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Using Torrents Keeps Getting Tougher

You might be aware of the government actions taken against torrent sites in the UK and the Netherlands. Authorities in both these countries have asked their major internet service providers (ISPs)  to block torrent sites. If this was not enough, a Russian company revealed recently that it has come up with software that can stop users from downloading content using torrents. The company called Pirate Pay has the support of Microsoft and has also been working with Sony to prevent torrent downloads. The tool developed by  Pirate Pay pretends to be a bit torrent client, but ends up confusing the connections established in the torrent swarm, which leads to failed downloads.

The main reason for big companies backing such tools is that they believe that internet piracy and downloading worry free torrents leads to a loss of billions of dollars every year. The above mentioned UK ban on torrent sites was a result of British pornographic industry winning a legal battle to ensure that ISPs banned torrent sites like Pirate Bay.

What is Pirate Pay?

Pirate Pay was established as a traffic management software, which could be used by ISPs. However, it was discovered that the tool can also be used for ‘swamping’ various peer-to-peer networks and flood them with false information. The chief executive of the company, Andrei Klimeko has said that it was during the development of the prototype that the true potential of the tool was realized.

Impact of Pirate Pay

The technology has received a lot of praise from Microsoft Russia. In fact, Pirate Pay ended up receiving a million rubles from a seed investment fund that was setup by Microsoft. The impact of Pirate Pay has been felt already as it has prevented several thousand torrent downloads of a recent Russian film called “Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I Am Alive”. As per the company, it has stopped more than 44,000 downloads of the movie. The number does not give a definitive picture because it is possible that the users might have tried again at a later time.

The exact details about how the tool operates are not known to anyone outside the company. However, experts feel that the tool is good for short-term use only. Some experts have said that if the network is flooded with a lot of false information, then there will be very little real information left.

Technical and social aspects of piracy

According to some researchers, tools like Pirate Pay are a technical fix that do not address the real problem. The real problem is that millions of users around the world feel that legal copies are too expensive and do not provide them with what they want. This is the main reason for the exponential growth of torrent sites. Also, the problem is a social one and not a technical one. If the users get what they need at a price they think is right, they will not waste their time with complicated torrent clients.

Other restrictions on torrents

Recently the Pirate Party in Netherlands, which was helping users in bypassing blocks around the site the Pirate Bay, received a government order to stop during so. Also, five other ISPs were ordered to block the site. The reason for the court ruling is the complaints made by an anti-piracy group called Brein. The Pirate Party reacted by saying that the new ruling was actually a slap in the face of free internet. They said that if this goes on, more and more sections of the internet will be censored till the point that you will be able to access only a small part of it.

Bans on torrent sites are nothing new and governments across the world are implementing them. In such situations people have to resort to tools like proxy servers to ensure that thy break away from the unjust restrictions placed on them.

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