Skip

"Google for Usenet" Shut Down
May 20, 2010 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Regrettably the Newzbin website has to close as a result of the legal action against us. Once the premier Usenet indexing site and the inventor of the NZB file format, Newzbin has officially closed its doors after losing a court battle against several Hollywood studios. Gossip suggests that Newzbin is in dire financial straights.

Usenet, a 20 year old system of online discussion groups, is now considered a decisively better choice for file-sharing than BitTorrent. Other recent victims of copyright infringement claims: LimeWire and The Pirate Bay.
posted by cosmic osmo (36 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is what happens when you talk about Usenet.
posted by zsazsa at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2010 [32 favorites]


I remember using Newzbin five or six years ago. You could find just about anything through them. And if you paid for a decent Usenet host, you could download much faster than with torrents. I'm honestly surprised it took this long for them to be shut down.

So, has someone else stepped up as an indexer? I haven't been around Usenet in years. It's not very useful without someone providing an index...
posted by PhillC at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2010


My Usenet binaries provider (with a great index and search function) is still going strong, but I figure the RIAA/MPAA types will catch up to them eventually. Not gonna name names though they're not hidden or anything either.
posted by kmz at 10:41 AM on May 20, 2010


Not that I use it or anything, but my...uh...friend told me that nzbs.org is pretty good.
posted by jessssse at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I forget how much I was spending for a Usenet server + Newzbin a few years ago, like $25 for the server and $5 for Newzbin?

Because I was spending REAL MONEY on downloads I was burning about 2-3 DVDs a day to feel like I got my money's worth, so I have a crate filled with Joy of Painting and Alf dubbed in French.
posted by wcfields at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Surely THIS will put an end to piracy on the Internet!
posted by entropicamericana at 10:47 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Duke (the home of Usenet) is shutting their server today. That's got FPP potential, but I'm still despondent from the oil spill thing.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:57 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Usenet, a 20 year old system of online discussion groups, is now considered a decisively better choice for file-sharing than BitTorrent.

This may have been true in 2007 when the article was written, but these days a lot of the positives cited for Usenet don't really apply. For example:

The first movies and MP3s first appeared on Usenet before Napster ever existed. To this day, a vast majority of content from top site providers filters down to Usenet first, then trickles its way to the P2P community. This is the way online distribution works, and there's no indication that it will change any time soon.

Plenty of trackers have scene axx, and pre times (the time between when a scene release is published and it is uploaded to a tracker) tend to be under a minute at even mid-level 0day trackers.

On the speed side, most of the torrents on those same trackers will have 10 MB/s+ speeds for weeks or months due to the large numbers of seedboxes out there. And on sites that keep torrents up for as long as they are seeded, a BitTorrent user might not get great speeds on an old release but equivalent content on Usenet wouldn't even be available anymore. Actually getting access to good trackers is another issue entirely, but unlike Usenet it does not cost any money, and to some people the community aspect is an additional positive.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:57 AM on May 20, 2010


Usenet is 30 not 20...

Poor Usenet has been steadily becoming less and less used over the past few years to the point where it's almost not worth a subscription anymore for anything that isn't a binary group. Even the binary groups are slowly getting overwhelmed with spam too.

Google didn't do it any favors when it failed to properly maintain it's dejanews archive as well. Do ISP's even provide Usenet anymore? Mine used to about ten years ago, but I believe they discontinued it ages ago.
posted by inthe80s at 10:57 AM on May 20, 2010


begin 666 newzbin.txt
!+@``
`
end
posted by Perplexer at 11:04 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, wcfields, I remember spending $15 a month on a Usenet host and about $5 on Newzbin. But there were some hosts that cost more like $25-$40 for longer retention.
posted by PhillC at 11:06 AM on May 20, 2010


Usenet is 30 not 20...

Wow, my bad. Math has never been a strong suit.

burnmp3s...the thing about Usenet speed is that you aren't dependent on anyone else...sure, BitTorrent is theoretically capable of maxing out your connection, but Usenet'll do it 100% of the time.

