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Anticipated Closure of BitTorrent Sites Spurs Panic Downloads In China 114

Posted by timothy
from the quickly-now dept.
hackingbear writes "Beijing Internet users are scrabbling for downloads from BitTorrent websites following speculation that authorities will shut them down as early as this week. Internet experts told China Daily the failure might be caused by an overload of users seeking last-minute free downloads. As the largest BT download website in China with 5 million downloads each year, VeryCD has been on the verge of closure after the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) shut hundreds of similar peer-to-peer file sharing sites, including the 50 million-user BTChina, during the last 10 days in its latest attempt to fight pornography and piracy online."
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Anticipated Closure of BitTorrent Sites Spurs Panic Downloads In China

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  • China? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GofG (1288820)
    I remember something similar happening in the US (and probably worldwide) when TPB was about to go down. Leeching increased by substantial amounts across the board for the last couple days.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I remember back in the day where anonymous FTP sites only rumored for containing pornography would be swarmed by downloaders trying to mget the whole site if their location was divulged on Usenet. It was enough that they were hammered for access that they would shut themselves down and purge themselves of their content.

      Yes, back in the day when pornography was rare on the Internet, and even rare on Usenet. You young whackersnackers don't know how good you have it today.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm not so sure. I remember those days too and there is something to be said for porn that you had to work for a little bit. The mystery of getting files based only on a one-line text description, the anticipation of fourteen hour downloads, and the rare surprise of an entire set being together in one place are all things of the past, and while that makes for excellent instant gratification, I also think porn has been vastly devalued. All sex is best when it involves a little bit of a chase, imo.
      • by Larryish (1215510)
        I remember FTP for FXP via IRC and ... sorry, out of acronyms.
    • Re:China? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Larryish (1215510) <larryish.gmail@com> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:25PM (#30397406)

      New movies and new music I can live without, and I imagine that others can, too.

      E-books and audio books, not so much.

      I could not even conceive of having to go the library for books anymore.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:17PM (#30395290) Journal

    Some Internet policy experts are suggesting that Internet officials might have gone too far.

    "I suggest the government apply less harsher rules on rapid-sharing websites, beause they still need nurturing the market," Fang Xingdong, a Beijing-based Internet analyst, told METRO.

    Huh?
    Is the internet analyst saying that piracy is good for the market?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Andorin (1624303)
      I understand your confusion. A government official talking sense about intellectual property would throw me off too.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is the internet analyst saying that piracy is good for the market?

      Makes sense to me. If copyright laws are stifling the market, then bypassing them is good for it. If it weren't for Napster, we probably wouldn't have online music sales, for instance.

      The surprise, of course, is that he's saying it.

    • Yarrr! GTFO with your **AA newspeak FUD! Go back to your **AA masters and hail them you drone!

      I swear, soon I’m gonna stab anyone who ever uses that word in that context again. Help mother nature a bit with the natural selection of total fucking retards!

  • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Andorin (1624303)
    Kill one head of the hydra and two more will just take its place.
    • That law they just passed along with the great firewall of china might just be enough to cauterize the stump.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ten years ago, people though China would never be able to censor the net. They were wrong. What makes you so certain this time around?

      And where China goes, the West follows. If China succeeds in shutting down bittorrent, your swarms won't be far behind.

  • China does nothing to stop the sale of pirated movies, music and software on physical media. But as soon as it's not on a cheap DVD-R, it requires a crackdown? Get your priorities straight.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      probably ACTA related. China would get it's internet cut off in no time... They're past the 3 strikes count; I think.

    • Re:So, Essentially (Score:5, Interesting)

      by macraig (621737) <`mark.a.craig' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:41PM (#30395704)

      The difference here is not the medium: the difference is OUR content versus THEIR content. They have no problem letting their citizens pirate OUR content, even resell it, but when it's THEIR music in which some CHINESE company holds IP interest, well... that's a whole other story!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Indeed. That's what separates us from lesser nations like China, because our RIAA and MPAA crack down SO HARD on pirated Chinese content.

        Pfft.

      • by Jeeeb (1141117)
        Oh great this again.

        China is fucking huge. It's law enforcement problems are fucking huge. If you'd care to get a bit more informed before posting then here is a good starting point: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/03/trial-at-chinas-soprano-city-and-campaign-style-justice/#more-8229 [eastasiaforum.org] They've got more important things to worry about than piracy.

