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Torrent-busting 'Pirate Pay' may be illegal

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:25PM EST

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A Russian startup that received $100,000 of funding from Microsoft made headlines recently as its emerging efforts to battle digital piracy found their way to the spotlight. Dubbed Pirate Pay, the company’s technology launches attacks on groups of computers hosting pirated content, theoretically making it impossible for them to share copyrighted material. While the company claims to have already successfully trialed its technology when it blocked nearly 45,000 attempts to download pirated copies of a Russian film, one expert believes Pirate Pay’s system may be illegal.“Reading the article it sound like they are spoofing traffic to confuse torrent clients and force disconnects,” former BitTorrent VP of engineering John Pettitt wrote in a note distributed in Dave Farber’s Interesting-People elist, Techdirt reports. “It’s not at all clear if this will work against all versions of the protocol (particularly the udp based version). Leaving aside the technical issues it’s also unclear if such action is legal.”

Pettitt continued, “It sounds like a targeted denial of service attack, a major corporation paying for such an attack leaves itself wide open to civil and criminal legal action particularly if they accidentally target the wrong torrent which given the history is highly likely.”

Pirate Pay’s trial was performed in cooperation with Russia-based Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing, and it is unknown if the company is currently in talks with any major studios or related companies based in the United States.


Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.