Friday, November 05, 2004

BitTorrent taking over the Internets

AP/Yahoo reports that 35% of all internet traffic right now is BitTorrent traffic!

That's a very high number, especially given that the technology has only been around for under a year (I myself only started hearing about it about six months ago). Still, it seems pretty likely that Hollywood and the RIAA will soon be sueing the makers of the various Torrent clients (like Suprnova). Will they also be able to sue people who participate in offering torrents?

This article is also useful because it points to some legal uses for BitTorrents:

-- Legal Torrents (, which includes a wide selection of electronic music. It also has the Wired Magazine Creative Commons CD, which has songs from artists like the Beastie Boys who agreed to release some of their songs under a more permissive copyright that allows free distribution and remixing.

-- Torrentocracy ( has videos of the U.S. presidential debates and other political materials.

-- File Soup ( offers open-source software and freeware, music from artists whose labels don't belong to the Recording Industry Association of America trade group, and programs from public television stations like PBS or the BBC.

-- Etree ( is for devotees of "trade-friendly" bands like Phish and the Dead, who encourage fans to share live recordings, usually in the form of large files that have been minimally compressed to maintain sound quality.

(Side note: In all of these debates, I often wonder about when and whether Indian record companies and the Bombay film industry will start to take comparable legal action. Most Indians I know in the 18-30 age bracket are regular P2P downloaders. And if the level of activity on sites like Desitorrents is any indication, they are rapidly picking up on this latest -- and most efficient -- method of piracy as well.)