jamendo [jamendo.com] , which distributes Creative Commons-licensed music via BitTorrent and eMule.

A struggling musian who distributes his work via HTTP can easily be bankrupted if one of his songs suddenly becomes a hit. P2P filesharing, via BitTorrent and other protocols, provides an affordable alternative.

In discussing P2P with other people, and especially with your legislators as well as your ISPs, it's important to stress the legal uses of it. Otherwise they will only see it as a source of lawbreaking and copyright infringment.

Re:BitTorrent, P2P have many legal uses (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22296510)

BitTorrent isn't crucial for the success of open source projects - open source was around long before BitTorrent and the larger files that are suited to the protocol are always heavily mirrored by HTTP mirroring services anyway. If BitTorrent were to disappear tomorrow it wouldn't affect the open source world at all.

Struggling musicians being bankrupted by bandwidth costs? I'd be interested to see examples of that. Bandwidth is pretty cheap these days if you shop around. There are plenty of services out there to help such people ... mp3.com being one obvious site. MySpace being another.

Anyway, your point that BitTorrent has legal uses is sound, but to be frank, I'm not convinced it is used that much for legal stuff in practice. I mean, BitTorrent is an inherently crappy way to distribute stuff. It generates way more traffic than is strictly necessary by using a mesh instead of a tree structure, it requires custom clients (it's not in a web browser) and it doesn't tend to play nicely with NAT. Or at least, never did for me. If you want to distribute large files via HTTP in an efficient way, that's what CDNs like Akamai are for. It solves all of the above problems for distributing large, legal files. If you don't have any money (eg, Linux distros) there are usually volunteer "mini CDNs" like the mirror network which exist for this. And if you're distributing only very small files but want to insulate yourself against bandwidth spikes, specialised services like MP3.COM or various "web drive" systems can help with that.

I use Linux, and buy MP3s from minor struggling artists, but I never use BitTorrent. Partly because I don't need to, and partly because the few times I did try to use it (for a few game demos?) it didn't work properly and gave far inferior speeds to regular HTTP servers. Probably some misconfiguration on my end, but whatever. Life is short.

Re:BitTorrent, P2P have many legal uses (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22296950)

Oh fuck off already, Mickey.

Re:BitTorrent, P2P have many legal uses (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297602)

BitTorrent is critical for the success of Open Source and Free Software projects, in that it is used to distribute installation CD images. Distribution by HTTP alone is often prohibitively costly.

It's also important for musicians like myself, as well as to the musicians that are members of Jamendo, which distributes Creative Commons-licensed music via BitTorrent and eMule.
In that case you should be among the most vociferous opponents of The Pirate Bay, a website which is dedicated to promoting the use of BitTorrent for piracy and which takes pride in publicly refusing to take any steps whatsoever to protect any artist's rights.

It is this kind of wilfully irresponsible behaviour which is primarily responsible for the popular belief that BitTorrent itself is somehow inherently illegal. And it's long past time that legal users got together and stood up against the pirates, who are so determined to carry on infringing copyright that they may well drag all legal BitTorrent users down with them.

So, I guess the Danish courts (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22294186)

will be the ones "dragging the anchor", so to speak...

I've always liked Sweden.. (1)

eitreach (1211194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22295550)

Now I have an actual excuse to buy that secluded mountain-forest cottage and try out satellite internet.

Small Trackers (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22297062)

Good thing trackers are small. This makes all kinds of counter-measures against blocking feasible.
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