RealTime IT News

BitTorrent Cleans Up

The creator of the BitTorrent protocol along with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have agreed to help protect against illegal downloading of copyrighted material.

Under the terms of the publicly announced deal, BitTorrent creator and founder of BitTorrent Inc. Bram Cohen has pledged to remove links in his BitTorrent.com search engine that lead to pirated MPAA content.

"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 in a statement.

"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."

The deal does not, however, extend to the BitTorrent protocol, which is an open source licensed protocol used by untold millions of users and countless sites, including but not limited to Cohen's own BitTorrent.com.

BitTorrent has become a successful P2P technology, because it allows users to rapidly share large files.

Instead of one file download, the BitTorrent protocol separates the file into multiple chunks, which are then shared and downloaded via multiple sources.

The system is also set up so that while users are downloading a file, they are sharing it at the same time by uploading chunks they've already downloaded to others in the torrent swarm.

In order to share the files through a torrent, a "tracker" file is needed. BitTorrent.com and other such sites essentially serve as search engines for BitTorrent trackers.

BitTorrent.com is not the first BitTorrent tracker site targeted by the MPAA, either. Earlier this year, the MPAA claims that its efforts helped to close one of the largest BitTorrent host servers, LokiTorrent.

According to a press release issued at the time by the MPAA, LokiTorrent operator Edward Webber, "not only paid a large settlement, but also gave the MPAA copies of his site's user logs and server data."

The MPAA claims that over the last year it has brought a number of lawsuits against various sites that use the BitTorrent protocol for movie pirating resulting in 90 percent of such sites being shut down.

One site that the MPAA has not shut down is the Swedish Web site PirateBay.net, which continues to be defiant in the face of legal threats.

In fact, a section on the PirateBay.net torrent-tracking site is dedicated to legal threats that the site has received, and it includes the somewhat "colorful" PirateBay.net responses. .

PirateBay.net argues that since it is in Sweden, the DMCA (Digitial Millennium Copyright Act) does not apply to it and is un-enforceable.

In addition to making a deal with the MPAA, Cohen this week also released the latest version of the BitTorrent application. Version 4.2 includes an improved user interface and support for trackerless operations.