Buzz Out Loud 843: Nine legal uses for BitTorrent

We asked. You answered. Our listeners provided not seven, not eight, but nine real legal legitimate uses for BitTorrent. Plus Apple's getting into an old-fashioned spat with IBM. Just like 1979 all over again.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
4 min read
We asked. You answered. Our listeners provided not seven, not eight, but nine real legal legitimate uses for BitTorrent. Plus Apple's getting into an old-fashioned spat with IBM. Just like 1979 all over again. Plus Rafe says stop whining about Windows 7.
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Episode 843

National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow

Trojan virus steals bank info

Apple hires top IBM chip designer and blade server guru

More on the Windows 7 UI: new taskbar will be mandatory

Fire fear sparks battery recall

OMG! Gmail Adds SMS Chat

Datz launches MP3 download deal

Download full seasons of popular TV shows for $5 (well, sort of)

Sprint cuts cogent off the Internet

Asus to phase out sub-10in Eee PCs, says CEO

CueCat patent granted, finally

Phillies 1, Mitsubishi 0

Voice mail

Daniel - Gaming not so recession proof

Dale - DTV killed my Dad’s VCR

James in Irvine - Here’s what I meant about BitTorrent


I bought Warhammer Online… online <.< and they had me download the
client via bittorent. It was 10GB and I was a littler nervous about
the speeds I might get, but I was maxing out my bandwidth at 2.5MB/s
the whole time. Only took me about 45 minutes to download the entire
client. I also see more and more Betas for MMOs or FPS’s being
delivered this way. Im pretty sure though with commercial bittorrent
that there probably is a dedicated seed with high bandwidth always
around to make sure the torrent doesn’t die, but it still probably
saves them a ton of money when things start getting active.

Jacob Tapp
Phoenix, AZ


Wow, if only everyone put that much effort into their email subject lines. So, what do I or could I use Bittorrent for legally?

Open source audio books, especially Librivox
Independent music
Amateur porn (duh)
.iso’s for discs that have been lost, destroyed, or scratched up. This is a gray area, but if I, for example, have lost my Windows XP CD, I can download and burn an .iso. If the software isn’t cracked and doesn’t come with its own product key, then it’s functionally equivalent to the disc that I lost. And I supply my own product key, since I bought a legitimate copy of XP when I bought my computer.
Modified versions of other OS’s. This is another gray area, but it seems like I should be able to get a modified version of XP if I want to. And if I want to run OS10 on my computer? Well, assuming that I bought a copy of the software, it should be legal for me to download a version of OSX86 that has all the legwork done for me.


Hey guys,

Sitting here in sunny Istanbul creating visual effects for a weird
Turkish feature, listening to episode 842.

I get all of my vfx training from fxphd.com (an amazing online source
of tuition) and it’s all distributed via bit torrent. Normally I have
a great broadband connection in Sweden but when I work in places like
Turkey bit torrent is really the only alternative for getting several
hours of tuition every week. I know that the school has a lot of
postgrads in parts of Asia that would never be able to get the
training if it wasn’t on bit torrent.

Love the show,

Patrick O’Casey
vfx artist


In re: episode 842 and Tom’s request for legit uses of bit torrent - Mars
Hill Church in Seattle uses bit torrent for free distribution of video of
Pastor Mark Driscoll’s sermons. That’s not only legit, it’s holy.



Hi buzz crew,
CBC distributed the final episode of the reality show “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” on bittorrent. I remember you talked about it on a previous show. CBC was mad at Bell and Rogers for throttling their legitimate way of distributing a TV program. People outside Canada could download the show faster than the Canadian tax payers!

Love the show,


Yesterday you were talking about the Hot Topic Music Store, and someone asked why we need another music store when there are already so many DRM free stores. Think of it this way, Walmart sells CD’s, but when another store that sells CD’s opens you don’t say “Walmart sells CD’s, why do we need another CD store.” Safeway sells food, but when a Albertsons opens you don’t say “Safeway sells food, why do we need another food store”. Walgreens is a pharmacy, but when a CVS opens you don’t say “Walgreens is a pharmacy, why do you need another pharmacy.”

Competition helps business!


PS. When I was in the states I went to costco and walmart, where at both I saw Brain Cooley on about 50 different tvs. Also, target sells prepaid cell phones for like $12! How can you make a cell phone for $12. You guys are crazy.