If you have ever used a program that utilizes P2P, or Peer to Peer sharing, then you have most likely used a client software called BitTorrent. Many people associate BitTorrent with illegal downloads (and uploads) and, whilst the technology they use is legal, some of the usage isn’t and has resulted in copyright infringements. However, there is word out that BitTorrent are planning to go legit from next year. For some time now there has been talk from BitTorrent about “aligning itself with the entertainment industry”. This means that they will start to offer their services for legal downloads of media, such as movies, books and music.
Alongside trying to legalize their services BitTorrent are also planning to expand their services to include mobile devices. Downloads of their official BitTorrent clients for iOS and Android should reach the 10 million mark by the end of next week. And, as well as this they are looking to get together with set-top box manufacturers and embed their software into the hardware. This will meant that viewers will be able to stream and watch content direct from their boxes. Although this could be making its debut into the Asian and European markets as early as next year, viewers on the USA will have to wait a little while longer for it to reach them.
BitTorrent, and its smaller sister company UTorrent do not actually supply the files for download, they are just the vehicle by which it is done. Between the two they have over 150 million user in total and around 40 million users per day. However, it will not be easy for them to convince people of their new, honest intentions. After all, it’s not like they havent tried it before. 2008 saw them issue what they saw as a competitor to iTunes, called BitTorrent Entertainment Network. Unfortunately for them it didn’t get very far and resulted in the loss of half of their staff members. Nonetheless, they say they are now better positioned to make another attempt, from a different angle.They are not going to be opening up an online store to sell media downloads but they will be supplying the tools for people to do it themselves. One example of this is a book called The Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferris. BitTorrent teamed up with the author and created extra material that was available as a free download alongside the book. As well as giving the book publicity it also resulted in around 210,000 downloads of the material and a further 82,000 heading over to the author’s Amazon page.
Making the entertainment industry believe that their intentions are good will be the hardest part for BitTorrent although they say that they will be ahead of the game if they can prove that they are reducing illegal downloads. As to their success if they do manage to go ahead with their plans, well only time will tell on that one.
Source : NY Times