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Illegal Internet

Illegal Internet

This in-depth article takes a look at hacking on the Internet. Covering hacker motivation, computer viruses, security, personal firewalls and how to track a hacker!

John Collins 

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6. Warez and MP3s

6.1 Warez

The term 'Warez' is the name given to software that is copied illegally and either sold, traded or given away across the Internet. According to search engine statistics from recent reports, the word 'Warez' is the number one search engine term typed into most popular online search engine facilities.

Just as soon as a company releases it's latest software product, the Warez community is already hard at work trying to crack the software's anti-copying protection. This period in time can be very short, with many cracked software titles appearing on Warez sites around the same time as the product is officially realised to the consuming public.

6.2 The Warez Community

Successfully tracking down and downloading Warez can be a difficult task if the person trying to do so is not a part of the Warez community. In order to be accepted into the inner circles of Warez groups, a person has to have something to trade. Novice Warez enthusiasts normally start by getting something expensive from work or university, then they get themselves a Hotmail address with a smart hacker handle (name), one that is easy to remember, and begin to hang out on Warez newsgroups and IRC channels. Their aim now is to start trading with the Warez community, so that they can gain better access to the better Warez sources, and further expand their collection of pirated software.

6.3 MP3s

MP3 (MPEG-3) is an abbreviation of Motion Picture Experts Group Audio Level 3, which is a technique used to compress audio files down from large multi-megabyte files to something much smaller, typically around 10% of the original file size.

MP3 works by discarding the information that the human ear cannot hear, but which is still sampled along with the rest of the information in the original audio file. Variable levels of quality versus file size may be achieved, making MP3 an effective means of transporting entire audio tracks across the Internet while not suffering long download times. In many (if not all) cases of such transactions, copyright protection has not been regarded as MP3s are traded without the permission of the record companies and bands in question, who undoubtedly loose a lot of money due to the illegal trade in MP3s.

6.4 Warez, MP3s and the Law

Different countries have different organisations who attempt to stop the copyright violations caused by software and music piracy, which makes it difficult for these organisations to effectively coordinate their efforts. Some third world and far east countries are effectively a hotbed for piracy.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been active against and against Napster software, which provides a global database of MP3 recordings.

In the UK, the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) has come out in favour of the MP3 format as a distribution mechanism, provided the distribution of music in MP3 files does not harm the artist's and producer's rights.

In 1988, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) was set up to act as a watch dog group to represent a consortium of the worlds leading software developers. BSA has been very active in fighting software piracy, and has cracked down on many offending web sites. In the UK, the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) was formed in 1984 to fulfil a similar role, campaigning to raise public awareness of the damage caused by software piracy, while finding and prosecuting offenders. These organisations use various methods to catch and shut down offenders, such as running free phone numbers to encourage people to report piracy. They are also known to actively monitor the Internet looking for offending web sites, often applying pressure to local ISP's (Internet Service Providers) to shut down the sites in question, or else face a lawsuit.

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About The Author

John Collins is a freelance web developer and software design consultant from Dublin, Ireland. You can find more articles by him at his home site,

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