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  1. By Ernesto January 17, 2014 For many people BitTorrent is synonymous with piracy, but the popular file-sharing technology has much more to offer. Over the past year BitTorrent Inc. has intensified its efforts to help artists reach millions of new fans, and not without result. A bundle of tracks from Moby’s latest album Innocents, which can be downloaded for free and completely legally, is the most-shared torrent of 2013 with an impressive 8.9 million downloads. Earlier today we published a list of the top 20 most-pirated artists. With well over 5 million downloads this chart was topped by Bruno Mars. Interestingly enough, the honor of the most-downloaded artist on BitTorrent goes to a legal download. BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the immensely popular file-sharing client uTorrent, has just released an overview detailing the successes of its “bundles” program alongside a list of the most-downloaded legal content. The company regularly teams up with artists to release free content. One of the top stars last year was Moby, who shared several tracks from his 11th studio album ‘Innocents’ for free via the popular file-sharing platform. According to BitTorrent Inc., this bundle with free tracks was the most-shared torrent of 2013, with a staggering 8.9 million downloads. Not a big surprise, as more than 85,000 people are still actively sharing the tracks at the time of writing. The second most-shared bundle is the Epic Meal Time video bundle with 8.6 million downloads, followed by Kaskade’s tracks with 4.1 million downloads. The secret behind BitTorrent’s bundle program is that the torrents are included with every download of the uTorrent and BitTorrent mainline applications. Since these clients are installed by dozens of millions of people, the numbers add up quickly. “164,383 BitTorrent Bundles are downloaded around the world, every day. These projects have been downloaded 60 million times, by fans in over 170 countries around the world,” BitTorrent Inc. notes. Bragging rights aside, the downloads also bring value to the artists in question. They are able to reach millions of new fans which may eventually boosts concert visits and sales. Moby, for example, managed to add 419,000 people to his email list via the bundle. In addition, 130,000 people clicked through to the iTunes store while 68,000 new remixes of his tracks were created. That can be considered quite a success. The top 20 most-downloaded bundles are listed below. More stats and background information on the program is available in the 2013 BitTorrent report. http://torrentfreak.com/and-the-most-downloaded-torrent-of-2013-is-completely-legal-140116
  2. Over the past year or so BitTorrent Inc. has actively distanced itself from piracy on numerous occasions. The San Francisco company emphasize that they are a technology outfit, and stress that they don’t endorse or encourage piracy. While this may be true, the company’s flagship software uTorrent specifically mentions “pirate” terminology such as DVDScr, DVDRip, Satrip and Webrip. Invented more than a decade ago by Bram Cohen, BitTorrent has become the protocol of choice for file-sharers. This includes those who download copyrighted material. While BitTorrent is used by many pirates, the technology itself is neutral and does a lot of good for content creators as well. This is also the message BitTorrent Inc, the parent company of the popular uTorrent client, has tried to communicate over the past year. On numerous occasions the company has distanced itself from those who download infringing content, including the majority of their 150+ million users. “We do not endorse piracy. We do not encourage it. We don’t point to piracy sites. We don’t host any infringing content,” BitTorrent’s CEO said previously. In addition, the company launched a website to show the public that BitTorrent does not equal piracy. BitTorrent is right to stress the legal use of its software, but whether that’s successful is another question. It only draws attention to a connection that they want people to believe is not there, which is the opposite of what they want to achieve. For example, when we tried to setup uTorrent’s RSS downloader at TorrentFreak headquarters the other day we couldn’t help but notice a list of “pirate” terms that were included. The RSS feature allows users to add RSS feeds for various torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, and filter downloads based on search phrases, episode numbers and video quality. This last option includes a dropdown box with several quality options, including DSRip, DVBRip, DVDScr, DVDRip, PDTV, Satrip and WebRip. Most of these terms originate from piracy release groups and have little or no legal use. DVDScr, for example, identifies a ripped copy of DVD screeners that are sent out to reviewers and are not intended for public viewing. Likewise, the terms DVBRip/PDTV are used exclusively by TV-piracy groups to identify the source of a recording. Piracy references in uTorrent / BitTorrent Given BitTorrent’s efforts to distance itself from all things piracy, it was quite a surprise for us to see these references in their most popular software. We can’t think of any RSS feeds with legal content where these filters would come in handy. To find out why these terms were included TorrentFreak asked the company for clarification a couple of weeks ago, but we have yet to receive a response. The listing of these “pirate” terms in uTorrent’s RSS downloader is of course not a crime by itself. However, should the company ever run into legal trouble it won’t be hard for outfits such as the MPAA and RIAA to argue that the feature is facilitating illegal downloading. And that’s exactly what BitTorrent Inc has been trying to avoid with their recent marketing campaigns. Source: TorrentFreak
  3. By Martin Brinkmann on January 30, 2014 Sharing data is often not as easy as it sounds. While it is usually not a problem to make available smaller data sets to a group of people or the public, it quickly becomes an issue if the sets grow in size. If you need to make available a 9 Gigabyte archive for example, many of the traditional file sharing options become automatically unavailable to you. You cannot use email or the majority of file synchronization services for example, and while you could set up a file server, it requires more work than you may want to invest, considering that you not only have to set up the server, but also maintain it and make sure it is secure. Academic Torrents is an attempt to make academic datasets and papers available via BitTorrent. When you open the site you are greeted with a short introduction of what the site is, and what it has to offer. Here is a short introductory video that explains what Academic Torrents is. The three core features of Academic Torrents are: Provides an index of scientific data. Uses a redundant and high speed network. Offers reproducibility and open access. You can use the search form at the top to find information by name, author or dataset, or use the browse feature instead to browse the datasets, papers or collections directly. By Martin Brinkmann on January 30, 2014 http://www.ghacks.net/2014/01/30/academic-torrents-makes-datasets-papers-available-via-bittorrent
