There once was a time in the early days of the interwebs when software and music were free. For music lovers, it all began back in the day when someone ripped a CD of music and decided to share the songs with friends online.
Along came Napster and free music– in the form of file sharing— was available to all with an internet connection– llegally, as it turned out. Napster might be dead as the world’s free music service, but file sharing lives on.
Sharing Free TV, Movies, Music
File sharing (wink, wink, nod, nod) between users connected to the internet lives on beyond Napster’s short life, but it’s a dark and murky world fraught with danger, potential illegalities, and a plethora of confusing options.
Today, BitTorrent rules the most visible part of the underworld of file sharing. For Mac users, the BitTorrent app of choice usually is Transmission, a simple, easy, and free way to navigate the darker waters of BitTorrent file sharing.
Transmission is very Mac-like in appearance, setup, and usage. It’s almost, but not quite in the it just works vein. Mac users will be treated to a new world of terminology in Transmission. There are watch directories, bad peer blocking, encryption, peer exchange, per-torrent speed limits, and more to learn and worry about.
Once setup, Transmission becomes mostly a very quiet, behind-the-scenes peer-to-peer file sharing app that both downloads shared files to your Mac, and shares files with others connected to your and other Macs online. You can search the internet for music, television shows, movies, apps, photos, and much more– all shared between BitTorrent connected Macs and Windows PCs scattered throughout the world.
Files are downloaded to your Mac in multiple streams from multiple locations on the internet. The advantage of using Transmission is that BitTorrent reduces the server and network impact of distributing large media files (music, TV shows, movies, etc.). Instead of downloading files from a single server, a swarm of connected Macs and PCs continually download and upload files to other BitTorrent users.
Is all this legal? Yes. And often, no. BitTorrent has become somewhat legitimate as a way to distribute media files, and has licenses to distribute some content. But the vast majority of content available via BitTorrent and accessed with the Transmission app are, uh, um, well, shared, and may violate copyrights.
Using Transmission to find and download music, TV shows, and movies is one thing, but it’s also a free and easy way to download malware onto Macs and PCs. Transmission is free but definitely comes with a caveat emptor warning.
*Everything? Not quite, but as you browse the BitTorrent section of the interwebs, it may seem as if you can find and download almost anything your heart desires.