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Hollywood Buddies up with Bram Cohen

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the he's-so-cuddly dept.

The Internet 205

brajesh writes "According to an AP story at Yahoo News, Hollywood studios announced an agreement with Bram Cohen, the creator of the popular BitTorrent file-swapping technology, that will keep him from helping users find pirated copies of movies online. The agreement requires BitTorrent to remove Web links leading to illegal content owned by the seven studios that are members of the MPAA. The agreement is a major breakthrough in MPAA's anti-piracy efforts. BitTorrent has been one of the major targets[.doc] of MPAA's anti-piracy tirade. However, Cohen's engine is far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online. A handful of other online engines can search BitTorrent-specific sites, and ordinary search engines can also be used to find BitTorrent files."

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total perfection not always needed (5, Interesting)

ummit (248909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099956)

...Cohen's engine is far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online. A handful of other online engines can search BitTorrent-specific sites, and ordinary search engines can also be used to find BitTorrent files.

There's an old saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". The big copyright holders will always go after the highest-profile "choke points" first, and in general (i.e. when solving problems of any kind, regardless of how you feel about the studios' motives ion solving this particular "problem"), it can be a perfectly appropriate, effective strategy.

Techies often have a bad habit of adopting a sort of slippery-slope, sky-is-falling, all-or-nothing approach to problem solving (especially if it's a problem they don't really want to solve). "This proposed solution has a hole in it and is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, therefore it is no solution at all and is foolish to pursue." Not necessarily true. You don't always need to find a perfect solution; sometimes a 90% solution is good enough, especially if the alternative is sitting on your hands doing nothing wishing you had a 100% perfect solution.

(Off-topic, but to rescue my karma before I'm accused of siding with the studios here: the same thought processcan act in all sorts of other situations, not just copy protection. For example, if you suggest that a great way of reducing the threat of e-mail vuruses would be to redesign mail clients so that they don't make it easy to click on executable attachments and run them, while still allowing users to click on data attachments and view them, you'll receive all sorts of "objections" from techies who think they know better, pointing out that your solution "won't work" because of the possibility of e.g. JPEG and Word viruses.)

Re:total perfection not always needed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14099988)

You do realize how childish it is to try to defend your karma (as if it was important somehow) by posting long disclaimers?

Re:total perfection not always needed (0, Offtopic)

ummit (248909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100190)

No, the childish thing was clambering up on the soapbox to make an off-topic rant at all. The throwaway line about "rescuing my karma" was just that. :-)

Re:total perfection not always needed (5, Insightful)

Liquorman (691815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100025)

Agree. In my business, we frequently have to rely on the 80-20 rule - solve 80% of the problem that you can with the least effort and then worry about the other 20%. This seems like what they are trying to do.

I also think the MPAA are becomming smarter. This quote FTA shows that they are learning from the mistakes of and bad publicity of the RIAA:

Glickman said his staff had been holding talks with Cohen even before that ruling to see "how we can work collaboratively and not be at each other's throats."

Re:total perfection not always needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100061)

Glickman said his staff had been holding talks with Cohen even before that ruling to see "how we can work collaboratively and not be at each other's throats."

How unamerican... :)

Re:total perfection not always needed (2, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100217)

"at eachother's throats"

They say this is an agreement, but I'm failing to see what Cohen is getting, other than a promise to not be sued. I RTFA, but I didn't see where in exchange for blocking illegal downloads, Cohen was going to help develop video distribution software or anything.

Was this good for anyone other than the MPAA?

Re:total perfection not always needed (3, Interesting)

Cocteaustin (702468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100507)

In the interview Bram made an oblique reference to some future deal his company is going to do with them, the theory is that they're going to be involved in content distribution. But I think he's being naive (if there's going to be a deal, why not announce it now? What's to keep the MPAA to get bored and wander off now that they've got what they want?). To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "the most important lesson I learned dealing with the entertainment industry is...don't trust the entertainment industry."

Re:total perfection not always needed (-1, Flamebait)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100551)

Wow, you fucked up that saying good. Using whatever percentages you want, it goes like this:

Spend 20% of your time to solve 80% of the problem and the remaining 80% of your time to solve the remaining 20% of the problem.

Also, "quote FTA shows" should be "quote from TFA shows" ... TFA is The Fucking Article. Your comment says something about Fucking The Article, which I imagine would give you some nasty paper cuts.