The biggest positive for me has always been the privacy aspect. (See this AskMe post). As a student at a college where a good handful of people I know have been pinched by the RIAA/MPAA for torrenting, it's worth the peace of mind.

I also don't mind paying for it. 99% of what I download is TV shows; Giganews is $30/month, HD Digital Cable with DVR and premium channels is three or four times that.
posted by cosmic osmo at 11:11 AM on May 20, 2010


.
posted by kenchie at 11:16 AM on May 20, 2010


Straits. Dire straits.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:20 AM on May 20, 2010


Straits. Dire straits.

Wow, my bad. I guess spelling's not really my thing either?
posted by cosmic osmo at 11:22 AM on May 20, 2010


You can host you own Usenet indexer now.
posted by sveskemus at 11:42 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a stupid question.

What the hell are all you people downloading that you are willing to pay tens of dollars a month to access NZB files or set up seedboxes? To justify that, you need to be maintaining you own personal iTunes music store and Netflix. Do you even watch or listen to everything you download?

I not even sure at this point that there are more than 10-20 movies worth actually keeping once you've seen them, and I'm willing to pay for Blu-ray copies of those, or wait for netflix. But for God's sake, the platforms you are accessing, usenet and seedboxes, are for moving hundreds of gigabytes per month.

What the hell are you all watching? Real-time feeds of others peoples' lives?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:46 AM on May 20, 2010


burnmp3s...the thing about Usenet speed is that you aren't dependent on anyone else...sure, BitTorrent is theoretically capable of maxing out your connection, but Usenet'll do it 100% of the time.

My point was that in practice, downloading new content from a decent tracker will max out most people's broadband connection as well. If you use flexget to download TV show torrents from one of the good TV trackers on a cable connection, each episode will be on your hard drive ready to watch within a few minutes after it was released by the release group.

The biggest positive for me has always been the privacy aspect. (See this AskMe post). As a student at a college where a good handful of people I know have been pinched by the RIAA/MPAA for torrenting, it's worth the peace of mind.

I think that's part of the reason why seedboxes are becoming more popular. For an amount of money comparable to Usenet access, it's possible to rent a server slice to run a BitTorrent client on. There's still the issue of privacy between the user and the seedbox provider, but that's the same with Usenet providers.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:48 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, people have been using Usenet for movies and music? I thought the whole point was places like alt.alien.vampires.wonk.wonk.wonk and alt.icelandic.singer.bjork.bjork.bjork.
posted by charred husk at 11:49 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pastabagel, I pay for convenience. Giganews costs $30 a month (with a great VPN offering built in, which unlocks Hulu and other state-side only feeds), and for that I can watch whatever I want, whenever I want. It's better quality then my cable feed, and has no advert breaks and downloads as fast as my 'net connection will allow.

It'd be cheap at twice the price.
posted by Static Vagabond at 11:50 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Pastabagel, not all people have access to movies and tv shows through the iTunes Store, Netflix or Hulu. Here in Denmark we would have to wait 6 months to a year or more to watch what Americans are currently watching on tv — if our local networks choose to buy that particular show. Otherwise we're just screwed. And there's no legal way to stream movies (at least none that works on anything other than Windows). So yeah, someone might want to use Usenet or a similar service to download stuff.
posted by sveskemus at 11:56 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just fyi, thepiratebay.org is very much still online. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 12:46 PM on May 20, 2010


To justify that, you need to be maintaining you own personal iTunes music store and Netflix.

Yes! And it's wonderful! About 8 terabytes and growing every day. Storage is cheap. I can watch whatever I want, whenever I want. I can give copies to friends (without requiring any third party software or special sign-ups or divulging personal information about myself). The data is mine. It's not licensed or rented or leased or whatever new-fangled legal ass-hattery comes along to erode the concept of ownership. MY data, fuckers! No iPod necessary. No iTunes necessary. No Netflix subscription necessary. Just raw goddamned data. Shit-tons of it, all at my fingertips, to watch on any device I want, in any format I want, at any time I want.

