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P2P Polluter Shuts Down 90

Dotnaught writes "Loudeye Corp. said today it is closing its anti-piracy unit, Overpeer, Inc., in an effort to cut costs. Overpeer is best known for polluting P2P networks with garbled digital files. For what it's worth, the Internet filter at CMP Media, where I work, blocks Overpeer's site as 'spyware.'"
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P2P Polluter Shuts Down

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#14228373)
    I guess this is one big step closer to reversing global warming... oh wait...
  • good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by know1 ( 854868 )
    it's just putting unneccesary strain on the network, packets that aren't needed clogging it up. fp?
  • And? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#14228376)
    For what it's worth, the Internet filter at CMP Media, where I work, blocks Overpeer's site as 'spyware.'"

    For what it's worth, a friend that works at Honeywell says that Bug Me Not's site is blocked as "hacking and subversion tools".

    Yeah, exactly, so what?
    • ... he was one word short of the 30 word minimum for Slashdot articles.
    • Re:And? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MasterPi ( 896501 )
      For what its worth, sourceforge was blocked @ my school for a few days. That ticked me off. Not to mention any member sites as "freepages01". Yeah thats like 1/4 of all opensource stuff out there.
    • I was looking at this part of these posts:
      For what it's worth, the Internet filter at CMP Media, where I work, blocks Overpeer's site as 'spyware.'
      and wonder if that is why my dialup provider has this site blocked:
      http://www.usatoday.com/ [usatoday.com]
      Really. My account is with Gulf Pines Communications, used to be Nexband.
      My cable modem provider does NOT have it blocked, and I have to use that to read the news!
      That provider is Suscom.
  • by rolypolyman ( 933130 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:48AM (#14228387)
    The application ... describes the methodology ... 3) Edit illegally produced digital music file (damage sound quality). Thank god... if I get another 64 kbps Wang Chung song I'm gonna give up on this P2P crap and go back to using Hotline.
    • Ok, but first you need to go to my site at www.my1337clan.net, click the 3rd banner from the bottom, sign up for an account, check your email, click the confirmation link, find the 8th letter of the 2nd word of the 6th sentence of the paragraph corresponding to the 8th digit of pi divided by the squareroot of e times -1. That's the password.
  • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at ( 592622 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:50AM (#14228394)
    The IP blocks they use are widely known and have become ineffective against savvy filesharers. More likely, they're going to go under deeper cover, sourcing bandwidth from consumer sources like cable modem and DSL providers to spy on file sharers and pollute the networks. I'm surprised it's taken this long.
    • by StrongAxe ( 713301 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:12PM (#14228490)
      The IP blocks they use are widely known and have become ineffective against savvy filesharers.

      The real problem isn't from savvy file sharers, but rather clueless ones who download the files, don't care that they are corrupted (or more likely, just download them and never actually listen to them), and keep sharing them forever.
      • On eMule, people usually rename files and keep them shared under a more descriptive name so the next people who download it can see alternate names come up when checking file details. If all people who downloaded a fake removed it at once, there would no longer be any internal indication of the file's fakeness. Of course, the same trick can also be used to make people think they got the wrong file.

        Fakes are an annoying part of P2P life.
    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:21PM (#14228521)
      They try sourcing bandwidth from my cable modem and they'll get to know the dark side of my attorney, I can tell you that.

      More likely it was just a simple business decision because Overpeer just hasn't really done anything to justify the money spent on it, much less in terms of reducing P2P activity. Oh sure, providing demographic data by monitoring filesharing is one thing, but all network poisoning does is generate more bad press for the media companies. Maybe somebody upstairs realized that a. it was a stupid idea to begin with, and b. wasn't working anyway.
      • by Blkdeath ( 530393 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:31PM (#14228562) Homepage
        They try sourcing bandwidth from my cable modem and they'll get to know the dark side of my attorney, I can tell you that.

        Pssst; I think he meant using cable modem accounts to hide amongst the masses.

