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The Internet

BitTorrent May Prove Too Good to Quash 484

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the playing-a-game-of-whac-a-mole dept.
gollum123 writes "There is an article on washignton post on bittorrent where the author discusses why BitTorrent is here to stay. According to the author it is being increasingly used to distribute software and entertainment legally. It also mentions that in BitTorrent, unlike many other file-sharing programs, legitimate use doesn't amount to a token minority. It's central to this program's existence. It concludes by saying that the MPAA may be able to drive BitTorrent movie downloads into what Green called "the dark corners of the Internet," but this program isn't going to go away. It might, however, be just what movie studios and record labels need to market and distribute their own content efficiently on the Web."
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BitTorrent May Prove Too Good to Quash

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  • by ShadowBlasko (597519) <shadowblasko@nOspam.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:02AM (#11943596) Homepage
    Over at Empornium...

    150k member max, and still beating them away with a stick!

    No leechers rocks!

    Just as long as admins remember to lose those logs... I just *hate* hardware failures...

    dont you?
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:26AM (#11943853)
      > Over at Empornium...
      > 150k member max, and still beating them away with a stick!
      At least you're not beating them off with a stick.

      Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just don't need a .torrent of it.

    • you just slashdotted empornium. congratulations.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:03AM (#11943600)
    It might, however, be just what movie studios and record labels need to market and distribute their own content efficiently on the Web.

    Well, at least someone realizes this, instead of tacitly - or overtly - arguing that it's okay for them to be unabashedly ripped off, coupled with myriad ridiculous justifications and semantic acrobatics about how it's not really "stealing".

    Frankly, the content industry convincing major ISPs to enable multicast on their networks may go a lot further toward efficiently distributing non-"on demand" content than something like BitTorrent.

    But backing up a bit:

    One reason for this change of heart may be that in BitTorrent, unlike many other file-sharing programs, legitimate use doesn't amount to a token minority. It's central to this program's existence.

    Not that I don't recognize that BitTorrent is currently used for many legitimate applications (whereas that was extremely difficult to argue with a straight face with P2P), but I think this statement is a little overboard. I'd say that, currently, "legitimate" use of BitTorrent is a "token minority" of its use. The vast, vast majority is pirated software, pirated movies, and pirated TV shows (and, to a lesser extent, music, just because of the nature of BitTorrent being more conveniently applicable to small amounts of large files, rather than large amounts of small files).

    Anyone not admitting that at this particular point in time is lying to themselves.

    Note that I agree wholeheartedly that BitTorrent isn't going to go away. Neither did P2P. But the content owners will continue to rightfully go after people and sites who distribute copyrighted content unlawfully, no matter the mechanism (please, no fringe examples of 83 year old grandmothers and dead people). But yes, I get the point - and agree with it - that BitTorrent could potentially have much more legitimate use than traditional P2P.

    The point is valid: the fundamental distribution mechanism of BitTorrent is a novel and good one; there is no reason that BitTorrent couldn't, for example, be made even more robust and further "protocolized", and integrated into browsers and other download clients, allowing content distributors of any stripe to take advantage of its clear benefits. And in order for it to be a compelling solution for real content providers, that's exactly what will have to happen.
    • by CdBee (742846) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:08AM (#11943668)
      It's increasingly likely that in the years to come it will be possible to rent videos by having a set-top box coupled to a DSL or Cable broadband pipe, which downloads DRM-enabled video files from a central server.

      What better way to save bandwidth - the single killer cost when each film might sum a gigabyte - than by having the box download the film using a restricted version of bittorrent, and use a proportion of the available upstream bandwidth on the local connection to supply other people renting the same film? As the file's encrypted piracy wouldn't be a concern as the key to play it would only be issued by the central server, over an encrypted channel.

      This would have the effect - exactly opposite to a DVD-rental shop - that popular videos would be available more quickly than rarely demanded ones. The system has the same priorities as the company behind it.
      • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:30AM (#11943891)
        What better way to save bandwidth - the single killer cost when each film might sum a gigabyte - than by having the box download the film using a restricted version of bittorrent, and use a proportion of the available upstream bandwidth on the local connection to supply other people renting the same film? As the file's encrypted piracy wouldn't be a concern as the key to play it would only be issued by the central server, over an encrypted channel.

        What better way to waste my money than to require me to pay for an Internet connection to download a movie that I paid for! Not only that but I don't get it instantaneously and I have to slow down the rest of my home network while maxing my upstream helping the content distributer not spend so much on bandwith costs.

