back to article P2P uploader hoaxes leading BitTorrent blog

A German record label has been forced to deny it wants people to pirate its music after a blogger cooked up a story that it had uploaded its entire repertoire to Pirate Bay. The story was first published by the BitTorrent fan blog Torrentfreak and written by its founder "Ernesto". His sole source for the fanciful tale, of how …


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  1. Will Leamon

    Dear Ernesto...

    When did 'could be true' become fit for print? You'd think the guy would take a little personal pride in his work at least.

  2. Ross

    Internet first

    An internet first - people posting as other people!


    Really I just wanted to point out that 2+2 = 100. Although tbh I'm kinda sorry about that too.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Of course...

    2+2=10 is true in base 4.

    Mine's the scruffy one with "Maths Compo '92" on, cheers...

  4. Joseph Zygnerski

    Fan blog or news organization?

    Who's to blame here? The "fan blog" who says "hmm, look what I saw, wonder what it means" (and yes, I did read his whole post), or the people who took the story and said "hey, look what happened!"?

    I think the lesson here is: don't spread other people's musings and call them facts.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fact checking

    sigh...I do like torrentfreak, but such a big story clearly warrants a bit of fact checking before posting.

    I had a bit more sympathy for Ernesto over the allegedly fake Axxo interview*, - that would have been a bit harder to check, but this latest error just seems like eagerness to post winning over journalistic diligence. Sure he's not posting as a journalist, but even if he is posting in his spare time, the amount of page impressions torrentfreak gets means he has a certain journalistic responsibility to his readers, whether he likes it or not.


  6. Chris

    Fit for print

    It seems anything is fit for print these days. The amount of times the BBC or Sky News or whoever have gone with some story they've got off some dodgy blog is ridiculous. Then whenever they do get caught out it's an "eleborate hoax" rather than a "piss poor researcher".

    This kind of "internet knowledge base" has a lot to answer for. The amount of people I know that think that Wiki is some kind of bastion of truth. Most of the subjects I've looked up that I do have an extensive knowledge of are largely tripe. Even popular ones, such as cars or firearms. (should be easy to get the basics right on those at least)

    Oh and as for that group (or whatever) saying they're not making music anymore because they're sick of piracy: lulz;

    It's amazing how many people still think 1 download = 1 lost sale. Almost all of the people who would have downloaded a small bands music like that would have never, ever heard of them if it wasn't for torrents. And the rest of the people who download things HAVE NO MONEY. Why can't these people just be happy that their music is gaining popularity? I must admit, it's a bit harder for musicians, as a load of MP3s is the same quality as a CD. (rather than most film torrents compared to DVD's)

    Still tho - you cannot protect this kind of media. At some point, that audio has to come out of your speakers. There's no way to stop you from directing that back to line in, and taking a perfect copy.

    I use DBPro, and recently bought a model pack for it. I still haven't got it, as they only gave me a download for FPS Creator (site stated they were available for both), requiring a FPS Creator key, which I don't have, as FPS Creator is ropey. When I tried to get the files from them, they said I couldn't have it, as people had been putting them up on torrent sites! Nice. You can buy this, but you can't have it in case your a stinking pirate. (Downloaded the FPS Creator version and used an "aquired" key to get the files out - I've paid for them!) Do they not realise you can't stop people copying these kind of files!?! (Unless they put DRM into every file in windows - Oh god no...)

    Woah - sorry about the rant there. Went a bit off topic really....

  7. Morely Dotes

    @ Chris: Don't Panic!

    "put DRM into every file in windows"

    No worries. In the unlikely event that ever happens, the number of people telling MS to piss off forever will convince the developers to start releasing for other OSes (Linux, Solaris, BSD, OS X, maybe even OS/2, it still works, after all).

  8. Alex


    I'm just curious. Apart from the S Club 7 - Ronnie Hazlehurst business, what other examples of blog-sourced 'research' are you thinking of?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Reliable Sources

    I'd just like to add that some of the articles I've read by the BBC have had questionable research to back up facts. This is in addition to some of the articles I've read in main newspapers.

    I've done three interviews and asked to do two others, to big name news agencies...for two of the interviews (one on live radio) that I have have been invited to I did not have the sufficiently adequate accreditations to talk with authority.

    In two of the interviews that I have done my quotes have been competely re-written, and given a different skew.

    Then in University, I'm asked to write bull**** essays about bull**** topics, of huge ass theory about something that the lecturer has never worked in the field of.

    Lets face it, every piece of material we read is of potentially questionable accuracy. Even in the UK our media sources slant a different view on things than those in the EU and US.