        Piracy itself is basically opportunism. Western people do it as well. It doesn't require some Chinese conspiracy to see why it would happen in China as wel
        • by macraig (621737)

          Dude... I was KIDDING. I was poking fun at the parent post.

          Sorry I made you waste the NRG of a good rant.

    • Re:So, Essentially (Score:5, Informative)

      by seshomaru samma (1683366) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:54PM (#30395902)
      Actually according to Chinese media this crack focuses on eradicating pornography. Now, it's true you can get any DVD in China including 'subversive' movie (like '7 years' with Brad Pitt) , but they simply don't sell porn in those shops, it's a line they never crossed. Chinese people get their porn from the internet, mostly through torrents. As for the "china does nothing" part. I think you need to understand just how poor China is. Despite media hype - this is an extremely poor country with tons of problems and the undermanned underpaid police has much more important stuff to deal with than people copying DVds
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        this is an extremely poor country with tons of problems and the undermanned underpaid police has much more important stuff to deal with than people copying DVds

        Then shouldn't they also have more important stuff to do besides cracking down on fucking internet porn?

        • Re:So, Essentially (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mmalove (919245) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @06:16PM (#30396246)

          1980s: Damnit people, stop fucking. We have too many damn people!
          2009: Damnit people, stop whacking off. We need more people!

          Make up your damn mind, China.

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            How that became insightful is beyond me. 30 years was enough time to focus on building a modern society. With too high of a birth rate they were putting all their resources into training for the future. Generation after generation. When that finally stopped and a much higher percentage of their resources could go to building a good society for the current generation instead of building an opportunity for the next generation to do so.

            Now China has an emerging crisis as they may have done it too quickly a

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
            This is a prime example of how knee-jerk reactions to problems are a very bad idea.

            Another is the rate of infanticide of female children. One child per family made people do some really messed up stuff.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Actually according to Chinese media this crack focuses on eradicating pornography.

        Hopefully it'll be the beginning of the end for the Chinese government - just for the opportunity to name it "The pr0n revolution".

      • Well, you obviously dont know what you are talking about. Does "Private" ring any bells? In any well sorted fake DVD 9 store you can get a Private collection stacked with the other DVDs, If you know what Private stands for, you buy ur porn there, no screenshots on the back, so unsuspecting customers usually wont buy it. And even if, happy surprise!
      • by aaronlwe (1291712)
        I use bt to download movies in shanghai as too many good movies are not imported or not allowed to enter the cinema. and I downloaded mostly American made movies. The dvd shop actually sell porn...you can ask the boss if you want that.
      • When I was last in Hong Kong (ok its not really China but whatever) I bought porn from a shop in a market on the street. They had tons of old porn from the 80s and 90s and lots of strange stuff. And it was an open air shop in the middle of a market. And that was just last year.
      • Re:So, Essentially (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:35PM (#30397482) Homepage

        Go to any shop and ask for "huang de DVD" (yellow DVDs - Chinese term for it, think "blue movies"). They have them behind the counter. Usually seem to be Hong Kong girls but the Chinese mafia gets busted for making pornos so there must be mainland girls somewhere. Chinese people get really angry when they see their women debasing themselves in porn (kappa girl). Anyone think their view of Western women is warped due to all the white girls they see doing crazy shit in pornos? Think about all the dumb stereotypes of Chinese people we all got from watching Hollywood movies. Oh, and one more thing...heh, heh...it's funny the guys are supposed to be pornstars but they are not particularly well-endowed.

        Extremely poor country? People aren't starving to death, and incomes are rising across the board. The police are neither undermanned nor ill-funded. A country where manpower is cheap and government is absolute? The cops in my town all have new police cars. Cameras are going up everywhere to monitor the whole city - imported products that they paid top dollar for (the guy I know who works on the system said the domestic systems were simply not up to snuff.)

      • Instead of taking the Japanese model, where every single genital shot is reduced to blocky 16x16 pixalation (though they bizarrely get around this by using demonic/alien tentacles where possible) they should use the blocky pixalation on faces (there will never be the equivalent of a porn star in China. Too much shame and the possibility of life imprisonment.)