Sorry, I'm feeling a little bit Nazi-ish this morning.

Juran's Assumption (2, Insightful)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100644)

Agree. In my business, we frequently have to rely on the 80-20 rule - solve 80% of the problem that you can with the least effort and then worry about the other 20%. This seems like what they are trying to do.

How is your business doing? I ask because either you're not using the 80/20 rule most business apply or you're doing it incorrectly. The 80/20 rule is defined as for many phenomena 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes. Most management apply this by focusing on the 20% of their business that drive 80% of their profits. It says nothing of effort, only value. Also, the principle does not infer 80 + 20 = 100. It could very well be the 80/10 rule and have the same meaning. Check out the slashdot research project [wikipedia.org] for more information.

Re:total perfection not always needed (1)

radarjd (931774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100052)

Techies often have a bad habit of adopting a sort of slippery-slope, sky-is-falling, all-or-nothing approach to problem solving (especially if it's a problem they don't really want to solve).

So true, and if I could mod you up, I would. You can excuse people to some extent, because oftentimes techies are required to solve problems that have an exceptionally small chance of occurring. At the same time, for most human endeavors, 99% accuracy / quality / effectiveness is close enough.

Re:total perfection not always needed (5, Insightful)

bombshelter13 (786671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100119)

The highest profile 'choke points' are Pirate Bay, Torrentspy, and Mininova. Everyone I know uses these. The www.bittorrent.com search engine was never very good and I've only heard of people using it after failing to find what they wanted at one of the aforementioned sites. They're going after it not because it's a high profile choke point but because it's the only one Bram can personally control.

Re:total perfection not always needed (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100619)

The highest profile 'choke points' are Pirate Bay, Torrentspy, and Mininova. Everyone I know uses these.

Maybe their strategy is that if they can knock one or two of them off, the others will become overloaded when all BT users move to them and either become unusable, or uneconomic in bandwidth charges as traffic goes up.

Or perhaps even if they can get it down to a single choke point (e.g. Pirate Bay) that they can't close directly, they can still pressure major ISPs to block that site to their users.

How long before daily, or even hourly, tracker updates start being distributed via Usenet?

Re:total perfection not always needed (5, Funny)

westyx (95706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100134)

The biggest "choke point" in this case is Google. I would just *love* to see the RIAA and MPAA go after google.

Re:total perfection not always needed (4, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100143)

sometimes a 90% solution is good enough ...

You maybe right but isn't this more like a 10% solution falling to a 0% solution after people realize the movies they want aren't listed on bittorrent.com?

Most people know to use google (movie title filetype:tor) to find torrents.

Plus bittorrent is released under an open source license [bittorrent.com] so Cohen's no longer in control of the code.

Perhaps he's duping the studios -- gimme so money and I'll help you fight movie sharing, knowing full well removing links from his site won't do much in the long run but he can get some cash in the meantime.

Great I wanted to know how to do that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100618)

So do you think "simpsons halloween filetype:tor" would allow me to collect all halloween episodes? Even the ones not out on DVD yet?

I want the Halloween episodes, and I might even pay $30 for a boxed set of them. However I will not pay over $1000 for all the seasons of the simpsons just to get the best episode of each season.

This is where iTunes like sales make since. Give the customer what they want, and don't try to force them to buy crap they don't want. Its kinda like the entertainment industry equivalent of MS's bundling practice!

Re:total perfection not always needed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100153)

I think you're right - but I think Cohen is doing a clever thing here. He can see that people will get torrents elsewhere (when I read this I said, "there's an official torrent search site?"), so if he goes to the content providers and says, "what can I do to make my tool legit?", and then he does these things, it will make headlines. The movie companies are satisfied, and so is everyone who uses torrents. Those who care about copyright will go to Cohen's site, and those who don't will go elsewhere. When the movie companies come back wondering why there are still illegal torrents floating around, Cohen can say, "but I did everything you asked! Those torrents weren't found on _my site - go after them!". This way torrents live on, and pirates can stay three search engines ahead of those who are trying to sue.

Re:total perfection not always needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100186)

Attachments are evil. If you want to transfer files, use FTP.

