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MPAA Blames BitTorrent for Star Wars Distribution
May 21, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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Two days prior to Episode III's release, inaccurate reports dictated this movie was already spreading on the BitTorrent network. However, it was soon discovered the copy purportedly existing on BitTorrent was simply a false copy. On Wednesday, May 18th, approximately 3 hours before Episode III officially debuted in theaters, a release group named "ViSA" uploaded this film to the Newsgroups. This was the genuine article.

From there it eventually spread out to P2P networks such as eDonkey2000 and BitTorrent. For those unfamiliar or simply not willing to use the Newsgroups, P2P networks such as BitTorrent helped Episode III become accessible to the mainstream. Countless duplicates of this movie have since spread across computers throughout the world.

The MPAA has been working vigorously to thwart prerelease movies and online distribution. Recently, President George Bush recently signed the "The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 (FECA)." This Act amends the current copyright law by adding prison time and significant fines for those found guilty of distributing prereleased movies.

Believing such amendments would deter movie pirates, the MPAA had some choice words over the current leakage of Episode III.

“There is no better example of how theft dims the magic of the movies for everyone than this report today regarding BitTorrent providing users with illegal copies of Revenge of the Sith. The unfortunate fact is this type of theft happens on a regular basis on peer to peer networks all over the world," MPAA President and CEO Dan Glickman said in a press release.

As an earlier post on the Slyck forums pointed out, the MPAA blamed BitTorrent as a whole, rather than a specific tracker (or trackers.) BitTorrent trackers act as indexes for the network, since the network itself is not searchable. Once an individual downloads a torrent file from a tracker, the torrent informs the BitTorrent client the necessary information to locate and download the desired media file.

Many feel generalizing BitTorrent in this fashion is unwarranted, as many legitimate uses exist; such as distributing the Linux Operating System.

“Fans have been lined up for days to see Revenge of the Sith. To preserve the quality of movies for fans like these and so many others, we must stop these Internet thieves from illegally trading valuable copyrighted materials on-line."

Or, as General Grievous would say, "Crush them!"

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Entertainment Industry :: MPAA
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Community

You can read the MPAA's press release here.

You can discuss this article here - 70 replies

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