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Advanced Searching for Copyrighted Content - Part VI - Usenet

« Part 6 of a 7-part series on Advanced Searching for Copyrighted Content »

Part 6. Usenet, Newsgroups & NZB Sites.

Like IRC, Usenet and the newsgroups have a direct link to the piracy pyramid. Most true “sceners” and release groups alike still utilize it as a means of file swapping. For anyone who’s seriously into downloading, Usenet is a great addition to their filesharing arsenal. In fact, when Usenet is applied through a paid service provider such as Giganews or Usenext, it is inarguably the best way to download. Our aim of this article is to introduce the easiest and fastest methods for finding and downloading from Usenet.

Most of the hard work has been taken out of the newsgroups nowadays. With the emergence of NZB files, users don’t have to even visit a single newsgroup to get what they want. An NZB file is sort of like a *.torrent - just load it in to your software program and it downloads all the necessary files for you. In the end, the most you’ll have to do is unpack it. Elementary, my dear downloader!

A sample of what’s available on Usenet:

Movies. — CAMs, Telesyncs, DVD rips, full DVDs, DVD ISO ‘images’, HD-DVDs, Blu-Ray DVDs, iPOD movies, subtitles, HD movies, trailers.

Music. — Full albums, ‘advance’ & promo albums, discographies, lossless audio (*.APE & *.FLAC), categorized genres of ALL music.

Television. — New episodes, complete seasons & series, older shows, HDTV rips, iPOD TV files, every category imaginable.

PDA files. — Apps, games, TV, movies for PocketPC, Symbian, PalmOS.

Games. — Disk ‘images’, smaller games, full DVDs for all platforms (Windows, MacOS, Linux) under every genre available.

Games - other. — Rips and full DVDs of games for XBOX, XBOX 360, N64, Wii, PS2, PS3, GameCube, GB, Nintendo DS, Dreamcast.

Applications. — Huge variety of software for every configuration. Very popular ‘0Day’ sections.

Books. — eBooks, audiobooks, eZines, magazines, books in PDF and other formats, comics, how-to’s, tutorials, manuals, books for students, universities, eLearning.

Miscellaneous. — Image galleries, clip art, templates & textures, fonts, 3D models, recipes, cross-stitch patterns, wallpapers, ringtones, ringtunes, phone software & games, anime, games emulators, porn…(it’s true!), and everything else that can be digitized and shared.

To access the newsgroups, you will require the following:

Access to Usenet (either via a ‘premium’ service or through your ISP).

— A newsreader (there are many free options).

— A list of [NZB websites](index.html#nzb_sites “NZB websites and indexing services”) that index Usenet content.

— A couple of [utilities](index.html#tools “Tools & Utilities for Usenet”) (such as WinRAR or 7-Rar, and QuickPar).

We include the complete, step-by-step process at the bottom of this article.

Advantages of Usenet vs. P2P/BitTorrent

This is an argument that can go both ways. If we’re talking about a “Free” Usenet service (from an ISP) versus a “Free” P2P program or BitTorrent - we’d have to side with BitTorrent. Throw in a little money for a paid Usenet service and it’s a whole different ball game. Here’s a few tidbits that underline the advantages of a paid Usenet service vs. P2P/BitTorrent.

Usenet / newsgroups P2P programs / BitTorrent
Anonymity. Good Usenet providers offer anonymous transfers, and most delete the log files of its users. Some even offer Usenet over an ‘SSL-encrypted’ account. P2P often ’shares’ files while you’re downloading, even if you don’t offer a ’shared folder’. Even specific searches can be logged.
Your concerns about the DCMA, MPAA, and RIAA are long forgotten on Usenet. They won’t be tampering with the files here, and you’ll not be receiving any ‘takedown’, ‘cease and desist’ or lawsuit notices, either. Campuses, take note! With BitTorrent, the .torrent is shared among you and other users - your downloads can easily be directly connected to your IP address. Torrents can (and are) tampered with to assist in logging of the shared users.
Usenet offers unsurpassed, unbridled speed - maxing out your Internet connection is not just a dream; but a reality and common occurence. Speeds with P2P programs (Limewire) rely on how many people offer the same file and/or the connection speeds at the other end. Torrents require a high user-count to attain fast speeds.
File availability - high. Usenet indexing sites such as Newzbin show an organized list of available content, as well. BitTorrent sites (public ones) are in shambles. It takes a trained eye to separate the sheep from the wolves. P2P is even worse.

