Thursday, February 12, 2004

The NYT have a profile of Bram Cohen who created BitTorrent, the file sharing software that speeds up the downloading process for large files (such as digital films) and has the movie industry so worried.

"Under older file-sharing systems like Napster and Kazaa, only a small subset of
users actually share files with the world. Most users simply download, or leech, in cyberspace parlance.

BitTorrent, however, uses what could be called a Golden Rule principle: the faster you upload, the faster you are allowed to download. BitTorrent cuts up files into many little pieces, and as soon as a user has a piece, they immediately start uploading that piece to other users. So almost all of the people who are sharing a given file are simultaneously uploading and downloading pieces of the same file (unless their downloading is complete).

The practical implication is that the BitTorrent system makes it easy to distribute very large files to large numbers of people while placing minimal bandwidth requirements on the original "seeder." That is because everyone who wants the file is sharing with one another, rather than downloading from a central source. A separate file-sharing network known as eDonkey uses a similar system."

Copyfighters are grappling with the implications of the Appeals Court decision earlier in the week on DMCA [alleged] copyright infringement notice and takedown procedures for ISPs. The case was Ellison v. Robertson et al.

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