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The Internet The Almighty Buck Businesses

BitTorrent Gets $8.75M From Venture-Capital Firm 266

funny-jack writes "BitTorrent's drive to legitimize itself as a tool for distributing legal content appears to be gaining steam, as evidenced by the $8.75 million venture capital they recently secured. 'The piracy business is not something anyone can make money on,' says Ashwin Navin, who co-founded BitTorrent with Bram Cohen. 'We want to distribute paid and ad-supported content, using this technology.'"
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BitTorrent Gets $8.75M From Venture-Capital Firm

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  • by skydude_20 ( 307538 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:15PM (#13660637) Journal
    ...support it, please consider making a donation to BitTorrent, Inc.
    Donate (via PayPal): $20 $10 other

    I think they hit 'other'.
  • Ads - great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Donny Smith ( 567043 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:16PM (#13660642)
    Soon they'll have the resources to add DRM filters and redesign the GUI so that that they can show ever more ads on it....
    • The moment I found the official client was browser-hijacking nagware I started looking elsewhere.

      Have fun putting ads in it, I'll take no part of it.
  • by Karma_fucker_sucker ( 898393 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:17PM (#13660654)
    He says the company is meeting with movie studios and other copyright holders to negotiate use of BitTorrent to distribute content.

    Why would a movie studio use BitTorrent instead of just allowing someone to download from their site or from, let's say, iMovies by someone like Apple?

    • by Phil246 ( 803464 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:20PM (#13660679)
      Bandwith costs money
      BT allows these movie studios to cut costs, and yet still host large files.
      Letting people just download directly from them, especially when large files are involved will cost them a packet.
      • Will the cost of the extra bandwidth/hosting equal 9 million over the next couple of years? I can't imagine that it would. The investment firm probably expects to make back double what it put in (at least). That'd mean that they expect studios to pay $18M or more over the next several years. To do this they'd have to convince the studios that they'd be saving money over traditional distribution methods.

        With the constant improvements in bandwidth and server potential it's hard to imagine a system so larg
        • my guess would be that he wants to create a form of bit torrent that allows them to secure content against those that aren't paying and/or watching adverts.

          I would assume that a passworded tracker, a server that monitors account usage and spits out strong, temporary passwords, and a client that logs into the server, asks for a password and then applies that to the tracker would be enough, however, I'm not the one getting millions of dollars.

        • by Skye16 ( 685048 )
          You'd think so, but the entertainment industry (at least the music and movie industry, at any rate) seems to be rather opposed to change in the system. I don't know what goes on in their board rooms, but it seems to me like they AREN'T spending their time trying to figure out how to use new technology to their advantage in new and exciting ways, they're trying to figure out how to stop it. Whether they're mirroring the "entertainment" they produce, or the "entertainment" they produce is mirroring them is
      • So just thinking about their business model here.. Do I get credit for helping them save bandwidth by sharing what I've downloaded with others? They're saving bandwidth by using mine, so what do I get out of it if i still have to pay for content and watch advertisments? If they can make it worth my time, this looks like a great idea.
        • in terms of bittorrent, yes you get something out of it - that is the more you seed ( upload to others ) , the faster you can download.
          As for what they'll do with bittorrent, to encourage others to upload - no idea.
    • why would a movie studio use BitTorrent instead of just allowing someone to download from their site or from, let's say, iMovies by someone like Apple?

      Profit !
    • Saves the movie studio bandwidth - then people downloading it are using other peoples bandwidth, and not generating cost for the studio. Thousands of people downloading a 100mb trailer can add up very quickly.
    • The real questions is, will BitTorrent help the MPAA accept the fact that we are now in the 21st century? Apple got the music industry to accept this fact - sort of.
    • Why would a movie studio use BitTorrent instead of just allowing someone to download from their site or from, let's say, iMovies by someone like Apple?

      I think the question is: why would I be willing to download a movie using BitTorrent instead of from the movie studios directly?

      I'd be willing to use BitTorrent to download a linux ISO (in fact, I just did) when the ftp sites are down, but only because I like linux and most of the people who support it do so for no money. When I download using bittorrent, I'm
    • Besides the obvious savings in bandwidth, the most appealing thing about Bittorrent is that popular files actually download faster, and the system is sturdier with the more people who are downloading. Even Apple or Viacom's site can be crippled if thousands and thousands of people want to download the same 100mb video at once from their server, but these numbers would make Bittorrent run smoother.
    • by rblum ( 211213 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @03:33PM (#13661417)
      Can't believe I'm the first one to say this, but

      Step 1: Bit Torrent
      Step 2: ???
      Step 3: Profit!