“Free” versus “Paid”

First, you’ll have to decide if you’ll be better served by using a paid account, or if your ISP carries enough content to suit your needs (for free). In keeping with our theme/motto of Filesharefreak, you would probably guess our advice would be “free”. Not so with Usenet. A paid account from one of the Usenet giants such as Usenext or Giganews is vastly superior to even the best ISP coverage. Completion (coverage) and retention time are the two deciding factors to go the “paid” route. ISPs will frustrate you to no end with missing posts, expiring posts, deleted content, missing newsgroups, filtered content (censorship), unfiltered content (malware), blocked access and anything else that takes all the fun out of the newsgroups.

For this reason, we focus on the “paid” variety; if we didn’t, this would be a very short article, indeed. For the price of 4 blockbuster movie rentals, or even just one store-purchased CD per month, premium Usenet access will pay for itself tenfold. Tenfold in the first day, alone. If you decide to go through your ISP to gain access, we explain how to set up a newsreader here.

Premium Usenet Accounts

The decision to opt for one provider over another is personal one. Things to consider are:

— Retention time (in days)
— Limited or unlimited access.
— Security - What’s their stance on anonymity to its users? Optional SSL accounts?
— Newsgroup availability - Do they censor or remove offending or illegal groups?
— The overall price!

We suggest sticking to the big guns for access, and a few of them offer free “trial” accounts so that you can test it out first. Some that offer free Usenet trial accounts are:

www.usenext.com (14 day trial offer)
www.giganews.com (3 day trial offer)
www.powerusenet.com (5 day trial)
www.usenet.com (7 day trial offer)
www.newsguy.com (2 day free trial)

(If you add it all up, you could feasibly get “Premium” Usenet access for exactly one month!) :-)

Selecting an Account

Here’s a great website that offers all kinds of information about most of the players involved in providing premium Usenet access. Not only that, but the info is arranged to compare features and pricing, as well. They truly know Usenet providers - check it out before you select.

A long-time favorite among Usenet pundits is www.newshosting.com - for $15 you get unlimited access with a respectable retention time of 70 days. www.usenext.com is another huge service provider - as everyone is probably already aware, with their ubiquitous ad campaigns.

For our example shown at the bottom, we opted for www.giganews.com (under a 3-day trial offer) and we’ll include whether or not we were successful in canceling the service without incurring any costs. Our Update: We had absolutely no difficulty in closing the account on the third day. The link was surprisingly easy to find once logged in on their site, and our credit card was never charged.

Free Newsreaders

A newsreader is a client required to gain access to the newsgroups. This is comparable to using Limewire to connect to the Gnutella Network, or a BitTorrent client such as µtorrent to open *.torrent files. Here’s a page that contains a huge listing of newsreaders (free and paid) that support Windows, Mac & Linux OSes. If you run Windows XP, may we suggest the free newsreader NZB-O-Matic Plus (or NOMP), and another great NZB newsreader is GrabIt v1.7. Alternatively you can search popular software sites such as www.download.com for newsreaders - whatever you elect to do, select one that has NZB support. We explain the setup for both NOMP and GrabIt further down this article.

A List of Available newsgroups and what they offer?

We thought about doing a huge piece here that lists all the available newsgroups and cross-referenced them with all the types of copyrighted, illicit, or illegal content found throughout Usenet. Then we thought: Who wants to see a terribly boring list of newsgroups, anyways? Hell, that’s what other websites are for! Websites such as newzbin.com and other NZB sites do an excellent job of indexing the illegal content.

NZB Websites (for Indexing/Searching)

NZB files are basically just direct links to the files available in the newsgroups: compare it to downloading a *.torrent file, or a [DDL link](../../../01/16/warez-hosting-websites/ “Warez sites and DDL links”). They were created with the great idea that it’s much easier to browse a website of NZB files than it is to tediously scroll up and down all of the posts in a popular newsgroup. With NZB, never again do you have to browse a newsgroup, or train your eyes to not see all the spam. NZB has now gained so much popularity that almost all newsreaders have NZB support.

