Surprisingly, I’m glad that a combination of Thanksgiving traffic and icy rain slowed my commute. That’s because it kept me in the car long enough to hear NPR’s All Things Considered talk about BitTorrent.
It starts off with an explanation of how BitTorrent works, and Bram Cohen (the guy who made BitTorrent) gets some airtime. What’s great about this broadcast is that instead of equating P2P with piracy, the story talks about the legitimate uses for BitTorrent like distributing Linux and music with a sharable copyright license like at LegalTorrents. I credit Joel Rose for taking the time to understand both sides of the P2P issue instead of simply parroting Big Copyright’s party line. Luckily this kind of reporting is becoming Does a Free Download Equal a Lost Sale?”>increasingly common.
It goes further than talking about Linux and Phish FLACs though. It talks about how independant film makers can distribute their movies using BitTorrent and compares BitTorrent with VCRs. Rick Prelinger is quoted in the story saying “It reminds me of when videotape first came out. Suddenly a lot of people who were independant makers had a cheap way to distribute their work and the studios freaked out.”
A happy coincidence (or maybe not, DB is pretty media savvy) is that music activists Downhill Battle released the public preview of their new Blog Torrent software. It’s a simple PHP script that makes it easy to set up a BitTorrent site on your own server. I’m playing around with it at so check it out. Right now I have a video for a Joy Division / Missy Elliot mashup by Dsico called Love Will Freak Us as an experiment. Now I just need to set my server up to seed anything I upload automatically…
Oh, and if you’re in the US have a happy Thanksgiving.

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