FileShareFreak

THE SOURCE FOR BITTORRENT & P2P TIPS, TRICKS AND INFO

Discordia Takes Over ‘Lphant’ P2P Domain; Now Owns Shareaza, BearShare, Lphant & iMesh.com

Anti-P2P group Discordia Ltd., who made headlines in late 2007 with the controversial commandeering of Shareaza’s official domain, has now surreptitiously acquired Lphant. Discordia began with takeovers of BearShare.com & iMesh.com - and most notably Shareaza.com - evidently their slick tactics are again at work with the recent acquisition of Lphant.com.

While the Lphant peer-to-peer program was never a well-known client among giants such as BearShare, Shareaza and even iMesh - but by right it certainly has (or had) it’s own userbase. Obviously this conquest comes at little cost to Discordia for a domain of such little importance nowadays; perhaps the point is irrelevant. For years now, peer-to-peer users have been shying away from these all-in-one applications in favor of a more efficient, trustworthy distributed network known as BitTorrent.

Who is Discordia Ltd., anyways? In a nutshell - the RIAA. Or, more specifically - a puppet company of the 4 major music labels: Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music (aka “the majors”). If, as we assume, Lphant V4 is a rebranded clone of the fake Shareaza called Shareaza v5, iMesh v8 and BearShare v7 (which are approved by ‘the majors’), we would advise you to stay away of it as it connects neither to BitTorrent nor to eDonkey/Kad but to its own, centralized and filtered network in which only certain file types are allowed, video files are limited to 15 minutes and audio files are controlled by acoustic fingerprinting. Here’s a small excerpt from iMesh’s help.html page:

  • Q: Can I download movies, software, images, and documents with iMesh?
  • A: iMesh is focused on music and short videos. As such, only music and video files under 15 minutes are supported.

Additionally, the official help page on BearShare suggests that the network they connect to is, indeed, filtered - and that they rely on Windows Media Player’s DRM. They also allow only certain file extensions:

  • | Q:  | What types of files can I download using BearShare? | {: valign=”top”}| A:  | • Windows media files: asf, asx, avi
    • Windows media Audio files: wmv, wax, wm, wma, wmd, wmx, wmz, wvx
    • Movie files: mpeg, mpg, mpa, mpe, m1v, mp2, mp2v
    • MP3 audio files: mp3 | {: valign=”top”}{: cellspacing=”0” cellpadding=”0”}

Lphant v4’s program interface is identical in every way to iMesh v8, BearShare v7 and Shareaza v5 - further confirming the connection:

iMesh V8:
Lphant V4:

If you’re looking for free music, the RIAA publishes a handy list of Legal Music Sites - a warning, if you will, to what should be avoided. Discordia’s iMesh is on the list, while Shareaza.com and BearShare.com are not. More than likely this is because iMesh.com is one of their bread-and-butter P2P programs (with an Alexa rank of 1,203 and climbing - they must make a small fortune). Still, you can bet the RIAA is thrilled to have gained Lphant into the fold.

Not that there’s anything wrong with purchasing music legally, we haven’t an issue with that. But it’s the way in which music sales are intertwined within a so-called peer-to-peer program is very misguiding, to say the least. Lphant, iMesh and the rest are no longer P2P apps; rather, they’re online music stores masquerading as a filesharing network. And it’s successful, to some degree. For all it’s worth, at least iTunes.com doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not.

Discordia P2P Apps - The Unknown P2P Network

What iMesh, Lphant and others don’t and won’t tell you is which peer-to-peer networks they connect to. All of Discordia’s applications are proprietary and they do not disclose these networks, but nobody ever saw these clients on other networks as far as I know. Since ‘the majors’ approved iMesh and BearShare, I don’t think they would let folks connect to networks they did everything they could to shut down (such as Gnutella, the largest of the bunch). A “reasonable conclusion” would be that they’re either using their own network (or repository of media), or a heavily filtered version of Gnutella, although there’s no hard evidence to support this.

Discordia = Anti-P2P, DRM, Malware, Futility

Lphant is only a small cog in the real picture of what’s going on with Discordia - and that’s the continual spread of DRM in music, propriety P2P software, and paid subscriptions. Discordia began replacing the original P2P clients with proprietary software, including DRM limitations on music downloads, even for their paid subscribers. It is a cleverly-disguised scam, offering fake “new” versions that come packaged with malware.

Samples — Without a paid subscription, Discordia-supported p2p applications are rendered nearly entirely useless - users are unable to download music; instead it is usually just streamed. Unregistered users can elect the option to “download” music, although it is merely saved as a link in the playlist.

Subscriptions — Even if you opt to pay for a subscription there are still limitations on the media, also known as DRM. The fake Lphant / Shareaza / iMesh / BearShare programs confirm this in their EULA, or terms of service:

USE OF SERVICE

 

Once you have downloaded a Song via the Subscription Service, you may save that Song to the hard drives of up to 3 of your personal computers and play back at any time and as many times as you want. You may not share downloaded Songs with anyone else. Any security technology that is provided with a Song is an inseparable part of the Song…

So, what is Discordia relying on to get new members? Simple - Google searching. “Google.com” specifically, since Yahoo’s search engine has removed reference to shareaza.com, and the imesh.com & bearshare.com domains are red-flagged ‘Warning: Dangerous Downloads’. McAfee SiteAdvisor® also flags all four domains as untrustworthy, and all should be avoided.

Shareaza project staff are still trying to get to the bottom of what really happened to the Lphant domain, but so far they haven’t been successful in contacting the original Lphant dev team. We’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds.

  1. Discordia Sucks Says:

    The software is (or now has been) almost been completely marginalized to
    just a select group of users (noobs); the P2P throwbacks from yore relying
    on Google to provide fresh meat. Amazing that anyone would really search for
    iMesh, Napster or KaZaA anymore - unless they were cryogenically frozen or
    in a coma for the last 6 years. *Alas* I guess there will always be someone
    going down that avenue. Just like with scam Shareaza and new Bearshare,
    most people are smart enough to avoid them. Hell, most people don’t even use
    the real Shareaza & Limewire anymore…but that’s entirely offtopic.

  2. anteko Says:

    those rate bastards!

  3. anteko Says:

    *rat

  4. zig Says:

    @ Discordia Sucks: I personally like LimeWire, and the latest version has great social file sharing features. As for Shareaza, as a little clarification I’d like to underline the fact that the real, open source Shareaza is still alive and well and continues to be improved at http://shareaza.sourceforge.net/ (translators, testers, coders and users are always welcome). Contrary to iMesh, BearShare and Lphant, the free/open source nature of Shareaza ensured its survival. Also, both LimeWire and Shareaza feature BitTorrent support ;)
    Finally, if the RIAA mentions neither http://www.jamendo.com/ nor http://www.dogmazic.net/ on their list of “legal” music sites, it’s probably because unlike their crappy online stores jamendo and dogmazic allow anyone to download thousands of free songs under Creative Commons or Art Libre licenses.

  5. Harshytkage Says:

    A Holes…all of them

  6. Pepe Says:

    The eD2k/Kad networks powered by eMule/eServer do have a big following, and several millions of users.

    Bittorrent is of course the biggest P2P technology nowadays, but don’t be so quick to discount eMule yet: it’s still going strong!

Comments