[mythtv-users] Re: Torrentocracy Patch against Mythtv-cvs

Brad Templeton brad+myth at templetons.com
Sun Feb 27 22:48:46 UTC 2005

On Sun, Feb 27, 2005 at 02:26:38PM -0800, Chris Petersen wrote:
> >This is really truly such an unfortunate attitude.  I really
> >appreciate this patch.  Many other myth users including yourself I'm
> >sure appreciate this patch.  Bit torrent is not illegal technology. 
> No, bittorrent is not illegal.  Nor is mythtv.  But combining them in 
> such a way that makes it blatantly easy for people to share tv 
> recordings will draw the same attention that Napster did (napster was 
> not illegal until people started using it to share copyrighted files -- 
> no one cared about the people who were sharing legal recordings).

Napster operated a centralized server with a database of available files.
It was alleged that Napster, in planning their business, sat around and
discussed how they could get rich off all the unlawful filesharing that
would take place.

There are a lot of other differences in the Napster case.   There are
differences in the Grokster/Morpheus case too, which we're going before
the supreme court in just over a month on, so I won't comment in detail,
but if you read our briefs you can see how we're defending the same
principles that kept the VCR legal.

Bittorrent is nothing more nor less than the best tool for distributing
large files for people who do not have massive bandwidth of their own.
As the best tool it is used by everybody who wants to distribute
large files  -- both people who want to illicitly copy videos and those
who want to do independent movies and those who want to put out linux distros.

Whatever the best tool is, it will get used by the video pirates.  As
such, there will be legal assaults _relating_ to it by the enemies of
the video pirates.   However, organizations like ours continue to defend
the tools.  We have not been called upon  to defend bittorrent itself because
even the MPAA is smart enough to know that as a tool, it's clearly on
the legal side of the line.

If you say, "Let's stay away because of that" you are saying "let's stay
away from integrating the best tools."

Which is indeed the victory the MPAA wants.

> Now, maybe someone could figure out some kind of safeguard system to 
> prevent access to non-legal-torrent sites that would make Isaac feel 
> differently about such things, but that's between you and him.

That's pretty difficult, and actually might even open you up to more
legal liability.  One reason Napster fell is the judge decided that if
they wanted to block a copyrighted song once they were told it was
a violation, it was within their power because they were in the center
of all directory searches and downloads.   Power to block, the judge
suggested, could turn into duty to block.

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