        BTW - if you (the general 'you') don't check your downloads and automatically share them out again you are donating your bandwidth to their efforts. Clean up the P2P - stage and scan your downloads!

        • I know what he meant, it's just that nothing really precludes them from using a zombie army to perform the same task. Spammers use them, and for the most part are getting away with it! It would be tons cheaper, and hey, you'd be hitting the problem at the source. Just degrade the user's uploads on-the-fly using your rootkit-based zombie MP3 zapper. Suppose Sony and their protection system suppliers had been a bit more subtle, and rather than trying to protect the CD itself (and using a rootkit, which is rea
      • Maybe somebody upstairs realized that a. it was a stupid idea to begin with, and b. wasn't working anyway.

        I'm sorry, that's completely impossible. Humans are incapable of abandoning a practice based on those grounds, based on my observation of the entire political/economical system. What had to have happened was, their astrology guide told them it was a bad day to do business, so they shut down.

    • by archeopterix ( 594938 ) * on Saturday December 10, 2005 @01:08PM (#14228744) Journal
      The IP blocks they use are widely known and have become ineffective against savvy filesharers. More likely, they're going to go under deeper cover, sourcing bandwidth from consumer sources like cable modem and DSL providers to spy on file sharers and pollute the networks. I'm surprised it's taken this long.
      I wonder what the next move of the P2P community will be. My bet is on some kind of social filtering - prefer files that are checked by your buddies, slightly less those preferred by their buddies and so on. A decent protocol could do this without compromising anonymity - you only know your direct connections, but not their connections. The centuries old conspiracy model alive and well in the modern technology environment.

      Btw, I hardly use any P2P. Most of the files on my disk come from people I know who wanted to share some music they find interesting.

    • Maybe this was the real reason for Sony's rootkit -- backdoor into computers, then zombie out through them. Then the Sober worm could counteract it... we're getting closer and closer to blanu's Curious Yellow [blanu.net] scenario every day...
    • No, very likely they're really closing down. I was in some of the first meetings between Overpeer and Loudeye back in the early days long before the buyout. The record labels were paying Overpeer to seed the main networks with 30 second samples of all the tracks, made to look like the full-length versions. In fairness their tech guys had good answers about where they were going to continue to get IP blocks from as they were found out.

      I suspect Overpeer just aren't relevant anymore - the core P2P networks ha
  • no point anyway (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:51AM (#14228398) Journal
    Whilst I see the logic behind hiring companies like this; I don't think it would do anything to prevent piracy, at best it will make people who want to download films etc. spend longer doing it if they get a bad one, but it doesn't take that much effort to get another copy. It ends up being a way for companies to lose even more money and nothing more.
    • Re:no point anyway (Score:4, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @01:11PM (#14228756) Homepage Journal
      I'm sure that's true of the movie or song they're trying to download - you've set yourself a specific target, you're going to try and solve it, even if it takes you all day. The long term effect, though, is likely to be that people see the P2P network as less useful as a source of music.

      Put it this way: you've just heard a song you like on the radio, and you want a copy. Do you, pre-polluter, go to Kazster, perform a quick search, look at the 17 rips available, download the 192kbps MP3, and five minutes later have the song, or do you go onto Amazon, search for the CD, add it to your shopping basket, check out, and 20 minutes later have an email confirming your order with the CD arriving 3 days-3 weeks later?

      Now, post polluter, do you: go to Beartella, perform a quick search, look at the 48 rips available, pick one, knowing, in the gut of your stomach, it's likely to be bogus, download it, play it, it sucks, download next one, it sucks, download next one, won't start, download next one, is this a joke? Download the next one... and an hour or three later, have a 96kbps MP3 that happens to have the music and be what you're prepared to settle on because, damn it, you're not downloading any more tonight, or do you go to Amazon.com, search for the CD, add it to your shopping basket, check out, and 20 minutes later have an email confirming your order, with you sitting back and thinking "It's on the way!"?