        This would have the effect - exactly opposite to a DVD-rental shop - that popular videos would be available more quickly than rarely demanded ones. The system has the same priorities as the company behind it.

        More quickly? You haven't been to a large video chain recenty have you? I have never had a problem getting a "new" movie. In fact, I have a harder problem getting something that isn't "new". They have racks and racks of their latest releases and only one or two copies of the older stuff.

        If I can't get it at Blockbuster I can walk across the street to Hollywood and get it there.

        YMMV ;)
        • by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:44AM (#11944008)
          The networks are going to move to H.264 very quickly. It compresses HD (High Definition) into about the same bandwidth as current "Standard" definition channels now. That may leave some excess capacity, because I think that there will be a lot of SD content for a long time to come.

          I think it is more expedient to adapt "burst mode" video transfer (faster than real time data download) that would cover a huge selection of content, so that 90% of what customers want to see can be downloaded on existing cable and satellite networks in a day. I think the BitTorrent model will be a good idea and a stepping stone. It will have to exist in the margins with the "hard to get" video on demand like NetFlicks.

          I think they should jump the gun and build an iTunes like experience for video downloads. If they don't immediately (in the next 6 months) get a customer base, then they will never take off.

          Look for Apple to jump into the fray as well. It would be easier for them to create a filesharing network on Akamai then it would be for BitTorrent to build an iTunes and micropayment system.

          At CBIT, various companies will be demoing multi-channel, high-demand H.264 video compression hardware. I expect anyone delivering video will make the fastest transition in history to the new format because it essentially gives them 4x the bandwidth they currently have. Whether customers really have to have HD to see Hollywood squares isn't really the issue. It will be culturally embarassing for a broadcast to NOT be HD in about a year. It was kind of the same thing with companies having web sites during the '90s.

          Plus, really High Quality TV might distract the population from drought destroyed crops and an oil shortage this summer. Expect to see more nudity on TV, since this also worked in the USSR. No, I'm not kidding. Nobody believed Cassandra either. ;-)
          • When are people going to get a clue?

            I look at a satellite Tv image, I see a crappy picture, especially when there's a lot of motion. So do some other people. Others don't see/notice/are bothered by the image artifacts, so your mileage definitely WILL vary. There's a loss of quality that really bugs me.

            H.264 is not going to be that great in terms of quality. I've been using it for over a year on developmental video hardware, and, while it does give better compression/smaller files, it's not the same quality you're going to get from a dvd.

            Besides, the cable networks are already streaming live video directly to ppv customers. Why would they want to pay a licensing fee for H.264, as well as obsoleting their current boxes?

            So, back on-topic: As for legit uses, every few weeks I download another linux distro, and leave the torrents open for a couple of weeks. So far this month, I've uploaded 60 gigs worth of linux distros.

            Besides, with the internet, who has time to watch TV any more? [tt]

      • This is basically what Steam does. ...and it's a crock, because it's basically paying the company to use YOUR resources.

        Plenty of people are willing to donate the upstream bandwidth they pay for to support noncommercial uses (be it legally for open source software, or illegally for liberated/copyrightinfringement software).

        It's a whole different kettle of fish when your upstream goes to pay for THEIR costs.

        A fairer scheme would be that they'd give you the material for free in exchange for you hosting th
        • It's all about you (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Eustace Tilley (23991)
          Your upstream has no value to you when it idle.

          Putting it to use to distribute content you like means the content you like can be distributed to you without the vendor having to bundle in the cost to you of building a distribution infrastructure that duplicates resources you are already paying for in the form of your idle upstream capacity.
        • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @12:18PM (#11944451)
          This is basically what Steam does.

          Steam? As in Valve's distribution mechanism? That Steam, at least, doesn't do anything like that. There is no P2P mechanism in steam, clients are pure clients. Updates are downloaded from a network of mirrors distributed geographically [steampowered.com] ("Total Available Bandwidth: 14,635.00Mbps"). Come to think of it, I wonder what protocol is used to transfer data from the content servers... it might be some Steam-proprietary protocol, but chances are it's simply HTTP or FTP.

          Anyway, maybe you're thinkink of Blizzard's World of Warcraft. They used to rely heavily on BitTorrent to transfer the beta client and major updates. These days, it seems that all updates are downloaded from the servers, at least from the looks of it. Maybe that will change with the next major update. (And maybe it's different in the US, I'm in the EU.)
          That was a disaster for me and many other people, because Blizzards were too dumb to limit the upstream either manually or by some sort of algorithm, which lead to extremely slow downloads on asynchronous connections. You could extract the .torrent file, though, and download with your favorite client, which I did getting, oh, about 1000x the download rates.
        • This is basically what Steam does. ...and it's a crock, because it's basically paying the company to use YOUR resources.

