What’s the alternative options if Bit Torrent sites are closed ?

Survival of the fittest is the motto that Human Beings have always lived by. When faced by adversity or restriction, we tend to fight and find solutions that are tailored to the problem as well as solutions that are well sometimes out of the box. Today, the online world especially most of the people who download content from the internet are faced with some serious restrictions to what people can download and share. A wealth of information / data and content is available online but not all of it is copyright, one of the most efficient ways to share this information especially large information like music movies etc was through the very very popular Bit Torrents. Bit torrents have gained popularity over the years and as you would imagine most people use them. But with the introduction of SOPA / PIPA and now ACTA it is getting more and more unlikely that these Bit Torrent sites and clients can move further. But like I said earlier we do come out of problems with innovative solutions. Although I believe that more solutions will present themselves in due course like the Option 2, currently there is a budding solution to our woes.

The truth about piracy is simple, I would download a movie and watch it only if I am not really interested to go see it in the theatre. In fact if torrent downloads were not possible, I would not really go and see it at all ! So in that sense the movie industry does not need to fear torrent downloads per se. The real piracy is the fake DVD’s, CD’s and other activities that happen in the shadow and bringing a few websites down will fuel these activities even more. Demand Supply rule here. If you look at the infographic I posted last week this gets terribly visible. The bad movies made the top 10 list as well as the good ones, the downloading trend will probably affect by pinching away those users who would love to buy and keep copies of movies. Not the real cinema money. Food for thought.

First lets talk about Torrents in general. 

A torrent file is a document containing a number of pieces of information about a file including the names of its various component parts as well as pertinent identifying information. Torrent files do not point to specific files on specific servers but instead point to codes that identify chunks of a file. These files are actually quite large – a few kilobytes to a few hundred – and most BitTorrent feeds have used them exclusively for the past few years.

There’s a problem with torrent files, however, that has to do more with perception than reality. To the average politico – and to the average media lobbyist – Torrent files are “files” that point to pirated content.

Option 1 : Tribler

One of the technologies that builds on the BitTorrents which is going to be more relevant than before is Tribler. The Tribler BitTorrent client is no newcomer to the BitTorrent scene. It has been in development for more than 5 years and has delivered many innovative features, which have mostly been ignored by the masses. Developed by a team of researchers at Delft University of Technology, the main goal is to come up with a robust implementation of BitTorrent that doesn’t rely on central servers. Instead, Tribler is designed to keep BitTorrent alive, even when all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers are pulled offline.

So how does it work?

Like many other BitTorrent clients, Tribler has a search box at the top of the application. However, the search results that appear when users type in a keyword don’t come from a central index. Instead, they come directly from other peers. Downloading a torrent is also totally peer to peer and not from a central location. When a user clicks on one of the search results, the header information or meta date (what exists in the torrent file) is pulled in from another peer and the download starts immediately. Tribler is based on the standard BitTorrent protocol and uses regular BitTorrent trackers to communicate with other peers. But, it can also continue downloading when a central tracker goes down.

Tribler uses crowd-sourcing to keep the network clean. Content is verified by user generated “channels”, which can be “liked” by others. When more people like a channel, the associated torrents get a boost in the search results. All this without a central server, guess what no more shutting down websites, and no more losing downloading opportunities.

It simply can’t be shutdown, blocked or censored, whatever laws politicians may come up with. One thing that could theoretically cause issues, is the capability for starting users to find new peers. To be on the safe side the Tribler team is still looking for people who want to act as so called bootstraptribler peers. These users will act as superpeers, who distribute lists of active downloaders. The only other way to shut it down would be to shut down the internet. Imagine that !

While the Tribler client only has a few thousand users at the moment, for avid file-sharers it must be a relief to know that it’s out there. No matter what crazy laws may pass in the future, people will always be able to share.

Those who want to give it a spin are welcome download Tribler here. It’s completely Open Source and with a version for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Option 2 : 3D Printing

This for a lot of people including the Pirate Bay is the future of downloading. With 3d printers getting more affordable as well as a lot more advanced, the days when 3D artwork of a movie Blue Ray downloaded and printing your own copies of the Blue Ray disks is not far away. This about this as an option, you browse popular 3D sharing websites including ones like Google Sketchup, where some user uploads a 3D image of a DVD with the print of the movie on it, all you need is a 3D printer to make unlimited copies of the movie for you.

This is a bit distant but do not under estimate the importance of something like this, especially when Pirate Bay makes a prediction on these lines.

Option 3 : Other Peer to Peer tools 

The third option would be the one that people that plant viruses and malware love. Back to the age old software like Limewire, iMesh and other clients on desktops that can also help in peer to peer downloads. I think we all know the era when we relied on these and what was the result. COnstant pain of viruses and such.

Regardless the option we choose, the options for the industry to block the downloading would only mean that we will find another means and source, after all we are not the most successful species on the planet without the adversity to adapt.

