What Piracy? BitTorrent Signs Promotional Deal With Cinedigm

Peer to peer file-sharing network will be used to promote Colin Firth film

Did the barbarians just get let through the gate?

BitTorrent, the peer to peer file-sharing service that some Hollywood studios blame for fostering online piracy, will help promote an independent film release.

Under the pact, indie distributor Cinedigm will use BitTorrent to invite moviegoers to screen the first seven minutes of "Arthur Newman" prior to the film's April 26th release.

The movie stars Colin Firth and Emily Blunt and centers on a man who stages his own death and assumes a new identity to escape his sad-sack life. Additional materials that will be made available to BitTorrent users will include film stills, a poster and trailer.

“This is a visionary move by Cinedigm and represents a significant shift in how the media industry perceives BitTorrent,” said Shahi Ghanem, chief strategy officer of BitTorrent, said in a statement.

Ghanem may be right, but as the Los Angeles Times notes, while BitTorrent has been used to spread the word about albums from the likes of Counting Crows, it has yet to be deployed in the service of a Hollywood studio.

BitTorrent is still seen as the enemy by some industry players, who blame the site for enabling users to download copyrighted material illegally. In 2011, for example, the blog Torrent Freak reported that more than 200,000 BitTorrent users were sued for allegedly sharing copyrighted material in a single year.