General Question

afghanmoose's avatar

What is your opinion on bit torrenting?

Asked by afghanmoose (554 points ) November 14th, 2008 from iPhone

opinions that are actually smart ones

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29 Answers

tonedef's avatar

What kind of opinion? Moral opinion on filesharing? Tech opinion on viability as a content distribution platform?

skfinkel's avatar

I would love to give you a smart answer, if I knew what this was.
Although on second thought, perhaps I couldn’t have a smart or even dumb answer if I don’t know what it is.

skabeep's avatar

i never heard of anyone calling it bit torrenting, but if you are asking our opinion on using a torrent system for filesharing, its a great idea and makes it so much easier to transfer folders. if you are asking about copyright infringment through file-sharing… i have a gun, its all i need to murder someone and break the law but just cause it can, doesnt mean it has to be used like that. torrents are not all for just stealing other people’s crap

anthelios77's avatar

I’m with skabeep on this. The torrent system is great for distributing large files and can really save on a distributing server’s bandwidth. I often get my operating systems via torrent which otherwise takes tons of time when getting it from a single server. Those downloads are legal btw.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’ll agree with skabeep that I am not a big fan of demonizing a technology because it can be used to break the law. I think it’s a great technology that allows large amounts of data to be transferred in a very quick time via P2P sharing. I’m all for it.

Now as for using it to download things like music and movies and other copyrighted work, essentially I do believe that people should pay for the content they utilize. However, I have no problem with say buying used media even though the copyright holder does not get a royalty from that purchase, because after all, only one person can own that copy at a time. Now someone else may have burned a copy before they sold it, and that’s wrong, I don’t agree with that. I however have no moral qualms about downloading something to “give it a test run”. If I have heard great things about a musical artist, and I’m curious to see if I like their music, I would have no problem borrowing the CD from the library, or listening to it on a streaming site (if I could find one), but I would be opposed to say downloading it and keeping it on my MP3 player or computer, the same way I wouldn’t copy that CD I borrowed from a friend of a library…if I like it and want to posess it and use it, I should pay for it.

But to be honest with you, I only use bittorrent in a specific way…hard to find media, things that are commercially unavailable…live shows, out of print albums, etc. I feel that I would pay for this content if it were made commercially available, and I support the artist in other ways (going to concerts, buying commercially available CDs, etc.), but if I am a fan of someone and want to hear some of their output, and that’s the only way to get it, then I have no problem with “illegally” downloading it.

Personally, as bittorrents relate to media I think it’s just another distribution tool, like a CD or DVD, and I believe the real problem with artist royalties lies with the way record companies structure their business. I mean, there has to be a reason that 90% of all CDs released by major labels lose money and are subsidized by the 10% that do make money, and yet more often than not, the artist who created the work ends up going in debt to the record label, all the while they control both distribution and production, and often struggle with the artist over creative control. Then they can sell several hundred thousand copies of an album at $18 a pop and still lose money? Yet the artist can get a royalty rate several times higher and sell only a few thousand copies through an indie label and everyone makes money? And the artist can post the music to their website and offer it up as “pay whatever you want” and make more money on it than any album they’ve ever produced?

My morality is as such…I want to support the people who create the content I enjoy. I don’t want to support inefficient bereaucracies which steal from the artist AND the consumer and STILL lose money and then can’t figure out why no one’s buying CDs anymore. So, when I buy CDs or DVDs, MOST of the time I’ll buy them used. After all, for the same CD I’d pay $18 for at a retail record store, or $14 at Best Buy, I can get for between $8 and $10 used, same content. No, the artist doesn’t get a royalty from me, and that sucks, but artists actually make all their money from concerts and tend to lose money on CD sales anyway, so I’ll support the artists by going to their concerts. If I really like them I’ll find unreleased material and live shows via bittorrent…it makes me appreciate that artist all the more, making it more likely I’ll see them when they come to town. But I want the physical CD, I don’t just want the electronic file, and I’m supporting a local business by buying a used copy from a local used CD merchant, and what I’m doing is legal and moral, so I don’t mess with bittorrenting illegally.

