Most pirates want to know how to get around the Copyright Alert System’s six strikes, but other pirates torrenting “hot” movies, music and TV shows specifically set out to receive a CAS strike.
In late February, the Daily Dot started a study in which pirates purposefully “attempted to get caught using the peer-to-peer filesharing program BitTorrent in a common, but illegal way.” Using Verizon as the test Internet provider, pirates tried to get flagged by CAS MarkMonitor software so the Hollywood Internet police would come knocking. The point of the study was to gather intel on the best defense after receiving a CAS strike, “but after three weeks of providing free entertainment to downloaders all over the world, Verizon never came knocking.” In fact, the Daily Dot reported, “Damn if that thing isn't hard to trigger.”
The first step was to download BitTorrent, the go-to file sharing method for media pirates. The study obtained torrent files the way many people do: By visiting the Pirate Bay, the world's largest torrent site, and picking some popular, recent content. That included the season 3 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the most-pirated TV episode of all time. It also included songs by Rihanna, because for some reason her music frequently triggers similar systems in France and New Zealand, and The Avengers, which a redditor reported his girlfriend's little brother had been sharing when he received a CAS warning.
In February 2013 when six strikes started, "BitTorrent was responsible for 3.35% of all worldwide bandwidth." But even after aiming high to get flagged, not one P2P file-sharer received a strike.
That’s not meant to imply that people with Verizon as an ISP won’t get caught pirating copyrighted content. In fact, Verizon told the Daily Dot that it is “increasingly flagging more and more users.” However, shortly after six strikes started, Verizon refused to comply with a request for user data, including DMCA and six strike notices, from copyright troll and porn movie studio Malibu Media. Torrent Freak reported that Verizon claimed “the subpoena is intended to harass Verizon;” and the provider also wanted “to protect its customers from ‘shakedown tactics against Doe defendants’.”
Daily Dot suggested that even if your ISP supports issuing CAS strikes, “if you mask your IP address then CAS shouldn’t be able to flag you.” It has also been suggested that simply leeching, without seeding, will keep you out of trouble. Of course, if everyone was a leech, then there would be no content uploaded and shared. Just the same, Ron Wheeler, senior vice president of Fox Entertainment, previously admitted, “If you're just downloading, you're fine.”
MPAA executive tampered with piracy evidence to protect MPAA spy
Meanwhile in Finland, a senior MPAA executive tampered with evidence in “an apparent attempt to hide the identity of one of their spies,” reported Torrent Freak. Six men had been accused of running a piracy “topsite;” this was “Finland’s largest ever Internet piracy case” and it “ended with four men being found guilty of copyright infringement and two being exonerated.” A key piece of evidence included a “video, a screencast of the investigation;" it "showed a particular username accessing an Angel Falls FTP server. However, the corresponding text log for the same event showed a completely different username.” The changes were supposedly made to protect the identity of the person who infiltrated the group.
Defense attorney Herkko Hietanen said, “The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) investigator handed over the evidence material to the MPAA senior executive who then changed the text file before the anti-piracy organization handed over the evidence to the Finnish police.” Apparently, “no one from the MPAA informed the defense that the edits had been made and the tampering was revealed at the worst possible time – during the trial. This resulted in the prosecutor ordering a police investigation into the changes that had been made.”
Hietanen added, “Police then proceeded by comparing the ‘work copy’ that the IFPI investigator produced with the material that police and the defending counsels had received. Police found out that the material had differences in over 10 files.”
The four men who “were found guilty escaped with suspended jail sentences. The six million euros (≈ $7,857,600) in damages claimed by the rightsholders was reduced to just 45,000 euros,” which is equal to ≈ $58,932.