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'BitTorrent' Gives Hollywood A Headache ! - 12/11/2004 11:11:56 AM   
SiliconFreak


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LOS ANGELES - Bram Cohen didn't set out to upset Hollywood movie studios. But his innovative online file-sharing software, BitTorrent, has grown into a piracy problem the film industry is struggling to handle.

As its name suggests, the software lets computer users share large chunks of data. But unlike other popular file-sharing programs, the more people swap data on BitTorrent, the quicker it flows — and that includes such large files as feature films and computer games.

Because of its speed and effectiveness, BitTorrent steadily gained in popularity after the recording industry began cracking down last year on users of Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster and other established file-sharing software.

The program now accounts for as much as half of all online file-sharing activity, says Andrew Parker, chief technology officer of Britain-based CacheLogic, which monitors such traffic.

"BitTorrent is more of a threat because it is probably the latest and best technological tool for transferring large files like movies," said John Malcolm, senior vice president of anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America. "It is unusual, perhaps unique, in that the moment you start downloading you are also uploading," he added. "It's what makes it so efficient."

Cohen created BitTorrent in 2001 as a hobby after the dot-com crash left him unemployed. He says the aim was to enable computer users to easily distribute content online — not specifically copyrighted content.
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