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Cerf: Hollywood interested in BitTorrent

Co-creator of TCP/IP says several movie producers have talked to him about using the file-swapping technology to distribute content.

Hollywood is anxious to embrace BitTorrent as a method of movie distribution, according to Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet.

Cerf, who co-created TCP/IP, told a roundtable on Internet governance in Sydney, Australia, this week that he had recently discussed file-sharing program BitTorrent with at least two interested movie producers.

"They are only just now starting to come to honest grips with the possibilities of using the Internet."
--Vint Cerf

"I know personally for a fact that various members of the movie industry are really getting interested in how to use the Internet--even BitTorrent--as a...method for distributing content," said Cerf, who is chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. "I've spoken with several movie producers in the last month."

Cerf was adamant, however, that the entertainment industry still does not understand the online environment.

"They are only just now starting to come to honest grips with the possibilities of using the Internet," he said.

He was particularly enthusiastic about pointing out what he said is a flawed perception about how movies can be delivered via the Internet.

"People think of video and they think of real time, watching it" as it's downloading, he said. "But most video doesn't have to be watched in real time. With TiVo and those other things, it doesn't have to be watched in real time.

"It doesn't matter whether it's delivered by a real-time video stream, or a triple-charge thing that drops packets into a file like BitTorrent. Who cares? At some point, you get the whole file and then you watch it. You don't care how long it took to get a file before you watch it."

Only a very small number of Internet applications actually need real-time capabilities, Cerf said.

Renai LeMay of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.