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Bit Torrent Shakes Hands With MPAA


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Bit Torrent has shaken hands with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and has agreed to try to help stem the amount of illegal downloads of movies and other digital content through its site. As a result of the agreement, Bit Torrent will work to remove any copyright material that appears in its search engine.

The announcement was made by Bram Cohen, the founder and chief executive of BitTorrent, alongside Dan Glickman, chairman of the MPAA at a news conference in Los Angeles.

However, the genie remains out of the bottle. while Cohen and Bit Torrent can work to remove links through its own web site, the protocols, which underlie the file transfer technology, are out in the public domain and will doubtless continue to be used by other p2p sites.

Since the Supreme Court found against Grokster this summer, it has been in Bit Torrent's interests to be seen to be cracking down on the illegal use of its software. Grokster had claimed the 'fair use' defence established by MGM vs Sony in early 80s over the use of VCRs. In that landmark case, the electronics manufacturer successfully established that if there were legitimate uses to which a technology can be used, such as the time shifting viewing of TV programmes, then it is not the manufacturer's responsibility if the technology is put to illegal use such as copying pre-recorded videos.

In the Grokster case, however, the Supreme Court found that the company was encouraging the use of its software to avoid paying the copyright owners. It is to avoid the charge that its software encourages the copyright theft of movies that Bit Torrent has come to an agreement.

As a further incentive, Cohen hopes to sign deals with the major studios to allow Bit Torrent to offer legal movies for download. The studios themselves are reportedly sufficiently interested to want to extend the use of Bit Torrent technology to create a market of downloadable movies similar to the current growth in downloadable music. Bit Torrent has already raised $8.75 million in venture capital to build a legitimate online media distribution business.

'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 discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a licence to do so. As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from BitTorrent.com's search engine'.

News Source: PCPro.co.uk

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