          On the general topic of media companies delivering content to you via Bittotrrent, and you using some of your upstream to distribute the file...

          Yes, they are using some of your resources. However the way to look at it is not that you are paying them to use your bandwidth - instead realize that you are offering a mix of bandwidth and money for the services offered. To put it another w
    • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:10AM (#11943691)
      Not that I don't recognize that BitTorrent is currently used for many legitimate applications (whereas that was extremely difficult to argue with a straight face with P2P), but I think this statement is a little overboard. I'd say that, currently, "legitimate" use of BitTorrent is a "token minority" of its use. The vast, vast majority is pirated software, pirated movies, and pirated TV shows (and, to a lesser extent, music, just because of the nature of BitTorrent being more conveniently applicable to small amounts of large files, rather than large amounts of small files).

      Anyone not admitting that at this particular point in time is lying to themselves.


      Maybe that was true when SuperNova and LokiTorrent were around. We are sorta heading back into the "time before torrents" when stuff wasn't easily available on a huge online database available on the web.

      Have you take a split second to look at the legitimate uses of torrents recently? easytree [easytree.org], Etree [etree.org], etc? HUGE repositories of legal music for download?

      It's obvious to me that you haven't.
    • by tabkey12 (851759) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:11AM (#11943705) Homepage
      A brilliant post here, but missing one problem...

      Bittorrent is being actively discriminated against by ISPs, e.g. slowing down long-term Bittorrent seeding. You rightly point out that this could be illegal but this in turn stops the legitimate use of bittorrent in, for instance, distributing large linux distros, as the upload speed is limited...

      At one point, the Bittorrent devs threatened to make their packets unidentifiable to combat this - I do hope they would.

      • How hard can it be for BT to spoof its packets? Can't it just put them inside some kind of bulk data wrapper?
    • Rubbish! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aug24 (38229) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:13AM (#11943726) Homepage
      If Debian and others are putting their ISOs out on BT and I and others are relying on them, then it's hardly 'token'.

      BT is becoming the distribution method of choice for plenty of legitimate stuff. Sure there's vastly more illegal stuff, but the legal stuff is definitely not 'token'.

      Justin.
    • I call bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:24AM (#11943839)
      I don't think 'token minority' means what you think it means.

      Legitimate users may be a minority -- maybe even a tiny minority -- but they are not a 'token minority' by any means, in the sense of only there for symbolic purposes to legitimize the non-legitimate use.

      I use BitTorrent *all the time* legitimately. Whether it's for some student movie or a big whopping disc image (like X-Plane). I might be in the minority but my uses are not token.

    • I'll post one use of Bittorrent that is:
      - Perfectly legitimate
      - Backed by a large corporation
      - Had heavy usage.

      World of Warcraft.

      Their open beta (over a gig) was distributed by BitTorrent. The larger patches are all BitTorrent. This alleviates pressure on their patch servers for that rush on the first day after a patch, so we can all get back to our addiction faster.

      Blizzard is pretty damned mainstream.
      • Yeah, but you think that if you're paying $15 a month for a game they can damn well afford to dish out their own bandwidth instead of expecting its users to handle the load.
        • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @12:37PM (#11944648) Journal
          Uh, they do provide bandwidth of their own. But it's a fact that downloading the WOW beta or WOW patches via BitTorrent is a lot faster than a direct download, and no amount of bandwidth that Blizzard could establish would make a blind bit of difference to that reality.

          You seem to be forgetting the huge installed user base of WOW players. Were talking about approaching 1 million (if not already past that figure) players worldwide. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if 1 million people were to try to directly download even a modest patch (say, 5MB) on the day it was applied?

          By the way, I have no doubt that $15 a month leaves Blizzard with some profit, but I think you (and others with fixations about how much Blizzard is or isn't making from WOW) forget that a large chunk of that will go on the infrastructure (bandwidth, servers, big realtime databases, GMs, technical and other support) that's required to keep the game running.

          Bottom line: patching via BitTorrent is the best solution for WOW or any other game with such a large installed user base.
    • The thing is, for somebody who wants to distribute a file, BitTorrent offers only one advantage; that it saves bandwidth for the originator of the file.... people it's not 1995 anymore. Bandwidth is cheap; if you're selling movies, you can afford the bandwidth.

