Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Piracy Ubuntu Your Rights Online

Wil Wheaton: BitTorrent Isn't Only For Piracy 354

itwbennett writes "Geek advocate Wil Wheaton has written a blog post on the (legal) usefulness of BitTorrent, saying that the speed of his recent download of Ubuntu 12.04 should serve as a reminder that BitTorrent fills an important niche. Wheaton compares blocking BitTorrent to closing freeways because bank robbers could get away."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wil Wheaton: BitTorrent Isn't Only For Piracy

Comments Filter:
  • by Falc0n ( 618777 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:53PM (#40023315) Homepage
    Its also how Blizzard distributes its games. Its nothing new, and quite effective.
  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:53PM (#40023317) Homepage
    OK, perhaps someone here can provide some suitable legitmate and mainstream examples that we can cite then, because I have to admit I'm struggling with your criteria. I use BitTorrent to download a lot of legit stuff, but if Ubuntu (and, by implication of its popularity, all other Linux distros) and presumably niche/word-of-mouth Internet series like Pioneer One [] are not suitable, then what is? ISTR that one of the larger game vendors uses BT to push updates and patches, but can't for the life of me remember which one, and there have been a few similar experiments here and there, but most of those seem to have died a death.

    Surely there's something? Right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:03PM (#40023409)
    Blizzard's WoW updates are distributed via BitTorrent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:06PM (#40023447)

    It seems like network owners have the right to shape their traffic, and Will has a right to take his business to ISPs that don't do it.

    This is such a bullshit argument with the reality of the current state of broadband across the US. There is almost no competition to go to in most areas, there is no way to start a competition in a lot of areas where the right to lay the cable was granted along with a local monopoly for whoever laid the fiber and these internet service providers also own or are owned by the big media companies that have an interest in stomping out anything that competes with their content divisions...

  • by davecb ( 6526 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:17PM (#40023551) Homepage Journal

    Over and above the claim that torrents helped pirates, there was the claim that it was a bandwidth-hog.

    Well, it aint so! Jim Gettys researched it, and found what the network vendors were seeing was ... bufferbloat! See []

  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:34PM (#40023659)
    For a large percentage of internet (gaming) users I'd say you've probably used BitTorrent without even realising it. Ever played one of these games: World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III? Blizzard's software update system uses BitTorrent by default with a fallback to HTTP, and they're not the only ones.
  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:50PM (#40023779)

    Here's the problem... a lot of things that are technically illegal, people don't believe OUGHT to be illegal.

    If I can watch, oh I don't know, Seinfeld reruns on TV over the air for free, why is it illegal for me to download the episode I missed last night? I use Usenet for time-shifting, the way that I used to use a DVR. I have no moral qualms whatsoever about doing so, and I don't think that there OUGHT to be any legal impediment to doing so.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:55PM (#40023823) Homepage

    Citation needed.

    Here. []. 89% definitively illegal, 11% probably illegal, 0.3% confirmed legal. And since you want to play the wikipedia game, anything you say to make this article invalid is [citation needed], no arguments of your own only reliable third party sources.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:23PM (#40024021)
    And us here with a 50mbit connection had to use BT to get decent speeds.
  • by Fred Ferrigno ( 122319 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:37PM (#40024117)

    On the other hand, a direct transfer is never faster than the most congested link between you and the server. If you have a reasonably fast connection, the bottleneck is often not your connection. Downloading from multiple peers that are likely taking different paths to reach you lets you reach an high overall speed even if all the peers are congested.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:4, Informative)

    by bhlowe ( 1803290 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:00PM (#40024519)
    They have legit downloads of TV shows. With ads. Its called and Hulu and and a number of other sites my wife uses. Will people really make an effort to find the legit versions of the shows they want to watch when they're available for free? My guess is no, since BT traffic is not slowing.
  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:27PM (#40024657)

    And since you want to play the wikipedia game, anything you say to make this article invalid is [citation needed], no arguments of your own only reliable third party sources.

    I guess you missed the link [] in your own article that debunks the study? Cliffs notes version: They only looked at the files with the most seeds, which already skews the results, and pirated stuff has a huge list of fake seeds to screw up lazy anti-piracy enforcers, which means that choosing the torrents with the most seeds invalidates the entire study because the ones with the most (fake) seeds are the pirated ones.

    I would also add that relying on 'this one public BitTorrent tracker we found somewhere' is not statistically valid, because it's just one tracker. You have to get a statistically valid sample of all the trackers or you can't conclude anything. For example, if they included these these [] trackers instead, I would expect different results -- and by failing to consider them, they naturally get totally invalid numbers.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:36AM (#40025007)

    A single user here, Using bittorrent since the beginning to download dead shows. But the majority of my usage is piracy. Whether or not you want to believe me, thats all you, but my use is almost all illegal.

    That's you. There are plenty of WoW players out there. Every last one of them uses bittorrent for updates, whether they know it or not (most don't even know what bittorrent is). Other update programs are using bitorrent too according to the scuttlebutt.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by sosume ( 680416 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @03:17AM (#40025519) Journal

    "This content is not available in your region."

  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @05:48AM (#40025911) Journal
    And it's only available for streaming. My main use case for this kind of thing is having something to keep me entertained on long train journeys or on flights. Even if I have 3G Internet on the train, I lose that when we go into a tunnel or through a deep cutting. On the plane it's stupidly expensive. I don't want to stream, I want to download. I want to pay a fixed monthly fee to be able to download whatever I want (maybe with a limit of downloads per month) in a DRM-free format so I can watch it on whichever device I choose. The closest I get is renting DVDs, but if I want to watch them on anything other than my laptop it's a pain to rip and transcode them.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.