File Sharing Moves En Masse To The Darknet; Good Luck Shutting That Down

from the the-industry-loses-another-generation dept

It’s not like this wasn’t easily predictable, but as the entertainment industry has “succeeded” in taking down Megaupload and continues to move against The Pirate Bay and others, anyone who’s followed this space had to have known that file sharing would just move one step further underground. We’ve seen the same thing after every single “victory” against file sharing since Napster was shut down. Each time, it moves to a system slightly more underground and more distributed. The early ones were still easy to take down but as they get further underground, it just becomes worse for the industry (and makes it that much harder to win back those users). The latest news is that there’s been massive uptake of a growing number of anonymous, decentralized file-sharing tools. As is pretty typical in these “shift” periods, it’s still not clear which systems will “win” out over the others, but the leaders are starting to emerge. The Torrentfreak article above mentions players like Tribler and RetroShare. People in our comments have been discussing both, as well as Ares Galaxy. Who knows if any of these apps are actually any good, but it seems pretty clear that people are continuing to file share — they’re just finding ways to do so that are even harder to track down and stop. How long until the legacy entertainment industry starts publishing articles about these evil anonymous, decentralized file sharing systems and demanding new laws against them?

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Companies: ares galaxy, retroshare, tribler

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Comments on “File Sharing Moves En Masse To The Darknet; Good Luck Shutting That Down”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s sad because most of the file sharing on Megaupload was perfectly legal and Megaupload didn’t break any laws itself. People want to share non-infringing content and the industry is shutting down various pathways to do that and so people are moving to these other alternative file sharing platforms to also share non-infringing content with.

and since these platforms are less regulated than megaupload, since megaupload removed infringing content in accordance with the DMCA (and even went well above and beyond what the DMCA requires) these alternative platforms will naturally have more infringing material than megauploading giving the industry more excuses to try and attack them.

Of course the industry never intended to stop infringement, they intend to stop competition, which is precisely what they have done outside the Internet through govt established broadcasting and cableco monopolies and through laws that make it too legally risky and expensive for restaurants and other venues to host independent performers (and for bakeries to allow children to draw custom pictures on their birthday cakes because they tend to draw infringing cartoon characters).

Michael says:


“By shutting the web down.

That’s what they ultimately want.”

No, they want to transform the internet into their own media empire.

“To take away the thing that’s giving people like you and me the ability to speak our minds.”

Yes, censorship has always been at the forefront in their war against free market and freedom of speech.

Planespotter (profile) says:


The biggest US based providers and re-sellers react to DMCA, my provider just tells them to “go forth and procreate” in some eastern European language that I don’t understand.

Usenet may be coming to an end, albeit with a massive bang, as many people have jumped to it rather than traditional filesharing… but who can blame them, from beginning to end you can grab a DVDR in a few minutes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Youtube: Raspberry Pi video capabilities
My next HTPC(Home Theater PC) will cost $35 bucks, yay!
With the new Gnome virtual keyboard instead of using the USB to plugin a keyboard you can just use it to plugin your $95 buck 2TB HDD with 440 DVDs or 220 double DVD’s.

And as addon you can go to Shapeways and print a nice looking cover for it.

3D Print a Case for the Raspberry Pi by by Duann in What’s Hot on Thursday, March 1. 2012

Oh I’m sorry, this is about online piracy but I don’t think pirates are preoccupied about it, there is always a way to transfer data and those are not all online.

I doubt there is a way to transfer terabytes of data in seconds online, while offline people can just hand over an HDD to a friend and there you go 880 DVD’s in a matter of seconds transferred. Ok it takes 3 hours to copy all of that on a USB 2.0, but hey there is no tracking, there is no snooping just ol’good sneakers involved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Shhh, don’t talk about Usenet. It’s been around longest and remains the best method for obtaining content. Usenet + VPN = win since 1995 (cable modems, woo)

Though I wonder if going after Usenet hasn’t happened because it’s distributed, index sites are clearly index sites without content, and has there even been a lawsuit won because someone downloaded something illegally? I thought the only filesharing lawsuits won so far were those where the downloaders also uploaded, thus violating the distribution clause…. ?