Hands down, www.newzbin.com aka (v3.newzbin.com) is the best site for NZB indexing. They are also the creators of the entire technology. The one note we must address is - the service at newzbin is not free if you wish to download the NZB links. The price is very affordable, at about $2 per month.

If you choose not to use newzbin with a “premium” account, you’ll still be able to browse all the available indexed files, and view exactly which newsgroups they’re hosted in. And alternatively we offer some free NZB sites below, but they pale in comparison to newzbin (with one exception - magnatic.com).

Free NZB Websites

The approach to NZB technology is to aggregate all of the required files and data (usually just a lengthy series of *.RAR and *.PAR files) and create a link that can concatenate all of the files into one larger file (or directory) and be read by a newsreader. This “link” is actually the NZB file. In most cases, an NZB file can only be created if the archive is complete; meaning that all of the parts are available at any given time.

Commonly it’s up to the user (you!) to create the NZB file from the website that hosts the data of all of the parts, especially with so-called FREE-NZB sites. You’ll be able to select files (or in some cases, groups of files) and there will be a “CREATE NZB” or “MAKE NZB” button. Simply make the NZB, download it to your hard drive, and add it to your newsreader. Although this is a more sophisticated approach for the user, here are a few sites that operate in that manner:

www.binsearch.info

www.meganzb.com

www.nntpsearch.nl

http://filesharingtalk.com/vb3/nzbindex.php

Some sites, such as www.merlins-portal.net require registration, but users are able to search for and download the NZB files directly without creating them first (recommended). Other sites where you can download the NZB files directly include:

www.magnatic.com Great site - 415,000 indexed NZB’s - one click downloads - no need to make your own NZBs! Why go anywhere else?

http://gotnzb.com Good site for pre-made NZBs. Crazy number of NZB files in every imaginable category. (Requires registration)

www.nzbsrus.com Another good site for pre-made NZBs - 45,000 are listed - check the forums for even more NZB resources. (Requires registration)

http://www.usenet4ever.nl More than 3,000 fresh NZBs in this Dutch/English forum-style website.

www.tvnzb.com Offers thousands of television NZBs in over 450 TV show categories with direct NZB downloading.

www.newsfix.net Not a bad site for free NZBs. (no registration required)

www.ngindex.com This site isn’t free, but it’s worth the $2.49/monthly fee. Allows for direct browsing of the newsgroups with indexed NZBs available for download. If you’re serious about your Usenet - this site is great resource!

www.nzb-chat.com (4,400 NZBs listed)

www.newzxxx.com - Adult-related NZB site.

nzbmatrix.com - requires registration, but offers 9,000 public NZB files. Registered users with VIP status (i.e. a ‘donation’ of $10) gets full access to all 90,000. Meh!

And here is a website that has a listing of 24 different NZB sites, check it out!

Tools & Utilities for Usenet Files

WinRAR - to open multi-part archived files (*.rar files). Need a crack for it? Search cracknews.com. Need help with WinRAR? - see our winrar page.

7-ZIP - The freeware, open-source alternative to WinRAR. Download it from www.7-zip.org.

QuickPar - These *.PAR files fix missing and/or corrupted data files (such as *.rar files) and are often included within the set of related files. QuickPar can also be used to validate a set of data files (*.RAR being the most common) and applied to fix the archive set.

And here’s a great “scene” site with a huge resource of information about Usenet and illegal content - http://www.warezfaq.com

Usenet: The Tutorial (Example I - NOMP)

Here’s our Step-by-Step process for the entire Usenet process.

( First, download and install WinRAR (or 7-Zip) and QuickPar. We will require these near the end of installation when accessing the downloaded files.)

