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BitTorrent Finds Way Into Opera

BitTorrent, a tool used by both software pirates and software distributors, is gaining a measure of legitimacy thanks to browser maker Opera Software.

Opera is the first company to officially license the use of the trademark, "BitTorrent" from BitTorrent Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Opera now is able to use the BitTorrent trademark and also provide browser-interface-based access to the BitTorrent search engine.

Opera's decision to include BitTorrent capabilities within its browser is not a new one.

Opera first announced in July that it would be including BitTorrent capabilities in its first technical preview of Opera 8.02. According to an Opera statement, "as a result of positive user feedback and further testing, Opera has now decided to maintain BitTorrent in the upcoming Opera 9 Web browser."

BitTorrent is integrated into Opera as a search option via the browser's integrated search field and as a BitTorrent application for handling file transfers.

"By integrating the BitTorrent protocol, licensing the company's globally recognized trademark and collaborating with BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen, Opera is demonstrating leadership among Web browsers and consideration for the open source software ecosystem," said Ashwin Navin, president of BitTorrent in a statement.

BitTorrent has been trying to clean up its image for months now. In November, BitTorrent announced a deal with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to remove links that lead to pirated MPAA content on the BitTorrent search engine.

Though BitTorrent Inc. may hold sway over the trademark BitTorrent, the protocol itself is open-source-licensed and used by a long list of applications. Similarly BitTorrent.com isn't the only search engine for locating torrent legal or otherwise.

Mozilla's Firefox browser also has an integrated search toolbar which users can utilize to add torrent search capability for any number of different torrent search engines. Firefox does not, however, currently have an integrated BitTorrent application, though at least one effort known as MozTorrent is under way.