RIAA and DHS are hives of depraved piracy

TorrentFreak continues its prolonged spelunk through the database compiled by YouHaveDownloaded, a list of participants in infringing BitTorrent swarms, indexed by IP address. Today, it's a look at what's been downloaded by the IP blocks controlled by the RIAA (who have advocated that ISPs should be required to disconnect customers whose networks are used in copyright infringement) and the Department of Homeland Security (who sloppily confiscated several domains without due process because they were believed to be involved in copyright infringement). Predictably, both are hives of depraved piracy.

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...

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.

RIAA and Homeland Security Caught Downloading Torrents


  1. Not surprising in the least. Reminds me of the old saw: “95% of men admit to masturbating, and the other 5% are lying.”

  2. Thanks for making my day! This story totally makes “you have downloaded” worth the potential privacy scares. (it does double duty- revealing the hypocricy AND teaching people to be more secure with their internet behavior!)  

  3. 900 IPs, and let’s assume each one had 10 file downloads.  At $150k per download, that’s… $1.35 billion the US owes. 

  4. As copyright maximalists pointed out regarding Jammie Thomas, bittorrent is a two way transfer and you upload as you download. If the RIAA is torrenting music, then they are de facto authorizing sharing.

  5. How can you not realize that website is full of lies? It’s been discussed at length on geek news sites and it has so many false-negatives and false-positives on it that the data is obviously made up. People who don’t torrent are on the list downloading things they don’t watch – people who do torrent are either not listed or are listed as torrenting things they also did not download. 

    Either there is a bug somewhere or the data is an all-out fabrication. 

    1. It accurately reflected what my roommate downloaded. (no, not “roommate”)… but that’s not the point. Despite what the MPAA says, IP address are horrible at identifying individual computers, much less individual users. The only way they are reasonably accurate is to identify a block of addresses owned by a group – like the MPAA or the DHS or comcast. Then, unless they are sharing an open wifi, or host a proxy, or have malware running, or their IP recently changed (unlikely in block groups), you can hold them accountable collectively … which is what’s happening here.

      1. You are the first report I’ve seen where data on that website can be correlated to actual users and I’ve been keeping an eye out. 

        I agree that IPs are not identifiers of individuals (and I believe the courts have ruled the same) and I don’t doubt that MPAA, RIAA, MAFIAA, et al are engaging in the behavior they denounce. But I have extreme doubts as to the credibility of YouHaveDownloaded, especially when the process to clear your own name involves connecting to your Facebook account. 

        1. The point is:  
          if that data is good enough to prosecute private individuals, then it should be good enough to prosecute the DHS and RIAA.

          if it isn’t good enough to prosecute the DHS and RIAA, then it isn’t good enough to prosecute private individuals.

          1. Well it’s a good thing it’s already that way isn’t it! http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/109242/

            In a ruling that could fuel debate about online privacy, a federal judge in Seattle has held that IP addresses are not personal information.”In order for ‘personally identifiable information’ to be personally identifiable, it must identify a person. But an IP address identifies a computer,” U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones said in a written decision.

      2. Did a quick peek and it had picked up one torrent i had downloaded, and one that i had not. But then my ISP operates a DHCP of sorts, so each time i reboot the router i get a new ip address.

  6. Well, I haven’t read the entire proposal, nor do I understand much of the technicalities of law, but if things like this happens under SOPA, wouldn’t RIAA and DHS websites have to come down? And I know this isn’t te first instance of RIAA/MPAA offering up pirated material either.
    I really hope the ones lobbying for SOPA will be the first to fall victim to it if it passes.

  7. I’ve a perfect plan how to solve problems with those controversial(if not to say stupid) laws and their enforcers:

    1. Create two groups PRO and CONTRA. CONTRAs are simple those who’s … yeah. PROs are those obvious ones plus their families and friends. So every PRO brings about 50 people with them.

    2. For half a year the PROs start following their own proposed law. CONTRAs start policing them and prosecuting as if the law was real. With all the joy, robustness and creativity. Plus there will be a “blast wave”: ff your neighbour breaks the law, you, his nearest neighbour, get half the punishment, your neigbours half of yours and so on. So in case of three strikes, if two of your friends get third strike – you get it too.

    After the experiment PROs will know much better what are they fighting for(and most probably will dump the idea), CONTRAs – respectively against and we’ll have know-how on technology. I guess most such laws will never get into voting.

    1. perfect plan?  you mean, aside from the fact that implementing your scheme would be more complex than the easy, fun-filled process of simply prosecuting people for breaking the law?  ohhhhhkaaaaayye…

      speaking of, can we get started on that?  prosecuting the RIAA and DHS?  i’m not very legal-savy, but we do have the same evidence against them as those who have already been convicted of piracy, right?  is this addressed in the link?

      1. You can make it even better. Produce random laws with random prosecutions and apply them randomly among population. With some fine-tuning I believe prisons will contain required amount of workforce, people will stop complaining about stupid laws. Remove taxes since the system will bring in constant flow of either directly money or work done for the good of the State. And finally Femida will be ultimately blind. Happyhappyhappy!

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