Is Demonoid a DOJ trap to catch unsuspecting pirates?

Now that Daniel Dove, the former upload administrator at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ)-squashed BitTorrent tracker and search engine EliteTorrents, has been found guilty of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement and could face up to ten years in prison in the first P2P Criminal Jury Case ever in the United States, the question that has to be asked is: Why are other major P2P sites still alive and kickin'?

The Department of Justice claims that EliteTorrents attracted more than 125,000 members, who downloaded over 700 movies more than a total of 1.1 million times. That is a mere drop in the bucket as compared to some other sites that are not only operating in full violation of every imaginable copyright law on the books, but thriving!

It certainly seems Demonoid may be operated by the U.S. Government!
It certainly seems Demonoid may be operated by the U.S. Government!

The single most suspicious site has to be Demonoid.com, which has long been a prime cornucopia of pirated applications, movies, comic books, and much more. After jumping around a few countries to try to find a safe haven to operate from, the site finally shut down in November of 2007. With a shrug, most of the seeders and leechers marched off to other sites which operate in supposedly torrent-tolerant countries such as Sweden which is the home for the giant Pirate Bay site or Italy where television show supersite EZTV resides. However, it was rather strange that after almost six months to the day of its shutdown, Demonoid came back online, all of its files intact and looking just like it did before. Apparently a new forum administrator had taken over from the legendary Deimos and everything was back to normal in the world of Demonoid. Download away!

Well... not exactly. Although when the site relaunched in April, 2008 there were claims that the new site was hosted in the "anything goes" Ukraine, and that the domain was owned in Brazil, all far from the reach of the United States DOJ, a precursory WHOIS search revealed that Demonoid was now hosted by American server hosting company Softlayer. If it is indeed the case that Demonoid is now apparently being hosted in the United States, that discovery represents an extremely puzzling turn in the Demonoid saga.

The last country you would want to host a pirate site in is the United States and Softlayer seems to be the last host that would take on a DOJ lightning rod like Demonoid. Softlayer claims to have almost 40,000 servers in three state of the art facilities in Washington, DC, Dallas and Seattle and by all accounts they are doing a great deal of business with perfectly legitimate companies. What possible reason would they have to expose themselves to massive legal action brought against them by the United States Government? Especially since Softlayer's CEO, Lance Crosby, is a licensed attorney and a member of the Texas State Bar?

I do not illegally download anything. I don't have Azureus or any similar software on my hard drive. But if I were a leecher or even more critically a seeder, I would give Demonoid an extremely wide berth. It doesn't take a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist to believe that what better place would there be to host one of the world's leading illegal torrent sites than in Washington, DC, right under the noses of the DOJ. If and it's a big if, it was the DOJ who took down Demonoid in the first place and has now resurrected the site as a gigantic trap to track the IP of every seeder and leecher along with their complete activities, then any pirate should use Demonoid at their peril.

There is some confusion about the physical location of the 62.149.24.66 IP Address and I certainly wouldn't put it past the DOJ to have worked out some stealthy redirection strategy. Is Demonoid a honey pot set there by the DOJ to catch thousands of pirates with their hand in it, setting up a massive number of arrests? It sure looks like it.

 

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Comments 62 comments

Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 8 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

great info--I would be willing to bet it's a trap to catch downloaders


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

It's as suspicious as it can be. I think only a fool would use that site today, but if you look at the site's activity there are thousands of such fools doing that each and every day. I hope they all have good lawyers and lots of money for legal fees!


guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 8 years ago from India

Innovative and very new idea. I appreciate.


Adam York 8 years ago

Interesting article. I like to read about things like this. I think this kind of thing is stealing paychecks from hard working actors. Though I do wish it would be lawful to rip DVDs I buy to my computer just like my CDs.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

I have an international bestselling book translated into a dozen languages. The book is one of the top 500 downloads from rapidshare. That means that there are thousands of people reading my book that didn't buy it at the bookstore or on amazon, but just got it for free. On one hand, I'm happy that my book is reaching thousands of more people than it ordinarily would have, but on the other hand, I sure wouldn't mind getting at least SOME money out of them! I think that's only fair!


Jonno.Norton 8 years ago

Oh man! Great hub, this is such a relevant question right now. I don't use public torrent sites for exactly that reason. The private ones are harder to locate, but worth the efforts if you can get onto one. They operate in almost complete obscurity to the public eye. And the quality of files and help you get on them is far superior.


cz231 8 years ago

What a load of BS!

The DOJ isn't in charge of the DNS...or wait, did the US all of a sudden turn communist and take over the world? My bad! Last time I checked, an IP that is traceable to the Ukraine, means it's in Ukraine! Redirection or not, any one who visits demonoid is receiving files from Ukraine. It's as simple as that.

Not only that, but last time I checked, isn't intentional entrapment by a government official illegal, and invalid in court? Not to mention, any one involved would lose their job, if something like this actually existed!