      You must ALL be new around here!
  • by fragmentate ( 908035 ) <jdspilledNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:18PM (#13660665) Journal
    Every time I hear another rush of VC's I have horrible nightmares of the DOT BOMB...

    They're like a bad form of birth-control -- where pulling out doesn't always work.
    • It's moderated funny, but I seriously question this investment. Are the VC's getting wacky again? Are we going to see the return of the sock puppet??
    • But I'd also like to add, when you can't get financing from friends, family, angle investors, etc ... VCs are your last chance to get something going. And even though you may end up with shit, if your biz idea works, you have a notch under you belt that will make it much easier to get funding and more in your favor in the future.

      The reason I said "you may end up with shit" is that there have been cases where the biz founder actually had a successful biz, but becuase of the ROI clause in the VC contract, the

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:19PM (#13660668) Homepage
    To raise the funding, they ask that everyone send in a couple bucks each to help seed the system. As they receive cash, the money will be invested, and a map of generous investors will be created. The more money you contribute, the higher rate of return you'll see, and so on.

    The investment will continue until they hit the $8.75 million mark, then they'll keep the fund the same size and just feed the profits back into the investment group as other people join and leave.

    A constant threat will be a type of invester known as a 'leech' who makes minimal contributions but attempts to collect large returns and- ...

    Gosh... I'm really trying hard to make this a funny bittorrent joke, but I find that I've just described actual commerce. How depressing.
    • Gosh... I'm really trying hard to make this a funny bittorrent joke, but I find that I've just described actual commerce. How depressing.

      The depressing part is that you were trying really hard to make a funny BitTorrent joke, right?
    • I'd like to be a seeder! I'd keep feeding profits back in, but I'd never lose my overall sum of money. Everyone would be trying to get as much money as me, but nobody could get more than me :)
    • That actually sounds like a good idea for an investment firm. Maybe I should start it up, get a bunch of people to put their money into it, then run off to the Bahamas.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:19PM (#13660672) Homepage
    No matter how you slice it, piracy is enormous business. Never mind the millions that KaZaa made, of the millions that are made on .ru music sites -- there are dozens of downstream businesses which benefit directly from piracy.



    For example: Just because Apple makes money on iTunes (ie: legitimate music sales) they make far, far more on sales of the iPod -- which are prediated on the availability of free pirated music. iTunes keeps Apple's music initiatives legitimate, but to say that Apple hasn't benefited from piracy would be wrong.



    And let's talk about storage media: How much will Seagate, iOmega, yada yada yada, benefit from storing pirated digital movies? Tons!



    Piracy is huge business.



    Hell, I pull out my wallet [jfold.com] for storage and playback media far, far more than I do for music. And I don't think I'm unusual at all -- most people are the same.

    • Sure there are many industries that make money peripherally from music piracy, but i think it is clear that the original statement meant basing your business on piracy. I do tend to agree that even that can still be profitable if you are in the right country.

      For example: Just because Apple makes money on iTunes (ie: legitimate music sales) they make far, far more on sales of the iPod -- which are prediated on the availability of free pirated music. iTunes keeps Apple's music initiatives legitimate, but to s
      • A 60GB iPod is advertised as being able to store 15,000 tracks. If you bought those from the iTMS, it'd cost nearly $15,000. Even if you ripped them from CDs, and even if you're getting the CDs cheaply at about $10 each with 15 tracks, that's still $10,000.

        People do not fill up their iPods with legally acquired music.

        And 80GB iPods are probably on their way shortly.
        • People do not fill up their iPods with legally acquired music.

          That's right -- they fill them with music, podcasts, an emergency bootable OS X, a backup of their home system's critical data files, and a bunch more... and even then, they're often not filled up.

          Also, some people like to store their music in Apple Lossless format, not 128kbit MP3/AAC. 40GB doesn't go quite so far when you do this.

        • by e40 ( 448424 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @03:42PM (#13661543) Journal
          I have a 40GB iPod almost full of 100% legit music. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that 15 years of buying CDs could do that.
          • I have a 40GB iPod almost full of 100% legit music. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that 15 years of buying CDs could do that.

