eXeem Decentralizes BitTorrent Sharing

The file sharing community has once again proven its resiliency against the courtroom tactics of the entertainment industry, and has begun openly distributing a new BitTorrent-based file sharing program called eXeem. The software is different from previous clients because a "tracker" is built into the peer-to-peer network, eliminating the need for centralized servers.

eXeem is the successor to SuprNova, which was chief among a cadre of related BitTorrent Web sites targeted by the Motion Picture Association of America in lawsuits filed in December.

BitTorrent is a communications protocol that is commonly used to facilitate the distribution of very large files. That being said, it was not uncommon for these particular files to be copyrighted music, movies and television programming.

Operationally, a "seed" file, or one complete file, is all that is needed to start a BitTorrent download. Seeds are then downloaded by additional peer file sharers who obtain "bits" of the master file. The efficiency of distribution scales upward as more people download.

A "tracker" receives information from individuals and generates a register of peers that can be used by client software to download a file in the most efficient way.

When the MPAA sued tracker indexing sites such as Suprnova, it effectively ripped the heart of out of the system. The suits alleged that individuals who operated these dedicated servers were knowingly facilitating illegal downloads. P2P file sharers were quick to rebound, however, and SuprNova announced its plans for eXeem within days of the site's demise.

An anonymous source close to eXeem shrugged off liability, stating that, "eXeem is decentralized and Swarm Systems has no control whatsoever over what is being uploaded and downloaded over eXeem. It was not developed because of MPAA actions, but because there was a feeling that a new thing has to come out."

Swarm Systems is an offshore company that is responsible for the development of eXeem. The makers claim that the software is free of cost and ad supported.

Last July, the MPAA released a worldwide Internet piracy study alleging that the online theft of motion pictures results in the loss of billions of US dollars in revenue each year. The study found that about one in four Internet users have downloaded a movie. If accurate, the implication of file sharing is considerable for the entertainment industry.

The MPAA told BetaNews it is aware of the eXeem public beta, but was not ready to comment by press time.

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