Friday, October 07, 2005

HBO Attacking BitTorrent

O'Reilly Radar > HBO Attacking BitTorrent: "HBO is actively poisoning the BitTorrent downloads of the new show Rome. In addition to an older tactic of offering bogus downloads that never complete, HBO is now obstructing the downloads offered by other people. BitTorrent downloads are peer-to-peer, but the peers are introduced to each other by a tracker ('you're looking for Rome Season 1 Episode 2, talk to'). HBO runs peers that tell the tracker they have all the chunks of the show, but then send garbage data when a downloader requests a chunk. The downloading client can detect that it's garbage and will try another peer for the chunk, but the end result is that it takes much much longer to download shows. This isn't HBO's first move to stop online distribution (see this story of a guy who received a 'you're busted' letter from HBO) but it's the most active effort I've heard about. It's also very effective--to test this, I randomly selected a healthy torrent for the 2nd episode of Rome, and after hundreds of failed chunks the download stalled at around 30%."

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