Wise Words for the Anti-P2P: Be Careful Who You Mess With

Peer-to-peer file sharing technology is nothing new, nor is its use to widely distribute copyrighted content. Groups like the RIAA and MPAA desperately want to disrupt as much file sharing as they can, but there's a simple piece of advice they'd be wise to remember: When chasing file sharers, try not to break the law yourself.

What the anti-P2P groups seem to forget is that there are legitimate uses for protocols like BitTorrent, and that some companies are using those protocols as the basis of a very successful business model. Revision3 is one such business, which produces hugely popular shows and distributes them via BitTorrent. Someone apparently forgot to tell the file sharing Cheka, because one unit, the creatively-titled MediaDefender, crossed the line from disruptor of the illegal into cybercriminal last weekend when they launched a denial-of-service attack against Revision3's entirely-legal BitTorrent operation.

From the reports circulating, it appears that MediaDefender somehow set their sights on Revision3, seeing it as valid fodder for its digital attacks, and subsequently "seeding" Revision3's torrents with decoys which prevented users from accessing Revision3 shows. When the company got wind of what was afoot, they blocked MediaDefender's injection attacks, prompting the Stasi to launch a "scorched earth" attack which resulted in a denial-of-service attack against Revision3's servers. According to Revision3, MediaDefender admits the charges, revealing that they have been seeding fake content into Revision3's network for months.

That's where things get interesting. While there is nothing illegal — yet — about disrupting illegal file sharing, disrupting a legitimate network is a federal felony. Revision3 is quite aware of this, and has called in the FBI to investigate — an investigation that could lead to serious charges against MediaDefender, both civil and criminal.

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