A collection of opinions, thoughts, tricks and misc. information.
If you've known me at all you know that something I truly desire to do is create a unique torrent site... What's been stopping me? Legality. It's a gray area, and I'd hate for my business to suffer because I broke a law I didn't even know about.
For the past few months I've been trying to figure out how to create a legal torrent site, and do it without fear of lawsuit. Last night I got fed up with the fear and decided to let the RIAA answer my question for me... "Can I create a torrent site? What do I have to fear?"
The answer became clear while I was writing the following e-mail... If the RIAA wants to cut down on piracy, why not offer a fucking way to help us developers do what they want? Torrent sites get thousands and thousands of torrents a day, and sifting through them for legal purposes can be a mind-numbing and unrewarding task. 1) Here's the e-mail:
Dear Record Industry Association of America,
I'm looking to add torrent file distribution features to a site of mine, and, since you're the entity who is (arguably) the one most concerned with the distribution of torrent files I'm writing to ask you what features you would like to see in such a site that would make you more comfortable with its existence.
Perhaps I should stress that this feature will be designed for the distribution of LEGAL torrents, such as linux distributions and copyright-free music, but since my plans are for this to be community-based it MAY be possible for a user to upload a copyrighted piece. Is there some sort of API that you would like this to be programmed with that would allow you to notify me when a file is suspicious or illegal? If not, may I recommend the creation of one? Perhaps allow programmers to check a database against hashes of files that you consider copyrighted? There are many developers out there who would be more than willing to add such compatiblity to their site to avoid lawsuit. I'd even be willing to create such a service if you were to participate in keeping the database up to date.
In any case I look forward to your response and I thank you for your time.
And here's a little more detailed idea of what I'm proposing:
- User uploads torrent file.
- Torrent file is hashed (md5 or something faster)...
- Torrent site contacts riaa/mpaa api with the hash.
- API returns a rating on the scale of 0 to 10, 0 being no risk, 10 being high risk.
- The torrent site can make the CHOICE whether or not to make the file public, but a proper implementation would allow the owner of the site to review high risk items before making them available to the general public (abuse by mpaa or riaa would be limited by this).
This solves all their problems! No change to their business model, no profit problems, nothing! All it requires is a little work to put the system up (which I've even offered to do FOR THEM), and maybe a few man-hours checking on torrents (which they do already, anyway).
So, the next time the RIAA or MPAA tells you that piracy is making a huge dent in their profits, tell them that they DO have the power to do something about it, and that they start evolving and stop whining.
Talk to you later,