Tag Archives: torrent

The History of File-Sharing

Anonymous DDC_1660_1

The Darknet is something I deep into for research purposes and to get an idea of whats emerging… However I keep having to defend the innovation, expertise and pure genius of the darknet. I use darknet in lei of a better word to describe the underground world of hackers. Crazy because theres so many examples out there.

Torrentfreak recently did a history of file-sharing which has plenty of examples of hackers and developers scratching there own itches.

BitTorrent has catapulted into a mainstream filesharing mechanism which is fast, efficient, and difficult to stop. Early versions of BitTorrent required centralized trackers to operate, but have later become able to utilize trackerless “torrents.” Increasingly BitTorrent users have grown concerned with their privacy. Indexes such as YouHaveDownloaded.com have been able to maintain logs of every file downloaded by IP, which has raised significant awareness to whether it is safe to download files through BitTorrent. In addition, many ISPs have been known to cap speeds when detecting BitTorrent downloads. As a result of these privacy concerns millions of BitTorrent users have signed up with Anonymous VPN services to mask their IP-addresses when downloading…

Piracy is the future of television

Piracy is the future of TV by Abigail DeKosnik

Nice little paper written by Abigail DeKosnik of the University of California, Berkeley. Its also formed a part of my talk at BarCampMediaCity.

One of the headings is the Advantages of Pirating TV and the subpoints are…

  • Single Search
  • Simple Indexing
  • Uniform Software and Interface
  • File Portability
  • Access to Global TV
  • Freedom from Preempting in the U.S
  • Personal Archives
  • Low-Cost and Commercial-Free

Lastly theres a section on Recommendations to Legal Services under which theres…

  • Standardise
  • Offer Downloading and Streaming
  • Strategize for Global Audiences
  • Offer a Premium Services for Personal Archivists
  • Eliminate the TV Set
  • Charge Subscription Fees Based on Volume of Usage

In the Appendix, theres recommended reading

The paper is a good one and for most of the people reading it, its maybe really good but it spells out quite a few things which you would already know if you were an avid read of torrentfreak, darknet, etc…

R&D TV: Episode 1




So finally its been revealed what I've been working on recently.


R&D TV is a pilot project between BBC Backstage (which is part of BBC R&D) and BBC RAD Labs. The pilot is monthly technology programme made up of interviews from knowledgeable BBC developers, BBC project experts and experts from around the world. Its made of rights cleared assets so sharing of content is a core part of its concept from day one. When I say experts, I don't even mean in the traditional sense but more people doing interesting things which there very knowledgeable about.

There are three parts to the project,

  1. A brief 5 minute video, containing all the very best bits
  2. A longer 30 minute video, containing deeper conversations
  3. The Asset Bundle, containing everything we used and didn't use to make the videos above

They say good artists borrow and the best steal. Well you can think of what we have done as a combination of PBS's NerdTV and Microsoft's Channel9. The biggest difference is the asset bundle.

Releasing the assets as well as the 5min and 30min versions is something that's new for the BBC and to be fair both teams are not well known for. I mean R&D and Rad are not content creation departments. However we truly believe this is a exciting and possibly important experiment in creating media specifically to be shared and remixed.

Not only does the asset bundle include media but it also has all the extra media to create the show and stuff which didn't make it into the show. So you can duplicate the show or with a little more creativity do some remixing and show – legally.


We (me and George Wright) did a interview with Jemima Kiss of the Guardian on Wednesday. There's a couple of corrections like the project is half RAD and half Backstage plus Rain Ashford works for backstage and Hemmy Cho works for RAD. But otherwise Jemima does a good explaining the project and some of the thoughts behind it. I kind of wished we recorded the interview but who knows what might appear in the asset bundle one day soon.


Videos can also be viewed on YouTube and Blip.TV right now but expect even more places in the next few weeks. We created a ATOM/XML podcast file so you can suck down all the files in one go using a podcatcher. Hell we even did the MD5 hashes to confirm the files are correct if you get them from elsewhere.


