An up-and-coming Russian tech startup gained financial backing from Microsoft for developing a new technology that claims to shut down illegal downloads through torrents.
Pirate Pay (a homage to the prominent file-sharing site The Pirate Bay) has apparently stopped thousands of illegal downloads during a project carried out with big-time producers.
The Seed Financing Fund of Microsoft invested about USD 100,000 along with Russia's Fund for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in Science and Technology's (Bortnik Fund) USD 34,000.
The founding team responsible for the project is composed of three Russian programmers -- brothers Alexei and Andrei Klimenko together with Dmitry Shuvaev. Initially, they planned to build a program that could handle traffic management for file-sharing. But they soon realized that it could have other useful applications.
Pirate Pay CEO Andrei told Norton Scientific Journal, "After creating the prototype, we realised we could more generally prevent files from being downloaded, which meant that the program had great promise in combating the spread of pirated content."
Pirate Pay would not really say how the system works but it is widely speculated that it floods torrent servers with bogus requests until they get warnings and terminate communication. This is because in order to download a file using torrent, one must need to know the IP address of another PC that has the file.
"We used a number of servers to make a connection to each and every P2P client that distributed this film. Then Pirate Pay sent specific traffic to confuse these clients about the real IP addresses of other clients and to make them disconnect from each other."
Though not all the goals were accomplished, almost 50,000 users were not able to finish their downloads.
"It was not so hard to do from inside an ISP's network. But to turn the technology into global service, we had to convince all ISPs to acquire our solution. That is what some could call mission impossible. So to create a global service, we had to find the way to do it from the cloud. So we needed money for development." Andrei added.
He confirmed that high-level backing indeed permits their firm to turn its concepts into a profitable business.
They said that the service might cost customers from USD 12,000 to USD 50,000 but it still depends on the level of defense required. To date, Pirate Pay has already worked with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures.
Although Pirate Pay is not the only anti-piracy software available, someone has yet to figure out an effective way to stop illegal file-sharing. Torrents are diverse and difficult to pin down, making it a challenge to stop them altogether. But just in case Pirate Pay actually works, we'll definitely see more advanced piracy measures that can circumvent it.
The firm is located at the Skolkovo Innovation Center that provides tax benefits and exposes Pirate Pay to other startups. Ironically, Pirate Pay is based in Russia, the country being accused of leniency in cracking down pirates.