Content Owners Increasing Focus on Usenet Takedowns

TorrentFreak reports that content owners and anti-piracy firms have rapidly increased their DMCA-type notices sent to Usenet services over the past six months. Even more, smaller companies like television studios have joined in the pursuit, sending out their requests alongside larger media giants like Disney and Universal.

Usenet has been around for a really long time, established in 1980 by Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis. Users can post and read messages to numerous newsgroups, but over the years this dusty part of the Internet has become a repository of all things digital, spanning from pirated software, movies, ebooks and more to even darker media like child porn and bestiality videos.

That said, most ISPs have stopped providing free access to newsgroups because it's extremely difficult to monitor what users are uploading and downloading. There are no central servers to monitor either – instead, files are broken apart and scattered throughout a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers across the globe.

For years content owners have struggled with piracy on Usenet given the network's international structure and inherent security. File retention lengths usually reside around 1000 days, and users can easily discover new content to download thanks to NZB files. But now that ISPs have dropped support for Usenet access, users have turned to subscription-based 3rd-party access for their warez.

Because of this, it's now easier for content owners to put a stop on users downloading illegal media. According to TorrentFreak, one of the content owners focusing on Usenet is the UFC who quickly address subscription services following their live events. Even more, the UFC actually has a team that monitors Usenet 24/7 by using a Bayesian Classifier.

"We also verify everything 100-percent to ensure we are making the proper removal requests for the UFC and our other clients," Joe Morganelli of Morganelli Group LLC told TorrentFreak. "My team also has many 'insiders' that keep us on the pulse of what is going on with changes. There is no other company that does what we do with such success and speed."

Aside from monitoring Usenet directly, content owners and anti-piracy companies are reportedly now monitoring Usenet indexing sites like Newzbin and NZBMatrix. These companies see when users post links to content and thus issue takedown notices to all subscription services immediately.

"The public has only just started to notice it now," said the owner of an unnamed major Usenet provider. "The increase is continuing. We’re pretty heavily under attack at the moment."

To read the entire report, head over to TorrentFreak here.


Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.