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Summary:

Bit Torrent, one of the companies I am a big fan of made a joint announcement with the Motion Picture Association of America that it would no feature any illegal searches via its search engine, and will also work with the Hollywood doyens to distribute movies […]

Bit Torrent, one of the companies I am a big fan of made a joint announcement with the Motion Picture Association of America that it would no feature any illegal searches via its search engine, and will also work with the Hollywood doyens to distribute movies etc.

It is a well intentioned announcement, but as Xeni Jardin points out over on Wired News, this is actually nothing. Techdirt says that it “won’t do anything to stop piracy.”Brad Hill, over at The Digital Music weblog sums it up best, when he writes, “Cohen takes his medicine.” He sees shades of Napster agreements here, which obviously didn’t work.

I see a bit more trouble looming – the more Bit Torrent goes legit, the more users it will lose, becoming less and less important as a distribution network. It happened in 2005, when the MPAA cracked down on major torrent tracker sites. The file swappers moved on to eDonkey. The next generation P2P networks are already evolving. Freenet is a good example. So here in lies the Catch-22: to be legit or not to be legit.

Update: Mike and Brian point out that the decision to go legit will impact the company not the protocol. They are right, however I wonder if this does create some confusion in the minds of users who only know Bit Torrent, the website. I think it would be great for Cachelogic or others who track the P2P traffic to do breakout of the torrent clients. I did want to point out that as the MPAA cracked down on various torrent sites, the traffic shifted to other networks. In other words, genie is finding new bottles, and then breaking them-up …. okay now I go and be jolly for rest of the evening.

  1. Hey look — we’re winning! Honest!

    There’s a story on the Associated Press wire about an agreement reached between the Motion Picture Association of America and BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen & and after reading about three sentences it becomes obvious that the primary inten…

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  2. I thought the agreement was a sham when I first heard about it the day it was signed, and said so on my blog. As for going legit making the network less useful, I guess maybe Bram is hoping that he can find a saw-off between fewer (copyright-infringing) users and maybe more revenue.

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  3. As the first browser to include BitTorrent support, we’re following these developments closely. BitTorrent is a great protocol that fits naturally with the other download protocols we support in the Opera browser (user feedback has been great). So chances are the BitTorrent protocol will survive and thrive on the merit of its quality alone.

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  4. And I thought that Shakespear wrote Hamlet way before Catch-22 was written;)

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  5. Cohen’s version of Bittorrent is one of many other (IMHO better) open source versions. As long as those remain unaffected, and there is no reason why they won’t continue to be, Bittorrent as a company may wither and die, but as a protocol, it will remain strong, useful and popular.

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  6. Yeah, it seems like a lot of people are confusing BitTorrent the protocol and BitTorrent the company. This agreement just impacts BitTorrent the company, which has little to do with most of the infringement using BitTorrent the protocol.

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  7. mike, you are absolutely right about that. as an aside, i wonder if the commonality of the name of the torrent protocol and the company will create confusion in the minds of less savvy users who are likely to end up at the bittorrent.com.

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  8. Too Legit to Bit?

    I posted about this earlier.. the deal that Bit Torrent made with the MPAA promising you won’t be able to download pirated musics on the service. Now Om Malik weighs in on the deal, agreeing with Xeni Jardin, TechDirt, and…

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  9. Big Bit Torrent Announcement

    I am amazed at how much press the MPAA/Bit Torrent deal received. I am sure it makes the MPAA feel all warm and fuzzy, but I believe the impact on piracy will be minimal. Just check out the chart below. TorrentSpy’s has much more traffic than …

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  10. Cohen and Ashwin are smart and honest guys. Qudos to them for bringing some legitimacy to P2P

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