Thursday, October 06, 2005

HBO poisons BitTorrent

O’Reilly Radar writes about HBO poisoning BitTorrent downloads of the show “Rome”. It sounds to me like a near-criminal way of stopping an “officially criminal” activity, and, thus, is really disturbing. From the formal point of view, HBO probably does not violate any law, and BitTorrent downloaders are, definitely, pirates. But from a position of a common sense, I cannot wholeheartedly call the BitTorrent users criminals. If I just watch the show – I’m not a criminal. And if I record the show on my DVR – I am also not a criminal. And if I remember that they taught me at school “Sharing is caring” and will share the record with a couple of my friends – will I become a criminal then? Where is the thin line that separates caring people from pirates?

And looking at the actions of HBO, I would say that they are almost indistinguishable from hacking into a network and disrupting the data transfer, which is a crime. They’d better spend their resources on developing a new distribution / business model – this, and not the poisoning, may help reduce pirating of their shows.

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