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June 13, 2008
Tracking the Trackers
The CS Department at University of Washington have released a report with this title reporting on an investigation of copyright enforcement as it currently exists on P2P networks.
The report's site contains a summary of the report's findings, a downloadable PDF of the full report and an online FAQ describing their research methods and key findings. I haven't digested the full thing yet, but the three basic conclusions are stated pretty bluntly:
- Anyone can be framed for copyright infringement. The remote and automated generation of complaints shifts the burden significantly onto the accused to prove their innocence.
- In addition to malicious framing, innocent people can still be erroneously fingered, even if they've never run a P2P program
- Privacy in P2P networks is partial or illusory at best
The authors also try to draw some conclusions, and call for more transparency in the monitoring process. Considering the amount of malicious activity the Cartel directs at the P2P nets
I don't see this happening anytime soon. One the other hand, I see the paper's authors getting a few calls as expert witnesses in the near future.
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