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Hollywood, BitTorrent creator strike deal

File-swapping technology's creator says he won't help users find pirated film downloads with his search engine.

Hollywood studios announced an agreement with Bram Cohen, the creator of the popular BitTorrent file-swapping technology, that will keep him from helping users find pirated copies of movies online.

Cohen had launched a service on his Web site last May that searched the Internet for file downloads that use his BitTorrent technology. While many of these are legal files, such as open-source software packages, inevitably the search engine also found feature films.

In an event held at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, Cohen and executives from the Motion Picture Association of America said they were united in thwarting piracy.

"BitTorrent Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so," Cohen said in a statement. "As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from's search engine."

Cohen has occupied a unique space in the peer-to-peer world for several years. Although he is the creator of a technology that is widely used for illegal distribution of films, software and music, he and his company have not maintained a network to help connect users in the way that Kazaa or eDonkey technologies do.

As a result, he has not been the target of lawsuits, although individual BitTorrent users have been sued for uploading movie files to others.

"We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the Web site," MPAA Chief Executive Officer Dan Glickman said in a statement. "They are leading the way for other companies by their example."

Cohen's engine was far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online, however. A handful of other online engines can search BitTorrent-specific sites, and ordinary search engines can also be used to find BitTorrent files.