  4. By Jacob Kastrenakes on February 15, 2014 06:34 pm You'll soon be able to stream live video with your smartphone using a type of BitTorrent. Last year, BitTorrent Live was launched as a way to broadcast and stream live video for free. Instead of relying on a single company's servers to record a video and send it back out to viewers, BitTorrent Live is peer-to-peer: it has a broadcaster send their video to a handful of viewers who then watch the video while sending it out to even more viewers to do the same thing. It's only been on the desktop for now, but BitTorrent says that a mobile app is in the works for later this year — though it doesn't say what platforms it might debut on or whether the app will allow for just broadcasting, just viewing, or both. The app will be released in alpha BitTorrent Live itself still remains in beta, though BitTorrent says that it's matured over the past year. The app too will launch in an unfinished state — an alpha, BitTorrent says — though presumably the lack of polish will be in the developing protocol and not the app itself. When we initially tried it last year, the protocol's reliance on a distributed network remained problematic: when there weren't enough viewers, videos would start slowly or wouldn't play at all. At the moment, it appears to have worked past some of those kinks and is performing much better, at least on officially featured streams. For individual, small-scale broadcasters, there may be no immediate benefit to using BitTorrent over one of the many companies that offer live broadcasting for free. But for broadcasters that want an inexpensive way to stream a lot of content — and to make money off while doing it — BitTorrent seems to be hoping that Live will be a compelling option. For one, streaming content in bulk can be done for free, but perhaps more importantly, after an early demo in February 2012, Bram Cohen told TechCrunch that BitTorrent Live would make it relatively inexpensive to begin showing ads on a stream — a feat BitTorrent can handle thanks to Live's peer-to-peer nature lending to low overhead. If you're curious how well the protocol works, you can head over to BitTorrent Live's website where a number of streams are currently broadcasting. http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/15/5414430/bittorrent-live-mobile-app-launching-2014
  5. By Thorin Klosowski Today 8:00 AM AEST Dear Lifehacker, I keep hearing people talk about BitTorrent Sync, but I’m not sure why I should care about it. Isn’t it just another file-syncing service? Why would I use it instead of something like Dropbox? Sincerely, Split Torrent Dear ST, You’re right, the usefulness of BitTorrent Sync isn’t immediately evident. While it might look like a Dropbox replacement on the surface, that’s not exactly how it works. So, let’s talk about what it is and how it works before we go on to some of the uses for it. What BitTorrent Sync Does (and Doesn’t) Do At a glance, BitTorrent Sync looks a lot like Dropbox, but that’s not exactly the case. It is a file-syncing service where you can sync files and directories across computers, but you don’t have access to those files online like you do with Dropbox… and in some cases, that’s a good thing. BitTorrent Sync uses peer-to-peer file sharing to synchronise your files between computers. When you point the BitTorrent Sync app at a directory on your computer, you share those files with any other computer that you give a secret passcode to. The data only lives on your computer and the computers you share it with (or mobile phones sync). It’s never uploaded to a third-party server like other file-syncing programs. Since you data is never uploaded to a server, your storage capacity is only limited to your own hard drive, and no one else has access to your files. The downside to BitTorrent Sync is that your home computer must be on at all times if you want access to files. This is great as a security measure because your private data is never on a server, but it does make accessing files a bit of a pain. Likewise, sharing is a bit more complicated with BitTorrent Sync than it is with most file syncing services. If you want to share files with other people, they’ll need BitTorrent Sync software installed as well as a secret code you generate and send to them. When You’d Want to Use BitTorrent Sync BitTorrent Sync isn’t quite as easy to use as something like Dropbox for everyday file backups, but it’s still a solid option for file syncing. Most importantly, BitTorrent Sync is one of the most secure ways to sync files because your data never goes to a server. That means that nobody can peek in on your private files. As Wired recently pointed out, this is a key feature:For the past 15 years, our software and data have steadily moved into the cloud, bringing massive gains in convenience. The cloud makes it easier not only to share data, among other things. But in some ways, it has also eroded our privacy. The NSA, it seems, has been tapping major cloud services in order to spy on users, and the revelations highlighted the dangers of using a file-sharing service like Dropbox. Indeed, some of the leaked NSA documents indicated that Dropbox had been specifically targeted. But in a departure from Dropbox, Sync doesn’t store data in one central repository that can be tapped by the NSA and others. It connects machines via peer-to-peer networking, meaning they can sync without storing data on any server. That means an interloper can’t access data without tapping each individual machine. Besides the security, BitTorrent Sync is also great because it isn’t limited by space — you don’t need to worry about cloud storage limits, since the only limits are your own hard drives (which are likely much bigger than Dropbox’s 2GB of space, or even Box’s 50GB of space). In addition, it’s also one of the best ways to share a massive amount of files with someone. Since BitTorrent Sync is free it’s easy to share project files with coworkers, large videos with friends, or any other massive folder you need to share. As long as they also have BitTorrent Sync, of course. For example, if you’re working on a movie with a partner, you probably have a folder with a couple hundred GB of video in it. With Dropbox, this would be expensive to store and share with your partner, but BitTorrent Sync keeps your computers in sync with each for free. Any time you need to send a massive file to someone, BitTorrent Sync will prove helpful. Other Uses For BitTorrent Sync Of course, like other file sharing services, BitTorrent sync can go beyond just syncing files. Most of our top 10 uses for Dropbox also apply to BitTorrent sync, and there are al of other BitTorrent Sync-specific projects you can do too: ◾ Make your own Dropbox clone with a Raspberry Pi and BitTorrent Sync ◾ Set up BitTorrent Sync on Your FreeNAS box (if you need help setting up FreeNAS our guide should get you there) ◾ Use BitTorrent Sync to access your music from anywhere ◾ Use Git with BitTorrent Sync ◾ Generate easily shareable links to files with BitBox ◾ Create a Private Dropbox-style server BitTorrent Sync is still in beta, but it’s worth downloading and messing around with if you’re ever sharing large files or you’re just worried about security. If nothing else, it’s useful at least a few times a year when you need to share massive amounts of data with someone. Cheers, Lifehacker http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/02/should-i-use-bittorrent-sync-instead-of-dropbox