More seriously: We dislike "solutions" with obvious flaws because we work in an environment where everything is multiplied by a few millions. If a worm can infect one system, millions of systems can be infected. If a copy of one CD can be made, millions of copies can be made - easily. We recognize the need for stop-gap measures, but we hate to see stop-gap turned into permanent "solutions" with unwanted side effects, as is so often the case.

Re:total perfection not always needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100400)

Techies often have a bad habit of adopting a sort of slippery-slope, sky-is-falling, all-or-nothing approach to problem solving (especially if it's a problem they don't really want to solve). "This proposed solution has a hole in it and is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, therefore it is no solution at all and is foolish to pursue."
Yet I don't hear you complaining when this approach gives you stable and secure software.

Re:total perfection not always needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100529)

Here's another spin on the same story. Interesting reading two stories from two different media outlets and leaving with two totally different impressions.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/23/technology/23fil m.html [nytimes.com]

Re:total perfection not always needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100559)

Techies often have a bad habit of adopting a sort of slippery-slope, sky-is-falling, all-or-nothing approach to problem solving (especially if it's a problem they don't really want to solve). "This proposed solution has a hole in it and is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, therefore it is no solution at all and is foolish to pursue." Not necessarily true. You don't always need to find a perfect solution; sometimes a 90% solution is good enough, especially if the alternative is sitting on your hands doing nothing wishing you had a 100% perfect solution.


That's the difference between engineering and everything else. Do you want your bridges, your skyscrapers, your operating systems and your RDBMS to only be 90% effective?

Re:total perfection not always needed (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100593)

Off-topic, but to rescue my karma before I'm accused of siding with the studios here:
You know, there's nothing particularly wrong with siding with them when they're right. As the most obvious example, most of us side with any studio that comes out with a good movie on whether or not they should be able to create a good movie.

Even on the more controvertial issue of copyright infringement, and content producer's attempts to control it: the studios trying to stamp out piracy isn't a bad thing by itself, piracy reduces revenues which means either less movies get created and/or those of us who actually buy movies pay more. It only becomes wrong when the systems promoted are unacceptable. CSS encoding is evil. Hollywood asking Bram Cohen to do what he can reasonably do to prevent a portal under his control being used to redistribute their content without authorization most certainly isn't unacceptable.

I often get the feeling that many on Slashdot feel you must take one side or another in terms of the people, not the issues. The issues are what matter.

So what? (3, Informative)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099959)

His search engine was far from the first place people looked for illegal content anyway.

Re:So what? (1)

PDXNerd (654900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100005)

No kidding.

More to the point, anyone who wants this type of content knows where to look for it, and I seriously doubt they went looking for it there.

He had a search engine? (1)

Licorice101 (841266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100014)

Honestly, where was his search engine?

You can Google torrents more and more now, so any other search engine is rapidly losing significance.

How does this deal affect personal torrent sites? I doesn't. That's where most of the "good stuff" is anyways.

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100062)

So what? I'm not sure, but I don't think that he's doing this because he's personally worried about Holly wood movies being shared on BitTorrent - he's doing it to cover his own rear. He's quite obviously making money with BitTorrent, enough to be able to afford a life for himself and his family, and I think he wants to preserve that, which is perfectly understandable.

Adding a torrent search engine is a good first step to make BitTorrent even more widespread and ubiquitious as it already is. Striking a deal with the *AA is a logical next step, if only to prevent them from suing him. Nothing wrong with that, and everyone who wants to download a movie can still get it from the Pirate Bay.

Relevancy? (4, Insightful)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099960)

Considering that bittorrent.com is not the first site you'd think of when searching for torrents, and that bittorrent itself is Open Source, how is this relevant to anyone other than Cohen?
Call me when Vivid Videos start complaining about swapping their stuff, then I'll be worried!

Re:Relevancy? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100042)

Considering that bittorrent.com is not the first site you'd think of when searching for torrents, and that bittorrent itself is Open Source, how is this relevant to anyone other than Cohen?

That's *exactly* what I thought when I heard about this yesterday. Like, I haven't been to Cohen's site since BitTorrent first arrived on the scene and would never have thought that he would have been linking to copyrighted content anyway. Guess I was wrong?

But... What I do find interesting is that they are going about this the "right" way rather than suing him and making a big public spectacle about how they are a bunch of Social Security stealing assholes they are "coming to an agreement" with Cohen and putting a positive spin on it.