    Bottom line here, is the fact and fiction...and I can tell you now that I'm aware of two big name stories that WEREN'T published for one reason or another.

  10. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Sounds like

    Sounds like a deliberate plant from one of the big three for obvious reasons !

    Or as Paris would say beware of geeks bearing gifts !

  11. Chris
    Thumb Up

    Ahhh... we can dream...

    "convince the developers to start releasing for other OSes"

    Oh happy day.. I use Windows because I have to. I have to use it for my job, and I don't have the patience to run 2 OS's side by side (Oh where's that file - locked in my Windows Outlook pst file etc)

    But on that magical day when developers do start to release a wider range of software on other OS's, I'll be the first to ditch it.

    Workbench 3.1 (as well as some of the other OS's you mention there) is still technically superior to Windows in some aspects (I nearly wet myself when I saw an advert for Vista proudly proclaiming it could do 2 things at once - rather than as many as you fancy with good old Amiga TRUE hardware multitasking) - I just hope the golden day of computing haven't gone forever.

    I remeber when all this was bits, far as the eye can see..... And they all stood for something then, not like these upstarts you see today. Loads of 1's and 0's hanging about, serving no purpous... I blame the OS's, they don't raise them like they used to...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, noes!

    People like to get >>really excited<< about obviously >>ridiculous things,<< don't they?

  13. Paul M.

    Torrentfreak = the blind leading the blind

    There's an Evangelical Church down the bottom of my road, you should catch the crap they come out with.

    If something "sounds right" - then it must be true.

    The crazed loons in the anti-copyright brigade seem to have caught the same disease.

    So Ernesto is "too busy" to check his facts, and if something "sounds right" it's worth printing.

    This must be the dumbest Xerox machine ever. I hope someone (Google?) is paying him good money.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    business as usual..

    The media always screws up the facts anyway. They don't need to check their sources!

  15. Dan Price
    Dead Vulture

    That's a shame

    Normally in stuff like this i tend to end up on the anti-copyright side when it comes to piracy - the big record labels treat the bands like sh*t, the fans like sh*t and are only interested in money, but when it hits a small outfit like Dependent I have to say the pirates are dead wrong. This indie from Germany bought us the likes of Rotersand, Suicide Commando and Dismantled, who are all "niche" artists in a very small field, and it'll be a shame if they can't get a deal with another label, 'cause the majors sure as hell won't touch 'em.

  16. Spleen

    Bloody pretend journlalists

    What a cretin. Too busy to do extensive research? Too thick to pick up the phone and ask "Is this true", he means.

    Reading the witterings of pretend journalists is like, in the event of fire, running to the local playground and recruiting three six-year-olds playing firemen. While real journalists do make mistakes, even without the Internet (Hitler Diaries), you can't deny they at least have some standards.

  17. Paul Talbot
    Thumb Up


    I'm usually of the "most people who download wouldn't buy the music anyway" opinion so I think that the whole "losses to piracy" thing is over hyped.

    However, consider this: before this story, I'd never heard of either the label or the bands listed in Wikipedia as being signed to that label. I have now tagged a couple of albums as being possible (legal, paid for) downloads from eMusic when my subscription refreshes at the weekend.

    So, people pirating their albums may have led directly to some previously unavailable sales. As ever, if Dependent Records were losing sales, maybe it's their marketing that needs sorting out (or sales tactics - Dependent isn't listed as the label on eMusic nor are some of their acts, yet it's the only place I buy legal music from at the moment)?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Stefan Herwig is an idiot

    I've bought at least four CDs in Dependent's catalogue in the last year. Granted, I've downloaded many times that, but I wouldn't have ever heard of *any* of those bands if it weren't for torrents and Usenet. How many lost sales is that?

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    More reliable than the BBC?

    Now, *that's* damning with faint praise.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @AC with 4x Dependant CDs

    Ever hear of MySpace? Band websites? You know - where they have previews of tracks you can hear?

    Perhaps if you were to visit said sites rather than leeching off torrent and usenet sites you might find a lot of bands that you like rather than what some idiot has decided to assist the theft of.

    The 'excuse' that downloading music is 'trying' before buying it no longer holds water as previews of most bands are available for you to hear before buying a CD / paid download. You don't like it, don't buy the CD. You want more, get your hand in your pocket.

    Speaking as a musician who has recently found his CD pirated all over the net, my studio and (legitimately purchased) software have set me back thousands; not to mention the immense time and effort that goes into producing an album. Why should I be 'ok' with people obtaining it for free rather than buying? Would you like it if I arranged with your employer to have some of your salary siphoned off into my bank account? What's that you say? But I've lost nothing? Ok how about I just have your raises siphoned off from now on? You've lost nothing right?