1. Choose a premium Usenet provider.

For this we chose www.giganews.com. They have an extremely fast turnaround on answering tech-support emails (within one hour), plus they offer a free trial. So crack out your credit card, and select a site. In our case, Giganews sends the information to your email address after approved registration (this can take up to one hour, but we got it in under 5 minutes). The information in the email message will contain your userid, password and list of news server addresses to use when setting up a newsreader. Those are the three things you need. NOTE: When selecting a paid Usenet account, don’t be stingy. It is really easy to eat up 10GB of monthly bandwidth in a single day! Opt for an unlimited account so you don’t have to watch the quotas.

2. Download and Install NZB-O-Matic Plus (or NOMP.) (Or, if you prefer, use a different free newsreader, just make sure it has NZB support).

Next, run NOMP and select “ADD SERVER”. You’ll need to change a few things in this window to configure it with your new account information. See the screenshot below:

1. Enter the name of the news server in the Address box.

2. Leave the Port Number alone, unless you were given one with your account documentation (the email).

3. Change your connections (if you know what this number is). Our account at Giganews comes with 10 connections, so we changed this to “10″.

4. Put a checkmark in the Use Login box.

5. Enter your “userid” or “username” from the email in the Login field.

6. Enter your “password” in the Password field.

7. If your account comes with SSL Encryption, place a checkmark in the Use SSL box. If you aren’t sure, leave it off for now and contact your provider.

8. Click OK to save your settings.

Lastly, click the “Connect” button in NOMP. In the bottom of NOMP, the status of the listed server(s) should turn from disconnected to waiting.

NOMP is not a typical newsreader - more of an NZB manager. While we documented the installation of NOMP above, you can also use a different newsreader if you prefer. The same steps will need to be taken.

3. Find some NZB files.

Now, either set up an account with Newzbin.com, or you can visit one of the free ones listed above. For this, we’ll use a free one such as www.magnatic.com.

You can either enter a search phrase to start finding stuff, or you can click on an offered link on the page. You can even click the “list” link (recommended) to browse the available NZB files that are indexed. For this, we conducted a search for “aqua teen”. This brings us to the next page:

So for this, we’ll select a post with a green checkmark. (We recommend sticking with sets that are complete; to avoid a future headache). Click anywhere on the filename to the left (where it’s blue). In Firefox, a new window will launch as shown below. You now have two choices - either just open the NZB file, or save it to disk. If you choose to open the file (but NZB-O_MaticPlus is not listed in the window, you may use the dropdown and browse to “C:\Program Files\NZB-O-Matic+\” and select the “NZB-O-MaticPlus.exe” file). Likewise, you can always just save the NZB file to your hard drive, and drag ‘n drop it onto your open NZB-O-Matic program window.

In any event, importing the NZB file can be done both ways, but once it launches into NOMP, the downloads will immediately commence (as long as you’re connected to the server). Depending on your Internet connection - this will be very fast. A full DVDRIP movie may take 20 minutes (on a broadband connection), or even less time. Once it is done, all files in NOMP will appear completed:

4. Verify your downloaded files.

The default directory that NOMP downloads to is:

— C:\Documents and Settings\ [your computer] \My Documents\download\

So you’ll need to browse or open that folder in order to access the files within it. (This path can easily be changed in the NOMP settings). Open the above folder. This is where those files are that you just downloaded. In most cases (with larger items such as movies), there will be both *.RAR files and *.PAR files. (as shown below)

Assuming you already installed QuickPar, the first step is to verify if the *.RAR files are OK. It is not the *.PAR files we’re after - they just repair the rarset, in the event that a repair is required to fix those *.RAR files (*.r00, .r01 etc.).

1. Click on the first *.PAR2 file in the series (shown by the arrow #1 above). This will launch your QuickPar program, and it should automatically start processing those RAR files in search of damaged files in the set. QuickPar will notify you if a repair is required to fix the damaged ones, or it will give you a message “Repair Not Needed”. If you are prompted to repair them, click the “Repair” button in the bottom-right corner of the window. After successfully making any repairs to the *.rar files, you’ll be able to extract the desired data from the rarset.

2. Now it is OK to go ahead and open the *.RAR file (shown by the arrow #2 above-top). This is where (in this case) the Aqua Teen Hunger Force *.AVI file is located. You can now extract it, or drag ‘n drop it out of there to your desired location.

