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Wednesday, May 16

Pirate Pay develops BitTorrent traffic blocker to stop piracy

The movie and music industries continue to complain about how much piracy is costing them. DRM doesn’t work as it is easily circumvented, and it seems big lawsuits don’t work either. The proof being The Pirate Bay still being online today.

Another solution has presented itself, however, and it comes in the form of a piece of technology from the Russian company Pirate Pay.

When Pirate Pay was developing traffic management solutions for ISPs a few years ago they came up with a system that managed to block BitTorrent traffic. It worked so effectively the company decided to focus on that bit of tech and developed it as an anti-piracy measure. So good was the solution, Microsoft’s Seed Financing Fund has invested $100,000, and both Walt Disney and Sony Pictures have used it to limit illegal downloads.

Pirate Pay is keeping the details of how their technology works a secret for good reason. All we know is that it floods BitTorrent clients with fake data meaning they disconnect before a download is complete. So even though illegal copies are freely available online, it’s very difficult to successfully download them.

It’s easy to see why such a system would be of great interest to the entertainment industry. With BitTorrent traffic blocked for specific files, it stops movies and music from being downloaded. The cost of doing this is thought to be between $12,000 and $50,000 depending on the scale of the blocking required.

As an example of a successful block, Pirate Pay point to the movie Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I am alive, which was released in Russian movie theaters last December. The company protected the movie for 30 days, during which 44,845 torrent downloads were blocked.

The question now is, can Pirate Pay scale up to protect every movie that is released and effectively end BitTorrent piracy? We also don’t know how effective the system actually is. For example, they may have blocked the movie mentioned above 44,845 times, but how many successful downloads were there?