  6. BitTorrent 7.8.2 Build 30445: http://download-new.utorrent.com/endpoint/bittorrent/os/win/track/stable/
  7. Despite the growing number of legal alternatives, millions of people prefer to pirate movies and TV-shows via BitTorrent instead of watching them on Netflix. Bram Cohen, the inventor of the BitTorrent protocol, says he would probably be a pirate too if he was just a regular guy since “pirate” alternatives offer much better resolutions than streaming services such as Netflix. Earlier this year the season finale of Game of Thrones was pirated by more than five million people using the popular BitTorrent protocol. While unauthorized downloading is nothing new, it appears that many of these pirates still prefer the BitTorrent option even though they can watch the show for free on Netflix. And we’re not talking about trivial numbers here. News Corp CEO Robert Thomson estimated that no less than 20% of all Foxtel subscribers who already paid for access to the show chose to pirate it instead. With other popular shows such as Breaking Bad a similar pattern emerges. According to Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent and chief scientist of the similarly named company, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Talking with the BBC’s Click, Cohen notes that in terms of video delivery BitTorrent is far superior to the systems currently used by Netflix and other video services. “The fact is that by using BitTorrent it’s possible to give customers a much better experience with much less cost than has ever been possible before. It’s really not being utilized properly and that’s really unfortunate,” Cohen says. BitTorrent’s inventor says he doesn’t own a TV at home, but he does watch Netflix on occasion. However, not with too much pleasure as the video quality that’s offered by the streaming service is less than acceptable. “I actually don’t have a TV at home myself, but I do watch stuff on Netflix and I find it very frustrating because the video quality is really terrible,” Cohen says. Cohen believes that many pirates share similar frustrations, which may explain why so many people pirate video content via BitTorrent, even those who have a Netflix account and can watch it legally. In fact, if he wasn’t such a prominent figure he probably be a pirate himself. “I really go out of my way to not do the slightest hint of pirating anything ever, but if I were just some nobody [...] I would probably pirate some of the stuff that I can watch on Netflix and already paid for, because I’d like to watch it in higher resolution.” Moving on to the legal aspects of piracy, Cohen doesn’t believe that copyright infringement is a crime that’s on par with manslaughter or shoplifting, but stops short of explaining exactly what it is. “Copyright infringement is not a crime in the way that beating up someone is a crime, or stealing an actual physical good form a store is a crime. It’s something else.” Looking at the future, Cohen says he eventually hopes to be remembered for more than just creating one of the most disruptive technologies for the entertainment industries. According to him there are more important things he can delve into, including power generation and 3D printing. “I don’t think my work is done,” Cohen says. Source: TorrentFreak
  8. Shrugging off the bad publicity BitTorrent has received in Australia during recent years, the Australian Federal Government has decided to give a considerable boost to filmmakers choosing the format for distribution. With a contribution of $350,000 the Government has invested in a forthcoming sc-fi TV series from the makers of The Tunnel, a horror show that launched on BitTorrent in 2011. In June 2010, Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi who together form Australia-based Distracted Media, announced a crowd-funding campaign for a brand new movie. The Tunnel, a horror movie set in the abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, was to be financed by the 135K Project, a reference to the 135,000 frames that people could buy individually to make up the finished product. The movie launched on BitTorrent during 2011 in a tie up with BitTorrent Inc. and indie platform VODO, was shown on TV, and also pulled off a deal with Paramount Pictures. While BitTorrent releases are now much more common than they were a few years ago, Distracted Media’s new BitTorrent project is of particular interest due to the way it’s being funded. Next year Distracted Media will start filming Airlock, a new sci-fi thriller TV series set on a derelict space ship and an isolated space station. They’re going to be looking to raise $100,000 via a Kickstarter campaign set to launch in the next few hours but Enzo and Julian have already secured additional significant funding from an interesting source. Screen Australia is the Australian Federal Government’s main funding body for the promotion, development and distribution of Australian screen content. The government body has dug deep, awarding $350,000 to produce the series, a first for a BitTorrent-focused release. “We’ve been talking with Screen Australia’s various departments since The Tunnel was released. To their credit, some of them actually sought us out in order to work out what we did and why,” Distracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi told TorrentFreak. “There’s still a certain amount of mystery surrounding it for many, but they get that there’s a huge potential audience there for legitimately released shows and films.” Once the show is produced it will premiere on BitTorrent, although at the moment the show isn’t locked into BitTorrent Inc. or VODO as The Tunnel was. The episodes are likely to be released on torrents each week with other formats following after. But despite the successes, there have been problems for Distracted to negotiate on the way. “We faced a sizable backlash from ‘traditional’ media when we did The Tunnel, despite the torrent release being completely authorized by us and on the up-and-up,” Enzo explains. “We even got blocked from major retailers stocking the DVDs at release despite having Transmission / Paramount on board distributing them in Australia. We also encountered resistance from Movie Extra when we wanted to release our last online show – Event Zero – via torrents as well.” So considering those obstacles, what does it feel like to have financial backing from the government for a BitTorrent release? “With Australia having such a huge rate of piracy per capita, the dreaded ‘t’-word is often a problem politically, so to speak, in the film and TV industry. To have Screen Australia fund Airlock with its torrent release strategy and no other traditional ‘broadcast partners’ locked in is pretty significant for us. It feels like a vindication of the last couple of years, that people have actually been listening,” Enzo concludes. The Airlock homepage currently features a countdown which by the time you read this should be nearing its conclusion, signaling the launch of the Kickstarter campaign which will feature all the usual perks for contributors. Edit: Countdown over. Source: TorrentFreak
