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Legal BitTorrent Communities for Class Presentation? 73

OnBeyondBeing asks: "A few of my friends and I are taking a class at a local university called 'Internet and Society' and we have to do a 'Technology Tour' on innovations that have social aspects or uses (like Google Maps, Kiko (an Internet-based calendar), LiveJournal and Frappr). We chose to do our presentation on BitTorrent. As part of our presentation, we have to do a lab in which the students and teachers use BitTorrent in some way. I was thinking of having people join some BitTorrent community that interests them and join a torrent, but most of these communities contain material that is not suited for an academic presentation. Aside from places like CommonBits and Etree (and others that were mentioned in a previous Slashdot post), what sites have you found that use BitTorrent as the basis of a community that are clean and legal enough for a class presentation? Alternatively, what other interesting, legal uses of BitTorrent have you found?"
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Legal BitTorrent Communities for Class Presentation?

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  • Linux Torrents (Score:5, Informative)

    by SocialEngineer ( 673690 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [adnapdetrevni]> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @09:55PM (#15279299) Homepage

    There are always Linux Torrents []

  • Cringely's NerdTV (Score:5, Informative)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:00PM (#15279318)
    Cringely offers NerdTV [] as a bittorrent download. As it is legal there's usually a ton of seeds on each download - nothing better to demonstrate the speed possible with bittorrent.
  • Anime (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Bob535 ( 639390 ) Fansubs of a good deal of asian programming that has never been licensed in North America (and therefore legal)
    • Re:Anime (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kinzillah ( 662884 )
      Not legal, but the companies look the other way because they recognize the advertising value.
    • Re:Anime (Score:2, Informative)

      by theNetImp ( 190602 )
      Them not being licensed to an american distributor DOES NOT MAKE THEM LEGAL. They are still protected by international copyright law. Use some common sense.
    • It's not legal. It's less unethical.
  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:08PM (#15279342) Homepage
    • filesoup has moved to But I wouldn't recommend that for an educational setting (especially if the OP intends for the teachers/students to join as a member of the community). IIRC, they even have a red light district.
  • Legal Torrents (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bullet-Dodger ( 630107 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:14PM (#15279359)
    Legal Torrents [] is quite good. Creative Commons-licensed music, movies, books, and such.
  • The Electric Sheep [] server uses BitTorrent to distribute results of aesthetic evolution. Get the torrents of the RSS feed of torrents here []. It's currently delivering about 150GB daily by torrent.
  • Let them install World of Warcraft on their computers as Blizzard use BitTorrent to distribute patches. Then if they are good studens you can let them play abit afterwards. :-)
    • Blizzard's servers buckle under the strain of just keeping the game running; I imagine if they actually had to provide direct downloads to all however many million subscribers, then several serverfarms across the country would spontaneously explode on patch days. Bittorrent was really the perfect solution, although in the beginning some users complained that they shouldn't have to give their upload bandwidth to others. The Blizzard Downloader also does something different from normal torrents; my universit
  • by lunk ( 80231 ) *
    I like ETree for all my music needs. [] is a free tracker for free music. The bands, who's music appears on this site, allow and encourage people to make tapes of their live shows and share them with their friends. It is this general philosophy that lead to the large followings of The Greatful Dead and Phish and Linux.
      • Dimeadozen: not legal (although they do have standards, i.e. no official releases/commercial material).

        Tradersden: similar to dimeadozen

        COTapers: Now we're getting somewhere! Legal, but (mostly) limited to Colorado shows. Very tiny compared to Etree. There's a similar site for New Orleans, but I lost the link, unfortunately. There are also small sites devoted to particular bands (e.g. [].

        But if the original poster doesn't think Etree is "suited for an academic presentation", then I doubt i
        • Why is dimeadozen "not legal" and etree & cotapers legal? They all seem to follow the same standards (nothing commercial, bands must be taper friendly, etc). From the dimeadozen FAQ:

          • No torrent may distribute any official material. This includes:
            • OOP material and the separated audio part of VHS videos, Laserdisc videos, and DVD videos -- even if the recording is from a different source than the officially available material;
            • Alternate recording sources of any officially released performance, unles
  • Pure Pwnage uses BitTorrent to distribute their shows. That's legal and it has a cult-following of nerds to boot.
  • Legal Torrents [].
    Note that you could have used Google for that one. :)

    And if you want to call SXSW a community, here [] is a link to their free MP3 archive torrent for 2006. There's a 2005 you can Google for, too.
  • Damn! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zadaz ( 950521 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:41PM (#15279448)
    When I was in school I had to do research for papers by my self.

    But then again, we had Gopher, not Google, so I'll shut up.

    Anyway, off the top of my head, Democracy player [] is a combination video player, RSS reader and torrent client that hooks up a community of legal (well, most of it) video distribution.

    It was also announced this week that Steven Soderbergh will be releasing a short through BitTorrent. (I'll let you find the link, you hard working student.)

