Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

BitTorrent: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

from the who-knew? dept

While BitTorrent certainly is used for unauthorized sharing of content, it's increasingly being used as a legitimate distribution mechanism. While it unfairly gets lumped in with things like Kazaa and Grokster, BitTorrent is just a protocol. It's like blaming FTP or SMTP for file sharing -- and both certainly are used to share unauthorized files. However, because BitTorrent is considered P2P some less than clueful folks seem to think it must be illegal. This leads to bizarre situations where students are losing their network access for "illegal P2P activity" when no illegal activity occurred at all. Instead, the school's IT folks seem to assume that BitTorrent, by nature of being P2P can only be used for illegal acts. I'm assuming they'll be banning FTP next. The school could claim that they're banning it due to the traffic, but they specifically pointed to the legal issue, suggesting that all of those entertainment industry subpoenas appear to be making some universities a little trigger happy on yanking internet access.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2005 @ 1:26pm

    Normal, legal use

    Downloading game demos used to involve searching for a server that wasn't maxed out with 200 simul users. These days you can get the demos fast and easy with BitTorrent. Just check It's much easier getting the games via BitTorrent tahn via FTP.

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