  9. Robert Steele, one of the bosses at anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp, has expressed outrage with BitTorrent Inc. In an often incomprehensible rant he accuses the company and its founder of profiting from piracy. To become a good citizen, BitTorrent should add a blacklist of pirate torrent hashes to their leading file-sharing client uTorrent, he suggests. For a few years now, BitTorrent Inc. has done its best to position the company as a neutral and legitimate business. In a recent interview with “That Was Me”, BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen explained this challenge, as well as the general benefits BitTorrent has to offer. The interview got some coverage here and there, including at Upstart, where it drew the attention of Robert Steele, Chief Technology Officer at anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp, a company that has made quite a few headlines this year. Steele was not happy with the positive press coverage BitTorrent received from the media outlets, to say the least. Through Facebook (which uses BitTorrent) he wrote two responses to the article, which are worth repeating for a variety of reasons. The comments appear to have been made late at night, possibly under influence, so we have left them intact and unedited for authenticity’s sake. Steele starts off by claiming that BitTorrent was designed for only one reason – to distribute pirated content. “Absolutely ridiculous. Bram Cohen said in 2012 that ‘my goal is to destroy television’. BitTorrent’s architecture and features are designed for one reason only – to assist people in avoiding legitimate law enforcement efforts when they illgally consume other people’s intellectual property,” Steele begins. It may not come as a surprise that Steele is quoting Cohen out of context. At the time, BitTorrent’s founder was actually referring to his new streaming technology, that would make it possible for anyone to stream video content to a large audience at virtually no cost. Also, BitTorrent isn’t in any way helping people to avoid law enforcement, quite the contrary. People who use BitTorrent are easy to track down, which is in fact something that Rightscorp is banking its entire business model on. In the second comment Steele brings in Accel, the venture capital firm that invested millions of dollars in BitTorrent Inc. According to the Rightscorp CTO Accel is also guilty of encouraging piracy, and he suggests that uTorrent should have been equipped with a blacklist of pirate torrent hashes. “If Accell Partner’s BitTorrent was actually a legitimate business not directly involved in driving and facilitating piracy, they would have a blacklist of copyrighted hashes that the BT client won’t ‘share’. Dropbox does this. Why does Dropbox do this? Because they actually obey the law and respect content creators,” Steele says. Steele touches on a sensitive subject here, as BitTorrent could indeed implement a blacklist to prevent some pirated content from being shared. TorrentFreak has raised this issue with BitTorrent Inc in the past, but we have never received a response on the matter. Moving on from this sidetrack, Steele’s tirade in the first comment evolves into something that’s scarily incomprehensible. “BTTracker software is not needed unless the goal is to enable other people outside of BitTorrent, Inc. to operate the systems that log the ip addresses of infringing computers. Why do they do it that way? Not becuase it is needed to move big files. Dropbox doesnt need trackers. They do it that way because Limewire got sued for hosting those lists.” Steele notes. From what we understand, Steele doesn’t get why BitTorrent is decentralized, which is the entire basis of the technology. The comment is wrong on so many points that we almost doubt that Steele has any idea how BitTorrent works, or Limewire for that matter. We surely hope that the investors in Rightscorp, which is a publicly traded company now, aren’t reading along. Finally, Rightscorp’s CTO suggests that BitTorrent and its backers should be taken to court, to pay back the damage they cause to the entertainment industries. “Bram Cohen and Accell Partner’s BitTorrent should be held accountable for the wages and income they have helped take from hundreds of thousands of creative workers just like Limewire, Grokster, Aimster, Kazaa and Napster were.” Right. From the incoherent reasoning and the many grammar and spelling mistakes we have to assume that Steele wasn’t fully accountable when he wrote the comments. Perhaps the end of a busy week, or the end of an eventful night. In any case, we’ve saved a copy of the comments below, just in case they are accidentally deleted. Steele’s comments Source: TorrentFreak
  10. German researchers have noticed an alarming development in the BitTorrent ecosystem. Since last week, the number of users on the BitTorrent DHT has doubled in size. The exact reason for the increase hasn't been confirmed, but all signs point to a bug in a recent uTorrent release. Day in and day out dozens of millions of people use BitTorrent to share files online. Most of these transfers are coordinated by public trackers such as OpenBitTorrent, but torrents also work without trackers thanks to Mainline DHT. The BitTorrent Mainline DHT creates a network of users through which people can find peers sharing the same file. This makes the BitTorrent ecosystem more stable, especially since public trackers tend to go offline every now and then. Since it was first introduced nearly a decade ago the BitTorrent DHT has been growing steadily. However, this changed last week when researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology noticed a dramatic increase in peers. “Since 2010, the DHT size has been relatively stable. It grew from 6 million to around 10 million, but that’s it,” says Konrad Jünemann, researcher of the Decentralized Systems and Network Services research group. “This suddenly changed last week we saw a sudden increase in participating peers. I double checked our measurement engine, but everything seems to be fine, so the DHT was indeed growing,” he adds. As it turns out, the number of peers in the DHT had more than doubled in a few days. The graph below shows this surge in peers as observed by the German research group. Initially the researchers were clueless about the sudden increase. There were a few possible explanations, such as malware distributors using the network, or changes in a popular BitTorrent client for example. After contacting several developers, they learned that the latter was the most plausible option. Arvid Norberg, one of the developers of BitTorrent’s uTorrent client, explained that a recent change in client may have resulted in a bug which resulted in “flapping” node IDs. “We have some indications that this is caused by an issue in our node-ID function. We have had a mechanism to tie the node ID to one’s external IP address. We’ve had this feature for a while but made some tweaks to it recently,” Norberg wrote on a mailing list. If this is indeed the case, then it could cause serious performance issues for the DHT, as people would get IP-addresses that are no longer online. Currently, however, there is no evidence that this is indeed the case. TorrentFreak asked BitTorrent Inc. for more details early this week, but this far our inquiries remained unanswered. The same is true for a bug report from a user in the support forums. Perhaps the mystery will be solved in the days to come. Source: TorrentFreak