How to Download movies from the Internet using BitTorrents

A Beginners Guide

I have been asked a few times, how people are downloading movies from the Internet, People with nearly no technical skills want to but don’t really know how to download movies. Before I can do a how to on this one I definitely need to mention that I quite frankly do not support downloading illegal content from the Internet. You have to be careful when downloading torrents as many of them are copyrighted and illegal. Now that that is out of the way, lets see how we can download a movie from the internet. For this How To I am going to use a website that hosts free public domain movies like http://www.publicdomaintorrents.com/ which do not carry copyright infringement in doing so.

Step 1 : Get yourself a Bit Torrent ‘client’

Bit Torrent is a process where you can share files with many people called lechers, through a process known as peer to peer networking. Peer to peer is actually a form of networking where unlike accessing google.com or yahoo.com where you request information from the Google server, you would request this information from a private user connected to the internet elsewhere in the world. Since this is different from just plain ‘browsing’ you would need a specialist software to actually connect with many peers or seeders. Unlike browsing where you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome which are browsers, what you would need is a Bit Torrent ‘client’ software. There are possibly hundreds of free Bit Torrent Clients out there, but the most popular among these are Vuse, uTorrent and BitTorrent. The process that you would use for downloading would be more or less similar regardless of what client you use. I would however suggest using uTorrent as it is not only the most popular but also the best of the lot according to me. To download uTorrent, Go to uTorrent.com and click on the big Free download button to get the Bit Torrent client. Once it is downloaded you could follow the procedure to install the software on your computer, it’s pretty straight forward to do so. Now you are ready for step 2.

Step 2 : Get the torrent file

Once you have the Torrent Client installed on your computer, you will then need to tell the client what file you want to download and from where. For this very purpose seeders or people who share for information on the internet, create a file with extension .torrent. Just like your word or excel files have an extension .doc or .xls and open in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, the .torrent file opens up in your Bit Torrent client when you open it. There are many hundreds of torrent sites on the internet and most of these offer various downloads like music, movies, documentaries, books, games and even software. You could search for your choice of downloads on these sites and obtain the .torrent file. This is usually marked with, “download torrent here” or “Download this Torrent”. Examples of sites which provide torrents are http://www.thepiratebay.org, http://www.mininova.org, http://www.demonoid.com and then there are other websites that act as torrent search engines that actually bring together the torents from various torrent sites online, these might be http://www.torrentfreak.com, http://www.cinematorrents.com/ and others.

Step 3 : Open the .torrent file in your client and wait

Once you have downloaded the .torrent file from the site that you want, Usually, the web browser’s file download manager will ask what to do with this file. You want to open the file with your torrent client. If it doesn’t open that way, just save the .torrent file to an easy to locate place. Then open your torrent client and use the “Open Torrent” feature(Most torrent clients support click & drag). Now you can let your Bit torrent Client do the work for you while you can go away and do something else on your computer or kill time, because torrents do not require your attention and will download in the background. How long a torrent takes to complete the download is completely dependent on how fast is your internet speed, How many people are sharing the file (seeds) and how big the file that you are trying to download is. Usually movies are about 700 MB – 1.37 GB and this would mean that it would take about 8 hours of download on a 512KB connection with a few hundred seeds.

Tips and Warnings

· You can close your torrent program and turn off your computer when you need to. Most torrent programs will resume download process automatically when you start them back up. If the download doesn’t resume automatically, there should be an option to start downloading, by either right clicking on the file and choose “Start” or a button somewhere in the program.

· There are other torrent clients (programs) that can be used so do your research on these also. The most popular torrent programs are uTorrent, Azureus and BitTorrent.

  • There are Torrent search engines that search the popular torrent clients (programs). This saves you time by not having to search each individual torrent client site. The most popular torrent search engines are TorrentReactor.net, Nowtorrents.com and Qtorrents.com .
  • When looking for torrent files, try to find ones with plenty of Seeders. When searching for torrents, you can often sort the results by seeds, simply by clicking on the seeds column header.
  • Seeders (Seeds): Are people who have a complete copy of the torrent’s files and are only uploading (sending) data to the people who are downloading (peers).
  • Leechers (Peers): Are people who have a portion of the torrent’s files while they are downloading they are actively uploading to help others download more quickly.
  • Downloading torrents can slow your computer down depending on how well your computer performs. Recommended specs for each client vary, but on average you should have at least 512 MB of RAM and a 1 GHz CPU. You will also need space for the files you want to save.
  • In certain jurisdictions it is illegal to download content through peer to peer networks such as bittorrent. There is a program which blocks certain IP addresses from communicating with your computer and can help protect you while downloading. PeerGuardian can be found at:phoenixlabs.org/pg2or [1]
  • Keep your anti-virus program and its definitions fully up-to-date, downloaded software from ‘sharing’ sources carries a high risk of infection.
  • Downloading torrents can slow your overall internet connection down if you don’t properly tweak your upload rate. DSL and Cable modems have problems downloading if you’re uploading at your maximum rate. Set your clients maximum rate to 80% of your maximum upload rate if you can adjust it. If you set your upload rate too low, your downloads will slow to a crawl.
  • It’s important to know about bittorrents so that you know the risks, consequences, and best practices.
  • Make sure you check the comment section before downloading, if there is one, to see if the torrent is real or not.

All I can say now is Happy Downloading .