How to spot Fake Torrents!
I’m becoming incereasingly pissed with all the fake torrents that litter the Internet. Yesterday, as I looked for Cloverfield torrents, I could see dozens of fake torrents. What the hell is up with that? And many of these fakes even take up names of the more reputed rippers.
Half the torrents are malware scams, like the WinZix one I blogged about before. The ones that are more annoying, though are the ones where you have 700 MB of garbage data. Many of the fakes I saw had a “sample” video, that was actually a slightly edited version of the 4-minute Cloverfield trailer. And there was 700MB of utterly useless data. I suppose the uploaders get a kick out of reading the comments saying “FAKE”.
Edit: Did some editing to add on to the post, seeing as how it’s gotten fairly popular.
How do you spot a fake torrent? Here’s what I’ve learned:
Always check the Comments first
Always check the Comments for whether the file is fake. The BitTorrent community consists of good guys (well, mostly so) and fake torrents are immediately pointed out in the comments section. And that’s why you should not download from sites that do not support comments.
If you encounter a fake torrent, notify that in the comments ASAP. Similarly, if you find a legit torrent, link to it in comments for fake torrents to help misled downloaders. Also comment back on the legit torrent’s page assuring its quality. Do not tag good torrents as ‘fake’ and fake torrents as ‘high quality’. You are being an ass.
Many sites also support reporting of fake torrents now (at least most major sites), using that option is a good idea, as that’ll get the torrent off the site faster. Using private or semi-private sites like Demonoid is also a good idea as they have better moderation. I’ve yet to see a fake torrent on Demonoid, but moderation’s pretty good on sites like The Pirate Bay, isoHunt or Mininova nowadays too.
Reputed rippers never put their video files in RAR archives. It will always be a straight and clean AVI. If you see a movie torrent with the main file being a RAR, abort it immediately.
This does not mean that RAR/ZIPs are not used at all in the community, they are used fairly often for software and games, usually if their sizes go beyond a gigabyte. Compressed archives are fairly safe for software and games, but definitely not for movies.
There are also many legit movie torrents that are compressed in multi-part archives, but I generally don’t support them because it’s a pain to unzip them and then seed the archive when you could be seeding the movie itself and saving tons of valuable space.
Many fake torrents will have files (especially HTML files) named “IMPORTANT – READ ME FIRST” or “READ THIS” or “UNRAR INSTRUCTIONS” etc. Firstly, most rippers put their info in an NFO file, with a minority doing TXT files. The HTML file is first indication something is wrong.
Secondly, rippers generally put information about the movie (running time, cast, synopsis etc.) in the NFO/TXT file first, in a systematic manner before their personal comments. This may be ignored by some rippers (especially casual rips of rare/obscure movies), but is something to check out all the same.
If the Readme file tells you that the file had to be compressed to RAR because of MPAA threats – that’s utter bull. Same goes if it tells you that you need special codecs, because these codecs are nothing but malware.
BitTorrent is all about freedom, and unless a torrent is private and meant to shared in a small, closed community, no torrent should be password protected. If you see anything about a password in the Readme, Title or Description, abort. Even if the Readme says “You may be asked for a password”, it means “You will be asked for a password.” This is a fake, a sham and needs to be discarded. Even if it is legit, do not seed Password Protected Torrents, just because they need to get the hell out of the Internet.
Most legit torrents have screenshots or links to screenshots in their descriptions these days. Checking is out is usually a good idea. While theoretically even fake torrents can have these (steal shots from trailers, promos), I’ve yet to see a fake torrent with screencaps.
Remember the general quality guide: CAM and TS releases will have poor video quality while DVDRips, Screeners and other releases will have high video quality.
Do not seed fakes!
As soon as your download is done, verify it is real. As soon as you get the slightes clue it is fake, delete it and stop seeding it ASAP. The only way you can make the world a worse place is to seed a fake torrent.
VCDQuality is a good site in that it serves a database for working, high-quality torrents from reputed rippers. It does not host any torrent or download. It is only a great way to check if the movie you want has a working torrent yet.
Serve the community well, report bad torrents, download lots and kick the spammers out!