The recent launch of www.youhavedownloaded.com has been attracting an ever-increasing audience as internet users scramble to see what publicly available data is stored against IP addresses they use. For those guilty of piracy the site offers a disturbing insight into the data held against their IPs, but it is now becoming known that many of those in favor of SOPA are not quite so squeaky clean either.
In an ironic turn of events, IP addresses assigned to the RIAA have been linked to content that has been illegally downloaded according to TorrentFreak. The site found that six of the anti-piracy organization's IP addresses had downloaded various files, including the first five seasons of the hit TV series Dexter, and music from artists Jay-Z and Kanye West, among other things.
"Those partial IP addresses are similar to block addresses assigned to RIAA. However, those addresses are used by a third party vendor to serve up our public Web site," a RIAA spokesperson told Cnet. They argued that the information was inaccurate and none of its staff had used those IPs to connect to the internet.
Even more bizarre is the fact they are using the "someone else did it" excuse despite their own lawyers refusing to accept that claim in the cases of tens of thousands of people previously prosecuted for piracy. Added to which, it is questionable whether an organization can reserve blocks of IP addresses then just hand them out to third parties. There could of course be genuine reasons for seeking pirated files, but it is also possible that employees have been downloading them as well.
The Department of Homeland Security, known for seizing domains relating to illegal downloading was also mentioned in the report, with over 900 unique IP addresses that when searched flagged up pirated content. The two organizations join Fox, Sony and Universal, as well as the office of the French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Despite a request for comment in light of the recent revelations the DHS has remained silent.
The one thing they all have in common is the desire to make piracy regulations tougher, with most supporting SOPA. The French President is particularly renowned for his tough stance on those that pirate copyrighted material online. It will be interesting to see if they launch investigations and treat those found to be downloading with the same level of aggression as the general public often is, or whether it will be brushed under the carpet in an endless maze of lawyer excuses as they push ever harder to implement SOPA into U.S. legislation.