Nuke (warez)

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In the warez scene, to nuke is to label content as "bad", for reasons which might include unusable software, bad audiovisual quality, virus-infected content, deceptively labeled (fake) content or not following the rules.[1] Duplicates and stolen releases from other pirates that do not attribute the original pirates will also be nuked.[2][3][4][5] When a scene release is "nuked", a message is attached to its listing informing other sceners of its "nuked" status, as well as the specific nature of the problem.[6]

Contrary to what the term implies, a nuke does not actually destroy offending content or prevent anyone from downloading it. A nuke merely serves as a cautionary flag to potential users. The person that uploaded the nuked content to a site will lose credits.[3]


Dupe checkers first showed up on BBSes to help sysops nuke duplicate uploads. It kept a history of releases that were moved offline by storing the DIZ files included in the ZIPs. These dupe check scripts or programs allows users to search warez releases by date or name. It allows couriers to check when a release already exists on a site and the release groups avoid duplicating an earlier release of another group.[7]

At the end of the 1990s, the various IRC dupe checks were the simplest to use. The most popular dupe checks were ran out of #releases and #thescene. In 1998 a new kind of dupe check appeared. Katman, a siteop of Quadcon (QC), created a native win95 program named WinDupe. It let the user connect to an SQL database, offering greater speed and flexibility over the IRC bots. Drink Or Die created the first web dupe check.[7]

Issuing and removing nukes[edit]

Global nukes[edit]

Titles can only be officially labeled as "nuked" by people who have special access to a listing database, often referred to as "nukers". The nuke is issued by a nuke command in a nuke channel.[8] For example:

!nuke release reason [source]             (nukes a release)
!unnuke release reason [source]           (unnukes a release)
!renuke release reason [source]           (renukes a release)
!modnuke release reason [source]          (modifies a nuke reason)
!snuke release reason [source]            (a silent nuke: not announced in announce channels)
!oldnuke release reason [source]          (for old releases, also a silent nuke)

Erroneous nukes are usually "un-nuked" easily, by the same people who have access to issue nukes, that nukes and unnukes happen on IRC. These nuke networks have their own guidelines on how to nuke a release.[9] In 2008, twelve of those nuke networks created a coalition to work together "to ensure nukers bias, nukewars and many other problems that plague the nuke scene become a thing of the past."[10]

Local nukes[edit]

Local nukes or site nukes can be issued by a topsite administrator and are only applicable to that site. Each individual site has rules for which kind of releases that are allowed. e.g. no VCD releases. Hence a locally nuked release can still be valid.


The situation where a release is nuked or unnuked more than four times is called a nukewar.[6][10]

Example[11] of a nukewar. The first two columns represent the time when the release was pred or when a nuke was issued. The next column is the category of the release.[6][12] In this example two releases were released at almost the same time.

2007-03-08 04:15:26    TV       Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV
2007-03-08 04:15:32    TV       Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR
2007-03-08 04:16:16    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  NUKED
2007-03-08 04:20:21    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR   NUKED
2007-03-08 04:21:59    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  NUKED   dupe.XOR.03-07-2007
2007-03-08 04:22:46    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  UNNUKE  fix
2007-03-08 04:23:12    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  NUKED   dupe.XOR.2007-03-07
2007-03-08 04:23:46    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  UNNUKE  NoTV.pred.first
2007-03-08 04:24:47    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR   NUKED   dupe.NoTV.2007-03-08
2007-03-08 04:38:41    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR   UNNUKE  is.fine
2007-03-08 04:39:23    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  NUKED   dupe.XOR.2007-03-08
2007-03-08 05:18:23    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV  UNNUKE  won.race
2007-03-08 05:18:50    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR   NUKED   dupe.NoTV.2007-08-03
2007-03-08 05:20:22    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR   UNNUKE  fixing
2007-03-08 05:24:03    NUKES    Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR   UNNUKE  fix_won.race.against.NoTV

Another source shows different timestamps.[13] The clock of a computer is not always accurate. This and the difference in time zone partially explain the time difference.[4] This shows why this nukewar was started.