      In the latter scenario, you'd have to be increasingly desperate and/or cheap not to see Amazon.com (or equivalent) as a more enjoyable way of getting your music.

      I'm not suggesting this company was particularly successful at making P2P networks like that, but the whole "Make P2P piracy a complete Pain in the Arse" scenario is one that could work if they put enough effort and resources into it. If I were evil, and I were head of the RIAA, I'd offer to knock down some of those fines I'm imposing on P2P pirates in exchange for them participating in a mass polluting.

      • They have their bullshit one-click patent.
        This precludes them from purchase considerations.
        On top of that I do not purchase music on cd any longer.
        When I find the time I look for independant stuff that is
        often times free anyway. Reading posts like yours just
        keeps getting older and older. Shut up already.
    • Re:no point anyway (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Paraplex ( 786149 )
      When Fahrenheit 911 came out Michael Moore told me to download it off the net, but the copy was Alex someoneorother who is a michael moore rip off guy. He finds non issues and harasses bottom level employees and yells at old men (apparently all of the US national parks are owned by nasa or nazis or or smurfs or something)

      Anyway, this had about 900 times the number of seeders on limewire than the real fahrenheit 911, and subsequently appeard to be more "legit" so more people downloaded it thus feeding the il
      • ...but the copy was Alex someoneorother who is a michael moore rip off guy. He finds non issues and harasses bottom level employees and yells at old men (apparently all of the US national parks are owned by nasa or nazis or or smurfs or something)
        Sure sounds like Michael Moore to me.
  • by One Childish N00b ( 780549 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:52AM (#14228409) Homepage
    Not really a huge victory, because the polluted files are still out there - you'd be surprised how many dumbasses don't delete fake files from their directories, and that means all their pollutants out there for the time they've been operating are still floating around, being downloaded and annoying more people - Kazaa and it's network are likely to remain entirely unusable for a long time thanks to this, and what better division to shut down than one that has done it's job, and creating an almost self-perpetuating state of pollution?

    I guess the good thing is that now the jackasses that worked for these people are now unemployed - while I largely disagree with illegal P2P filesharing, I can see that it's a symptom of overpriced and 'evil' cartels and hate the fact that they employ shitheads like this, who's sole buisness is rooted firmly into the 'annoy as many people as we can for fun and profit' business model, rather than realising they'd get far more sales (and thus more profit) if they lowered their damn profit margin on every disc

    (then again, they'd also save money if they signed good, existing, unsigned bands instead of manufacturing cookie-cutter Britney pop and having to pay songwriters, etc hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than getting the whole thing in one package by signing up real bands, but I can't see that happening any time soon...)
    • I never understand the mentality of sharing your downloads folder.
      At the places (dare I say hubs) that I frequent, sharing incomplete or multiple corrupted files gains you an instant ban.
      This seems to work, because in all the years I have been around I've only ever had 2 misidentied files (and one of them was just my fault - red eye 2005 korea version).

      Verify your shares folks.
      • For some networks (edonkey / bittorrent) sharing of incomplete files are more or less the default mode of operation...
      • As the other responder mentioned, most (if not all) modern networks will cheerfully share the parts of incomplete files that you've already downloaded. It improves download rates, since by the time the uploader has sent the entire file once, you can easily have hundreds of people with half of it complete.
        • Right, but most of those networks are setup for this purpose, and have some kind of a check to make sure the file isn't corrupt before it appears complete in the "downloads" directory. I think that the grandparent was referring to the amount of people that share their "downloads" directory, which can include partial files, spam, and pure garbage. The more "friendly" thing to do for the network is to share your "sorted" music/video/whatever directory - such that the garbage is all filtered out.
          • That's true, but that's why his objection of "I don't see why anyone would share unfinished files" doesn't apply in this case. :) I agree that it makes perfect sense across, say, FTP or IRC. But in the (now) more common case of P2P networks, sharing incomplete files is a Good Thing.
            • Yeah - we agree completely but I think are having language issues :)

