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Inside Move: Online piracy just got a lot easier

Videora stirs concern over video downloads

Online piracy is now as easy as programming a TiVo.

Videora, the hottest new piracy application to hit PCs, lets users automatically download any video file that hits the Net and matches a certain keyword, such as title, studio or genre. While it’s likely to download duplicates with different file names, Videora can ensure that users never miss an episode of their favorite show or movie starring their favorite actor.

In other words, those who download Videora can set it to never miss an illegal copy of any movie or TV show they want.

Program is a plug-in to BitTorrent, the biggest peer-to-peer video network for downloads.

Sajeeth Cherian, a student at Carleton U. in Canada, originally designed Videora to help friends looking to download anime clips. Now that it’s available to the world, he said he hopes that people will use it primarily for the growing amount of legally distributed content online.

“Anything can make piracy easier, even a Web browser,” he notes. “This application is most interesting because it gives anyone a global distribution network for their content. It costs them hundreds of dollars, not the millions traditional entertainment companies spend.”

Because Videora only helps users search for files and doesn’t host any pirated content, Cherian is likely immune from any direct liability.

Tech Web sites are abuzz over Videora and Cherian said he’s receiving a small but growing number of payments from people who want the fully equipped version. A stripped-down version is available for free.

Meanwhile, a Motion Picture Assn. of America rep said the org is aware of the program and studying its options.