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Legal Torrent Sites Help Legitimize BitTorrent

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the salvation-for-the-buzzword-deficient dept.

Media 257

Jeff writes "In today's Seattle Times, technology columnist Paul Andrews highlights how legal torrent sites such as CommonBits may lead to wider adoption and acceptance of BitTorrent. With reports that illegal torrent usage may be more than a third of Internet traffic, sites like LegalTorrents, Torrentocracy, Prodigem and bt.etree may offer a compelling defense to future legal attacks while simultaneously promoting fair use rights. Andrews goes on to argue that the future of television may be no further away than integration of podcasting, RSS, tagging and BlogTorrent."

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257 comments

Legal torrent sites? (5, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875827)

Doesn't that imply that the mere (former) existence of sites like Lokitorrent and Suprnova was illegal?

I'm not sure if that was ever decided by a court - rather it appears that scare tactics caused them to be shut down. For that reason, I personally don't feel comfortable declaring linking to content hosted on other systems illegal.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875861)

Saying that these sites are legal or illegal is like opening a legal knife shop.

The torrent protocol isn't illegal, the sites running them aren't illegal, the content distributed from different places however can be illegal in most countries.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (5, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876163)

Saying that these sites are legal or illegal is like opening a legal knife shop.

Er... no, it isn't.

You can take any knife and commit a crime with it, and likewise you can take any knife and use it in a perfectly legal manner. However, you can't make downloading FreeBSD into copyright infringement whatever you do, and you can't stop downloading a cam of a Hollywood movie being copyright infringement whatever you do.

Therefore, a single knife can be used both legally and illegally, but downloading from a single torrent can only be legal or illegal. Therefore, your analogy does not work.

The sites running [illegal torrents] aren't illegal...

Regardless of whether hosting links to illegal torrents, or running trackers for illegal torrents, is legal or not (given that the people who run these sites inevitably settle when sued, the implication is that THEY don't believe it's legal!), the concept of a "legal torrent site" - being one which hosts only torrents which it is legal for anyone to join - is a useful one.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876356)

Thank you for putting words into my mouth.

My statement of "The sites running them aren't illegal" is absolutely correct.
Sites running bittorrent file downloads are not illegal.

Downloading copyright material without consent is illegal no matter what the protocol.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (5, Informative)

Heisenbug (122836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876468)

Therefore, a single knife can be used both legally and illegally, but downloading from a single torrent can only be legal or illegal. Therefore, your analogy does not work.

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that's not true. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are knives that are legal to possess, and knives that are illegal to possess -- switchblades, pocket knives over a certain length, etc. The act of acquiring the knife, like the act of acquiring the file, is itself illegal.

I don't have the patience to figure out whether either of you is making sense otherwise. Please continue.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (2, Interesting)

araemo (603185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876626)

Well, actually...

There are very narrow circumstances where downloading a torrent of a movie is indeed 'legal'(If you can't copy the DVD you bought, but want a backup copy anyways.. damn css. ;P).

Likewise, it is possible for a torrent to be 'legal' to download sometimes/by some people, but 'illegal' for other times/people.

Also, running a torrent site is not legal or illegal. Providing torrents(Or, perhaps more accurately, running a tracker) for copyrighted materials is quite likely contributory infringement, and therefor 'illegal'.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (5, Insightful)

huge colin (528073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875871)

I think the point is that these sites are unquestionably legal, even to boneheaded organizations like the MPAA. (It's necessary to make things very, very simple such that they can understand.)

Re:Legal torrent sites? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876166)

Just wait until a file called "Episode 3" is listed. MPAA's sueing robots will tear them up to tiny bits before their masterminds even realize it's not what the bot thought it is.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876306)

It's not that they're boneheaded - quite the opposite. Bittorrent and similar apps are (they believe) a real thorn in their side at the moment. They believe that if they can show that these apps have no significant non-infringing use, then they can have them outlawed. That would make their jobs much easier - rather than having to be able to prove that a user was violating their copyrights, they'd just have to prove that they were using the apps at all.

Let me put it this way - why should they care that people like us use these things for perfectly legal file trading, if enough people use them in ways that do infringe? We're not their concern - preventing you or I from getting the latest Linux ISO isn't going to impact their profits at all. Hell, *personally* they may care, but *professionally*, it's not even a consideration, as long as they (believe that they) stand to lose more money by doing nothing, than by seeking to outlaw p2p apps.

