Torrentspy is monitored by Copyright Thoughtpolice

My coworker just got a nasty letter from his ISP (optonline) accusing him of copyright infringement. It turns out that his kid got caught downloading some warez from one of the trackers indexed by Torrentspy.

Conclusions are simple: someone is monitoring Torrentspy network. I don’t know if they do this by setting up decoys, or if they actually connect to legitimate torrents and log the IP’s in the swarm. But either way, they are out there and if you are not careful you might get caught.

The ISP my coworker is using seems to be doing the right thing. They notified him about the complaint, and warned him that future complaints may lead to termination of his account. It doesn’t seem that they were willing to cough up his personal data so far, so he might get lucky and avoid being slapped with one of those frivolous lawsuits.

The poor kid is not allowed to use BitTottent anymore. He got a stern talking to from his pop for using these new-fangled, easily trackable p2p technologies instead of leaching from Usenet the way internet Gods intended it. :P

Sigh… I really liked TorrentSpy – it had lots of content, and large community behind it. But I guess it’s time to move on…

Update 12/30/2006 05:25:04 PM

As many people mentioned in the comments, my assumption that Torrentspy itself is being monitored might not be correct. It’s possible that one or more trackers indexed by Torrentspy are monitored, but not necessarily the whole site.

In either case, IP blocking software such as PeerGuardian, or the SafePeer Azureus Plugin may drastically lower your chances of being caught.

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66 Responses to Torrentspy is monitored by Copyright Thoughtpolice

  1. Dave Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    What’s Usenet?

  2. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Hmm… I can’t figure out if this is a sarcastic “shh… don’t tell people about Usenet” comment, or “I don’t know what are you talking about” comment.

    If it’s the former, then: lol :mrgreen:

    If it’s the later then… Well, this is why we have define tag at google:

    define:usenet (hope this helps)

  3. Bob UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Its obvious this is posted by FBI. You gmen dont scare me. This type of stuff is reported all the time on http://www.themostgeneroussoul.com

  4. Mike UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox FreeBSD says:

    I discovered this months ago and reported the trackers as such to torrentspy. They didn’t seem to give a sh*t. All of the trackers I reported are still listed as ‘valid.’

  5. Anonymous GERMANY Anonymouse says:

    Wow, the same thing happened to me, and I have the same ISP, and I downloaded from the same site, and I’m also a kid. It scared me so much I haven’t downloaded anything on Bittorrent, P2P, or anything similar since. Wow, this is freaky… I sure did learn my lesson…

  6. Eric UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Better that this kid was caught by his ISP than by the RIAA/MPAA or their ilk. They have shown no remorse when it comes to protecting their copyrighted property.

  7. Unknown UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Wow, the same exact thing happened to me. I’m a kid, I have the same ISP, downloaded from the same site, and I learnt my lesson. Never touched Bittorrent or anything similar since…It scared the **** out of me. Luckily, nothing else ever happened

  8. mike kills BOLIVIA Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    TOR anyone?

  9. Rheul UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Is PeerGuardian any help? I’ve been using that for a while and have never had any problems

  10. chris UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Your coworker’s son gets caught downloading videogames and this makes his ISP “thought police?” You’re a lunatic.

  11. John UNITED STATES Opera Windows says:

    Inaccurate, Torrentspy is a website it only hosts the .torrent files, there is no Torrentspy network. Same thing for every other popular torrent indexing site. Your ISP gets the DMCA letter when one of their IPs is found in a torrent they are monitoring and has nothing to do with where you got the torrent file. The indexing site has nothing to do with this, you are wrong!

  12. Joe UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    What was he actually cited for downloading? They should tell him the exact name of the torrent. If it was a movie or song than it may not have been torrentspy that got him in trouble but the torrent in general.

  13. someone AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    i have received about 4 such emails from my isp in the last year. I ignore them. But i live in the land of oz, so it wouldn’t be worth the effort to come and get me.

