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OPLIN 4Cast #311: It’s just good business

Posted in 4cast

We’ve noted before in this blog that the BitTorrent protocol in itself is not evil, despite its reputation. The problem is the way people use what is actually just a very efficient way to transfer files over the Internet. Now the BitTorrent company (yes, it’s a company) is making a push to improve its image and be seen as a legitimate business. How does this affect libraries? Well, remember that ebooks are just big electronic files that need to be transferred over the Internet.

  • BitTorrent’s Matt Mason on rethinking the music industry business model: ‘The hustle is changing’ (TechCrunch/Anthony Ha)  “The bigger problem, [Matt Mason, BitTorrent executive director of marketing] said, is that the entertainment industry’s terms are too onerous: ‘The deals just don’t make sense.’ So BitTorrent works with artists on one-off experiments. For example, it collaborated with DJ Shadow and his digital marketing agency Fame House to create a bundle with exclusive content around his release Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era (1992-1996), and it ran ads for free software alongside those bundles.”
  • BitTorrent wants to be Hollywood’s new best friend (Gizmodo/Eric Limer)  “And it makes sense, BitTorrent has a gigantic user-base, more than Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify combined, times two. And it’s an efficient way to download large files, much better than pulling them from a single source. But are all those users there because BitTorrent is great, or because free (pirated) content abounds? BitTorrent is betting on the former.”
  • BitTorrent inks deals with 20 TV set makers (Multichannel News/Todd Spangler)  “‘You may not see them as much in the U.S.,’ [BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker] said. That’s because for many Internet-connected HDTVs marketed in the U.S., the manufacturers already have deals with streaming-video providers such as Netflix, according to Klinker. ‘We are competing with the Netflixes and Hulus for space on the television,’ Klinker said.”
  • Is BitTorrent the future of book publishing? Tim Ferriss is banking on it (ReadWriteWeb/John Paul Titlow)  “For Ferriss, BitTorrent is just an incredibly efficient way to distribute content to a large number of users. And BitTorrent has plenty of them. When asked why he wanted to enter into this partnership, the first words out of Ferriss’s mouth were ‘one hundred and sixty million users.’ It’s hard to argue with that.”

Bandwidth fact:
Last February, we reported that people using the BitTorrent protocol accounted for about 20% of all Internet bandwidth use, but that number is shrinking in the face of competition from video-streaming services like Netflix and may be down to 10% by 2015.