By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Design
Tribler's file-sharing network is decentralized and operates like a social network.
We can all get the sense that the US government has suddenly gotten really serious about cracking down on online piracy. Yet it may ultimately become a moot point as a team of developers have designed a file sharing technology that they claim is impossible to shut down.
Tribler, a bit torrent file-sharing network, has actually been around for five years, operating underneath the radar as users flocked to popular piracy gateways such as the Pirate Bay and BTjunkie. But during that time period, researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands were designing Tribler as a way share files without the need for centralized servers. The open-source client uses an overlay network (a computer network built on top of another network) for users to search and download files directly from one another. And since there's no listing site to index the files, there's no specified point of which to attack or take it offline.
“Our key scientific quest is facilitating unbounded information sharing,” Tribler leader Dr. Pouwelse told TorrentFreak. “We simply don’t like unreliable servers. With Tribler we have achieved zero-seconds downtime over the past six years, all because we don’t rely on shaky foundations such as DNS, web servers or search portals.”
The latest attempt by authorities to combat illegal file-sharing has fueled what has become a firestorm of controversy. Back in January, Wikipedia and other major web sites held a temporarily black out in protest of SOPA and PIPA, a pair of congressional bills proposed as as a means of protecting intellectual property. The backlash, however, forced politicians to back off momentarily and instead turn their efforts to shutting down sites that served as forums for rampant piracy. Not too long after that, the FBI in co-operation with New Zealand law enforcement arrested MegaUpload founder Kim Dot Com, a bold move that spooked similar sites like BTJunkie and the Pirate Bay into voluntarily ending access to Bit Torrent.
But just as it appeared as though authorities were on the cusp of dismantling the massive infrastructure that supported the kind of activity the entertainment industry considered highway robbery, technology may in the end have the upper hand. Tribler has undergone an incubation and testing period of six years and during that time has never been knocked offline. In fact, the software functions similarly to social networks like Facebook in that users can mark other users as friends. Those people can be used to increase the download speed of files by borrowing their upload capacity. The program also monitors the user's downloading preferences and uses that information to recommend other content, a feature similar to online radio sites like Last.fm. The latest version even includes the option to edit torrent names and descriptions Wikipedia style.
- Related post: Are reports of rampant digital piracy overblown?
Here's a more detailed explanation of how the client works as reported by Torrent Freak, the site that broke the story:
Like many other BitTorrent clients, Tribler has a search box at the top of the application. However, the search results that appear when users type in a keyword don’t come from a central index. Instead, they come directly from other peers.
Downloading a torrent is also totally decentralized. When a user clicks on one of the search results, the meta-data is pulled in from another peer and the download starts immediately. Tribler is based on the standard BitTorrent protocol and uses regular BitTorrent trackers to communicate with other peers. But, it can also continue downloading when a central tracker goes down.
The same is true for spam control. Where most torrent sites have a team of moderators to delete viruses, malware and fake files, Tribler uses crowd-sourcing to keep the network clean. Content is verified by user generated “channels”, which can be “liked” by others. When more people like a channel, the associated torrents get a boost in the search results.
With other BitTorrent sites folding in the face of legal pressure, Tribler's network may emerge as the last bastion for file sharers, both legal or illegal. However, much of that will depend on how the researchers go about refining the software and whether enough people adopt the software since it relies on the network of users to function as a clearinghouse of sorts. Since Wednesday, rising demand has forced Tribler to reduce the site to just the download page to comply with demand.
And if authorities really want to take out the network, there's always the nuclear option.
“The only way to take it down," Pouwelse told Torrent Freak. "is to take The Internet down.”
