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New Wave Of File-Sharing Embraces Secrecy 500

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the on-the-down-low dept.
twin-cam writes "There's an article over at The Inquirer that software developers are designing secret file sharing networks that will make it harder for the music and file industry to prove cases of piracy. According to Reuters, three file sharing networks are being planned which its users think will make it a lot harder for music industry to track and charge people on their networks. The first is Optisoft which runs on Blubster and Piolet, music-only file-sharing networks. Only a matter of time before the RIAA requests a data dump from the ISPs or just sues everyone using their network."
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New Wave Of File-Sharing Embraces Secrecy

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  • Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfos.org (471768) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:39AM (#9161347)
    This was only a matter of time, and really the RIAA's heavy handed tactics, and the goverenments complacency with them have forced developers to take matters into their own hands. Now they're really screwed.

    It's pretty easy to design a network that will at least frustrate attempts to recover identities of sharers. Now if only freenet would stop sucking.
    • Re:Good. (Score:2, Funny)

      The solution is exceptionally simple: When you hear a song you want, go to the store or whatever source, and buy it. You will have no problems.
      • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Can I do that without buying another 15 songs and get a lossless copy that is free of DRM?
        • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:21PM (#9161612) Homepage
          Can I do that without buying another 15 songs and get a lossless copy that is free of DRM?

          Of course not. That's not what they are selling. Can I get just one section of that orange? And without the peel please. And instead of you, the seller telling me how much you want, I'll tell you how much you get...

          Doesn't work that way in a Capatalist society.

          • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by lambent (234167) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:46PM (#9161752)
            Doesn't work that way in a Capatalist society.

            Except that, sometimes, it does.

            If enough people start clamouring for individual orange sections, there will be a vendor who appears to fill that need. Supply&Demand works two ways.

            Now, excuse me while I got get the devil's advocate ...

            Look. If people don't want to pay, they won't. If enough people want a different distribution means, it will appear. If people don't want to compensate artists, artists will stop making their product available for consumer consumption. It is blatantly obvious that there is a big enough group of people who don't want to pay, won't pay, and will use the means available to achieve what they want. There comes a certain point where people don't care anymore, the laws won't be able to keep up with them (can't sue everyone), and the market will be forced to change.

            I'm not saying that's a good thing, mind you. Historical analogies: Prohibition in the United States, the illegal drug market, propogation of war ... all in some degree or some way or at some time illegal, but enough people want it, and it was supplied.

            Now, someone please jump in and provide some positive examples.

            Government control of industry and commerce is the first step towards fascism .... you're not a fascist, are you?

            --End of Devil's Advocate Transmission--

            caveat: i'm not endorsing one view point or another, i'm not personally attacking you are anyone or anyone's intelligence or anyone's pet rock, free exchange of ideas is welcomed, flames will be ignored and taped onto my refrigerator.
            • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:03PM (#9161875)
              You're ignoring the virtual monopoly that exists for music nowadays. When a monopoly exists, the normal regulatory effect of supply & demand doesn't work as it does normally.

              Government control of industry and commerce is the first step towards fascism .... you're not a fascist, are you?

              Slippery slope arguments are not valid (as you probably already know).
              • Monopoly? Not. (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:27PM (#9162013) Homepage
                You're ignoring the virtual monopoly that exists for music nowadays.

                People toss the term "monopoly" around quite inaccurately, I think. I mean, of course record companies have a "virtual monopoly" on making records. But canned air makers have a "virtual monopoly" on canned air. Super glue makers have a "virtual monopoly" on super glue. So what?

                Indie musicians release their music outside the traditional channels, and if you would like to make your own canned air, if you have the resources, no one is stopping you. But, if you want a piece of music (product) managed, owned, controlled by some major label, you have to give them what they want for it. It's their product; they manage it, own or manage the rights to it. They don't have to give it to you at all, if they don't want to.

                If you buy a car off the lot, you don't tell the dealership what they are going to sell it to you for, they tell you. And, if you buy that car and start producing exact copies in your garage and distributing these copies, my guess is you will get a visit from a lawyer.

                • Re:Monopoly? Yes. (Score:5, Informative)

                  by Famatra (669740) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:49PM (#9162142) Journal

                  "People toss the term "monopoly" around quite inaccurately, I think."

                  Yes, people like you. I will correct your mistakes and misconceptions though.

                  "I mean, of course record companies have a "virtual monopoly" on making records. But canned air makers have a "virtual monopoly" on canned air. Super glue makers have a "virtual monopoly" on super glue. So what?"

                  Canned air makers do not have a monopoly since there is no barrier to entry, i.e. I myself can can air right now. Super glue is also not a monopoly since there are readily available alternatives.

                  In order for monopoly to exist you need: 1) Strong barriers to entry and no close alternatives.

                  The RIAA is a a monopoly in that they exert monopoly power like a cartel (e.g. OPEC). The blatent evidence is that the RIAA was recently fined for abusing their monopoly to gouge consumers and were fined under US anti-trust laws.

                  • MAP (Score:4, Interesting)

                    by MushMouth (5650) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @02:46PM (#9162409) Homepage
                    The receord companies were fined for MAP pricing, which was there to help record stores vs stores like Best Buy which sells a small selection of CD's for below retail so that people would come into their stores for music and buy a TV for a huge markup. This really cut into the profits, not of the record companies, but music only stores such as tower records. Lowering the price of music would not have helped this situation since the electronics retails are already taking a loss on every CD sale. SO to prop up the record stores they made MAP (minimum advertised pricing) which gave a kickback to the record stores for their advertising if they advertised the CD at a certain price or higher (that price was not the same for all companies or CD's). It was not really a big deal, while the record companies a fairly small fine and where told to stop MAP, it didn't come close to criminal price fixing like ADM, where people went to jail.
                • Re:Monopoly? Not. (Score:5, Informative)

                  by Tripster (23407) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @02:33PM (#9162354) Homepage
                  I think the problem the music industry has is the many avenues that exist that actually does give away their products (to consumers that is), things like radio for example. This lessens the value of the product if you ask me.