            Why do people like you always bring this up? It doesn't matter what you personally do. Sure, there are music geeks out there who spend every penny on buying CDs. But the VAST majority of people do not. The average person probably has 40 or 50 CDs, 100 at the outside.

    • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:57PM (#13661033)
      For example: Just because Apple makes money on iTunes (ie: legitimate music sales) they make far, far more on sales of the iPod -- which are prediated on the availability of free pirated music.

      So iPods are only used to play any music that is 1) purchased from the Apple store or 2) pirated?

      Then excuse me for "pirating" music off of the pile of CDs that I already own.

  • by Nomihn0 ( 739701 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:19PM (#13660675)
    I'm thinking that share ratios could become a kind of online currency once BitTorrent becomes commercially accepted. Seeding a file could earn you points to download other media. For example, sharing an artist's latest music video using the .torrent from her/his site could be rewarded with downloads of free singles or swag.
    • There would have to be some method of proving that you really did share a piece of a file with another user. There's no way I can think of doing that without trusting the client (or, ironically, trusted computing.) There would be little incentive for a client to report correct information in the case where there is not negative or positive repercussions for failing to do so. I could see your model working for single-download paid content. Everyone would have a unique ID. Upon finishing download, the client
  • by snuf23 ( 182335 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:20PM (#13660682)
    I certainly hope that whoever implements BT for commercial use can make it work better than the World of Warcraft updater. I've had nothing but slow downloads (and yes I've forwarded the ports) and crashes using their client. I've given up using it and now just download patches via http from directly from WoW fansites.
    It's one thing when a free torrent link is slow or not working well, but totally different when a commercial service I pay for doesn't live up to expectations.
    • O.o?

      I've never had that problem and i run WoW on both mac and pc platforms.

      After playing other MMOG's like Everquest and FFXI and having to go through the living HELL that is "Content Patch Day" and having to fight for bandwidth to get my updates, a torrent based patch solution makes more and more sense.

      The only think i can think of is that some ISP's have filters in place to identify all torrent traffic and either block it, or report it to Anti-P2P networks so that they can DoS your IP.
      To be on the safe si
      • I've run Azureus on standard torrents just fine. The only thing I can think of is that by the time I get home and patch - it's night time on the East coast of the US (I live in Hawaii). So maybe most of the patchers have completed downloading it and are not seeding any longer.
        I know I'm not the only one, I play with a lot of Aussie and New Zealand players who frequently have the same problem. I can either suffer through the download with it taking 2 or more hours for a 50MB file, or download it off a direct
    • by theGreater ( 596196 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:33PM (#13660811) Homepage
      Did you forward all three sets, or just a single port? I know a lot people have made the mistake of allowing 6881 and 6999 only, 6112 only, 3724 only, or some combination thereof. I have had nothing but good speeds when updating -- obviously YM(H)V'ed. It's 3724, 6112, and 6881 THROUGH 6999. And yes, I think that's a ridiculous number of ports to have to leave open.

      -theGreater.
      • Yep I did. I tested it both ways. I really don't like having to open that many ports but I did test it. I think the problem is more the state of the "swarm" when I'm patching due to time zone differences. Although hell if I know if that makes sense.
        I also think it's retarded to expect average users to much with their router settings in order to patch their game. I've done plenty of tech support for WoW players having trouble with configuring their routers. If a solution is overly complicated for a regular (
    • So, the article is about Bittorrent getting venture capital funding to apply BT for commercial uses. I point out issues with a current company using BT for commercial uses and get modded offtopic.
      Well here's hoping I can get a "troll" or maybe "flamebait".
    • The BitTorrent protocol is pretty mature already, with numerous implementations. What's left to make money on? Embedded and secure versions. Optimized software and hardware implementations, and special-purpose implementations for data beyond ordinary filesharing. Live and archived streaming media without the overburdened servers. The options are endless. I know I've speculated on them before [slashdot.org].
  • by Cyberllama ( 113628 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:22PM (#13660697)
    Bittorent was released under the MIT license, so pretty much anyone can take it, modify, make their own version (like the one Blizzard patches World of Warcraft with) and basically do as they please so long as they include credit to the original author. So really, anything particularly special that Bittorrent manages to do, can't anyone else just copy it?

