Friday, May 17, 2002

How do bootleg software and movie releases end up in general circulation on the internet?

Friday, May 17, 2002

Once the release groups have stripped the copyright protection from software, or encoded leaked movies, they are packaged, quality assessed and then uploaded to 'topsites'. These are lightning fast, highly exclusive FTP servers with an abundance of hard drive space. Topsites are shared by a number of affiliated release groups, usually in the region of twenty. When new releases hit the topsites, couriers take hold of the reigns by distributing the releases to other topsites all over the world.

While they're at it, some of these couriers, who are sometimes referred to as 'dumpers', transfer copies of the latest releases to 'dump sites'. These represent the preceding rung of the ladder - like topsites they are private, fast and FXP enabled FTP servers. From these dump sites, FXP groups and IRC channel operators distribute the data further. FXP groups scan for publicly accessible, anonymous FTP servers and then transfer the releases from the dump sites to these FTP servers by means of FXP (File Exchange Protocol). These free for all FTP servers are known as pubs. Once filled they are posted in public or private FXP forums so as to allow the members to share their contents.

The releases multiply exponentially as more and more people gain access to them. Once this process is set in motion it is virtually unstoppable - data transfers snowball until the releases have been spread to every corner of the globe via a variety of peer to peer applications.

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