The creator of the BitTorrent file-sharing system has agreed to bar users of the service from trading unauthorized copies of materials owned by the members of the Motion Picture Association of America.
At a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen appeared with executives representing the MPAA and announced a new agreement under which he has pledged to block users of the well-known file sharing network from trading unauthorized copies of protected movie content.
As the MPAA includes the seven largest film studios in the U.S., the promise to eliminate such links on BitTorrent effectively prohibits users of the system from illegally accessing most of the popular films released in the country today.
Cohen said that he will work with the MPAA to help deter illicit file traders from misusing the file-sharing service, and its latest content search tools in the future.
"BitTorrent is an extremely efficient publishing tool and search engine that allows creators and rights holders to make their content available on the Internet securely," Cohen said in a statement. "BitTorrent discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so. As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from BitTorrent.coms search engine."
The agreement with the MPAA could signal a move by Cohen to push for deals to legally distribute content owned by the U.S. film industry leaders. BitTorrent announced earlier this year that it received $8.75 million in venture capital funding from Doll Capital Management to build paid content distribution services and ad-supported file sharing systems.
Developer of the popular open-source peer to peer file-sharing protocol that shares its name, BitTorrent said it would use the financing to fuel product development and pursue commercialization of its technology. Once responsible for about 35 percent of all Internet traffic, the service has an estimated 45 million users, but was surpassed earlier this year in terms of traffic by rival file-sharing network eDonkey.
BitTorrents file-sharing technology made it particularly hard for companies looking for unauthorized copies of their work to catch individuals trading such files. Using the system, people could piece together movies and other forms of content from smaller, widely distributed portions of the materials available from other users online.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that file-sharing networks could be held liable if they induce users into violating copyright laws.