BitTorrent, “Not Designed For Piracy”… Really? Seriously? 99% Infringing…

Bit Torrent creator Bram Cohen is either one of the most misinformed people on earth, or one of the most intellectually dishonest… and here’s why… Remember this one?

BitTorrent: Bram Cohen Says ‘I commit digital piracy’?

I build systems to disseminate information, commit digital piracy, synthesize drugs, maintain untrusted contacts, purchase anonymously, and secure machines and homes. I release my code and writings freely, and publish all of my ideas early to make them unpatentable.

Uhmmmm…. So why this is surprising?

Only 0.3% of files on BitTorrent confirmed to be legal | Ars Technica

This report echoes similar results out of Princeton that were published earlier this year. Though the top categories were slightly different—Princeton found that movies and TV were the most popular, while music fell behind games/software, pornography, and unclassifiable files—that study found that all of the movie, TV, and music content being shared was indeed infringing.

Overall, Princeton said that 99 percent of the content on BitTorrent was illegal.

Oh and that Princeton Study…

BitTorrent census: about 99% of files copyright infringing | Ars Technica

It has never been a secret that the majority of files being shared over BitTorrent are movies and music that are likely being shared illegally.

But wait there’s more…

Census of Files Available via BitTorrent

Overall, we classified ten of the 1021 files, or approximately 1%, as likely non-infringing, This result should be interpreted with caution, as we may have missed some non-infringing files, and our sample is of files available, not files actually downloaded.

Still, the result suggests strongly that copyright infringement is widespread among BitTorrent users.

Fast forward to 2012…

Keen On… Bram Cohen: Has BitTorrent Killed The Music Industry?

His denial was categorical. Not only did Bram deny any role in shrinking the sale of recorded music, but he actually disputed that the music industry is in decline, claiming “data” showed it to be in a quite healthy state.

Well Bram, you might want to look at this, and this

and… as another #SFMusicTech begins BitTorrent is one of the lead sponsors… To be fair, SFMusicTech get’s to run it’s event and do business with whom it chooses. Unfortunately musicians are not given the same choice of having their work “torrented.” So how about a little honesty?

This conversation is really just about consent and compensation. Two very simple fundamental principles that pretty much everyone can agree are the foundations of not just ethical business practices, but also the basis for a fair and just society.


Music Tech Policy explores the question, “Can 5 Billion Ads Served a Month Be Wrong”:
MTP : BitTorrent Profits from Piracy By Serving Ads To UTorrent Client

5 thoughts on “BitTorrent, “Not Designed For Piracy”… Really? Seriously? 99% Infringing…

  1. I use BitTorrent for fetching Linux DVD ISOs. This is free software, fetching the ISOs via BT is a lot faster than via ftp or other download methods and it is a lot easier on the (often publicly funded) networks that host these projects.

    It is true that BT is used largely for piracy, but I don’t believe that was the initial intent. In the beginning (I’ve been using it from the start) it was marketed as a way software distributors could get identical large files to lots of people without the infrastructure costs associated with ftp.

    Back then, most people did not have broadband. So if you were a software company with a, say, 312MB file for your customers it would take a long time for someone on a dialup network to download that file. And if there was a corruption in the file, they would have to start over. That’s a long time that the user has a connection to your server.

    With BitTorrent, you could seed the file and users could use a BT client to download it from your seed and from each other in small pieces with checksums to each small piece so that corruptions in the download only require refetching of a small piece.

    Commercial closed source companies largely stayed away from it, even though they could have used it (commercial installer is useless with authentication registration key) but Linux/*BSD distributions embraced it and it works quite well.

    Yes it can also be used for piracy and that is how it is largely used, but I suspect thart is more of a symptom of the majority of large files distributed on the Internet being pirate content opposed to a specific design goal of BT itself.

    1. @AliceWonder – It’s funny how everyone is in the 1%…

      There’s a story the Police (the band) tell about a show in upstate NY in the 70s. Some tiny bar where they played in front of like 30 people. Over the course of their career touring the US the band estimated that there were hundred’s of people, if not more who claimed to have been at that show.

  2. Also, another added benefit of BitTorrent is it is easy to resume if you have to interrupt your download. Personally I only use open source BT clients, so I never see any advertisements, no one is profiting from my use of BT. I also don’t pirate.

    In both cases I admittedly may be the atypical user of BitTorrent (certainly in the latter case). I suspect quite a few of the pirates though also use open source clients and therefore are not seeing advertisements from clients.

  3. I find it interesting that the head of business development at a popular music cloud sharing site said to me that “no one pays for music any more, why bother” when asked about the possibility of monetizing downloads in the future…. That’s the core problem with many of the new music discovery sites. The sonic gatekeepers that write code and don’t play music, or instruments are oblivious to the ramifications of their actions.

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