They're not boneheaded, they just have a different set of priorities, and you're never going to be able to effectively work against them by dismissing them and their actions in this way.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (1)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875892)

I think the phrase "legal torrent sites" could be interpreted to mean "sites that host legal torrents" in addition to "legal...sites" and until someone tells me otherwise, lokitorrent and suprnova were not illegal in my opinion*, though they may have assisted in illegal activities such as copyright infringement.

*One should note that this is my opinion only so far at it is meaningless. If I thought my opinion were actually important, I would do more thinking and less /. posting.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (1)

myc_lykaon (645662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875941)

I think it is a matter of semantics. A 'legal torrent site' is a site that 'hosts links to torrents of provably legal data'; and 'illegal torrent site' is a site that 'hosts links to torrents of provably illegal (in many jurisdictions) data'. It doesn't really say much regarding the legality or otherwise of the hub itself.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876414)

Hmm, I must have missed the point where BitTorrent was declared illegitimate.

Do items like this help? This basically says to me, "BT is somewhat illegitimate, but with the right direction, it could be made ok!"

BitTorrent, itself, is already 100% legitimate. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, its one of best things that has happened for content distributors.

I personally like the gun analogy (from my relative safety in .au) - if guns are made, and people use them illegally, do the gun manufacturers get sued? If P2P software is declared illegitimate because people use it for illegal purposes, I'd hope to see gun manufacturers getting screwed by the same legislation.

Re:Legal torrent sites? (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876791)

"personally don't feel comfortable declaring linking to content hosted on other systems illegal." Idiots like the Microsoft "investigator" James Young do not understand the difference between linking, hosting a file or running a tracker, if James Young (or RIAA/MPAA for that matter) finds something he does like he will send http://static.thepiratebay.org/ms-loveletter.txt [thepiratebay.org] a takedown demand regardless of who is tracking the file or where they are actually hosted - even if it is perfectly clear they have grownds for their demand. And Internet Service Providers tend to get scared when they get letters like this, some will take down your server regardless of the lack of legal grounds for their demands -- very few ISPs have the balls to politely say no http://static.thepiratebay.org/dreamworks_response .txt [thepiratebay.org] to such requests.

Not Really (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875830)

It only takes 1 illegal site to put BitTorrent in the crosshairs of the *AA groups. In fact, the fact that we are celebrating some legal sites speaks volumes to where BitTorrent currently stands.

Re:Not Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876602)

Usualy you only get only a few torrents from sites that respect copyright, there are tons of these, but you don't hear of them, because they don't run trackers, just offer big fails with bittorrent. Yes, tracker sites have a less then stellar record, but you could download GNU/Linux distribution isos before all that started.

Sure... (5, Insightful)

Fyz (581804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875833)

But is be legal to download anything that I'm ever going to have any interest in?
I somehow doubt that the content of these sites, and by extension the sites themselves, are going to be popular in the long run.

Just to state the bleeding obvious, of course.

Re:Sure... (4, Insightful)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876503)

Maybe you should check out the sites before passing judgment about them. Actually, I was about to reply to your comment with another snarky jab, but I decided to check out some of the sites and I actually found a bunch of movies that I can't wait to watch once I get home from work.

Granted, I'll still probably go to other torrent sites too, but don't knock it until you try it. =)

Re:Sure... (2, Interesting)

cowsandmilk (824602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876594)

etree.org has been popular for a long time as it holds concert footage of a number of bands that are well liked by a portion of America. While they may not have the popularity of pop music, noone is going to argue with downloading legal Dave Matthews, Grateful Dead, Phish, and other bands. The bands on that site are quite akin to the ones that one sees at Bonaroo each year, which has been a bigger success than many people imagined. I don't know much about the others, but as a long-time etree user, I can attest to its popularity.

Linux ISOs?? (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876776)

Popular doesn't always = good.

Lots of isos available, slackware even distributes via torrent now.

checkout
http://www.slackware.com/getslack/torr ents.php

its an inexpensive way to distribute the project and a great idea.