      The disadvantages? Imagine you've sold somebody a pay-per-view movie, and after they've downloaded it, you expect them to keep their client open so they can share their bandwidth. Fat F*ing chance. But unless they do it, you save nothing. On top
      • If you're doing it commercially, act as both a seeder and a tracker. For unpopular content, you simply seed the individual download it, giving them download speeds not short of HTTP. For popular content, they get the speed they'd have got from HTTP plus the benefit of other people's upstream.

        Note that in this case, you closing your client as soon as the download completes reduces the benefit the seller gets, but does not negate it, as BitTorrent uploads and downloads simultaneously, even if the file is inc

    • by Xtifr (1323) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @02:22PM (#11945723) Homepage
      I agree that the legitimate use of bittorrent is probably a minority (although it's ~100% of my use), but saying that it's a token minority is a whole nuther story. In general, a "token minority" implies that it's just there for show ("look, we don't discriminate against blacks - we even hired one!"). The illegal uses of BT may be a vast, vast majority, but that doesn't contradict the claim that the legitimate uses go far, far beyond merely being token.
  • by tabkey12 (851759) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:03AM (#11943601) Homepage
    as it doesn't mention the plethora of brilliant '3rd party' clients like Azureus [sourceforge.net]and BitTornado [bittornado.com] which have been offering a variety of these features for a very long time.
  • Speed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by giginger (825703) <giginger@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:03AM (#11943612) Homepage
    I've noticed a distinct speed decrease in torrents lately. Surely the only person who's had a decrease in torrent speed when they upgrade to 2meg. Seriously though, I don't know if my ISP is catching on to torrent use but I've gone from 100k+ to 20/30 average.... Not good.
    • Re:Speed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nkh (750837)
      Either you're unlucky and try to download really old stuff that no one uploads anymore or your ISP is doing something in your back because I'm always downloading at full speed on most torrents. Someone also told you to check your firewall parameters which is a very good idea.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:37AM (#11943958)
      You might want to forward and use a set of 10 consecutive ports starting from an arbitrary number between 50000 and 60000. Some ISPs use packet shaping or throttling on the standard ports. A number of Other people I know have noticed a marked increase after following this advice.
  • The possibilites (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kimos (859729) <kimos DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:05AM (#11943624) Homepage
    BitTorrent is a very powerful protocol. It's a shame that so many businesses automatically associate it with illegitimate filesharing. They miss out on a nearly-free way of distributing large files. Not to mention that most corporate networks block BT traffic making it impossible for employees to take advantage of legitimate torrents that are available.
  • Gee Wiz (Score:5, Funny)

    by jester22c (613967) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:05AM (#11943626)
    ...You think a protocol that contributes a third of all internet traffic is being found useful? Hmmm... yeah I think so.
  • I don't think so (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:05AM (#11943628)
    The MPAA will still want to charge about the same price for a download as a store-bought movie.

    Unless they prove me wrong, their torrent distribution model is not viable.
    • Of course. After all, the reproduction costs are the same. Actually making the DVDs they sell costs pennies.
    • by Grip3n (470031)
      What information are you basing this on? From what I can see, this little tidbit of yours came straight from your ass.

      Lets take a look at the RIAA. They have opened the gates (albeit slowly) to online downloads. One word: iTunes. They provide music at $0.99 a song, a far cry from $14-$20 a CD.

      The MPAA recognizes there is demand for downloadable movies. People are seeking more and more often to find distribution channels that are easier, cheaper, and require less real world venturing. Renting movies with a
      • Re:I don't think so (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:56AM (#11944192)
        I don't know where you're getting your music but the majority of the CDs I've purchased have anywhere from 10-18 songs on them. They were purchased for roughly 10-$20 an album, at $1 a song those are pretty even costs.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:05AM (#11943631)
    But the Washington-based lobby hasn't sued BitTorrent's developer, Bram Cohen of Bellevue, Wash., nor has it gone after individual BitTorrent users.

    How could they go after him? The software is open-source and its intentions are nothing less than noble. If Cohen was looking to *directly* make money on BitTorrent he wouldn't have released the source to it.

    As far as going after individual users... They rarely did anyway. BitTorrent isn't as easy as Kazaa for finding "mass sharers". Most people are maxing their upstream on a single torrent instead of offering up their entire personal library in one place. That is why they are going after the sites linking to the trackers.

    Independent musicians can also use BitTorrent to provide free samples. The Web site of the South by Southwest music festival (2005.sxsw.com/
    geekout/sxsw4pod/) uses BitTorrent to offer a 2.6-gigabyte compilation of songs by artists playing at this Austin event. (In an unplanned demonstration of how BitTorrent doesn't always function at top speed, that torrent was more of a glacier Tuesday night, with too few users to serve up bits of the file.)