The only data I trust to be there tomorrow is the data I own today. I don't want to rely on a 3rd party just to listen to music. I don't want some greedy asshole CEO deciding on a whim to change the terms and conditions of my licensing agreement and eliminate part or all of my collection in one fell swoop, or requiring me to install some K-RAD new piece of fucking crap software that crashes all the time and sucks up half my RAM and pegs my CPU just to use what I already had access to, transmitting my viewing habits to third parties, all without my say-so (oh, but I can always go through the rapid, easy, cheap process of suing the bastards binding arbitration to get back my rights/data, right?)

No fucking thank you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:52 PM on May 20, 2010 [17 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient, can I come over? I'll bring pretzels.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:47 PM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Do you even watch or listen to everything you download?

There have actually been polls of this, and on BitTorrent there are a decent number of people who download things specifically to seed them rather than actually use the content, especially among those who pay for seedboxes. A lot of that has to do with the ratio system that most trackers use, which requires users to upload (close to) as much as they download. So in some cases, downloading a certain torrent might be worth it just for the amount of data that can be uploaded from it.

What the hell are all you people downloading that you are willing to pay tens of dollars a month to access NZB files or set up seedboxes? To justify that, you need to be maintaining you own personal iTunes music store and Netflix.

As others have said, in many ways these illegal services have significant advantages over legal alternatives, even disregarding the issue of cost. I still buy music on CD rather than from iTunes even though all of my CDs that I've ripped sit on a shelf or in a box, because iTunes only sells DRM-ed and/or lower quality lossy content. Meanwhile I can login to a BitTorrent tracker and download perfect FLAC rips of pretty much any album I can think of (including most of the ones I buy).

If every band and artist sold their songs/albums in FLAC format from their own websites, and charged 10 times the amount they make from iTunes sales of the same content, that's how I would buy music. In fact, if every they all put up PayPal buttons that said "Pay us $20 and then go find our new album on BitTorrent on your own" I would do that. Pretty much everyone would rather pay for a legitimate service rather than a seedbox or Usenet to get the same content, but in most cases comparable legal services do not exist.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:57 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you even watch or listen to everything you download?

Yes and no. What a lot of people (myself included) use BT for, is as a giant "try before you buy" bazaar. Some famous old album you never got around to listening? BT to the rescue. Then if you like it, you buy it, if not, you eliminate it from your hard drive... I cannot stress the last point strongly enough. I already have many terabytes of data - I'd be doing nothing but buying hard drives (already have plenty, thank you), so it is essential to immediately eliminate anything you don't like or are not likely to listen to again. BT is fantastic for exploring - I get to listen to some obscure drummers from Cameroon, and if I like it, I buy it, if available. If not, I may only listen to one or two tracks and then throw out the whole download - not my cup of tea... so in that case I do NOT listen to all that I download. But a lot of music is simply not possible to acquire in any other way - say, I downloaded a record pressed back in 1927, Latin music from Havana casino live bands - fantastic stuff, but only one guy somewhere in Ohio had a copy he kindly digitized and uploaded... there is no other way to get this. Or live stuff in endless variations etc. That said, when I really like something, and it is available, I buy it, simply because I like the physical CD with the artwork etc. As you can imagine, one goes through a lot of dross for a few gems. Out of the hundreds of GB I may download in any given month, maybe I keep about 5% - usually, I discard after hearing just a track or two.
posted by VikingSword at 2:21 PM on May 20, 2010


I often thought of the a.b tree as a radio station. Couldn't predict what would come net, but could sample at will. Find a gem, buy it. Otherwise, turf and move on.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:27 PM on May 20, 2010


What the hell are all you people downloading that you are willing to pay tens of dollars a month to access NZB files or set up seedboxes?

