Why Is The Associated Press Misrepresenting BitTorrent?

from the questions-questions-questions dept

Recently the news came out that the browser Opera was going to build in BitTorrent support — which is mildly interesting, but nothing to write home about. Apparently, a reporter for the Associated Press felt the same way, so instead of just writing up the somewhat boring story, the AP tried to spin it into a story about unauthorized file sharing of movies — something this announcement has absolutely nothing to do with. It’s not clear if the headline (“Piracy tool turns legit”) is from the specific newspaper or the AP, but it’s completely misleading. BitTorrent never needed to “turn legit” because it’s just a protocol just like SMTP or FTP are just protocols — both of which can be used for unauthorized file sharing, but are more commonly associated with perfectly legitimate activities. However, the article goes on to focus almost entirely on how BitTorrent “is commonly associated with online movie piracy.” It’s not clear who the reporter “commonly associates” with, but movie piracy is pretty far down the list when I think about what BitTorrent is used for. Also, the reporter goes on to say: “it has replaced programs like Kazaa as the tool of choice for so-called peer-to- peer file-sharing,” which is comparing apples to oranges. People use Kazaa for file sharing because it helps them find items. It has search functionality. People use BitTorrent because it’s a very efficient method of transferring files without killing bandwidth. While BitTorrent has recently started a search engine, that’s not what’s getting included in Opera. In other words, what people do with Kazaa can’t be done by BitTorrent technology alone, so it’s hard to say that one has replaced the other. Of course, that didn’t seem to stop the AP.

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Comments on “Why Is The Associated Press Misrepresenting BitTorrent?”

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Michael says:

No Subject Given

The article was definitely spin, but the following:

It’s not clear who the reporter “commonly associates” with, but movie piracy is pretty far down the list when I think about what BitTorrent is used for.

I use BitTorrent technology for perfectly legitimate uses, but that’s exactly what I immediately associate it with. I don’t even like movies, but that’s how I found out about it. While that may not have been the creators intent, I’ve always seen that as the most visible user group.

Stereotypes are evil, but are *almost* always grounded in reality. BitTorrents have been stereotyped for a reason, because above all other uses, it has long been (relatively speaking) THE download technology of choice for the movie and television piracy underground.

Having said all that, I otherwise agree with you. BitTorrent is a more or less a protocol and is in no way illegal in and of itself.

Bad media! Bad! No cookie for you!

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