              The "incomplete" files that the original poster was referring to are not incomplete because the sharer's software didn't finish downloading them. The files are incomplete because the original downloaded file was messed up in some way. For instance, some people who just want some porn might take the temp file out of the Incomplete directory and watch it even if it isn't done downloading. If they then share this file, it is "incomplete" even

    • I tend to disagree. Sure, these crappy files are out there, but I think that a lot of people (like myself) still delete them and stop sharing them. I think that, especially with the quality voting thing, that Kazaa will improve pretty damn soon. I know that I'm gonna hop back on Kazaa(Lite) tonight and see what I can find (and what I can contribute). I think that even a few thousand geeks who see this story and decide to fire up Kazaa Lite again (like me) will make a big improvement.
    • Yet another reason why BT will become more secure and keep prevailing. When people are forced to upload, they have more of an investment in the file transaction, thus, they are more inclined to do their homework to determine if a file is worth downloading or not. Typically its a safe bet that the one with hundreds or thousands of seeds and leechers is safe, but thank god sites like Mininova have active forums where people post about fake files.

  • by Chaffar ( 670874 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @11:54AM (#14228419)
    Overpeer "intervenes on behalf of our clients to protect their content from piracy on P2P networks. And, in certain cases, we also may help them build relationships with potential customers who happen to be on the P2P site"

    Really? I'd like to know how they went around to build these relationships:

    [Music] Hit me baby one more time, oh baby baby...[/Music] fkshfkjcxxxx------... You are a pirate. We know who you are. When where you downloaded this song from. Purchase the CD from a retailer (no iTunes they're evil too) and we won't sue you. Your truly. Overpeer.
  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:00PM (#14228446) Homepage Journal
    It is Christmas, that time of year when people are reminded to do special things for their fellow humans. God bless them, every one.

    -/Fires up Shareaza in the spirit of Christmas...
  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:11PM (#14228479) Homepage
    It means either:

    a) The record companies didn't find this type of disruption cost-effective

    or

    b) Somebody else can do it better/cheaper

    • The press release is beautifully vague on the subject.

      Reading between the lines, note that it's not the RIAA deciding not to hire these guys any more. They're simply stopping the service. "Effective immediately" is usually code for "Man, we're so screwed up that it's not even worth the effort to pretend." They're not selling the sub-company, or finishing out the month. It's the most undignified way to close out a company.

      Basically, that smacks of bad management to me. Maybe they were being effective, m
  • by Nichotin ( 794369 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:18PM (#14228508)
    Well, apart from poisoned clients, I am glad noone is screwing up eMule and Bittorrent like they managed to screw up kazaa. Probably because there is a broader culture for file integrity and scene releases on BT/ed2k.
  • by Timothy1965 ( 868606 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:25PM (#14228539)
    I use Credence-LimeWire [cornell.edu] for downloading songs. About five days after voting on some files, it built a decent trust network for me so the top items in my searches are items that other people have voted on as being clean.

    By the way, OverPeer is by no means the only polluter out there. There are spammers who serve the same iPod ad under every conceivable name. Credence marks those as crap and moves them to the bottom of the list, once someone else has voted on them.

    Previous Slashdot discussion on Credence [slashdot.org] is here.