        Home made porn, without faces, can then be sold on the black market without running the dubious risk of trying illegal imports where you're never sure

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think they're doing it right.

      Starting at the latest technologies (P2P Sharing) and working their way backwards. If you can cut off Piracy from the internet, then you can focus on physical media afterwards knowing that very little of it is going to be reproduced - since it can't be file shared as easily.

      Stop the net and you stop alot of DVD-R's. If you force Pirates to Film by video cam, the quality of pirated films goes way down and eventually people won't want that pirated version.

      How many of those Pira

      • by Grygus (1143095)
        There was a booming market in VCDs with camera-recorded movies back in the last 90s. Low quality, low price, so ubiquitous that people didn't even know they were illegal. I don't see why they wouldn't just go back to that, China's too big to effectively police physically.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Orion Blastar (457579)

          I've been to Thailand in 2000 and 2007, last I checked they still had a growing VideoCD market of new movies. I don't know how they make them, but a van driver was playing VideoCD movies in a van we rented in 2007 to tour Thailand with. It was one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that had just come out and it was in Thai with no English subtitles. When I went back to the USA it was still playing in theaters so I paid movie tickets for my family to see it, in English and in big theater format. I didn't

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... for those not in the know, the SARFT is basically a bribe-as-you-go organization. Plus, they hate the cute and adorable Cao Ni Ma (the Grass Mud Horse [wikipedia.org])

  • I swear! (Score:3, Funny)

    by nightfire-unique (253895) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:29PM (#30395502)

    This country is turning more and more into the US every day!

    er, wait a minute. :p

  • That's alright (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <`voyager529' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:50PM (#30395852)

    Once the bittorrent trackers in China are down, I'm sure the professional counterfeiters will appreciate the boost in business as everyone heads to the streets for their warez. For the first time, the pirates and the **AA both benefit from the same political action!

    • True, its probably the pirates telling the government to step up its online campaign since their business got ruined by BT. And since many assume fake DVDs are tied to the relatives of Army high-ups, that totally makes sense, in a weird and twisted way.
  • Neato (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:53PM (#30395884) Journal

    Advisor: "Sir, we don't need to stop 100% of Pirating sites, we just need to stop the top 50% so that the underlying 50% are so overburdened by requests that they can't function! It's like a DDOS attack without hacking!"

    Hu Jintao: "Hooray! Promotions for everybody!"

    • Advisor: "Sir, we don't need to stop 100% of Pirating sites, we just need to stop the top 50% so that the underlying 50% are so overburdened by requests that they can't function! It's like a DDOS attack without hacking!"

      Just as I was thinking along the same line, the other line of thought started up - "There's always tomorrow". If the sites are jammed today but nothing stops them, sooner or later people will realize that downloads are still working.

      The big BUT: if the Chinese government wants to show how po

  • Scrabbling? (Score:4, Funny)

    by cylcyl (144755) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:54PM (#30395904)

    There's got to be a triple word score joke in there somewhere!

  • BTChina and its mirrors are already down. Many of the forums have closed their sharing forums,etc
    The crackdown is on any site without an Audio/Visual distribution license. Which you probably cannot get without paying some unknown bureaucrat somewhere

  • So what now? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plasticsquirrel (637166) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @06:47PM (#30396600)
    We've known for years that BitTorrent has this weakness of relying on tracking sites that can be shut down or blocked. As far as I know, nobody has come up with a de facto distributed, anonymous replacement for trackers. Now some of the biggest BT trackers have gone down or been blocked. Does anyone know of efforts to solve this, and how they stack up?

    Living in China myself, I can access a few BT trackers in English, so that's fine for me. But of course the native Chinese use their own sites, just like they use their own search engine (Bai Du) and their own IM client (QQ). The government here can easily block out the biggest BT sites, just like they block out Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, MySpace, and many other popular western sites. Tor is slower than molasses, sometimes taking up to a minute to display a page here, so that really isn't a replacement, and anonymous web proxies aren't a long-term solution.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > nobody has come up with a de facto distributed, anonymous replacement for trackers. Now some of the biggest BT trackers have
      > gone down or been blocked.