Jonno.Norton - Private torrent trackers are even easier to prosecute. The MPAA and RIAA can hardly ever track peoples IP addresses in public torrent sites, because the statistics of users aren't recorded. This allows for a higher level of anonymity. In public trackers, they might find your IP address downloading one thing, but that isn't worth the legal cost. On the other hand, in a private tracker, the MPAA and RIAA can just click on your user name and receive all of your statistics of what you've downloaded.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

What kind of naïve Pollyanna would think that the U.S. Government with billions of dollars of slush money, thousands of spooks on its payroll, and entire buildings dedicated to cyber issues wouldn't be able to redirect a lousy little DNS? I guess the same naïve Pollyanna who thinks that anyone could ever prove entrapment in a case like this. I'm no professional conspiracy theorist, but cz231 you need to stop looking out the rose colored porthole in your starship because you must not even be living in the same galaxy as the rest of us. :)


cz231 8 years ago

Are you joking? You wouldn't be able to prove entrapment? How is the DOJ going to present their evidence without telling how they got the entire IP record? Oh and a 'louse little DNS'? Do you knowwthat the DNS is? It's just the database for every single domain name on the Internet. Yeah, I totally agree, that the US would have no problem redirecty a 'lousy little DNS' (even thought it's the only one). Not to mention, ICANN threatened to revoke VeriSign's license for just redirecting untaken domains to their search engine. In this case, ICANN would be allowing something many degrees worse than what VeriSign did. And they would know if something like this would happen, because the DNS is monitored heavily by third parties to prevent anything like this.

One other thing. A domain name is considered property. Now if you do a whois, you would see that the same owner of demonoid.com has owned it since it's start in '02, and it doesn't expire until 2016. Also, you're forgetting one thing. It is illegal for the government to distribute files that are copyrighted, just like it is for anybody else. If they are the head of a torrent tracker that is infamous for copyrighted material, then they themselves are commiting a crime!

I'm sorry Hal, but the allegations and conspiracy you claim is totally far-fetched. Is it I, or you, who "needs to stop looking out the rose colored porthole in your starship because you must not even be living in the same galaxy as the rest of us.:)".

Look at the facts Hal, not just far fetched speculations.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

"DNS is monitored heavily by third parties to prevent anything like this..." so it's perfectly feasible for national elections in Zimbabwe, Venezuela and other rigged casinos to be stolen right under the nose of third party observers but not for the most powerful and richest government in the world to lay a trap to catch P2Pers? This is illegal, that is illegal... Dude, google CIA and talk to me later. This is a Sunday School picnic next to some of the stuff these guys pull! What's that I smell... coffee? Hmm... maybe you should smell it too! :)


cz231 8 years ago

Hacking is one thing, redirecting the DNS is another. Do your research before you go any further...Just a word to the wise.

To your "This is illegal, that is illegal..." comment, since when does it make sense to break the law, even more severe to catch a less severe crime? It doesn't. The CIA has bigger fish to fry. The media corporations lobbying may be able to influence the FBI to put warnings on movies, and shut down the occasional site, and sue a few over-the-top P2P users, but they don't have enough power to influence something this large. The means don't justify the end. It would cost more to do this, then what they would get out of this. Besides the MPAA is already in enough trouble with their clients, by not sharing the money they did gain in their lawsuits.

The MPAA and RIAA can already get all of the IP addresses they need to track 99% of P2P users anyway. You're forgetting one thing - this is P2P. They would gain nothing at all, by commiting the numerous crimes of redirecting the DNS, an international agreement,by taking control of demonoid. Do you know why? It's P2P!! The MPAA, can gain access of every single user's IP address on demonoid, just by downloading the torrents themselves! Then they can compare the IP address with each user in the database, and they have every thing the user downloaded, and how much they seeded. So why don't they prosecute all of the millions of P2P users? Well, it's simply impractical, it would cost 10 times the amount they would gain. So I ask again, what motive could they possibly have to redirect the international DNS?

Oh and since you chose to deviate from the topic,


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Er... since I chose to deviate from the topic... what?


cz231 8 years ago

Sorry about that...I was going to point out about the differences in a third world countries, to the country that is considered a 'world leader', but decided that my post was long enough ;)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

cz231, with respect, you make excellent points. But my basic thesis is that the US government has been involved in unimaginable subterfuge. If you doubt that, just check out Operation MHCHAOS or any of the other fun tricks Washington likes to play at it's Langley, VA sandbox. With the huge pressure its under by RIAA, MPAA, etc. I certainly stand by my statements that the DOJ may very well be operating Demonoid and pulling the wool over everyone's eyes.


cz231 8 years ago

While I do agree with you that there are secret operations the government is involved in, to me, this is unrealistic; although you too make points that make it sound plausible.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks. I guess we will never definitively know. Heck, we still don't know how many different people shot JFK and it's coming up to a half century!


cz231 8 years ago

Well we will, if all demonoid users suddenly get prosecuted...


Cythrawl 8 years ago

Also what's funny......

http://www.whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=demonoid&...

created-date: 2002-10-16updated-date: 2007-12-30registration-expiration-date: 2016-10-16owner-contact: P-RGR400owner-organization: Neurocube.com privacy protection serviceowner-fname: Registration Privateowner-lname: Registration Privateowner-street: SCN Qd. 01, Bloco B, 7° Andarowner-city: Brasiliaowner-state: D.F.owner-zip: 70001-900owner-country: BRowner-phone: +61 37170970owner-email: demonoid.com@neurocube.com Now where is that exactly.... OH LOOK>>>> ITS BRAZIL... IDIOT


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

It's Brazil now, but check the Internet Wayback Machine and it was UKRAINE. I stated the reg was owned in Brazil... so who are you calling an IDIOT? Have you looked in the mirror lately? :P


8 years ago

Why the hell would demonoid have extremely limited registrations if they were a trap? The Pirate Bay's model would be much better for them; have it wide open and get millions of people. Demonoid only opens registrations once in a blue moon; you have to get an invite from a current member, otherwise.


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