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Are Usenet fans vulnerable to copyright lawsuits

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How To Top Categories Computers Home Entertainment Internet Phones Photography Security Tablets ForumsLog In to CNET Join Related Stories MPAA sues newsgroup, P2P search sites February 23, 2006 Hollywood, BitTorrent creator strike deal November 22, 2005 Studios mine P2P logs to sue swappers August Michael Kors handbags outlet 25, 2005 Court: Michael Kors handbags Hollywood gets P2P giant’s server logs February 10, 2005

In a new series of lawsuits, Hollywood studios for the first time are targeting companies that provide access to Usenet newsgroups.

This corner of the Internet, largely a leftover from the days before the Web exploded into the mainstream, rarely gets much attention. It’s still primarily a forum for text discussions (and overwhelming amounts of spam), where techies help one another with Windows and driver problems, and animal lovers share cat stories.

But in the last few years, a handful of technologies have emerged that have made newsgroups a much more fertile place for downloading copies of movies, music and software. Here’s a quick primer on what happens there and what the Motion Picture Association of America has done.

A: Also known as Usenet, newsgroups are one of the earliest forms of sustained conversation online.

Readers post messages similar to e mails to a specific group. All the content michael kors handbags of that group is relayed through servers across the Net, and can be read with a newsgroup reader such as Forte’s Agent, or inside some other Web browser and e mail programs. Most ISPs subscribe to a newsgroup feed, though these are becoming harder to find.

Another historical note: Before becoming a Web standby, the “frequently asked questions,” or FAQ, format was widely popularized on newsgroups michael kors handbags (though it didn’t originate with them).

Q: What does this have to do with piracy?

A: Early on, people learned to send pictures, movies or even full software applications through Usenet groups by breaking michael kors outlet the michael kors outlet large files into small individual pieces and sending them separately. These large files, called “binaries,” could be reconstructed by most newsgroup software, as long as all the pieces came through.

Q: Is this the same as file sharing?

A: In a sense.

But unlike peer to peer networks, the files uploaded are stored in pieces on the Usenet servers around the world, not on individual computer users’ hard drives.

Q: Isn’t all this harder than using BitTorrent or eDonkey?

A: For most of Usenet’s history, it has been much michael kors handbags harder, and more inefficient. Big movie or software files can be broken into hundreds of individual pieces, for example, and if one or two get lost, it can make the whole movie or application unusable.

But in the last few years, several technologies have emerged to make this easier.

One, called Par files (shortened from Parity), lets big files be reconstructed even if some of the individual pieces are missing. Par files are used in other places where data transfer is unreliable, and they are becoming increasingly common on Usenet.

The other technology is an innovation similar, in a sense, to BitTorrent’s torrent files. Dubbed NZB files (and Michael Kors Outlet created by a company called cheap michael kors NewzBin), they automatically group together all the disparate pieces of a big binary file, allowing it to be downloaded and reconstructed with a single click.

Q: Who is michael kors handbags the MPAA actually targeting?

A: With this round of suits, the MPAA is focusing on a small group of companies that search the Usenet feeds for movies, software, music and other files. Some of them provide the NZB files along with the search results, so the files can be instantly downloaded. Others simply provide an index of everything that’s been posted to newsgroups.Articles Connexes:

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