LokiTorrent fights MPAA legal attack

The latest peer-to-peer site to come into the legal crosshairs of the motion picture industry has vowed to fight back. But to do so, it is asking for help to finance a legal fund.

LokiTorrent, a Web site and index of files available through a peer-to-peer technology known as BitTorrent, posted a letter from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on its site last week. The letter states that the MPAA has filed suit in district court in Texas against the site and demands that LokiTorrent cease linking to video files that could infringe on studios’ copyrights.

If you’ve ever benefited from this site or file-sharing in general, now is the time to show your support, a message on LokiTorrent stated. The company said it is looking at a cost of $30K per month in fees.

LokiTorrent is the latest file-sharing site to run into the legal guns of the motion picture industry. Several peer-to-peer sites disappeared from the Internet earlier this month, after the MPAA filed suits against them.

Sites acting as “hubs” for BitTorrent sharing of movies, TV shows and other free downloads are the most recent focus of the copyright holders’ war on peer-to-peer technology.

BitTorrent technology streamlines downloads by having a centralized server that hosts indexing information, but locates the actual data files, which are spread among members’ computers. Someone downloading a large file will grab the actual data from one of several members’ computers that have already downloaded the file. The result is a faster download that does not overwhelm the bandwidth of any single server.

The technology has become an efficient way for companies to offer large downloads legitimately and economically. For example, Linux vendors MandrakeSoft and Xandros offer the free version of their operating system only through a BitTorrent download. By doing so, neither company has to pay high bandwidth fees when a large number of users simultaneously download software.

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