May 25, 2005

Hollywood Takes on the Torrents

For all you BitTorrent users out there, the party's been officially raided! Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement came down hard on Elite Torrents, which was distributing the latest “Star Wars” movie before it hit movie screens. ICE agents seized the network's main server and took its Web site offline. It's encouraging to see the movie industry has adopted the same legal, heavy-handed approach as the music industry. It's based on the idea that if you can't take advantage of new technology, then you try to bash it legally into submission…Bad technology, bad technology!! It puzzles me why the movie industry hasn't been more creatives in using the Internet as a new distribution vehicle. It's had six years to look at what happened to the music industry, which had its pants between its legs as Shawn Fanning and Napster danced into the spotlight. Sure there are a few movie download sites but these efforts on baby steps rather than something bold and ambitious. With proper digital rights management technology, the movie industry could kick some serious business Torrent ass by setting up a super Web site – i.e. – where it could sell 10s of thousands of movies on a download or streaming basis. Of course, this model makes too much sense for the set-in-it-ways movie industry to readily adopt. In the meantime, you can expect a lot more raids and – surprise, surprise – lawsuits against downloaders.

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