    And the author of this article just proved how posting links to torrents on a highly trafficked site will get him his music faster. ;-)

    The MPAA may be able to drive BitTorrent movie downloads into what Green called "the dark corners of the Internet," but this program isn't going to go away. It might, however, be just what movie studios and record labels need to market and distribute their own content efficiently on the Web.

    And what? Put all those popcorn salesmen and ticket rippers out of their after-school jobs? Nope, at least not for now.
    • How could they go after him? The software is open-source and its intentions are nothing less than noble. If Cohen was looking to *directly* make money on BitTorrent he wouldn't have released the source to it.

      That's sort of the point. The 'mainstream' is just now catching on to a fact we've known here for years: that filesharing and p2p isn't simply a tool for 'criminals'.

      And what? Put all those popcorn salesmen and ticket rippers out of their after-school jobs? Nope, at least not for now.

      He doesn't ev
  • Distribute & Pay? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l0rd (52169) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:05AM (#11943635)
    Am I the only one here who has a problem with bittorrent being used as a distribution medium for legally sold movies & albums?

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE bittorrent and don't mind using it for isos or distros. The problem I have is with someone makeing a big profit out of me AND using my upstream to limit their bandwidth costs.

    Am I the only one who has a problem with this?
    • by Homology (639438) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:15AM (#11943742)
      Don't get me wrong, I LOVE bittorrent and don't mind using it for isos or distros. The problem I have is with someone makeing a big profit out of me AND using my upstream to limit their bandwidth costs.

      Then, of course, you don't mind paying more to cover the cost of a direct download only connection. Right?

      • Re:Distribute & Pay? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by l0rd (52169)
        If the price is lowered becuase it's distributed by bittorrent, of course I don't mind using it.

        However, I can almost guarantee you that they wont lower prices because they're using bittorrent. That's what I have a problem with. This is a plus point for greedy distribution companies (talking about the big boys here), there is no plus point for us consumers, as the savings will probably not be passed down to us.

        Have you actually tried downloading a DVD with bittorrent? As it now stands you could be spendin
      • I'm not convinced that the cost for bandwidth is that high, what is it, a dollar a gigabyte if you max out a carrier grade (T1 or higher) connection? At least that is what it runs for me on my T1. I do wonder about what it costs for those Linux ISO mirror sites that let anyone download multiple 700MB CD ISOs for free.

        For those on asymetric connections (which is what DSL and cable connections are, at least in the US), bittorrent isn't going to work nearly as fast as a straight download, particularly for t
      • Re:Distribute & Pay? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by duggy_92127 (165859)

        Then, of course, you don't mind paying more to cover the cost of a direct download only connection. Right?

        Right! That's exactly how it should work. Make it a sliding scale, even. Work it like this: Downloading the bits of two hours of content costs you, say, $6. Add that to my monthly bill. And then for every, say, hour of content I upload, credit my account $1. This credit will never be paid to me in cash, but can be applied to future downloads.

        Then, in the software or set-top box or whatever, give m

    • ...recognise that, and don't give them a big profit!

      If the movie houses give us a decent mechanism (DVDs with lovely artwork, delived promptly to the door), which we can then loan to our friends without DRM crap, we'll pay the fifteen quid/twenty-five dollars they want. If they want to take advantage of cheap distribution costs and expect us not to loan them around (DRM), then they'd better expect much less money!

      As the guy in the article about music downloads was saying: when the price goes below a cert
    • by Lomby (147071) <andrea@[ ]bardoni.ch ['lom' in gap]> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:19AM (#11943786) Homepage
      Simple answer.

      Option 1:

      direct download -> 5$

      Option 2:

      torrent download -> 3$

      Option 3:

      DVD by mail -> 15$

      You can obtain a cheaper price if you use Bittorrent, since you pay a part of the distribution costs (with your bandwidth).
    • by real_smiff (611054)
      yeah.. but not if the price is low enough. if it's anywhere near the cost of physical media, and i have no physical product, and you're expecting me to help distribute it - fugeddaboutit.

      the moral underpinning for this, basically, is that any money i pay for a legit bittorent movie distribution system can only (or must overwhelmingly) go to the people who worked on the movie, not any distributors etc.
      i haven't seriously thought this through, it's just my first feeling.

