INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER BT has become the first to warn users about its upcoming crackdown on 'piracy", in turn revealing that it doesn't know much about it.
UK ISPs will start sending out messages later this month warning users suspected of piracy to cease their wicked ways and adopt acceptable services like Netflix and Spotify instead.
The messages, formally known as 'subscriber alerts' or 'educational emails', are part of the Government's Creative Content UK (CCUK) 'Get it Right From a Genuine Site' campaign that's intended to tackle copyright infringement. While CCUK is voluntary, it has been adopted by most of the UK's large ISPs, including Talk Talk, BT, Sky and Virgin Media.
BT has become the first ISP to set out its stall, and in an advisory on its website, tells users what the can expect from the crackdown.
However, as first spotted at TorrentFreak, the firm also reveals that it doesn't have much of a clue what it's talking about.
Things start out well: "Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is the transfer of data from one person's computer directly to multiple other computers without the use of an intermediate server," BT advises.
"This is known as a file sharing network and is set up using peer-to-peer software on your computer (also known as a programme, application or client)."
But from here, BT gets a bit confused.
"You may have heard of networks like Gnutella, Napster, Torrentz and ThePirateBay. If your computer is online and you make files available for sharing in a peer-to-peer network, other members within that network can download files from you without you noticing," the ISP writes.
Where do we begin. First off, Napster. C'mon BT, this isn't the early 2000s. Secondly, Torrentz shut down last year and doesn't exist. And thirdly, Torrentz (RIP) and The Pirate Bay are torrent index sites, not peer-to-peer networks.
Next, BT goes on to explain how BitTorrent sharing works. Or perhaps, to put it more accurately, how it used to work 10 years ago.
"By default, peer-to-peer software applications search for and share content on your computer with others. Normally, peer-to-peer software usually runs as soon as you turn on your computer and continues to run in the background. Even if you disable sharing/uploading, copyrighted content in a ‘shared' folder on your computer it can still be seen by others using the same peer-to-peer network. Some peer-to-peer software can even reset your preferences to resume uploading."
Our favourite part of BT's advisory is when it talks about file-sharing protocols, and gets the term ‘file types' a bit confused.
"There are many different file types (also called protocols) that are used for the file sharing, such as BitTorrent, Deluge, iLivid, and Tixati etc. Each Protocol will have its own client. Popular BitTorrent clients are Vuze, Transmission, Deluge, uTorrent, Tribler, Tixati, BitComet, Torch etc," it says.
Also, as noted by TorrentFreak, Deluge, iLivid and Tixati are either torrent clients or download managers, they are not file-sharing protocols at all.
BT tried, bless it, and it does eventually offer up some useful information. It also suggests that users will be able to see what content they're accused of pirating by following a link in warning notices.
"Once you click through the link on the email you will land on a BT page which from where you can go through to the portal. BT only provides you a secure access to the Get It Right Information Portal so that your data is kept completely confidential," the company concludes. µ
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