  11. Vuze, one of the most-used BitTorrent clients with millions of active users, is speaking out against piracy. The team behind the popular file-sharing software is urging their users not to "steal" from rightsholders. In addition, they encourage people to consider reporting illegal behavior. Following in the footsteps of the makers of uTorrent, the Vuze team is now taking a stand against piracy. The California-based company says it will focus more on highlighting legal content through social media and other outlets. Vuze emphasizes that its technology is completely legal, but wants its users to understand that sharing files without permission of copyright holders isn’t. “Although torrents themselves are a legitimate way to share files, understanding the rights of copyright holders and what content they have or have not authorized for free distribution is the core to understanding the difference between it being legal or illegal to share or distribute content using Vuze,” the company notes. “Remember, if you use Vuze torrent client software for P2P file sharing then use it responsibly. Be aware of illegal torrents and avoid downloading them. Don’t infringe copyright,” Vuze adds. This position is sensible for a technology company to take. Also, Vuze does highlight that copyright is a complex issue, and that there are ongoing discussions with varying positions. The bottom-line according to Vuze, however, is that downloading something without the permission of the owners is stealing. “Now we can get into all sorts of political, social and even religious discussions on this topic, but right now as the laws exist in most places downloading and sharing content without the authorization of the rights-holder is stealing, and even if one copy was purchased, passing digital copies around via P2P is still illegal, sometimes criminally so.” “Sharing and downloading infringing MP3s and MPEGs is virtually the same as swiping from a brick-and-mortar,” Vuze adds. The “stealing” mention is a touchy subject. Many people, including scholars and a U.S. federal court, believe that this term should be avoided when talking about piracy. Even the MPAA’s Chris Dodd agreed on this. “We’re on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery,” Dodd said two years ago, although the MPAA still uses the term today. Vuze, however, doesn’t avoid this type of strong language. The company wants to make it clear that piracy is not allowed. In fact, the company encourages its users to follow suit, and “consider reporting illegal content infractions.” Aside from the promise to highlight legal content on its blog, they also provide some tips for users to spot infringing content. Vuze hopes that with these guidelines, users will be able to steer away from any illegal behavior. “We want to again stress that we respect the rights of copyright holders, and hope and expect that you do too,” Vuze concludes. Whether that’s going to happen remains to be seen. Several studies have shown that more than 90% of all public transfers via BitTorrent are copyright infringing, and it will be hard to flip these numbers around. Source: TorrentFreak
  12. BitTorrent Inc, the parent company of the popular file-sharing applications uTorrent and BitTorrent, is demanding $5.8 million in damages from its German namesake. The San Francisco company accuses Bittorrent Marketing GMBH of misleading prospective users and intercepting sensitive company email. As the owners of two of the most-used BitTorrent clients on the Internet, BitTorrent Inc. is catering to an audience of close to 200 million regular users. Needless to say there is plenty of interest in the BitTorrent brand, and in some cases this demand is being exploited by third-party companies. One of the outfits that has operated in this space is the German-based Bittorrent Marketing GMBH. The company owns the German and European trademark for Bittorrent and has several related domain names such as Bit-Torent.com, Bit-Torrent.com and Bitorrent.net. These domains have been mainly used for advertising, pointing people to paid products. This has been a thorn in the side for BitTorrent Inc. who launched a lawsuit against its German nemesis two years ago. Since the German company and its owner Harald Hochmann failed to respond in court, BitTorrent is moving for a default judgment. In a filing submitted this week they demand $5.8 million in damages. “BitTorrent filed this action to put an end to Defendant’s use of BitTorrent’s trademarks to promote what Defendant touts as an ‘advertising affiliate program’ used to ‘post ads and earn commissions..’,” the company explains. According to the complaint the sites don’t link people to the free software, but to sites where people have to pay for a mere redirection to third-party services. “For example, after paying over $50 to sign up for ultimate-downloadscenter.com, U.S. users are redirected to third-party websites of other digital media providers, like Netflix.com and Hulu.com, and invited to sign up for membership with those services.” These “scams” are a problem for BitTorrent Inc. as they reflect negatively on the company’s brand. However, there is another issue with the domains. Since the German company owns a lot of domains based on misspellings, they occasionally get emails that are intended for the U.S. company. “Hochmann admitted that his company registered many misspellings of BITTORRENT as or as part of domain names, and that, as a result of registering these domain names, he was able to intercept internal emails of BitTorrent when employees and executives of BitTorrent misspelled “bittorrent” in typing the domain name,” the company explains in its motion. Among other emails, the owner of Bittorrent Marketing GMBH obtained internal financial projections from early 2008. Based on this intercepted communication Hochmann allegedly suggested that BitTorrent Inc. should buy the German company for millions of dollars. Through the U.S. federal court BitTorrent Inc. now hopes to obtain an injunction against its German