Yes, There Are Many, Many, Many, Many Legal Uses Of BitTorrent

from the too-legit-to-quit dept

When the VCR first came on the market, nearly 100% of the TV and movie content it was used for was "unauthorized," because the big studios refused to offer films. Of course, thankfully, the Supreme Court eventually made it clear that just because it was "unauthorized," it didn't mean that taping TV for later watching was "infringing." But, if the metric you used to judge whether or not a new technology is a "pirate technology" is what percentage of its use was "unauthorized," you get a very skewed picture. Early on, all sorts of new and innovative technologies are mostly used for unauthorized copies... until the industry catches up. However, people don't often deal with trends very well, and they assume, quite incorrectly, that if a technology is initially used in an unauthorized manner, it must be a "piracy tool" and no amount of discussing how trends and adaptation works will convince them otherwise. Lately, there has been plenty of talk about BitTorrent -- with a few cases here and there pointing out that a high percentage (usually over 90% of works are infringing). The argument being made is that there is little redeeming value with BitTorrent since it's almost exclusively used for infringement.

Of course, over time, things change. Content creators begin to embrace the new, realize that it might not be evil, and suddenly we see more and more interesting case studies. And that seems to be happening with BitTorrent. The recent MusicMetric analysis of BitTorrent downloads for the first six months of 2012 found that 31% of downloads were for authorized files. Now, you can argue that this is still less than half of all files -- but it's a big step up from the standard claims that somewhere between 1% and 10% were authorized. It seems quite likely that the trend is moving in the right direction.

In an effort to highlight just how much authorized content is shared using BitTorrent, Bittorrent Inc. put together a neat graphic representation of just one day's authorized downloads, creating a massive page that includes a single dot for every authorized download. We've put a snapshot of just a small portion of that image below this post... but that's really only a fragment. If you go to the full page, there's an awful lot of scrolling involved. And that's because it's showing 689,955 authorized downloads. In a single day. Not bad.

In case you're wondering who's actually offering up music that's getting downloaded like this, Eliot van Buskirk tracked down the top ten authorized music acts on BitTorrent, which turns up a few surprises.
  1. Death Grips: 34,151,432
  2. Counting Crows: 26,950,427
  3. Billy Van: 18,702,053
  4. Gods Robot: 12,172,672
  5. Way Too Sick: 9,974,321
  6. Paz: 6,485,001
  7. Bray: 5,878,492
  8. Pretty Lights: 5,005,061
  9. DJ Shadow: 4,349,048
  10. Chester French: 523,356
As Eliot notes, that number one legal download, Death Grips, is signed to a major label deal on Epic (part of Sony Music). The Counting Crows are obviously a big name as well, and we wrote about their decision to use BitTorrent. They're ex-big label, but now independent. Also, DJ Shadow and Chester French were both associated with Universal sub-labels, though I do not know if either are still "signed." Either way, it's interesting to see that it's a mix of artists, including some from major labels and some others. It certainly looks like, perhaps, the idea that BitTorrent is just for infringement may have to be officially considered debunked.

Seriously, this is just a small fraction... click to see the whole thing

Filed Under: authorized uses, bittorent, trends
Companies: bittorrent


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Oct 2012 @ 1:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Not immoral, just a customer-unfriendly business decision."

    Funny, whenever I criticise a customer unfriendly business decision, like infected content with DRM so that I can't use it properly, or regionally restricting content I would otherwise be able to import in a perfectly legal fashion, you people tell me to bend over and take it. I've been abused many times on this site merely for daring to point out that such decisions are causing more lost sales from me than piracy ever could.

    Why the double standards? Why is Blizzard in the wrong for doing something that doesn't negatively affect any of their current customers, yet it's OK for Ubisoft to make their games unusable if I'm even suspected of piracy?

    "Blizzard, in their attempt to save a few bucks, makes the best option for me to scour the Internet for dozens of patches or find a questionably-legal patched ISO from God knows what source?"

    No they haven't. Honestly, what makes you think they'd guarantee a faster download if they offered everything via HTTP or FTP? Why didn't you download the most recently updated client from Blizzard directly (last time I checked, they offered full client downloads with non-torrent options), or an official mirror? Why is it a problem that they're looking after live subscribers better than people who haven't subscribed for years?

    You made the choice, and you're trying to parley your own cluelessness into an attack on Blizzard and Techdirt. It doesn't fly for those of us who know reality, and if this is the best you've got you're not going to change anyone's mind here. At best, you look like a fool who couldn't work out his options when he decided he wasn't happy with the service he was getting. At worst, you look like an obsessed fool who just *has* to attack others rather than concede he's wrong, even when he so clearly is.

    "If they made those the fastest or the most convenient option because of, say, DRM, they'd be eviscerated here."

    I'm sorry you're too stupid to work out the difference, I really am. But you've clearly made up your own mind yet again, without trying to understand the arguments being made either in this thread nor in those regarding DRM and other restrictions.

    "But because they do it to save some money at my expense and because they lend some credibility to a protocol otherwise used for unprecedented-scale piracy, I'm the huge idiot - not them."

    You said it. The fact that you think that a mere file transfer protocol should be avoided because someone else uses it for things you don't like is evidence of that.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.