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RIAA and other government branches IP Addresses Matched to Illegal BitTorrent Downloads

December 28, 2011 by Damon Poeter

How does the phrase go? "Do as I say, not as I do?"

Users within the IP address range of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) might have a little bit of explaining to do related to public recordkeeping of their BitTorrent use. That's all thanks to the website YouHaveDownloaded, which tracks just that: The public fingerprints of approximately 20 percent of the world's BitTorrent traffic, listed out by all the recorded downloads that can be matched up to a particular IP address.

"Baby, this is the Internet. There is no such thing as privacy around here. You are sitting in the privacy of your own house, clicking links, reading stuff, watching movies. It may seem like you are pretty much alone, but smart nerds are watching you. They watch your every move. You are not human to them. You are a target — a consumer," reads a description on YouHaveDownloaded's site.

According to the website TorrentFreak, a number of IP addresses within the range assigned to the RIAA have been matched up against a few BitTorrent-based downloads of copyrighted material. Files downloaded include the complete albums of Jay-Z's "American Gangster" and Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," as well as seasons one through five of the TV show Dexter, an HD version of a Law and Order: SVU episode, and two different audio apps.

That said, the RIAA isn't the only organization that's been busted by these public BitTorrent records as of late. A few days prior, TorrentFreak ran a similar search on IP addresses for Sony Pictures Entertainment, NBC Universal, and Fox Entertainment, and the site came up with lists of copyrighted files that had been downloaded by users within all three companies' networks. Shortly after that, TorrentFreak went on to find that various copyrighted files were even downloaded at French President Nicholas Sarkozy's Élysée Palace in Paris.

Sarkozy, to note, helped create France's famous "three strikes" law, which allows for a universal Internet ban of up to 12 months for any user who is caught illegally downloading copyrighted material three times.

TorrentFreak also matched up downloads of copyrighted media with more than 900 unique IP addresses associated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the very department tasked – in part – with shutting down the websites of those involved in online piracy.

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