(via Torrent Freak)
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Feb 9, 2012
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It has to be invented yet. If I want to be honest, what are my options? ------------------------------------------------------ - I can buy movies, but they are too expensive. Not worth ???20 for a dvd that I will watch maybe 2 or 3 times. A CD with music for ???18 euros will be played numerous times. Also I should be able to make a backup, and a digital copy to another device. In the US I should be allowed according to fair use, but the DMCA prevents this (to do it legally). So the US law is schizofrenic. Because there is DRM, which denies me my fair use with technical hurdles. - I can rent DVDs, but I have to go out, the choice is very limited. Much is already rented-out, so I have to wait. When I come home, I may discover that the disc is unplayable because of scratches. It happened to me often that the disc stopped playing half-way through the movie. Yes, I could go back, but how many free evenings do you think I have together with my wife? I can get a new disc the next day, but I cannot get the lost evening together back... Also, there is the issue of returning the discs in time, or else pay a fine. Renting DVDs a MAYOR inconvenience compared to pirating. - I can rent a movie from a video on demand service. But you usually need a special program (full with DRM) to be able to play the file. This will usually be windows only, maybe a mac version too if you are lucky, but forget about Linux. Also the choice of movies is even less than in the DVD rental shop. And not less expensive, often MORE expensive, despite not having to maintain a shop with clerks, physical disks, logistics, heating, cleaning, etc. So, if I pirate: ---------------- - I can find a version of almost ANYTHING I want within minutes. - It will be downloaded to my computer within an hour. - It will usually just play, unless it is a fake file (but you can often find warnings against those) - Risk of detection is still low. With better and more anonymous sharing programs, detection of piracy will become either prohibitively difficult, or will require draconically invasive methods of filtering and inspection by authorities or the ISP. So draconically in fact, that the proper functioning of the Internet for normal use and commerce will be impacted. Then the fight against piracy enabling programs will have to be abandoned because it will destroy the economy. - So, for little or no cost, I can pirate and watch, listen or read anything with great convenience. No other content distributing system comes close to that experience. Am I a bad person now? ------------------------------- - If I pirate it is NOT because I refuse to pay for anything. I WANT to pay for the movies I watch and music I listen. - I want to pay a fair price. I want to pay a flat fee per month. Say: ???15. For this, I want to watch and listen what I want, whenever I want. In reality, that is not that cheap, how many hours per day does the average person have to consume media anyway? Three hours per evening? People have day jobs, have to care for children, visit friends, do other stuff like going out, walk the dog, etc. So 3 hours a day, 90 hours per month seems already a lot for the average person. Sure, there may be elderly, or students, or unemployed who may have more time for media than that. But they usually still will not consume that much, and also the people who have that much time on their hands tend to have little money anyway. - I hate to pay the middle-man for my media. I want to pay the creative people directly. I care about those, not about some record company. - My ???15 euro per month should therefore be split, according to relative consumption measured in time, to each of the rights-holders. So, suppose I watched 10 hours of LOST and listened 10 hours to Michael Jackson this month: then 50% of ???15 goes to the makers of LOST, and 50% to the Michaels Jacksons record company. Indies artist can even get paid directly. - Payment must occur via micropayments, or maybe even with Bitcoins. The accounting is done via a plugin that can work in say VLC and other programs that work in Windows, OS X and Linux. An open source plugin, that can be ported to any other mediaplayer. Almost all major media player on each OS support some kind of plugins. - The files can be kept in a fully distributed and redundant filesystem, using a portion of each users' harddisk, while their computer is on. This filesystem contains a library with ideally all movies, music ever made. - It occurs to me, this system could be developed anyway. But then totally anonymous, untraceable. You could still have the micropayments, but also totally anonymous. Maybe it is time to force the building of such a system, to end the war between producers and consumers of media. Hey Anonymous: you're really good with computers. Stop the stupid hacking and ddos-ing. Build this system instead. Then you can be _really_ disruptive!
SOPA and PIPA are bad ideas all around. They encouraged abuse of the worst kind they way they were written. "In Good Faith" could easily be abused w/o repercussions of the stated/claimed copyright holder. Um... predatory practices to kill competition, to control what you hear and see, and play.... for a price you can listen, watch, or play... the Media Cartels want full control, independents can either surrender to them or get crushed as far as they're concerned. The wording of these things allowed for all of this in addition to strong-arm censorship, while shouting at the sheeple that it's only intent was to stop piracy. That said: Piracy isn't going to go away. The methods will change to get around whatever is put in their way. Now, these media publishing conglomerates/cartels should just stop wasting money on anti-piracy, lower prices where they can, and just plain deliver better products and customer service. That will slow down piracy. Their lawyers are getting richer faster than they are anyway.
true it can never been shutdown but thats really OLD technology, server-level file hosting was the SUCCESSOR ot bit-torrent/kazaa/lime-wire...etc...etc which without seeds tend to be very slow or even non-functional....free file hosting on the other hand...fast, and always available (unless the FBI shuts it down ofcours, lol) anyway, my fav: http://www.peeje.com/upload ...hotlinkz baby 8)
Remove ISP immunity from prosecution for DELIVERING CONTRABAND, and you've stopped piracy. ATT, Verizon, Sprint, cable companies - they all know what they're delivering, and CHARGE a premium for it. They're making billions while peer-to-peer buddies share songs and movies for "free." If I pack a brown paper bag from Columbia to NYC for a fee, but claim I don't know it's cocaine in the bag, well, TOO BAD. I go to jail. ISPs must be held to the same standard. Under threat of criminal prosecution, they'd find a solution fast. Users can't claim that it's none of the ISP's business what they're downloading any more than drug dealers can claim it's not my business what's in the brown paper bag. If I'm packing it, it's my business. If they're delivering it, it's their business. Want privacy while sharing illegal goods? Don't all criminals. Demand privacy while sharing legal goods? Mail it in a thumb drive, but don't expect the postal service to not be concerned.
