Is BitTorrent Inc. messing with the MPAA?

In November 2005 BitTorrent and the MPAA announced that they were going to cooperate in the "war against piracy". The agreement was called a "historic event" and a "major breakthrough". But now, 4 months later BitTorrent.com is still indexing pirated movies and other copyrighted material.

It’s striking because the MPAA is filing lawsuits against sites like Isohunt and Torrentspy but not against their partner BitTorrent.com. And the funny thing is, they all index the same torrents.

BitTorrent inc. did change their search engine. They even improved the look and feel by covering it in a web2.0 sauce. But they are still not filtering out the pirated flicks. And that’s strange because in November Bram Cohen (BitTorrent founder) said:

“BitTorrent, Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so. As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from BitTorrent.com’s search engine.”

The press release continued:

Cohen confirmed BitTorrent, Inc.’s commitment to removing links that direct users to copies of pirated content owned by MPAA companies from its search engine at BitTorrent.com. The announcement today is historic in that two major forces in the technology and film industries have agreed to work together and proactively identify ways to l and to promote constructive innovation in this area.

Bram Cohen (BitTorrent) and Dan Glickman (MPAA)

bram cohen and dan glickman

The MPAA was happy and said:

“We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com website,” said Glickman. “They are leading the way for other companies by their example.”

However, it seems that nothing is removed from BitTorrent.com at all, or they do a very, very poor job. If you search for Universals latest blockbuster “inside man” the CAM rips will pop up. And if you try other piracy sensitive terms like “dvdrip“, and “dvdscr” you will see that there’s a lot of pirated content available. In fact, I believe that more that 90% of the users of BitTorrent.com uses it to search for pirated content.

BitTorrent

So what’s going on here? Is BitTorrent just messing around with the MPAA? Why is the MPAA going after other torrent search engines and not after BitTorrent.com?

update April 5: in a follow-up on this post BitTorrent spokeswoman Lily Lin told TorrentFreak

Our MPAA arrangement is strictly about taking down links to infringing content from our search engine, nothing more, nothing less.

To slyck she stated

“Any copyright holder that believes our search engine links to an unlicensed version of their work can notify us. “We have a procedure in place which complies with the DMCA, and we follow that to the letter. Since the launch of our search engine, we have responded to every single take-down request sent to us.”

So they are not “working with the MPAA to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com”, like the press release stated. It is in fact the exact same procedure as other torrent search engines like Isohunt and Torrentspy have. So it sounds like a double standard to sue torrentspy and Isohunt, but leave BitTorrent.com unharmed.

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