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FYI: PLanetLab and recent DMCA complaints



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [PlanetLab-PIs] recent DMCA complaints
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 12:27:11 -0400
From: Larry Peterson <llp@cs.princeton.edu>

We have received a set of complaints involving the transfer of
copyrighted content over Bittorrent. The complaints were all
lodged by https://www.videoprotectionalliance.com and they
all appear to be related. I want to make sure all PIs know about
the situation.

Our traffic auditing system, which logs all outgoing traffic across
PlanetLab, has not recorded any such traffic. This, combined with
the fact that certain ports reported in these complaints belong to
PlanetLab's reserved port range has given us strong reason to
believe that the no PlanetLab nodes were involved in the actual
distribution of this copyrighted data. To confirm this, we contacted
all researchers who had been experimenting with the Bittorrent
protocol to communicate with non-PlanetLab hosts during the
periods of infringement, and as expected, only random data was
being used in those experiments. We also found no copyrighted
material when we inspected the file system on the flagged nodes.

To further investigate the problem, we looked into CDN traffic, and
came to the conclusion that CoralCDN was relaying Bittorrent
'tracker' URLs that tracked all of the copyrighted data reported in
the complaints. Tracker URLs are web pages that contain a list of
locations at which a certain Bittorrent file can be found. Note that
*no content* was cached or hosted on PlanetLab nodes, and no
PlanetLab nodes were being advertised as serving such data. All
CoralCDN was doing was to efficiently relay Bittorrent meta-data.

For the time being, CoralCDN has since blacklisted the actual
tracker (denis.stalker.h3q.com). On the other hand, there's a
pretty compelling argument that doing so is not necessary, and
this complaint should be treated as a false alarm. The PlanetLab
Steering Committee will take up the question of what long-term
policy we should adopt.

If any additional information comes to light, I'll be sure to pass it
along.

Larry