namesake. In their motion for summary judgment they demand a total of $5.8 million in damages and in addition BitTorrent Inc. wants ownership of all the BitTorrent related domain names. “BitTorrent requests an award of statutory damages in the amount of $100,000 per domain name for each of the 58 Infringing Domain Names identified in the accompanying memorandum of points and authorities, for a total statutory damages award of $5,800,000.” Interestingly, while Hochmann and his company failed to respond to the complaint in court, he did release a long statement and supporting documents which are available via the Bittorrent.eu domain. In the statement Hochmann details his version of the dispute, which started more than a decade ago. Among other things, he disputes that he offered BitTorrent Inc. the opportunity to buy his company for millions, and he points to domain disputes his company won in the past against BitTorrent Inc. Talking to TorrentFreak, Hochmann said that in a week or two he will issue a more detailed response explaining why not he, but BitTorrent Inc. are the “scammers.” For the U.S. case this may be too late, due to the lack of response in the past it’s likely that the default judgment will be entered. It’s now up to the judge to decide what the exact punishment should be. Source: TorrentFreak
  13. BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent , unveiled its serverless chat client today. BitTorrent Bleep allows users to communicate via text or voice, fully encrypted and without the need for central servers. Encrypted Internet traffic surged worldwide after the Snowden revelations, with several developers releasing new tools to enable people to better protect their privacy. Today BitTorrent Inc. contributes with the release of BitTorrent Bleep, a communication tool that allows people to exchange information without the need for any central servers. Combined with state of the art end-to-end encryption, the company sees Bleep as the ideal tool to evade government snooping. Bleep’s main advantage over some other encrypted messaging applications is the absence of central servers. This means that there are no logs stored, all metadata goes through other peers in the network. “Many messaging apps are advertising privacy and security by offering end-to-end encryption for messages. But when it comes to handling metadata, they are still leaving their users exposed,” BitTorrent’s Farid Fadaie explains. “We reimagined how modern messaging should work. Our platform enables us to offer features in Bleep that are unique and meaningfully different from what is currently available.” Bleep Bleep The application’s development is still in the early stages and the current release only works on Windows 7 and 8. Support for other operating systems including popular mobile platforms will follow in the future. Aspiring Bleep users can create an account via an email or mobile phone number, but an incognito mode without the need to provide any personal details is also supported. The new messaging app is not the only ‘breach safe’ tool the company is currently working on. Last year BitTorrent launched its Sync application which provides a secure alternative to centralized cloud backup solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive. BitTorrent Inc. is inviting people to test the new Bleep application, but warns there are still some bugs. Those who want to give BitTorrent Bleep a try can head over to BitTorrent’s experiments section to sign up for the pre-Alpha release. Source: TorrentFreak
  14. When the Popcorn Time app brought BitTorrent streaming to the masses this year the "Netflix for pirates" gained the hearts of millions. Today, one of the most popular Popcorn Time forks continues to innovate by adding Airplay support, and a native iOS app is coming soon. The Popcorn Time phenomenon is one of the biggest piracy stories of the year thus far. The software became an instant hit by offering BitTorrent-powered streaming in an easy-to-use Netflix-style interface. While the original app was shut down by the developers after a few weeks, the project was quickly picked up by others. This resulted in several popular forks that have gained millions of users in recent months. Today one of the most popular Popcorn Time forks releases a highly anticipated feature. The developers inform TorrentFreak that the latest version now has Airplay support, making it possible to stream movies directly to Apple TVs and other supported devices. Ironically, Airplay support is currently limited to the Windows release, but a Mac version is due early next week and the Linux release will follow shortly after. The latest feature follows the addition of Chromecast support a few weeks ago, but this is by no means the last planned development. Popcorn Time adds Airplay support Looking ahead the developers hope to bring the Popcorn Time experience to as many operating systems and devices as possible. “Our ultimate goal is to bring Popcorn Time to every platform, operating system and device that can play videos, so Airplay is one particle of a huge revolution we’re making to the torrents and movies world online,” the time4popcorn.eu team told us. “This is only the beginning… You know us, we have many more surprises coming your way,” they add. One of the “surprises” is a native iOS app. Although it probably won’t be featured in Apple’s App Store anytime soon, Popcorn Time will be available on jailbroken iPhones and iPads in the near future. “Support for iOS devices will be ready in August. It’s already working in our development environment and it’s looking beautiful,” the team notes. Popcorn Time’s popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by Hollywood. A few weeks ago the MPAA pushed back and managed to get two popular forks removed from Github claiming that the apps are hurting the major movie studios. While this was a setback, it doesn’t seem to have hindered development much. Both Popcorn Time forks are still around and new features are being rolled out faster than ever. Source: TorrentFreak