TDR says:

Lamar Rottingham: That’s a wild boar!
Robin TPB: No, no, that’s a wild pig. *points to Prince John MAFIAA Dodd* That’s a wild bore.
Lamar Rottingham: And website your illegal movies download music to from it a is!
Robin TPB: What?
Lamar Rottingham: I mean, don’t you know it is illegal to download music and movies from your website?
Robin TPB: Is it not also illegal to exploit people and usurp their culture for your profits?
Prince John MAFIAA Dodd: Careful, Robin, you’ve gone too far.
Robin TPB: I’ve only just begun. If you do not stop passing these evil laws, I shall lead the good people of the internet in a revolt against you.
Prince John MAFIAA Dodd: And why should the people listen to you?
Robin TPB: Because, unlike some other pirate sites, I can speak with a pirate accent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Almost all darknets have their own search engines embedded as do the other options like Tribler and Ares Galaxy which are both normal bittorrent clients besides the search engine functions and are not darknets unless used over something like I2P.

Now what I find it incredible is that we can watch in realtime things unfolding thanks to SourceForge open sharing of the statistical data they collect.

Ares Galaxy on the SourceForge platform jumpend from a few thousand weekly downloads to millions of weekly downloads, others did too like Retroshare that jumped from one thousand weekly downloads to 6 thousands weekly downloads that is 600% increase every other filesharing listed there on the top(aka: most popular) saw a increase too and more notably every country where copyright is a problem is where people are jumping faster onto the darknet bandwagon.

Once those platform are proven to be secure the rest of the world will jump into it too, which will bring privacy back to all, since encrypted connections are harder to monitor and they are not using SSL to do so, they are using their own secure transport layers which don’t have a middleman to be coerced to give out keys for decrypting anything.

Knowing that, the entertainment industry trying to force search engines to do something is a waste of time, closing the “cloud” is a waste of time, what they need to do and don’t want to is to go after users and that means very bad PR and rapidly decline of their market share if they ever do it in a massive scale.

This is why legislating monopolies into existence always fails eventually the conditions that existed to maintain those monopolies change and they all fail and there is nothing those people can do about it.

Anonymous Coward says:


> By shutting the web down.

The rabbit hole goes way deeper than that.

Think about what the Internet really is. A network of networks. That one of the several possible internets won its place as the Internet is mostly a historical accident.

Shutting the Internet down would only mean a new Internet, a new network of networks, would appear. The only way to prevent that would be to prevent networking itself.

And since any general purpose computer can, with just a little effort, be made to network with other general purpose computers (even if by doing things like using the sound card as a modem), the only way to prevent any networking would be to kill the general purpose computer itself.

For another text that looks at this topic, see Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing by Cory Doctorow.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:


People trading amongst their friends is not comparable to filesharing anonymously whether via Usenet or torrents.

As soon a RapidShare darknet hits a critical number of users, then nobody will control it and *somebody* will be co-opted and in go the RA/MAFIAA trackers.

I read the article and sharing between friends who exchange PGP keys isn’t going to get enough content into each dark net in order to be attractive.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


I know this is all off topic, but I just order a Pi and am planning on using it for the same thing. A 35 buck Media Center that does 1080p video is too good to pass up! This is going to be my first experience with Linux, but I’m really looking forward to learning it now. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now but now I finally have the motivation. Thanks for the shapeways link on the case! I expected the 3d community to pick this up pretty quick, and they didn’t fail to live up to that expectation. I’m trying to talk an artist friend into making me a one off case (maybe wood), but I’m not holding my breath based on how long most of his projects take, lol

Anonymous Coward says:

…and the wack-a-mole starts anew.

This is precisely what happened when Napster was shut down. That was repeated again when AudioGalaxy shut down. Suddenly where there was only one main place to share files in a few short years there were literally thousands.

Each time that something causes one to close new ones are opened up learning from the past.

