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LokiTorrent panic filter
February 11, 2005 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Let's assume, for a second, that I've maybe used LokiTorrent a few times to download a few things. Now, assume I've done this through a router and cable modem. How traceable am I? Is there any chance I could get sued? (i.e. should I take my computer and any CDs I have and make a big bonfire?)
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's traceable back to your connection (but not your computer), you won't get sued but may get a warning letter from your ISP, and they don't care whether you still have the files, since they know you downloaded them in the first place.

Also, for the record, anyone who can connect to the tracker can get the full list of peers. People got C&D letters from Paramount for downloading Enterprise from Suprnova, and that was never raided. Bittorrent is essentially the opposite of anonymous.
posted by smackfu at 12:02 PM on February 11, 2005


Your cable company's most likely not going to rat you out. They know that file trading is one of the compelling reasons to have broadband. They want you and all the other people enjoying broadband to continue to pay for high-speed service.

Plus unless you were especially prolific, you're just one of tens of thousands. They can't get everybody. You don't need to trash the evidence, either. End users seem to have an incredibly small chance of having their hard drive seized.

The fear you have is what the trade organizations are trying to spread. Don't buy into it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:10 PM on February 11, 2005


you won't get sued...

What makes you so sure?
posted by anathema at 12:21 PM on February 11, 2005



What makes you so sure?


Maybe s/he doesnt live in the US?
posted by the cuban at 12:35 PM on February 11, 2005


What makes you so sure?

In the US, the MPAA is only rarely suing individual downloaders, and even then they're only targeting the upper crust of very heavy uploaders. Someone who's only used LokiTorrent "a few times" to download "a few things" is almost guaranteed to be safe.
posted by gd779 at 12:44 PM on February 11, 2005


Bittorrent is essentially the opposite of anonymous

Exactly. Using any non anonymous p2p is like running around the world telling everyone what you are downloading.

There does exist, however, a large pseudo-p2p system that is older than the web itself and does not broadcast what you are doing to everybody. The selection is good and constantly updated, and if you have a good connection to it, your download speeds will dwarf any normal p2p system. There is a larger learning curve, but it is quite worth the time investment.
posted by jsonic at 12:45 PM on February 11, 2005


My point is that it's a fools game to make generalizations about whether or not the poster will be sued.
posted by anathema at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2005


jsonic: irc? usenet? neither are particularly anonymous
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2005


DLM - Borrowing or copying from friends, methinks.
posted by tomble at 1:09 PM on February 11, 2005


jsonic?
posted by amberglow at 1:16 PM on February 11, 2005


unless you were especially prolific, you're just one of tens of thousands.

Just one of hundreds of thousands, I think. When the site was being advertised as for sale, the ad claimed that Lokitorrent had something like 700,000 active (with the previous six months) registered users.
posted by gd779 at 1:17 PM on February 11, 2005


Okay, assuming I'm correct about the number of users, we can work out the odds that anonymous will be sued. If the MPAA sues 100 users (which is about normal for this sort of thing, I think) anonymous would have a 1 / 7000 chance of being randomly selected. Good odds. Of course, they won't randomly select people to sue - they'll only target the largest uploaders, because 1) they're the most important to keeping the network going and 2) because heavy uploaders can be sued for larger dollar figures. So, unless anonymous is one of the top, say, 100 or so uploaders out of 700,000 (very, very unlikely for a casual downloader) he or she is probably perfectly safe.
posted by gd779 at 1:26 PM on February 11, 2005


Usenet's pretty safe -- only your ISP knows what you got. Of course, the day we see binary newsgroups "catch on" is the day every ISP stops carrying *.binaries groups.
posted by Eamon at 1:39 PM on February 11, 2005


BTW, Sony is reading this. Just so you know.
posted by milovoo at 2:07 PM on February 11, 2005


Of course, the day we see binary newsgroups "catch on" is the day every ISP stops carrying *.binaries groups.

ISP's are pretty useless already for usenet because of download limits and poor post retention. There are certain usenet providers (no names so you don't think I'm shilling) that offer unlimited downloads, extensive post retention (months for dvd newsgroups) at speeds that can easily max out a 4mbs cable modem.

And dirtylittlemonkey is correct that usenet is not anonymous. But it cuts the essential link that the RIAA/MPAA are using to find targets. Since you aren't broadcasting what you are downloading, they won't know to send a DMCA to your ISP to get the info associated with your IP address.

And usenet will be completely annoying unless you're using a good newsreader that will auto-group binary messages. Also make sure that you understand what par and par2 files are.
posted by jsonic at 2:13 PM on February 11, 2005


"Your cable company's most likely not going to rat you out. They know that file trading is one of the compelling reasons to have broadband."

This is very true people, keep it in mind. I have a friend who is a high-up at comcast cable. They SELL their connections on the basis of downloading multimedia, and when they say 'multimedia' you know what they mean.

Even the companies who don't actively fight back in court don't like the RIAA/MPAA at all. If people aren't able to download music and movies anymore many less will be buying high speed internet.


Anyway, the RIAA/MPAA tends to warn you before they sue, if you get a warning...it's time to consider netflix and itunes.

And if you are paranoid, do so right now.

