AfterDawn: Tech news

Bram Cohen fending off MPAA accusations

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Feb 2005 2:49 User comments (27)

Bram Cohen fending off MPAA accusations Bram Cohen, the creator of a revolutionary piece of software called BitTorrent, has to defend himself against claims from Hollywood. Cohen was always a smart kid, while other kids played outside, he was in his home learning programming languages. By the time he was in Junior High, Cohen could solve a Rubik's Cube in a few minutes. He was a college drop-out who then went on to co-found a hacker convention in San Francisco, "I was always really weird," he said.
At age 27, while studying psychological conditions, he determined that he suffered from Asperger syndrome, a mild form of Autism, which explained his social difficulties and seemed tied to his obsession with puzzles. He admits he can have trouble censoring thoughts or even making eye contact but has learned to control it using behavioural psychology. Now the Hollywood movie industry claims that his software, BitTorrent poses a severe threat to the financial stability of the movie industry.

BitTorrent is unlike P2P networks. On P2P networks, users select folders and files to share, which can be uploaded to other users, and they can also search for files to download from other users. The problems are obvious, if someone has a file that 10,000 users want, then they are going to be hammering that person’s client trying to download it. Also let's not forget that not all P2P users actually upload like they are supposed to. Some use hacked clients or other methods (like limiting their bandwidth) to stop uploading to other users.

BitTorrent addresses and ultimately defeats these issues. Firstly if you have a file that a lot of people will want, then you create a .torrent file (which contains the URL of the tracker that will help the trading of this file, a tracker is like a server) and when users begin downloading the file from you, they download it in small chunks, which can then be distributed to other users while the download still continues; a method known as swarming. This makes sharing large files (like DivX or SVCD/DVDR images for example) easier, quicker and more reliable.

BitTorrent is not a P2P network, you don't download BitTorrent and connect to a network and search and share. You go to BitTorrent sites where you can get .torrent files. The biggest of these sites yet,, stopped offering torrents months ago. After Suprnova, along came eXeem, which tackles a serious problem with BitTorrent: you need to find a torrent site to find torrent files - centralised distribution is easier to attack. eXeem is an experiment that combines BitTorrent technology with decentralisation. While it sounds excellent, early opinions from the filesharing community are mostly negative.

So the power and potential of BitTorrent has the Motion Pictures Association of America quite scared. In 2004, the MPAA launched a campaign against BitTorrent sites in the United States and Britain. They also made complaints against sites in France, Finland and the Netherlands. An MPAA spokesman says Cohen is under scrutiny for continuing to develop the software "and making it easy to steal copyright material."

Cohen denies that he wrote BitTorrent with the intent to assist piracy and says he is the last guy you would ever find stealing digital content. Cohen supports his family (his wife and two kids) from donations on his site. He also gets his movies through Netflix, a legal; online rental service. He is quick to point out the legitimate uses for BitTorrent. Red Hat uses it to send out updates of its Linux products, lowering its bandwidth costs and non-profit sites like use it to distribute live concerts, with the blessings of musicians.


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27 user comments

17.2.2005 07:04

Geez these people just don't quit do they? I'm supprised they haven't sued Drive In's yet. There are a few left. And sometimes...when you pass can see the movie....WITHOUT PAYING!!! I wonder when the RIAA and the MPAA are going to go after the ultimate p2p. THE INTERNET!! Or hell why don't they just make it illegal to own a computer. There's some idears..MY idears..and if they take them i'm gonna sue!

27.2.2005 08:37

they have more money & lawyers than you!!!

37.2.2005 10:56

All the MPAA's whining just makes me laugh. They can't sue Bram Cohen, he just made the software, he really can't control what it is used for, unlike Sharman...

47.2.2005 11:18

That's the problem, they can and they will. Their organization holds no mercy, even if their employees are the most wonderful people on Earth (and I'm sure they're pretty nice). This is why they have to be beaten down with brute force, be it physically or with a suitcase. They will not stop unless we stop them.

57.2.2005 15:42

I agree with malcdogg. when will they stop? why not just close down the internet that will shut them up for a while... u shud hope..

67.2.2005 15:59

Looks like the MPAA is following in the RIAA's footsteps and making themselves look like complete idiots as they try to retard technological advancement. Hey, maybe the families of the poor souls who died at Hiroshima (RIP) should have sued Albert Einstein since his theories made nuclear weapons possible. That's about as logical as the MPAA's claim against Bram Cohen is. The MPAA and RIAA must be really, really big associations with lots of support to be able to survive so many stupid executive decisions. I don't really think they can go on much longer if they keep up this idiocy, though. Sooner or later, their supporters are going to realize that they're not accomplishing anything and making absolute fools of themselves in the process.

77.2.2005 19:07


87.2.2005 19:07


97.2.2005 21:51

what the hell is that about???

107.2.2005 22:28

Good question :S

117.2.2005 23:37

Home1968 first of all spell it right and wtf do you want to unlock. and last iam sure your in the wrong forum. slow down and think before you just start typing please.

128.2.2005 04:54

yeah thats a good question what is home on about?

::LivE ForeveR OR DiE TryiN!!::....::DonT FinD US WE WilL FinD YoU::..
ChecK OuT ThE PenguiN GamE AnD PosT YouR HighesT DistancE ON ThE ForuM

138.2.2005 08:30

maybe not so much "about" as "on" if you catch my drift

148.2.2005 21:45

I have the DVDX copy gold and it hasn'y been able to be avtivated because I got it as a gift and that person paid $129.00 for. it. Now that I was able to open it, they took it and the copy away. So I have had a worthless program and no one has had any thing to tell me but tough luck. your friend wasted his money. I cannot get a refund are a way in to the program. that's is what home is all about. how would you like this to happen to you. I have been offered another product at the same cost over again. So I have felt jerked around.

159.2.2005 00:03

Home1968, why don't you post somewhere where that won't be completely irrelevant to the current topic, like... THE FORUMS!

169.2.2005 10:41

Home1968, read forum rules for posting, try all other topics forum as that is not relavent to this thread!!

1711.2.2005 22:37


1811.2.2005 23:47

home u r a stupid newbie.

Thermaltake.... cool all your life

1912.2.2005 07:10

Maybe he's one of those guys who are looking for a ban...

Everyone is entitled to their own true opinion. Either respect that or don't.

2012.2.2005 07:37


This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 May 2020 @ 8:43

2112.2.2005 07:50

What a bunch of damned morons. MPAA better go after Sony for invented a compact camcorder with long battery life. MPAA also needs to go after who created the internet .....I believe Al Gore claims that one. Intel for making fast processors, Microsofts for all it creatation contributing to file sharing. There is no Case against Brian Cohen. UNLESS he himself hosts a torrent site used for distributing movies. But there is nothing they can do simple because he created a "file sharing program".

2212.2.2005 16:25

MPAA= Moron Pis-ants of America

2312.2.2005 22:29

either Home1968 is now officially the dumbest person alive, or it's somebody who wants to get permanently banned from AD. I would like to think the intelligence of humanity isn't that bad and go ahead with the latter.

2412.2.2005 22:46

Perhaps Home1968 was sent by the MPAA . . . Yeah! That's explains all of it!!!

2513.2.2005 00:00

yes! sent to annoy and confuse us with his all caps error ridden posts on an irrelevant topic! i don't understand why i didn't see it before! but seriously what the hell is this idiot doing here?

2613.2.2005 07:49

He's here to give the moderators a job! =D

Everyone is entitled to their own true opinion. Either respect that or don't.

2713.2.2005 08:06

only 1 person knows & we're not him & i'm not talking about the old man upstairs if you catch my drift

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