  15. The makers of the popular file-sharing software Vuze have released a brand new BitTorrent client. Vuze Leap is a dummy-proof application with a simple interface, which uses minimal resources. According to the company there is a massive demand for a clean and straightforward BitTorrent client. Vuze is one of the most recognized BitTorrent brands. Their client is used by millions of people each day and has a steadily growing user-base. In recent years Vuze’s core BitTorrent client has evolved into an advanced download solution with every complex feature heavy BitTorrent users could wish for. The downside of being so complete is that the application can be quite overwhelming to newcomers. In addition the application is somewhat of a resource hog. The Vuze team has taken these complaints to heart and coded “Vuze Leap,” a brand new client that is both simple and lightweight. “We sought to deliver a simpler experience as a counterpart to the powerful, full-featured core Vuze BitTorrent Client that has pleased millions of users for years. Even with file-sharing being a part of internet usage for years, we continued to hear, from some users a desire to have a simpler experience that was less resource intensive,” Vuze’s Claude Tolbert tells TorrentFreak. Today the first Vuze Leap beta is unveiled to the public. The torrent client works out of the box. Users are presented with a big search box which they can use to search for torrents without having to leave the application. When a search term is entered, Vuze Leap will automatically search for matching content on Google, the Internet Archive and elsewhere. This can then be downloaded with a single click. After a download is completed users can play media files directly from the client, or navigate to the download folder as they would do with other torrent clients. Vuze Leap automatically categorizes files into various categories to keep the library organized. Vuze’s new BitTorrent client is best suited to less tech-savvy users who don’t necessarily need all the advanced features the core Vuze client has to offer. Through its simpler interface Vuze Leap should make BitTorrent more accessible to people who are new to torrents. “We believe that Vuze Leap extends usability to users who may be new to filesharing or don’t require the power and functionality that the core Vuze BitTorrent Client provides. However, both provide an outstanding experience to users,” Tolbert says. TorrentFreak tested the application and it works as advertised. It certainly feels much lighter and faster than the core Vuze client. The built-in search is handy as well, although users may have to scroll down to get the best search results, which often come from Google. The application is currently only available for Windows but support for other operating systems is expected to follow in the future. Those who are interested in taking Vuze Leap for a spin can download the latest beta release after signing up for the beta test. The download link comes with the confirmation email. Source: TorrentFreak
  16. BitTorrent Inc, the company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent, will allow artists to charge for their content starting in September. The paywall option aims to generate a healthy revenue stream for artists and film producer Marco Weber will be one of the first to try it out. Weber will share a pilot of his upcoming TV-show "Children of the Machine" which will be made if BitTorrent users cough up $2.5 million. Following in the footsteps of FrostWire and VODO, BitTorrent Inc. launched an artist promotion program a few years ago. The idea was to let artists share their work for free, exposing it to millions of BitTorrent users all around the world. Helped by a massive user base of more than 170 million the program has been very successful. But, aside from promotion some artists would also like to see some hard cash in return. This is now an option thanks to the “paygate” uTorrent’s parent company will launch this September. The walled content can only be accessed and shared after a user pays a fixed fee to the creator. To prevent users from sharing it without permission there will be some restrictions in place. The paywall idea was initially announced last year and film producer Marco Weber will be one of the first to try it in the wild. Through BitTorrent, Weber will release a pilot of the new TV-series “Children of the Machine” and those who like it can pay $9.95 to buy the entire series. “If viewers fall in love with the show, they can purchase the entire series in advance via Bundle paygates. Once the funding threshold is reached — 250K subscribers — the first season will be produced, and delivered back to the fans who kicked in to support the project,” BitTorrent announces. The filmmaker chose the crowdfunding format, which means that if the project is not funded the series will never see the light of day. This is a serious possibility as no artists have ever raised more than a few thousand dollars, even though many have tried. The film producer is nevertheless confident that the the project will turn into a success. “With over 170 million users, BitTorrent is a powerhouse. Add in paygates, and you have a fantastic tool to distribute content to a growing, influential youth audience,” Weber says. The good news is that many of these millions of BitTorrent users are already familiar with downloading TV-shows, be it without permission. However, an often heard excuse for this deviant behavior is that it takes too long before an episode becomes available through legal channels, so whether these people will be patient enough to prepay a series months in advance will remain to be seen. Both Weber and BitTorrent Inc. have to be applauded for giving it a try and it will be interesting to see the results. BitTorrent isn’t the first to experiment with these new models though. The VODO platform has used a similar paywall system for quite some time, and together with The Pirate Bay and several other torrent sites they helped to crowdfund the TV-series Pioneer One. Source: TorrentFreak
  17. Ever since the inception of the App Store, Apple has notoriously banned all BitTorrent related apps. However, this week a native BitTorrent client managed to get approval, albeit not without sacrifice. Hoping to prevent trouble, the developer only allows users to download from a small selection of known legal sources. Over the past years dozens of apps have been rejected from the App Store because they mention the word BitTorrent. Apple defended this policy and told developers that their apps were not allowed “because this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third-party rights.” This BitTorrent aversion is also one of the main reasons why popular BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent, Vuze and Transmission don’t have an Apple-approved presence on the iPhone and iPad. This week the BitTorrent client “Blue Downloader” was approved by Apple and added to the App store. The application allows users to control and add torrent downloads through a built-in browser. The torrents can then be directly downloaded to the device. The application handles torrent downloads without any problems, but there is one rather big restriction. The developer has decided to only allow downloads from a few trusted sources. Trying to add files from The Pirate Bay or KickassTorrents won't work, but white-listed sites such as Archive.org, Linuxtracker and Bitlove are freely accessible. Talking to TorrentFreak, Blue Downloader developer Harrison Tyler says that he implemented these restrictions to improve his odds of getting the app approved by Apple. “Apple is very restrictive about torrent downloading, so I thought I would take the same precautions. If Apple were to see a completely unrestricted torrent downloader, they would not take it as well as what I have now,” Tyler tells us. “I am not for restrictions normally, but as I am bending the accessibility of the app based on Apple’s will,” he adds. This strategy appears to have worked, for now, as the torrent client is still available in the App store. There is a chance that it may not be around for long though. Blue Downloader carefully avoided the B-word and Apple may still ban the app if they spot the connection. The self-censoring developer believes that BitTorrent is unfairly stigmatized. Pirated files can be found all over the Internet, and Apple has no restrictions for apps that download from direct sources. “There is an unfortunate stigma associated with torrent downloading. Even though there is almost an equal amount of illegal files on the Internet to regularly download, people still crack down on the evils of BitTorrent,” Tyler says. For those interested in giving the rather limited Blue Downloader a try, it’s available in the App Store for $2.99. Update: Censorship no more? The developer is now allowing access to Google as well. This provides access to all torrent sites on the Internet. Source: TorrentFreak