  • Expenses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:23PM (#13660704) Homepage
    What is this actually going to pay for? Their expenses and plane tickets to meet with execs while they try to push BT? Or is there some actual technical innovation that this is going to pay for?
    • What is this actually going to pay for? Their expenses and plane tickets to meet with execs while they try to push BT? Or is there some actual technical innovation that this is going to pay for?

      I hear this sort of thing a lot, and it always makes me remember why not very many high-tech nerd-types end up running successful businesses. You can have the greatest technical innovations in the world, but if you don't win over the big customers and make friends in the industry you're trying to woo, you've got n
  • corporate... (Score:2, Informative)

    by torrents ( 827493 )
    i wouldn't worry about potential ads, drm, etc... there are other, more innovative clients out there [sourceforge.net]...
  • by mangus_angus ( 873781 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:30PM (#13660778)
    will know how to get the stuff for free anyways. Let them make their millions from average joe.
  • between web browser ads and Bit Torrent client ads?

    I mean won't people just make clients that can read the streams and block the ads just like web browser clients??

    I'm sure folks will just dl the latest BitComet which will have all the access to Cohens content but with no ads correct?

    Now subscription services could block this since you could enforce a registered user security model, but I think ads are a no win.
  • by Gulthek ( 12570 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @02:41PM (#13660877) Homepage Journal
    I, for one, would be happy to download torrents of my favorite tv shows with commercials included. Sell the torrent ad space! At least the ads would be semi-targetted (as on slashdot) to thinks that I might actually care about. Hell, I'd even pay to subscribe to torrents of specific shows with ads. My purchasing power as an emerging late-20s demographic should be worth a pretty penny to corporations. So let them vie for my attention by supporting awesome shows.

    First we get the coporate tv torrents; then we get torrent Neilson ratings; then they see the massive popularity of shows like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica and just how many people are watching; then we have more awesome shows to watch.

    The downside? Oh no, I'll have to watch commercials again. What ever will I do?
    • Our demographic may be worth a ton, but we're also (some of us) smart enough to never buy anything we've seen an ad for. The ad means they have to rip you off, to pay for the ad.

      Most things I get are generic, food, drugs, electronics. 1/2 the price (more like 1/4 for food) and it's the exact same thing. It's not like Kraft ketchup comes from a magic farm in fairy land, it's still just corn syrup and tomatoes. Even my clothes are child slave labor made in China, sold at WalMart of course (other american comp
    • That you'll skip the commercials. (b/c I would)
    • I think this may be where Google is going with their dark fibre network.

      They can easily set up a seed node network that will ensure reasonable download times for any file. They can easily set up a peer node network that pays the peers to host files. They can offer a proprietary video format that inserts a single, targetted commercial to the video file you receive.

      Google makes its money from the advertisers. It shares out some of that revenue with cooperative peers. It has control of seeds, to ensure qua
  • I like BitTorrent... it does a great job of doing reliable downloads for movies, er, I mean, large files. But why, exactly, would I use it from an "official" source? I mean, I'm not particularly interested in saving them money.

    Second point, BT is not that user friendly, since it often takes a long time to start up, and isn't always very fast. It's reliable, in the sense that things usually get to you *eventually*, but it's not an appropriate technology for mainstream downloads.

    Another case of VCs dumping money at popularity rather than something that can actually make money.

    • To answer my own critisim, I suppose you could argue that the start-up speed and download speeds could be addressed by official seeding servers, so that things would work more efficiently and reliably.

      But that still doesn't address why I should be interested in giving my bandwidth to Warner Bros or whoever.

    • But why, exactly, would I use it from an "official" source? I mean, I'm not particularly interested in saving them money.

      hint: in a fair market, goods which can be produced and distributed for less money can be sold for less money while maintaining the same profit.
      • hint: in a fair market, goods which can be produced and distributed for less money can be sold for less money while maintaining the same profit.

        If it would actually make a difference, I might agree with you. But I highly doubt that BT is going to change the economics such that a $1 movie rental (as an example) suddenly becomes a $0.50 rental.

        It might save someone, I dunno, 2% of their costs, but it would make a considerable difference to the usability of my Internet connection. Ever tried to to use VOI

    • This is like going to blockbuster and being forced to give other customers a ride home.