      P.S. it's funny how 'us pirates' have

    • by ceeam (39911)
      Fuck no, you are not the only one. _UNLESS_ they stop their crusade against people using torrents for what they use it (getting medium quality video/audio content for... uhm, evaluation purposes), then we could call it quits.
    • Well the real question would be is do you have to pay extra depending on how much upstream you use?
      If not why would it matter if their using your unused bandwidth?
      • If not why would it matter if their using your unused bandwidth?

        Well, it matters because my upstream bandwidth is how I get requests to web sites to give me a page. At one point, my cable modem was basically useless due to a bittorrent download that was taking multiple days. I had enough of the file that many peers were connecting to me and requesting chunks. This meant that my upstream was saturated.

        Once I figured out what was happening, I put a brake on it, limiting my max upload rate to about half

    • Until I blinked which brought me to my senses and I realized A) they'll never do it anyway and B) if they did i'm sure it wouldn't be mandatory for you to use it.
    • by angrytuna (599871)

      I've been wavering on my thinking on this point recently. People routinely pay shipping costs for items they purchase over the internet. While this model is akin to paying for someone ELSE's shipping costs, the marginal cost of that extra bandwidth seems small enough that it would be a lesser concern if I really wanted the product, especially if it allows smaller content providers to compete effectively against their larger bretheren, and lower the barrier to entry for the little guy. If it increases com

    • No problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by m50d (797211)
      as long as that's reflected in the pricing. Is it xandros where you can buy an FTP download iso for $30 or a bittorrent one for $15? That's the way it should be.
    • Re:Distribute & Pay? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by j-turkey (187775)

      Don't get me wrong, I LOVE bittorrent and don't mind using it for isos or distros. The problem I have is with someone makeing a big profit out of me AND using my upstream to limit their bandwidth costs.

      Do you think that you're not paying for the distribution costs of every CD/DVD/etc that you buy right now?

      The idea is that if they can cut costs, the price of the product will drop (as evidenced by the $0.99 song sales -- $8-12 on an album is still cheaper than most CD's). If they could further cut cos

  • by sgant (178166) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:05AM (#11943637) Homepage Journal
    For the MPAA and the RIAA to demand the entire Internet be taken down to "protect their property". I mean, if you take the entire net down, then that stops the flow of illegal downloads! Sure, why not.

    Also, demand that anything "digital" be destroyed as it can be copied and copied without loss of quality like the old days of analog recording. Hell, while they're at it demand that all recording devices be banned from the world! Why not?!?! They're crazy I tells ya! CRAZY!
    • by cpghost (719344) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:28AM (#11943876) Homepage

      if you take the entire net down

      The Internet is much more resilient against this than you may think. Remember: even in war zones, the last communication channels that break down are internet links. IP is designed in such a way that it can use ANY kind of link whatsoever in a pretty ad hoc manner. Taking down big ISPs may slow down the masses, but it won't take the Internet down!

    • by jgoemat (565882)

      Hell, while they're at it demand that all recording devices be banned from the world!

      I wonder if people that read this actually know how close to the truth it is. Sony tried to kill the VCR when it came out. Motion picture studios sued ReplayTV out of existence. Now they're trying to pass the "Induce" act to make it illegal to sell portable players without Digital Rights Management built in. I'm sure the entertainment industry would be perfectly happy if there were no commercially available recorde

  • Unavailable movies. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hiro Antagonist (310179) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:07AM (#11943655) Journal
    One of the things for which I love BitTorrent is the ability to get movies and television programs not available in the 'States. I'm studying Japanese, and don't like most of the Japanese media that is available in the US, as it is marketed, by and large, for the otaku crowd. I mean, yeah, there's some good stuff in there, but most of it is crap.

    Having access to BitTorrent means that I can download regular TV shows, dramas, historical programs, and recorded news broadcasts, all of which would be completely unavailable in the U.S. I can download anime that I like, but which isn't popular enough to make it into the U.S. market. These are all very effective study tools, and have helped me improve my listening comprehension markedly.
  • by Have Blue (616) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:08AM (#11943663) Homepage
    There is no "the BitTorrent"- no single point of failure. If you have a copy of the tracker, you can torrent anything you want and only what you want. Set up a complete torrent infrastructure on your own site and use it to serve only your (legitimate) content. It's just another type of server that anyone can use independent of anyone else on the net. They may as well try to kill FTP.
  • by Lelon (443322) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:08AM (#11943670) Homepage Journal
    The irony of bittorrent is that while the technology is designed to be somewhat decentralized, from a piracy standpoint it actually works better when everyone goes to one site. In order for a file to remain healthy for an extended period of time, a minimum number of people have to be always downloading/uploading that file. So if you want to download a ten week old episode of The OC, the only way you're going to find that is if the 8 other people in the entire country are looking for it in the same place. A real replacement for suprnova has yet to emerge, indicating that the lawsuits are working.
    • the technology is designed to be somewhat decentralized

      Actually it was designed to efficiently and effectively transfer large files to a large audience, not be decentralized. The only thing decentralized was the bandwidth utilization.