  18. Anyone can publish any digital content they like using BitTorrent and over the years that has led to all kinds of weird and wonderful curiosities ending up on the Internet. Movie fans might be interested to learn that there are plenty of unfinished versions movies, plus others with additional footage that was never officially released. One of the most fascinating things about early “shared folder” P2P networks and protocols such as FastTrack (Kazaa) and Gnutella (LimeWire) was the amount of unusual content that turned up online. In the end, however, this ungoverned and unmoderated publication of content became the undoing of these and similar networks, with malware, viruses and badly (even maliciously) labeled files taking over. With the advent of BitTorrent with its reliance on managed indexes, publication of content became significantly less accessible. That cut down hugely on junk but also much of the desirable oddball content too. However, torrents ate big files for breakfast and heralded something new and exciting – leaks of movie content never intended for public consumption plus exclusive fan-modified versions. Also noteworthy with BitTorrent is longevity of content availability. With both in mind we took a browse around to see what unusual movie content is still being seeded today. Fight Club – Workprint – 1998/1999 According to the iMDb, Fight Club is one of the world’s most-loved movies with countless millions having seen it to date. However, lurking away on file-sharing networks is a special version of the movie sporting hundreds of changes from the final version including 13 reported cuts for violence. Showing that something as important as the intro isn’t always set in stone, this video claims to depict an earlier intro to the movie accompanied by “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters instead of “Stealing Fat” from the Dust Brothers. Curiosity value: At least 127 documented differences compared with the original. Halloween – Workprint – 2007 As the world waited for the return of Michael Myers in the 2007 remake of Halloween, scene release group mVs (Maven Supplier) had a surprise in store. On August 27, 2007, three days before its official release, mVs released an unfinished version of the movie online. Curiosity value: Missing final edits, some scenes added, and general polish. Full extensive details are available here. Alien “Virtual Workprint” – 1979 From release notes: A fan-edit of the film ALIEN which interpolates all existing deleted scenes and a variety of unseen footage and unused score cues to create a version that runs considerably longer than both the 1979 theatrical release and the 2003 director’s cut. Curiosity value: Runtime of 139 mins (117 mins original, 116 mins director’s cut) Apocalypse Now – Workprint – 1979 According to the information posted along with the release, this is the best workprint copy of the movie outside “Mr Coppola’s archives” although as the screenshots show, quality is stuck in the VHS era. “I was given this on VHS many years ago. It was from a higher up source on the food chain and quite possibly one or two generations down from the source that leaked it to begin with,” a note with the release reads. “The workprint ended right during the cow slicing. I then tacked on the finished5film ended but before the credits I also added the Kurtz compound destruction. Now you have a super edition of the film running 30 mins short of 6 hours!! Curiosity value: Unfinished, yet still 5.5 hours long. (original 153 mins) The Mask – Workprint – 1994 This Jim Carey classic was nominated for a special effects Oscar in 1995, but people who stumbled across an unfinished version of the movie were seriously but interestingly short-changed in that department. This workprint copy is missing many special effects and in some of the more dramatic morphing scenes everything is replaced by hand drawn story boards. Curiosity value: A full 20 mins longer than the DVD with unfinished scenes, scenes not present in the final version, additional dialogue and Jim Carrey acting scenes before CGI is added in. Dune The Reconstructed Workprint Edition – 1984 From release notes: This edit attempts to reconstruct David Lynch’s workprint better than the official Extended Edition. It removes most (if not all) of the offensive elements that led Lynch to remove his name from the Extended Edition. Erroneous FX shots are eliminated, and as much of the Theatrical Edition as possible is used for the sake of better sound and score. It also restores most of the deleted scenes that were not present in the Extended Edition but finally showed up as a supplement on the DVD. Curiosity value: 41 mins longer than the official 137 min runtime. The Nightmare Before Christmas Workprint – 1993 From release notes: The film was half-complete at this point. You’ll see a lot of finished scenes, including a few that don’t appear in the final movie, but you’ll also see scenes which are only storyboard drawings. There is a lot of temporary audio and music. Oogie Boogie’s scenes, for example, aren’t ready yet – they’re storyboards, with temporary audio on his song, which is a longer version probably sung by Danny Elfman. “Making Christmas” is also just storyboards with an extra verse. The final confrontation between Jack and Oogie (and pretty much the entire ending) is also just storyboards, and a bit vague compared to the final film. Curiosity value: Seriously unfinished This Is Spinal Tap (1984) – 4.5 Hour Workprint From release notes: This workprint of the film contains about 3 hours of footage not included in the commercial release. The picture quality is pretty bad; it’s dark and muddled, but you can see everything pretty okay. The sound is really great, however. The audio also falls out of sync at certain points because it is an extremely rough cut of the flick and that stuff wasn’t finalized yet. Curiosity value: Three hours of extra footage. If you’ve found any obscure video content hiding away online, please feel free to detail your discovery in the comments section below. Please do not link to any copyrighted material or torrents since those posts will be removed. Source: TorrentFreak
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