The word “torrent” always received a bit of a negative connotation, especially thanks to illegal file-sharing services that make copyrighted material, such as movies, music and software, available for free. The act of torrenting is legal, however, as long as you are downloading content that is not copyrighted. Internet Archive, which tries to bring “universal access to all knowledge,” made available over 1 million torrents. It includes a large collection of films, live music concerts, books, and old time radio that are all legal to download. The organization explained why it chose BitTorrent as a means of delivery:
BitTorrent is the now fastest way to download items from the Archive, because the BitTorrent client downloads simultaneously from two different Archive servers located in two different datacenters, and from other Archive users who have downloaded these Torrents already. The distributed nature of BitTorrent swarms and their ability to retrieve Torrents from local peers may be of particular value to patrons with slower access to the Archive, for example those outside the United States or inside institutions with slow connections.
You can find the full list of 1,402,950 torrents on Internet Archive’s website. It includes video from Maroon 5 and John Mayer concerts, The Foundation Trilogy, a 1080p version of “The Night of The Living Dead“, and more. It is certainly a cool project, because it offers content in the public domain and makes it easy to download. John Glimore, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, talked about why he supports BitTorrent: [Torrent Archive via Internet Archive Blog]
“I supported the original creation of BitTorrent because I believe in building technology to make it easy for communities to share what they have. The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn’t just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive.”