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BayTSP anti-piracy technology

By gunner800 in MLP
Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:39:25 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

Wired is running a story about BayTSP. BayTSP claims to search the "entire internet" by monitoring traffic and comparing file transfers to samples of copyrighted media files. They'll even bypass firewalls.

If a "violation" is found, they notify the owner of the server as well as the ISP of the server. The idea is to make the ISPs, who "often ... have much deeper pockets" take action or face a lawsuit.

The article and the company site are a bit vague about how it works, but it sounds like an old-fashioned webcrawler that searches for files being offered, possibly combined with a packet sniffer. And of course, it's all justified by the DMCA.

The article points out some ways the snooping might be made ineffective, but I'm also concerned about the legality. I suspect that some of the more loosly-worded anti-hacking laws already on the books would make this technique illegal, especially if Wired's claim about monitoring traffic (instead of just web crawling) are accurate.

Something to keep in mind: the Wired article makes vague claims about monitoring traffic and privacy concerns, but I couldn't find anything on the BayTSP site that suggests anything more aggressive than a web crawler.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
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Should a private company be allowed to indiscriminately sample traffic to watch for copyright violations?
o Yes 10%
o Maybe 11%
o No 77%

Votes: 68
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Wired
o story
o BayTSP
o Also by gunner800

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BayTSP anti-piracy technology | 8 comments (8 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Already covered on K5 (4.00 / 7) (#1)
by Eloquence on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:54:32 PM EST

An article by me What can be done about piracy tracking? was posted on Dec. 22. It covers BayTSP and similar tracking tools. Although the new Wired article takes a slightly different angle, I don't think there would be much gain in repeating the discussion.
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
And the solution is.... (3.33 / 3) (#2)
by 11223 on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:55:26 PM EST

Add a non-deterministic (but non-lossy) compression algorithm to everything you send. It'll be sufficient to scramble checksum enough to screw up any filtering. It'd be better if your algorithm shook the bits up quite a bit in terms of order: that would force them to decompress the whole file if they wanted to check for violations, and that would take tremendous amounts of memory, disk space, and computer time.

Of course, PGP works as well, but not everybody wants to use it.

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

Maybe the DCMA could actually prevent this (4.00 / 7) (#3)
by Hillgiant on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:22:51 PM EST

The `even behind firewall' clause will eventually come back to bite them. After all, they whould have to create, produce, distribute, and use a method of circumventing an anti-copying measure (the firewall). IANAL. However, this seems self eveident to me. Why not just refer to CSS as a firewall rather than a crummy attempt at security through obscurity?

On a similar note: I am curious how they plan on getting past my "block in quick on fxp0 from any to any" I rule my home network with an iron fist. >:|

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny

Piracy Can Be Good (4.14 / 7) (#4)
by mattyb77 on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:01:43 PM EST

I think some piracy is a good thing in that it allows those of us support weenies in the IT industry to actually learn and support all the various software products out there.

I used to do Macintosh support in an art department at a calendar/poster company, and there's no way in hell I could have learned Photoshop, QuarkXPress, etc. if I hadn't received free copies from my buddies. I would never have been able to afford it! I think companies like Microsoft benefit from it because a company doesn't want to necessarily deploy a software package that it can't somewhat easily support, and that includes hiring people that know how to support it.

I will say that I do have ethical issues with people who sell pirated software. This applies to warez sites that require you to click on banners and the such. If you're really going to free the software, then do it.

"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
3D software and rare music (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by evvk on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 04:17:50 AM EST

Don't forget expensive 3D modelling software. Almost no hobbyist could afford such yet 3D modelling and the software need time taken to learn. By using "warez" versions of software people gain the experience so they may later use legally acquired versions of the software at work.

Also, there's music that is hard to find, except as illegally distributed mp3s (owning the copies is perfectly legal here.) For example, I can't seem to find Liquid Tension Experiment at any local record store and without mp3s I'd hardly know of many of the bands that I have later bought the albums of.

Of course there's always those people that just pirate everything because they can, not because they need/want the software/music and can't afford/find.

[ Parent ]

"They'll even bypass firewalls"? WTF? (4.50 / 4) (#5)
by TrentC on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 11:56:10 PM EST

I dunno about you, but I'd be hopping mad if someone had a product that could bypass firewalls. If I were a script kiddie, I'd be salivating at the prospect of getting my hands on a hacked-up copy of this thing. 3y3 OwNz j00r b0X, b1y07Ch!

As the article points out, this program won't deal well with even trivial encryption. It's comparing the "digital DNA" of an MP3 file? C'mon, do you mean to tell me that every copy of a CD track is going to compress exactly the same, let along dealing with different bitrates or compression formats (Ogg Vorbis, anyone?)?

So will this wonder program circumvent access controls like Unix-style file permissions? I keep all of my MP3s -- that I ripped from my own CDs, by the way -- in a directory chmod'ed to 700, so unless this machine can hack root, I don't see any way it'll get at them.

*grumble* Marketing hogwash, if you ask me...

Jay (=

More than just a spider? (4.33 / 3) (#6)
by TrentC on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:12:57 AM EST

Something to keep in mind: the Wired article makes vague claims about monitoring traffic and privacy concerns, but I couldn't find anything on the BayTSP site that suggests anything more aggressive than a web crawler.

It seems that they have a suite of programs to assist in "copyright protection".

From Their FAQ:

Can your technology penetrate a firewall?
Yes. If you suspect your stolen content is located on a pay site, our technology can effectively get around some firewalls and scan for copyright infringements.

From a press release regarding child pornography:

BayTSP.com also has the ability to spider seized hard drives to detect child pornographic content. Searching a hard drive takes minutes to receive conclusive results versus current investigative forensics, a manual process that can take months to achieve the limited results.

(A proprietary "locate" function? Oooh, scary. And of course their "digital DNA" of an image couldn't possibly be defeated by, say, compressing a JPEG at differing image qualities or tinting an image prior to compression?)

Jay (=

It'll cure old age, too. (4.50 / 2) (#8)
by ksandstr on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 11:17:47 AM EST

Chalk this one up for "snake oil for the tie-wearing types", people - what they claim is impossible to do using purely technological means.

Sigh. I suppose they'll be swimming in venture capital, though.

BayTSP anti-piracy technology | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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