    While big name artists like Madonna are hardly likely to go bankrupt from theft (and it is theft), the smaller artists in particular feel the lost income from downloading. I have interviewed many in the industry, pirates and artists alike and a recurring theme I hear from pirates is that they do not consider it stealing from the artists but from the label. While big artists might get by on record company advances for their 'fruit and flowers', small artists don't get anything until the label has money to give them. Guess where that money comes from?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - theft

    "and it is theft"

    No. It is copyright infringement. That is why when people are prosecuted they are prosecuted for copyright infringement and not theft.

    I agree with you that if you want to sell your work, you should be able to. But the removal of p2p would not stop people sharing your CD. If you are suggesting that downloads correlate directly with lost sales, you are also wrong.

    I understand being upset, but it would probably do you better in the long term if you could avoid jumping to the conclusion that p2p has lead to the theft of your music - which makes me want to download your music just to wind you up, I'm ashamed to say - and instead try and become part of the movement that is aimed at providing a revenue stream for artists based on the technology that is now available.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm all for new models for marketing and generating revenue from my music, but I fail to see how distributing full albums (often complete with ripped artwork) via P2P helps achieve this. If previews and promo material were spread via P2P then sure - great way to distribute with no bandwidth hosting costs, however uploading a full album is nothing short of denying the artist potential sales, and that is theft, pure and simple.

    Sure not everyone who downloads something will have ever bought it, and so one cannot consider that a denied sale, but a number of them would and those are sales that are being 'stolen' direct from the artist's pocket.

    For the record I'm not opposed to P2P in principle, however I am opposed to people avoiding paying for something by taking it for free, which by any definition is theft.

    Obviously the industry has to change, however until we have revenue for artists taken from a tax on people's bandwidth bills or some other amicable solution people should support the artists they like by paying for music. Downloading ripped albums for 'preview' is no excuse. Previews of most bands are available for free instantly on the sites I mentioned (amongst others). You wouldn't camp out in a book shop and read an entire book to decide if you wanted to buy it; you'd read the preview on the back and base your decision on if it sounds good along with the author's previous work and reputation. Why is music any different?

    Not paying artists for their work is killing music.

  23. Endif

    Yet another smorgasbord for the Ethics-free among us;

    Yet another nail in Music's coffin.

    I'm no Anti-P2P purist. I despise the draconian tactics of RIAA. I see the validity in checking out a product before you purchase it, and P2P is perfect for this, especially given how much sub-par content there is today, an unfortunate side-effect of the self-creation boom, which of course rules.

    But most people DO NOT purchase what they download. Simple sad fact.

    And in doing so, they fuck over the artists and labels that put their HEARTS and real TIME and MONEY into releasing their work. This is especially painful for small artists and labels, as they cannot absorb the financial damage as easily.

    Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle, nothing we can do about it except for attaching a social stigma to being an ethics-free douchebag and shutting down what can be.

    So yes, please do check out what you're interested in. So much amazing content out there. But if you do find something you like, once you've made that determination, delete the files and BUY THE DAMN THING like an adult. Otherwise you're just as guilty as those bastards at RIAA say you are. =/


  24. Spleen

    Re: 14:22

    Previews work for games but do not work for music, unless you listen to simplistic shit like dance or pop. Any song worth the name will have enough variety that no chosen 60 seconds will be able to capture anything but how good the singer's voice is and how well the band play whatever instruments they use during that part.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree with Spleen

    I'm the AC with "4 Dependent records" above (more than that, actually; those are the recent purchases, I can't be bothered to look through and count them all).

    The fact is that most of the indie labels do such a crappy job of promoting their bands that I wouldn't have even *heard* of them in order to *know* to go to their site to listen to previews. On top of that, as Spleen says, the 30 seconds or so of preview you get are hardly ever representative and rarely inspire me to bother purchasing.

    Instead, I know I can go to pretty much any torrent site, tap in "FWYH", and know that a fairly large proportion of the results will be stuff I like. If I don't like it, I bin it. If I do like it, piracy buys the record label a sale. If it weren't for piracy, I highly doubt I'd ever have known that Dependent or their bands existed never mind bought their stuff.

    To the musician ranting about piracy being the equivalent of having my salary siphoned off into his bank account, that comparison is frankly complete and utter tosh and barely deserves comment. Frankly if you are suffering so much from downloading, I suspect it is because you are a crap musician and nobody who has heard your music would ever think of spending money on it. Otherwise, obscurity is a far greater threat.

