Torrenting, it’s the tool of thieves and pirates, right? The evil protocol no honest person should ever dare touch? Not quite, but it’s got that reputation with some, and it’s trying hard to shake it. According to BitTorrent’s executive director of marketing Matt Mason, they plan to take it all the way in the other direction and get into legal content distribution.
Now before anyone gets upset, it’s worth noting BitTorrent is already in the business of legal content distribution; it’s a great way to download huge pieces of open source software. This plan goes a bit farther than that though. As Mason puts it, “We’ve been trying to groom the entertainment industry to think about BitTorrent as a partner.”
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.
According to Mason, these plans don’t involve setting up any kind of store or anything. Instead, BitTorrent simply wants to reach out to rightsholders to offer itself up as a delivery mechanism, whether that will mean torrentable downloads of extra goodies that come with a traditional purchase, or set top boxes that use the protocol to download and stream. BitTorrent’s certainly got a bad rap considering its method is so efficient and its name is something of a dirty word. Whether this push can do anything to change that remains to be seen. Hopefully it can. [The New York Times]