3. After you’ve extracted the file(s) from the .RAR (rarset), you can now clean up and delete ALL files except the *.AVI file (from the above example). All those other files are not required any longer - delete the *.rar, r01, *.par…everything goes!

As stated above, use the “list” feature in the Magnatic website. You’ll be able to browse movies, pictures, music and anything else. As you’ll soon discover, this is why an unlimited Usenet account is crucial! There’s so much availability - anything short of unlimited won’t be enough.

Usenet: The Tutorial (Example II - GrabIt)

Another all-in-one tool is GrabIt v1.7, available at www.shemes.com. GrabIt is more of a traditional newsreader in the sense that it actually displays the newsgroups (if you want it to), but it also supports NZB files quite nicely. It also contains an in-program search tool for finding anything! Setup is really simple:

1. Download GrabIt, and run the setup. You’ll be asked for the usual information - name of a news server (in our example, news.giganews.com).

2. There will be an option that says, “My news server requires logging in”. Select YES and enter your username and password that was assigned to you from a paid Usenet provider. Alternatively, if your ISP carries the newsgroups, you can also enter that news server name and authentication info instead.

3. Let GrabIt handle your NZB files when prompted. Launch GrabIt at the end of installation and download the list of newsgroups when asked. The GrabIt window appears like this:

NOTE: Using the ‘Newsgroups’ and ‘Search’ features are more complicated than just importing an *.NZB file. While this may offer more functionality and options, you’ll need to make sure that the post is complete and that you download all the correct pieces of both sets (i.e. *.RAR, .r01 etc. AND the *.PAR files as well). Loading an existing *.NZB file (from magnatic.com) does this work for you - all necessary files that you’ll need are included in the NZB file. Thus we recommend using NZB sites for any user who is new to this (see the first screenshot below). The second and third screenshots show how to manually download files from your newsgroups (without an *.NZB file).

[Opeing *.NZB files in GrabIt - Click to
Enlarge](/tips/grabit2.gif “Opening *.NZB file through GrabIt”){: rel=”lytebox”}[Browsing your newsgroups in Grabit -
Click to Enlarge](/tips/grabit3.gif “Browsing your newsgroups in Grabit.”){: rel=”lytebox”}[Downloading files from
your newsgroups in GrabIt - Click to
Enlarge](/tips/grabit5.gif “Downloading files from your newsgroups in GrabIt.”){: rel=”lytebox”}

GrabIt also comes armed with a search feature, and downloading is the same as in the second and third images above. However, because GrabIt is free, they only allow for a limited number of results in each search, unless you signup for an account with them on their site. The choice is yours to make - we feel that using GrabIt (free) and with the importing of NZB files is good enough for us. NZB was created for a reason: to simplify things.

Instead of using GrabIt to search for specific files, especially larger releases such as movies and games (and, inconveniently - you’ll have to download them all yourself, making sure you don’t miss any parts of the post) - just save your searching for NZB websites. You’ll receive an NZB with ALL the required files for that post without any further messing around. Having said that; the GrabIt search is a great feature when looking for hard-to-find programs (or any other things that are relatively small) that might not be indexed on NZB sites.

Now, if this didn’t just open up a whole new world of filesharing of copyrighted content, nothing did. Not satified with Usenet? Why not try our Search Tip #7 - Advanced Searching.

  1. ben Says:

    SO unbelievably helpful, thankyou so much, I really appreciate this. no other guide has been so simple and laid-out like yours, thanks !

  2. kallam Says:

    Great post, really help me alot. Thanks

  3. khairilz Says:

    Nice Info, I will visit again. Thanks For sharing the information

  4. Chef Says:

    Thanks for all the help dude.

  5. James Says:

    Great resources!

  6. gramm Says:

    Thanks for the information. It will be useful for many.

  7. saddy Says:

    Good post. Very pleased!

  8. francis Says:

    Excellent tutorial. I searched and got many tutorials before but nothing is as clear and has covered all aspects of usenet like your guide. I really appreciate this and hope that this will serve as all in one guide to those new to usenet like me. Thaks once again for the good work.

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