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Movie studios, BitTorrent sign anti-piracy pact


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Movie studios, BitTorrent sign anti-piracy pact


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's major movie studios and Internet technology provider BitTorrent Inc. have signed a pact to help stem piracy of films on the Web, but the move was deemed by both as an "early experiment."

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen agreed to remove links on his Web site that direct users to illegal copies of films that can be downloaded.

But because the BitTorrent software already is widely used to pirate movies, television shows and music, the agreement was seen more as a symbol of change in the industry than a deal that would have a major, immediate impact on curbing piracy.

The BitTorrent software allows large data files that contain movies, TV shows or music to be broken into small pieces, shared among a wide group of users, quickly distributed via the Internet and reassembled at the downloading computer.

Using BitTorrent software to copy and redistributeunlicensed content infringes artists' copyrights. Late last month, a court in Hong Kong convicted a man of trying to illegally distribute movies with the software.

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Note: This only affected BitTorrent.com.

Kazaa owners given ten days to conform or die


The popular file-sharing service Kazaa has been put on notice. Sharman Networks, the Australian company that purchased the Kazaa network and software in 2002, has been told by an Australian judge that they have until December 5 to either filter copyrighted music from its system or shut down their operations entirely.

This ultimatum is a clear follow-up to the previous judgement, handed down by the Australian courts in September, that Kazaa had essentially authorized users to violate copyright. Sharman Networks had appealed this judgement, but it looks like the Australian court is serious about enforcing its desires.

Kazaa is not the only peer-to-peer file sharing service that has come under legal attack in recent years. Grokster and eDonkey shut down last month under the financial strain of lawsuits. Recently the creator and operator of BitTorrent entered an agreement with the MPAA to remove links to torrents of copyrighted works from the BitTorrent website and search engine. Lawsuits against individuals charged with running BitTorrent and Direct Connect servers have been ongoing. The real question is this: have all the legal actions against P2P networks and users been effective in reducing piracy? Have P2P users grown weary of the constant dance from one network to another? Or will new P2P applications, perhaps more decentralized and less vulnerable to legal action, continue to gain in popularity?

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