Sat Jan 29, 2011 21:57
THE international movie industry has a new weapon against internet pirates - a program written by two Ballarat computer scientists.
PhD student Robert Layton and researcher Prof Paul Watters, of Ballarat University's Internet Commerce Security Laboratory (ICSL), wrote a program that can track illegal downloads through torrent websites.
The program maps the extent of criminal activity and copyright infringement online.
It uses a tagging technique to track files through networks commonly used by movie and music pirates to transfer large files in fragments from multiple users simultaneously.
The project attracted attention from movie giant Village Roadshow, who offered funding to help curb internet copyright infringement.
"We are able to get an idea of what people are downloading through torrent sites, by scraping data from (the sites) about downloads and search terms," Prof Watters said.
"We have found that while many people download copyright infringing material, only about 100 people in the world upload most of the content."
The ICSL works with the Australian Federal Police to stop online sharing of child pornography and other illegal content.
The lab has found the Christopher Nolan-directed sci-fi hit Inception to be the current favourite for movie pirates, followed by Iron Man 2 and Salt.
"We are able to compile a list of common downloads and common search terms through the torrent sites," Mr Layton said.
The research showed movies made up 40 per cent of illegal downloads, followed by TV shows at 30 per cent. Music makes up 17 per cent of downloads, ahead of pornography at 12 per cent.
Mr Layton, who wrote his first commercial computer program at 19, said the project would expose the world of web piracy, previously uncharted by authorities.