You don't always have to get just movies and mp3 from torrent. People downloading that stuff are the reason the RIAA/MPAA are even paying attention to torrent

Fighting this same battle now. (5, Interesting)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875834)

TPTB at my school have unilaterally blocked BitTorrent, characterizing it as a rogue protocol. The argument the admins make is that any legitimate product will have plenty of bandwidth to be downloadable via http. The administration supports the sysadmins, because they don't like getting C&D's from the *AA, so the power of the technical folks is unchecked--the faculty, traditionally the guardians of freedom on campus, don't even have the issue on their radar.

Examples like this can only help the cause, though I'm not sure by how much.

Re:Fighting this same battle now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876270)

so tunnel it through port 80.

big whoop. we do it here at the corperate level all the time.

no I will NOt tell you how. get off your LAZY ass and search google for it.

Re:Fighting this same battle now. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876423)

Fuck you, moron. If you have to tunnel to somewhere that doesn't block the ports, what good is all that .edu bandwidth. And a fuck you to whoever modded the first post about the topic redundant.

Defense (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875839)

With reports that illegal torrent usage may be more than a third of Internet traffic, sites like LegalTorrents, Torrentocracy, Prodigem and bt.etree may offer a compelling defense to future legal attacks

MPAA: I'm suing you for you website with links to Torrents of all our movies.

Pirate: Look, that other site over there offers torrents of non-infringing material.

Court: Because other people are using torrents lawfully, this guy can pirate all he likes. Case dismissed.

Re:Defense (4, Informative)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875873)

It's not about attacks against pirates, it's against legal attacks against the program creators (ie. holding the owners of a p2p network responsible for its users).

Re:Defense (2, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876725)

You are half right, and this doesn't really apply to Bram Cohen the way it does Kazaa and the old Napster which both of the latter are networks were the principal purpose is copyright infringement, such is not the case with Bit Torrent. BT was designed from the beginning with other purposes in mind and has effectively been hijacked by illicit users. The technology is not to blame, just the network owners, and this is why the makers of Kazaa and other 'piracy' networks have been hauled into court repeatedly and why Bram Cohen has been left alone.

Re:Defense (3, Insightful)

SithGod (810139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875876)

These sites aren't a defense against people who run pirate sites, but against outlawing the actual bittorrent protocal

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875900)

These sites aren't a defense against people who run pirate sites, but against outlawing the actual bittorrent protocal

Which is something that nobody wanted to do anyway.

Re:Defense (0)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876300)

You're wrong. The MPAA almost certainly would like to, and I've seen people honestly argue in favor of it.

Re:Defense (2, Insightful)

PyWiz (865118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876130)

I don't think anyone is talking about the people who do the actual pirating of the software (i.e. serve it via bittorrent). We're talking about the future of the bittorrent protocol itself.

While it may seem silly to believe that a protocol for file transfer could be in trouble because a few people used it for illegal file sharing, think about what happened to Kazaa. Sharman Networks wasn't necessarily distributing any copyrighted material on their own, they were merely providing a method of hooking up with other people who have copyrighted material (ala suprnova).

While this may not be technically _illegal_, they are still propogating criminal activities and as such _someone_ is always going to be after them. Folks like the *AA have managed to harass Sharman networks to the point that it's questionable whether they'll be able to carry on, in spite of the fact that they weren't doing anything technically "illegal". People seem to think you can always hide behind the actual law, but in this day and age, blatantly exploiting loopholes such as this will surely result in some retaliation.

-py

What? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875849)

With reports that illegal torrent usage may be more than a third of Internet traffic

The reports state that BitTorrent use may be more than a third of Internet traffic. They don't state that illegal BitTorrent use may be more than a third of Internet traffic.

You've just gone and assumed that BitTorrent is exclusively illegal, while moaning about the fact that others do it too. Way to go, dickhead.

Re:What? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876046)

Actually i don't believe this is correct.

I heard numbers around 2-5% (total bittorrent traffic / internet global trafic)

Re:What? (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876450)

I think the report most frequently cited is CacheLogic's one [cachelogic.com] (news article [slyck.com] ). They give a figure of 53% of P2P traffic, and their graphs show BitTorrent overwhelming many other forms of traffic, compared to the wider internet. I can't find the actual "one third" figure, but I did see 35% in a couple of places while looking for this.