Better than trying to put a positive spin on suing the pants off of everyone and anyone including sending out subpeonas to ISPs.

Re:Relevancy? (1)

barcodez (580516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100126)

In fact his bittorrent.com search engine is merely a customisation of the Open Source Nutch search engine and so it wouldn't be hard for someone else to replicate the site and functionality.

Re:Relevancy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100260)

Well, I've been using search.bittorrent.com since it came out. It had name recognition, speed, and simplicity going for it. I don't do bittorrent day in and day out and it was a very easy url to remember every week or two.

As if this really makes a difference..... (3, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099968)

..... for the MPAA. It's a great headline in a press release, but one has to wonder how many people haven't already moved on to something else...... It's sort of like closing the barn doors after all the horses have left.

Re:As if this really makes a difference..... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100176)

It's sort of like closing the barn doors after all the horses have left.

This actually makes sense, if you hate horses as much as the MPAA hates good movies.

Re:As if this really makes a difference..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100469)

I wouldn't say I hate horses, so much as I want to slaughter them and eat them.

Cows, on the other hand, are totally awesome creatures. Horses are just dicks.

Can't really blame him (4, Insightful)

paranode (671698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099969)

If he were to be resistant to this kind of thing then it would come off as supportive of piracy and whether or not he really condoned it he would probably get shut down in court. One of the 'joys' of getting big is you have to worry about things like due diligence.

Re:Can't really blame him (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100292)

Shut down for what? Developing yet another file transfer protocol? That's what BitTorrent is after all. And for the torrent links on BitTorrent.com, he probably sifts through them anyway and throws out those that look fishy to him. Basicly for BitTorrent the links are just a proof of concept: Here! That's what a torrent file looks like, and that's what happens if you click at it, and look, how many of them I can easily host on my rather small bandwith site. There is absolutely no point for him to have things there that could get him into trouble.

Re:Can't really blame him (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100335)

Shut down for what? Developing yet another file transfer protocol?

No, as the article and you both point out it's for linking to illegal content on his own site.

Isn't this like... (5, Insightful)

craznar (710808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099971)

... talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site ?

Re:Isn't this like... (1)

Flaming Foobar (597181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100113)

... talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site ?

I think asking the maintainer of Archie [ou.edu] to remove popular films from searches would be closer.

Ssshhhh! (4, Funny)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100140)

Don't give the mpaa any more ideas. I get all my warez from his site

Re:Ssshhhh! (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100517)

I find 192.168.1.100 is fantastic... there's piles of stuff on that site...

Re:Isn't this like... (1)

dslauson (914147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100411)

"Isn't this like talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site?"
I don't think I get your point. Are you saying that the inventor of FTP should be allowed to host movies and other IP on his site for other people to freely download? Why, because he invented a protocol? I guess you're modded at +5 insightful, so who am I to say that it's faulty logic and a bad analogy?

Changing subjects, BitTorrent was not invented as a tool for piracy and illegal downloading, and we can all agree that there are plenty of completely great, legitimate uses for the technology, so I can completely understand the inventor wanting to safeguard his creation.

I don't mean that as a jab at pirates, by any means, just some sympathy from a programmer.

Re:Isn't this like... (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100572)

I don't think I get your point. Are you saying that the inventor of FTP should be allowed to host movies and other IP on his site for other people to freely download? Why, because he invented a protocol? I guess you're modded at +5 insightful, so who am I to say that it's faulty logic and a bad analogy?

His point was that (at this point) Bram Cohen has as much control over the use of bittorrent as the creator of FTP has of the use of FTP.

Re:Isn't this like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100575)

"Isn't this like talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site?"

I don't think I get your point. Are you saying that the inventor of FTP should be allowed to host movies and other IP on his site for other people to freely download? Why, because he invented a protocol? I guess you're modded at +5 insightful, so who am I to say that it's faulty logic and a bad analogy?


You're telling him that his logic is faulty?

IRONIC

OK, who else saw this... (4, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099975)


As

    BitTorrent: The Movie

Re:OK, who else saw this... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100040)

i got "Brad [The Internet] Cohlen"..... woah what a title, this guy IS "The Internet"

Yawn. (3, Informative)

theSpaceCow (920198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099984)

Wake me up when the MPAA has signed an agreement with each of the dozens of sites people actually use to find trackers. I've used bittorrent for about a year and a half now, and I didn't even know bittorrent.com had links to torrents. I guess I've been spoiled by Suprnova, IsoHunt, TorrentReactor, et al.

