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Methods Of Internet Piracy Information Technology Essay

1. Introduction

In recent years where our personal computer can act as a ‘stand alone’ server, internet piracy is showing some significant increment among the users. This is due to several released groups who act as the uploader, willingly distribute illegal copyright materials which they get from the main suppliers to the consumers who demand the illegal materials (Chaundry and Zimmerman, 2009, p.143). Usually, people tend to think that internet piracy is only related to movie and music piracy, but actually there are whole lot more of piracy types such as software piracy, e-book piracy, and others (Al-Rafee and Rouibah, 2009, p.283). The illegal copyright materials can easily be obtained from several sources, for example peer-to-peer (p2p) network, file transfer protocol (ftp), file hosting websites and so on (Fetscherin, 2005, p.57). As the downloading process become more active day-by-day, the released groups have to compete among each other in order to maintain their reputation as the top sites that releasing good high quality illegal copyright copies (Chaundry and Zimmerman, 2009, p.143). As a result, it can create an enormous threat to those who have the legal rights to distribute and sell the original copy (Fetscherin, 2005). What is the process of downloading the illegal copyright material off the internet? How can the downloading process be altered in order to make the process more difficult so that we can minimize the damage? In this research paper, we explain about the methods involved in downloading illegal copyright material off the internet and ways to prevent them.

2. How materials are available

Before we go through the methods available on the Internet to download the illegal materials, we should know how these materials are made available for users to download them, illegally. Cortner (2008) stated that ‘Warez’ simply refers to any pirated goods converted in digital form that are going to be distributed to the public. In fact there are many parties responsible for creating and distributing the illegal copyright material and they are usually known as ‘The Sceners’ or ‘Warez Scene (WS)’, which consist of suppliers, release groups, and the consumers themselves (Chaundry and Zimmerman, 2009, p.142; Cortner, 2008, ¶ 5) Once they have the pirated version of the copyright materials, Chaundry and Zimmerman (2009) said these WS use well known websites to upload the pirated materials so that other people can start downloading.

3. Process involved

It is not that hard for you to become a member of the WS with the existence of file sharing. In plain English, file sharing is a process where digital files are made available and can be transferred freely using the Internet (Cherry, 2007, ¶ 2). In our world we live in today, there are many free applications that simplify the process of pirating (Cohen, 2003, p.1; Cortner, 2008, ¶ 1). Moreover, the applications are very user-friendly as they provide the function to search, download and upload all kinds of digital files (Cherry, 2007, ¶ 2; Fetscherin, 2005, p.62; Cohen, 2003, p.1).

3.1 Bit Torrent

The best way to download pirated digital goods is by using a method called Bit Torrent (Pouwelse, Garbacki, Epema, Sips, 2004, p. 1; Veneziani, 2007, ¶ 8; Cortner, 2008, ¶ 13). We consider this as the best method as the users can download all type of pirated goods you can imagine, whether it is a new one or the older versions, all of them can be found in Bit Torrent.

So what is Bit Torrent? According to www.bittorrent.org, Bit Torrent is a protocol, a peer-to-peer (p2p) protocol to be exact, where users help share the file as they begin the download and after it is downloaded, and the reason it is called p2p is because according to Cherry (2007) and Veneziani (2007), it allow individuals (peers) to connect to other peers directly in sharing files where all the peers joins a server that attach them together. “It is like one loving family, sharing pirated goods together” (Veneziani, 2007, ¶ 14).

To use this, we need a client that is an application and a .torrent file ranging from movie files, audio files to others. These files can be obtained from the trackers where it hold the information of that certain file such as the size of the file, total users that share the files, the quality of the file and other information available. What is more, trackers are divided into two, public tracker and private tracker. Based on research by Veneziani (2007) and Pouwelse et al (2004), public tracker is a public websites where all users can download the .torrent file, for example thepiratebay.org, isohunt.com, and btjunkie.org to name a few, whereas private tracker is a community of Bit Torrent you can only access by invitation that offers speedier downloading process.

Once you downloaded the .torrents file from the trackers, you have to use the client to begin the downloading process of the file. According to Veneziani (2007), several well known clients for Windows users are uTorrent, Azureus and Bit Comet. Mac users have BitRocket as their Bit Torrent’s client. Supposing that you do it right, you have the illegal material at your disposal in a matter of time depending on your Internet connection.

3.2 P2P Application

As it goes by the name, a traditional p2p application use the same p2p protocol like Bit Torrent did, however it varies in the transferring technique of the file (Bulmash, n.d, ¶ 6, Pouwelse et al, 2004, p.3). Make it this way, in traditional p2p, you connected to several peers. Then you search some file, and you download the link that you like. By doing this as cited by Bulmash (n.d), you actually are getting portions of the file from all the users connected to the network.

