LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Hollywood's major studios intend to escalate their battle against illegal movie downloading by targeting the popular BitTorrent network and those who operate its servers, the movie industry's lobbying arm is set to announce.
The civil suits against server operators marks the next step in the Motion Picture Assn. of America's (MPAA) anti-piracy campaign, which started last month with lawsuits against individuals who shared movies on peer-to-peer services.
In addition to civil lawsuits filed in the United States, a news conference at the MPAA's offices in Washington on Tuesday also will detail how international law enforcement has aided these anti-piracy efforts. Further details of the event were not available.
MPAA president and CEO Dan Glickman is set to make the announcement along with Travis Kalanick, CEO of Red Swoosh, which develops private P2P networks, and Mark Ishikawa, CEO of BayTSP, which offers file-branding and -tracking applications.
BitTorrent can rapidly transfer large files among many people, leading to interest among legitimate users who recognize the technology's efficiency and speed.
While it is among the fastest-growing P2P networks, BitTorrent is different from its predecessors in several respects. Unlike other networks, where users can search for a file, BitTorrent users must go to a Web site to get a "torrent file" and connect to a server to find other users who have the file. The network relies on these "tracker" servers to manage users' downloads by knowing who has the file and connecting users for uploading and downloading.
Because downloaders swap portions of a file with one another, the file-trading functions like a collective swarm rather than a series of individual connections to a single server.
Sources say the MPAA is not necessarily going after BitTorrent's developer, Bram Cohen, only the server operators.
The major motion picture studios filed their first round of civil lawsuits in mid-November, initially targeting about 200 people who allegedly made movies available on P2P services. The record industry, through the RIAA, pioneered this practice and has now filed about 7,000 civil cases, most of which have been settled for a few thousand dollars.
The MPAA estimates that the studios lose about $3.5 billion annually to physical piracy like bootlegged DVDs but does not have a ready figure for Internet-related losses.
Well..it was only a matter of time once Bt 'blew up'