About Time (1)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099990)

Well i guess it's better than being shutdown

Re:About Time (1)

lixee (863589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100125)

Can't really see how you're gonna shutdown Bittorrent. It's in the peoples' hands now!

What was really said (5, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14099992)

Yikes, the post above is almost incoherent, so here's a clip from the press release. Cohen has agreed to remove links to copyrighted content from the Bitorrent search:

The agreement negotiated Tuesday requires 30-year-old software designer Bram Cohen to remove Web links to pirated versions of movies from his Web site, bittorrent.com, effectively frustrating people who search for illegal copies of films.

The agreement involves connections to content owned by the seven studios that are members of the Motion Picture Association of America.

"BitTorrent Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so," Cohen said in the statement. "As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from bittorrent.com's search engine."

The deal will not prevent all illegal copies from being swapped using the BitTorrent technology. Cohen said during a news conference that even after links to files are removed from his search engine, some files could still be found using other means such as google.com.

Re:What was really said (3, Insightful)

Lxy (80823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100111)

Cool, someone actually READ the article.

I see this as a good thing. All along the *AA has been after torrent for being a pircay tool. Now Bram has entered the good graces of the *AA, and has made it known as a legitimate protocol with the powers that be.

Now people can stop pissing and moaning about the protocol and start pointing fingers at the websites that post copyrighted torrents, such and piratebay and suprnova. Meanwhile, downloading linux and other legal software will hopefully continue unencumbered. This is a big win for users of torrent.

Re:What was really said (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100205)

I hope Bram convinced the mpaa to pay him for his trouble. I seriously doubt anyone finds pirated movies via the search on bittorrent.com anyway.

Bipolar Bastard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14099998)

He's jumped ship!
He's playing for the other team!
He's switched sides!
Traitor!
Bipolar Bastard!

How about google? (4, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100002)

I would just LOVE to see google offering a *.torrent search. Then i would love to see the MPAA or whatever they are called take them on...

Re:How about google? (5, Informative)

Lxy (80823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100059)

Try this as a Google search:

"Star Wars filetype:torrent"

They already have a torrent search. :-)

Re:How about google? (1)

Odin's Raven (145278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100386)

Try this as a Google search: "Star Wars filetype:torrent"
Darth MPAA: NOOOOOOOOOO!

Uh oh... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100066)

I would just LOVE to see google offering a *.torrent search. Then i would love to see the MPAA or whatever they are called take them on...

You mean like filetype:torrent? Crap, here come the feds!

Re:How about google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100131)

They do you noob. Where have you been?

Go to google and after your search terms put filetype:torrent

It will search for torrent files with your search terms in the name.

Nothing to see here... (-1, Redundant)

belgar (254293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100009)

....

What a pathetic attempt (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100012)

They'll do anything for publicity. His engine is nothing compared to the search engine God.

www.google.com
harry potter filetype:torrent

Until they shut down google their attempts are futile.

meaningless (1)

sumday (888112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100015)

cohen may have created bittorrent, but it's out in the open now. Everyone and their mother can create a torrnet search engine, or a large-scale database of torrent files. Whatever the MPAA gave him in return for taking his serach engine down, it was too much.

You could search for movies at bittorrent.com? (4, Insightful)

angryflute (206793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100020)

Heck, I had no idea that there was even a torrent search engine at Bram's site until this news.

I figured the news was going to be a partnership where bittorrent technology would be used for a paid distribution system backed by the major studios. Instead, it's just Bram agreeing to prevent his site's search engine from looking up pirated movies -- something I would have figured he might have done on his own long ago, and without the encouragement (strongarming?) of the MPAA.

Re:You could search for movies at bittorrent.com? (1)

jred (111898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100320)

I wonder if he got paid for this (if so, good deal), or if his "payment" was an agreement not to sue him into bankruptcy....

Re:You could search for movies at bittorrent.com? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100374)

Come on, lets see it at the good side.

You know the technology is called BitTorrent okey?, and the site is www.bittorrent.com,

Glickman said his efforts, including Tuesday's announcement, would not stop piracy, but would send a signal to other technology companies that studios are eager to work on legal downloading alternatives.