2007-03-08 03:14:07    TV-XVID  Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-XOR
2007-03-08 03:14:14    TV-XVID  Crossing.Jordan.S06E07.HDTV.XviD-NoTV

ZoNeNET, EthNet and oneNET confirmed the precedent to leave both releases unnuked when groups pre within the same second. This did not prevent a small nukewar between the LocalNet and SanctityDenied networks in 2020.[14]

  NUKE   dupe.EVOLVE.2013-08-21/ZoNeNET
  NUKE   dupe.KILLERS.2014-03-03/ZoNeNET
  NUKE   dupe.KILLERS.2014-03-03_KILLERS.won.the.proper/ZoNeNET

Another example is the nukewar about the TDRS2K10 ruleset.[15][16] The name between the square brackets is the nuke network where the nuke originates from. Each of those networks in this example was also a council member network.[10]

Nuked on 2009-11-14 15:15:09 [LocalNet]
Unnuked on 2009-11-14 15:20:56 [oneNET]
Nuked on 2009-11-14 20:51:10 [Nuclear]
Unnuked on 2009-11-14 20:52:23 [LocalNet]
Nuked on 2009-11-14 20:52:25 [Nuclear]
Unnuked on 2009-11-14 20:52:26 [LocalNet]
Nuked on 2009-11-14 21:23:31 [Nuclear]
Unnuked on 2009-11-14 21:55:04 [LocalNet]


Examples of content that could be "nuked" include non-working software, non-working cracks, videos with out-of-sync audio, watermarked videos, or music recordings with excessive "skips". The reason for a nuke is based on violations of the standards that must be followed.

Delpre and undelpre[edit]

Spam entries in release databases are deleted but marked as soft deleted, with the status delpre, to ensure they no longer appear in regular searches. There are several reasons for this, including instances when the release does not actually exist, when it does not originate from the scene itself (peer-to-peer), or when the name of a legitimate release becomes distorted during transmission (cut echo). One example is when a fake name is shared to monitor communication between bots and networks, but the record is later deleted with leak.test as the reason.[17]

When a release is mistakenly deleted, it is assigned the status undelpre. This can occur when releases that appear suspicious or questionable are removed. Here are various examples:[18]

  EthNet: real
  EthNet: real
  EthNet: crap.maybe_real.nonetheless
  EthNet: it.was.pred.this.way_seriously
  EthNet: not.spam_real.release
  EthNet: not.a.cut.echo_sitepred.BEFORE.CRiMSON.rls.and.traded.too sitepred.and.raced.before.CRiMSON

Pre network[edit]

A pre network (aka a Nukenet) is a collection of databases which share information about releases among the members of the network.[1] There have been at least 30 different pre networks.[19][20][21] Peers can be linked to more than one network. Linking to other network provides information which isn't available on peers local pre network. Such information can be .sfv, .m3u, .jpg, .diz or .nfo files.[22]

Pre database[edit]

Each release that gets released will result as a record in a pre-database or dupe check.[23][7] This record will at least contain the time the release was released and the release name (the name of the folder that contains the files of the release).[24] The size and nature of the release are often provided too.[25] Nukes are linked with their release in these databases when a nuke is issued. To check if a release is nuked, a scener uses an IRC channel to query the database by typing commands. These IRC channels are called pre channels and are often not accessible for the general public.[26] The database is updated automatically through spidering topsites or by catching pre-release announcements from site channels.[24] The purpose of these different worldwide and mirrored pre databases is to check for fakes and that for example a music album or movie isn't pred more than once and thus reducing traffic.[25]

List of public predb websites[edit]

There are now several public websites and IRC channels that list the contents of pre-databases. Most of them are regularly updated and show nuke reasons next to their release. They can be regularly down, very slow when searching or disappeared entirely.[27] The server time is shown on some of them. According to TorrentFreak these websites are "simple archives of information that cannot be claimed by copyright holders, but anti-piracy companies apparently cannot tell the difference between reporting news and offering pirate releases for download."[28]

Pre channel[edit]

A pre channel is an IRC channel in which a prebot announces new warez (pre) releases in real time. Pre channels are generally provided as a convenience to members of the scene, often in conjunction with a topsite. Pre channels are typically private.


