Profiles in Spoofing

The Piracy Arms Race [pdf]

Although Val Thomas and Jed McCaleb have never met, their careers have been locked in a hostile embrace for much of the last two years.

From his office in Midtown Manhattan, Thomas commands a virtual army of more than 4 million simulated humans that fed a steady diet of fake songs, films and other digital goods to unsuspecting downloaders. One of his prime targets has been the eDonkey file-sharing network, a hotbed of online piracy.

Just a few miles away in Lower Manhattan, Jed McCaleb and his colleagues at MetaMachine Inc. defended eDonkey against attack, making it a more efficient and reliable file-sharing tool. In effect, they created markets that were hard for Thomas’ cyber army to overrun.

[…] The outcome of that fight could transform the entertainment industry because “peer-to-peer” systems such as eDonkey enable perfect copies of songs and movies to be shared with millions of people around the world.

[…] “In many ways, this is a numbers game, and you match firepower with firepower,” said Marc Morgenstern, CEO of Overpeer. “It’s definitely an arms race. The fact of the matter is that the content industries recognize that it takes a lot of firepower to protect their assets, and they’re willing to take the steps necessary to do so.”