Copyright Issues FAQ (Got questions? Read here first!)


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This is a W.I.P., if you see anyone that I've missed or anything that needs clarification please leave a comment.

How was I caught?
Due to the nature of bitorrent, when you're uploading and downloading from a peer, your IP address is available to them. Once someone (such as an anti-piracy organisation) has your IP address, they can go to your ISP and request the identity behind it if they present a good enough cause (eg sharing the content they own the rights to).
Often these companies will have lots of peers in the swarm which will connected to other peers just to harvest their IPs. They will sometimes send out 'bad data' (data which is not in the torrent), so that on receiving it your torrent client will discard it as the checksum will not match what is considered valid.

I got a warning letter, how did that happen, and what should I do about it?
See above. You won the IP lottery and a company sent you a warning. It was not sent from your ISP, but through them. Your ISP couldn't care less.
The first letter you'll get sent is just to make your crap your pants. You wont need to respond to it, just do nothing. If you get a more than one letter from the same copyright holder, you might be in deeper do-do. They all seem to handle things differently so read it carefully.

There's also a new game in town where threatening letters are sent out demanding cash for property you've 'stolen' from them, usualy in the range of $500 to $2000. Normally these scheme are initiated by the movie studios when they've just released a very popular movie, though in the case of the now-defunct ACS:'Law' releases being tracked where a few years old.... and mostly porn. However these are few and far between, if you follow TorrentFreak you'll be aware of exactly what they are. If that happens to you I'd highly suggest making a thread about the specific issue.

Can I protect myself?
Well, not really. It's impossible to use bitorrent without sharing *someone's* IP, what you can do is use 'someone eses' IP so that it isn't linked directly back to you, using one of a few different methods.

-Proxy/VPN
-You tunnel through someone else's connection so their IP appears in the swarm, not yours.
-Will often be slower than your home connection, if it's a VPN you'll likely have to send all data though it (on one machine).
-They cost money, not a lot, but it's often hard to purchase them without giving out your name/address etc
-They really aren't designed for this purpose, and many providers will cut your service is they see lots of P2P usage. Also they are likely to hand over your IP if an anti-P2P organisation asks for it (they can then seek your ISP, then find out who you are).

-Seedbox
-Torrents are downloaded to a remote server, using that servers connection. Their IP appears in the swarm, not yours.
-Seedboxes will generally be on very fast connections, faster than your home connection. This is especially true of upload speeds.
-All uploading/seeding is done on the seedboxes connection, so you don't need to worry about leaving your torrent client on to achieve better ratios.
-They cost money, more than a VPN, but it's often hard to purchase them without giving out your name/address etc

If you want 'protection', just don't use torrents for copyrighted material. Maybe look at Usenet or cyberlockers instead.

What about PeerBlock/PeerGuardian, TOR, and private trackers do they help?
I'm of the opinion that peer blockers are nothing more than a placebo.
Any anti-piracy organisation could use a regular ISP to connect for their activities:
-Assuming they're not sending duff packets (bad data), how would anyone know?
-If it did become public, what do you do, block all IPs under that one IP? You'd be cutting out thousands of legitimate peers too, reducing the speed of transfers dramatically.
Here's a quite from the official PeerBlock site:
PeerBlock is good at what it does - keeping your computer from "talking" with ip addresses on your configured blocklists. Everything else is up to those blocklists themselves. And heck, even if the blocklists provided 100% coverage of "bad" ip-addresses, and if blocklists were 100% proven to work, there could still be some bugs in the PeerBlock software that may prevent it from working correctly on your machine

Interestingly, as of 18 months ago almost a quarter of the worlds IPv4 addresses were blacklisted on PeerBlock's standard lists. That's insane. If it helps you sleep at night, good for you.

Please don't use TOR for P2P, ever. P2P slows down the service for legitimate users.It's not designed for it and there's lots of people who depend on it.

As for private trackers, logic would dictate that they're safer. It's going to be harder for anti-P2P organisations to get in to private trackers, and due to ratio rules they wont be able to send 'bad data'. Also, people in private trackers are more likely to have seedboxes, which makes the likely hood of identifying an IP even lower. In the end it's more legwork for the less reward.

If I upload a torrent, is there more chance of me getting caught?
No. The issues with torrents is not so much that you're receiving copyrighted material, but that you're sharing it with other people. Whether you're seeding a torrent for the first time or simply uploading packets whilst downloading, you are committing copyright infringement.

So what's the risk?
Tons of letters are sent out for new movie releases, but that's mostly it. For anything that's more than a couple of years and (and not porn) probably isn't being tracked, since it's just not worth the minute reward. It's also worth checking with your ISP if they have a 3-strikes policy for infringement.
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appreciate all the inforation shared, Thanks
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Are there any free proxies/VPNs? Also what are the paid for ones you highly recommend that aren't too expensive. I'm poor so =/
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Thanks for shared. This is very interesting and necessary information.
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If you want 'protection', just don't use torrents for copyrighted material. Maybe look at Usenet or cyberlockers instead.

I'm surprised so many people are willing to pay for VPN, Proxy or SeedBox when they could spend money for Usenet. It's a quicker and safer way to obtain what you want, there's as much content available as with torrents. You don't upload anything so risk of copyright issues is minimal. Of course if you are willing to pay.

Not entirely true. Usenet is ok for what it is. It's usually faster to get scene releases. Speeds are pretty so so tbh. As for safer.... no.
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Well I'm not sure, I never tried paid provider, only free ones to see how this works. Speeds were fine for my average ADSL connection, it took almost all my download bandwidth. By faster I meant you don't upload so even with slower download speeds the download time is probably shorter than overall leech+seed time. Especially on ADSL like mine with ten times lower upload than download bandwidth.
I think Usenet is safer than torrenting. There are encrypted connections and you don't share your IP address with all the peers, just your provider, therefore it's harder for a company to obtain your IP. Even if they know your IP, you aren't distributing anything only downloading, this isn't treated equally by law, at least in my country.
There are drawbacks too: it's paid, and you have to give your personal data to provider. If I'd like to pay more I would get better Internet service first ;) .

Downloading and uploading garner the same punishment from ISP's. Downloading gets you caught more.
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So what's the risk?
Tons of letters are sent out for new movie releases, but that's mostly it. For anything that's more than a couple of years and (and not porn) probably isn't being tracked, since it's just not worth the minute reward. It's also worth checking with your ISP if they have a 3-strikes policy for infringement.

This is true for the moment - but with the way legislaton is going it is possible for tracking companies to get you for historical use, dependant on how long your ISP holds logs of your IP's activity. Its is possible that monitoring companies are mining data for much larger cases, to proove that you are a habitual user and may go for prossecution and fines/jailtime.
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If I upload a torrent, is there more chance of me getting caught?
No. The issues with torrents is not so much that you're receiving copyrighted material, but that you're sharing it with other people. Whether you're seeding a torrent for the first time or simply uploading packets whilst downloading, you are committing copyright infringement.

This is true, but also consider that if you are the first person to post a .torrent then you will become of high interest to the MPAA and they will investigate you, they will want to know how their content is being leaked, who you are affiliated with and more, and your country of abode is no protection from the DMA (Muhaahahahaha)
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Any reports or feelings on hidemyass.com amd using a server proxy from alist obtained from the net. would that provide two gates before the end user. Thanks
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Any reports or feelings on hidemyass.com amd using a server proxy from alist obtained from the net. would that provide two gates before the end user. Thanks

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