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Embracing the torrent of online video

Last Sunday night, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada's public broadcaster, aired the finale of Canada's Next Great Prime Minister, a television program that attracted national attention not only for its sizable audiences and the participation of several former Prime Ministers, but also for its emphasis on internet-based participation.

As part of its nationwide search, the show conducted YouTube auditions, resulting in hundreds of videos and thousands of comments. It followed up a Facebook group that has hundreds of members who have posted photos, videos, and engaged in active discussions.

Yet the CBC saved the best for last. Hours after the initial broadcast, it released a high-resolution version of the finale without copy protection on BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer protocol that is often linked with unauthorised file sharing.

The public is now able to download, copy, and share the program without restrictions.

The CBC notes that this marks the first time that a North American broadcaster has released a prime-time program in this manner.

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