Anonymous Coward says:

The “darknet” isn’t dark at all. If it’s dark, nobody would find it. If people can find it (or get invited in) then the authorities won’t be far behind.

Decentralization doesn’t really help either, it actually makes it worse, making the systems more prone to hackers, fake files, and other sneaky systems. Basically, in a completely distributed system, you could offer up one piece of a DVD per user seeking, and have that piece be incorrect, and destroy every download. Yes, the piece could check sum right, but still not be correct.

Moreover, the “darknets” solve the biggest problems right now: They won’t get indexed on Google, and if they do, they aren’t very dark. Those who really want to pirate will always do it, one way or another. But this will make it much harder for the casual pirate to get their free movies and warez, and perhaps push them towards legal alternatives (including freeware options).

It’s a plus for everyone. The faster the torrents, the pirate forums, and the indexes of file lockers disappear, the better it is for everyone involved.

Joe says:

Re: Re:

Actually, eMule and the like have a solution to ‘well known fakes’ and bad clients. You actually have a kind of credit system ala BitCoin but greatly simpler and without all the people trying to steal yours using keyloggers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Freenet and I2P are worlds above TOR and Winny. Getting into the network is easy, as is figuring out if someone has a node. But actually knowing their content and communications is way harder than with TOR. If having a node on the network itself becomes a crime, you’re right in that it would be trivial to use ‘physical exploits’ AKA Gestapo seizures to examine every open node in a country and then use the node’s content to find evidence of both the crime of owning a node and the content you provided/saved as well as a list to give to friendly countries’ law enforcement to follow up with similar laws. I wonder if the 1st and 2nd amendments could both be used in addition to the normal evidence ones to fight such a law. (Remember: ‘encryption is a munition’!) Then again, if someone is in the mindset to write it, they probably don’t respect the highest laws anyways. Heck, no laws period except as a means to more power. Morning of the snakes if you know what I mean. Or just lookup a certain band of arsonists and hammer-wielders who swarmed a certain European country looking for certain people right before WWII.

Anonymous Coward says:


You need to understand something that is incredibly important:

Without easy internet trading, you have fewer people to trade with (sneakernets are generally very small), and the “source” material from outside is harder to get ahold of. Basically, you end up in a situation where unless one of your 5 – 10 friends that you trust to trade stuff with have actually purchased or rented the product, you won’t have it to start with.

So the technology side of storage is meaningless, unless there is something to put on it.

Anonymous Coward says:


That motion you see is just more and more people ending up with fewer and fewer options. Clearly, with all the torrent sites and file lockers closing down, shutting off sharing, and making it very hard for things to happen, there are plenty of roaches scurrying around trying to stay out of the light.

It’s not long before everyone is going to be standing on a narrow few solutions, and then it’s way easier for the authorities to work to take them out.

At some point, the options to pirate become just so hard, just so complicated, and just so unreliable and full of risk that many people will just stop doing it.

As I said to Mike about a year ago, you need to understand that the pendulum is reached it’s peak about 3 or 4 years ago in one direction, and now it is swinging back in the other direction. All the work to try to slow it won’t amount to much, it’s a force of nature. Balance will be achieved over time, you just have to accept that the golden era of piracy is coming to a close, at least for now.

Torg (profile) says:


If knowing where something is on the Net helped combat it then the The Pirate Bay would’ve died a long time ago. As it turns out authorities being somewhere doesn’t necessarily do much.

Hackers and fake files are also a problem with torrents. People figure out how to identify and defend against them. If the faulty pieces you propose as a solution ever become a real problem, the clients can be updated with them in mind. Maybe sacrifice some extra bandwidth to check pieces that are offered in isolation or something. It would be annoying, but not crippling. And with the web presence required to consistently interfere with millions of users, the content companies could start their own online services instead. You know, to compete.