      A real replacement for suprnova has yet to emerge, indicating that the lawsuits are working.

      Which I find highly amusing. So many torrent sites with so many broken trackers. I really have no sympathy.
    • "Somewhat decentralized"?

      The tracker's location is hard-coded into torrent files. That's about as centralized as you can get. Bram Cohen himself said that BitTorrent is going to be a mistake for pirates to use because of this very reason.
    • by m50d (797211)
      It was designed explicitly to be centralised, relying on a central server for each file that works basically just like http. The designer was very careful to make sure there was no way it could ever be very good for piracy.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:09AM (#11943673) Homepage Journal
    BitTorrent is a really big change, because with it we can finally upload data directly to "the network". The physical location of the data is immaterial. It's a really distributed database, where the schema is determined by the content, unlike the previous top-down schema designs. And it works - especially well on large media objects.

    It's just getting started. A few changes will make it the global distributed computing system we've each been coming at like blind men at a seeming menagerie that's really just one elephant. Distributing the catalog, so any centralization is redundant. Ensuring that any bit is always replicated at least once. Implicit hyperlinks among data chunks for content-specified traversal of the infospace (like HTTP/HTML/URLs). Search engines full of metadata. Asynchronous, realtime streaming protocols layered atop the application - including multicasting.

    Maybe it won't be "BitTorrent" that gets these revs - after them, it would hardly be recognizable as BT. But BT has gotten us across a major watershed, the way the CERN HTTPd v1.0 did in 1990. Like anything else that hundreds of millions of people are doing simultaneously, throughout the day and night, it's too late to stop.
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@NospaM.johnhummel.net> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:14AM (#11943730) Homepage
    I'm surprised that the MPAA hasn't learned from the RIAA's lessons. We have the iTunes Music Store, the Napster store, and others, all proving that people will pay for downloads. Would they be better without DRM and if they also offered Lossless music? Sure - but there are some third party independents that are doing that, so perhaps they'll pressure the other "major" stores to do so.

    So why hasn't the MPAA tried it? Open up an online store with a bittorrent back end much like Valve's Steam: able to distribute data to the hard drive that uses Bittorrent like technology to speed up the downloads, encrypt as it writes to the hard drive and let people watch it from there on their computers or portable devices or stream media (like Tivo, for example). Charge more for higher bit downloads, so if you order the HD quality movie you'll pay more for the download (but you should be able to have that compressed down onto your portable devices without having to buy again), or if you just buy the portable device only version you can pay less (but will look crappy as hell on your TV, so you get what you pay for).

    There's no good technological reason why someone hasn't done this - only fear of loss of control and fear that someone will replace their distribution model from production companies -> theaters -> DVDs -> TV. But if they don't replace their production models themselves to production companies -> theaters/home use downloads (expensive, spending more for "just released" movies) -> DVD/home downloads (less expensive), someone else will do it for them, and they'll be worse off for it.

    The author makes some good points about how currently MPAA/RIAA fights are to keep technologies down or even products off the marketplace (see the mobile carriers and the Motorola iTunes phone as an example), rather than embracing the technology and being the service company that makes it work for you.

    Maybe that's the problem. The MPAA/RIAA/mobile carriers see themselves as seller of widgets, instead of services. They can make a lot more money by providing services with less costs of widgets (cost of pressing DVD and shipping is probably greater than bandwidth and creating once, in the long run), but it's that fear of "new" that keeps them from seeing that they're killing the goose that keeps wandering around their yard looking for food - without realizing that it keeps squirting out golden eggs.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:14AM (#11943731) Journal
    its here to stay if the internet stays true to its roots, but i can think of a few ways the labels can stop it (or at least marginalise it). Its all a mattter of $ and strength-of-will...something the 'labels' appear to have in abundance.

    1. Make it illegal. Sponsor bills over and over and over again until something sticks. This may or may not work. It at least can pollute the atmosphere enough to slow bittorrent adoption...a 'chilling' effect among users.

    2. Buy up as many ISPs and digital communication carriers as possible. Or merge. Or become acquired by these networking/communications companies and prove the merit (e.g. profit) of your media rights. After that you customise service offerings to filter bittorrent traffic. Bittorrent isn't very useful if you can't get out of your subnet. Nothing illegal here, just users can't use the tool.