  14. Mytheral UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Use Peer Guardian then you will dramatically lower your chances of getting caught. That is if you do that evil thing of downloading any copyrighted material.

    http://www.afterdawn.com/software/p2p_software/p2p_tools/peerguardian. cfm

  15. Howard AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    That what the Azureus SafePeer plugin is for.
    It blocks spying IP ranges from accessing your torrents, meaning you can still download using the (much more user friendly than usenet) bittorrent protocol

  16. Dj Osiris UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Will anyone ever get a clue about this? It’s not torrentspy or piratebay they are monitoring and even if they are so what. Use peerguardian and ignore all the anti-p2p/govt/spyware/fakes/trojan/virus folks. This is a real community effort. Nuf said.

  17. Dmitri CANADA Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I wonder if commenting on TorrentSpy can be used against you too…

    Hehe, commented just for the fancy Firefox+Ubuntu :-) .

  18. zbeast UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I would tell them to bite my shinny metal ass.
    If he was downloading “wares”. There’s not much that the maker of
    such wares can do but complain.
    honestly if your isp would cut your connection for downloads its time to find a
    new ISP.

  19. mo UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    this is similiar to what had happened to a coworker of mine. our isp is comcast and he got the same type of email.

    beware!!

  20. Squee UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well i had a letter from my isp of copyright infrigement a month ago, which was a complaint from microsoft of accusing me of downloading their copyrights. It was a file from demonoid so i encurage you people not to download torrents since this stuff is pretty deep all im saying if you want something so bad just buy it there is a chance that you will get caught. I got caught but I believe it was a warning message. If you get a letter best chances of getting out of trouble delete all the illegal stuff you have downloaded, this way the court will see that you are sorry. I have my mother doing some searches on google about RIAAs and lawsuits. people have gotten letter from isp of accusations but so far in her searches they are not sueing people they are mostly sueing companys.

  21. Infidel UNITED STATES Opera Windows says:

    About 3 years back a coworker of mine got the same type of letter from the same ISP here in Brooklyn – only he had been sharing (not just downloading) from Direct Connect hubs through DC++.

    He stopped using it that night, and they never proceeded further.

  22. Santaisdead UNITED STATES Camino Mac OS says:

    bittorrent is for n00bs…

  23. The thought police is the right term – from my experience.
    More to come.

  24. Steve UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I didn’t know usenet was even around anymore. I still remember getting my first pr0n off usenet using AOL back in the mid 90′s.

  25. Pingback: My own Copyright Infringement « My Brianga UNITED STATES WordPress

  26. nova UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    i got one too – for law and order svu

  27. erf AUSTRALIA Safari Mac OS says:

    …and this is news because?

    Interested parties have been monitoring torrents for longer than you seem to realize. If you think torrentspy (and others) have been “under the radar” until now then you would be mistaken.

    If any sharing tech is easy enough for Joe Citizen to aquire and use naturally interested parties are right there alongside you.

  28. Pingback: Torrentspy is monitored by Copyright Thoughtpolice « Digged Stories UNITED STATES WordPress

  29. Eli Safari Mac OS says:

    So… Get him to use Demonoid instead! :P

  30. joe mom UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    all public torrent sites are monitored,

    but they cant monitor millions of people on p2p ,
    they only do that with a number of torrents , usually the jigga music albums,

  31. db0 GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Or the kid should just anonymize his http requests before visiting any such sites. Then just use Safepeer to block the ISP from becoming his peer. Easy :)

  32. Mr. Nobody UNITED STATES Opera Windows says:

    What’s PeerGuardian2 ?
    What’s a peer list you feed into it?

  33. Uru CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    You don’t know what usenet is? You’re kidding right? Newsgroups…ring a bell yet?

  34. Cortex GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Wow. My paranoia was absolutely justified. I wonder what happens if someone “catches” me while I’m using torrentspy for finding/getting _legal_ content. Will I need a “human – legalspeak”-translator? E. g.:
    alias “Creative Commons”=”musician doesn’t have kids that would starve if I don’t buy CDs”
    or
    “Free and Open Source Software”=”everybody’s allowed to steal it”
    Let teeh fun begin!

  35. CHITHON UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Just so you know… no… As you said… Torrentapy indexes other trackers… and is not a tracker in itself.

    Look to the tracker as the problem.. after all the torrents are indexed across many many boards.