                  Then there's also the consumer perception of the artists producing the music, let's face it, few of the major label acts are starving while many consumers are stretching their budgets and doing without some things they would surely enjoy.

                  A good example of giving it away exists for all in North America to enjoy, did you know that by installing a DVB-PCI card in your computer and then pointing an 18" satellite dish at Echostar7 you can listen to over 120 FREE audio feeds? In fact recently they added the 61 Sirius Satellite Radio music channels which are also unencrypted on the bird. You can also enjoy free audio feeds on several other satellites, these cost nothing beyond the initial purchase of equipment (less than $100).

                  So, consumers can listen to free music on the radio, they can receive free music via satellite and for some reason they are supposed to believe that downloading the song from the net is "theft"? I mean I could legally hit "record" on my DVB app here and get the very same song for free and at 192kbit as well!
                • Re:Monopoly? Not. (Score:5, Informative)

                  by taniwha (70410) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @04:17PM (#9162858) Homepage Journal
                  not true - the music industry has a different sort of monopoly sanctioned by the copyright laws. In the canned air biz anyone can can air, and sure anyone can make CDs .... but because of copyright not just anyone can make say "Rolling Stones" CDs - I can't go anywhere and choose between different vendors of a particular Rolling Sones CD - there's no competition on price, quality, etc etc because there is a monopoly at the label/distribution level.

                  I'm not arguing against copyright here - just pointing out that there is an anti-competitive form of monopoly that exists.

                  Perhaps one solution would be to free the music in a different sort of way - change the copyright laws so that copyright cannot be transfered from the original author - and then outlaw licensing schemes that are exclusionary - that would help the artists and protect the consumers and make the labels actually compete with each other day to day for customers.

                  If you ever get a chance listen to John Perry Barlow talk about bthe history of music copyright .... there was none for the longest time - wandering musicians played music, learned songs from each other and played them live. No one ever paid royalties ... it was only when the rise of the victorian middle class put pianos in people's houses that sheet music became under copyright, and after that recordings did the current way of looking at music as being owned come about .... untill just over 100 years ago music was free

          • Re:Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

            Sorry, I can't let this slide - its nowhere near the equivalent of asking for one segment of an orange. Its more like asking for the one or two segments that aren't rotten or sour to the taste. And yes, if I want it without peel, then that is what I will pay for.

            Because in a capitalistic society, demand drives production, not the other way around. The only situation where this is not true is where a monopoly controls the market, a situation which is -rightly- illegal. How it perserveres in the States is a

          • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rpdillon (715137) *
            That's where you're wrong. That exactly how it works in a capatalist society. The consumer determines the price point. And that's what we're doing. We're effectively saying "We're willing to risk breaking the law until you wake up and provide a product that is reasonable."
            Eventually, they *will* bend to the consumer's will. We're just having to drag them there kicking and screaming, because they're children, and always want to have it their way.
          • Re:Good. (Score:5, Informative)

            by pyrrhonist (701154) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:31PM (#9162028)
            And without the peel please.

            No peel? [dole.com]

          • Re:Good. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Loki_1929 (550940) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @02:16PM (#9162292) Journal
            "Doesn't work that way in a Capatalist society."

            Ok, let me tell you how it does work in a Capitalist society:

            You either offer us what we want at a fair price, or we tell you to take that garbage and cram it up your arse. At that point, you go out of business, and someone else comes along and offers us what we want at a fair price.

            Welcome to Capitalism 101, I'll be your instructor - my name is Reality.

          • "Doesn't work that way in a Capatalist society."

            But it does.

            Each consumer has his or her own value of the products that he or she wishes to purchase. Take, for example, a chocolate cake. I want a choclolate cake. I think that a chocolate cake is worth $6 to me. I go to a bakery and the bakery is selling a chocolate cake for $8. Will I buy that cake? No, because the price the seller wants is higher than what I value that cake at. So, I go to another bakery until I find a chocolate cake that is being
        • you can certainly get the single track you want. buy 12" vinyl or a cd single. plus as a bonus, you'll get an instrumental and/or acapella to play around with and in many cases a remix too.
      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by holizz (737615) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:58PM (#9161843) Homepage
        You will have no problems.

        Until you try to play it on your computer or car CD player as it's not `fair use' to use an audio CD in a CD-ROM drive according to the RIAA.
      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gnu-generation-one (717590) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:07PM (#9161897) Homepage
        "The solution is exceptionally simple: When you hear a song you want, go to the store or whatever source, and buy it. You will have no problems."

        I'm glad that was moderated as funny.

        When you hear a song you want, go to the store or whatever source, and buy it.
        - You may get a CD that fails to play in your computer.
        - You may get a CD that fails to play in your CD player.
        - You may get a CD with tracks that can only be accessed using Windows Media Player with DRM downloads.
        - You will get a CD that scratches easily, and which you can't make backups of.
        - You will get a CD at a price which was found to be illegally high by the EU.
        - You will get a CD that was deemed "popular enough" by the record store. If you want a CD by an independant band, you will go to the store, ask them whether they have the CD, and they will say no. They could order it electronically and have it delivered in a few days, but then so could you.

        MP3.com had the right way to buy music. Until there's another site like MP3.com, there's not really any suitable way to buy music. Sure, Amazon is good when you know which music you want, but how do you preview it?

        Sure, band websites are good when they work, but Mp3.com (a) got people to use a simple website that worked, (b) used a standard uncrippled music format, (c) put everything in one place with links, and (d) showed artists how to make money by making tracks available for free download. If there's nobody to do that sort of thing, then band websites become flash-laden WMA-format crap that nobody can use, just because the people writing band websites don't know how the web works.
        • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shark72 (702619)

          I feel your pain. Have you checked out the iTunes Music Store? It's pretty popular, and they have a much wider selection than the typical record store. Plus, you can preview music.

