TechCrunch is reporting that BitTorrent received $25 million in funding and ousted CEO Bram Cohen, who created the BitTorrent protocol. The company signed licensing agreements with Warner Bros., Paramount, and others to sell movies and TV shows priced starting at $1 each, and will put its software on DVRs, cable boxes, and wireless routers to allow BitTorrent users to download legal movies or TV shows to PCs or TVs.
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer protocol used for many legitimate purposes, such as distributing Linux code. But there's no denying that it's also the favorite channel for people to get pirated movies and TV shows -- I know a few people who routinely use BitTorrent to watch the latest episodes of favorite TV shows -- especially British TV that won't air in American for months, if at all.
BitTorrent is making a real effort to stay legitimate and in favor with the RIAA and MPAA, which of course doesn't sit well with the majority of the world's 70 million BitTorrent users. Napster failed miserably when they tried to work with the RIAA. We'll see how well BitTorrent does this time.
Update @ 8:03 pm EST: Om Malik reports:: "We have received confirmation that the $25 million round is closed and Accel is indeed leading the round of financing. In addition, Bram emailed us and lets us know that he is still with the company. "I'm still happily here at BitTorrent, and there's no plans for me to leave," he wrote to us in an email." And my colleague Tom Claburn writes:: "BitTorrent spokesperson Lily Lin denied that BitTorrent had won further funding and stated definitively that Cohen remains with the company. 'He's still here,' said Lin. 'He's not going anywhere.'"