Hope that helps.

tonedef's avatar

The difference between dalepetrie and me are that while I just leave a sassy, brief question in response to poorly articulated questions, he leaves an opus that fires on all cylinders.

afghanmoose's avatar

sorry I wasn’t gramaticaly correct typing the question.

afghanmoose's avatar

but what about kazaa,if you pay for the program,does that count for downloading legaly since u paid for the program?

skabeep's avatar

depends, did you pay for the downloaded content or just the program to download it?

tonedef's avatar

NO, paying for Kazaa does not legitimize all of the pirated content you got from it.

skabeep's avatar

there are tons of sites that will offer unlimited downloads for $X per month legally but ive never really looked for any so i cant recommend anything

afghanmoose's avatar

I was looking for a site that offers something like what skabeep said.wouldn’t paying monthly for unlimited download of music or videos be considered legal?like rhapsody for example.

Vincentt's avatar

I love how I can quickly get the newest version of Ubuntu and share it with others.

wilhel1812's avatar

Bittorrent in general is one of the smartest things that has been made over the last years.
However i assume you where thinking about pirating which is another thing. I guess it’s just how it is. There’s really nothing you can do about it now, and i guess artists and moviemakers will have to figure out new, smarter ways to earn money on their music /movies. For example artists will have to have more gigs and cinemas will have to become more attractive. I don’t sit with the solution here, but i hope someone, someday will come up with a solution that will make the industries earn money like they did.

aidje's avatar

“artists will have to have more gigs ”

Do you realize how much time artists spend on the road as it is? A lot.

wilhel1812's avatar

Some do, and i love them. I attend a lot of gigs monthly and i really appreciate what they do. For some reason, the CDs i own are from bands I’ve seen live. I guess there’s two big reasons for this: I’ve seen them “in person” and gets a different relationship to them and their music, which gives me more respect to them and their work. the other thing is that i often buy their stuff at the gigs. Anyways, this is just one thing they can do to earn money these days. I’m sure we’ll come up with a lot of other clever ways to earn money. Of course the best thing was how it was before, in the days where we had to buy the music to listen to it, but that’s not how it is and we can’t undo that… Also, this new way of distributing music might also have positive effects, like a lot of bands get a chance to broadcast themselves without a shitload of money in advertising.

afghanmoose's avatar

what’s ubuntu

wilhel1812's avatar

Ubuntu is a linux distribution. It’s a lot of data to transfer a full OS, so a lot of linux distributions use BitTorrent to give away their works. This saves them bandwidth and gives the user higher download speed. it’s win-win.

BTW, no only linux distributions use this, NASA does and so does the biggest TV channel where i live (Norway), NRK to give away episodes of stuff they show.

Vincentt's avatar

Yeah, the point was that I love how BitTorrent makes it easy to transfer large files, and to emphasize that it can be very legal. Ubuntu was a nice example because it releases a new version every six months with some preview releases, and obviously I want to try them all so BitTorrent is a godsend ;-)

anthelios77's avatar

It’s great for downloading music albums as well. Jamendo, which is a music site/community for music released under the creative commons license, uses the p2p torrent file distribution system as well. They probably save a lot of money that way.

Vincentt's avatar

Absolutely, though I was quite happy when they introduced the ability to download single MP3’s or even to stream music, as I rarely like a whole album ;-)

anthelios77's avatar

That’s true.

afghanmoose's avatar

so jamendo is legal I’m guessing and an alternative to iTunes?

wilhel1812's avatar

it’s legal, but you won’t find anything big there. It’s basically only unsigned bands there…

anthelios77's avatar

They are unsigned since they want to use a different model than the record label system (or what you should call it). That does have the effect though that you have to sift through a lot of artists before you find anything you like, since anyone can add their music there and not everyone is a pro.

Vincentt's avatar

There are also some record labels on there. The Jamendo blog occasionally points out some of the more professional artists/labels on there. And yes, it’s all legal.

anthelios77's avatar

more off-topic: Is the record label music also CC licensed?

edit: On a closer look it seems that they are signed artists who release new songs under the CC license. Is that true?

dynamicduo's avatar

Traditional record label music is most definitely NOT CC licensed. It’s Copyright© All Rights Reserved. That’s why they are suing people who take and use the music without paying.

There are a few signed artists trying to get into the CC scene, Radiohead and NIN’s encouraging of fan remixes is one. But the only reason they can do this is because they are both not tied to (or “owned” by) the record labels anymore. Radiohead’s contract with their record producer had expired, so they were free to do what they wanted to. Same with Trent Reznor. The big labels aren’t interested in CC because there’s no money in it for them – in fact it’s giving the music (or music rights) away for free. That’s not their business :)

anthelios77's avatar

Thanks for clarifying.

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