BitTorrent Inc., the first and
one of the largest BitTorrent software clients available today, was founded by
Bram Cohen, who also wrote the original BitTorrent protocol. When BitTorrent began
to receive millions of new users due to its ease of use and efficiency in
downloading large files, the Motion Picture Association of America and the
Recording Industry Association of America began to take notice. This was due to
the fact that BitTorrent was becoming the prime method of downloading
copyrighted material illegally and without charge. Years later, BitTorrent
Inc., in an effort to avoid costly and devastating lawsuits from the MPAA and
RIAA, struck a deal with the MPAA and reworked its copyright infringement policy.
BitTorrent Inc.’s Website
BitTorrent Inc. describes their software as the “global
standard” for providing users with high-quality files over the internet,
having over 160 million total users torrents worldwide. It claims that the more
users a file has, the more quickly and cheaply it can be transferred over the
internet. Due to the nature of the software, however, and the fact that illegal
activity isn’t prevented but rather discouraged, it presents a difficult
situation for the company.
On BitTorrent Inc.’s website, the BitTorrent client software
program is available to download with one click and is free of charge. The
program allows users to search for media to download through torrent metafiles.
The way in which downloaders of the program use the software is up to their
discretion, though the copyright infringement policy section on the website
describes how the software can be used in compliance with U.S. copyright law.
The copyright infringement policy on BitTorrent.com describes ways in which
users can report copyright-infringing websites that show up in BitTorrent.com
The BitTorrent Inc. Copyright Infringement Policy Intro
The copyright infringement policy starts by claiming BitTorrent’s
stance against violators of copyright law. In compliance with the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act, a law that made it illegal to go around digital
rights management of copyrighted computer files, BitTorrent claims to respond
vigorously to alleged copyright infringement instances that are reported in to
its servers. Copyright infringements reports are handled by BitTorrent’s
Designated Copyright Agent, which allows owners of copyrighted works to report
websites that present their material illegally.
DMCA Notice of Alleged Infringement
When a copyright owner would like to report illegal use of his or
her copyrighted work, the BitTorrent website provides an easy process for doing
so. First, the infringed work is identified along with any other works that may
also be violated. Next, a description of the website and where it can be found
should be provided. This includes the torrent file location itself or websites
that point to the torrent file. If the file was found on a BitTorrent search
engine, the search terms and URLs should be provided.
In addition, the copyright owner should provide a mailing address,
a telephone number, and an e-mail address. The copyright owner should then
describe the copyrighted violation and pledge that he or she, in good faith,
believes that the claim is accurate. The whole claim should then be compiled
together and sent to BitTorrent’s headquarters. Following a copyright
infringement claim, all traces of the copyrighted material and links to such
are removed as soon as possible.
In addition, if a copyright owner believes that a user of the
website repeatedly posts copyright infringed material of an owner, he or she
may report such a user to have him or her banned from BitTorrent use. Under the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act, some information on such users may be
released without notice to the person.
This policy is a firm statement that shows that BitTorrent Inc.
takes copyright infringement very seriously and understands that U.S.
intellectual property law is important to those who create original work.
All BitTorrent search engines allow only works
that are free of all copyright ownership or work that is under a loose Creative
Commons license. A Creative Commons license allows owners of copyrighted
material to select a level of protection. Most protections under this license
allows for users of the copyrighted work to trade and copy as much as they
desire, as long as they do not sell the work or otherwise materially benefit