          They do not allow you to download music in an MP3 format for convenient dumping into your Kazaa directory, but life is full of compromises. The attitude of many slashdotters is that the evil copyright holders are making it so that good, honest people are simply forced to pirate music, but it's not the case. If folks want to

          • Re:Good. (Score:3, Informative)

            "Have you checked out the iTunes Music Store?"

            Well, iTunes is known for being even more expensive than albums on CD, so anybody coming from a "saving money" point of view might not be so impressed with it.

            It also has a reputation for DRM, which emotion aside, is still a barrier for people who value the ability to play the music they have. Yes, it may have lenient restrictions compared to other formats, but still, it's very difficult for most of us to manipulate iTunes files on our computers. For example
      • Buy it? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Famatra (669740) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:31PM (#9162030) Journal
        "When you hear a song you want, go to the store or whatever source, and buy it."

        And buy it each time the media its stored on goes out of date, and buy it each time you want to listen to it since the future of DRM is that you will only rent the information, and buy it each time anyone other then you wants to listen to it (i.e. your friends over for a party).

        Why stop at music too? Every time you want to read something you'll have to 'buy it', no more Havens of Copyright Infrindgement and Free Information (A.K.A. libraries).

        You may like this information consumerism future, but I don't and will fight against it.
    • Good what?

      Good, yet more tools to make it even harder for authors to make a living?

      Imagine a post-RIAA world, do you still think it's perfectly cool to copy their stuff and give nothing in return?

      fwiw, I've been putting some work into what I think can be a new approach to the file-sharing situation, I call it DRUMS [turnstyle.com].

    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nurgled (63197) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:25PM (#9162003)

      It would appear that all these "anonymous" peer-to-peer networks just make all users infringe rather than just those who choose to.

      When I run a FreeNet node, items of data from other people are placed, in part, on my hard drive. If one of these items is part of a copyright-protected work, then the original distributor has committed copyright infringment. However, that is only the first copy. Any time someone else retrieves that item there is a chance that my PC will now supply some parts of the item, making another copy and thus infringing copyright.

      Essentially any FreeNet user has a high probability of committing copyright infringment and cannot control this as he or she has no idea what data is all hashed up and encrypted in the data store. By this reasoning, it could be argued that it is in fact illegal to use FreeNet. I don't necessarily agree, but the fact that this possible argument exists could cause problems for anonymous peer-to-peer networks in the future.

      This is sad, because anonymous networks have other uses beyond covert distribution of material protected by copyright, such as bypassing censorship.

      • Re:Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

        There's a difference between direct copyright infringement liability and copying copyright-protected material. Search for RTC (religious technology center, a.k.a. Scientology) v Netcom. The decision in that case sets a precedent that the owner of a service cannot be liable for automated acts of reproduction. Instead there must be some volitional act -- you have to know you're doing it.

        There's still contributory and vicarious infringement liability to worry about, but at least if you join a network with
    • Re:Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SiliconEntity (448450)
      It's pretty easy to design a network that will at least frustrate attempts to recover identities of sharers. Now if only freenet would stop sucking.

      No, it's not that easy. The only way to do it is to forward the data via some intermediate node(s). That's what Freenet does, and it's really hard to make that work right. It makes data transmission tend to be really slow, which is one of the reasons Freenet sucks. I have yet to see a large scale network which forwards data like this that doesn't suck.

      Plus, i
  • Data dump? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:39AM (#9161349)
    They better start building one heck of a computer cluster if they want to break the encryption. If anything, the RIAA/MPAA will give up the fight, and turn their efforts to getting Congress to pass some sort of tax on media, media players, your computer, your stereo, your car, your dog, your dinner, and anything else which could possibly be related to music or movies.
    • Actually, with the success of the RIAA and MPAA getting the DMCA passed, I would not be surprised if they started lobbying to require P2P networks to identify users in order to make tracking down pirates feasible.
      • Re:Data dump? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Sven-Erik (177541)

        What about p2p networks outside the US? The DMCA might be far reaching, but it still has limits. Most other jurisdictions don't have anything like the DMCA, yet...

  • by boffy_b (699458) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:39AM (#9161350) Homepage
    ...anyone heard of FreeNet [sourceforge.net]?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But have you tried using it? Even for the technically oriented it can be a pain to use, and it's incredibly slow. It's fine for what it's designed, but that isn't for home users to trade copyrighted material.
    • Too bad you can't search for anything on freenet -- you have to know exactly what arbitrary key the content you want was inserted under. I suspect that posting a set of song names and freenet keys on the web isn't going to win you any brownie points with the RIAA's lawyers.
    • Freenet is a piece of crap. Every 6 months the author pops up, talks about freedom, grabs some publicity ... but you know what he never does? Make his god damned p2p network work. It can take hours to load a page if they will load at all, there's no search mechanism, and its been that way for years. I ran a frenet node on a huge pipe (direct connection to sprint) for a year and was never able to load more then a few web pages with it. As it stands now, Freenet is totally worthless.
    • by ReelOddeeo (115880) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:59AM (#9161480)
      Try Mute [freshmeat.net].

      The Freshmeat description says....
      MUTE File Sharing is an anonymous, decentralized search-and-download file sharing system. Several people have described MUTE as the "third generation file sharing network" (From Napster to Gnutella to MUTE, with each generation getting less centralized and more anonymous). MUTE uses algorithms inspired by ant behavior to route all messages, include file transfers, through a mesh network of neighbor connections.


