I’ve linked to a number of bittorrent-related stories over the past couple of weeks. Terry Hart over at Copyhype recently published an excellent summary of the legal issues surrounding bittorrent:
I sometimes see the phrase “.torrent = .crime” used online in discussions about enforcing copyright online. It is considered by copyright critics as a dig against efforts to enforce the widespread copyright infringement occurring within the bittorrent ecosystem — the idea being that content producers have mistakenly declared torrent technology categorically unlawful….The snappy soundbite, however, glosses over the distinction between a technology and uses of a technology. It also relies on a fundamentally flawed premise: the fact that there are some legitimate uses of a technology does not make all uses of that technology legitimate. And within the general bittorrent ecosystem, there are a lot of illegitimate uses of the technology — so much so that the association between “torrent” and “crime” is not entirely unfair.
Hart’s full analysis is well worth reading.