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Thread: The underground Pirate Railroad

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    The underground Pirate Railroad

    How illegal files get traded on the net

    Just over a year ago, a hacker penetrated the corporate servers at Valve, the game company behind the popular first-person shooter Half-Life. He came away with a beta version of Half-Life 2. "We heard about it," says 23-year-old Frank, a well-connected media pirate. "Everyone thought it would get bootlegged in Europe." Instead, the hacker gave the source code to Frank - it turned out that he was a friend of a friend - so that Frank could give Half-Life 2 to the world. "I was like, 'Let's do this thing, yo!'" he says. "I put it on Anathema. After that, it was all over."

    Anathema is a so-called topsite, one of 30 or so underground, highly secretive servers where nearly all of the unlicensed music, movies, and videogames available on the Internet originate. Outside of a pirate elite and the Feds who track them, few know that topsites exist. Even fewer can log in.

    Within minutes of appearing on Anathema, Half-Life 2 spread. One file became 30 files became 3,000 files became 300,000 files as Valve stood helplessly by watching its big Christmas blockbuster turn into a lump of coal. The damage was irreversible - the horse was out of the barn, the county, and the state. The original Half-Life has sold more than 10 million games and expansion packs since its late 1998 release. Half-Life 2's official release finally happened in November, after almost a year of reprogramming.

    When Frank (who, like all the pirates interviewed for this article, is identified by a pseudonym) posted the Half-Life 2 code to Anathema, he tapped an international network of people dedicated to propagating stolen files as widely and quickly as possible.
    Read the REST of the "Wired" report.

    This is actually quite interesting as it takes you through the process from obtaining the content, to how it spreads. I found it worthy enough to read the 4 page article.

  2. #2
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    interesting stuff bb...more importantly...welcome bak man..we missed you...

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Glad to be back. I thought some of you might be interested in this.

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