      One key concept seems to be that all nodes are assigned a virtual address. Files are then sent from node A to node B. Packets from A to B are routed through the virtual network. But A and B's actual IP addresses are not known to any other nodes in the network, and thus not to any RIAA nodes.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:39PM (#9161715) Journal
      Everyone has heard of Freenet, and it's definately not something anybody wants to use to share their MP3 collections...

      MUTE [sourceforge.net] OTOH is newer, and seems to be much better suited for the job.
  • Freenet (Score:4, Funny)

    by hawkeyeMI (412577) <brock.brocktice@com> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:40AM (#9161358) Homepage
    Use freenet... Oh wait it's unusable.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) * on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:40AM (#9161359) Homepage Journal
    Here's something to think about, the DMCA isn't just for big mega corporations. Put together a private peer-to-peer network using some kind of encryption and use a trusted invitation method (like maybe Orkut) to invite people.

    Protect your network communications under provisions of the DMCA. Obviously if the DMCA knows what you're trading then THEY are violating the DMCA because the only way they would know is if they somehow got on and broke encryption.

    Someone more technically more adept should be able to figure out how to pull this off but there HAS to be a way to establish a peer to peer network (which is still legal) and protect it via the DMCA.
    • The "problem" is that the DMCA forbids cracking / disassembling of the code.

      But who needs that if you can download a free application to access the network?
      And even better, if the project is OpenSource, they don't even have to hack the application. They just write some additions to the code and voila (fr).
      • His scheme is that only people known to be non-RIAA agents will be able to download the application - which in turn means that the only way RIAA can get in is via cracking/disassembling... illegal under the DMCA.

        Whether it's practical to keep RIAA agents out of the network is another question.

        Sean
    • I'm not so sure (Score:5, Insightful)

      by G27 Radio (78394) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:06PM (#9161528)
      The DMCA works for corporations because they can afford the cost of litigation. Your average person isn't going to be able to afford to win a DMCA case against the RIAA companies.

      You'll notice that these DMCA cases are never seen through to the end. The little guy runs out of money, has to give up, and the big corps get their way.
    • by Sigma 7 (266129) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:09PM (#9161541)
      Protect your network communications under provisions of the DMCA.

      DMCA Title 17, Chapter 12, Section 1201 (a) (1) (A) states " No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title." If your network communictions is not protected under the copyright law, then it is not protected under the DMCA.

      If you want to make statments of the DMCA, then you should at the very least read the appropriate Section [cornell.edu] before providing a layman's opinion, and back up your claim. While you're at it, you might as well read the entire section and get a complete understanding of the law in question.

      If you want to really know how the DMCA works, then either consult a lawyer or enroll in law school yourself.

      Someone more technically more adept should be able to figure out how to pull this off but there HAS to be a way to establish a peer to peer network (which is still legal) and protect it via the DMCA.
      Peer-to-peer networks are legal - however, illegal activities performed on them are not. Even if the DMCA does protect all forms of encryption, it only takes a few sessions of a government comittee to change this.

  • by gid13 (620803) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:41AM (#9161368)
    An Optisoft spokesman is quoted as saying it will be "four times" harder for copyright holders to trace infringers... Exactly how is that quantifiable?
  • WASTE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tokachu(k) (780007) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:41AM (#9161369) Journal
    I've heard of this program a couple of years ago. That, and there will always be the file-trading madness at nearly every LAN party. If the recording industry sees this as breaking news, no wonder they're losing the battle -- they're about 5 years behind the rest of the modern world.
    • Re:WASTE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:50PM (#9161778) Journal
      there will always be the file-trading madness at nearly every LAN party.

      I've often wondered why this isn't more extensive. I think it's just a matter of convience. With MP3s, you could have your whole collection on a small hard drive, but people don't tend to share musical tastes, so there would be maybe 5 people in each musical group, sharing with each other, assuming a good 40 people or so. So the trading isn't exactly massive.

      As for movies, you can't really fit your whole collection on a single hard drive, and I'm sure nobody wants to carry around a rack stacked with jewel cases. So, people may meet, share 50GBs of movies on their removable HDs, but that's usually files they both downloaded off of P2P anyhow, and there just isn't enough floating around on removable hard drives to cover all the movies people want to get.

      802.11 networks might just change that. You could have a neighborhood of 1,000 computers, all with wireless cards, all sharing massive numbers of audio/video files at speeds an order of magnitude faster than the fastest consumer broadband connections. And all of this is happening with a local scope, so the RIAA would have to have to go war-driving over every mile of the entire country to find these hotspots. It would make prosecution unprofitable, to say the least.
    • Re:WASTE (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DroopyStonx (683090)
      WASTE is fundamentally flawed at some level.

      First, it's not even anonymous. You know the IP of the person you're getting data from.

      Second, it's safe IF AND ONLY IF *you* personally know everyone on your node and are 100% sure they won't tell the authorities. As soon as your friends invite friends who invite friends, you never know who they work for and who they are. A potential law enforcement agent, RIAA employee, or flat out rat could screw you up just as bad as the RIAA doing scans of public IPs on pop
  • A Bad Thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rokzy (687636) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:44AM (#9161387)
    this seems 100% just about making copyright infringement safer (especially the music-only one), not the kind of thing most /.ers will be in favour of.

    this is a bad thing because they're playing up to the role of "the evil pirate" though since their aim to protect copyright infringers I doubt they could care less about hurting supporters of legitimate p2p.
    • Re:A Bad Thing (Score:2, Interesting)

      by curator_thew (778098)

      These guys just f**k up the internet for the rest of us.

      What will happen is that the entertainment industry will leverage its weight to justify the broadcast flag and banning of "unauthorised" encryption for this reason, effectively painting any "encryption user" as being suspicious and illegitimate, and exerting greater control and oversight over legitimate users - leading to all sorts of privacy and data protection issues.

      Isn't it about time that we all stopped stealing content from poor business models
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:45AM (#9161397)
    is you do not talk about file sharing.

    The second rule of file sharing is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FILE SHARING.