      Except for the "magnet" DHT links TPB just switched to, you mean? (If you can't reach tpb, it's being blocked by your ISP or government, the site is still up).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Actually, I can't reach TPB here in China. So where is this distributed solution that doesn't rely on monolithic tracking sites? If I can't find these links on a web site (sites are easily blocked here), how can I find something I want, and download it with BitTorrent? This is the problem I'm talking about. The BitTorrent technology is really nice, but in some ways, older technologies are not so encumbered. If I load a traditional P2P system that uses Gnutella or some other network, there is not this same p
    • by skeeto (1138903)

      As far as I know, nobody has come up with a de facto distributed, anonymous replacement for trackers.

      *ahem* BitTorrent uses the Kademila DHT [bittorrent.org] for distributed tracking, and it works really, really well so far. I haven't used a centralized tracker for a year or so now. There's also peer exchange [wikipedia.org] (PEX). The trackers aren't the weak points of BitTorrent, and haven't been for years. The weak point is in .torrent distribution, with commenting/forum, seed/leach counts, search, etc. Magnet links partially resolve this by moving the .torrent files out to the DHT as well.

  • So China is, as probably prompted by the US, shutting down file sharing.

    Yet that is also a backup distribution method for information in this near-totalitarian society.

    I'm glad we have our priorities straight in pressuring them for reform.

  • its latest attempt to fight pornography and piracy online.

    Blocking piracy I can see as being a noble goal (even if blocking all bittorrent is the wrong way to do it), but why would they want to block porn?

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @09:36PM (#30397910) Homepage

    The government does this once in a while. The point is to cut off Chinese people from the outside world's contaminating influence as well as stimulate Chinese domestic producers to fill the vacuum of demand. They'd rather have content producers they control promoting socialist morality [china-consulate.org] instead of foreigners with silly ideas like voting (universal sufferage/if you can breathe you can vote...not like wise Confucian sages ruling because they're the smartest and therefore obviously the best [at least in the eyes of the Confucian sages]). Other corrosive Hollywood ideas include: pervasive contempt for authority figures like police, glorification of criminals and violent mafia, scenes of excessive violence designed to stimulate the dark parts of the human soul, and so on. Be disciplined and law-abiding, not chaotic and lawless; Live plainly, work hard, do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures...what would Hollywood look like if they had to follow government-mandated guidelines like these when making films?

    And people can just get it elsewhere? Sure, but remember the Great Wall was only a wall. I mean, you could climb over it if you wanted...it just made your job harder, that's all. Same with the Great Firewall (actually named Golden Shield because it's meant to defend from attacks from outside while keeping China's domestic internet safe) and other barriers. They're not omnipotent, they are but mere cumbersome obstacles.

    The site was closed because it didn't have an "Information Network Broadcast Audio Visual Programming Permission Certificate" from...you guessed it...SARFT! AKA The State Administration of Radio Film and Television, AKA the Comics Code Authority [lambiek.net], AKA the Thought Police. This wasn't a commercial or copyright dispute, otherwise it would be handled by a different government agency. This was purely cultural in nature.

    The funny part is, with all these people on bitorrent at once, download speeds have never been higher! ;)

    • Be disciplined and law-abiding, not chaotic and lawless; Live plainly, work hard, do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures...

      Sounds good in principle, but sheer peacetime economics enforces this anyways. We don't need a government to keep hammering on it. Even in capitalist countries, people can't get away too long with bending/breaking the rules. The subprime crisis has shown that banks can fail.

      Ultimately, there is unpleasantness in both capitalist and communist environments. Under communism people are tol

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      They'd rather have content producers they control promoting socialist morality [china-consulate.org] instead of foreigners with silly ideas like voting (universal sufferage/if you can breathe you can vote...not like wise Confucian sages ruling because they're the smartest and therefore obviously the best [at least in the eyes of the Confucian sages]).

      1. The "Confucians" of the last thousand years are better described as Neo-Confucians, and they would be better described as intellectuals than sages. From Zh

      • I tried reading the analects of Confucius...very thick and hard to read. It needs an annotated edition, really. Or a native English speaker's translation instead of the Beijing Foreign Languages Press or whatever.
  • When will you stop sucking?
  • spend a few bucks and ship porn on DVD to a random address in China.

    If you're worried about getting someone in trouble? Send it to a political figure. Or a chief of police.

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