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Alternate name for BitTorrent to avoid trademark concerns


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For those of you who aren't aware, the name "BitTorrent" is trademarked and Bram Cohen has specific requirements regarding its use. For this reason, I would suggest creating an alternate, trademark free name that is free of these restrictions.

Since there are currently no alternative names, anyone using it realistically has to say that their software is a BitTorrent product/service. History has shown issues with standards in the past standards encumbered by trademark and patent restrictions, even by companies who claimed they would "do no evil."

The trademark issue is not one that's been discussed much within the BT community. The main issue is that it can be used to regulate what is supposed to be an "open" protocol. Trademarking the name is antithetical to open anything and I think the BitTorrent Open Source License further illustrates that he's more interested in control than openness.

Even with a commercial implementation that is 100% compliant in Cohen's mind, you still have to pay a fee to use it, like the case with Opera's integration of BT into their browser. Given that it's to ensure "compatibility," it's unclear if you have to keep on paying licensing fees for each new version you come out with.

While there are some claims regarding avoiding confusion with the BitTorrent, Ltd. brand, I think that very few people are even aware of said brand ("torrent" is basically generic and "bittorrent" runs the risk of becoming genericized) and even fewer are likely to confuse any products or services with it. Therefore, I think this represents only a small portion of its use, at most. The vast majority of its use will be for, as Cohen stated, enforcing "compatibility." Additionally, adware (ad supported) software is not allowed to use it at all.

Given that there has been significant tension between Cohen and others in the past over extensions to the protocol, we have no guarantee that he won't simply use it to eliminate extensions and other implementation differences that he, personally, doesn't like.

I'm sure some people would like to argue to "let's just trust him" approach, but history has shown that to be a very, very bad strategy. Even organizations that seemed quite good at first have done dumb things. There's basically no reason at all to engage in blind trust.

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