From Chapter 2: Botnets Overview of Craig A. Schiller’s Botnets: The Killer Web App (Syngress: 2007):
Figure 2.11 illustrates the use of botnets for selling stolen intellectual property, in this case Movies, TV shows, or video. The diagram is based on information from the Pyramid of Internet Piracy created by Motion Picture Arts Association (MPAA) and an actual case. To start the process, a supplier rips a movie or software from an existing DVD or uses a camcorder to record a ﬁrst run movie in the theaters. These are either burnt to DVDs to be sold on the black market or they are sold or provided to a Release Group. The Release Group is likely to be an organized crime group, excuse me, business associates who wish to invest in the entertainment industry. I am speculating that the Release Group engages (hires) a botnet operator that can meet their delivery and performance speciﬁcations. The botherder then commands the botnet clients to retrieve the media from the supplier and store it in a participating botnet client. These botnet clients may be qualiﬁed according to the system processor speed and the nature of the Internet connection. The huge Internet pipe, fast connection, and lax security at most universities make them a prime target for this form of botnet application. MPAA calls these clusters of high speed locations “Topsites.”
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According to the MPAA, 44 percent of all movie piracy is attributed to college students. Therefore it makes sense that the Release Groups would try to use university botnet clients as Topsites. The next groups in the chain are called Facilitators. They operate Web sites and search engines and act as Internet directories. These may be Web sites for which you pay a monthly fee or a fee per download. Finally individuals download the ﬁlms for their own use or they list them via Peer-to-Peer sharing applications like Gnutella, BitTorrent for download.