I’ll admit it. Before iTunes, I used Napster. Not much, but I used Napster to download music to play on my Mac.
Hey, it was free and easy. Those were the days, right? I know folks who have a few thousand MP3s downloaded from Napster. I pulled down a couple of dozen songs that were not in my extensive CD collection.
Soon after that, iTunes came on the scene. Hey, what a great way to store your CDs, play ‘em back on the Mac, right? Then along came iTMS and my Napster collection got ditched in favor of inexpensive and higher quality music downloads.
Oh, and they were legal downloads.
I did manage to keep one MP3 song by Garth Brooks (guess which one) that I haven’t been able to find on iTMS, but I digress.
The point is, Napster launched a huge revolution in Peer-to-Peer file swapping with all the illegal music downloading. Then the feds moved in, busted up the ring, carted a few folks off to the pokey (or, slapped ‘em with lawsuits), and P2P began to change.
BT was created by Bram Cohen as a way to efficiently share files between many users. The way it works is simple. You download a file from a link and “bits” of the file are pulled in from other servers scattered all over the place that are doing the same thing, downloading and uploading “bits” of the file.
It’s fast. It’s efficient. It’s got a lot of big money folks scared.
Here’s what cNet says: “Over the past two years, BitTorrent has risen to become one of the most popular file-swapping tools on the Net, accounting for a majority of peer-to-peer traffic on ISP networks as of last summer, according to network monitoring firm CacheLogic. Because the technology was designed from the beginning to make distributing large files efficient, much of this traffic was dedicated to full-length, high-quality movies and software.”
Whoa. Is that cool or what?
Well, watch out. Cool, or not, life is about to get hot for those engaged in BitTorrent P2P file swapping. Again.
The Motion Picture Association of America has launched a series of legal actions all over the world. Aimed at you, the file swapper? Nope. Not yet.
The latest actions are aimed at the people who run the infrastructure for the BitTorrents networks that are used to provide the links which are used to distribute movies and other copyrighted materials. Illegally.
One of the largest BitTorrent link sites (I used it just last Friday, but didn’t find anything worth downloading) SuperNova.org has shut down. For good. Maybe not forever. At least, not forever in its current form.
Some estimate that about 30-percent of all Internet traffic is P2P file swapping. Maybe so, maybe less, maybe more. Maybe not.
Regardless, P2P file swapping is about to change again.
Is it possible to stop illegal file swapping with technology? Probably not. With lawsuits? Probably not. As with Napster’s demise, swapping will change, adapt, continue.
Nothing improves without change. Remember that. You heard it here first.
As for my one night stand with Tomato Torrent (a Mac application to join the BitTorrent network and find files), well the memories will remain.
We’ll always have Paris (the video).