  • Members of a pre channel are notified about new warez releases as they are released. This is of particular benefit to couriers and release groups.
  • Pre channels commonly announce when a release is nuked or un-nuked.
  • Pre channels provide a search facility that allows users to find out if a release exists, when it was released, and if it has been nuked. This function may also be used by release groups to avoid dupes (duplicates).
  • Pre channels are also used for topsites to measure how fast they received the release, otherwise known as the pretime.


  • Pre channels are often supplied with events from other pre channels, so spam may spread quickly. Many prebots employ elaborate filters to ensure only valid release events are announced.[31]
  • It just gives you the release name and no quality details, plot/features or links to downloads.[32]

List of public IRC pre channels[edit]


A prebot is commonly known as an automated script in IRC channels that announces new releases and can let users query its database to view past warez release dates and nukes, among other things.[33] Another kind of prebot was adopted in 2000 due to the increased competition among release groups. This prebot automatically distributed new releases to affiliated topsites of a group to release faster and more efficiently. This solved geographical and time zone related issues.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eve, Martin Paul (2021). Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy. Earth, Milky Way: punctum books. pp. 187–201. ISBN 978-1-68571-036-1.
  2. ^ "TV release rules v1.5". 2002-11-16. Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. A release is considered as a NUKE, if: It's a DUPE. It has technical issues. Wrong or no source/cap information is specified in the .nfo.
  3. ^ a b Craig, Paul; Ron, Mark (April 2005). "Chapter 5: The Release". In Burnett, Mark (ed.). Software Piracy Exposed - Secrets from the Dark Side Revealed. Publisher: Andrew Williams, Page Layout and Art: Patricia Lupien, Acquisitions Editor: Jaime Quigley, Copy Editor: Judy Eby, Technical Editor: Mark Burnett, Indexer: Nara Wood, Cover Designer: Michael Kavish. United States of America: Syngress Publishing. pp. 96–102. doi:10.1016/B978-193226698-6/50030-1. ISBN 1-932266-98-4. Ironically, pirates who steal from other pirates will have their own releases nuked. Honor among thieves; pirates do not steal from other pirates.
  4. ^ a b Goode, S. (2010). "Exploring the supply of pirate software for mobile devices: An analysis of software types and piracy groups". Information Management & Computer Security. 18 (4): 204. doi:10.1108/09685221011079171. "These corrections, called "nukes", can occur when a release is broken, falsified, or incorrectly named, or if another group has already released that same piece of software."
  5. ^ Basamanowicz, J.; Bouchard, M. (2011). "Overcoming the Warez Paradox: Online Piracy Groups and Situational Crime Prevention". Policy & Internet. 3 (2): 79. doi:10.2202/1944-2866.1125. "When a group releases content which is defective, improperly cracked, or which does not conform to scene specifications, it will be deleted from the scene in a process referred to as being "nuked" (TGSC Editor 2010). This entails removal from one or all sites in the scene: site operators will have their time and space wasted, couriers who uploaded the content will lose site credits and valuable time, and end users who downloaded the content will have wasted their download credits and time on useless content. Groups that release content that is continually nuked may be banned from uploading content to particular sites. To avoid this, groups test their releases rigorously to ensure quality (McCandless 1997)."
  6. ^ a b c "Funniest nuke reasons ever". FileNetworks. 2009-05-12. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08.
