TorrentSpy decides to not block US visitors and chooses to filter pirated content from its search results instead, something which ISOHunt plans to do as well.
It’s a sad day for those in the US who use TorrentSpy or ISOHunt, two of the world’s largest public trackers sites, to find movies, music, and more to download for it seems the party’s nearing an end.
TorrentSpy and ISOHunt plan to use a hash-based system called FileRights to automatically filter BitTorrent trackers that link to pirated content from its search results to help satisfy a suit brought against them by the MPAA for the illegal facilitation of copyrighted material.
FileRights will use file hashes provided by individual copyright owners of their content that will detect and remove any torrent trackers that link to unauthorized copies. Copyright owners sign up for an account with the system and then enter the hash values of their content into the system database. FileRights will then automatically remove any links to this content.
The site says it works as follows:
FileRights.com maintains a large database of copyrighted works managed by the content holders themselves. This database forms a master list of copyrighted materials that should be removed from BitTorrent sites. When a content holder uploads information about the works they have found on a bittorrent site FileRights then distributes this information to our website subscribers so that work can be removed (filtered) from their search results. The entire process is automated to minimize the effort required by both the content holder and website operator.
“With FileRights we used the community networking power of the Web to automate and aggregate the entire copyright filtration process,” said Justin Bunnel, one of TorrentSpy’s founders and CEO of FileRights. “Torrentspy now uses the FileRights cooperative filtering process to filter search results on its popular search engine.”
“No longer will site by site DMCA affidavits be required for copyright owners to remove links to allegedly infringing files. With FileRights we used the community networking power of the web to automate and aggregate the entire copyright filtration process,” he continued.
Ira Rothkin, TorrentSpy’s attorney, also notes that ISOHunt, the subject of an MPAA lawsuit as well, will so too be using FileRights to filter copyrighted material from its search results.
Jacqueline Chooljian, a federal judge for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled on May 29th that TorrentSpy must begin tracking users’ activity on the site, a ruling which TorrentSpy is still appealing but, which will most likely stand due to the fact that the US Govt has gone to great lengths to ensure copyright protection despite the costs to the privacy of consumers and to the neutrality of the internet as a whole.
If TorrentSpy and ISOHunt do start filtering pirated content as stated, it will most likely simply mean more traffic for those file-sharing Swedes at The Pirate Bay and to increased usage of Newsgroups and private BitTorrent tracker sites instead. As is always the case with a crackdown on a specific file-sharing program or site, it merely means that users turn to alternative sites and programs but, never do they usually throw in the towel and go legit.
So far I haven’t notice any filtering of either site’s search results but, it’s hard to believe they would do this instead of merely blocking access to US visitors and stand up for the principles of user privacy and net neutrality. By eliminating copyrighted video content as requested by the MPAA they will only lose traffic to competing sites like the Pirate Bay and others and merely be reduced to glorified porn and PC game hubs.
ISOHunt has posted a response in regards to filtering copyrighted content
First of all, we do filtering on links that’s been identified for various reasons. It maybe virus infected files in torrents, it maybe copyright owners requesting takedown of links to their material. For copyright takedowns, we’ve long had a copyright policy and procedure for it. This is not censorship on content, this is filtering for identified abuse. Although DMCA has often been used as a way to censor, that’s a problem with the DMCA and the “request and takedown” regime itself, and the way some websites blindly accept takedown requests.
While I claim to be no saint, we do random sampling on requested links and verify against the identity of the owner requesting their takedown. We have on occasions rejected requests due to situations like music companies requesting takedown of torrents that looks like porn. That also goes into problems of how do you know whether torrents are what they claim to be by their filenames, but that’s another issue.
On the recent news of our partnership with FileRights.com, some clarification on a lot of misinformed reporting and comments. We haven’t started using their database yet, the system is still being developed. The idea is to take some pain away from the current “email takedown request, verify links, respond” process to “establish identity as copyright holder or its agent once, use API’s to automate the requests, and we random sample the legitimacy of the requests”. Nothing more or less is done to our copyright policy for filtering based on identified, unauthorized links to copyrighted works. It’s not DRM and it’s not censorship. It’s to automate the process so it’s easier for content owners (request once instead of 100 different BitTorrent trackers and sites), and easier for us (verify and process once for multiple sites, and no need for legalese in emails).
If you don’t like it, take it up with your congressmen about the DMCA if you are in the US. Or, seed torrents of stuff that you produced, and no problems for any of us. Bram Cohen did say something about BitTorrent not designed for piracy, and I think he’s right.
>> This reply by ISOHunt brings up some interesting questions and responses, not the least of which is the statement about “BitTorrent not being designed for piracy”(Say what?).
In a response to this posting on ISOHunt a Canadian has the gumption to note how insane the whole affair is, that as a CANADIAN visiting a CANADIAN SITE why is it that it is allowing an AMERICAN LOBBYING GROUP to tell it what to do?
Perhaps the real blame lies in us, the American people, for consistently allowing by default our corporations and our country to tell others what’s best for them and how to run their show. Net neutrality may just be a pipe dream after all if we’re allowed to scare the whole world into complying with our own self-interests.
Also, it seems I’m not alone in my disdain over this turn of events with Brokep over the Pirate Bay making clear his hatred for this new FileRights scheme writing that “F—k filerights,” and I too “Thank god that technology is smarter than some of it’s users.”