Ernesto, the piratical kingpin of TorrentFreak, has discovered that US movie and TV studios, including Sony Pictures, Fox Entertainment, and NBC Universal, are eager pirates as well. Sony employees were caught downloading dubstep music and a rip of Conan the Barbarian. Someone at the NBC Universal office in Fort Lauderdale downloaded the entirety of Game of Thrones season one. A Fox worker — presumably one with impeccable taste — downloaded a 4GB Blu-ray rip of Super 8.
It doesn’t stop there: Googlers at the corporate office in New York have downloaded a lot of copyrighted work, including The Hangover, and apparently a copy of Windows 7. Even the Church isn’t infallible, it seems: someone at the Church of God (Ernesto doesn’t say which) downloaded an episode of Revenge.
All of this information comes from a new site called You Have Downloaded , which claims to track the IP addresses of 20% of public BitTorrent downloads. Presumably it does this by simply parsing all of the new torrents to land on The Pirate Bay, and then keeping track of the IP addresses that it finds. (If you didn’t know, when you use a torrent your IP address is publicly visible.) Torrent Freak then searched You Have Downloaded for IP addresses that are known to belong to various institutions and corporations — and voila, a list of big-ticket pirates.
In a beautiful twist of cathartic irony, TorrentFreak also checked BitTorrent’s San Francisco headquarters — and what do you know, You Have Downloaded drew a blank.
From this we can learn two very important lessons: First, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw bricks. If the problem of piracy has taken root within the walls of the publishers and producers, suing hapless consumers seems stupendously hypocritical. Second, it’s highly likely that these companies will now claim that their IP addresses were spoofed or proxied — that some nefarious ne’er-do-wells somehow misappropriated their intertubes for the forces of evil. Of course, by going down this route, the companies then implicitly agree that an IP address is not proof that a specific, physical person downloaded a copyrighted work.
In other words, Fox, NBC, and Universal have to admit that they’re pirates — or provide the perfect alibi for any and all torrent pirates. Tough call.
Read more at TorrentFreak