We won’t be able to explain ultimately if UseNeXT is a legitimate service or you’re behaving unlawful if you’re downloading the newest Harry Potter of Warner Bros. from the UseNeXT service – but we’ll provide some insight into the service, the origin, the people behind it, its relation to copyright owners, the piracy problem, and its growth becoming one of the most popular legitimate downloading platforms for illegal movies worldwide.
Regensburg, a small city in Bavaria, Germany – a country in Europe: Two guys, which we’re not going to name personally, are developing new products for the Internet. The goal should be to generate money – fast, secure and mostly in a legitimate way. It shouldn’t be such complicated as Facebook, YouTube, or MySpace is – no, it should have a development period of 3 months and an ROI of a maximum of 6 months.
The idea: Usenet – a network, used by a very wide audience worldwide posting text articles into so-called newsgroups and exchanging -knowledge- by doing so. Commonly this -knowledge- might be also files, so called “binary files”, which can be “posted” into the “Usenet”.
-Knowledge-, in the form of Madonnas newest music hit, U2 newest album, Warner Bros. newest blockbuster, or Nintendos newest game – and surely, audio books, books, e-books, and even shortbooks, can be found on the Usenet.
The impact of the knowledge: In 2005, when UseNeXT was born, approx. 0.8 TB of data were posted into the global Usenet every day. So, 0.8 TB of new knowledge every day – 185 DVDs of knowledge every single day.
Today: 6 TB of new knowledge is posted every day in the form of Warner Bros. Harry Potter, The Dark Knight, and Disneys Up! or Hannah Montana into the Usenet.
Once a file gets into the Usenet it can be downloaded (if your Internet connection allows such speed) with up to 158 Mbit/s from the Usenet – this means: approx. 34 seconds (!) to download a full length movie. This is the proof: UseNeXT Downloading World Record.
The problem: Petabytes of data, different encoding mechanisms, posted into more then 130,000 different newsgroups (like different folders on a PC) spread over hundreds of servers worldwide.
The solution: A software solution which searches for the content within seconds, and enables every person on the world, young and old, to be able to download the newest Harry Potter within a couple of minutes with three or four simple mouse clicks.
So: Providing more available titles then in the cinemas, the VOD platforms, or the video rental stores around the corner and get them directly to your PC or Notebook – UseNeXT was born.
UseNeXT started to provide its service by using the server facilities of News-Service – a Usenet company from Netherland – when the service was started in 2005.
The UseNeXT software indexes the content being available on Usenet (and on News-Service servers in Netherland), allows its users to upload their “prefered” type of -content- into the global Usenet – anonymously and for free – and allows other users of their platform to download this -content- by paying a fee per downloaded Gigabyte. Preferably users have to commit to download at least 200 or 300 Gigabytes of -content- every year.
Because UseNeXT was growing rapidly, News-Service was hiting its networks limits, so UseNeXT needed a second vendor, who should be able to deliver the technical infrastructure necessary for hundreds of downloaded Gigabytes every single day.
Highwinds Network Group Inc., a company funded by a Venture-Capital company called “European Founders“ was ready to provide the next dimension of server infrastructures to download not only hundreds of Gigabytes, but now even hundreds of Terabytes of -content- every single day.
Highwinds does also host the full infrastructure of UseNeXTs competitor Firstload from Austria/Dubai (188.8.131.52) – this is another big Usenet provider offering the same service but limited to the german-speaking countries.
Back to UseNeXT: That was not enough – again limits were reached, hundreds of Gbit/s of network usage peaks were forcing UseNeXT to include a third vendor into the business – Giganews, a Texas / US company, one of the oldest Usenet providers worldwide.
Nowadays: While you’re reading this article the server infrastructures used by UseNeXT have been capable of transfering more then 5,000 copies of movies to users paying for this -knowledge- Byte per Byte on a global scale. Server facilities of News-Service, Highwinds and Giganews with locations in Europe, US and Asia are used to guarantee movie downloads, within 34 seconds, multi-million times a month, every single day, around the clock.
More then 90% of the german speaking content is uploaded by UseNeXT users, more then 24% of the international Usenet content is uploaded by the UseNeXT community.
The community is necessary to upload new content into the Usenet. The Usenet would die without new uploads, cause older content (e.g. older then 220 days), is automatically removed from the network.
The UseNeXT community: Whereas the Usenet community just posts new knowledge into the Usenet, the UseNeXT community does more, e.g. it renames titles of infringing content to well-formed, more nice looking titles. Example: “TDKNGT xCrew CamRipBetterQuali German-DVDRip” would possibly be renamed by the UseNeXT community to “Warner Bros. presents The Dark Knight – German language, ripped from a DVD, better quality”.
The rating system: By taking a deeper look into the way how content is ordered, we’ll find out, that the best rated content will be on top. Naturally the full length Warner Bros. Harry Potter movie will be rated better then the simple trailer, this function does also assist in finding the best pirated instances of a movie within the community.
