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BitTorrent has two words for Sony Pictures: Join us.
Today, after the FBI blamed North Korea for the Sony Pictures cyberattack, file-sharing giant BitTorrent presented Sony with an intriguing offer to release The Interview — the film that prompted the hack — on its self-publishing platform.
In a statement to VentureBeat, BitTorrent pitched its BitTorrent Bundle service as “the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiesce to terrorists’ threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely.”
This follows a complex series of events, in which a hacker group — then identified as “Guardians of Peace” — released droves of confidential documents in an effort to prevent Sony from releasing a film. That film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as potential murderers of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, is now a topic of heated debate — despite the fact that its Christmas release was just canceled.
President Barack Obama spoke about the matter today, calling Sony Pictures’ decision to pull the film “a mistake.” Now, we’re left waiting for the company’s next step.
Will Sony ultimately decide to release The Interview? And is BitTorrent the best option for doing so?
Although a groundbreaking online release replacing a major theatrical rollout is virtually unimaginable, BitTorrent’s argument is relatively sane. “BitTorrent Bundle is a safe and legal way for Sony to release this film, and they would join the nearly 20,000 creators and rights holders now using the Bundle publishing platform,” said the company. “We disagree, however, with some that have suggested that Sony should make the film available through piracy sites. That would only serve to encourage bad actors.”
BitTorrent obviously isn’t going to endorse piracy. The company made it clear that Sony Pictures can set a price for its intellectual property and profit from a digital release. Most interestingly, BitTorrent is making a case for Sony Pictures to use these threats as an opportunity to explore a completely different business model — one that slow-moving entertainment companies haven’t embraced in the past.
However unlikely, we’ve reached out to Sony Pictures to see if they’d ever consider using BitTorrent to release a film. BitTorrent tells us it has not yet spoken with Sony Pictures directly about the matter. While we wait for more, here’s the company’s statement, in full [emphasis ours].
A word from BitTorrent on “The Interview”
Like everyone else around the world, we’ve been following this egregious hacking of Sony’s servers over the past few weeks.
A trend has emerged among commentary in the days since Sony announced they would not release the motion picture, “The Interview.” There have been calls for Sony to release the film online. And many have contacted us asking: Would they be able to release the movie using BitTorrent?
Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes. BitTorrent Bundle is in fact the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiesce to terrorist threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech.
Bundle has a self-publishing platform that anyone from Sony can use: https://bundles.bittorrent.com/publish. Using the paygate option, Sony are able to set the price for the film and release it widely without implicating anyone or exposing any third party to a terrorist threat.
We disagree, however, with some that have suggested that Sony should make the film available through piracy sites. That would only serve to encourage bad actors. It’s also important to make the distinction that these piracy sites are not “torrent sites.” They are piracy sites that are wrongfully exploiting torrent technology.
BitTorrent Bundle is a safe and legal way for Sony to release this film and they would join the nearly 20,000 creators and rights holders now using the Bundle publishing platform.
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