  • by phr1 (211689) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:45AM (#9161398)
    Slashdot mentioned a few days ago [slashdot.org] that mp3.com held 1.7 million songs at the time Vivendi took it down. I also read recently elsewhere that there are around 30,000 CD's released in the US every year. At ten songs (average) per CD, that's 300,000 songs/year released on CD.

    I don't know how long the original mp3.com was around, but it was probably less than 5 years, and it probably put up mp3's at a faster rate near the end than near the beginning. But even at a uniform rate over the whole 5 years, it sounds like one web site was distributing more songs per year all by itself, than the entire CD industry released put together (1.7 million songs / 5 years = 340,000 songs/year). Add to that the number of musicians who distribute their stuff through their own sites, and it's clear there's a heck of a lot more music being released as gratis downloads than as proprietary CD's.

    Some people blame diminishing CD sales on unauthorized CD copying; others blame it on technological obsolescence (people buy DVD's instead of CD's now); still others say it's because poor artistic decisions by record labels result in releasing uninteresting music that people don't want to buy. I haven't yet seen a connection made with authorized, freely downloadable music, that people can listen to instead of buying proprietary CD's, just like they can run GNU/Linux instead of buying Windows, Apache instead of IIS, etc. Sure, a lot of mp3.com downloads are crap, but lots of commercial CD's are crap too.

    Anyway, it seems to me that most of the music even on these "secret" all-music p2p networks is likely to be freely downloadable.

    (Note: this post mostly rehashes an earlier comment of mine from that other thread, but the statistic is interesting enough that I felt it was worth posting again).

    • it sounds like one web site was distributing more songs per year all by itself, than the entire CD industry released put together

      Well, you can't forget that many artists in the "CD industry" release a handful of songs on sites like mp3.com anyhow, so there's plenty of overlap.

      Additionally, the number of songs is an arbitrary, weak comparison. If you want, I can whip-up a shell-script that will create more songs in a week than there are songs on CD-releases in a year. It will just sound like random noise

    • by ozric99 (162412)
      mp3.com - worldwide
      CD's released in the US - erm.. US

  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:47AM (#9161409) Journal
    In light of the more secretive file-sharing networks, I think the RIAA's next strategy is just going to be to open up the phone book from every city, town, and village in the country and file suit against every single American citizen, nearly every one of which will have to settle with the RIAA for a few thousand dollars, because it will be less expensive than hiring a lawyer to prove, say, that one doesn't even own a computer.

    It doesn't matter who's actually right in a legal case. It only matters who has the lawyers. And the RIAA has the lawyers.

    After the music industry has made hundreds of millions of dollars from suing every single American, the MPAA will follow suit (no pun intended) with their own campaign of legal terrorism, and then the patent trolls will roll out with patent infringement suits against absolutely everyone.

    Welcome to the Age of Lawyers.

    Lawyers are the new American nobility. You are either a lawyer or a lawyer's subject. In the 21st Century, all Americans who are not lawyers will be forking over whatever money they have to pay for lawyers to defend themselves against other lawyers.

    Lawyers will be living in mansions surrounded by the rest of us, who will toil endlessly, day and night, to earn our masters' legal protection.

    Hooray!
    • While you're partially right in saying that it doesn't matter who's right when it comes to winning a case (really, it depents more on quality of attorney), you're wayyy off when it comes to your rant against lawyers.

      Remember, lawyers work for clients; it's their professional responsibility to represent them fully and by every legal means possible. If the client (here, the RIAA) wants to stop filesharing and they want to take a course of litigation, the lawyers must serve or quit (and even that's difficult
    • by AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:15PM (#9161578)
      Who modded that "funny" for goodness sake? It should have got an Insightful or Informative IMO, it's just a shame /. doesn't have a "too bloody accurate by half" rating.
    • In Canada you pay a tax on blank media, the assumption being you are going to use it to break somebody's copyright. They didn't even have to open a phonebook, a few well priced lobbyists (lawyers probably) managed to get them their own source of tax revenue.
      I don't blame lawyers per say, but I do think that if political parties take coporate cash (Liberals in this case) you can expect that they are going to return the favor to their benefactors.
      1. Subpoena all ISPs in the world for the contact information about _all_ internet customers in the world
      2. Cross-reference every customer to the proprietary database which is linked to the customer purchase histories provided by all the "authorized" merchants of the (non-Used/secondhand) products.
      3. Use the statistics to compute the average number of CD purchases per month by all users of the internet.
      4. Artificially inflate said average as needed to maximize profitability of all members and as possible without ar
  • W.A.S.T.E. (Score:5, Informative)

    by agoldenboy (780061) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:47AM (#9161410)
    I've used WASTE for a long time. It has in interesting history....involving AOL and others. WASTE is a VERY secure private p2p network. It uses keys similar to pgp keys and can use over 4000+ bit encryption if needed. However, the network does seem to fall apart after about 50 or so people have joined. It is only good for small groups, imo. If you have a MAC, i wouldn't even bother was WASTE for now, it's current development stage give basically no functionality. For pc users who just want to trade files with their friends, etc, its a great alternative to other p2p.
    • Re:W.A.S.T.E. (Score:3, Informative)

      by AirLace (86148)
      For pc users who just want to trade files with their friends, etc, its a great alternative to other p2p.

      In my experience, this isn't true. The WASTE client [dnetc.org] (for Linux, at least) is still at an early stage of development. In fact, there only seem to be operational WASTE clients available for Microsoft's Windows right now.
  • Social Networks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bendelo (737558) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @11:50AM (#9161429) Homepage
    I think the best way to keep the RIAA out would be to have filesharing networks based upon social networks (like orkut [orkut.com]). You trade with your 'trusted' friends and their 'trusted' friends. You could set how many hops you were willing to spread.
    • Our file-sharing networks are already set up like that... Except with the additional guarantee that the node graph is a single connected component, and that everyone's 'hops' are set by default to the timeout distance of the network's search algorithm.

