Skip to main content

RIAA Asks BitTorrent to Help Clamp Down on Piracy

The RIAA is requesting uTorrent creator BitTorrent Inc. to step up and help prevent infringement of its members' copyrighted content.

The RIAA is requesting uTorrent creator BitTorrent Inc. to step up and help prevent infringement of its members’ copyrighted content. 

In a letter sent to BitTorrent Inc. CEO Eric Klinker, RIAA executive vice president, anti-piracy Brad Buckles accused the San Francisco-based tech company of making disingenuous claims over its involvement with piracy, “when BitTorrent, Inc. itself is the source of the software that is used overwhelmingly for infringement.”

Op-Ed: BitTorrent’s Matt Mason Makes a Case for Art In the Digital Age

This letter comes less than a week after the RIAA sent similar correspondence to CBS, which owns the long-running tech website Cnet, regarding the Cnet’s download subsite that provides hosting for hundreds of thousands of applications. Along with a 16-member coalition of entertainment trade groups, RIAA alleged that Cnet aids in piracy by allowing users to download apps used for that purpose. 

Similarly, in the new letter, RIIA requests that BitTorrent, Inc. “live up to” comments by its now-former chief content officer Matt Mason, such as, “If you’re using Bit Torrent for piracy, then you’re doing it wrong.” The letter requests the company, “take meaningful steps to deter this widespread infringement occurring using its own products and services.”

There are three major statistics the RIAA uses to back its claims: That BitTorrent Inc.-developed software facilitated about 75% of the more than 1.6 million torrent-based infringements in the United States last year; that of a random sample of 500 torrents containing audio content from the company’s distributed hash table database, 82.4 percent were “highly likely” to be protected by copyright; and that 99 of the 100 most popular music torrents in the music portal on the popular website KickassTorrents were found to be infringing. 

Op-Ed: Does BitTorrent Actually Want to Empower Artists?

Before concluding with a page listing hashes of files containing its members’ copyrighted work — ranging from Britney Spears to Usher — that it says are likely to be infringed through BitTorrent, Inc.’s products and services, the letter expresses an interest in the RIAA working with BitTorrent to help prevent future piracy. 

“We are willing to establish a process to share the hashes with BitTorrent, Inc. on a regular basis so that BitTorrent, Inc. can use the information to deter further infringement of those files via its goods and services.”

Read the full letter here.