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BitTorrent lashes out against 'Game of Thrones' piracy 'myth'

BitTorrent lashes out against 'Game of Thrones' piracy 'myth'

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BitTorrent Inc, the company that maintains development of the popular peer-to-peer filesharing protocol, is tired of its technology being associated with piracy. Specifically, it's lashing out against reports that HBO's Game of Thrones has set a "BitTorrent Piracy Record" after millions of illegal downloads. "We don’t host infringing content. We don’t point to it," reads the post by Matt Mason, BitTorrent's VP of marketing. He goes on to emphasize that it's "literally impossible to 'illegally download something on BitTorrent.'"

Piracy, he insists, takes place outside of BitTorrent's ecosystem. "To pirate stuff, you need more than a protocol. You need search, a pirate content site, and a content manager. We offer none of those things," he says. Mason concludes "if you’re using BitTorrent for piracy, you’re doing it wrong." His points aren't wrong, per se; BitTorrent does maintain its own ecosystem of content that millions of users seem to be (legally) downloading. As evidence of that, BitTorrent is claiming Epic Meal Time, a show delivered directly to viewers via the peer-to-peer protocol, has tallied more downloads than any Game of Thrones episode. That delivery method, the BitTorrent Bundle, has been the company's grand attempt at forging a legitimate connection between content publishers and BitTorrent users.

Still, the argument is a bit shortsighted. "These so-called 'records' are presumably based on numbers from pirate websites that have no affiliation with BitTorrent, Inc," Mason writes. That's true enough — BitTorrent merely maintains the protocol and owns two incredibly popular download clients. Still, the fact that BitTorrent's technology is being utilized by illicit download sites across the web is indisputable. BitTorrent may have been built for innovation, as Mason suggests, but in the eyes of many, its reputation also remains tied to piracy.