      If that gets changed to a user defined value, with restrictions on the order of nodes, not only will the network become more congested by orders of magnitude, but you will either have a) everyone set their hop limit low so that files will be impossible to fin
    • Re:Social Networks (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110)
      You've got astroturfers on /. that regularly get moderated up, so why wouldn't you have RIAA officials sneaking into these social networks?

      Or even more likely, what's to stop the RIAA from paying somebody a few bucks to hand-over their username/password to the network? Or maybe one person gets busted, and the cops can get the info off his computers. One weak-link and the whole network is wide open. You can revoke access, but not until you know something is wrong, which may be too late.
  • Don't forget about Mute-net.sourceforge.net

    Mute is an encrypted filesharing system that has actually worked for me and although a little slow, it IS anonymous.

  • by torpor (458) <ibisum AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:04PM (#9161510) Homepage Journal
    ... as far as I'm concerned, is the "VPN Name Resolution" service.

    openswan and an IP address somewhere is all thats needed to 'bury a filesharing service'. It doesn't even have to be p2p ... I know of a fair few VPN's that are maintained with quite steady uptimes, all using plain ol' FTP as the internal-xfer-service of choice...

    Its interesting that its come to this. Whats next - routers which won't route unless they know the protocols being encapsulated in the tund'd packets they're peer-transferring for? Sheesh, as if that will ever happen ...

    (If anyone knows of some good VPN's, please share! heh heh...)
    • Actually... Next gen P2P network could use unsecured unpatched windows boxen to hide whos shareing and doing what... That would cause alot of heat on redmond to secure their OS.. past and present :)
  • An Easy Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:12PM (#9161562)

    I proposed this solution about 4 years ago to one of the gnome-vfs guys at a Helixcode party in San Francisco "back in the day".

    Basically you have a section of your local storage that is specifically set aside for this purpose, say a 5gb slice of your partition. This storage area is strongly encrypted with hashes that only you know (Blowfish, AES, whatever), via your own passphrase or private key.

    When you send a file "to the network", that file is split into blocks, and encrypted with your public key, and those blocks are dispersed to everyone else on the network, in that encrypted fashion, and the "map" to reassemble them is dispersed likewise.

    Every node with block #1, has a map which tells them how to get block #2, but not block #3. System with block #2 (which knows that block as block #1 to itself), knows how to get block #3, and so on. Sort of like the "Triad" mob system in Japan.

    Your system requests a file, which is dispersed as a series of encrypted blocks, across hundreds, thousands, millions of other systems, and those blocks are reassembled, using those systems to find "The Next Block", and send it to you. You could also arrange it so that each "node" could know about the next 5 or 10 or 20 blocks, etc.

    It is sort of a mesh between PKI + BitTorrent (which didn't exist when I came up with the idea), and the methodologies of common peer-to-peer networks.

    You could further strenghthen the network by only accepting blocks from nodes you "trust" (via your own public keyring). Facilities to "swap blocks" across systems on a regular (or irregular) schedule, to keep the network "self-healing" would also be a good idea.. or keeping duplicate blocks in different parts of the "storage slice" for redundancy, etc. Storage is cheap.

    In the end, this means that nobody can be accused of having "the full file", nor can anyone figure out what is in those encrypted blocks. Even if they had 1 block, there is no way to get all of them, or to accuse someone of distributing the material, since it would be moved around at irregular intervals.

    What do you think?

    • Holy shit, I need a cigarette, cause that sounds cool!

      Actually, what worries me is that the RIAA/MPAA could try to cite that all private encryption are being used to infringe on their copyright, therefore making non-corporate encryption = evil. Then again, I'm paranoid about shit like that, so take this with some salt on the slippery slope. :)
    • Re:An Easy Solution (Score:3, Informative)

      by pjt33 (739471)
      I think you'll find that the Triad mob system was actually in Hong Kong.
    • That sounds a lot like Freenet [sf.net] to me.
    • Re:An Easy Solution (Score:5, Informative)

      by groomed (202061) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @02:17PM (#9162298)
      The odds that any node fails increase dramatically as you add more nodes. With your proposal you can't even skip a block on temporary node failure, since you don't know the order of the blocks.

      Seems to me like it would perform horribly.
    • Re:An Easy Solution (Score:3, Informative)

      by tokachu(k) (780007)
      Actually, that's what Freenet [freenetproject.org] and ENTROPY [stop1984.com] are meant to do.

      Also, to those naysayers: try to keep up with the latest Freenet/ENTROPY builds.
    • by Salamander (33735) <jeff.pl@atyp@us> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @03:28PM (#9162612) Homepage Journal
      I proposed this solution about 4 years ago to one of the gnome-vfs guys at a Helixcode party in San Francisco "back in the day".

      So, did he answer "been there, done that" or "that's dumb"? Or did he just nod politely and suddenly act like he was being hailed from across the room? Only about a thousand people have had variants of the same idea; the two closest would be Farsite [microsoft.com] or SFS [fs.net], but there are many others. One thing that's unique to your proposal, though, is the idea of sending every block to every node - creating a system that cannot possibly scale beyond a trivial number of nodes.

      There's nothing wrong with blue-sky thinking, but when the sky is already crowded with planes and helicopters and blimps you should take some time to study them before repeating the mistakes their designers made ten years ago. It's also good to get the basics working or at least decently thought out before you start speculating about what extra buzzword-compliant ideas you can throw into versions two through ten. We already have Freenet to show us what can happen when people don't heed either of those lessons.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:16PM (#9161584) Journal
    You could have an anonymous P2P app that has network performance that is nearly as good as current networks, like Gnutella/Kazaa...