      Though you may argue that some people would be willing to do what usually is "free" to get cheaper downloads. e.g. download the movie for $5.99 now or $2.99 through BT if you stay connected for an additional 30 mins after the download. Personally I'd just go rent the movie for $5 and be done with. but... that's because I live near a blockbuster.

      Same goes for games and music. If I could download UT2k5 linux ISOes from
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @03:01PM (#13661062)
    'We want to distribute paid and ad-supported content, using this technology.'"

    But what they want and what the user wants and what they really can do can be very different things. BitTorrent works now because a lot of individual users are willing to help pitch in and share their computer resources and electricity and bandwidth to help share files, usually motivated by little more than wanting the system to work so their own next download goes fast and smooth. I'm seeding the new Knoppix DVD by BitTorrent right now, have been for several days, and seeded about 85-90 gig worth of the last version too. But if some company is distributing files that I have to pay for, I'm hardly likely to keep seeding after I get mine. I'm much more likely to exploit some of the vulnerabilities that are known to exist in BitTorrent to make it look like I'm uploading when I'm not and impove my download even more. Pretty much the same if some fat cat is getting rich off of my bandwidth delivering ads.

    A more malicious user may even put some effort into poisoning torrents, mucking up the entire model and system.

    Of course, they can always take that money and spend a little of it on bandwidth and seeding systems. But then you give up the main concept of BitTorrent; you are back to a central download point (even if it is on multiple computers and even if parts of it are scattered around the country or globe). It really is nothing more than some download manager with the BitTorrent name on it. What we know as BitTorrent would not really be what is going on in such a case. The difference between this new BitTorrent and what we know now as BitToreent would be as large as the difference between the old and new Napsters; they are the same in name only. Napster users were not going to host files and spend their own bandwidth so that the music industry could make a profit from it, and I don't see people downloading large files by BitTorrent making their resources available so that the MPAA, RIAA and others can offer files for download for pay on a BitTorrent system anything like we know now.

  • Remember this important fact: depending on the VC company, they have a success rate of between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15. VCs know nothing about what is a good investment (if they did, they wouldn't invest in those 11 to 14 duds).

    So getting money from a VC is in no way, shape, or form, an endorsement of your idea or your business plan. It just means you're good at talking to VCs.

    TWW

  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @03:31PM (#13661393)
    If you were someone who wants to download something, and you are paying for it, why would you want simultaneously share it, the way BT works now? I'd demand fast downloads, and just shut-off my upload stream completely. Why? Because I am paying.
    So the P2P model would not work. On the other hand there are two possible alternatives:
    1. Use BT as a infrastructural distribution model - meaning, you'd host downloads in a network of BT seeders for people to download from multiple streams simultaneously, thereby better distribute the download load. You could even use BT itself to propagate the downloads across seeding servers.
    2. Use BT to allow people to make money by paying people for their download bandwidth - meaning, if I am willing to upload, then pay me for the amount of data I upload, then I wouldn't mind paying for downloads and sharing at the same time.

  • Rant mode.

    To be perfectly honest, Bittorrent is an example of a half assed technology that caught on and succeeded because of its success. There's nothing particularly innovative in bittorrent, and nothing even particularly interesting technologically. Distributing things in that fashion was not a new idea, and we know the system has its flaws.

    Unfortunately at this point bittorrent's success kind of crowds the market, making it harder for better technologies to succeed. Why jump to a different system when a
  • All I can say is congratulations to BitTorrent! As far as my own use of it is concerned, it's the best thing to come along since FTP, so I'm happy to see Bram and company hitting the big time with some major VC cash (plus $10 of my own, hee hee). Besides, he's got a kid to support, and I know that isn't cheap!
  • RIAA: hey Cohen, how do we put poisonned torrents on ThePirateBay, there's way too many people downloading our worthless crap for free?

    MPAA: don't forget MiniNova or we won't get Time Warner's money and Microsoft will never buy in.

    Cohen: it'll cost ya $8.75m ;-)
  • by xiando ( 770382 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @04:41PM (#13662128) Homepage Journal
    'The piracy business is not something anyone can make money on,' is the most stupid thing I ever read. Are not The Pirate Bay making money? If you think they are not then look at their traffic http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details? q=&url=thepiratebay.org [alexa.com] and ask yourself "Is there a website with that much traffic that is NOT making money?". Yeah, I realize that their sponsors, the advertisement companies they use, are among the worst in the industry. Why? Because more serious corporations like Google Adsense does not allow their advertisements to be placed on websites like that. But even though they are using the worst paying solutions in the industry, they ARE making money. Lots of money.