Differences to Usenet
UseNeXT does not catalogize all newsgroups and all articles of the Usenet in its software solution to be downloaded with its Wizard. This newsgroups and so, the content is roughly pre-selected.
Comments and ratings performed via UseNeXT will not be uploaded into the Usenet and will only be available in UseNeXTs own database for their own customers.
In many cases pirated content will be encrypted into passworded archives. The UseNeXT software has a functiontality which somehow (we don’t know why) owns the passwords of the infringing contents archives and unpacks it automatically. This content won’t be available for other users on the Usenet network not using the UseNeXT software and/or not knowing the password.
Spam and Fakes will be sorted out by the community and/or the UseNeXT software. By fake, we mean an uploaded instance of Harry Potter which does not include the movie but simply fake video material.
On Usenet, data is usually listed and sorted by timestamp or the order it was getting into the Usenet newsgroups. At UseNeXT data is ordered by popularity, by ratings, and can be filtered by many options, like filesize (e.g. to filter out only >= 800 MB movie files).
Content and articles cannot be modified after they’ve been uploaded – on Usenet. At UseNeXT the title of the content can be modified and is then available with the new title for every UseNeXT user. A video, which would be uploaded on Usenet with the title “My private home video” but containing Harry Potter, at UseNeXT, the community would rename it to “Harry Potter”. All other Usenet users won’t probably download the video, because they would assume to be downloading a private home video, but UseNeXT users would get this item listed as the new Harry Potter.
Whereas the Usenet is a real, peered and open network, UseNeXT is a closed environment. For the Usenet there exists a way to takedown infringing content automatically, but there is no standard way to takedown infringing content automatically at UseNeXT from the point of view of a third party not having access to the UseNeXT database.
The Usenet network understands the so-called “cancel” commands, whereby the UseNeXT search index won’t follow such cancel commands to remove infringing content.
This means: If the content has been taken down at one of UseNeXT source providers, the UseNeXT index would still show up the file and allow downloading via one of the non-compliant Usenet Providers, such as News-Service.
Bottom line: UseNeXT users can upload infringing copies of Harry Potter into the Usenet network via UseNeXT. The content owner can remove the content on the global Usenet, but due to the un-compliant notice and takedown behavior of News Service as a vendor of UseNeXT and UseNeXT software solution, the content would be still available for UseNeXT users, although it would be gone for nearly all Usenet users worldwide.
Uncompliant providers are generally providers who are aware of an illegal movie on their server, are notified by the content owner or its representative about this copyright infringement, and still refuse to remove it. UseNeXT deals directly with such a vendor for its services – namely News Service.
Filtering of Copyright Infringements
Because UseNeXT provides a catalogue of content available via its platform instead of the full scope of content being available on the global Usenet, so it implements indexing, filtering, ordering, grouping, etc. it is also able to filter copyright infringements, due to the extended database functionalities added to the content.
One of the available and well-tested solutions on the market is the on-demand filtering methodology, which only analyzes content, being downloaded by at least one or more UseNeXT users. This way, not the full scope of content must be analyzed. Furthermore, content which is renamed, commented and rated positively should be included into the on-demand filtering. This due to the fact that 98% of the content renamed and commented on UseNeXT is a title, which is usually sold on the international market and not offered for free by the content owner or its distributors – so in most very usual cases a copyright infringement.
The on-demand filtering avoids hundred of million USD of losses for the copyright industries worldwide by an investment of a couple of ten-thousands of Euros on the other side for the content catalogue provider, such as UseNeXT.
Available solutions have already shown up, that multiple millions of infringing articles can be analyzed and filtered out on Usenet by someone having an overview of the files, so not being only a simple Usenet or Usenet Search Engine Provider, but a catalogue provider, such as UseNeXT.
The user base of Usenext is supposed to be at nearly 1 million members worldwide. Downloading from an illegal source, in that case content being uploaded from other users without the authorizatio nof the content owner, is mostly illegal, but the fact that the major copyright industry still has not started any sanctions or filtering methodes against such special providers like UseNeXTs, might let us think, that the downloading of pirated movies from this platform is tolerated.
At least we have to think it is tolerated, because we’re missing campaigns of big studios, such as Warner Bros. – we’re missing them, because they’ve been announced since 5 years for now:
Heise.de – Warner Bros. Deutschland heuert Piratenjäger an (German)
Without fighting piracy on such platforms, legal content distribution projects will fail. Tolerating piracy is a disrespect towards artists, actors, producers, distributors and other contributors in the creative business.
Artists and creatives all around the world are eager to see their rights to be protected. Protected by people announcing and preaching to protect them.
You, the reader of this article – you can be the first person doing probably a better anti-piracy job then anti-piracy people did in the past due to this platform, by not downloading an illegal version of a movie when you will use UseNeXT the next time for downloading.
We’re confident, that creatives and artists will honor your behavior with respect, even though they don’t know you personally.