    All you have to do is allow the source of a file transfer it to the client without the client knowing the source's IP address. To do this, you simply have the server sending files with UDP and a spoofed source IP address. Since few networks have any egress filtering, this should not pose a problem.

    Now, the client has to be able to tell the server to send packets faster/slower, and which packets didn't get through. Well, first you must have a huge window size (TCP term, but applicable) so that the server will send a massive ammount of packets before the client has to send back any responses...

    When the client does eventually have to send a few packets to the server, it does so by broadcasting them to all-nodes (just as searches are handled). So, everybody gets them, and everybody but the server involved can just ignore them.

    I left out some details, like all servers generating a random 32bit Unique ID every hour or so, and sending it instead of their IP address with search results.

    Now, that's only the anti-RIAA anonymity. It'll make things 99% more anonymous, but any foe with the ability to monitor the network will be able to see what is happening. To combat that, you could just have search queries include the client's public key. The results can include the server's public key (encrypted with the client's public key) in addition to the search results... That would keep you completely anonymous, even from resourceful snoopers that can eavesdrop on your own network.

    The best thing about this is the speed compared to other anonymous networks. No longer would it take an hour to download a small MP3, because you don't need any intermediary nodes (except for small-message-passing), direct from source to destination, at full-speed.
    • A few issues... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:04PM (#9161878) Homepage
      Spoofing IP is probably a violation of your ToS, and can get you terminated. Egress filtering is rare but increasingly popular in order to block DDoS UDP attacks. Your network admin may think you're a DDoS zombie and cut your line too.

      The second thing this network doesn't provide is any incentive whatsoever to share files or bandwidth. Networks that rely solely on the honor system doesn't get much (one of many reasons Freenet is slow).

      Third, it's trivial to disrobe which server is sending you what. Instead of sending "to all nodes like searches", a hostile client would try them in order. Servers could tell eachother, but the server might be hostile too.

      Fourth, the entire network sounds like a DDoS waiting to happen. I flood the network with UDP packets telling them to all hit one server. That server has no way to tell them he doesn't want those packets, since he doesn't know the network.

      Hell, since you installed it voluntarily (as opposed to getting a DDoS trojan) they might even sue the network nodes for DDoS'ing them. Nothing like a little legal liability too. Not to mention the good press you'd get.

      Kjella

      • Re:A few issues... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by evilviper (135110)

        The second thing this network doesn't provide is any incentive whatsoever to share files or bandwidth. Networks that rely solely on the honor system doesn't get much (one of many reasons Freenet is slow).

        Forget Freenet. Both Kazaa and Gnutella work on this priciple, and they are going strong. Bittorrent just isn't a system that can be applied to real file-sharing networks.

        Third, it's trivial to disrobe which server is sending you what. Instead of sending "to all nodes like searches", a hostile client w

  • by Cyno01 (573917)
    ...secret file sharing networks that will make it harder for the music and file industry to prove cases of piracy.
    Great, so now theres another one, the FIAA? Whay havn't we had any trouble with them before?
  • Piolet vs Blubster (Score:5, Informative)

    by EricKoh (669058) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:21PM (#9161610)
    Blubster comes with adware (GAIN), Piolet doesnt, as long as you remember to deselect them during installation...
  • They certainly know about these secret networks now...
  • Only a matter of time before the RIAA requests a data dump from the ISPs or just sues everyone using their network.

    And if I don't download MP3s, dont have any on my boxes, just WTF am I being sued for?

    What law have I allegedly broken?

    And will any law enforcement agencies even be involved in such a privately organized dragnet?

    And when the RIAA does come after me, only because I happen to be a customer of the same ISP that someone else is downloading stuff, and finds out that I am clean (i.e. have no
  • by Diclophis (203740) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:53PM (#9161808) Homepage
    Instead of trying to go farther 'underground' why not add facilities to p2p networks for content verification and authenticity.

    By this I mean, if your looking for a old Micky Mouse (copyright symbol) cartoon, you go into the Disney (copyright symbol) 'channel', search through their offereings and download what you want... except since you are 100% positive what your downloading is what it says it is... you are willing to pay a small fee (how about $1 dollar a download, size independent... or some sort of subscription service... I pay Disney Inc. directly to be able to download their verified and authenticated content).

    This would elminate 'piracy' on the 'overground' network because why would you need to go 'underground' if you allready have access to all the content you wanted through a minimal monthly (or per download) basis (instead of cable telvision... we pay the content creators directly for their shows). This will greatly help artists... because they will be able to market and sell directly to the 'listener' (or viewer)... and bypass the recording industries web of middlemen.

    Now ofcourse the underground will still exists, but there will be no point going there... unless your looking for illegal (not pirated) content like child porn (and other nasty stuff). The bandwith costs of being a content producer are augmented through some sort of bittorrent like swarm download... where you are downloading parts of your content from other people who have also downloaded it. This will open up a whole new way to access media, eg. what if instead of going to the shitty theater (and paying a shitty price for shitty sugar water and burnt corn) you can wait until the release day... download a HD stream of that movie directly to your home theater. And since you have 24/7 access to all the content you want (and the downloads are fast because everyone has broadband or better (idlealy fiber)) there is no point of 'hordeing' all the content on your 400gig drive.

    Computers slim back down in terms of hardware, and start to act more like what they should act like (for a typical consumer) vcrs. You turn on your fluxbox (I would like to call the system the 'flux') and on your screen is a list of stuff to watch, read, or listen to... and all you pay is a minimal monthly fee... (less than $50, and or pay per download)
  • Thanks Slashdot! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sabNetwork (416076) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:56PM (#9161827)
    I just spent half an hour removing all the spyware and adware that these programs installed.

    DO NOT INSTALL PIOLET OR BLUBSTER.

    --
  • by Graftweed (742763) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @12:57PM (#9161833)
    More privacy can only be a good thing and I'm not about to launch into a rant about freedom vs. safety, but let's just look at some of the more ugly tactics people can use to subvert a P2P system.