  7. ^ a b c MeAD (February 1998). "Dupe checks: an introduction". Scenelink (5). Archived from the original on 1998-06-26.
  8. ^ "Basic nuke channel rules". SceneRules. Archived from the original on 2021-11-03.
  9. ^ "oneNET nuke net rules". 2008-04-18. Archived from the original on 2010-08-05.
  10. ^ a b c "The.2008.Nuke.Ruleset-NukeCouncil". SceneRules. 2008-11-08.
  11. ^ Martin (2007-11-01). "Hellgate London: nukewar between ViTALiTY and FLT". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21.
  12. ^ "Crossing Jordan: nukewar between NoTV and XOR". Archived from the original on 2011-07-10.
  13. ^ " search result". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Site name is based on the O RLY? Internet phenomenon.
  14. ^ "Barn.Finders-CODEX nukewar". 2020-06-16. Archived from the original on 2020-06-16. Retrieved 2022-08-06. not so long ago, also nukewarz is still a thing (: Barn_Finders-HOODLUM, nukes on Barn.Finders-CODEX 2020-06-15 17:15:00 SanctityDenied/dupe.HOODLUM.2020-06-15 2020-06-15 17:44:00 LocalNet/ 2020-06-15 18:33:00 SanctityDenied/ 2020-06-15 18:39:00 LocalNet/
  15. ^ "THE.2010.DVDR.RELEASING.STANDARDS-TDRS2K10 nukes". Archived from the original on 2011-08-25.
  16. ^ "Scene DVDR Releasing Standards 2010 (TDRS2K10)". FileNetworks. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08.
  17. ^ "Delete releases". Archived from the original on 2022-02-19.
  18. ^ "Undelete releases". Archived from the original on 2022-02-19.
  19. ^ "Top nuke networks". Archived from the original on 2023-03-19.
  20. ^ "Incomplete list of Nukenets". Archived from the original on 2010-09-19.
  21. ^ "Network statistics". 2011-09-18. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05.
  22. ^ "DB stats". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06.
  23. ^ enigmax (2007-08-11). "27 Years of Warez Scene Release Info Leaked in Giant Database". Archived from the original on 2010-02-03.
  24. ^ a b "The scene / topsite system". Archived from the original on 2007-01-22.
  25. ^ a b Ghandy (2009-05-15). " Admins im Interview" [ Admins interview]. (in German). Archived from the original on 2013-01-25.
  26. ^ "TRAC3.ME – Public PreDB, Scene Release Index and Torrent Tracer". 2010-02-25. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Trace.M3 maintains a pre database that indexes hundreds of scene and p2p releases daily. However, T.ME's PreDB differs from those run by pure sceners – first of all it's publicly accessibly by anyone.
  27. ^ Sobiraj, Lars (2015-07-05). "NFO Sites sterben langsam vor sich hin" [NFO sites are slowly dying out in front of us]. Tarnkappe (in German). Archived from the original on 2015-09-06.
  28. ^ a b c Maxwell, Andy (enigmax) (2019-01-01). "Reporting When Pirate Releases Hit The Internet is Apparently Illegal Now". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 2019-01-01.
  29. ^ Maxwell, Andy (enigmax). "Which Torrent Sites Get Releases The Fastest (and why it's not a secret)". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 2011-01-08. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
  30. ^ Whitson, Gordon (7 November 2010). "Corrupt-Net Shows You Which Torrent Trackers Get New Releases First". LifeHacker. Archived from the original on 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  31. ^ enigmax (2007-05-18). "TorrentFreak - Interview with a scene insider". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 2010-07-07. Scener mentions bullshit nukes.
  32. ^ a b Martin (2008-08-25). "Public IRC PRE Channel and How to use it". Archived from the original on 2010-06-18.
  33. ^ "Prebot for Irssi". GitHub. 21 August 2021.
  34. ^ Huizing, Ard; van der Wal, Jan A. (2014-10-06). "Explaining the rise and fall of the Warez MP3 scene: An empirical account from the inside". First Monday. 19 (10). doi:10.5210/fm.v19i10.5546. ISSN 1396-0466.

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