Hey look — we’re winning! Honest!

by Mathew on November 22, 2005

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 intent of this “agreement” and the press release is to show that the MPAA is winning in its fight against on-line “piracy,” as they like to call it. All Bram has agreed to do is not let people search for copyrighted works using the search function at bittorrent.com — but that’s not how 99 per cent of people find content (copyrighted or otherwise) to download with BitTorrent anyway. This agreement either shows a complete misunderstanding of how BitTorrent works, or a desire on the part of the MPAA to make the crackdown look like it’s working, on the assumption that few people will know how it works, or care. Nice try.

Update:

BoingBoing.net has a link to a piece in Variety that explains it well, and makes it clear that this is part of a larger potential deal with the MPAA in which movie studios would use a modified version of BitTorrent to let users download movies on demand. Darknet has some skeptical (and largely true) comments about the abilities of mainstream journalists to describe things accurately. And Xeni Jardin has a nice piece on the topic in Wired magazine. Om Malik has also weighed in, and raises the question of whether becoming legit (or trying to look as though it is) will hurt BitTorrent.

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