Re:What? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876520)

Yeah and i also would note that CacheLogic is something to p2p as antivirus companies to virus writers - not an independent source.

Re:What? (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876645)

Yeah, I should've actually mentioned that, the report reads like (and is) and ad for their software. It's been reported enough places to be given at least some credence, although whether that's due to the sensationalist figures I wouldn't like to comment.

Like the open source (5, Insightful)

nbharatvarma (784546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875859)

Internet provides a very powerful way to reach a lot of people. Like how companies should embrace opensource, TV and Movie companies should learn to embrace the internet.

When the article says the intent is to provide otherwise inaccessible content to Internet "viewers", it only applies to the novice users and those who don't read /. But I must say this is a start. If the companies can support this actively, it would be better.

Re:Like the open source (2, Interesting)

plasticmillion (649623) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876448)

I totally agree with this view, in fact I recently wrote a whole essay on the topic of what media companies can learn from the open source movement (see my sig if you're interested).

The biggest lesson, in my view, is that people will take matters into their own hands if corporations don't play fair. This is what happened with open source: programmers got so sick of companies like Microsoft bullying them that they banded together and created a whole new IT infrastructure of their own.

What's to stop artists in the film, music, photography and print industries doing the same? Absolutely nothing, which is why sites like Commonbits are now springing up to facilite consumer-to-consumer-style interactions that cut corporations out of the loop. All that's missing is a payment system to finance more professional production and the media industry is going to be facing a very similar threat to what established software vendors have experienced as a result of the open source movement.

BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (5, Informative)

theoddbot (520034) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875860)

BitTorrent 4.0.0 was released today.

Get it from http://www.bittorrent.com [bittorrent.com] .

The license has changed to the BitTorrent Open Source License [bittorrent.com]

Release Notes:
All new queue-based user interface

Many options are now modifiable from the interface

Lots of other interface improvements

Extra stats are visible, for those who like it

Remembers what it was doing across restarts

New .torrent maker "btmaketorrentgui" replaces "btcompletedir"

Better performance, as always

License has changed to the BitTorrent Open Source License

Torrent fields are correctly created and interpreted as utf8

Too many little things to list

Single port: launchmany can seed and client can download many files from a single port and thread

Interface now uses GTK instead of wxWidgets

BitTorrent packets are marked as bulk data to make traffic shaping easier

Re:BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (who cares!) (-1, Troll)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875943)

The standard client's crap. Huge system hog. Pulling 5 torrents concurrently drags my PC to a crawl. Bitlord, azerus...there are tons of other apps that implement the protocol much more elegantly.

Re:BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (who cares!) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875997)

Your PC must be crap then.

Re:BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (who cares!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876002)

I hope this is a troll: on my 450MHz computer, the standard client elegantly handle 10 simultaneous downloads while Azureus uses more than 100MB of RAM for one download only!

Re:BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (who cares!) (-1, Offtopic)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876220)

are you using Windows or Linux? My old roommate and I frequently tried to download the same file over the same connection, or rather he tried and it went slow, so I downloaded it. I was using the Linux Curses client, while he tried many different Windows clients. I had a PII-266, he had a pentium 4. The Linux client always got much better download rates, and I could run 3 or 4 no problem. The internet connection suffered more than my computer.

Re:BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875967)

Additional features in the slashdot edition:

Increase penis size by at least 20%

Makes you irresistable to the opposite sex*

Automatic emailing to RIAA/MPAA/CIA and FBI when illegal content seeded.

Dynamic updating of your DNS, making your banking and ebay experience better.

Full software testing

Dupe removal

*No guarantee they will be the same species however.

Re:BitTorrent 4.0.0 Released (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876134)

All new queue-based user interface

I wonder if he never fixed that one to let users download in parallel. In the beta, it downloaded those in sequence. How about a big "doh" for that one. :-(

Legal Shmegal! (-1, Offtopic)

53cur!ty (588713) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875867)

legal shmegal!

Just what I want to download, your video of your Grandmother's 90th birthday party!!

In other slightly related news (2, Informative)

chrisbeatty (811646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875882)

The BBC are reporting [bbc.co.uk] that a Russian website offering MP3's is not in breach of Russian copyright laws.