Companies trying to protect their property can still share content on Tribler and then track who's downloading from them (remember, it's peer-to-peer). Once they have your IP they then approach your ISP with the information that a customer has been downloading copyrighted content. From there your ISP can hand over your identity so they can sue you and/or they can shut off your Internet. I've seen it happen on another P2P. How do I know? I plead the fifth.
What ever happened to Honor? Will law or tech restore it to each of us? Is slick, witty, or clever all that's left? Where is the deep sense of connectedness with all that's around us that grounds our outlook and actions? 1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor. 2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family. 3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor. 4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead. 5. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.
Maybe its about time the Music and Movie Industry stop using lawyers and the courts to help protect their product and start spending some of thier Billions of dollars in profits to develope technology to protect it.
The music and video companies need to stop to overcharge their users. One way would be to stop paying actors so much money, and then certainly people would pay a small fee to have their products. But since every body is greedy, let go the free way. Sorry share holders.
The music and video companies need to prosecute the developers of Tribler and such software. -- Then they need to secretly develop computer infections to attack locations where the piracy software is being used. -- There's a lot of money in music and movies, and they need to use some of it to destroy the pirates... one way or the other.
Turn off the internets! As long as there are humans, there will be piracy. Out of the crooked timber of humanity...
...quit stealing. Should you be allowed to steal a Corvette just because you can't afford one? Only a baby thinks it should get everything it wants in life and cries when it doesn't. Grownups have to live with the reality that "you don't always get what you want".
Although you've been voted down quite a bit, I agree with your...how do you say? IDEAL. You and I share the same ideal...but I'm not sure that we share the same reality. This issue with this "honor system" that you (and I through proxy) idealize is that the system built to have the most honor (known as the US Government) is one of the least honorable institutions in the country...if not the World. The continued manipulation, under-education, emotion-advertising, sheeple-creating, abominable heuristic institution is now trying to keep it's [inverted] followers honorable? From the school system to the justice system (lower-case intended), the government continues to not be for the people; shows every four years how it's not BY the people (only "rich" people are fit to serve in high government offices?). Thus... honesty and fairness? Minorities are disproportionately arrested and convicted of non-violent crimes that destroy families and communities. US GOV -1 source of credit or distinction? The US Gov has forced its country into three wars through coercion or outright lying (Vietnam, WW2, Iraq/Afghanistan) US Gov -2 high respect? (The passing of the National Defense Authorization Act, that allows US citizens to be arrested and sent to secret prisons abroad without charge or trial killed that for those in the know) US Gov -3 Shall I continue? As with any group, the people are only as good as its leaders. Even worse is when those leaders are provided for you to sift through. What are really any difference between any of the leaders over the last twelve years? Shucks...the last thirty years? As a non-interventionist country (don't argue with me...read The Constitution), we sure have gotten in quite a few wars without real provocation... Is there any mystery as to why we haven't been invaded since The Civil War, but we've been in an innumerable amount of countries since? You could believe the cause was good or bad, but it isn't our COMMON LAW. Is this honorable? I could [obviously] go on... Live well...
And Sony got sued! Sony, in a bid to try and prevent people making copies (ripping) of their CD's (even though one has a legal right in most countries to make a legal copy either as backup or for digital usage) they invented the rootkit which would imbed itself on the user's PC on first insertion of said CD... saw Sony successfully sued class-action style! There was also an attempt to do exactly what you suggested.... ratings systems dealt with that effort too. When entertainment companies stop ripping of their customer base, piracy will lower to levels consistent with base human nature.... you'll never kill it completely.
The music and video companies are too stupid to do this successfully...Every attempt they make to monitor or attack interlopers backfires on them. Take, for example, Sony's rootkit fiasco! They manufactured a rootkit (outsourced it) that would monitor users use of Sony music CDs and track when people uploaded the songs to the web. These songs would then be able to be tracked back to the violator who purchased the CD in the first place using the tracking application in the Rootkit. Needless to say, this was a horrible implementation and a complete and total bust that culminated in the now failing sony enterprise...3.1billion dollars in loss because people are beginning to realize that Sony hates their customers!
The developers of Tribler or more conventional file sharing software haven't broken any laws. It's not piracy software. It's file sharing software that millions & millions of people use for illegal downloads of copyrighted content. Any malware that could be used to attack the computers of these many millions of people could be modified to be used against computers owned by people that don't participate in on-line piracy. That would ultimately put media companies on the same side of countries like China & Iran & at odds with every government in the free world & most major corporations.