  • Xandros and Suse both had torrent downloads.. I'm sure others do to but I only got those.
  • distributes their software via BitTorrent in order to help save bandwidth. You can get it other traditional ways but this is an example of where P2P can be used legitimately.
  • Fandom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by magefile ( 776388 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @11:10PM (#15279520)
    I've found a bunch of fan movies on BT. Star Wars: Revelations is one, and I believe it's unofficially smiled upon by LucasFilms. Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning is another. Star Trek: The New Voyages. I suspect the Blender/Maya/3d-animation communities also have torrentable media available, as do various machinima communities. Another possibility is backup. Bittorrent is a semi-decent protocol for moving a shitload of stuff from one computer to another; in that case, you're not taking advantage of a swarm, you're just taking advantage of the fact that resumability, NAT traversal, etc., are made simpler (if you don't want to deal with, or have access to, something like rsync). I've moved my iTunes library that way a few times.
  • promotion of music (Score:4, Informative)

    by scum-e-bag ( 211846 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @11:12PM (#15279526) Homepage Journal []
  • You could find a Project Gutenberg torrent.
  • Don't forget the redvsblue episodes available on the net.
  • We used Bittorrent to host some of the larger Songfight [] weeks. (Songfight is a semi-weekly music competition where artists / bands / etc compose a song based on a title chosen by the "Fightmaster". The following week, all the compositions are posted and voted-on.) Bittorrent was never used as the primary means of distribution for the songs, but in weeks that the 'fight was 100MB+ it was nice to have a torrent available.
    • Songfight is a semi-weekly music competition where artists / bands / etc compose a song based on a title chosen by the "Fightmaster". The following week, all the compositions are posted and voted-on.

      How did you make sure that none of your entrants subconsciously copied an existing work that they had heard 10 years ago on the radio? (See Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, the "My Sweet Lord" case.) If you required all artists to warrant that they had done this checking themselves, what method did yo

      • How did you make sure that none of your entrants subconsciously copied an existing work that they had heard 10 years ago on the radio? (See Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, the "My Sweet Lord" case.) If you required all artists to warrant that they had done this checking themselves, what method did you suggest that they use?

        I don't run the site, so I don't see it as my problem. Believe me, I'm as angry and frustrated by the silliness in the U.S. "intellectual property" law as you appear to be. It

  • by optikSmoke ( 264261 ) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @01:32AM (#15280003)
    Public Domain Torrents [] has torrents of movies in the public domain in various formats. Some hidden gems in there, though I don't know how much of a "community" you could say they have.
  • AMPFEA.ORG (Score:2, Interesting)

    by torpor ( 458 )

    We use Torrents on AMPFEA.ORG [], which is a community made for people who want a way to put their original-content (only) material online free of charge.

    If its free to the world, its free to use AMPFEA.ORG .. we discourage mis-use and abuse by active community audits, and we've got a veritable stash of interesting material - music, images, video - online for people to peruse.

    (Archives Made Persistent For Everyones Access..)
    • If its free to the world, its free to use AMPFEA.ORG .. we discourage mis-use and abuse by active community audits

      Once your audit turns up a work that a user claims to have created and believes in good faith that he has created but turns out to be substantially similar to a work published a decade ago, which is likely to happen by accident in the case of music [], what sanctions if any are imposed on the user? Or is the work simply removed? I couldn't find a Terms of Service on the site.

  • Don't forget NASA - nt [] must be that time of year to be giving presentations, I just gave one on Bittorrent a few weeks ago...
  • TWiT [] distributes their shows through bittorrent. Sometimes they even have video.

    Revision3 [] also distributes their shows on bittorrent.

  • Compare the number of comments in the "Related Story", Legal Torrent Sites Help Legitimize BitTorrent, with this story--actually asking for legal torrent sites.
  • If your presentation is about the impact of bittorrent in society, what difference does it make if the use is legal or not? There are a lot of things that shape society that aren't legal.. For example, I'm sure any history class will teach you about the black market of alcohol created by prohibition, that was part of society.. There are current, technology-related examples too; Napster became pretty popular in its time, and I'm sure most of the stuff on those 60gb mp3 players people have now is not exactly
  • Over at we're about to launch a custom 'groups' system which gives users their own blog, user management tools, etc. etc. The interesting part is that we're also introducing a fully integrated torrents section along with it.

    An average visitor will view the 'torrents' page and be able to search, sort and/or download all the freeware, open source and copyright free/allowed 'community torrents' while a mitosis member that belongs to a group (or multiple groups) will view the torrents page and s
  • The knoppix tracker [] would also seem like a good choice. There's usually a fair amount of seeders, and you'd get the benefit of exposing them to a very high-quality linux live cd at the same time.
  • [] - patches and updates and demos for games.
  • At, a fansite for the band R.E.M., they operate a section of their site called "Give It Away" (a reference to an R.E.M. song, for those in the know). This is a legal list of torrents of live R.E.M. material, over the bands 20-some year career. R.E.M. is perfectly A-Ok happy with allowing the sharing of their live music, and infact Ethan, the guy running, works for the bands record company. Check it out: [] ~~Aryq~~

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI