11.23.2005

MPAA vs. BitTorrent

The Motion Picture Association of America and BitTorrent have reached an agreement by which BitTorrent will somehow remove links to copyrighted material, putting up a small roadblock for those using the technology to download movies. It's a finger-in-a-dike sort of effort, more symbolic that effective, but it does show an interesting new side of the entertainment industry.

In the past it would simply lash out at services like Napster and Grokster; here, it seems to be willing to work a bit to find an equitable solution. What it will find, of course, is that people are going to use technologies to get what they want. If free is the easiest way, so be it. Seeing how a badly hobbled music industry has been able to rebound thanks to iTunes and other services, the MPAA ought to be looking for a way to harness the power and market reach of BitTorrent to facilitate sales of movies. Cheap, easy distribution is the key, and it would seem that this uneasy truce with BitTorrent might indicate just such a direction.

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