Hollywood is Chasing Ghosts

The notice listed four infringing works, found on January 9 on the eDonkey network, at host address I find that hard to believe. That address is on a network that has been defunct for years. Moreover, that network was a private office network. It never was connected to the Internet.

Here is how network came about. About a decade ago, I setup a network for a small manufacturing company here in Austin. We tied together their office machines (Windows 3.1 desktops) and servers using a TCP/IP (Internet Protocol) network. Even though the network ran the protocol of the Internet, it wasn't connected to the Internet. I expected someday they would, so I prepared for that eventuality by getting a block of Internet addresses allocated to them.

As far as I know, they never did connect to the Internet. Before that grand day could come, they were acquired and the company was moved to Dallas.

Even if they snuck out a connection without my knowledge, they sure aren't there now. Let's take a peek at the Internet core, shall we ...

$ telnet route-views.routeviews.org
Connected to route-views.routeviews.org (
Escape character is '^]'.

User Access Verification

Username: rviews
route-views.oregon-ix.net>show ip route
% Network not in table
Connection closed by foreign host.                                       

In this example, I connected to a router provided by the University of Oregon. This router allows you to examine the Internet topology. You can ask it how to get to any point on the Internet. I asked it how to get to the computer listed by the MPAA. It told me, "You can't get there from here."

The MPAA sent me a takedown notice for a computer on a network that doesn't exist. I'm trying to understand how could this happen. There are possible explanations such as host spoofing or forged route announcements, but they seems a bit far-fetched. Maybe the MPAA is using defective data or methods that generated an errant takedown. That seems more likely to me.

Whatever the cause, when the MPAA says 8.3 million people traded files over the Internet, you have to wonder how much of that happened on mysterious ghost networks, like mine.


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re: Hollywood is Chasing Ghosts

They must be simply abusint the Domain Name System for contact information on random (or any they can find) IP addresses.

robertson@cerf:~$ whois
OrgName: Columbia Scientific Industries, Corp.
Address: 11950 Jollyville Road
Address: P.O. Box 203190
City: Austin
StateProv: TX
PostalCode: 78720
Country: US

NetRange: -
NetHandle: NET-199-33-148-0-1
Parent: NET-199-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
RegDate: 1994-01-10
Updated: 1994-01-10

TechHandle: CR160-ARIN
TechName: Rosenthal, Chip
TechPhone: +1-512-000-0000
TechEmail: chip [at] unicom [dot] com

# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2005-01-18 19:10
# Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.