RIAA’s Hand Gets Caught in the Torrent Cookie Jar

It must be tough to push hard for bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP when your employees or members are downloading illegal files. According to a report on TorrentFreak, someone from both Homeland Security and the RIAA (the trade group that represents the music industry) have been downloading popular music. The IP addresses associated with these groups were unearthed on YouHaveDownloaded.com, a site that databases the IP's and downloads of Torrent users. Since this data base is searchable, all you need to know is the IP range of a target to figure out – in general – who is downloading from what IP address.

Last week TorrentFreak revealed that there are BitTorrent pirates at Sony, Universal, Fox, and someone in the palace of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and today we learn that RIAA and the Department of Homeland Security are part of the list too. TorrentFreak found that 6 unique addresses from where copyrighted material was shared. Aside from recent albums from Jay-Z and Kanye West, RIAA staff also pirated the first five seasons of Dexter, an episode of Law and Order SVU, and a pirated audio converter and MP3 tagger. Tisk, tisk.

While Homeland Security plays a part in seizing domains of sites that allegedly traffic in ill-gotten or fake goods, it also takes some time out for some illegal file downloads. TorrentFreak found more than 900 unique IP-addresses at the Government organization through which copyrighted files were downloaded.

Pretty astonishing stuff. I wonder if either organization will have anything to say about this.

Thanks to Andrew D. Nystrom for the tip via Twitter.

Image provided by Shutterstock. All rights reserved.

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  1. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    And yet the potential irony, along with the potential hypocrisy of the situation, can't be missed.

    RIAA employee(s) being sued/arrested for having been "caught" downloading because the IP address and their presence in the location where that IP address is used, at the time the download took place, even though that individual, or even the computers at that IP address, were never actually used to download the material, and such circumstantial evidence is used by the prosecution to attempt to convict that  individual.

    RIAA's response:  "But, but, but…"


    It's actually proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a/an employee(s) DID actually download such material illegally.

    RIAA's response:  "But, but, but…"


  2. 0
    CK20XX says:

    Though this is a delicious piece of information, I can't help but get the impression that no one in power actually cares about the RIAA breaking their own rules.  This isn't the first time this has happened to them, after all.

    Besides, doesn't youhavedownloaded.com have a disclaimer in the bottom corner that basically says it's a joke website…?

  3. 0
    greevar says:

    As much as I dislike the RIAA, I'll give them the benefit of a doubt that the IP doesn't prove conclusively that someone in their employ downloaded those items any more than they can prove that I downloaded X on my IP, which is to say not at all. Being technologically ignorant as they are, someone probably hacked their WiFi and used their IP to download these items.

    Man, considering this is the RIAA, that sounds way too plausible…

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    That kinda goes with a notion I'd been having. Publishers know little of art and care little for art unless it's making them money, usually meaning that once the publisher is done with a product, weather the artist likes it or not, they would prefer it vanish off the face of the earth for good so people are forced to buy new, rather than future generations be able to enjoy it.

    I have copies of games I'd found in thrift stores that I can't get anywhere new, but if publishers had their way as soon as the game was no longer being printed they would love to be able to push a button to destroy any copies left, which is why I don't like digital distribution that much and think physical media will always have a place, but that's another discussion.

  5. 0
    SimonBob says:

    I'm entirely unimpressed.  Not that they were pirating, but that they pirated such painfully obvious crap.  Five seasons of Dexter?  The new Kanye album?  Sheesh.

    Everybody knows that real pirates are interested in stuff they can't actually find in stores: old David Bowie albums, for instance, or classic games like System Shock 2.  That is, uh, hypothetically.  I wouldn't dream of downloading the new episode of Flyers-Rangers 24/7, no sir!

  6. 0
    Craig R. says:

    Wasn't it pretty obvious that this would be the case?

    I bet if we knew the IPs of all of the Congress-critters, we'd find a couple of those that are 'nerds' on the list, as well.

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