One of the things which I believe will happen very quickly at the start at least is people asking us to interview certain people. We will take a lot of this on board but what I really want to see is people filming themselves and using our footage and combining it with there own. I already have looked into mixing MakerTV with our footage to create a more hardware driven show. Or even taking parts of the Socialweb.TV and using some of the Kevin Rose interview. The best part of all this is, you can all do the same! One thing I've been dying to do is combine Pop!tech footage with ours, because they also put there shows out under a creative commons licence.

There's more to come from R&D TV so look out for number 2 about May time. Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts.

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The Corporation available for free, but is it remixable?

The Corporation poster

From Torrent freak, which I've been meaning to blog for a while…

The award winning Canadian documentary The Corporation has been released on BitTorrent for free. Filmmaker Mark Achbar just released an updated official torrent of it. Everyone is free to download, watch, discuss, and share it. Although the torrent download is free, the filmmakers encourage people to donate a small fee if they like what they see. We asked Mark Achbar how the first round of donations went. He said, since my initial torrent launch of The Corporation at the end of August, there have been $635.00 in contributions. They ranged from $2 to three very generous gifts of $100 each. All are very much appreciated. He added, my only regret is that I didnt put up my own torrent sooner.

Although this is great stuff, I couldn't find the licence anywhere. So I'm assuming its downloadable, sharable but not remixable? Shame because its a great documentary but I would like to see a slightly shorter version which I could lend to some friends without them falling a sleep. You could easily do a 1hour version which gets the core message across and then the 3hour version full of examples and more depth.

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Digital Music is not a loaf of bread which can be stolen

In a long series of things which I've been meaning to blog for a while. I saw this on Torrent Freak.

Singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy is part of the growing group of artists that understands that there’s more to music than selling pieces of plastic, and suing your fans.

In an interview with Wired Magazine (from a while ago), Tweedy said:

A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that’s it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it’s just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.

Jeff Tweedy is the leadsinger of the popular band Wilco, that won two Grammy’s back in 2005. He doesn’t consider copying and remixing as evil, but as a way to facilitate creativity.

On the official website of the band from Chicago we even see a link to the BitTorrent tracker where Wilco fans actively share high quality recordings.

Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator. People who look at music as commerce don’t understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property. I’m not interested in selling pieces of plastic.

For those who are interested in the copyright debate, here’s a presentation by Larry Lessig titled “Who owns Culture“. The presentation served as an intro to conversation about p2p and free culture by Jeff Tweedy and Larry Lessig (audio link).

This all comes at a time when EMI music CEO and Chairman Alain Levy tells an audience at the London Business School that the CD as we know it is dead. And to top that, the IPPR released a study on why copying of CDs and DVDs for personal use should be legalised.

IPPR Deputy Director Ian Kearns said:

Millions of Britons copy CDs onto their home computers breaking copyright laws everyday. British copyright law is out of date with consumer practices and technological progress.

A recent survey among 2135 British adult consumers shows that most people don’t even know that they are breaking the law. Of all the people that participated in the survey, 55% said that they have ever copied CDs onto other equipment. However, only 19% actually knows that this behavior is illegal.

Well what more can you say? Three interesting stories in the downfall or change of the music industry.

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How mininova.org stays a float

Torrent freak has done some digging and found that the Torrent sites are becoming even more popular. Mininova.org is still the most popular (no suprise there), Torrentspy is 2nd and The PirateBay is 3rd. The freak have also followed up on Mininova and done a post about itsServer setup. When I first saw this graph of the Mininova server setup, my first thought was wow, that's really not a complex setup at all. I was expecting at least 5 webservers to deal with the daily load it must get hour. However the servers are pretty good spec /images/emoticons/laugh.gifual AMD Operton's). Generally its not a complex setup and makes me wonder what software is running on each server.

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Steal this film – thePirateBay movie

I wish, mine would download at 2.5meg a second!

Quoting from Torrent Freak

Steal this film is a series of documentaries about filesharing, and p2p networks. The first part is about the Piratebay, and their vision on the things that went down the end of May.