People use Google to find free stuff because it’s easy. If Google is no longer the easiest solution then people will no longer use it. What’ll happen is the casual pirate will learn from their slightly-less-casual friend that there’s this new program that lets you download movies for free, and it even has its own player. Or they’ll google “how to get free movies” and find that there’s this new program that lets you download movies for free, and it has its own search function. And then the casual pirate continues to casually pirate.
More people discovering freeware would be cool, but I’m not sure how anyone really benefits from that. The person still isn’t paying, and the old companies still aren’t getting paid, so the arrangement, from any perspective except a legal one, is exactly the same as piracy. And as they delve deeper into the wonderful world of freeware, they’re increasingly likely to discover a darknet program, at which point we’re back where we started, but now the pirate has a greater respect for the independent programmer and Creative Commons. And as long as the other legal alternatives remain as they are, it’s going to take a lot of pushing to convince someone to pay 20 bucks for one movie.

File lockers are where I get most of my music, because that’s where most of the musicians I listen to put their music. I fail to see how I’d be better off without them.

The person getting your order. says:


People can’t move to legal options if there aren’t any, you moron.
Most the world can’t even watch YouTube videos yet, nor do they have money for plastic discs nobody is selling to them anyway. And if Youtube is available, then guess what, those are the casual pirates. So the next step is to what? Shut down YouTube? Because that’s where they’ll be getting their stuff at. Unless you shut down YouTube, you won’t stop casual pirates.

Guess what Mr.Tie, the real world doesn’t work like your Ivory tower in D.C, and it never will.
Some of these days, you will have to exit your shiny office and live in the real world, with the rest of us. You fucking elitist twit.

Oh, and don’t forget to order your next coffee with extra cream, we’ll make sure do add the special ‘blend’.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:


Neither your or I know if darknets will get indexed on Google, or at least parts of them won’t if they’re part of the broader web or internet. It doesn’t mean they identify themselves as that as there will be other ways to determine that.

Actually, decentralization makes files LESS prone to cracking not more so. Just what part of what torrent does the cracker break in order to screw up the download and not cause a retry. Distributed downloads check more than a checksum to see that the piece you just got is the one the seed sent.

I remember all the cheering from people like you when Napster was shut down and how that would cripple piracy. It didn’t. It increased it.

And remember that bittorrent is a protocol NOT a program. Would bittorrent be part of the darknet? It wouldn’t surprise me if the protocol was but that won’t be all. It may be part bittorrent, part FTP, part HTTP and who knows what else. And it won’t be long before downloading infringing material is as easy or easier than it is now.

It’s far too early to gloat. Most file lockers are perfectly legal as is most other cloud storage, forums have been around since before the dawn of the Web and will also continue, torrents will continue to be used because they’re an internet protocol. Repeat after me…just like FTP is.

There is no plus here for the people who pay you. Only somewhere else they’ll have to dig for and find. If you or anyone denies a market what it wants it will find a way to get it. And then the chance that RIAA signed artists and MPAA member companies will recapture that market which was theirs to start with will drop to something less than the square root of -1.

Have fun.

Anonymous Coward says:


I remember all the cheering from people like you when Napster was shut down and how that would cripple piracy. It didn’t. It increased it.

Are you saying Napster demise spurred piracy? To what extent did increased access to the internet, faster speeds and the proliferation of iPods contribute? I’d guess that those were the biggest factors.

Anonymous Coward says:


Torg, you don’t get it. If things move to a “darknet”, the casual pirate is locked out. If the casual pirate can get in, there then casual law enforcement people can get in to, and your dark net is like the football in the middle of the superbowl – very well lit, and not dark at all.

The darknet theory only works when it’s a secret. A public secret is a contradiction in terms.

“File lockers are where I get most of my music, because that’s where most of the musicians I listen to put their music. I fail to see how I’d be better off without them.”

Your favorite musicians might want to work on assuring that they can reach you all the time by (gasp) actually paying for a little bandwidth and a little server space. Then they can be sure to reach you. Perhaps that solution isn’t cool enough for you?

