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BitTorrent and MPAA Join Forces
November 22, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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As Slyck.com reported yesterday, Bram Cohen, founder of BitTorrent, and Dan Glickman, president of the MPAA, made an announcement today regarding the future of both organizations. The MPAA and Bram Cohen revealed during the press conference the two will work together to inhibit piracy.

During May of this year, Bram Cohen released a torrent search engine on his site, BitTorrent.com. As one of the stipulations of the deal, any search results yielding copyrighted material will be blocked. In addition, the MPAA and Bram will be working together to "limit access to infringing material available via search engines like the one at BitTorrent.com."

However the technical feasibility of this assertion has been met with skepticism in the BitTorrent community.

"Bittorrent.com is their own, they can of course fix that," said ThePirateBay spokesperson brokep. "But not in the other torrent sites without changing the protocol. The protocol actually doesn't belong to Bram Cohen, it belongs to the community and will evolve in the way it seems fit."

Interestingly, by the time Bram Cohen and the MPAA figure out how to limit access to infringing material, the current BitTorrent protocol may be a thing of the past.

Looking forward, this announcement changes little for a vast majority of the BitTorrent community. While Bram’s search engine is a curious novelty item, it represents relatively minor generator of BitTorrent traffic, especially compared with the torrent giant ThePirateBay.org.

Perhaps the more significant aspect of the deal, which is not detailed in the press release, centers on how the MPAA and BitTorrent will work to "promote constructive innovation in this area." It has been long speculated the MPAA will utilize an iteration of the BitTorrent protocol to distribute Hollywood movies.

The announcement is an impressive step forward for the movie industry, who has decided to embrace file-sharing technology rather than suppress it. With the creator of the largest file-sharing network joining forces with the largest representative of film production, the potential match up could be enormous. Below is the press release issued by the MPAA.

BITTORRENT AND MPAA JOIN FORCES

Companies Aim To Protect Film Copyrights

Los Angeles - - BitTorrent Founder and CEO Bram Cohen and Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman announced today that the motion picture industry and BitTorrent, Inc. are collaborating with the goal of inhibiting film piracy. Bram Cohen developed a revolutionary technology for websites to make large content files available on the Web and that technology is often used by others illegally to distribute movies and television shows. Today Cohen confirmed BitTorrent, Inc.’s commitment to removing links that direct users to copies of pirated content owned by MPAA companies from its search engine at BitTorrent.com. The announcement today is historic in that two major forces in the technology and film industries have agreed to work together and proactively identify ways to l and to promote constructive innovation in this area.

“BitTorrent is an extremely efficient publishing tool and search engine that allows creators and rights holders to make their content available on the Internet securely,” said Cohen. “BitTorrent, Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so. As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from BitTorrent.com’s search engine.”

Cohen said BitTorrent.com will remove links that direct users to pirated content owned by MPAA companies from its search engine.

“We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com website,” said Glickman. “They are leading the way for other companies by their example.”

Both Cohen and Glickman noted that this effort was an early experiment in using technology to assist in solving the problems of piracy. Over the last year, MPAA has brought lawsuits against several websites using the BitTorrent protocol for illegal distribution of movies. Since then, 90% of the sites sued have shut down. Today’s announcement reflects a joint commitment to work together to fight the continued illegal use of this innovative technology.

The motion picture industry and the MPAA have a multi-pronged approach to fighting piracy, which includes educating people about the consequences of piracy, taking action against Internet thieves, working with law enforcement authorities around the world to root out pirate operations and, working to ensure movies are available legally using advanced technology.

The MPAA estimates that the film industry lost approximately $3.5 billion to movie piracy in 2004, a total that does not include losses due to illegal on-line file swapping. According to a Smith Barney study, that number is expected to jump to $5.4 billion in 2005. By deeply cutting into revenues, movie piracy limits the choices for consumers at the box office. The average movie costs about $100 million to make and sixty percent of all movies never recoup their investment. Piracy in all forms hurts the hundreds of thousands of individuals, whose jobs depend on a vital movie industry, including sound and lighting technicians, carpenters, and theatre and video store employees.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Inc.
Entertainment Industry :: MPAA
Authorized P2P :: Commercial P2P Clients

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