[news=http://www.slyck.com/newspics/bittorrent11rd.jpg]File-sharing and the trade organizations that represent the music and movie industries are two entities not normally associated with cooperation. This notion has been changing recently, especially for the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America.) Looking for a distribution model for licensed material, it has decided to change with the times. Case in point: BitTorrent.
Although BitTorrent is responsible for clogging ISP networks and transmitting a large segment of copyrighted material, the MPAA has eyed this tool as a useful device for its own needs. Looking to provide a legitimate avenue for interested netizens to download movies, the MPAA has recently been in negotiations with Bram Cohen, founder of BitTorrent.
Bram Cohen has managed to steer clear of litigation, unlike his P2P developer brethren. From the very beginning, Bram Cohen has been staunchly opposed to piracy - at least publicly. He has repeatedly stated that BitTorrent is not a tool of piracy, and to use it as such is "stupid."
Bram has intelligently designed the BitTorrent protocol. Unlike conventional P2P networks, the BitTorrent community is not searchable. Independent indexing sites need to be established, otherwise known as trackers, which organize the content of the community (AKA ThePirateBay.org.) Responding to reports of widespread piracy on BitTorrent, Bram stated to MSNBC:
"If there's widespread copyright infringement, you really want to go after the ringleader. And we're not being the ringleader for that. The Web types that are doing piracy are the ringleaders for that."
With Bram clearly on the record as an opponent of piracy, those interested in distributing legitimate content have taken notice.
To meet this end, Bram Cohen has commercialized BitTorrent. Establishing his once rouge enterprise as a legitimate business has had profound effects. As BitTorrent has become more commercialized, two major events have occurred. First, the MPAA and Bram Cohen entered negotiations on the feasibility of distributing licensed material over BitTorrent. Second, DCM-Doll Capital invested $8.75 million into his newly commercialized business.
His negotiations with the MPAA have gone well. According to an interview with MSNBC, MPAA president Dan Glickman appeared welcoming to Bram Cohen's ideas.
"He seems really interested in what to do next. Everyone knows that things are changing, and I believe he's very interested in adapting. I was really surprised at how if you go to them nonconfrontationally they respond in kind."
In an MPAA press release today, the trade organization stated that Dan Glickman and Bram Cohen are set to hold a press conference tomorrow in Los Angeles at 2pm PST.
"Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman and BitTorrent Founder and CEO Bram Cohen will hold a press conference on Tuesday, November 22th, 2005 at the American Film Institute."
Although the MPAA is not releasing information on the details of this press conference, it’s likely the two will announce the resolution of a deal. If the MPAA does announce a deal with BitTorrent, it will be an enormous step forward for the movie industry. What will mean for the rest of the file-sharing world? The details will be released tomorrow.