I'm a little confused about BitTorrent & TV show downloading

No, I’m not asking how.

I’m on Cnet today reading some news and there’s this video interview with the vice president of business development at BitTorrent. During the interview while he’s extolling the virtues of BitTorrent he mentions how convenient it is if you missed last night’s such-and-such TV show you can just download it off BitTorrent. Yeah, duh. But, but, but… he actually said that? And BitTorrent just inked a deal with Warner Bros to distribute content?

I don’t get it. Wasn’t he basically just admitting to encouraging illegal copyright violations?

The music industry will sue your ass for sharing music. The movie industry will sue your ass for sharing movies. But the TV studios no longer care if you share TV? Basically?


I went ahead and did a search for “Eureka” on the official BitTorrent site and sure enough, there was the torrent for the show. As far as I can tell, illegally. But no one any longer cares? I’m thinking if Cnet can talk about it, and this guy from BitTorrent can talk about it and no one’s suing their ass, then it’s okay?

So can we talk about downloading TV shows on the Dope now? (I highly doubt it)

IANAL, and on first reading this it surprised me, too. However, if you stop and think about it, there are some fundamental differences between TV shows and movies/music.

TV shows (except for premium cable/satellite channels) are basically free and advertiser supported, unlike theatrical movies, CDs and DVDs which you have to pay for.

The use of VCRs/Tivo, etc. for “time-shift” viewing has long been recognized as legal and even encouraged by broadcasters.

With these points in mind, maybe it is legal to do this, but don’t take my word for it.

What’s also strange is when he mentioned how convenient it was to download TV shows he also mentioned recently released movies. What makes this guy so brave? Recently there was a BitTorrent site called The Pirate Bay based in Scandinavia someplace - maybe Sweden - which was raided, shut down and I would imagine sued, for encouraging the sharing of copyrighted material.

But this Brian Taptich guy doesn’t seem concerned at all.

It’s up again in a new geographical location, and current belief is that it will be ruled legal (as it has been before, but I guess they wanted to really test it and set a precedent).

All I can tell, here, is that he’s trying to emphasize the fact that Bittorrent is large, convenient, and has “what you’re looking for” and hoping that the content producers will fall into line and figure out some licensing.

Which has worked so well in the past with p2p…

Apparently they already have a deal with Warner Bros. & four independent movie studios.

So in a way, he’s just saying that it would be cool to download movies & TV shows via BitTorrent.

Yet, if you go to their site right now you can find torrents for which they don’t yet have the distribution rights, and seemingly this isn’t a problem.