So, this could be a nice move from the movies industries to provide a *legal* way to download their content using bittorrent.

With the proper advertizing the bittorrent site could offer what allofmp3 is offering now for music (of course in the US). This way Bram Cohen could make a lot of money (IIRC he made some technology available for World of Warcraft ingame patches).

Of course, I could be dreaming.

Irrelevant. Mostly.... (5, Funny)

AntiDragon (930097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100026)

Considering that Cohen is keen to keep clean as he has a company to maintain and that the MPAA is obviosly ill-informed about what bit-torrent is and does this really is a zero impact announcement.

Still, it keeps Cohen in their good books (I'm not against someone making money!) and if it means the studios think they've made headway and so back off a bit it's a good thing all round.

So everyone just smile an nod, kay? Whatever you do, don't tell them most people now just burn copies of movies... ...oh..shii...!

Re:Irrelevant. Mostly.... (1)

Lxy (80823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100257)

I wouldn't call it zero impact. It shows that the MPAA is looking at bittorrent as a legitimate protocol. All too many times we've seen the *AA try to stop a particular piece of software because it COULD be used for piracy. Now we have the creator of bittorent basically given the blessing of the MPAA to continue his work on the protocol. This is a big accomplishment, and it shows that the MPAA may not be quite as draconian as the RIAA.

This is good news for all of us using torrent legitimately.

Viva la difference! (4, Insightful)

SlashAmpersand (918025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100027)

Sony, RIAA: Attack paying customers (Rootkit), sue single mothers and children with little (which was probably obtained illegally) or no evidence. MPAA: Gain cooperation of P2P network to block actual pirates. At least it's a step in the right direction.

The MPAA is smarter (4, Interesting)

sgent (874402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100029)

at least they were. I remember watching an interview of the MPAA president on MSNBC, where they were specifically asked about BitTorrent. Unlike Grokster and some of the other P2P technologies, the MPAA was quite excited about BitTorrent and its potential use as a tool in the future. He mentioned that a lot of legitimate things are shared by BitTorrent, and it could present a distribution technology for the studio's in the future. I'm not surprised by this partnership -- as MPAA gets the founder of the technology onboard, and gets a good platform to legitimize this.

In other news... (0)

NightDragon (732139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100030)

Brian Cohen was the latest in the long line of people bent over and took it in the butt from hollywood today....

You can produce content for bit torrent (2, Informative)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100046)

If you don't like the MPAA or the ideas of DRM and copyright, then you should act on those beliefs. You should finance and produce a great feature film that appeals to a large audience. Then, waive copyright and release the film without any DRM.

The current system of film distribution is voluntary. You, as a film producer, can choose to use it or not. The current situation is perfect.

Political Move (1)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100053)

I'm glad they didn't put him in jail - after all he developed bittorrent, so it would make sense to sue him, right? Right?

From what I recall, he never came out saying "here's a great tool to get your m0v13s on!". He just developed it and let it run. If all that the MPAA will do in terms of bothering him is to have him state officially "I won't tell people how to find movies", that's great.

(After all, it's not like people don't know where to find such things if they are the spawn of Satan and are looking to violate MPAA's valuable copyrighted material :-) )

Meh (2, Insightful)

belgar (254293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100058)

....move along, move along [thepiratebay.org] ...

Ok, I'm trying to see how this is a bad thing (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100073)

Really, I am. I hate the MPAA, RIAA and Sony as much as anybody here, but why is it a bad thing that they convinced him not to link to their content which they never agreed to put online?

It's their choice. Their content. Like them or hate them, it's up to them whether they want them shared or not.

I don't think I'm seeing the problem here.

Re:Ok, I'm trying to see how this is a bad thing (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100138)

And Cohen doesn't really have any financial interest in promoting or assisting infringing downloads. He's supposed to be running a business, based on lawful distribution of content of various types. I wouldn't be suprised if he contacted them first and offered a press-release opportunity for them, in hopes of getting better ties with the folks who could put more money in his pocket.

Re:Ok, I'm trying to see how this is a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100483)

It's their choice. Their content. Like them or hate them, it's up to them whether they want them shared or not.

