[rumori] Detritus: making the net safe for honest theives.

Steev [rumori] Detritus: making the net safe for honest theives.
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 16:07:23 -0700 (PDT) (00893315243, Pine.LNX.3.95.980422154404.3103A-100000ATflotsam.detritus.net)

hi all,
As some of you may know, recently we here at Detritus.net set up a special
"filter" on the site which prevents a certain kind of "web piracy". I thought you might be interested in an entertaining example of the kind
of email we've been receiving in response to this, and my reply to it.
(To see the page that the complaint is about, see:
http://www.detritus.net/cgi-bin/badref )

Steev Hise, Infoserf
steevAThise.org http://www.cyborganic.com/people/steev new recycled art site: http://www.detritus.net -----------------------------------------------------------------
"He was a despicable human being, an egoist with nothing inside him. But he was a far more capable individual than I was." -Haruki Murakami

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 15:43:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: Steev <steevATdetritus.net> To: msandersATumiami.ir.miami.edu
Subject: Re: What the Fuck IS Going On?

On Wed, 22 Apr 1998 msandersATumiami.ir.miami.edu wrote:

>Now, I don't know jack shit about any web robots or any of that, and I
>am NOT using AOL, I am accessing from the University of Miami, for
>Chrissake. I DID access the files FROM THE SITE and not from another
>link. Evidently, you've got the wrong dude when you assume that I'm
>performing some sort of crime to get at your files. You folks sure are
>sensitive about letting out copies of illegal music. Please tell me if

Hi matt,
Thanx for your mail.
First of all, i think you misinterpret our motivations here at

The problem is not with letting out copies of illegal music. The problem
is a misuse of internet resources.

A little background: you may or may not be familiar with the burgeoning,
dare i say booming mp3 site craze. There are many many web and ftp sites
out there that are basically operating as digital bootlegging
organizations. Detritus has nothing in common with those people,
other than the fact that we use mp3 files.

Detritus is about the Artistic resuse of culture, not bootlegging of
entire works.

Unfortunately, many of these bootleggers think its neat to provide links
to OTHER mp3 files they find around the net. They use software (known as
"web robots" or "crawlers") to find files on other people's sites and automatically build lists of links. There are very specific rules, called
the Robots Exclusion Standard, for how web robots are supposed to behave,
but many of these mp3 pirates ignore these rules. Many times no human
ever doublechecks the accuracy of these lists, resulting in misleading
information. For example, a track by John Oswald uses samples of Beatles
music. Its title is "Birth - Paul McCartney". It is available as an mp3 file on Detritus.net. However, various mp3 sites have links to this
file, and list it as "Birth" by Paul McCartney. Because no one ever bothered to check. If you listen to this track, its pretty obvious that
someone other than Paul McCartney put it together, though it contains
fragments of his work.

So, this leads to a problem: people download files such as this, and think
they are going to get one thing, but they get another. This wastes time,
and bandwidth - not only the user's, but my server's bandwidth. And I pay
for bandwidth.

>there is any way you or I can fix this problem, because I really dig the
>fucking KLF and I'd like to hear these files. I realize that I'm up
>against some serious net-savvy nerd ( note verbiage of above file: kewl,
>cuz, etc) and I'll probably get nothing but spam email for a month, but
>I'd REALLY like to get my hands on these files. Thank you for your
>help. --Matt

i'll admit I'm a nerd, but my use of the "hackerspeak" you cite above is limited to the context of extreme sarcasm. I'm sorry that you didn't
pick up on the irony there.

I also must assure you that you need not fear getting spam from me.
As those that know me can attest, I am vehemently opposed to spam.

As for the problem at hand: You are sadly the victim of an unfortunate
side-effect of my otherwise extrememly clever technical fix: My server is
looking for something called a "referrer header", something your browser is supposed to send telling where it last was. Well, there are 2 possible
snags here. If you are using a browser or other means of accessing the Web
that does not send a referrer header (this is rare but possible), or if
for any other reason the referrer header does not get to my server, then
you are, as they say, out of luck. One common cause of this might be that
you are connecting to the Net via a firewall and/or a proxy server. So,
Something you can try: contact your tech support people at U of Miami and
ask them if you are connected via a proxy server or firewall. If you are,
try getting on the Net from somewhere else, like a local ISP. Or maybe
there are other machines on campus that don't go through a proxy.

Good luck. I'm sorry for this obstacle, but, as usual, a few bad apples
are spoiling things for the rest of us.

best wishes,

Steev Hise, Infoserf
new recycled art site: http://www.detritus.net -----------------------------------------------------------------
"...dissatisfaction itself became a commodity as soon as economic abundance could extend production to the processing of such raw
materials." -Guy Debord