  36. Joe Anderson UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Torrentspy was a good network, although it was full of ads :P

  37. Michael Brutsch UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Hey! What’s the first rule of Usenet Club?

  38. diddlebot UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Maybe torrentspy just accidentally indexed a spy-tracker…?

  39. Reebirt Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The same thing happened to me. I called my ISP and blamed it on guests that had been using my computer. They said that it was just an email they received, and for legal purposes they had forwarded the email to me, they did not release any information. They said that basically, the persons who stole the movie didn’t like me giving it away for such a long period of time, and next time don’t leave my torrent open for that long. My ISP is the second largest in my country *I live in Canada* So they would care if it was that big of a deal. I received that and one other notice for a different movie about 3 years ago and I have not heard or received anything since. I have not slowed on my downloading and most of my downloading is done from Torrentspy. Just thought I would throw my experience out there. I don’t know if it has to do with where I live, but it doesn’t appear to be a big deal.

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  41. Hso UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Dave – Usenet is a service similar to websites, i think they’re originally news servers, you can log into to them, search in different catergories and download if you see something you like.

    Most ISPs provide some access to newsgroups(aka usenet), but most people prefer to pay for superior services, like GigaNews(google that)

    Hope that helped!
    See ya!

  42. bob UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Which ISP was it?

  43. Jamie UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I am not at all surprised that fewer people know about usenet.
    If it wasn’t for the binary groups I doubt most providers would
    bother to carry it. Ten years ago it was the place to go for
    discussion, but now it has become a wasteland of spam and
    forgery. I got tired of having to translate full headers just to
    make sure the person I am replying to really is that person.

  44. Eachann UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Private sites are way safer.
    PeerGuardian2 will help if you really need to use Public sites

  45. Dan UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    This article is technically misleading. As you said: his kid got caught downloading some warez from one of the trackers indexed by Torrentspy.

    The torrent to the purportedly illegal content could easily have been indexed somewhere else too. And of course TorrentSpy doesn’t host any of the content anyway. Finally Torrentspy also tracks torrents for many legal things. As an example: http://www.torrentspy.com/search?query=ubuntu

    Now, if your friends kid was download illegal content via bittorrent, that’s definitely wrong, and the warning is appropriate — but if the ISP is tracking http headers and busting him for going to torrentspy, that’s completely inappropriate

  46. Seb URUGUAY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    … moving on to mininova.org …

  47. zzaps AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    “The poor kid is not allowed to use BitTottent anymore. He got a stern talking to from his pop for using these new-fangled, easily trackable p2p technologies instead of leaching from Usenet the way internet Gods intended it.” Bahaha! Right on!
    But I’m glad ‘optonline’ did the right thing and sent him a letter about it before just giving away his personal details.

  48. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Indeed, this is not necessarily Torrentspy but one of the trackers they index. So perhaps I’m to harsh on the site.

    Thanks for the tip about PeerGuardian, SafePeer and etc. I never really used these, but perhaps this is a good time. :)

  49. Dave OmniWeb Mac OS says:

    Holy crap. This many people read this blog? I’ve never seen more than like 4 comments on this thing before.

  50. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Holy crap. This many people read this blog? I’ve never seen more than like 4 comments on this thing before.

    Copyright stuff always brings on a big discussion of how much the enforcer-people suck :)

  51. Sam UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Copyright stuff always brings on a big discussion of how much the enforcer-people suck :)

    Also, the Geek News Central Podcast mentioned and linked to this article. The Geek News Central Podcast has thousands of listeners.

  52. Another Nut UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    You damm people dont get it .
    It dont matter how you hide your #ip it comes back to your server. And they still know who you are..

    GROW UP FOLKS . Get a job buy something . look at the christmas presents yall bought now go to wolly world buy a movie not a music cd. they cost too damm much . sit down watch it and stop worrying about the damm torrents . and the fbi the cops. OMG .THE COPS ARE HERE LOOKING AT US DONT POST NO MORE LMAO

  53. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Wait… What? My IP comes back to my server? What server? Who are they? How do they know who I am? Music cd’s cost more than movies? Dude, I’m really trying here but I can’t figure out what are you talking about.

    First, the kid I was talking about got busted for warez, not music or movies.

    Second, the only people who can connect my dynamic IP to my name and address are working at my ISP. The copyright holders must subopena the ISP for that info, and not all ISP’s are willing to give it out without a court order.