I guess people outside Russia dowloading from the site are still in breach of copyright in their own country?

illegal usage legitimate usage (4, Insightful)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875894)

The only problem with "legitimizing" bittorrent's image is that, as a protocol, it's still the most popular one for illega filesharing. We admins quite frankly don't give one hoot about its benign uses: we KNOW that the second we stop filtering BT traffic, our bandwidth usage is gonna go up.

Re:illegal usage legitimate usage (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875936)

as a protocol, it's still the most popular one for illega filesharing.

Really? NNTP, FTP, DCC and HTTP are quite popular.

We admins quite frankly don't give one hoot about its benign uses: we KNOW that the second we stop filtering BT traffic, our bandwidth usage is gonna go up.

Hint: you can lower your bandwidth usage by filtering NNTP, FTP, DCC and HTTP too.

If the problem is with bandwidth use, why are you bringing the law into this? Filter it because it soaks up all your bandwidth, don't make up stupid excuses like "it's illegal" when it's not true.

Re:illegal usage legitimate usage (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875977)

If the problem is with bandwidth use, why are you bringing the law into this? Filter it because it soaks up all your bandwidth, don't make up stupid excuses like "it's illegal" when it's not true.

Or he could only limit the bandwith of the default ports...

Re:illegal usage legitimate usage (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876245)

we KNOW that the second we stop filtering BT traffic, our bandwidth usage is gonna go up.

Put differently: "we KNOW that the second we stop filtering BT traffic, people will use our network less".

It's a tough world we're living in huh? ;-)

Re:illegal usage legitimate usage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876264)

Bah, skip "stop" above, of course.

Copy & paste is evil. :-p

Re:illegal usage legitimate usage (1)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876256)

You might be surprised, all the people who want to use bittorrent have probably left and gone elsewhere.

Pay Per View business model needed (5, Insightful)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875897)

I missed last week's episode of Lost. None of my friends had recorded it so I found the torrent and downloaded it. Hurley's crazy. Anyway, I would rather have gone to the ABC site, paid like a $1 or something, and downloaded it from them. I want to support stuff I find interesting but there is no way to do that with TV episodes. What do I do, wait for the DVD next year? Please. ABC and the like could use BitTorrent to distribute Pay Per View content. I'd like that very much.

Re:Pay Per View business model needed (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875951)

"Hurley's crazy"

Huh? Are we watching the same show?

Re:Pay Per View business model needed (1)

uq1 (59540) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875952)

Or you could have waited for a rerun I guess?

Although, me being in Australia, I also download the latest Losts and 24s :)

Re:Pay Per View business model needed (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876212)

Or you could have waited for a rerun I guess?

Which more often than not, even the TV company that will eventually broadcast it, don't actually know when they'll do it. :-/

Re:Pay Per View business model needed (1)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876426)

Or you could have waited for a rerun I guess?

Yeah but in the case of Lost or Battlestar Galactica, if you miss an episode in order, you miss quite a bit. I can always catch battlestar again on Monday nights but I can't find a rebroadcast of Lost on my ABC lineup.

Re:Pay Per View business model needed (4, Insightful)

BridgeBum (11413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876184)

As would many on Slashdot. I even think the studios want this too...so long as it can be done their way. What's the point of DRM if not to be able to offer content for a fee with the 'comfort' of knowing that the content can't be then shared with 100,000 of your closest friends.

I'm not a fan of DRM by any stretch, but I think DRM is the missing ingredient to see the *AA embrace new media.

Of course, if you can come up with a way to avoid all the DRM nonsense and still make the *AA execs comfortable that they will still roll in the dough...

Re:Pay Per View business model needed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876429)

What ABC wants you to do is drop what you're doing and rush home to catch the show on time, and watch it along with all the commercials. You should also watch whatever they're showing afterwards too. I hope you've learned your lesson.

oh great... "lefty" politics ahead... (0, Troll)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875902)

"We want to be a resource for politically left people and community-based organizations," said Jeff Reifman, a former Microsoft manager who works at Groundspring.org, a Web-tools builder for nonprofits. He helped put together CommonBits.


Any legal or fair-use content, including Seattle-based events and gatherings, is appropriate for CommonBits, Reifman says. But it needs to fit CommonBits' philosophy and will be screened to meet the service's goals.

so any legal material that doesn't fit their leftist worldview will be censored... how nice...

