Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bitorrent ,punished by government

Hong Kong Cutoms has lately arrested someone who reproduced the movies into the Internet, which made the local online society tumbled. That made me wonder what has happened to BT in the States, the originated place of the Bitrrent. I interviewed two guys, Will Portnoy and Andrew Chen, researchers of Monkey Methods Research Group, based in Seattle WA. They are the experts of Bitrrent, and created an online BT engine.

The interview used to prepare for a story on the newspaper, but unfortunately, the story was abandoned. So I would like to publish it here.

Amy: The governments including the States, Japan and Hong Kong, are forbiding people from using BT to download the music and movie. The innovators of the software-winny in Japan has already been arrested by the police. A Hong Kong guy who reproduced two movies online has also been arrested for the illegal releasing. I am sorry that I haven't heard the case in the States. But I would like to see how you think about the goverments' actions? Do you agree or
disagree? And why?

Andrew and Will: We firmly believe in copyright law, and we respect the government's
position in maintaining the law. In the cases of illegal activity, those people should be fully prosecuted according to the law. Every nation in the world will need to figure out to what extent
they are willing to regulate high-tech areas, without impacting their country's ability
to innovate and keep up with the rest of the world. Also, it's important to note the
significant non-copyright-infringing uses of the technology. Peer to peer technologies have existed for a very long time on the internet, perhaps over 30 years. Email itself is
peer to peer, as it is primarily a method to move a file from address to another address;
file attachments. Bittorrent is particularly special because it is one of the first
protocols to embrace the growing trend of high-speed Internet, in the US and abroad. We were very interested in studying the trend, and decided to build a search engine as part of our

Amy: From the technical perspect, do you think the "illegal" copy of content can be avoided or not? Many music and movie producer are comlaining that BT is robbing money from their pocket, how do you think about it?

Andrew and Will: A lot of very smart people are working on this problem. We believe Digital Rights Management (DRM) works to provide a speed bump to prevent casual copyright
infrigement, and content producers should use DRM to provide that speedbump.

It is our belief that several major Internet trends will actually generate more revenues for the content producers. VHS was once a controversial issue because of potential piracy, but
it eventually spawned a video-rental industry worth billions. Three trends are occurring world-wide, on the Internet: Increasing broadband usage, pervasive Internet usage, and higher demands by consumers on how/when they get their information. These are trends that
will lead to more wealth for content producers, not less, as people are able to find content
that they want, when they want it.

Every technology is initially feared, then embraced, by the status-quo - technologies that emerge because of the high-speed Internet are no different.

Amy: From your research report(I am sorry, it is a llittle professional that I can't totally understand), if only 4 per cent of the websites own 80 per cent of the feeds, do you think it will be possible that the authority may choose to close those 4 per cent to diminish all
the activies?( I know you referred to that at the end of your report, but a
little vague, could you please help to explained detailedly?)

Andrew and Will: In the US, the authorities may choose to send DMCA notices to any sites hosting infringing content. Ultimately, technology and innovation are grow
like weeds, and it unclear how to effectively regulate content distribution in the long-term. More importantly, it is even more unclear how to impose regulation that does not stifle innovation and
economic growth, particularly for technologies that have substantial non-infringing uses such as BitTorrent. It is our belief that the most successful companies will be those that
embrace the emerging trends.

Amy: What is your purpose to set up a BT search engine when it is extremely hated by the authority and companies?

Andrew and Will:The purpose for the BitTorrent search engine is to produce research
and analysis such as our paper. Ultimately, it is the end-users that control their actions, as the technology itself is fully automatic, like all true search engines.

Amy: If anything you want to add or explain, I would like to hear more:)
especially on your opinion and explanation of the research report.

Andrew and Will: If you go to, there are continual updates on
our activities and ideas there.

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