Microsoft-funded 'Pirate Pay' takes aim at BitTorrent piracy

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A Russian startup called Pirate Pay — in allusion to the notorious file-sharing site — has reportedly created a way to attack “BitTorrent swarms,” or groups of computers hosting content, making it hard for them to share files. Apparently the company was initially building a traffic management system for ISPs, but it wasn’t long before they realized that the technology could be used to track and shut down BitTorrent traffic of copyrighted materials.

The program showed great promise in combating the spread of pirated content, according to Pirate Pay CEO Andrei Klimenko, enough to receive a $100,000 investment from the Microsoft Seed fund.

In December last year Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures became the first to hire Pirate Pay’s services to protect the Russian film “Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I’m alive,” with moderate success. According to TorrentFreak, the company was able to stop 44,845 transfers in one month. The rate of success is unclear since the company didn’t mention how many slipped through.

Describing the process, Klimenko explained: “We used a number of servers to make a connection to each and every P2P client that distributed this film. Then Pirate Pay sent specific traffic to confuse these clients about the real IP-addresses of other clients and to make them disconnect from each other.”

Pirate Pay says it charges between $12,000 and $50,000 depending on the project. If the technology works as advertised, the firm and its initial backers might see a good return, though as Torrent Freak points out they are not the only ones working to tackle BitTorrent piracy.

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