What I want to see is for this to have no biases except possibly to comply with hate crime legislation and to suitably screen access to some items for over 18s only. I want no political slanting of what gets in, I would far rather it be noted for the fairness of their coverage.

Re:oh great... "lefty" politics ahead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875953)

so any legal material that doesn't fit their leftist worldview will be censored... how nice...

Look you moron, if they select what they distribute, it's not censorship, even if the selection process has an agenda behind it. They aren't stopping you from viewing material, they are just choosing not to distribute it themselves.

Re:oh great... "lefty" politics ahead... (3, Insightful)

Baal Sebub (797455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875960)

It's not censorship. They specifically say that it's a "resource for politically left people". So you know what to expect when downloading their content. If you want no political slanting, don't use their service, that's all there is to say.
Again: not censorship

Lefty-bashing (5, Insightful)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875975)

So any legal material that doesn't fit their leftist worldview will be censored... how nice...

No, you idiot, it will just fail to be promoted by this site. There is a big difference. You can do the same kind of thing with your right-wing attack site if you so wish. At the least you can agree that there is a market for news for leftists (whatever "leftist" means - in the USA it apparently means anyone who is not a rabid neocon)

What I want to see is for this to have no biases

So make your own. The existence of this site doesn't stop you doing that, and good luck; you'll need it in heaps. Unbiased news is very difficult, arguably impossible.

I want no political slanting of what gets in, I would far rather it be noted for the fairness of their coverage.

Try the BBC [bbc.co.uk] , it comes close.

Re:Lefty-bashing (2, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876103)

I'm guessing this guy (GP) watches only FOX. He's knows it's unbiased, because they tell him it is :-)

Parent got modded up? M.O.C. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876336)

n/t

got a torrent? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875916)

they got slashdotted already :/ anybody got a torrent?

Fighting Windmills? (3, Insightful)

Baal Sebub (797455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875923)

Why exactly is there a need to "legitimize" the Bittorrent protocol?
AFAIK there never was an initiative to outlaw the protocol itself.
Talk about paranoia.

Re:Fighting Windmills? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876074)

If we don't fight windmills the damn things will take over the world.

There is a push to regulate file sharing programs. Just look at tinyP2P [freedom-to-tinker.com]

Talk about paranoia.

Not here. The walls have eyes and ears.

Re:Fighting Windmills? (0, Offtopic)

Baal Sebub (797455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876453)

Where is this "push" you're talking about? Your link to tinyP2P just isn't relevant in this context. Nice little piece of Software, though.

Bittorrent traffic makeup... (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875925)

With reports that illegal torrent usage may be more than a third of Internet traffic...

Sorry, but how the hell are the people who come up with the numbers able to differentiate between legal and illegal torrents?

First of all, how do you tell between traffic that's due to Linux ISOs and traffic that's due to the latest movie release? Secondly, how do you differentiate between copying of material that may be legal in one country and copying of the same material that may be illegal in another one?

I'm not saying that legal torrent usage is greater than illegal torrent usage (any more than I would say that more drivers stick to speed limits than break them) but it seems to me that there's no real way of differentiating between the two, so all those reports are arguably just speculation.

Re:Bittorrent traffic makeup... (3, Informative)

PigleT (28894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875999)

Well, you could plant a fake site and use their stats to see what people go for.

I find it quite weird to think that people will actually write to me and ask if I "still have a torrent for [movie] lying around". Who in their right mind would advertise the fact they're looking for something which to download would be a violation of copyright?? And yet I've actually seen exactly this happening... (Background: I run a small tarpit [spodzone.org.uk] to trap illegal seekers, idiots, the MPAA and spammers - with success on all counts.)

Re:Bittorrent traffic makeup... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876068)

Sorry, but how the hell are the people who come up with the numbers able to differentiate between legal and illegal torrents?

They aren't able to do that. In fact, they said no such thing. It's just yet another instance of the Slashdot "editors" blindly publishing something without even bothering to follow and read the links (in this case to their own site!).

In other news, the Slashdot effect is rapidly waning [businessweek.com] . But of course, there's no connection to the rapidly declining quality of Slashdot, is there?