If you are worried the loki logs will bust you...there is nothing you can do at this point, don't bother ripping out your hard drive or anything. ...You should have realized from day one this could have happened when you are using such a public US based site for illegal file downloading.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:22 PM on February 11, 2005


jsonic: In every discussion on downloading USENET comes up...I've used it plenty before for simple discussion but never for music or movies, I know you don't want to sound like a shill, so could you link me towards info on how to go about using usenet for nefarious purposes?

I assume you have to pay for a decent usenet server...and paying seems to take the fun/utility out of it. It seems much more logical to pay for Netflix instead of a USENET server.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:24 PM on February 11, 2005


If you are worried the loki logs will bust you...there is nothing you can do at this point, don't bother ripping out your hard drive or anything.

Well, technically, you only downloaded a .torrent from Loki; there is no proof that you then went on to open that .torrent in your BitTorrent client and actually obtain the file. I think the standard of proof in an actual court would be a little bit higher. Still, if they told you they had actually logged onto the tracker and found you with the file, you'd have no way of knowing they were bluffing unless you actually went to court.

I would think that if they are going after individual pirates, what they would do is allow Loki and the other stites to stay up and see who actually downloads the torrents that are posted. As smackfu noted, this is easily obtained. The fact that they are hitting Web sites that link to torrents means that they are primarily aiming for an overall decrease in the use of BitTorrent.
posted by kindall at 2:42 PM on February 11, 2005


nefarious purposes...

Don't think that I'm condoning such things, just providing info about usenet.

You pay for a fast connection and file retention. Netflix is a great service for dvds that are already out and is much easier than downloading, repairing, and extracting a 5 gig dvd iso image. Usenet provides pre-release, and many times, dvd iso's of in theater movies (stay far away from cam'd/telesync'd movies, quality is horrible). Not to mention every other type of binary data besides movies is available.

As far as software: noncomercial=xnews commercial=newsbin pro. As far as a provider...just look around online and compare.
posted by jsonic at 2:48 PM on February 11, 2005


Two important points

1) They can really only sue you for uploading, not for downloading. It's possible you could be breaking some very new laws, but in general, copyright is about distributing things to other people, not about taking things for yourself. It's in the best intrest of the MPAA and RIAA to confuse the two, though.

2) If you're using bittorent, and you're downloading, you're also uploading. Bittorent was not designed to be an anonymous, illicit system. It was meant to aliviate website bandwidth for big downloads. Don't torrent anything you wouldn't put on a website.
posted by delmoi at 4:08 PM on February 11, 2005


"Sony is reading this"

Hey, Sony, I've had this Walkman for about eighteen years, and lately it's been eating tapes.

My email's in my profile. Thanks!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:52 PM on February 11, 2005


BTW, Sony is reading this. Just so you know.

Anyone else notice that the other Gawker empire sites don't seem to be giving shoutouts to Lifehacker, the way they've historically done for each other?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2005


The way I understand it, for real privacy, you'd probably need a proxy server on a separate network that allows anonymous logins and deletes its logs every couple of seconds. Realistically, though, every couple of hours would do.
posted by ontic at 6:30 PM on February 11, 2005


Or it could just not log anything.
posted by smackfu at 7:17 PM on February 11, 2005


We've talked about Usenet on AskMe many times before. For ultimate anonymity, use a proxy server in another country and a Usenet account purchased through Western Union. The holes there would be said proxy server and of course your ISP.
posted by calwatch at 11:18 PM on February 11, 2005


Buy your USENET access through a company like EasyNews that claims to not keep access logs. Easynews has an unadvertised beta global search [members only link] that makes it painfully easy to find what you want without looking through long lists of poorly-named alt.binaries newsgroups.

Also, getting files from Usenet is a download-only proposition. I think the RIAA and MPAA liked going after P2P users because as a part of P2P you also also make your downloaded loot available.
posted by zsazsa at 12:08 AM on February 12, 2005


Also: I hate to sound like a shill for them, but EasyNews also can be accessed via https or secure NNTP, so nobody can know what you're downloading.
posted by zsazsa at 12:13 AM on February 12, 2005


They can really only sue you for uploading, not for downloading

I think that the law considers the copy you make on your computer an infringement so they could sue you for downloading alone. On the criminal side I think you are right; downloading by itself I do not believe is an offense.
posted by caddis at 7:30 AM on February 12, 2005


Also, getting files from Usenet is a download-only proposition. I think the RIAA and MPAA liked going after P2P users because as a part of P2P you also also make your downloaded loot available.

You can make posts to usenet. How do you think all that stuff gets there? You are correct about the https. If you are encrypted to the news server, then the specifics of what you are downloading are invisible to your ISP and everyone else except for the usenet provider.
posted by jsonic at 7:33 AM on February 12, 2005


It is download-only from my perspective, since I will never post anything.
posted by smackfu at 7:35 AM on February 12, 2005


See this link for info on EasyNews via Western Union (actually cheaper than the comparable cash account, even when Western Union fees are considered).

For posting, the thing to do is to look at your favorite poster and their headers, and use their provider.
posted by calwatch at 1:23 AM on February 13, 2005


They can really only sue you for uploading, not for downloading

But this is bittorrent. isn't the whole point to be uploading while you're downloading?
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:13 AM on February 14, 2005


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