    BitTorrent sites are generally not about "being kind" or "we are against copyright or have some other justification". Websites (including BitTorrent trackers) ARE ABOUT PROFIT. And there IS profit in it. I know. I once had sites who, then, had the same traffic as the pirate bay had. It was not a tracker, the sites merely indexed trackers and mirrored their torrents. So it was even "more innocent" than the pirate bay. And I could claim that "we are not hosting this content" and "we are not even tracking it" and therefore me, in fact, in reality, making money off piracy was therefore alright and justified. Then the RIAA started getting angry about music and even though the sites technically were not doing anything wrong it was obvious the money made was made because of piracy. So I choose to remove the music section and configure the spider to ignore .mp3. Then the MPAA started their propaganda in the media against movie piracy and I rewrote the spider and the scripts and so they automatically removed all movies. Then were was only television shows left, and the MPAA did not indicate they minded that. But later they decided that too was bad and again pushed propaganda on the media, and then there was nothing left to filter away and I closed those sites, contacted the mainstream entertainment industry, tried to get legal deals and found that only the adult industry were willing to allow some content to be distributed by BitTorrent. Today I have several (legal) adult torrent sites.

    I honestly consider I did consider the alternative: Rent servers in a country like Sweden and engage i major copyright theft. I even made spreadsheets and so on. Even though I got quite pissed off when the MPAA stupidly claimed that sharing television shows is somehow piracy and bad and that alone, apart from the huge profit, made me want to do it, I at length decided that it would be morally wrong.

    Why am I telling you all of this? To make a point. There IS a lot of money to be made off piracy. And that is why a lot of people are doing it. I never had a thousand-part of the traffic the pirate bay has today, and I still made a lot of advertisement money off mirroring torrents. Technically that money was not made from piracy, only by distributing hash codes and links as one may innocently claim, but in reality it was made off illegal distribution of copyrighted media files. No matter how much you claim "we are only tracking" or "only mirroring torrents" or whatever, torrent sties and torrent search engines and even normal search engines who pick up .torrents make a lot of profit off piracy. That is the truth and we all know it, we just choose to support this and turn the blind eye because it suits us (and also because there IS NO LEGAL ALTERNATIVE that is equally good).

    The people who run BitTorrent sites and trackers, legal or not, sites do it because IT IS PROFITABLE.
  • by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <tukaro.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @04:56PM (#13662265) Homepage Journal
    One thing that I've thought is missing from BitTorrent for a long time that would give it a huge boost over regular download methods is "Updating Trackers".

    With Updating Trackers, the host tracker would be updated to include more files. When this is done, the BT client would get a signal saying "Hey, there's more to download!" When this is done, certain things could happen depending on the tracker and the user settings. You could do one of three settings:

    1) Ignore it

    2) Prompt the user that there are updates; the user then chooses what, if any, of the new files to download

    3) Automatically download all new material.

    This feature may not be helpful for downloading, say, software, where you really don't want every version of a piece of software released, but it has many other uses.

    First, fansubbing. Often times you'll have to visit a site/newsgroup/chatroom often to see if the latest episode is out (many fansub sites use torrents now,) but with Updating Trackers, you could just set it to download all new files, and receive the files as they are created, with no waiting. The legality of fansubs is always a hot debate, but most people agree that many companies wink at it, as fansubs help to create a large mass of fans in America (and other countries) before an Anime is even liscensed there. (For recent examples, see: Naruto.)

    Second, "indie" authors. Authors that create large books, and release them a chapter at a time (regardless of the quality of their work,) generally use sites like FanFiction.net to upload to. While not a bad way, if they gather a growing number of fans, the fans can instantly receive new chapters as they are released, to read at their leisure.

    I'm sure there are other uses for such a feature that others will come up with. The only downside to Updating Trackers would be that the hits to the parent site would likely decrease somewhat, because people no longer have to go there to download the latest file. This could be useful to some and detremental to others, depending on how they use advertising.

    (I hope I'm not talking out my ass; I don't use BT that often, but I don't think that this feature exists.)

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