Bram Cohen vs. Mark Cuban, Round One

A week ago, we wrote a reply on Mark Cuban's view on BitTorrent. He said that BitTorrent has to overcome several challenges in order to become a successful 'product'. Not surprisingly, Bram Cohen, the founder of BitTorrent Inc and the inventor of the BitTorrent protocol, did not agree with Cuban, and wrote a reply as well. And that's when things started to get out of hand.

On his LiveJournal blog Bram writes:

boxing ring“Maybe he’s talking trash because he invested $1.7 million in a ‘BitTorrent-like’ company. He’s been transparent about such motivations before. That said, he does has some claim to punditry in the bandwidth space because his $5 billion sale of broadcast.com for yahoo stock set the precedent for valuing bandwidth supply companies based on how quickly they flush money down the toilet. (Amusingly, if you go to broadcast.com today it simply redirects to yahoo.com.)”

Apparently Mark Cuban did not like the tone of the post. He fights back in a comment:

“I like your complexity analogies. You are right. BT has huge challenges. It works great for stealing content. Getting people to contribute bandwidth in order to get content for free. To quote Borat “Thats Nice”. But as you know yourself, you haven’t been able to make a real business out of content being bought and sold using BT. Could it be that there are users, the ones willing to pay for content, have challenges using the clients out there now?”

Cuban’s rants continue for a while, and he starts a discussing with the other commenters. Luckily, Bram was wise enough not to comment, at least up until this point. It is funny to see how personal this rant gets. In his initial post Cuban just said that BitTorrent, as a P2P protocol, has its challenges, but now he’s doubting BitTorrent Inc’s entire business model.

Here’s a great example, taken from Cuban’s comment:

“But where are they ? Not just the customers Bram. The content? I searched for Prison Break. Lots of torrents. None of them Legal. Is this what Fox had in mind when they signed up with you? They wanted people to find bootleg copies of their content? I”m a big shareholder in LionsGate. Is this what they had in mind when they signed with you ? Im sure if I call the CEO, they would say it wasn’t.”

Obviously Cuban doesn’t know that the BitTorrent store hasn’t even been launched yet, but he has a point when he says that it’s strange to see that much infringing content on bittorrent.com. It wouldn’t surprise me if BitTorrent Inc will (partially) take down the links to other BitTorrent sites when the video store goes live.

Anyway, for those of you who can’t get enough of Mr. Cuban, here is a lengthy comment he wrote in response to our “BitTorrent is Doomed” post.

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