BitTorrent goes commercial; bye-bye BitTorrent

From Good Morning Silicon Valley

BitTorrent has gone legit — signed a deal with movie studies to enable them to use the system to distribute their content.

Unfortunately, getting in bed with the entertainment companies involves a lot of bondage, and that means BitTorrent will limp out of the starting gate. All the content is encased in Microsoft digital rights management and can be played only with Windows Media Player — no Macs, no iPods. And while the service will sell episodes of TV shows, it will only rent movies — they expire within 30 days of their purchase or 24 hours after the buyer begins to watch them. Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent’s co-founder and chief operating officer, told the New York Times the company could have offered movies for outright sale, but the studios wanted to charge prices so high he was afraid to even let users see them. “We don’t think the current prices are a smart thing to show any user,” he said. “We want to allocate services with very digestible price points.” And Bram Cohen, BitTorrent’s co-founder and chief executive, and the inventor of the technology, sounded like he had to hold his nose a bit to swallow the terms. “We are not happy with the user interface implications” of digital rights management, Cohen told the Times. “It’s an unfortunate thing. We would really like to strip it all away.”

Not an auspicious beginning, given the nature of BitTorrent’s core users — males between 16 and 34…

Yep. And it was such a nice technology.

What ironic about this is that BitTorrent is the kind pf P2P technology that the content industries once wanted to see wiped from the face of the earth.