Joe1 says:

Re: Re:

I suggest you look up a little product called PGP for email… Or TLS/SSL. Most of the issues mentioned in these comments are solved already. Freenet for example is designed based on the assumption that the enemy is already behind the gate – there is no gate in fact but just lots and lots of obstacles if you want an analogy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

To: Anonymous Coward, #57

A darknet is simply a variation of the traditional underground “cell system” used by political revolutionaries. The system allows for a certain percentage of informers, and for a certain percentage of the organization’s members dying under torture in the police interrogation rooms. Consider Pontecorvo’s _The Battle of Algiers_. In it, the character, Colonel Mathieu, charged with suppressing the revolt says, after he has described the National Liberation Front organization:

“The reason for this geometry is so that each militant will know only three members in the entire organization… contacts take place only by written instructions. That is why we do not know our adversaries: because, in practice, they do not know each other… We must make the necessary investigations to proceed from one vertex to another in the entire pyramid… The method is interrogation [torture]. And interrogation becomes a method when conducted in such a manner as always to obtain a result, or rather, an answer. In practice, demonstrating a false humanitarianism only leads to the ridiculous and impotence.” (The Battle of Algiers, Scene 73).

And of course, you remember that the Algerians won the war. Large-scale torture only triggered large-scale revolution.

Now, applying this to file sharing, bear in mind that the economic fortunes of the movie and recording industries are tied to a quite small number of movies and songs, the “top forty.” These are by definition, fairly common, and a file sharer doesn’t have to go very far to find them.

What will inevitably happen is that the RIAA will find that the only thing it can do against darknets is to kidnap large numbers of children and interrogate them with the electrodes. Of course, having done so, they will have to kill the children, having gone so far that they cannot turn back. There was an evil phase in Brazil and other South American nations during the 1980’s, when large numbers of shopkeepers were regularly paying the local police to kill beggar children who hung out around their establishments, waiting their chance to steal stuff. Simply the price of modernization, and all that, you know… I think you will find that Cary Sherman will not be able to control some of his more ambitious apparatchiks… and they will do… certain things. Sherman will probably wind up desperately trying to convince the police of his own non-involvement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Went to my son’s dorm to visit a couple weekends ago. They had terrabyte drives sitting around swapping not one or two files back and forth but thousands of movies and songs. Each of these belonging to someone who no doubt takes them back home across the country and swaps with others. Who needs the internet? Eventually there are going to be 10 terrabyte thumb drives..anyone care to imagine how lame these individual site shut downs will look then?

Anonymous Coward says:


[citation needed]

Do you honestly believe that the majority of content on Megaupload infringed?

Megaupload even responded to DMCA takedowns (and they’re not even in the U.S.) and they went well above and beyond DMCA requirements. Do you have any evidence to back your statement or do you continue to tell lies and expect others to take your pro-IP position seriously.

Torg (profile) says:


The casual pirate just has to talk to his slightly-less-casual friend to get initial access. Everyone has one; a classmate or coworker or something. You know what happens if a police officer asks their not-so-casual pirate friend for access to the darknet? They learn that their not-so-casual friend has access to the darknet. And that’s it. That’s what it means to be decentralized: even when you’re in there’s no center to go to to get everyone else in it. Each computer talks only to other computers that it knows, and utility comes from the principle of degrees of separation. The darknet as a whole isn’t a secret at all. Each individual user’s piece is its own secret. That’s what makes it formidable, not a generalized Keep Out sign.

“Your favorite musicians might want to work on assuring that they can reach you all the time by (gasp) actually paying for a little bandwidth and a little server space. Then they can be sure to reach you.”

I don’t see why they should have to, since currently they’re making files that they created available on services dedicated to making files available, and in no sane world would that be problematic.

“Perhaps that solution isn’t cool enough for you?”

I don’t think I understand the question.

Anonymous Coward says:

Those of us who built the Internet...

…are not going to let mere government and meddling corporations interfere with it. As I’ve said here repeatedly, this is only the beginning — just a small taste of what we’re working on. (And no, we’re not going to be defeated by the ISPs, the registrars, or national-level firewalls, because we’re working on bypassing them entirely.)

joe says:

Times have already changed I can tell. I as a person am a good “sample” of the upper middle class, who is always a bit ahead. I am also ahead in terms of going through the consequences of the financial crisis that is changing our world.