Freedom doesn't matter if the facts are wrong (2, Interesting)

davidoff404 (764733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875950)

This is another example of how an ostensibly useful and forward-thinking resource is blighted by terrible factual errors and rank amateurism. In the case of CommonBits [commonbits.org] , what looks like an excellent resource for politically related material is turned into a nonsense with mistakes like the opportunity to listen to the first presidential debate of 2004 between Bush and Dean [commonbits.org] [sic]. And that's just the first error I found.

Thanks, but I think I'll stick to my nytimes.com [nytimes.com] and news.bbc.co.uk [bbc.co.uk] .

Thank you Leeds University... (1)

David Horn (772985) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875986)

For looking the other way while I use my residence internet connection to catch up on missed TV shows.

Similar to any protocol (2, Informative)

sckeener (137243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875987)

I find it hard to think of torrent as anything other than another transmission protocol.

I know it isn't since it is acting at another layer, but for all purposes how is it different from tcpip?

I think if it was bundled with a browser websites would start using this for load balancing. People that love /. Would start torrent/mirroring it.....

I know it wouldn't work like that, but I can see a lot of potential in bittorrent for legal purposes

Re:Similar to any protocol (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876514)

I know it isn't since it is acting at another layer, but for all purposes how is it different from tcpip?

It is specifically designed to faciliate the distribution of very large files to a large number of people. And nearly all the very large files that a lot of people are interested in are copyrighted commercial movies or games.


I think if it was bundled with a browser websites would start using this for load balancing. People that love /. Would start torrent/mirroring it.....

No, they wouldn't because the protocol is useless for distributing files smaller than about 1 MB.

Slackware... (4, Insightful)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875989)

Slackware has been using BitTorrent for a while now. You have the option of using that, or the normal download methods. You can visit them here. [slackware.org]

I've seen many other legitimate uses for BitTorrent, since there are a lot of things to download that are of considerable size.

Guns are sometimes used to commit crimes, yet we do not outlaw them. Bongs are being sold at the local Waterbeds N Stuff. Knives that aren't practical for neither hunting or home protection can be purchased in lots of places. Why should software be any different?

Re:Slackware... (3, Insightful)

CockblockTheVote (849450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876077)

Guns are sometimes used to commit crimes, yet we do not outlaw them. Bongs are being sold at the local Waterbeds N Stuff. Knives that aren't practical for neither hunting or home protection can be purchased in lots of places. Why should software be any different?
because the crimes committed with guns and knives don't result in the percieved loss of product by major lobbying groups of congress. the can only end in the loss of a human life. and we know how much that is worth.

Re:Slackware... (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876287)


Bad analogies.

Guns _are_ banned, to varying degrees, in lots of places - in the UK people are now talking about banning airguns.

Bongs may get you into trouble as "Drug Paraphernalia" - varies by country.

Knives also sometimes have restrictions, eg. here in the UK: no sales of anything sharp to kids, flick-knives / switchblades, balisongs and a few other types banned, carrying any fixed (or lockable) blade in public without specific reason is also illegal.

iwell then (1)

Mach5 (3371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876010)

i got all 4 slackware 10.1 CDs last night while i slept over my DSL, using torrent. fantastic! torrents should be used for anything over 10megs.

Re:iwell then (1)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876108)

I get the same 4 cds over cable while i sleep too. But i get them from ftp. This way i use some 2.5 gb bandwidth, but when it's done at 1am the connection will shut.

I've used bittorrent before but being on a montly data limit i prefer ftps, especially for larger files...

My legal bittorrent experience from yesterday (3, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876022)

Everyone remembers that article about privateer 1.0 remake?

My university sits on 2.5gbyte/s pipe, i have control over around 500mbyte/s.

I decided it would be cool to help share the wealth and let around --max_upload_rate 20000 for a few hours. It was maxed out ;)

Re:My legal bittorrent experience from yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876235)

Er, I take it you realise that unless the Privateer remake has explicit written permission to use EA's trademarks and copyrighted material, it is in fact infringing both copyright and trademark law, and distributing it is illegal?

I tried to find anywhere on their site where it says "used with permission", and I failed. Maybe you can show me what I missed?

Re:My legal bittorrent experience from yesterday (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876430)

uh, common sense?

