Television and P2P

D. Branch Furtado, Television: Peer-To-Peer’s Next Challenger, 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0007.

The entertainment industry has obsessed over the threat of peer-to-peer file sharing since the introduction of Napster in 1999. The sharing of television content may present a compelling case for fair use under the long-standing ‘Betamax’ decision. Some argue that television sharing is fundamentally different than the distribution of music or movies since television is often distributed for free over public airwaves. However, a determination of fair use is unlikely because of the fundamental differences between recording a program and downloading it, recent regulation to suppress unauthorized content distribution and shifts in the television market brought on by new technology.

Robert X. Cringely: There’s No Show Like an Old Show: “There is an audience, however small, for just about every show ever made. What we need to do is to find a way to make the cost of keeping those shows available less than the benefit derived from people seeing them.” Impatient TV viewers turn to BitTorrent: “According to a new report, the popularity in Australia of one peer-to-peer application–BitTorrent–is driven in part by local television networks that have adopted a strategy of being slow to air current episodes of popular TV shows.”