RIAA and Homeland Security Caught Downloading Torrents

If there's one organization known for its crusade against online piracy, it's the RIAA. Nevertheless, even in the RIAA's headquarters several people use BitTorrent to download pirated music, movies, TV-shows and software. And they are in good company. The Department of Homeland Security - known for seizing pirate domain names - also harbors hundreds of BitTorrent pirates.

Last week we wrote about a new website that exposes what people behind an IP-address have downloaded using BitTorrent. The Russian-based founders of the site gathered this data from public BitTorrent trackers, much like anti-piracy outfits do when they track down copyright infringers.

In response to the article many readers commented that they indeed saw a few familiar downloads, and they are not alone.

YouHaveDownloaded currently lists information on more than 50 million users. Although this is only a fraction of all public BitTorrent downloads, it shows that in pretty much every major organization people are pirating content.

Earlier this week we already showed that there are BitTorrent pirates at Sony, Universal and Fox. A few days later it was revealed that torrents are being downloaded in the palace of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and today we can add the RIAA and the Department of Homeland Security to the list.

After carefully checking all the IP-addresses of the RIAA we found 6 unique addresses from where copyrighted material was shared. Aside from recent music albums from Jay-Z and Kanye West – which may have been downloaded for research purposes – RIAA staff also pirated the first five seasons of Dexter, an episode of Law and Order SVU, and a pirated audio converter and MP3 tagger.

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RIAA staff have a taste for crime dramas.

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And of course some handy audio tools.

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All in all, quite an astonishing revelation for an outfit that wants to disconnect copyright infringers from the Internet.

Another prominent organization that has been in the news for their tough actions against online piracy is the Department of Homeland Security. In recent months they have seized domain names of hundreds of sites accused of facilitating counterfeiting and piracy, including the torrent search engine Torrent-Finder.

By now it probably comes as no surprise that staff at the Department of Homeland Security are also using BitTorrent. In fact, we found more than 900 unique IP-addresses at the Government organization through which copyrighted files were downloaded.

Since Homeland Security employs more than 200,000 people the finding is hardly a surprise. However, this and the other revelations show that BitTorrent is being used everywhere, from government agencies to even the most outspoken anti-piracy outfits.

For now at least, since the RIAA has lobbied hard for a nationwide piracy monitoring system much like YouHaveDownloaded.

In a few months millions of online ‘pirates’ will be monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all major U.S. Internet providers. Alleged infringers will be notified about their misbehavior, and repeat offenders will eventually be punished.

But will the RIAA be punished too?

Update: RIAA: Someone Else Is Pirating Through Our IP- Addresses

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