Ahoy! TorrentFreak tracks pirates in House of Representatives

As the U.S. Congress continues to debate the Stop Online Piracy Act, TorrentFreak reports finding everything from softcore porn to self-help books downloaded by representatives. 

The past two weeks have revealed music and television pirates in the most unlikeliest of places: top entertainment companies, the Department of Homeland Security, and the RIAA.

Now add the House of Representatives, where the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is currently being debated, to the list. According to TorrentFreak, the representatives determining our online freedoms are downloading everything from self-help books to hardcore porn.

“Since it’s the birthplace of the pending SOPA bill, we wondered how many of the employees there have engaged in unauthorized copying,” wrote TorrentFreak editor Ernesto in a post earlier today. “The answer is yet again unambiguous – they pirate a lot.”

As with the two previous discoveries, Ernesto plugged the House’s static IP addresses into file-sharing snooping site YouHaveDownloaded. Though the site has proved inaccurate when it comes to determining downloads from dynamic IP addresses, Ernesto said there’s no doubt the data he’s found from these static IPs is truly originating from the House.

He told the Daily Dot in an email that the experiment was tedious but rewarding; he found illegal downloads originating from 800 different IP addresses.

“Since most of the larger organizations have static IP-ranges that are assigned to their companies, and and since that data is publicly available, it was quite easy to pull off,” he said. “It just takes time.”

Ernesto wrote that he isn’t sure if or how this latest wrinkle might affect the SOPA debate. On the one hand, it might prove there’s a greater need for SOPA than expected—it would at least keep legislators doing their jobs instead of looking at porn (especially after striking an amendment in order to better enforce “the intellectual property rights of porn producers).

On the other hand, none of Ernesto’s previous reporting has elicited a strong response, and he doubts this will either.

“The outfits we wrote about didn't respond at all, except for the RIAA who came up with a weak excuse,” Ernesto said.

Photo courtesy of Lamar Smith; Illustration by Lauren Orsini

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