back to article Internet Archive serves up 1.4 million BitTorrent downloads

The Internet Archive, a non-profit online library dedicated to the permanent preservation of information in digital form, has made nearly a petabyte of materials available via the controversial BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. For the project's launch on Tuesday, founder Brewster Kahle announced that the Internet …


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  1. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Sensible decision

    It's no use spending lots and lots of money on http and ftp distribution. Bittorrent is so much quicker and faster for the user than the usual solution, at least for files where the download takes longer than a minute or so.

    1. moiety

      Re: Sensible decision

      ...not to mention that you're cross-downloading from other torrent users so there's a couple of quid saved on bandwidth for the host of the downloads.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What took them so long?

        Yes, bittorrent is actually a good fit for their infrastructure. Not so much the cross-downloading, mind, as plenty of what they offer is obscure enough that you can't really expect sizable swarms of users to filch bandwidth off of, but they have enough places with servers in them that this gives them free load balancing as well as a cushion against surges in popularity.

        So it makes sense. And apparently they figure their userbase will be able to deal with it. It also is a political statement of sorts. That especially has me wonder why they didn't think of this earlier.

        Then again, is very much Brewster's vehicle, to the point that if he doesn't like you, you go regardless of your merits as, say, the main (only) software infrastructure maintainer, and if he does like you, well, you can learn php at leisure while revamping said infrastructure from perl to a "more modern" php one. This sort of thing is also why isn't actually a good archive. Oftentimes it will have the data I'm looking for, but it can't find it because the metadata is rotten beyond belief. Or someone squatted the domain and added a robots.txt together with the standard parked-buy-me spam page; that overrides earlier settings, regardless. Though now-a-days it more often doesn't merely lack a couple of pages but entire sites. Maybe the crawler got revamped too.

        So I'm actually not surprised that it took them a while to think of this, then implement it. We'll see how well it goes. It's not a bad idea at all, but if it fails in the execution we'll be worse off, exactly because it is also a political statement. Brewster is about to do the free world a favour, or quite possibly the reverse, and with this guy it's not at all clear what it's going to be, regardless of his clearly good intentions.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Sensible decision

      BT is a dog on networks though. From a network efficiency point of view, choosing HTTP over BT is a no brainer, but if you don't care about the network outside your DC, choosing BT over HTTP will save you money.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Sensible decision

      "Bittorrent is so much quicker and faster for the user than the usual solution"

      Quicker *and* faster? Impressive ;-)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    That's most odd...

    ...I thought all Bittorrent activity was illegal?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. The Axe

      Re: That's most odd...

      That's what the authorities think and try to keep saying. This will suddenly pull their argument to pieces and they can't say any more that all torrents are illegal. That small bit of doubt should be enough to stop the rabid dogs of the like of ACS:Law (now dead) from having an easy time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's most odd...

        Legit torrents have existed as long as bittorrent has. Debian distributes via bittorrent for example. There is nothing new or sudden about this.

        1. The Axe

          Re: That's most odd...

          Didn't say it wasn't new or that legit torrents haven't existed, but it's another hole in the arguments against banning BT. Linux distributions are pretty geeky, is less so and so the message spreads out to more "normal" people.

          Normal as opposed to us nerds. ;-)

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  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't be long before saying t****** is censored!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hours of legal entertainment

    I can recommend Voyage To The Planet Of Prehistoric Women - a classic of the craptastic b&w genre - and also Sex Madness - an STD propaganda work - which is so bad that it doesn't need a parody version.

  6. Magani
    Black Helicopters

    A visit in the offing?

    How long before The Internet Archive gets a visit from an armed tactical response group a la Mr Kim Dotcom?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A visit in the offing?

      Probably about as long as it takes to bribe a senate to redefine 'public domain' as 'owned by the MPAA and affiliates'. Which is probably a depressingly short time.

    2. Joe User

      Re: A visit in the offing?

      Give the American Media Gestapo enough time and they'll fabricate an excuse to shut down the Internet Archive, too.

  7. Code Monkey

    "Controversial protocol"

    I momentarily took exception to this - before realising it's true.

    Our laws are made - end enforced - by morons. How did this happen.

  8. Flakey

    A good idea but.....

    .. flawed when one considers the attitude of internet providers towards bittorrent. Their mindset is "bittorrent is used for illegal downloading therefore all downloads are illegal" and punish bittorent users usually with speed throttling. Until this mindset is smashed nothing will change.

    Up until a few weeks ago my internet provider,O2, provided a good service with good download speeds,anything up to 1.8 Mbps which I was quite happy with. Now the speed has dropped through the floor when using bittorent to nothing more than 30kbps maximum making it a virtually useless method of downloading and no amount of ranting over the phone has or will change their attitude. Not surprising Im moving to another provider when my contract is up in a couple of months time.

    1. PCar

      Re: A good idea but.....

      "O2 gives you Unlimited downloads at dial-up speed"

      Are you on an O2 legacy package or one of the newer Basics/All-rounder/Works?

      O2 shamefully throttle p2p and fileshares (eg rapidshare) to dialup 50kbs on the newer packages making them all but useless if you want to do more than send emails and browse websites.

  9. raybabyray

    I hope they never take down torrent. All the old films that cannot be found in dvd stores are now safely archived on piratebay. It's probably one of the biggest library of human artistic (and yes, filthy) achievements ever.

    1. LAGMonkey

      archived on the pirate bay?

      Sorry to tell you but The pirate bay does not work like you are describing.

      Magnet links do not contain the original data, just a link to where the data can be found. Said data is distributed throughout the internet on peoples computers and only available when they decide to seed (share).

      The only place you'll find archives of the old movies are in legal deposit library's (ala National Library).

  10. Lockwood

    I remember a mainstream game update was (legitimately) delivered via BT.

    Something's making me think it was one of the Red Alert 2 large updates?

    1. Raelynne79

      I downloaded Aion via BT days before launch. It was a refreshingly civilised install process and I'm actually surprised that more games aren't distributing that way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IIRC WoW updates are delivered using the BT protocol.

    2. FrankAlphaXII


      EA does use the protocol for their Origin CDN service, at least in my area. But there's a caveat to my experiences with EA, EA Tiburon, which is their main Sports game developer is located locally to take advantage of all the Defense Simulation developers who want to get out of defense but stay in Software Development locally. There honestly isnt much choice, Oracle and EA are the only two large software companies that aren't exclusively in Defense simulation that I can think of.

      Im in Orlando and they're located in one of our Suburbs, the City of Maitland and they're known to try new things in our market to see if they work well, so it would make sense if it was http in most places but BT here as an experiment.

      Ive also been told that Valve also uses a BT-like implementation for Steam, which thinking about it now would explain why downloading patches for Skyrim took forever after I severely limited BT bandwidth across my home network.

      I might be wrong though, and I know very little about the gaming industry's modern infrastructure.

  11. Homer 1

    Hosting torrent files

    Actually the Pirate Bay hosts neither the content nor the torrent files, it "hosts" Magnet links, which are basically just multi-target URLs, where each URL is actually just a sort of search query on a tracker. It's roughly comparable to placing a link like "" on a page, but with multiple entries for multiple search engines. As such, a Magnet link is neither content nor even a direct link to that content, it's merely a search query on a third-party's server.

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    It'd make sense

    To make ed2k/kad feeds available too.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    We all Torrent !

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