Following news of Hollywood’s assault on p2p, Ed Felten wonders, a propos of hypothetical litigation over BitTorrent,

It’s hard to see how one could sue BitTorrent. How do you sue a communications protocol? You can sue the person who designed the protocol, but the protocol itself can’t be undesigned. Nor can the technical community unlearn the lessons it has learned.

There’s some Candyman-like idealism in that comment, even though it sounds right. But I don’t think that anyone would need to sue a protocol, if shutting down BitTorrent were really the goal.

3 Thoughts to “Can You Sue a Communications Protocol?”

  1. […] s on his earlier post about the challenges of suing communications protocols, which drew a skeptical (but also somewhat unfair) reply from me, below. He […]

  2. When Is a “Network” Not a Network?
    Last week, in response to the MPAA lawsuits against BitTorrent trackers, I wrote that it’s impossible to sue BitTorrent itself, because it is nothing but a communications protocol. Michael Madison was skeptical, which was a fair response given what li…

  3. BitTorret and the MPAA

    Ed Felten at Freedom to
    Tinker has a couple of interesting
    articles and links
    regarding BitTorrent
    and the MPAA’s recent lawsuits.

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