  • Kids, remember: anti-piracy just doesn't pay.
  • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:29PM (#14228555)
    Are they the ones polluting P2P networks with fake .wmv porn movies usually less than 20 MB that give some weird colorfull shit when you open it?
    • Nope, thats just because you've not got the right codecs installed for the file to be played.
      • lol no no believe me, thats really how these videos are meant to be. and the annoying thing is they often are the top results because they the ones with the more sources, because some people/company wants to flood with that kind of weird looking shit with (very) long and explicit porn titles
    • Oh come on. No one gets fooled by those fake porn movies that simply aren't big enough. I mean, how much full screen action do you expect to get for file sizes that small?
    • i filter out .WMV's :)
      • lol yeah i do that too, but you still got alot of real videos that are WMV's. I'm still wondering where it's originating from, whoever produces that, they must know alot about porn, because of the porn star names you can find in the titles of these fake videos. probably some group affiliated to the porn industry
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:31PM (#14228563)
    To make a spoofed file "persistent," that is, omnipresent on a P2P network, requires 10,000 copies of the file, Goodman said. Additionally, since P2P networks are set up in clusters of 100,000 machines, a professional spoofer needs enough always-on servers to connect with each of a P2P network's clusters.

    What the hell does that mean? I agree with the man that spoofing won't stop file sharing (it hasn't yet, anyway) but from what part of his anatomy did he pull those numbers?
    • The same one that most music executives and politicians talk from.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      All of that sounds quite reasonable, and it's all valid English... So, any misunderstanding is clearly YOUR fault.

      P2P nodes rarely exceed a few hundred thousand peers, that's where the hundred thousand comes from. He isn't saying you need a hundred thousand servers in your cluster so you can spam pirates--google would die from envy. He says you need a metric assload (10,000, for you SAE people) files in distrubution to make an impact on what people download. That also sounds reasonable. People download
  • ...maybe they can start doing something about the air?
  • "cutting down costs" heh. More than likely Overpeer was tired of getting anonymous letters from the RIAA bots threatening to sue their asses off, even though they were on the same side.
    • If the RIAA pays someone release a digital music file to the wild, to upload it onto someone else's network, has the RIAA effectively abandoned their copyright to that song? The fact that it's a garbled file recording might not be critical if the "song" had the same name and artist info as the original (copyrighted) piece. "You downloaded the song we posted to your network" isn't likely to impress the judge.

      (Or could something like this be why they decided not to continue the project?)
  • by 4Dmonkey ( 936872 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @04:35PM (#14229694)
    Polluting is a short term solution, on the lines of - if you can't stop them, annoy them.

    It will only result in more sophisticated clients. Some features which may circumvent this method are -
    -Rating : polluters can also artificially rate their files high, but assuming that pirates outnumber them by thousands, its highly useful.

    -Hashing : polluters can easily create and hash their files, but this will stop them from polluting existing stuff.

    -Preview : preview-before-download is most effective way of checking if a file is valid .Polluters can keep the starting part of a file good while messing the rest of it, so preview statring from any random place in the file can be implemented.

    -Blocking : autoblocking a user if he has a lot of wrong files.

    -Chat : asking the user about the file's quality. You cant expect a polluter to sit 24x7 in front of his servers chatting with millions.

    -Voice and music recognition : the s/w may evolve so much that it will recognize any speech and music information present in the file and will warn if not found. Same can be done with images.

    -Encryption : a trusted network can start encrypting the files, if client provides such a feature.

    -Redundancy : a p2p network can have dedicated servers to copy bits of files and place them on client machines. A million copies can beat a few polluted ones.
    • -Rating : polluters can also artificially rate their files high, but assuming that pirates outnumber them by thousands, its highly useful.

      Bare numbers rating, no. Some sort of web-of-trust network, yes. But that is a lot more complex, and requires some sort of distributed sharing of ratings. A central one will probably be shut down, almost what suprnova.org was, and the poison client can also just send you poison votes. Basicly, out of millions of users it's unlikely to be much of a trust relationship betwe
  • I remember when I started to see files like this with kazaa lite.

    It was one of the reasons I dropped k-lite and started using direct connect (or more accurately, returned to DC++ after 3 years or so.)

    The setup of a DC hub effectively NULLIFIED people (and companies, someone actually got paid to do this???...whatever) who spread junk files like this. If you download a crap file, you simply notify an op, and if the offending share isn't cleaned up, that user is simply kicked and banned from the hub. All you

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