p2pnet.net News Feature:- Warez is a computer slang term meaning copyrighted material (usually software) traded in violation of its copyright license. The term generally refers to releases by organized groups, as opposed to file sharing between friends – Wikipedia
It’s a given that the real warez action goes on in the vacuum of deep, deep cyberspace, not the oxygenated atmosphere of the Net where 99% of the online population surf.
In those far reaches, warez enthusiasts trade in movies, software. music, you name it. But whatever the file being traded, it’s all about getting there. First!
Money doesn’t come into it – unless you’re talking about the secret fees some people pay to become a part of the ‘elite’.
“Once a file is posted to a topsite, it starts a rapid descent through wider and wider levels of an invisible network, multiplying exponentially along the way,” writes Jeff Howe in Wired Magazine’s January, 2005, The Shadow Internet.
A ‘topsite’ is one of about 30, “underground, highly secretive servers where nearly all of the unlicensed music, movies, and videogames available on the Internet originate,” he says.
“They start with a single stolen file and pump out bootleg games and movies by the millions. At each step, more and more pirates pitch in to keep the avalanche tumbling downward. Finally, thousands, perhaps millions, of copies – all the progeny of that original file – spill into the public peer-to-peer networks: Kazaa, LimeWire, Morpheus. Without this duplication and distribution structure providing content, the P2P networks would run dry. (BitTorrent, a faster and more efficient type of P2P file-sharing, is an exception. But at present there are far fewer BitTorrent users.)
“It’s a commonly held belief that P2P is about sharing files. It’s an appealing, democratic notion: Consumers rip the movies and music they buy and post them online. But that’s not quite how it works.”
Synonymous with ‘crook’
Howe’s piece on how the warez-cum-trading groups work makes an interesting, not to say sensational, read. And it’s mostly true, although there’s not much new in it.
That’s the way the elite ‘leet’ groups have always worked. Only ways and means differ, or are up-dated as new processing and acquisition technologies and methods come along, or are figured out.
Most of the operators are in their teens or early twenties. And they don’t do what they do for profit. They do it for fun.
Unfortunately, however, the elite groups also training grounds.
Hackers are, for the most part, people with an insatiable need to know what, where and how. They’re clever, often brilliant, and they find cool ways to explore interesting systems. Surreptitiously. .
Unfortunately, a handful use their knowledge for illicit purposes and the activities of these few have meant ‘hacker’ is now synonymous with ‘crook’ to many people, particularly if they’re members of one or other of the government or corporate enforcement agencies.
The same applies to warez traders.
Although 99% of them do what they do for the thrill, eventually going onwards an upwards and becoming ‘normal’ members of society, a tiny handful are either recruited by organized crime gangs to produce ‘product’ for the underground markets, or they set themselves up as suppliers.
In the process, all warez traders are labeled as criminals.
A pirate elite
Howe is writing about a minority and as he stresses, “Outside of a pirate elite and the Feds who track them, few know that topsites exist.”
The tragedy is, thanks to ongoing, extremely successful misinformation efforts on the part of the entertainment industry through its RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America ) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), the mainstream media and substantial numbers of the public at large believe the people currently being persecuted for sharing files online are either members of this ‘pirate elite,’ or work with them.
In reality, however, the two groups have nothing to do with each other.
The ‘file sharers’ who have become such a great source of headlines for the mainstream media, thanks to the MPAA and RIAA , are actually people who’ve found a way to try before they buy.
They don’t sell the tunes and flics they download. And they still do what they did before p2p came along. They buy CDs and go to the movies.
The main difference is: where before the advent of the Net and file sharing, they had to take things on trust, now they can see and hear good, but far from perfect, examples before they throw their money away on a $15 CD with only one decent track, or a film that looked terrific in the trailer, but which turned out to be pure garbage in the cinema.
Most of the movies, and some of the music, on the p2p networks may indeed have originated with traders, but by the time they reach the p2p network level, they’re pale, low quality imitations of the originals that no one would pay a dime for.
And while the entertainment industry terrorizes the men, woman and children who share these kinds of files, epitomizing them as hardened criminals, or closes down sites such as Suprnova, the true hard-core criminals continue to dance rings around the various agencies, laughing all the way to the bank.
But that’s not a picture the entertainment industry wants to be seen in public.