    I also produced copyrightable material for a living. However, because I have a modicum of common sense, I have chosen a business model which relies on others copying my work as far and wide as possible. The important thing then is to focus on making it good enough that they *want* to do so, rather than trying to prevent people from doing what they're going to do anyway.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business model

    Pray, do tell oh wise one what this business model is and your product so that the music industry may adopt it. And also so I mat upload it to Pirate Bay seeing as you want it copied as much as possible, surely I'll be doing you a favour.

    It is a shame that all the people who know best about how to market music are non-musicians posting anonymously on geek websites.

  27. Nìall Tracey

    I be a filthy stinking pirate, yarr.

    It was true what an AC said: "the removal of p2p would not stop people sharing your CD."

    Yes, I have copied CDs in the past for friends and family. It's technically just as wrong as P2P. The difference is in scale. I only ever copied them once or twice, and it didn't start a domino-rally of copying -- I personally have never been offered a copy of a copy, only copies of originals. P2P instantly goes to anyone who wants it: people I've never met. The old copies of originals thing is fading and people are just redistributing in massive quantities.

    Is what I did any less bad? No. It wasn't hugely damaging *in and of itself*, but it was still illegal and -- dagnabbit -- wrong; so it's useless to use that as a defense for the equally illegal and wrong, but massively more damaging, P2P.

    P2P may be used as some as a mechanism for discovery, but here's the thing: if it wasn't, there'd be a gap in the market for a really good interactive streaming independent music radio thingummijig for discovery and recommendation. While blocking that gap, they continue to use that gap as justification for the availability of infringing -- pirated -- materials.

    Meanwhile, the first really good technology for the distribution of legitimate free and public domain materials is letting the press and the industry bodies paint it as a den of thieves.

  28. Mark

    @Nìall Tracey

    But how many family members do you have?

    If 10 people share and each of them share to 10 people (who don't already have it) and each of them share with 10 people, and so on, how many "generations" will it take to have 6 billion shared files? Each of them sharing only with family and friends level of sharing.

    P2P sharing is not on an average share of 10-to-1 it's a lot less. Most files available are not shared and those that are shared from this source a lot are not shared much by the ones who took it.

    If it were thousands to one, we only need two generations of sharing, so only a few thousand are "illegally" giving it away, but we have many thousands of lawsuits already closed.

    Something doesn't add up.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "P2P may be used as some as a mechanism for discovery, but here's the thing: if it wasn't, there'd be a gap in the market for a really good interactive streaming independent music radio thingummijig for discovery and recommendation."

    What - you mean

    As separate point - lets be honest with ourselves here - P2P, particularly on some sites, is used primarily for piracy. Sure the technology is legitimately used for Linux distros and so on, but if you go to piratebay or torrentspy or whatever you see lists and lists of stuff that you know should not be on there. Fact.

    There are talks of banning copyright infringing downloaders from the net, but what about simply taxing the use of such sites? 'You can download what you want, but we will simply bill you for it - here is an invoice for your downloads'. The proceeds could go to whatever studio produced the material in question if a suitable method of detecting them were devised.

    At the very least sites could donate the money they make from all those adverts to artists. Let's not forget that torrent sites are earning money from the visitor traffic as a result of copywritten material. That is no different than some geezer down the market selling knock off CDs.

  30. Greg

    re: Theft

    First of all, no, once again that's not theft.

    Theft is when I take something from you. That implies that you don't have it anymore.

    If you syphon off some of our salary or raises or whatever off our bank account, it's theft, I don't have themoney anymore.

    If I download your album, you still have it.

    Worse, I would tend to ask you your name so I can commit infringement on your creation, but the thing is, if I don't get your name, there's a 99.99999% chance, at the very least, that you'll never ever get any money from me, directly or indirectly. Whereas if you give me your name and I download your album, you'll get, statistically, thousands and thousands of times more money, cos' there's the remote possibility that I might like it and go see a concert.

    Still, my main point was on your:

    "Obviously the industry has to change, however until we have revenue for artists taken from a tax on people's bandwidth bills or some other amicable solution people should support the artists they like by paying for music."

    Oh yeah? Great. Then we agree on the end. And what are the means please?

    Pay for music like people always have? And you think it will change the system?

    Majors FIGHT AGAINST ANY CHANGE to the system, and every and all changes that have come in the last five years have come from the P2P and piracy putting pressure on a change of model.

