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Hosting Provider Bans RIAA
August 19, 2002 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Hosting Provider Bans RIAA - According to this press release, Information Wave Technologies will actively block all RIAA IP space because RIAA is intentionally seeking to invade customer networks / hosts to check for copyright violations. Additionally, they are going to deploy a "honeypot" system (simulates a GNUtella client sharing copyrighted material) in order to log requests for the files and correlate them with attempts to invade the host -- RIAA's stated plan to combate music piracy.
posted by Irontom (24 comments total)

 
They're also putting fake MP3 files up on Gnutella, and tracking their users who download them. Lovely bunch.
posted by tellmenow at 7:30 AM on August 19, 2002


I think its a great idea - I just wish they'd post the IP space that they see being used by the RIAA, so the rest of us can block it as well.
posted by mrbill at 7:40 AM on August 19, 2002


tellmenow: that's what I thought at first, but then after re-reading the press release, it occurs to me that they're trying to detect RIAA hacking attempts that use the IWT network:

Clients which connect to our peer-to-peer clients, and then afterwards attempt to illegally access the network will be immediately blacklisted from Information Wave's network.

In other words, IWT will try and prevent its own network from being used as a vehicle for attacks on the Gnutella network.
posted by scottandrew at 8:06 AM on August 19, 2002


mrbill - that's a GREAT idea. RIAA will not be able to change their IP space too easily, and if enough people program their firewalls and routers, they will find themselves very alone, indeed.

There are ways they could circumvent such blockage, potentially by proxying through other IP spaces, but that's a topic for /. :)
posted by reality at 8:16 AM on August 19, 2002


I think this is grandstanding. How are they determining what is RIAA's IP space? From the RIAA web site [208.225.90.120]? Blocking that will only inconvenience IWT customers that want to visit the RIAA site. RIAA is unlikely to use the same IP space as their site to carry out their counter-piracy measures if in fact they don't contract some other entity to do their dirty work for them.
Clients which connect to our peer-to-peer clients, and then afterwards attempt to illegally access the network will be immediately blacklisted from Information Wave's network. IWT doesn't already block and log attempts to "illegally" access their network, whether or not the intruders have visited the MP3 honeypots? I'd hope so.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:41 AM on August 19, 2002


at first i read this press release and thought that these guys were baddies, distributing information about clients downloading their 'spoofed' MP3s from their network.

However, i've re-read it carefully, and these are the good guys :) It's quite funny really, they're just doing exactly what the RIAA are doing, using spoof files, but with the intention of tracking down RIAA hacking activity, banning them, and publishing their details. The irony is amusing, kudos to Information Wave.

When will the RIAA realise they're fighting a losing battle...?
posted by derbs at 8:50 AM on August 19, 2002


It might be an interesting tactic, but what's the prevent RIAA lawyers from coming after them directly, since they've stuck their head up?
posted by poseur at 9:15 AM on August 19, 2002


"In other words, IWT will try and prevent its own network from being used as a vehicle for attacks on the Gnutella network."

The way it reads to me, IWT will put up fake mp3s of RIAA material and zap anyone who tries to access their servers for these files. Meaning they're not only hampering RIAA's access to their servers but also anyone on the opposing end of the argument - music fans who share files. This may lead to IWT secluding themselves more than they are RIAA's servers. If all servers did this, I'd imagine RIAA would win the war by default. Except for a handful of roving servers out there which would become the equivalent of a virtual red light district for virtual contraband.

I really don't like the dark direction this is going. Prohibition has never resolved the issue. It just creates a black market. It validates criminal activity. It turns otherwise law-abiding people into outlaws. I don't think IWT's solution is noble - I find it cowardly, like Pilate.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:20 AM on August 19, 2002


I think this is grandstanding.

And what exactly does the RIAA do that isn't grandstanding (followed by sinister laughter as they rub their hands together)

As far as I'm concerned, I will gladly throw my business in support of any company that is brave enough to stand up to the harmonic mafia.
posted by BentPenguin at 9:21 AM on August 19, 2002


ZachsMind:
as far as I understood it (it was worded confusingly), I don't think IWT will ban people for simply downloading the spoofed mp3s.

"and then afterwards attempt to illegally access the network will be immediately blacklisted "

I think they are putting out spoofed mp3s in order to catch the RIAA DoSing or hacking them, and then publishing their details for the world to see.
posted by derbs at 9:28 AM on August 19, 2002


Yes, grandstanding was too pejorative. I support wholeheartedly IWT's intentions, I just don't think their actions will be effective, and don't think IWT thinks they'll be effective.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:35 AM on August 19, 2002


Yes Derbs, but by putting out false mp3s they are effectively making it more difficult if not impossible for music fans to share music normally, which defeats the purpose of combatting RIAA. It's like stopping your neighbor building a wall on his property by building a wall on your property first. The end result is the same.

Of course, I'm sure a lot of people find this acceptable because it's mp3s of copyright protected material anyway. For IWT customers, the argument of whether or not free transfer of mp3s on the 'Net is personal use has been answered for them.

If all corporate servers did this worldwide, it's game over. RIAA wins.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:35 AM on August 19, 2002


I think this is grandstanding. How are they determining what is RIAA's IP space?
"whois" and "nslookup." Finding out what particular netblock a networked machine is on is a fundamental function of an internetwork -- you need to know where to route packets.