    3. Continue the strategy of pummeling bittorent portals into oblivion with legal paperwork. Yes there will always be distribution lists, usenet, etc...but you can kill off 50-75% of the mainstream traffic pretty easily by eliminating the main portals of entry into bittorrent trading.

    4. Buy anti-virus vendors, spyware vendors. Offer the product for free, but identify any bittorrent code as malware and remove it. This is the 'trojan horse' method... market to parents, OEMs for ready made systems, try to get Microsoft onboard.

    5. Buy or sponsor bios code for retail/consumer highspeed modems, wireless cards, routers, etc. Get filters put in place on these devices.

    Yes, all of these techniques aren't 100% effective and some are more reasonable than others...my point is a creative RIAA/MPAA lobby focusing their efforts on a multi-tier strategy can really reduce the availability and adoption of bittorrent in the future. Uber-geeks will always have backdoors, hacks, etc, but this is a much smaller portion of their potential market. I think they can live with the slashdotters trading warez...its the other 95% that they want to cripple.

    PS Note that I never suggest the labels will be smart enough to discount their products to improve uptake/sales.
  • by sjvn (11568) <sjvn@vna1STRAW.com minus berry> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:20AM (#11943793) Homepage
    With the new version, 4.0, now available

    http://www.bittorrent.com/index.html

    for both Windows and Linux (MacOS real soon now), it's a lot easier for both users and network administrators to manage the protocol's bandwidth hungry ways. It's so much easier now that I think that you'll be able to talk organizations, which have banned its use, on the grounds that it eats up too much bandwidth, into rethinking their positions.

    Heck, for that matter, I think that since BitTorrent bandwidth use is now mindlessly simple to manage, it will become a popular tool for businesses that need to move large data files back and forth between offices.

    For more on all this see:

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1775223,00. as p

    Steven
  • it'd be nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattyrobinson69 (751521) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:20AM (#11943799)
    if the bittorrent protocol would be updated to look like HTTP or FTP or something else, to make it impossible for ISP's to filter it.
  • Much of the popularity of P2P is that the distribution of media (what ever it is) is too slow and then too expensive when it arrives.

    Mostly it's just un-obtainable. I mostly download Fansubs, but I am happy to curtailed it as outlets like Fry's and Best Buy started carrying Anime is quantity in their stores. The Fansub ideal was share until it's released in English then start buying it. That is a good plan in so far has it brings Anime into the US market. The Anime companies are not seriously going after t

  • by dAzED1 (33635)
    too bad we squashed the whole serial #'s on procs thing (see: Intel P3)...otherwise we could download movies, go to the MPAA site, and request a key that will only work on our PC yet will allow the downloaded (and encrypted) movie to be viewed. Too bad. That would have been cool. Oh well.

    And yes, someone could have cracked the encryption, but they've cracked dvd anyway. Point is that this could be used by the common person who just wants to download a movie, and doesn't want to have to get out of his

  • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:36AM (#11943946)
    It might, however, be just what movie studios and record labels need to market and distribute their own content efficiently on the Web

    Now why would it be in their best interest to distribute movies and music so that everyone else could get it without compensating them for it? Is this more of the silly "free advertising" argument? Seriously, how would you expect them to get paid if they did that? I guess a recording artist is expected to spend three months renting out a studio and equipment, just to have the music blasted onto Bittorrent where he won't get paid for his work.

    Are you telling me the Bittorrent system has DRM or some other way of preventing people from getting the material without paying for it? If not, is there a way to graft on such a system? Only then would studios even consider using it. Otherwise, it's silly wishful thinking on the part of people who are, shall we say, used to the convenience of downloading whatever they want and so invent reasons for everything to be on P2P.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by farnz (625056)
      BitTorrent is just a file transfer method; like HTTP or FTP, it transfers files. DRM is applied at the file level, and is not related to the file transfer method, whether it be BitTorrent or HTTP (iTunes can use HTTP to download purchased music; I don't know if it uses it exclusively, or only when behind a strict firewall).
  • bandwidth useage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @11:39AM (#11943978) Homepage Journal
    It may also be the lever ISP's use to raise rates. Face it 3 mb/s down is cool and easy to over commit when the end users are surfing the web and readin email.

    Central to Bit Torrent is maxing our your pipe, then leaving it up long enough to let others have what you've got. That kind of allocation wasn't planned for when broadband was originally mapped out.

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