    Yeah, you can always get caught even if you use peer guardian (I’m guessing this was your point, but I’m still not sure) but then again, anything that lowers the chances of being fucked is a good thing no?

    Btw, if you use tor then I don’t think anyone could trace it back in any meaningful and convenient way (though your connection speed would suffer).

    Oh, and you should really not use IE when you post “You damn people don’t get it” comments cause it does not lend you any credibility. Just a tip. ;)

  54. zzaps AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    And an old version of IE at that! He probably got an illegal warez’d copy of XP, and he cannot install IE7 due to the Genuine Advantage. Damned nub here. “Another Nut” is for sure.

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  56. Max Rubin CANADA Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Bittorent clients list the downloaders by their ip.
    It is amazing that the downloaders / uploaders have never been gone after before by the RAAA with their itimidation tactics.
    Just that it was millions of people to go after at one time.
    Still if it is intimidation tactics you only have to go after seveal.
    Goes to show you how the music industry after abusing both artists and the general public is out of touch with reality sequestering in luxury that it took them this long to even think if this tactic.
    Guess they finally had it pointed out to them that there was difffirent p2p file sharing available than Kaaza.
    It is always funny to watch the plants on various news shows of the banks and banks of computers with
    the experts” manning them.
    Nothing but movie sets in essence.

  57. Pingback: NewTeeVee » Peer-to-Peer: Looking to 2007 UNITED STATES WordPress

  58. George Orwell’s 1984 – Big Brother is Watching You
    =)
    Use tor, proxies, vpn..

  59. trat for CANADA Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Amazing how all of these controls and controls over simple transactions and events in our lives have been introduced as standard , acceptable and even “for our own good” after sept 11

  60. jadog UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Go to inavid.com for easy step instructions on how to get around this minor problem. Its an easy solution that anyone should do no matter what torrent or p2p client their using.
    Go to inavid.com for easy step instructions on how to get around this minor problem. Its an easy solution that anyone should do no matter what torrent or p2p client their using.

  61. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    @Kiril – Tor operators will likely disagree. They really hate when people channel BT traffic through the network and this behavior is frowned upon.

    Oh, and I’m done with Torrentspy. Demonoid FTW. :P

    @jadog – I fixed your link. That’s why I put the little buttons on the top of the comment box. It’s amazing how many people mess up the link tag even if the button is there.

  62. bla bla bla UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    This is how it works. When you connect to your isp your mac address is logged. A mac address or Media access controll address is a physical address hardcoded into your network card. the mac address is the is included in all framed packets. all isp frame packets with your mac address. monitoring a torrent is not that hard you just download with out sharing. then you use what is already built into tcp/ip once you have the ip address of people you download from call arp. Address resolution proticol which just basically asks your computer for its mac address or any near by routers IE at your isp that respond to all requests and boom you now have a mac address and an ip. so you subpoena the isp for the owner of the mac address because it is leased to their ip address. There is no hiding. There is no safe ranges of ip you can ask the tracker who is downloading what or you can just subpoena the tracker to give all connected ip addresses tied with usernames and look at all files uploaded by the users. Bit torrent is not safe there is no safe untrackable way to torrent the basis of the internet is you request a packet and one is sent back but in order to have a packet sent back you must have a return address our source in the packet you sent simple logic would tell you that you cant hid behind the traffic on torrent trackers forever eventually they will make it though the list of users and you will get a CND or a lawsuit. so fight them legally by donating to orgs that are formed to do so.

  63. chrono UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to those of you wondering if comcast cares about torrenting, on their site in the FAQs they flat out say they don’t care if you torrent

  64. Joanie UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    all the complainant tells your ISP is IP# such-and-such downloaded such-and-such file on this date and time from your system. the ISP knows which customer had whatever IP address on that date and time. the complainant can file charges against your ISP for allowing copyright infringement from their system. so your ISP contacts you and tells you to cut it out or they will cancel your account. the complainant knows who did what from the outside by watching the files that are downloaded and seeing what IP’s are connected to them. the ISP doesnt give out your info as far as i know without a court order. but if you get more complaints then they will cancel your acct.