BitTorrent’s first major commercial product will be an ad-supported search engine for media and files available for BitTorrent download. According to Wired News’ Kevin Poulsen, who saw a demo, the ads will be sponsored links served up through a syndication partnership with Ask Jeeves.
The search engine factors in the server activity level for various BitTorrent feeds and orders results by throughput. Poulsen spoke at length witb Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent’s COO; the former Yahoo analyst is moving from Bellevue to San Francisco.
But Stanford law professor Mark Lemley sees potential legal issues for BitTorrent with the creation of a “central node” and Digital Millenium Copyright Act requirements that administrators of “information location tools” remove infringing links. He told Wired News: “I think the search engine itself shouldn’t be illegal, but I think (Cohen) will find himself inundated with notices of infringing material. He may find over time that his full-time job is turning off links.” But Lemley suggests content owners may find the search engine so useful for finding offenders that they will leave it alone.