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Firefox Plug-in Makes Piracy Easy

However, this has not stopped a group of two coders (Enrique B. and John S.), calling themselves the Pirates of the Amazon, from releasing a Firefox plug-in that makes the process of finding and downloading pirated materials even easier. Under normal browsing of the Amazon.com online store, a user would see an “Add to Shopping Cart” button if an item is in stock. After the installation of this plug-in, users will see a new link under the title of the item that says “Download 4 Free.”

What this plug-in actually does is scan the popular torrent tracker thepiratebay.org and searches for the same media you are currently looking at on Amazon. If you have a BitTorrent client already installed on your computer, all you have to do is click on the “Download 4 Free” link after the plug-in has found the corresponding torrent file and the download will begin in your default torrent client.

This plug-in effectively allows for absolutely anyone to download pirated content using the navigational simplicity of the Amazon.com storefront. As of publication time, Amazon.com as not released any comment on this issue. It is important to note that even though the plug-in is a Firefox plug-in, there is still a chance of it being malicious software. TrendLabs, the makers of the TrendMicro line of anti-virus and security software, says that “Because Firefox extensions are executable code, the coder can do anything he wants, as long as he can code it.”

Mozilla, the distributors of Firefox also warns of installing unverified plugins and downloading any plug-ins from a source other than Mozilla’s database. The Pirates of the Amazon maintain that they are not affiliated with thepiratebay.org and do not host or link any illegal content. Their purpose of creating this project is purely artistic in nature and seeks to “address the topic of current media distribution models vs. current culture and technical possibilities.”

By now, everyone and their grandparents have heard of BitTorrent, the peer to peer transfer protocol that has taken over the internet by storm.

Bram Cohen, the creator of the original BitTorrent client and transfer protocol, originally intended his software to be used for coders to quickly and cheaply swap large amounts of Linux code online. But we all know how this story turned out; BitTorrent is now the most widely used means of piracy for the general internet public.