In this case, RIAA's netblock is listed as NETBLK-RECORDIN50-191, and it's 12.150.91.0/24. 12.0.0.0/8 is owned and assinged by AT&T, and the RIAA nameservers are AT&T machines (dbru.br.ns.els-gms.att.net and dmtu.mt.ns.els-gms.att.net) which means that AT&T is the upstream provider. They've bought tertiary mail services from UUNET in case AT&T goes offline.
posted by eriko at 9:57 AM on August 19, 2002


ZachsMind: I'm not sure I agree with you.
Its not as if they are actively flooding the market with empty copies. They are just using them as bait for the RIAA DoS attacks. Anyone picking these up by accident will most likely delete them on first listen stopping the spread at only one degree of removal.

Also they said only top 40 material will be used for this. I suspect that wont affect anyone with decent taste.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 10:24 AM on August 19, 2002


"Also they said only top 40 material will be used for this. I suspect that wont affect anyone with decent taste."

That is a valid point. Anyone who actually wants to spread mp3s of Mariah Carey or Backstreet Boys should have their heads examined.

Okay. Fine. I'm on board. How do we support these guys and get other internet providers to do the same? What IWT is suggesting will only make a dent if the majority of providers follow suit. Otherwise RIAA will either ignore IWT or sue them and that'll be the end of it.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2002


These guys seem pretty independent. It is probably going to be quite a different task to convince a large telecom provider that this is a worthy idea. If there is only the added customer service along with chances of a RIAA lawsuit I don't think they will jump onboard.

First thing first is to see that IWT can't be attacked legally by its actions(i.e. what are the first amendment implications).
posted by Dr_Octavius at 11:00 AM on August 19, 2002


From the RIAA web site [208.225.90.120]?
no, that is part of a UUNET netblock. they'll use dynamically assigned IP's doled out by the huge ISP's - to deny entire netblocks of those will be to deny a lot of legitimate traffic.
posted by quonsar at 11:20 AM on August 19, 2002


...but then again, couldn't this same procedure be used to publically unveil not only RIAA DoS attacks but also any 'copyright violation offenders' out there ? NWT could opt to inform the RIAA of all the bad meanie music fans so they can get flogged in the streets.

How dare they share music? Hangin's too good for them.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2002


For a hundred bucks a month you can rent a Cobalt Raq in someone else's IP space. The idea that someone would launch a DoS attack from their own IP space is ridiculous; of course they'll use rented servers and of course they'll change them frequently. They'll use home DSL and cable setups run by employees and these, too, will be changed frequently.
posted by kindall at 11:37 AM on August 19, 2002


The idea that someone would launch a DoS attack from their own IP space is ridiculous; of course they'll use rented servers and of course they'll change them frequently.

If the RIAA was that smart about how to use technology, they'd be making money on digital music instead of trying to outlaw it.
posted by joemaller at 11:46 AM on August 19, 2002


BAN THE RIAA FROM THE INTERNET!

(Could the RIAA be given an effective "death penalty?")
posted by kablam at 3:57 PM on August 19, 2002


If the RIAA was that smart about how to use technology, they'd be making money on digital music instead of trying to outlaw it.

The RIAA may not be that smart. But they can hire people who are.

I used to work for a company that employed people to hang out in chat rooms and get URLs and passwords for bootleg movie files. (The company was working on a lot of other interesting technologies to address this problem, the most jaw-dropping of which was a frighteningly good "visual key" system that could match a bootleg MPEG with its source given as little as five seconds of the bootleg, even if the bootleg was shot with a camcorder at an oblique angle in a theater.) The movie studios weren't smart enough to sniff out piracy, but they could pay us to do it, and there was interest from a couple of the biggest ones in doing just that.
posted by kindall at 4:47 PM on August 19, 2002


Kindall: The idea that someone would launch a DoS attack from their own IP space is ridiculous; of course they'll use rented servers and of course they'll change them frequently.

How many companies would risk tainting the good names of their nice benevolent IP addresses with the ugly intentions of the RIAA? I know if I found out my service provider or hosting company was doing business with the RIAA I would take my business elsewhere pronto.

Not sure IWT is serious but I applaud their chutzpah and if other service providers signed on it would send a nice signal to the RIAA (i.e., A nice swift kick in the pants..)

:-)
posted by Skygazer at 5:15 PM on August 19, 2002


I know if I found out my service provider or hosting company was doing business with the RIAA I would take my business elsewhere pronto.

I don't know how you'd find this out, since hosting services rarely publish client lists.

Oh, another cute thing: the easiest way to do a DOS attack on a peer-to-peer network is to just download all the files you can find. You will note that a server that does this, colocated in someone's data center, is creating inbound traffic to the data center, rather than outbound traffic. Obviously, most of the data center's traffic is outbound (due to Web sites, streaming audio/video, downloads, etc.) and hosting companies already price their services to cover their bandwidth costs. So they are left with a whole buttload of inbound bandwidth that is basically free and is mostly not being used. So if you install at the right place (e.g. MAE EAST or MAE WEST) you can easily suck several OC3's worth of bandwidth out of a peer-to-peer network without even paying very much for the privilege. Nice, huh?
posted by kindall at 5:56 PM on August 19, 2002


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