The Internet is now useless for legal purposes... (2, Interesting)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876113)

"With reports that illegal torrent usage may be more than a third of Internet traffic"

I wish I had a link, but I have also heard that spam accounted for two thirds of Internet traffic.

So, the entire bandwidth of the Internet is taken up by illegal traffic?

3D Gamers use .torrents too (5, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876162)

I downloaded the fairly recent Unreal Tournament patch yesterday from 3D Gamers here [3dgamers.com] and their "World" download is a .torrent. When download sites like these start using BitTorrent, I really think it has become a mainstream technology.

I also downloaded the Linux version of the same patch.

Needless to say, the Windows version downloaded at 200+ KB / sec, and the Linux version was restricted by their slightly loaded server at ~80 KB / sec.

Slashdotted (0, Offtopic)

isotpist (857411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876290)

All those links in the summary are not loading for me right now. I wish there was a torrent...

And this changes things how exactly ? (1)

RedK (112790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876366)

Ok, so some sites offer torrents with a proper license so as to remove doubt about their legality vis-a-vis copyright regulations... And ?

This won't change the fact that the MPAA and RIAA are going against sites like Suprnova or Lokitorrents, and rightly so. I don't think no one ever questionned the protocol itself. Why this sudden urge to "legitimize" it. It's already legitimate, big corps use it themselves (see Blizzard and their modified version).

It's a shame.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876381)

that Bit torrent has been given such a bad name by the MPAA and RIAA. Bit torrent is an amazning technology that deserves acceptance by the mainstream media.

I still remember how cool I thought it was that Blizzard used Bit Torrent to distribute the beta for World of Warcraft. At least one company understands its potential...

News Flash (2, Funny)

ZehFernando (848954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876412)

In a shocker announcement, Common Sense LLC announced today that HTTP, FTP, TELNET, email and other protocols can also be used for piracy.

MPAA has already announced it plans to sue the creators and maintainers of such protocols and its clients. Other associations are expected to follow suit shortly.

When I first installed Worlds of Warcraft... (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876454)

And it proceeded to patch itself by downloading the patch executable using bittorrent, I thought to myself, "Finally, something that isn't illegal that bittorrent is perfectly suited to!"

I have to give Blizzard credit, it's an amazingly great use of the technology.

Lots of uses (1)

ZehFernando (848954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876664)

I think that the thing is, there are lots of legal uses that torrent is suitable to, but people don't use it simply because it's still seen as something only pirates use. Companies like to stay away from P2P without even considering it.

There are already several good uses for torrent. Linux and other open source/free software project distributions is the most obvious; game videos/trailers/patches/demos is another, I use filerush.com for that all the time. Also, take id Software's SDK release: they had an official torrent for it and it helped a lot (their ftp/htt[ server usually gets slashdotteded just a few minutes after they release any file, but that didn't happen this time).

You don't have to be slave to bloat subscription monsters like fileplanet anymore. Just download a torrent from a server with lesser bandwidth and let other downloaders help you while you also help other people. It's also great for people who doesn't live in the US and doesn't have nearby http/ftp servers for huge downloads (like me). Torrent clients will end up downloading from other clients that are near me and the whole interweb traffic gains with my shortened download hops.

I can't wait for people to realize that torrent is a great way to distribute huge files and that whole "p2p == piracy" crap ends.

Maybe Google will buy it (3, Interesting)

hooded1 (89250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11876492)

I know this is a bit far off but it would be interesting ot see google run a tracker for legal files. If anyone they make bit torrent legit. Two years ago i never would have considered it, but given google's expansionist policies recently it sounds plausible if still unlikely

Details of copyright infringement (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11876769)

Alot of replies have mentioned that people may be "infringing copyright by downloading blah" .. This is completely wrong.

Copyright is exactly what it sounds like .. The right to copy something. If you download a file, you are not making a copy of it. The uploader is. It's a fine line of course, but essentially they have the object in question and their software is reading the contents of that object and sending copies to you.

Downloading _anything_ cannot possibly be a violation of copyright. It is a physical impossibility.

Nobody has ever been prosecuted, sued, or legally harrassed in any way, in any of the countries that most english-speakers would consider worth mentioning, for only downloading copyrighted material. The infringment occurs in providing it to others.

Bittorrent as both a program and a protocol is no more illegal than Apache or HTTP. .. or a blank betamax tape.
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