I have to disagree with the above statement. Once information is out, noone owns it and noone can choose who will have/share it and who wont. Once they published it, its out of their hands, they have no rights on it.
To own information is just the most perverse extreme of the idea of propery I ever heard.

GNUnet, better than 'torrent anyway... (2, Interesting)

ericcantona (858624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100075)

i'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank

...and then going home and using GNUnet [gnu.org]

Re:GNUnet, better than 'torrent anyway... (2, Insightful)

seawall (549985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100425)

Not to be difficult (well maybe not) but care to add:

Why GNUnet is better?

Not saying it is or isn't, I'd just like to know why you think so. A GNUnet canononical website has a comparison chart with some other file-sharing apps but BitTorrent isn't on it.

Bittorrent is not a file swapping technology (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100104)

``the popular BitTorrent file-swapping technology''

What BitTorrent file-swapping technology? Last I checked, BitTorrent was still only for downloading files that someone has explicitly offered for download. It's very much like HTTP, except that you download from multiple sources at once, and become such a source yourself while you download.

You would think Slashdot would get it right... (1)

wolfemi1 (765089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100117)

...but you'd be wrong.

...Cohen's engine is far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online.

Yes, it's very far, seeing as it can't find anything without a tracker, and can't even find that by itself. He made the protocol and a client, not a web search engine!

Success! (1)

Licorice101 (841266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100155)

Congrats Bram, you were successful at confusing the MPAA into thinking this was a solution!

This is proof that deep down he's still one of us.

Re:You would think Slashdot would get it right... (1)

sprouty76 (523155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100187)

Except that he does have a torrent search engine on his website, which is what they're talking about.

Sue the infringers, not the tool (3, Insightful)

tbuskey (135499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100145)

It looks like Bittorrent the tool won't be attacked. They'll go after infringers instead of the protocol/tool (I hope).

I've used BT to get Linux distributions. It works well. I'd hate to lose that because something thinks BT is for illegal stuff only.

Kudos to all involved.

Squeeze a Balloon. (1)

Phredd (15463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100163)

When will the Hollywood types figure out that you cant squeeze a balloon?

"Shutting off" Bram's site only creates 3 other more useful sites.

Good for Bram, he knows it wont slow down BT and he put five dollars in his pocket.

Stoopid Hollywood.

Weak (3, Insightful)

austad (22163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100171)

I heard yesterday that the MPAA and Bram were going to announce something, and truthfully, I got a bit excited hoping that we would see some sort of Bittorrent related legal movie download service.

Gimme a break, this announcement it total BS. So Bram announces that he will censor his site, a site which is a search engine and doesn't even really have content of its own. The only reason that it's newsworthy is that it's because the little guy bowed to the big guy and gave in to their censorship requests. Bittorrent.com doesn't do anything illegal by offering search results, it's sites like thepiratebay that are doing the illegal stuff.

Wake me up when the MPAA and Bram actually have something interesting to announce.

Re:Weak (3, Interesting)

Jetifi (188285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100251)

Its a just quid-pro-quo, which I imagine works a bit like this:

  • The MPAA gets to show its member organisations that it's working, and is handed a propaganda victory in the copyfight.
  • Bram Cohen's startup gets some much-needed press, which keeps the VC's happy and attracts traffic, and (bonus!) isn't sued by the MPAA.

I can't say I blame him. He's never condoned piracy, there's no reason for him to start now, and it's not as if he's talking about the protocol, just his search engine - which is a whole other subject.

Actually just heard this on the local news (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100197)

They announced the news as a major blow to illegal file sharing by using BitTorrent (???), but that a problem for MPAA was that it would still be open source and anyone could make their own derivates of the program despite this (???). :-S

I think there was some misunderstandings both about what BT is and what MPAA is requiring him to modify. :-)

8.75 Million in Venture Capital? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100200)

This guy's raised 8.75 million in venture capital, and my copy of BitTorrent STILL hassles me for donations with a message about BitTorrent being Bram's "sole source of income"? Yeah, he's hurtin'.

I can't believe I'm eating IMITATION Kraft Dinner because I gave to this guy.

He had a search engine?!?!?! (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100211)

I didn't know that! And it's the hub for the ENTIRE BitTorrent network?!?!?! WOW!

I guess that's the end of the BitTorrent network! Too bad!

