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Thread: BitTorrent 35% Of The Net Traffic

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003


    By Adam Pasick

    LONDON (Reuters) - A file-sharing program called BitTorrent has become a behemoth, devouring more than a third of the Internet's bandwidth, and Hollywood's copyright cops are taking notice.

    For those who know where to look, there's a wealth of content, both legal -- such as hip-hop from the Beastie Boys and video game promos -- and illicit, including a wide range of TV shows, computer games and movies.

    Average users are taking advantage of the software's ability to cheaply spread files around the Internet. For example, when comedian Jon Stewart made an incendiary appearance on CNN's political talk show "Crossfire," thousands used BitTorrent to share the much-discussed video segment.

    Even as lawsuits from music companies have driven people away from peer-to-peer programs like KaZaa, BitTorrent has thus far avoided the ire of groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America. But as BitTorrent's popularity grows, the service could become a target for copyright lawsuits.

    According to British Web analysis firm CacheLogic, BitTorrent accounts for an astounding 35 percent of all the traffic on the Internet -- more than all other peer-to-peer programs combined -- and dwarfs mainstream traffic like Web pages.

    "I don't think Hollywood is willing to let it slide, but whether they're able to (stop it) is another matter," Bram Cohen, the programmer who created BitTorrent, told Reuters.

    John Malcolm, director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the MPAA, said that his group is well aware of the vast amounts of copyrighted material being traded via BitTorrent.

    "It's a very efficient delivery system for large files, and it's being used and abused by a hell of a lot of people," he told Reuters. "We're studying our options, as we do with all new technologies which are abused by people to engage in theft."


    BitTorrent, which is available for free on, can be used to distribute legitimate content and to enable copyright infringement on a massive scale. The key is to understand how the software works.

    Let's say you want to download a copy of this week's episode of "Desperate Housewives." Rather than downloading the actual digital file that contains the show, instead you would download a small file called a "torrent" onto your computer.

    When you open that file on your computer, BitTorrent searches for other users that have downloaded the same "torrent."

    BitTorrent's "file-swarming" software breaks the original digital file into fragments, then those fragments are shared between all of the users that have downloaded the "torrent." Then the software stitches together those fragments into a single file that a users can view on their PC.

    Sites like Slovenia-based Suprnova ( offer up thousands of different torrents without storing the shows themselves.

    Suprnova is a treasure trove of movies, television shows, and pirated games and software. Funded by advertising, it is run by a teen-age programmer who goes only by the name Sloncek, who did not respond to an e-mailed interview request.

    Enabling users to share copyrighted material illicitly may put Suprnova and its users on shaky legal ground.

    "They're doing something flagrantly illegal, but getting away with it because they're offshore," said Cohen. He is not eager to get into a battle about how his creation is used. "To me, it's all bits," he said.

    But Cohen has warned that BitTorrent is ill-suited to illegal activities, a view echoed by John Malcolm of MPAA.

    "People who use these systems and think they're anonymous are mistaken," Malcolm said. Asked if he thought sites like Suprnova were illegal, he said: "That's still an issue we're studying, that reasonable minds can disagree on," he said.


    Meanwhile, BitTorrent is rapidly emerging as the preferred means of distributing large amounts of legitimate content such as versions of the free computer operating system Linux, and these benign uses may give it some legal protection.

    "Almost any software that makes it easy to swap copyrighted files is ripe for a crackdown BitTorrent's turn at bat will definitely happen," said Harvard University associate law professor Jonathan Zittrain. "At least under U.S. law, it's a bit more difficult to find the makers liable as long as the software is capable of being used for innocent uses, which I think (BitTorrent) surely is."

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  3. File Sharing   -   #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Coventry, UK

    That was a really interesting read. Does anyone know how long Suprnova has been around?


    back to checking my torrent

  4. File Sharing   -   #3
    namzuf9's Avatar Poster
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The Armpit Of The Universe.
    I was wondering how long it would take for the copyright authorities to notice the amount of files being traded via BT. It'll be interesting to see what the courts stance will be on the torrents sites legality. If they refuse to consider torrent sites as illegal it will leave the end-user at risk of court action. Maybe we'll soon be hearing of more 12 year old girls getting sued.

  5. File Sharing   -   #4
    strange and not to be believed
    Crazy about filesharing

  6. File Sharing   -   #5
    I think if they felt that they would come up in a battle against a bt site theyde go for it although chances are legally they may not which would create alot of backlash and would be an open ticket to anyone wanting to start a bt site which can bring alot of traffic.

    I think theve taken the right stance for now, email warnings, no filings since they saw that it did not benifit the Music bizz whatsoever, after all the loss revue song in my opinion is alot of fudge and bs mostly and theres even been fact to show that also...
    Last edited by RealitY; 11-05-2004 at 07:18 AM.

  7. File Sharing   -   #6
    lee551's Avatar no soup for you! BT Rep: +5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    all hail the mighty bittorrent.

  8. File Sharing   -   #7
    ZaZu's Avatar I know stuff ...
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    I knew Bt was big but 35%.....damn!

    If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.
    -- Art Buchwald --

  9. File Sharing   -   #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Mexico city, Mxico
    How exactly do they know 35% is the right number?
    That also means that they know how much bandwith exists in the world?!
    Avatar removed

  10. File Sharing   -   #9
    Most likely based or surveyed in paticular areas...

  11. File Sharing   -   #10
    McrslV's Avatar Hammer Smashed Face
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    who me?
    My opinion is this:
    File sharing became popular when those idiots from metallica decided to cry about napster, which in turn brought file sharing to even more people that werent even aware of it. That in turn caused kazaa and morpheus etc to become so huge that they became a target. then, the almighty Bram Cohen created the BT network, which now shadows any other p2p network. If BT is messed with hard and long enough, it wont be but a matter of time untill a new file sharing protocol is created, and the whole thing will just start all over. The MPAA and RIAA just need to find a way to "shut the fuck up and deal with it"...................also, have you guys noticed that if BT has 35% of all the net traffic, then how come you still hear about movies grossing 20-30 million at the box office, and music artist are still doing sold out shows and record number sales? I think the truth of the matter is: the people that download things wouldnt otherwise go to see the movie, or buy the album anyway. they would be as content to hear it on the radio, or wait till it plays on their local TV station. If p2p was completely wiped out, i believe they would see that revenues wouldnt change as much as they, i didnt think i typed all that, lol

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