BitTorrent Wants To Be Hollywood's New Best Friend

Illustration for article titled BitTorrent Wants To Be Hollywood's New Best Friend

Torrenting, it's the tool of thieves and pirates, right? The evil protocol no honest person should ever dare touch? Not quite, but it's got that reputation with some, and it's trying hard to shake it. According to BitTorrent's executive director of marketing Matt Mason, they plan to take it all the way in the other direction and really get in deep with legal distribution next year.


Now before anyone gets upset, it's worth noting BitTorrent is already in the business of legal content distribution. It dabbled in operating a storefront back in 2008 and it's always been a great way to download huge pieces of open source software. This plan goes a bit farther than that though. As Mason told the New York Times, "We've been trying to groom the entertainment industry to think about BitTorrent as a partner."

And it makes sense, BitTorrent has a gigantic user-base, more than Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify combined, times two. And it's an efficient way to download large files, much better than pulling them from a single source. But are all those users there because BitTorrent is great, or because free (pirated) content abounds? BitTorrent is betting on the former.

According to Mason, these plans don't involve setting up any kind of store or anything. Instead, BitTorrent simply wants to reach out to rightsholders to offer itself up as a delivery mechanism, whether that will mean Torrentable downloads of extra goodies that come with a traditional purchase, or set top boxes that use the protocol to download and stream. BitTorrent's certainly got a bad rap considering its method is so efficient and its name is something of a dirty word. Whether this push can do anything to change that remains to be seen. Hopefully it can. [The New York Times]

Image by Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock



This is a wickedly clever business plan, until any one of the consumers realize what they're paying for.

The physical analogy is thus:

Imagine a restaurant without a kitchen or wait staff. There's only a cashier. If you order something off the menu, it simply fills your order by having other customers walk food over to you duplicated from their plates.

Basically, you'd be paying the media companies for them to use YOUR bandwidth to serve other customers that are paying them as well. It's like paying a city to use a bus that you all bought and take turns driving. The city puts out no infrastructure and collects your money for the right to use your resources.

The idea behind Torrent'ing anything is the fact that "we're all in this together," and "not paying for it." The idea behind having to pay someone to share something is beyond comprehension. If this is going to be used primarily as a streaming/rental service with heavy DRM and not a method of purchasing the product, it would be like having to pay Toyota to lend your Camry to someone for the weekend.