MPAA is so clueless....Thank the Gods!

ttyl
          Farrell

Whaaat? (1)

rscoggin (845029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100227)

Ridiculous. Bittorrent.com's search was terrible and there's about a million other searches to get all your piratey goodness. Methinks the MPAA is barking up the wrong tree.

Hey at last I can make money (1, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100283)

from my patent on a system to put toothpaste back into the tube...

Huh? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100324)

Why should the MPAA have any problem with a search engine dedicated entirely to the distribution of Linux distributions?

Freenet overtaking BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100333)

BitTorrent is slow and does not provide much anonymity. There are other P2P systems which are MUCH better thought through such as Freenet: http://www.freenetproject.org/ [freenetproject.org] which, with the new version coming up, has a good chance of becoming the successor of BitTorrent.

What is the nature of the "agreement"? (1)

yeremein (678037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100380)

Maybe I overlooked something in the article, but I don't see what Cohen got out of the deal. I saw that he raised a large pile of venture capital for commercial online distribution, but I didn't gather that he got anything out of this "agreement" with the MPAA other than "You will agree to censor your search engine lest something unfortunate happen to your kneecaps".

It's all about intent... (4, Interesting)

PhoenixPath (895891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100396)

With this move, regardless of it's actual impact on pirating via BitTorrent, he is vastly increasing his chances of successfully slamming down any charge of intent. He is showing that his intended use of the network is not piracy, and that steps can be taken by tracker owners/aggregators to limit the use of this app to legitimate uses.

This is all to protect himself from future lawsuits. It will have no effect on other bittorrent search sites.

He done good....and did it without harming any users, legit or not.

In other news... (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100443)

Tim Berns Lee also signed an agreement not to help people find copyrighted content using http.

When questioned about the issue, why someone who writes a protocol, not a search provider like google, would have to sign an agreement, the RIAA/MPAA/PETA/ACLU (they are all the same!) said:

"If those freaky-ass greeks on slashdot don't know the difference, or even if they do, their brains don't click to mention it, and the whole 'Intarwebnet' hyperfuckwads* go on and on about cliquey terms that in the end insight this kind of mental conditioning and ergo the downfall of society *breath*, then we also don't know the difference now shut the hell up"

*bloggers

So, there you go. If you pay money on slashdot, maybe read the comments I made at length how we would be to blame if something as stupid as this happened.

I told you so.

Alternate article subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14100476)

Title should have been "Post: Bram Flakes"

Reaction to Grokster decision? (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100503)

I think Cohen's reacting in part to the Grokster decision. There and in Betamax it came down to two points: whether legal uses existed and whether the maker encouraged illegal uses or not. For a while, if the RIAA tried to come after the BitTorrent protocol itself on the first point they'd've had to overcome the use of BitTorrent to distribute things like Linux distributions (which is a perfectly legal use). Now if they try to use the same arguments against Cohen that they used against Grokster, arguing he's encouraging illegal uses himself, they're going to have to overcome this contract with the MPAA that binds him to doing exactly the opposite. I think he's being a very smart cookie, looking at the legal arguments people like the RIAA might use to attack him as creator of the protocol and reference implementation and making sure he's got as many legal obstacles in any attacker's way as possible.

How lame... (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100511)

When I heard there was a press conference between Bram Cohen and the MPAA I thought it would be something neat, like some sort of agreement to explore distributing movies via BT. Instead its just some protection agreement to keep Bram out of court. How lame... the MPAA isnt learning anything. They're still fighting for their old distribution models.

Censorship (0, Troll)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100554)

This amounts to censorship of information. No matter how beloved Bram may have been, no one has yet prospered after becoming a sellout and agreeing to censorship. I predict that his star will start falling after this is actually implemented, while other, less-encumbered, versions of the BT client will ascend to its place.

This is interesting.... (1)

commo1 (709770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14100634)

Bram is brilliant. BY not officially supporting (and indeed suppressing) the searching of "illegal" content from the official site, he maintains his common-carrier status, and simply tows the line for the rest of us. This is no different than alcohol companies urging you to drink in moderation, big tobacco supporting quit-smoking programs or major manufacturers of recording equipment mentioning in the manual that the hardware and software is "no intended for the duplication or dissemination of copy-protected matter". He supplies the software......... what people do with it is not his problem, and it has legitimated legal uses, perhaps overwhelmingly so.
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