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Chan Nai-ming was sentenced to three months in jail for seeding movies with his BitTorrent client in 2005 (Source: AFP)
Development kit now available to help integrate BitTorrent support into hardware devices -- but it won't help you get out of prison

Last month Hong Kong authorities sentenced Chan Nai-ming to serve three months in a state-run correctional facility.  His crime: seeding Daredevil, Miss Congeniality and Red Planet via BitTorrent in 2005.

This week BitTorrent Inc. announced a software development kit to help hardware developers integrate BitTorrent support into devices. According to the company, BitTorrent-related transactions accounts for roughly 40-percent of all Internet traffic today, with usage on the rise.

Chan likely knew his actions were at least borderline -- his offense in 2005 occurred during the "early" days of BitTorrent.  At the time, you had to go out of your way to be on the BitTorrent path. But today, you have microprocessors optimized for BitTorrent and routers that manager your Torrent traffic on the fly.

With more devices enabling BitTorrent-capable streams, the audience using the protocol is expanding fast.  Much like the Napster days of yore, we'll get our share of blue-haired grandmothers in court for downloading Maroon 5 over BitTorrent soon enough.

Don't get me wrong, I love BitTorrent.  The architecture is brilliant, the protocol is simple to implement. Blizzard's patch download system is a shining example of one application that surely benefits from the Torrent setup.

But let's not kid ourselves, the reason BitTorrent pulled so much popularity in so short of time is piracy.

The company is certainly not shy with major partnerships with big semiconductor companies, but mention copyright infringement and nobody has anything to say.  At least, not since 2005 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that intent of piracy would negatively impact any developer prosecuted by copyright defendants. Where Napster founder Sean Fanning openly condoned piracy, BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen avoids the confrontation as much as possible.  He might not laud piracy anymore, but he sure isn't standing up and taking responsibility or action either.

So what will BitTorrent do when the next Chan Nai-ming gets sentenced to jail closer to home? It seems if BitTorrent had any vested interest in seeing its technology prosper outside The Pirate Bay, it would concern itself with legitimizing its content more-so than enabling it on every device known to man.  Why not move all trackers onto BitTorrent.com, and pull any that receive Cease & Desist requests?

YouTube (post-Google takeover) is a primeexample of why BitTorrent won't attempt to curb piracy -- at least until some poor sap buys them.  I'm not sure who BitTorrent is trying to kid with its new development kit: for each Blizzard there's probably 100 TorrentSpys.

Ride your digital cascade while you can BitTorrent.  The past is littered with the cyber corpses of dozens of startups that never took piracy seriously until it was too late.





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