    So anyone looking into stopping sharing of illegal material can't launch lawsuits anymore because they don't know the identities of the users. Fine, but they (or anyone malicious enough) can still flood the network with garbage and create so much noise that it will drive people away.

    So how about a P2P moderation system similar to the /. one? Has anyone implemented anything like this? I don't know if it could be used alongside any privacy measures the designers implemented, but with enough work and balancing couldn't this be feasible? Imagine browsing limewire at a high threshold /. style and weeding out all those porn movies in disguise, incomplete files and mp3's with artifacts in them. There could be different ratings based on the node and the individual files and while the system could be abused I'm sure enough thought going behind it could make it fairly balanced and useful.

    Just a though, slightly off-topic.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:12PM (#9161933) Journal
    For numerous years, many in the /. and CS world have said and known that closed source and encryption does not truely work. These can always be broken. Yet now, some companies come along and say that they will prevent others from knowing by encrypting the files, doing UDP transfer, etc. The truth is that it is only a matter of time before RIAA is able to break all of that and get the IDs.

    Instead, now is a very good time to move away from labels and move to indi music or simply those that support downloads. Kill RIAA's power by simply not buying from them anymore.
  • Spyware (Score:5, Informative)

    by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:33PM (#9162040)
    According to the download link for Blubster 2.5 [com.com]:
    Editor's note: This download includes additional applications bundled with the software's installer file. Third-party applications bundled with this download may record your surfing habits, deliver advertising, collect private information, or modify your system settings. Pay close attention to the end user license agreement and installation options.
    Stay away from this application.
  • Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cereal Box (4286) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @01:33PM (#9162044)
    It's becoming harder and harder to believe the desperate cries of "why don't they understand that people are interested in P2P for legitimate uses!" in light of developments like these. Do you honestly need these convoluted secrecy schemes like 1024-bit encryption and splitting up files into thousands of pieces that are distributed to thousands of other machines on the network just to share Linux ISOs and Project Gutenberg texts? Clearly these non-copyrighted (or copyrighted, but freely distributable) files can be made available openly on web sites or FTP sites without fear of "the man" coming down hard (but please, feel free to share some isolated exception to this rule with me), and chances are you'll be able to download it faster to boot.

    Honestly, it can't be about download speed. I've used Bittorrent before. It's slow. Unless the file you're trying to get is very popular, your download is going to be stalled for a long time, after which you'll be pulling a whopping 3KB/sec for hours on end. Maybe you'll top out at an underwhelming 40KB/sec. Color me unimpressed. Why anyone would want to download a Linux ISO using Bittorrent or Freenet (now THAT'S what I call agony) is beyond me. Just a few weeks ago I downloaded two FreeBSD ISOs at a consistent speed of approximately 500KB/sec from one of FreeBSD's FTP sites. No muss, no fuss, no "more sources needed" messages. Remind me again why I should have preferred using a P2P app to grab those ISOs? Remind me again why anyone would want to grab a Linux ISO from a P2P app when there are plenty of fast FTP sites where the ISO can be downloaded? This is why I roll my eyes when I hear people on Slashdot talking about how P2P apps have revolutionized their Linux ISO (for example) downloads. No one would put up with greatly reduced download speeds and file availability when nine times out of ten the file can be found on much faster non-P2P sources. On the other hand, when someone is trying to obtain files that cannot be freely distributed, they're willing to put up with awful download speeds and, of course, desire having unbelievable encryption on everything they do on the network.

    What P2P advocates need to do -- and I've said this many times -- is create a self-policed P2P network where the sharing of files that users DO NOT have the right to redistribute is strictly prohibited. Users report violations they've found, and the offending user is banned from the network, perhaps reported to the authorities if the people in charge of the network -- NOT the RIAA -- determine a legitimate case of copyright infringement has occurred. Before any user creates an account on the network, make them aware of this fact. It's simple, and while nothing can be done to stop the network being used for copyright infringement entirely, I'm sure such measures would greatly reduce the amount of piracy that would occur. This would finally create the P2P utopia I've been hearing so much about on Slashdot.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @02:10PM (#9162262) Homepage Journal
    And only for windows?

    Neither facts instill confidence in them, that there isn't anything evil hidden away ( anyone remember earthstation 5? ), or its actually anonymous and hard to break its encryption.

    Not ranting about 'everything needs to be open', but with stuff like this, it is important to know what you are dealing with. Before the man comes knocking on the door ( or you start broadcasting spam like crazy )
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @03:14PM (#9162547)
    Currently in Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Court of Canada have both ruled (in response to the music industry lobby) that downloading and copying music for yourself is allowed under fair use; sharing your music with friends is fair use; and ISPs do not have to reveal the identity of their customers to an angry recording industry.

    Now it looks like things are going to change, and soon we will have the same situation as there is in the United States. The recording industry lobby, spearheaded by Canadian Recording Industry Association, CRIA [www.cria.ca] is pushing our legislators to overhaul Canadian copyright law. The model for the changes is WIPO [wikipedia.org], which is implemented in the United States as DMCA.

    Dammit, doesn't this look familiar? Are you scared yet?? The corporate lobby is rewriting laws that our courts have already decided are fair. Please speak up! Sign our petition for user's rights [digital-copyright.ca], if you're Canadian. Sign it, mail it to us, and we'll take them all to Parliament. We need to show parliament that we have demands as users of media, and that we will exercise our votes.
  • What about? (Score:3, Informative)

    by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @04:29PM (#9162908) Homepage Journal
    Mute [sourceforge.net] or Waste [sourceforge.net]? Both open source, both currently working. Waste is a private network, so only your friends are in it, or you are referred to a network, rather than joining a global network... Mute is a public network still in early beta...

    my website has a waste network for those who want to give it a try.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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