P2P Funneling Online Piracy

The peer-to-peer (P2P) model for swapping content, services, and software tools is alarmingly increasing the online piracy practice. Concerned over copyright infringement and security issues – Business Software Alliance (BSA) is all set to focus its efforts on this issue.

“P2P is becoming a real problem for us in thjis region as far as Internet piracy is concerned. Over 90 per cent of illegal downloads have come via the P2P way and this is alarmingly increasing,” explains, Tarun Sawney, Director – Anti Piracy, Asia, BSA.

The capability of Internet to create an inter-connecting fabric for seamless communication is helping the earstwhile online gamers and ametuers into online pirates. Websites like – www.edonkey.com, www.fastrack.com and www.directconnect.com make things even better.
“During the past recent months, we have seen at least 138 cases of infringement coming from India alone. This figure didn’t exist a couple of years back. That’s why we want to focus on India to educate people about online piracy and its harm to the overall industry,” he added.

Powered by the electronic commerce capabilities – amateur software professionals are using web based auction sites for online piracy practice as different versions of pirated software packages are found listed on websites like US based www.ebay.com or Indian auction success story www.baazee.com .

“Though these websites are being used by many as a way to provide pirated version of software. We have received all the support from these websites. Recently we pointed out seven such cases to Baazee.com and it immidiately took action against the concerned party. Same is the case with eBay or other auction sites,” Sawney explained.

To counter this problem of P2P based online piracy – BSA has devised a strategy to send Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Take Down Notice’ against the websites that contain pirated software copies. “We can pinpoint a particular IP address that is facilitating a P2P illegal software download and then go to the concerned ISP with a Take down notice. We have done it in the past and it is turning out to be a good way to curb this problem,” he added.

However, specifically talking about the Indian scenario, Sawney expressed concern over the rate at which this trend is increasing in India. “The fundamental problem is the mindset and we need to change that. We are working with different government bodies like Nasscomm, CII and FICCI to see how we can initiate this change,” he added.

Sharing music files was yesterday’s news. Now, the worries are shifting towards sharing of pirated software over high-speed Internet connection.

Sharing movies is the latest trend in file swapping of copyrighted material. In advance of the release of upcoming movies, bootlegged copies of the movies spring up at several Web sites.

Global media giant – Twentieth Century Fox recently sent an open letter to ISPs requesting that they close Web sites offering bootlegged versions its movies in acordance with the Digital Millennium Act. Still, most major Hollywood films may appear first on the Internet before long.

In the case of P2P networks, though, copyrighted material is easily stored on the PCs of home users and shared from there. This not only makes the material almost impossible to find when the user is off-line, but also creates a gray area concerning who can be held legally responsible for preventing any data exchange of prohibited material.

The issue of copyright infringement through P2P file sharing took center stage during the long legal battle faced by the Napster music-swapping service. Concern over this issue, along with the example of Napster, has even given birth to watchdog organizations such as Copyright Control Services, which specializes in policing the Web for copyright infringement.

Meanwhile, global analysts are making bold predictions about the prospects for new P2P applications. Napster was much more than just a means of ‘sharing’ music. It was the first expression of how peer-to-peer networking enables communities of customers to exchange value and information, and change the structure of an entire industry. Researchers predict that despite copyright and security issues, the peer-to-peer model will still help build many kinds of virtual communities.

Intel, a big backer of the peer-to-peer model, founded the Peer-to-Peer Working Group, which has over 60 participating companies and organizations. Peer-to-peer is really the opportunity to use the Internet for its real, underlying architecture–an ad hoc, resilient, worldwide network of resources, all being able to directly communicate and interact with each other.

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