January 28, 2009 - 09:01

Copyright SignSince the successful days of Napster, file sharing of copyright-protected material — particularly in peer-to-peer (P2P) networks — has been a serious threat to the established business models of the content industry. There have been numerous discussions about the real impact. Scientific papers show the whole range from negative to positive effects, or no effects at all. In my opinion, there are effects, indeed. Some of them are positive as file sharing can expose new music groups and authors to an audience. And some effects are negative as existing copyrights are definitely infringed to a huge extent in the net.

There have also been numerous discussions about possible countermeasures, some of which have already been implemented. From the perspective of a network device vendor, I don’t want to throw my personal opinions into the forum about legal, social and political solutions. But with particular experience with Internet traffic management solutions, we can summarize our arguments about different technical solutions.

In a nutshell: two countermeasures promise to be the most effective and viable ones: hash-based detection of copyrighted files and prevention of their transfer in the network; and active monitoring combined with the prosecution of infringers. For institutional network operators (e.g. universities, companies), traffic management solutions with whitelisting of desired applications and content is also possible, but this is no option for national or international deployments.

For details, download the free white paper we have published on this topic.


Ah ah ah ah.

It will never be possible to forbid files sharing between friends. Actually, it may become a legal usage.

Regarding distributed P2P, all your solutions will soon become obsolete once P2P will be encrypted. And I don’t want to imagine what kind of $%!t will pass through to those encrypted streams.

Intellectual property zealots are so clueless and greedy.

Antoine (not verified)

One-fifth of P2P is already encrypted. It is not possible to look inside encrypted traffic, but it can be easily detected and tagged as encrypted P2P. It is a matter of regulation (and not a technical matter), whether encrypted P2P should be allowed or not. I think a society should be very careful with such decisions. But in fact, some network owners (e.g. universities, enterprises) already block encrypted P2P (or even all P2P) completely.

It is only wishful thinking of infringers that encrypted file sharing protects them. As we said in our white paper in more detail, active monitoring systems “work just as good for encrypted P2P networks because the monitor participates as an ordinary peer.”


And what do you think about people rights to download some legals files with P2P ? If P2P is completely blocked, it’s an illegal hurt of their rights too ! Did you close shop, because one of clients steel ? Stupid Idea !

A French touch !

lolotux (not verified)


That is an argument I hear very often. It is true: I wouldn’t close a shop just because one of the customers steals. But a P2P network is not a shop. A shopkeeper would bear the costs of stealing (and would insure it), not the manufacturer of the stolen items. In P2P networks, the copyright owners are directly hurt (and can not insure it). And everyone knows: Illegal file sharing is not the minor portion of all P2P traffic.

lolotux, I agree that a complete blocking of all P2P should not be the solution for a whole country. A university or an enterprise can enforce such a policy (and in fact, many are doing so — but often with open channels for legal file sharing with white lists of BitTorrent trackers). The white paper is discussing the option of blocking only encrypted P2P to have the chance to prevent illegitimate (and detectable) file sharing in unencrypted P2P.


how credible do you think your whitepaper will be seen as you are selling dpi solutions as well? not that i say this whitepaper plus the press releases would be used to influence the public opinion about peer to peer traffic. but to say that this study is worth the paper (it will hopefully never be printed on) would be extremely exaggerated.

steffen (not verified)

“The paper, which claims to “provide an as objective as possible assessment of the countermeasures for P2P” initially left us skeptical. But, with one or two exceptions, it does what it claims to do. Other companies and politicians should take note of this.” says TorrentFreak about the paper. For sure, TorrentFreak and we at ipoque have different opinions about many rules, policies, uses in the Internet - but to say that a party has nothing worthy to say for a constructive discussion would be exaggerated - wouldn’t it, Steffen?


The hash-based detection technique may not apply for copyright infrigement. When one individual owns a copyrighted media file, he may have the right to use the internet to send it to its phone for instance. So detecting copyrighted material does not inform the detecter of whether the sender and receiver are infrigers or not.

A software that acts as a personal \video tape recorder\ for the internet might do the trick : When listening to the radio on the internet one is allowed to record it -in France at least-. So when listening to imeem or jiwa one is allowed to save the streamed sound. Redistribution is illegal. But what if this material is transferred through mail/ftp/peer-to-peer to the *same* user, for instance to its phone.

In brief, copying copyrighted material *legally* streamed by an internet media provider is legal, transferring this material using the internet remains legal so detecting copyrighted content is not sufficient for detected copyright infrigement which relies on the way you *first* acquire or steal the content.

The demonstrating application may be found at http://streamy.sf.net

Sébastien Migniot (not verified)


Indeed, just to detect a transfer of a certain file regardless the circumstances may be not enough to mark it as illegal. On the one hand it depends on the juridical situation in a country.

On the other hand: There are several detection systems available which consider the circumstances of a transfer. For instance, active monitoring systems can act as clients downloading well defined copy-right protected material from another client. In such a case this other client is definitely an infringer (at least in most countries).


la culture est un droit pour tous … sauf pour les pauvres …

christophe (not verified)

[...] paper, which claims to “provide an as objective as possible assessment of the countermeasures for [...]

Anti-Piracy Mea... (not verified)

This is a very good article! I read it soon after publication.


I’m sorry but I found your whitepaper quite disappointing on the Watermarking option. You mention CDs and DVDs, but in the future it will be more and more digital media which people legally buy and download online: ebooks (epub), audio files (aac, mp3), video… The production and distribution chain is then completely in control, and it is perfectly feasible to watermark each file with an ID which identifies the buyer. If this file is then found an P2P, we can assume an infringment has occurred. Yes, smart guys will tweak the files and defeat the watermarks, then new watermarks will be invented. Life is a a cat and mouse game. Copiright owners have to play this game.

paolog (not verified)

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