I'm sorry, but BitTorrent is still a den of thieves

 On Tuesday, it was announced that BitTorrent's file-sharing system will be used by Warner Bros. to distribute films and TV shows starting sometime this summer.

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On Tuesday, it was announced that BitTorrent's file-sharing system will be used by Warner Bros. to distribute films and TV shows starting sometime this summer.

There's two ways to look at this.

The far more benevolent view is that BitTorrent is a highly efficient technology for mass distribution of huge digital movie files. No argument there.

The far more skeptical view is that in hooking up with BitTorrent, Warner Bros. is trying to co-opt the more guilt-ridden among BitTorrent's user base by offering them a legal way to acquire content.

But how many of BitTorrent users will suddenly develop a conscience? 10? 15? 20 percent?

"BitTorrent's audiences are people who want free content and are willing to rip it off," Kontiki founder and former Netscape exec Mike Homer tells my colleague Greg Sandoval. "The file-sharing crowd is looking for illegal content. They haven't been very attractive to media producers."

And make no mistake about it. This is a legal way, but it is not of the best quality.

"One thing I think we can all agree on is that no one will choose to buy a Warners movie because of the DRM," Cory writes on BoingBoing. "No one wants DRM in their movies. No one wants a way to do less with their movies.

"Anyone who wants to get the movies without DRM can -- just get it from a P2P network," he adds. "So the presence of DRM can only serve to turn some potential customers -- people willing to pay, but not willing to have their computers taken over by invasive DRM rootkits and spyware -- into non-customers. 

"One thing I think we can all agree on is that no one will choose to buy a Warners movie because of the DRM," Cory writes on BoingBoing. "No one wants DRM in their movies. No one wants a way to do less with their movies.

"Anyone who wants to get the movies without DRM can -- just get it from a P2P network," he adds. "So the presence of DRM can only serve to turn some potential customers -- people willing to pay, but not willing to have their computers taken over by invasive DRM rootkits and spyware -- into non-customers.

So who is are these people that Cory calls non-customers and Mike calls rip off types? I decided to visit the comment field of some blogs that have featured news and views about this alliance. Here's just a few:

"Hmmmmmm not being funny but whom is going to pay for a movie when they can get it for free? they will most be be able to get it free from BitTorrent anyway, seams pointless to me."- Simon Betty on Engadget.

"...If they (the studios) won't allow us to buy the movie and use it any way we want (which i would prefer to do, its less time consuming).. ill just rent and rip it.. then i can do whatever I want with it. The industry must have geniuses working for them."-  Anonymous Coward on TechDirt.

"All your film are belong to us"- heavyw8t, also on TechDirt.

Yes, you are right, Anonymous Coward. The movie industry does have geniuses working for them. Folks who waited tables to put themselves through film school so they could work in movie production and editing. Actors who went into credit card debt to move to Hollywood so they could get discovered. Screenwriters who have lost spouses and significant others because they are on their 23rd treatment of a script they hope they can sell. Extras who have to figure out how they will make $200 last for the week when gasoline to get to the shoot costs $3.50 a gallon.

When you buy a DVD, you don't only support a couple hundred actors whose names you see on the marquee and in the tabloids. You support a working creative community of tens of thousands. All they ask is to be paid for their work. As you are. 

If the BitTorrent-Warner Bros. deal can bring a few of you illegal file-swappers into the legal income stream, I am all for it. But for the majority of Torrent users, this concept isn't going to work for them.  

 

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