Dan Mitchell Exposes TorrentFreak as BitTorrent Pirates

News Bits

At TorrentFreak we have a habit of ignoring commentary on other sites, but sometimes we make an exception.

Especially when it comes from the esteemed Dan Mitchell, who has written for Fortune, the New York Times, Slate, Wired, National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune and his school paper.

Commenting on our ‘revelation‘ that the RIAA is allowing pirates to use their IP-addresses, he’s making a bit of a mess. Starting off by branding us as a pro-piracy site.

These accusations are far from solid. TorrentFreak, as its name implies, essentially promotes and defends piracy.

Since when do we promote or defend piracy… essentially? I’d like to see a reference.

The editor goes by “Ernesto.” If Ernesto hadn’t found any evidence that didn’t support his thesis, he wouldn’t have written anything. It wouldn’t have fit his agenda. And any evidence that he does find, he’s going to play up for all it’s worth, even if it’s worth next to nothing.

Oh really Dan Mitchell? Is that why we write about all those people who get fined and thrown in jail for copyright infringement? That’s clearly an anti-piracy agenda but there’s no other site on the Internet that puts out that message as much as we do.

We targeted the RIAA because they actually sued people who downloaded copyrighted content, so it has more news value than exposing BitTorrent pirates at Starbucks.

The lookup site Ernesto used, YouHaveDownloaded, is even sketchier. The Russia-based site is full of wackiness, like the bio of its main tech dude, Ruslan K., who says: “Ruslan has a vision and I’m ready to bet $100,000 against a candy that he’ll be on the very top of the Internet mountain in 5 years.” And the site’s main man, Suren Ter, responded in the site’s comments section to criticism of its accuracy by asserting: “The site is just for show.”

If Dan Mitchell would have taken the time then the site’s founders would have been more than happy to explain how legit their data is. That’s exactly what they’ve done to the 100s of real journalists who contacted them. Being Russian doesn’t mean you make things up, and the people behind the site run respective side-businesses also.

Or perhaps Dan Mitchell could have checked the comments on our original article where many people confirmed the legitimacy?

If that’s too much work Dan Mitchell could have also looked up some foreign titles on the site. Then he’d noticed that German content is mostly downloaded by Germans, Chinese by people from China etcetera. Pretty tricky to make that up.

It’s impossible to tell how accurate the site is, but all available information points to: Not very. For one thing, the site doesn’t account for the use of dynamic IP addresses, which get assigned within a block to various users at various times.

Right, in our original article we explicitly stated that it doesn’t take dynamic addresses into account. But…. The IP-range the RIAA has registered with ARIN is far from dynamic. If you know anything about the workings of ARIN assignments you would have realized that.

Any given address could easily have been used by some kid in a Georgetown dorm room and then been assigned to the RIAA’s Washington, D.C. offices.

No Dan Mitchell, that would be impossible as the RIAA has owned these IPs for years.

And the RIAA says that while it has been assigned some of the IP addresses within the range reported by YouHaveDownloaded it used those addresses for publishing its website, not for Internet access. YouHaveDownloaded apparently doesn’t make such distinctions.

No, but we do. The organizations we wrote about have static IP addresses. We’re not idiots. If Dan Mitchell only would have asked one person with some technical knowledge, he would have heard that these ARIN ranges that are assigned to organizations are not dynamic.

Out.

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