BitTorrent developer working on search engine
BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen is working on a search engine that will index movies, music, software, and other files being traded over the popular peer-to-peer protocol. The web-based search engine will be supported by banner ads and sponsored links, and rank search results by both relevance and availability. Cohen may have to keep the search engine free of links to copyrighted content, though.
But Navin isn't worried -- because the new search engine indexes every torrent it can find without human intervention, the company can't be held liable for results that happen to point to infringing content, he says. Lemley says that's probably right, at least as a matter of law: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides safe harbor for "information location tools" if administrators promptly remove links to infringing content upon notice by the copyright holder.
"I think the search engine itself shouldn't be illegal, but I think (Cohen) will find himself inundated with notices of infringing material," says Lemley. "He may find over time that his full-time job is turning off links."
Interestingly, because the search engine will rank responses based on availability, copyright holders will be able track the most popular pirated torrents.