The entertainment industry is furious about its treatment at the hands of pirates. Last year, even the creator of iPhone cracking-app Crackulous got pretty annoyed when his work leaked. But it’s not just content creators that get angry at pirates – and this is where it starts to get a little confusing.
The following story revolves around a small private BitTorrent tracker, one that specializes in various sub-genres of urban music. There is no work of mainstream artists at all, so there aren’t really any copyright worries, particularly since many artists and people from labels are active members of the site. The site even has its own album in the making.
The tracker makes its own ‘scene’-type releases too, often in advance of true scene groups and often at a better quality. Some members who have these to share choose to put them up as ‘Site-Only’, and issue an order not to leak outside of the tracker. But to the dismay of some members of the site these exclusive releases leak too. Absolutely everything. Damn pirates.
Within minutes of upload, these releases spread to many blog-type sites, in particular Russian ones. Not only was someone inconsiderately leaking an already-leaked release, but they also had the nerve to remove the tracker’s release ‘tags’ from its description, passing the work off as their own. There was a leaker in town – maybe more than one – who knows, but the “Site-Onlys” were tunneling out and the recriminations had begun.
A handful of upset releasers threatened to stop sharing their exclusive stuff, while becoming quite vocal about how much time, effort and in some case money they put into their position. Then, they say – despite all the pleas – people go ahead and leak the releases – and they don’t even pause to say “thanks”. Bastards.
It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a similar situation in the ‘real Scene’, where angry release groups simultaneously cursed the evil individual who constantly leaked their releases to the tracker. “If only they could find him and ban him,” they would muse, it would cut off the music supply and rid the tracker of most of its releases. One could imagine a similar scene at a recording label as they ponder the route of their latest leak to Internet.
Back at the tracker the community began to panic. They were thinking of all the stuff they were going to miss out on when the releasers kept their candy to themselves. They were absolutely clear, the admin had to do something. One member said:
Someone is leaking our torrents, we lose our exclusives? Find him in the logs! BURN HIM!
An admin on the site involved told TorrentFreak that this happens often. “We could track the leaker but then what, ban him? He’s just sharing it with his own site but they[the site's releasers] want action.”
Lots of ‘solutions’ were put forward. One group wanted a ‘private-sharing area’ from where (apparently) nothing could leak, since access to it would be limited and the section would be “invite only”. The whole site is a very limited membership already and is also “invite-only” and thrives on the work of “leakers”. Hmmm, interesting.
Some members puzzled over why people would want to “ruin the site” by leaking stuff outside and derided the Russian sites as pure evil, their uploaders thieves and demanded them traced and kicked from the site.
Others suggested a complicated tiered-membership system as a kind of proving ground for ultimate access to the “Site-Only” material. Others wanted a tracker-wide Russian IP ban, others wanted a paid-subscription area. Some opted that access to the “Site-Only” stuff should be based an algorithm calculated from ratio, forum posts, time on the site and other sundry stats.
Ultimately a handful of releasers wanted a guarantee from the admin that nothing would leak, something impossible to give.
While the very nature of things like BitTorrent means that people have to share files, it is interesting to see how some file-sharers can be as protective of the content they handle, as the people who created it. Their reasons are very different, but with all the talk of anger at leaks, of locking out an entire country’s citizens, proposals of denying access to all but those who could afford it and mounting a worldwide witch-hunt for leakers, there are some intriguing parallels.
“We caught the leaker,” the admin told us. “He’s one of our best releasers…”
Better put the burning on hold.