In recent years, technical anti-piracy enforcement has taken a less aggressive approach to that previously demonstrated by the infamous MediaDefender. But now, according to a company being hired to protect Bollywood blockbusters, if BitTorrent sites don’t cooperate by taking down torrents when asked, they will have denial of service attacks launched against them and material taken down by force.
While anti-piracy actions had grown steadily more aggressive, it still came as a bit of a surprise when it was revealed in 2008 that a DoS-style attack had been launched against Revision3′s BitTorrent tracker.
Founded by Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson of Digg fame along with David Prager of TechTV, Revision3 serves up around 6 million downloads per month. However, their whole operation was turned upside down two years ago when the now-defunct MediaDefender abused Revision3′s tracker for their own ends and when denied access “threw an epic tantrum” which took down the whole site.
Since the demise of MediaDefender, anti-piracy companies certainly haven’t gone away and some have still resorted to DoS-style attacks. Trident Media Guard, the French anti-piracy outfit selected by the music and movie industry to track down French pirates under the new ‘Hadopi’ law, was recently spotted trying to pointlessly smother a user sharing via BitTorrent.
Most groups working in this field keep their techniques private but as we shall see, that’s not true for all of them. According to an India-based company working on behalf of Bollywood studios, there are a number of techniques they can use to deal with movie piracy, from the gentle to the particularly aggressive.
According to Girish Kumar, managing director of AiPlex Software – a company recently hired to combat piracy on the movie My Name is Khan (which trended at #1 on KickAssTorrents earlier this year) – they begin with a simple notice and takedown.
“When we detect a website offering a link or a download, we contact the server hosts and intimate them about the illegal activity. They issue a notice to the site owner,” Kumar explains. “If the site owner does not comply, the site is either suspended or dismissed,” he adds optimistically.
When a copy of the movie Peepli Live appeared on the private Desi tracker ICTorrent on August 13th 2010, AiPlex promptly ordered it to take down the torrent.
Although it’s reported that the site complied, TorrentFreak checked and the file is still there along with several others added in the past few weeks.
“The problem is with torrent sites, which usually do not oblige,” acknowledges Kumar. But AiPlex, which charges between $4,290 and $8,580 to ‘protect’ movies for a four-week period, have other tricks up their sleeve.
“In such cases, we flood the website with requests, which results in database error, causing denial of service as each server has a fixed bandwidth capacity,” Kumar reveals. And it doesn’t stop there.
“At times, we have to go an extra mile and attack the site and destroy the data to stop the movie from circulating further,” he adds.
Given the nature of these pretty outlandish admissions, TorrentFreak contacted AiPlex (who confusingly list ‘Bram Cohen’ as a type of torrent client on their site) for comment but at time of publication we had received no response. We also contacted the administrators at ICTorrent but they were equally silent.
Although it’s long been suspected that ‘dirty tricks’ have been employed by anti-piracy groups in the past, it is very unusual for a company to openly admit using these type of techniques against torrent sites. Should AiPlex offer us a statement, we will update this post accordingly.