MPAA gets caught laying torrent traps

Written by Brett Thomas

January 12, 2007 // 5:14 p.m.

Tags: #btjunkie #mpaa

It has long been suspected that the MPAA and RIAA might try to frustrate or even punish pirates by using bugged, dodgy, or otherwise false Bit Torrent trackers. However, it wasn't easy to catch the agency "in the act"...however, one slick admin over at btjunkie.com has done just that.

The torrent files are set up as 'honey pots' - they record the IP of the connecting pirate as he or she downloads the pieces of the files (which are bogus, by the way). They're even named smartly - many of the fakes look like real torrent names, including fake cracking groups, formats, etc. And before anyone goes and screams "Entrapment!", the MPAA is hiding behind the fact that it is not a law enforcement agency (despite that it takes the reverse of that stance in the courtroom) and that it's just offering something fakes for people who were going to do anyway, making the act legal.

Under law, it is illegal to "fight fire with fire," so the trackers that propegate the servers are actually links to dead files that will either stall close to completion or just be a mess of scrambled data. To date, nobody has had virus or malware issues with the dodgy sites - just a lot of failed downloads. The amount of servers and quality of the files being thrown out illustrates a very professional job.

The btjunkie admin recognized a pattern in the servers that provide continually deficient downloads, and the guys over at TorrentFreak have started to put up some of the server names. A combined force from both sites is combing through and flagging the files based on their host, as well. All of the hosts come out of the southern California and Las Vegas areas, and are easy to identify by IP ranges.

Just for an example of how much of this is going on, here is a current search from TorrentPortal - all of the files with a red X are fakes.

Got a thought on the **AA's dubious antics? Vent off your annoyances in our forums.

QUICK COMMENT

View this in the forums

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

WEEK IN REVIEW

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU