In a move that might scare pirates, BitTorrent now says it plans to buddy up with the entertainment industry to get into the legal side of streaming video, BitTorrent executive director of marketing Matt Mason told Bits Blog's Jenna Wortham. No longer looking to represent only the underbelly of Internet movie-watching, BitTorrent wants to push aside illegal and free downloads and invite major media companies to use its technology to generate sales. And in order to work with movie and music studios and start competing with Hulu and Spotify, it sounds like BitTorrent will have to get rid of its association with illegal downloads. "We’ve been trying to groom the entertainment industry to think about BitTorrent as a partner," said Mason. "It’s a constant challenge. People don’t even know we’re a company. They think we’re two teenagers in a basement in Sweden." And what do teenagers in basements do? They pirate movies.
Not all torrenting — the term for downloading and uploading things via the BitTorrent technology — is illegal. File-sharing itself doesn't break the law; sharing a not-yet-released copy of The Hurt Locker, however, does. Torrents of big Blockbuster movies have gotten multiple thousands of people arrested as recent as June 2011. It's just that certain sites that use the technology don't care about legality, like the Pirate Bay, for example. BitTorrent Inc. doesn't operate like that, however, offering only copyright filtered content.