The change on behavior is quite impressive: i no longer watch tv, i no longer by dvds or cds. I will never go back to it, even if the internet is completely shut down.

These guys have lost, the world is changing but they don’t realize it.

Bengie says:


That’s why you have Darknet+Opennet hybrids.

You can remain in a darknet, but other people you’re connected to can act as an edge router for you.

Yes, someone takes a higher risk, but if they were going to take that risk anyway, at least you get to benefit. Just don’t be a d-bag and coerce your friend into being that edge router.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Those who don't study history

Agreed. Its funny everything is happening as you, I, and everyone here predicted. I can’t wait for this encrypted distributed network to grow. The great thing is with everyone generating their own encryption keys this will be more secure than getting an SSL cert from verisign.

The only possible law I can see the content types push for, would be one where you have to register every encryption key you use so you can be monitored online. Which would be unworkable on so many levels.

Rapnel (profile) says:


Imagine that the world was flat and you could walk off the end of it.

I can see that you’ve reached the end of your reality string. If you pull hard enough on it you can pull yourself through and around in a complete circle.

Balance will be achieved by standing on one foot, with your arms straight out and your head up and staring at the sky. Remain balanced for three or four years and then you can look around and see what your wishful thinking has wrought. (spoiler – Nothing, no shortages of ingenuity, creativity nor technological advances were realized during your balancing act)

Golden Era of Piracy? – Bitch, You have know idea what ails ya.

Anonymous Coward says:


And if they take away the last “pirate” source, I will *STILL* not pay a single cent to those motherfucking bastards in suits.

You see, unlike mike who said he wants the companies to adapt so that they can live on, I want them to die. Slow and painful preferably, although in a way as quick as possible would be better so that they can’t cause any more damage.

I will never pay for anything of **AAs again. out of principle.

Joe says:

Re: Re:

I2P has search engines. Freenet has chatrooms but… ugh we really need less idiots on there. It’s like the Usenet of the 21st century. Both in good and bad ways. Please come on one of them so we can reach record levels! Freenet sadly only has about 10-15K estimated nodes but if that hit 100K, it would probably take off as new developers get interested. I2P is better though since it can run on a router (no data store=no need of huge RAM/storage space).

rabbit says:


Imagine what would happen if instead of running deeper file sharers simply stopped. Stop buying from, lets say one major record label, lets say for a year. Imagine if all the Internet users realized that the problem is not the technology but the fact that their government has been acquired by the industry and is being used against them in order to kill the non-corporate Internet. What would happen if artists signed with this major label realize it and go indie because nobody buys their music anymore. Imagine how your government may even listen to you if the funds from this major label dry out. Now, if you want to support your politicians (maybe not exactly yours…) and the great art these labels produce, please ignore this. Otherwise imagine how little effort is needed for achieving this result.

Anonymous Coward says:

Child porn is the big problem with these services. They’re so effective that there’s no real way to stop it aside from expecting all the users to police it manually(a task not enough people will participate in). I downloaded Tribler yesterday and I’ve been playing around with it. The interface definitely leaves something to be desired, but it works pretty well once you’ve had it running a while and have acquired enough connections. The cp is already there, and you can bet the MAFIAA will target any service that becomes popular using the cp as an excuse. I can see them going after anyone who even participates in the indexing of the illegal files(which is pretty much everyone using the system).

I encourage everyone to try one of these new clients, and start building the user base. It really is a pretty powerful solution.

RedRedMane says:

And deeper and deeper we go! You know, it really is fascinating what folks can “come up with” when they are forced to think way outside the box. I’ve often tossed around the idea of creating a 100% de-centralized “virtual” DarkNet with sophisticated encryption, which would only be accessible via unsecured Wifi! I don’t know if that’s even POSSIBLE, but it’s good “food for thought.” Virtual “BitCoin” options are also a neat idea. I’d call it the “GhostCoin” system.

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