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14
May 05
Sat

MPAA shuts down several BitTorrent sites – to what end?

As the US television season winds down (out of my weekly viewing list, Enterprise and Amazing Race have finished, and Smallville is almost over as well), the MPAA has sued several BitTorrent sites. They went offline overnight, which left many people bewildered – wondering where the sites went – and annoyed – wondering where they were going to get their final episodes of whatever serial they were watching. BTEfnet.net was among the most prominent of these.

Mysteriously, the trading of BT files was halted on the #bt irc channel on EFNet, with 3000+ silenced people lurking on the channel wondering what the hell happened. Technically, the BTEfnet website is just a monitor of the #bt channel. Whenever a new show is released on #bt, a program scrapes the torrent file off it and then posts it automatically to the web. So, it is the IRC channel that drives the website, and there is no reason why if the MPAA serves a notice on the web site, it should affect the IRC channel (since it is not centralised, like the website is). It appears that it was just a precautionary measure because within a few hours, #bt was trading again and continues to trade. So if you’re looking for your TV torrents, hop on IRC.

Also, the latest version of Azureus has introduced distributed tracking – which removes another bit of BitTorrent which requires centralisation (centralisation is the bane of P2P when it comes to zealous copyright agencies suing everyone).

Interestingly, Sweden appears to have rather lax copyright laws, and The Pirate Bay is a BT site which has been violating US copyright laws and ignoring cease & desist letters with impunity.