Microsoft has invested in Russian startup Pirate Pay. Pirate Pay was designed to shut down torrent distribution of copyright protected works. This of course has the internet freedom fighters in a tiff, especially because Pirate Pay was able to attract such a significant investor.
According to this report from Torrent Freak, in early tests, Pirate Pay was able to shut down tens of thousands of downloads. Of course in the grand scheme of things, that’s not nearly as many as they would like.
“After creating the prototype, we realized we could more generally prevent files from being downloaded, which meant that the program had great promise in combating the spread of pirated content,” Pirate Pay CEO Andrei Klimenko says.
Also, it appears that Pirate Pays main tactics aren’t original either. They won’t reveal how their technology actually works but Torrent Freak and many other websites and forums say that Pirate Pay floods the torrent sites with fake versions of the protected media, which discourages the downloading of the actual file. While it cuts back the illegal downloads, actual versions of the films actually make it to the torrent sites and then are easily identifiable as such.
The music industry actually started employing this tactic back in Napster’s heyday. While the folks running companies like Pirate Pay think they are solving the problem, they don’t realize that in most cases if a torrent file can’t be downloaded it doesn’t translate to going out to the store to buy the same title.