Yeah, and what's up with those university libraries with their millions of volumes? Nobody could ever read that much, and who would want to anyway? Everything I would ever want is conveniently available in my grocery store checkout line.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:43 PM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The proliferation of data storage providers like rapidshare, hotfile, and megaupload, along with the arrival and continual development of jdownloader has led me to finally abandon the newsgroups - although I've basically just shifted money from a usenet provider to a rapidshare premium account. What I loved about usenet for data files was how weirdly awkward and complex it was, with layer upon layer of jury-rigged complexity required (yEnc, nzbs, rars, pars, etc) in order to securely get episode 6 of season 7 of Buffy over something originally meant for text exchanges.
posted by Auden at 3:46 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the hell are all you people downloading that you are willing to pay tens of dollars a month to access NZB files or set up seedboxes?

TV, movies. I pay 15/month but I don't have cable or satellite (or commercials).
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:27 PM on May 20, 2010


I guess I'm one of the lucky few. My ISP provides access to a great Usenet server for no additional charge.The vast majority of their customers don't know about it and a fair chunk of their tech support people don't even seem to know what Usenet is. But I still get access to all the binary groups and my downloads are usually between 300 and 600 kilobytes per second. My previous ISP capped my Usenet downloads at 15 kilobytes, even though, otherwise, my internet speed was 200 to 300.

Just the other day, I downloaded a laser disc transfer of a 1996 movie that has never been released on DVD. Try finding that one on Demonoid.

Oh, and for Usenet indexing, try binsearch.info. It'll even create the .nzb files for you. And it's completely free. The only drawback is that it takes up to a day or so for new items to appear in the index after they're uploaded.
posted by Clay201 at 4:43 PM on May 20, 2010


Pasta, for me it's predominantly tv shows. Tv shows that might be cancelled part way here, or on at 3am, 12 months later than they aired. Music I *can't* buy drm-free or without odious bullshit bloatware itunes which I hate. Or finally, and frankly, too expensive.

I look at album/dvd/etc prices in the US compared to Australia, and I weep. Why the eff should I pay $5-$25 extra to get something six months late and more often than not DRMed to hell simply because I live somewhere else? No thanks.

When I can pay (typically after listening to on YouTube or downloading to test), and it's around $10 for an album, $5-10 for a movie, $10-$50 for a tv show, I often do (e.g in the last month, I have downloaded five albums, and bought two, with plans to buy a third. I won't be buying the last two because one can't be bought digitally off itunes [and I'm not even sure it's a keeper], and the other is too expensive ($17)). Studios should quit their bitching and make it easier for me to give them my money. I have money, I don't mind giving it, but I won't eat a plate of shit just because they tell me to when there's a better option available.
posted by smoke at 6:55 PM on May 20, 2010


Rule Number One!
Rule Number Two!

That said, astraweb is $15/month for unlimited. binsearch is awesome and for popular groups, "something" showing in the UK will be available (and downloaded, and unrared, and if necessary, unpared) before the same timeslot PST.
posted by porpoise at 10:06 PM on May 20, 2010


Would you believe that I found out about this because I went to the site to find an Ubuntu CD?

seriously, that's what I was visiting the site for. it's way faster than using the mirrors or the torrents, like 20Mbps vs. 12-13Mbps faster.

I used the raw search much more often than the reports. I mainly used reports to find out about documentaries I wouldn't have otherwise known to look for. Pre-v3 I became an editor for a while because I was browsing through the muck anyway. I got busy for a while and didn't have the time, so they started taking my credit away again.

I had read that it at some point became possible to have editor privileges without the free access and that didn't have the report volume requirement, but I never bothered.

In any event, I. Do. Not. Want. To. Go. Back. To. Downloading. Headers. On. Binary. Groups.
posted by wierdo at 5:08 AM on May 21, 2010


My friend wishes he or she had known about Newzbin before it closed. My friend's demonoid account seems to be messed up somehow.
posted by DU at 8:39 AM on May 21, 2010


If you don't like downloading headers on binary groups, check out Easynews. They auto-extract archives and offer a searchable frontend for Usenet.

The layout of their global search is a bit gnarly so I created a simplified version.
posted by the biscuit man at 4:26 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older "Signs of Every Description"   |   'Spoiler police, up yours.' Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post