Steal this film has full details and a selection of torrent which can be used to download it in ipod, dvd and quicktime formats. I'm sure someone will transcode it into divx, xvid, mpeg4, etc soon.

In other Bittorrent news, Disney's very senior Anne Sweeney admits to downloading pirated desperate housewives. Yes and it turns out that, at that point she realised that she was also competing with Digital pirates. Oh did I mention there is a new version of Azureus too? Yum, yum!

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Desmonds, only available on Bit Torrent

One of the best features of Bit Torrent and UK nova is when it pulls up gems from TV's past. Someone posted up the first season of Desmonds which is a classic Channel4 TV programme from the late 80's. Its amazing to watch now and I can't believe I had all but forgot about it till last weekend. Sarah's having a hard time understanding the mixture of accents on the show but finds it funny watching me crack up. The poster wrote this about the posting.

It was as late as 1989 that a British sitcom which focussed on the life of a black British family finally became mainstream viewing. It was worth the wait. Desmond's was not tokenism: this was a funny and warm show, with a strong cast and all the traditional sitcom ingredients, but with a solid anchor in the lives of those it portrayed.

Unlike The Cosby Show (to which Desmond's is often compared), St Lucia-born writer Trix Worrell set the series in a working class area of South London's Peckham. Desmond and wife Shirley are first generation migrants from Guyana who have set up their own barber's shop. They live upstairs, along with two of their teenaged children, Sean and Gloria and spend their days serving customers and enjoying the company of the regulars, including Ram John Holder as Porkpie, Christopher Asante as eternal student Matthew and their BUPPY son, Michael.

Watch for a young Domonic Keating, who is introduced later in the first series, now famous for his role as Malcolm Reed in Star Trek – Enterprise. He wasn't particularly natural in Desmond's (and isn't in Enterprise either), but he does possess a lovely pair of cheekbones.

The show ended after the sixth series, with the untimely death of Norman Beaton. With quality writing and lovingly observed characters, you'll enjoy the warm, fuzzy glow that the show imparts.

What ever your view of Bit torrent, this has got to be seen a really good example of that long tail. So far its been downloaded almost 170 times and there are currently 44 seeders and about 3 leechers. Sharing Desmonds with a community of people means it will never be lost or locked up in a valut somewhere. Showing Sarah Desmonds was a interesting experience.But its also certainly something I would love to share with my kids when there old enough. And if CD/DVD doesn't pack up I should be able to still play back un-drm'ed media from 2006. If worst comes to worst and CD/DVD does pack up, I'm sure the 170+ people who have nabbed it will be happy to share it in the future.

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Going nuts for certain tunes while paying 200 pounds for the privilage?

dj's de laptop

I just had a quick look at my audioscrobbler/last fm rss and noticed i'm listening to the same 3 tunes over and over again. Its not a mistake, its actually me loving these tunes which I stayed up to 2am searching for the other day. I've had them all of 2 days I believe and can not wait to do a mix with these new tunes. What are the tunes, you maybe asking?

  • FB Featuring Edun – Who's Knocking (Ferry Corsten Rmx)
  • Gabriel and Dresden feat. Molly – Tracking Treasure Down
  • Kosmas Epsilon – Innocent Thoughts

.

They've been on my list for quite some time but finally went actively searching for them on Trancetraffic and found them all there in 320kps Lame encoded Mp3 format. Mighty impressive quality and great tunes which could not be found on iTunes and Allmp3.com.

I simply will not buy music which is DRM'ed, practially Fairplay DRM (what a joke for a name) does not play on my ipaq, mobile phone and certainly not in my Dj application Virtual DJ. I mean why the heck would I buy music from the iTunes store and put up with the fact that I could not mix with it? Insane I tell you. So much for the mix in Apple's Rip Mix and Burn tagline from years ago.

Anyhow talking about Insanity, dance music and mixing. I saw this Digital DJs Unaware of Copyright Law on Slashdot recently.

