“To be or not to be, that is the question.” Many of you will have heard this famous line, and those of you that haven’t have been living under a rock. Sorry, but that’s how it is. So all of you rock-dwellers listen up, because here’s a history lesson. Those of you that don’t live under a rock, skip over the next paragraph by clicking Here
I wonder how many will read this paragraph? Well first of all, the famous phrase was part of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and appeared in the third act, scene one. If you read it in context with the rest of the scene, it is clear that it means to live or die, all put in the confusing manner that was spoken in those days. For more information on this, check out this cool article from Phrases.org: To be, or not to be, that is the question.
So after reading through my what I had written so far, pondering over the title, and sitting in thought for awhile, I have accomplished two things: 1. I have remembered what I was planning on writing about. 2. I have a vague idea on how I will write it. First I suppose I should mention a book I read part of awhile ago titled Steal This File Sharing Book, by Wallace Wang. This book is, as you may have derived from its title, about file sharing, and, in general, stealing media. This book covers the history of media piracy from its infancy through forums, to modern day torrents (I made it to the old-school forum section). Great book, well written, and very informative. Maybe now you have an idea what I will be covering in this post?
So. Obtaining media, for that is what we shall call it, is what I will be writing about. How many of you, and this question is rhetorical, download music from various websites? Not those of you that pay for your music put your hands down. Nobody did? Well, what a surprise. Lets move on and come back to this. How many of you use programs such as Limewire, Vuze (formerly Azureus), or other P2P (Peer2Peer) services to download music? I’m guessing that quite a few of you raised your hands. Alright everyone, put your hands down. Now you may or may not realize that this is in fact illegal. Yes, I know none of you batted an eye as I said this. But all the same, it is. From concert recordings to the original .mp3 file being posted to the internet, nothing is safe, and that’s just how we like it.
Now don’t think I am condoning the piracy of music, programs, movies and videos, I’m just saying that the majority prefers it that way. When I used the example of an .mp3 file, whether the original or a copy of a song, being posted to the internet I did not exclude websites such as Rhapsody where you are allowed to play their music for a certain number of times before you are asked to purchase it. (There is an easy way around this, but I wont go in to that here). I’m sure many of you thought of download sites such as Pillage, or other websites of which I am not aware of, when I said music being posted to the internet. All of those are illegal. Plain and simple, illegal. Frostwire, Limewire, Vuze, all of those support the download and usage of copyrighted materials without the consent of their authors.
So now that I have rephrased what most of the people reading this article already know, let me move on. I’m going to say this now; I will not tell you all how to pirate media. I will, however, give brief descriptions of methods used in the hopes that protection against such methods will be created in the future. All the methods in the article are for educational purpose only, and again, I do not condone the usage or methods used to pirate media.
Torrents. The definition of a torrent from Wikipedia or Google (define:torrent) doesn’t do it justice, so I will define it myself; A torrent is a package of information used by torrent applications such as Bittorrent and Vuze to locate large files for quick transfer across the internet. Basically, a torrent is the URL to files (generally large ones and normally hosted on personal computers) that people wish to transfer across the internet. Torrents make it easy to transfer very, very large files across the internet, provided the connection to the source files stays open. That is the main downside to the use of Torrents, the very reason they are great: they rely on the computer with the source file to remain on and running, also known as seeding, the file in order for it to be downloaded. Theoretically as more and more people download torrent files, the numbers of hosts, or seeds, would grow. In theory. In practice that isn’t quite the case, but that’s a judgment call for the users, not something for me to talk about here. A prime example of the use of torrents to transfer large files would be videos, which Vuze specializes in. Through the use of Vuze it is possible to download entire series, free of charge, or shows such as Burn Notice, NCIS, and full movies such as Iron Man and Iron Man 2. A series of 12 episodes can take up anywhere between 15 to 25 GB, making a Torrent ideal for the transfer of these large files.
Music. Again, I will not tell you exactly how to obtain free music. Here is some food for thought though. Go to Pandora.com or Grooveshark.com (my two favorite places to listen to music) and listen to a song or two, or three, or four. Go ahead and listen to the music while you read my article, while you do homework, while you drive to work-whatever, but the point is this: How does the music get to you? Think about it. Do you think that Pandora or Grooveshark opens a direct connection to your speakers, and sends the data directly to your speakers from their website? Nope, that’s not it. So how does it work? Well, I don’t really know, to tell you the truth. I don’t know how the sound actually gets from the website to your speakers, but the fact remains that it does. The actual file, the information making up the music or audio file must be relayed to your computer to be played through the speakers, right? Somehow the information, the 1’s and 0’s that the computer speaks in, the information making up the song you’re listening to must get to your computer in order to be played through your speakers. So what if you wanted to capture that stream? Well you can do it in a number of ways, but the best, most sophisticated method would be to capture that information as it is being transferred from the website to your computer. Good luck, that is all I will tell you on this subject.
Streaming movies. This will be a shorter paragraph because it is basically the same thing as I mentioned in my last paragraph. When you go to YouTube and watch a movie, that movie information in the form of bits and bytes must be transferred to your computer in such a way that not only can your speakers play the appropriate sounds, but your screen display the appropriate images. You guessed right if you think that YouTube does not open a direct connection to your screen and speakers, rather, the file is transferred to your computer in such a way that I do not know how to explain it, except that it can be intercepted, recorded, and saved. All you need to do is find a way.
Books. I suppose you could call books the “written media” or whatever, but regardless of whether or not you call books media, they are still treated mostly the same way other media is, and pirated in a similar way, too. Books are in as much demand as any other media, so ways of sharing that sort of media for free has been developed. A simple Google search for the desired book will yield the results you need, so I will not explain anything here, other than .chm files are a good thing to look out for.
I hope this article was informative, and I plan to write more articles on this topic in the future.
Good day, and good night.