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Will the FBI come knocking if I Bit-Torrent my podcasts?

by msmithma / June 15, 2007 3:45 AM PDT

There are a few video podcasts that have torrent rss feeds so that I can help out my favorite podcaster without crushing them (Rev3's Totally Rad Show for example). I use Democracy TV (soon to be Miro http://www.getmiro.com/) which has built in torrent support. As a side question how come cnet doesn't torrent their pod/vid-casts?

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Answers
by udayan71 / June 15, 2007 4:31 AM PDT

To the question in your subject title, no the FBI will not drop by if you are torrenting podcasts. I say this with the condition that the torrent should be sourced from the producers of the podcast. Even so, I would be very surprised if a podcaster was to take action against torrenting of their show without their permission - because they distribute it freely, and it indicates that their show is so popular that people seek alternative means to get them.

To the question re: CNET's distribution, I can offer 2 possible answers. Not being TMV, or J, I would not be able to answer with certainty, however this represents my best shot at it;

1. Only one form of distribution allows CNET to keep a record of how many people are downloading their show. More than one would be less accurate because 1 user may download from a variety of distribution sources.

2. TMV, or J, just have not got around to implementing this yet. Some time ago Veronica and five Buzzers spoke over Skype for a trial run of user participation. The inundation of tech news, the fact that they have roles outside of BOL, and the fact that producing BOL every day is in itself a task, means they may not have the time to do so.

I now leave it to you to decide which answer you prefer.

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I like both
by msmithma / June 15, 2007 4:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Answers

Using Bit-Torrent for podcasting is still relatively new (though I'm pretty sure the buzz crew knows about the possibility) and that would make a corporation hesitant to implement it too quickly. I think the download count is the more important issue. Specifically one of tracking how many people hit a torrent? My guess is that it can probably be done since someone has to keep track of all the clients trying to download but I bet that cnet wants more certainty than my guess.

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The three letter entity to be most concerned about...
by punterjoe / June 15, 2007 9:40 AM PDT

...is probably your ISP.
...IF they're just using packet sniffing to throttle bandwidth. Sure, it's a legit use. But it may not matter. I use BT for grabbing Linux distros & I've pulled some licensed content off the Bittorrent.com site, to see how it worked, but I'm sure my ISP doesn't know what I'm getting - just how I'm getting it. And they probably assume that if it's a torrent, it's a threat to their bandwidth. So don't be surprised if they pinch the pipe. Silly

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Don't need bittorrent
by mikeburek / June 15, 2007 3:19 PM PDT

I would assume that CNet can handle the bandwidth would be the biggest reason for not using it.

And if they were to need another distribution site, I would guess they would try mirrors first. Mainly because bittorrent takes just a little more effort to get going. Of course they would still keep the current distribution. Otherwise, everyone who listened at work would only listen for 1 day before getting fired for using bittorrent at work. And many people are in situations where they just don't have the ability to install/connect to bittorrent networks.

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RIAA more likely
by mikeburek / June 15, 2007 3:26 PM PDT

The RIAA assumes that everyone is illegally sharing music by just your heart beating at the same rate as the tempo of some song.

Bittorrent gets put into the "criminal" category very quickly although it has already helped many people distribute lots of legal content. Certain production groups put too much pressure on everyone and scare them with lawsuits if they even mention bittorrent. And if they keep pushing and the public doesn't educate their lovely legislature fast enough, then it may become illegal someday.

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