The BBC reports that if you're a DJ, playing your digital copies of files off a laptop or mp3 player is illegal. The UK royalty collection agency, PPL, demands that such DJs pay £200 for a license in order to do so. From the article, 'Many DJs are still unwittingly breaking the law by playing unlicensed digital copies of tracks months after a new permit scheme began, the BBC has found. This includes legally-purchased downloads, which are normally licensed only for personal use, as well as copies of tracks from records or CDs.

What the heck? Geez this is the kind of thing I hear about in America not in the UK. Going through the comments it seems this headline grabbing story may not be all its craacked up to be. The first informative comment goes like this

I think the article summary is a touch misleading. My reading was that the public performance of songs whose copyright the DJ doesn't hold is what's illegal, and the £200 is for a licsence that remedies the situation. Nobody is telling anybody they can't play music on their laptops, and I'm sure the submitter didn't intend this, but I think it's important to point out that this only relates to public performance. Additionally, DJs do not need to pay the liscence if they are playing from CD or vinyl.

So this still applies to someone like me it would seem? I don't get it why because its digital I have to pay a license fee on top of all the music I'm playing on my laptop? As someone said, its a specific license tax on just those who utilize digital delivery systems. Some comments which sum up better than myself.

So a DJ can play a CD, but if she plays the same track ripped to an MP3, she has to pay an extra 200 pounds for a license? Where's the sense in that? The US compulsory license scheme actually seems sane by comparison.

Hey you thief, don't you dare be playing my tracks where lots of young impressionable kids will get to listen to them and then afterwards possibly go out to their local DJ shop and buy my records/CDs! Well unless you give me 200 big ones!

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Tape it off the Internet, no really do!

Thanks to a comment by Duncan in my kill TV post a while ago, I've now checked out Tape it off the internet.com. Although its not actually a web 2.0 application or social tool yet. Its got a lot of potential as idea at least.

They seem to have a lot of the simple things right, for example there is a post about why recommendations could be important when you drop off the schedule. There right, when you drop off, you end up relying much more on friends recommendations and what people and things around you say. So for example me and sarah have become big fans of Firefly and Serenity, browncoats some would say. The reason I engaged with Firefly and the movie serenity was a couple of things. My friend doug, a lot of blogs about the treatment Firefly got from Fox and what tipped the balance a Wired article. I was recommended Lost by my buddy Waheed and Prision Break from Tom but another way I gage interesting shows is by torrents which have lots of downloaders times by the time it was published. Some Torrent sites make this easy to sort by, others dont. It would be nice to have a webapi for these things sometimes.

But back to tape it off the internet, another thing which made me shake my head in agreement is the friends x episode tracker. Its best explained in the post.

Let us take the problem outlined below, that of different friends of yours not all being on the same episode of a show, making conversation about said show… delicate to say the least, lest you drop a clanger of a spoiler.

Seriously this happens all the time, i usually have to ask what episode someone is on before talking about it. Lost is a nightmare right now because a ton of people are on the UK series which I believe is coming to the end of series 1 soon. A couple of friends have seen the whole series 1 but not started on 2, and then about 3 people I know are fully up with ep5 of series 2.

So guys behind the idea, when's the vaporware going into Permanent BETA with a Open API, tagging and tons of Ajax? hehe…

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To the person(s) who put prisonbreak.s1.ep1 inside of lost.s2.ep1

To the person(s) who put prison break.season 1.ep 1 inside of the lost season 2.ep1 torrent today and yesterday. I was, (lets say it gently) slightly pissed off. This is the kind of thing you see on old school p2p networks like Kazaa not on Bit Torrent.

This is the first time I've ever downloaded something which was labled something else on bit torrent, maybe this is a growing trend? Has anyone else experienced this? I noticed the torrent in question has been removed from the piratebay. But I had already almost uploaded 3 times the contents of the torrent without knowing by the time I had got home today. So sorry to everyone else who was also duked. But to add aditional insult, I also downloaded Prison Break ep1 too, so I ended up with two of the same file. You can tell I was very very pissed off. At least Tom's recommendation for Prison break was a good enough choice to finally calm me down. Certainly no Oz, but interesting none the less. I'm just waiting for Fox to ruin it with some 24 type government propaganda.

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