Oops! BitTorrent Forgets to Strip Piracy Terminology From uTorrent

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Over the past year or so BitTorrent Inc. has actively distanced itself from piracy on numerous occasions. The San Francisco company emphasize that they are a technology outfit, and stress that they don't endorse or encourage piracy. While this may be true, the company's flagship software uTorrent specifically mentions "pirate" terminology such as DVDScr, DVDRip, Satrip and Webrip.

bittorrent-crimeInvented more than a decade ago by Bram Cohen, BitTorrent has become the protocol of choice for file-sharers. This includes those who download copyrighted material.

While BitTorrent is used by many pirates, the technology itself is neutral and does a lot of good for content creators as well. This is also the message BitTorrent Inc, the parent company of the popular uTorrent client, has tried to communicate over the past year.

On numerous occasions the company has distanced itself from those who download infringing content, including the majority of their 150+ million users.

“We do not endorse piracy. We do not encourage it. We don’t point to piracy sites. We don’t host any infringing content,” BitTorrent’s CEO said previously. In addition, the company launched a website to show the public that BitTorrent does not equal piracy.

BitTorrent is right to stress the legal use of its software, but whether that’s successful is another question. It only draws attention to a connection that they want people to believe is not there, which is the opposite of what they want to achieve.

For example, when we tried to setup uTorrent’s RSS downloader at TorrentFreak headquarters the other day we couldn’t help but notice a list of “pirate” terms that were included.

The RSS feature allows users to add RSS feeds for various torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, and filter downloads based on search phrases, episode numbers and video quality. This last option includes a dropdown box with several quality options, including DSRip, DVBRip, DVDScr, DVDRip, PDTV, Satrip and WebRip.

Most of these terms originate from piracy release groups and have little or no legal use.

DVDScr, for example, identifies a ripped copy of DVD screeners that are sent out to reviewers and are not intended for public viewing. Likewise, the terms DVBRip/PDTV are used exclusively by TV-piracy groups to identify the source of a recording.

Piracy references in uTorrent / BitTorrent


Given BitTorrent’s efforts to distance itself from all things piracy, it was quite a surprise for us to see these references in their most popular software. We can’t think of any RSS feeds with legal content where these filters would come in handy.

To find out why these terms were included TorrentFreak asked the company for clarification a couple of weeks ago, but we have yet to receive a response.

The listing of these “pirate” terms in uTorrent’s RSS downloader is of course not a crime by itself. However, should the company ever run into legal trouble it won’t be hard for outfits such as the MPAA and RIAA to argue that the feature is facilitating illegal downloading.

And that’s exactly what BitTorrent Inc has been trying to avoid with their recent marketing campaigns.


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