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Russia’s Pirate Pay Promises to Plunder BitTorrent Protocol

A start-up in Russia, backed by Microsoft, says they have developed technology that can stop BitTorrent-based filesharing. The Pirate Pay came into existence due to the growth of copyright infringement in Russia, and the mounting international pressure to stop it.

One of the first companies to back Pirate Pay was Microsoft, who granted them $100,000 in seed money. Microsoft was soon followed by Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures in Russia, who hired the firm to protect the film, Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I’m alive.

“We used a number of servers to make a connection to each and every P2P client that distributed this film. Then Pirate Pay sent specific traffic to confuse these clients about the real IP-addresses of other clients and to make them disconnect from each other,” Andrei Klimenko, the founder and CEO, told Russian magazine Beyond the Headlines.

“Not all the goals were reached. But nearly 50,000 users did not complete their downloads.”

A company press release treats the campaign for Walt Disney and Sony as a learning experience, but explained that 44,845 download attempts were blocked by flooding the P2P clients from the cloud.

“Not everything passed smoothly in the beginning. We faced a difficult task to make a working prototype into a full service for a very short time. And in the process we gained invaluable experience, our technology has become literally a hundred times better and now Pirate Pay is able to block counterfeiting in torrents much better, and 45 000 blocked attempts to download - is not the limit,” explained Alex Klimenko, the CTO of Pirate Pay.

While Pirate Pay’s offering might be unique, they’re not the only company offering an anti-piracy service. As Torrent Freak reports, the rebranded MediaDefender (know now as Peer Media) targets piracy too.

The usage of Pirate Pay’s technology, if it does in fact interfere with Internet traffic as was hinted, could lead to neutrality issues should ISPs start leveraging it. It could also lead to an increase in encrypted P2P traffic and private trackers.

In the end however, “companies that really want to make Pirates Pay are probably better off investing in improvements to their legal offers,” TF concluded.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.