    So sorry, but actually, downloading is almost a social duty. It's only by doing it that there is a chance that we will have a tax on people's bandwidth, which I would welcome with open arms (and which I advocated in economy courses all of 8 years ago).

    In the meantime, you'll suffer, sure. And it's a shame. But that's life, unfortunately. Change is always painful for some, especially during the time it takes to make the transition.

    I look forward to the day I can pay 60 euro a year (5 a month) to get all the music in the world legally and for free. That day, I'll pay 4 times as much as the average sum I paid BEFORE there was p2p, and when you count the total revenues of the music industry, artists will get richer while people will have everything with no limit.

    In the meantime, I'll DL as much as I can hoping it will accelerate the painful transition phase.

  31. Greg

    @Nìall Tracey and Mark

    "P2P sharing is not on an average share of 10-to-1 it's a lot less."

    You can even be very, very precise.

    It's EXACTLY 1-to-1.

    Indeed, a file is sent successfully exactly as many times as it is received successfully (or you could say, each elementary part of the file when split on networks).

    Some may send more than they received, some less (less being 0), but in the end, it's exactly 1-to-1.

  32. Mark

    @Greg: 1-1

    Leechers download without making uploads possible. In this sense, BT is more readily 1-1 because leechers don't get much of an access (so is less pirate-friendly).

    Unless you're thinking about upload vs download, where I'm talking about the number of copies created at least semi-permanently. Sharing amongst your 10 friends who share amongst 10 of their friends doesn't take long before sharing JUST amongst friends has everyone a copy. So scale of P2P sharing is a load of bull. It just means it takes a more direct line than sharing in the pre-internet days.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: Theft

    "Theft is when I take something from you. That implies that you don't have it anymore."

    Correct. In this case the 'something' is potential sales. I am in the market of selling my music to people; if you give my music to people for free, you are lowering the probability that people will give me money. THAT is what you are stealing from me. Sure someone might be 'honest' and buy my CD after downloading it and that's great, however it is very likely that the majority wont as they have it already, and if they were honest, why are they on illegal download sites in the first place?. Of course we are talking 'ifs' and 'maybes', however that is what selling is about and it's why the placements of adverts and shops are such big business. It increases the probability of sales. Your argument is similar to that it's ok to take down gig posters or remove flyers from clubs because the person marketing the gig has lost nothing by you doing this. This is simply not the case as the promoter would suffer in lower attendance as a direct result. Smaller promoters might go out of business. Larger ones might be able to absorb the loss. Conversely downloading harms small artists more than big ones, however big artists have to start somewhere.

    At the end of the day nobody asks the permission or artists to give away their music. If they did, that would be a different story entirely.

    "And what are the means please?"

    You buy a physical object called a 'CD' or you pay for a download. There is also nothing stopping you sending money direct to the artists (we like that one particularly). Money for T-Shirts and gig tickets are also always appreciated. There is an argument in that the more people who hear music are more likely to attend live shows regardless of how they obtained that music, however it's debatable and there are issues with physical location. There is also a psychological concept where people attribute more value to things depending on how difficult they were to obtain, meaning they treat 'free' music as throwaway and worthless.

    I would have no problem with people downloading if they bought things however the problem is in a great number of cases they don't because they already have it. This takes us back to previews - you see a film trailer for example, you decide you want to pay to see the film. You hear a music preview, or (almost) the full track on the radio, you decide you want to buy it. People seem to think they have a right to take the entire work for a period of time to decide if they want to give the artist money. How many of them delete those albums they decide are not worth paying for?

  34. Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    Interview with Stefan!

    I just published an interview with Stefan titled "The story behind the hoax":

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    I've heard so many people on forums saying

    "I'm an amateur musician, and because of piracy I make no money. I might have to pack it in!"

    Do these people not realise that amateur musicans and most indie bands have NEVER EVER made any money. 10 years ago these band simply had no market to reach. Pratically every sale they ever get they simply wouldn't have got back then, and the downloaded copies don't reflect a lost sale either.

    You simply plug along, doing it for the love of the music or entertaining, and eventually, if you're REALLY good, you'll suddenly have money coming out of your arse.

    A freind of mine is in a band: They played for years for nothing, practicing practically every day. Eventually they did get signed, and have done tours in the UK and the US, and other places, and they STILL haven't made any real money by the time you take all the studio time etc. out of it. Looks like some time this year they'll go into the black, and suddenly have 100's of thousands of pounds.

    That's just the way it goes, and it always has.

    Hopefully these small bands will realise it's the LABELS, PRODUCERS, STUDIOS etc. who are ripping them off, not piracy.

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