Indeed the difference between p2p and Bit Torrent is the latter has trackers that only focused on single file (Bulmash, n.d, ¶ 8; Pouwelse et al, (2004). Users that have that specific file produce a tracker and make them available. Bulmash (n.d) and Pouwelse (2004) also noted that rather than finding the tracker by a query request on the application, other user can download the .torrent file from web sites, via e-mails and so forth. Then everyone that wants to share the file basically creates a network to sharing that single file using that only tracker (Bulmash, n.d, ¶ 9).

KaZaa is one well-known software that falls into the p2p traditional application that driven by Fast Track architecture on their system (Fetscherin, 2005; Sanderson, 2006). In addition to that, Limewire that runs Gnutella system, is also a famous P2P application used for piracy (Veneziani, 2007, ¶ 14; Taylor, Haggerty, Gresty, Fergus, 2010, p.12). Moreover, Napster, founded by Sean Parker is actually the first application that implements p2p protocol in their service which leads to emergence of numerous p2p applications today (Cherry, 2007, ¶ 8).

4. Method to prevent piracy

As we speak, there are countless of methods implemented out there to shut the piracy activity once and for all. We discuss several widely used methods used by parties that are responsible for fighting this unhealthy crime.

4.1 Cryptography

There are numerous ways of how to prevent piracy. The most effective way to prevent software piracy is by cryptography. Cryptography commonly used to protect data from malicious person and can also be use to encrypt code for a software program (Naumovich and Memon, 2003, p. 67). By encrypting the code of the software, we can prevent ‘The Sceners’ from breaking the software and reverse engineered it to find the code or serial number of the software. Albert & Morse (1984) stated that a distributed software is foolproof protected when it is undecipherable without special information called key (p. 69). Cryptography is actually a technique of scrambling the software code so that it is difficult for to read and reverse engineered by ‘The Sceners’. The only way to unscramble the code is by decrypt it with the particular key. The computer can then execute the program when they are given with this particular key.

4.2 Watermarking

Even though cryptography considered effective, it is still possible for the attackers or ‘The Sceners’ to illegally reverse engineered program. Therefore owner of intellectual property should be able to prove their ownership in case someone steals that property. Such mechanism that allow owner to prove their ownership is watermarking. Naumovich and Memon (2003) said that “Watermarking is widely used to authenticate physical objects, including digital media and hardware designs and could likewise be used to embed ownership marks in software” (p. 68). Hu (2008, p. 882) support this statement by stating that digital watermarking supply reliable and secure copyright protection technique over the past few years. This technique is often seen on the copies of videos and movies that are legally purchased.

4.3 Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting, a technique derived from watermarking, also considered a reliable copyright protection technique by creating different watermark from one copy of digital media to another. This technique can identify which are the legal copies and which are pirated copies (Naumovich and Memon, 2003, p. 70).

4.4 Awareness raising campaign

Another way to prevent digital piracy is by creating an awareness raising campaign. This method focus on the consumers, to make them realize how much the loss sustained by the industry because of the illegal copying and distributing done by ‘The Sceners’. Al-Rafee and Rouibah (2000) research found the following:

Awareness treatment, besides religion treatment provides a deterrent in digital piracy compared to law treatment. The research which conducted on four group of college student who enrolled in “Introduction to Computers”, which is control group, and three treatment group, awareness, religion and law are based on pre and post treatment questionnaire. They used the same set of question for both pre and post treatment. Law treatment group were informed about new laws and regulations related to digital piracy after they completed pre-questionnaire. Religion treatment group were informed about new edict or fatwa that considers how digital piracy seen from religion point of view as immoral. Consequences of piracy were shown and informed to the awareness treatment group. The result from post-questionnaire shows that awareness treatment group’s intention to commit digital piracy change significantly compared to law and religion treatment. (p. 289)

Numerous piracy-fighting organization use different method to increase the awareness of the consumers. “Different leaflets, brochures, studies, websites, reports, advertisements, have been showing up explaining the effects of digital piracy,” said Al-Rafee and Rouibah (2008, p.286).

5. Conclusion

They say drug is bad. So does Internet piracy. There is a probability you are practicing Internet piracy without realizing it. However bad the characters we see in the television, please do not be one of them by practising Internet piracy. If you really have to commit this immoral Internet piracy crime, just think about all the hard work spent on the project by the developer to ease our daily life (Rahim, Seyal, Rahman, 1999, p.318). There are too many parties suffered from this Internet piracy and to eliminate this Internet piracy for good everybody must play their parts as a house divided against itself cannot stand. Despite the fact that only a few of the downloading process are mentioned above to download illegal material off the Internet, piracy activity is getting serious as discussed at the beginning of this paper. As a result, there should be more advance technique discovered to counter the methods describe above (Cortner, 2008, ¶ 5).


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