Torrent Informatics

uTorrent is my favorite torrent client. It's such a joy to use – a tiny, native application that offers a best-of-breed implementation of the BitTorrent protocol. Everybody loves BitTorrent, and I love it too. I'm not the only one. By some estimates, torrent data may account for as much as 35% of all internet traffic.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

This comment thread is saddening proof that the RI/MPAA’s scare tactics are working. Say anything loud enough and often enough and people will start believing you, I guess…

Of course Petzold hates Jeff. Jeff would’ve knocked the little old lady with the iPod to the next subway stop.

For free.

(As an aside, do scrub the personally identifiable information from screenshots. Not because of MPAA/RIAA lawsuits - it’s just a good habit.)

Perhaps true, but I think my favorite episode is in season 2. I’m trying to figure out which one that is, which prompted the download

Yeah, I will say that as flat as it became, it was only so in comparison to the first 6 or so eps. I still watched every one and would certainly watch more if they made them.

Plus, my wife (an English teacher) used the scene from season 2 with the walled in frat boy in her Poe unit. (-:

One word stood out: “What’s a poor, law-abiding citizen”

The whole “the market has failed” argument can be used to explain many things - drugs, prostitution, the failure of prohibition, etc. But a lot of times I hear people say that “X was to expensive so I torrented it”. The problem with these people is that the only price at which they would buy it would be $0.

I think the thriving torrent scene has caused a general trend towards people not valuing things that can be copied easily, and toward simple laziness - why save money to buy X when I can blame the market and get it for free?

The example I have in mind are “poor students” who can’t afford to buy CDs, but who can afford to blow $50 on beer drinks three times a week.

…the only price at which they would buy it would be $0.

And doesn’t that imply that there is no economic loss to the creator?

…the only price at which they would buy it would be $0.

And doesn’t that imply that there is no economic loss to the creator?

No, because if the buyer didn’t have access to bittorrent, they would buy the item at a price above $0. So the sentence should be read “the only price at which they would buy it given that torrenting it is an alternative would be $0”.

There’s only no loss if the person would under no circumstances whatsoever pay anything for the item.

But if the item were that worthless, they wouldn’t bother to torrent it either.

The fact that the person is torrenting the item means that it has value for them. And that value is lost to the creator, because the person should be willing to pay that much.


This is why Radiohead’s new approach is so great, I think. See their latest offering at - they have their album up for download at their site at whatever price you are willing to pay.

if the buyer didn’t have access to bittorrent, they would buy the item at a price above $0.

Or not buy it at all – a lot more likely. That’s what’s implied in your original statement, and it rings true.

I don’t argue that every torrented copy is a copy that would never be purchased, or that there is not some average loss when you look at all such copies – some people likely would pay more than $0.

But I would argue that the loss is a lot closer to $0 than it is to the retail price.

As it is, there are only two prices: $0 or retail. What if the market clearing price is somewhere in between? Isn’t this is the market establishing the clearing price in the only way it can?

I don’t agree with Charles’ position, but I thought his response in the comments was pretty funny:

“I actually have written an entire book that demonstrates how to resolve all copyright issues to everyone’s satisfaction, but I have chosen not to publish it or make it public in any way. — Charles”

Jeff could have bought the missing episode if he had just bought the network. Couldn’t afford it? then just take it

oh … the uTottent stats are neat too.

I used Azureus for a while before switching to uTorrent. While I agree many of the features are similar, I prefer uTorrent b/c it is a much lighter application.

I hate to break it to some of you above who are yelling about Federal crime, but copyright infringement is not considered a crime in the United States, Federal or otherwise.

Some of the screens look remarkably similar (say, 90%) to the other popular client, Azureus. Which I believe is older.

Technically, you are admitting to something that is a prosecuted crime in your country (are you sure you REALLY want to post about it?). If there is no legitimate way to get a hold of it, you are supposed to be just plain out of luck. This is why RIAA and MPAA etc are all such rabid haters of technology. Remember when only they controlled distribution? Remember when getting a movie on tape only happened YEARS after it came out. Now movies are pushed out in months just because they have no alternative, after all, movies are frequently available for download BEFORE the theatrical release (by over a year in some cases!)

That aside, there is another lesson to be learned from uTorrent. You can start a trend with a good idea and lousy software and eventually BUY your way to quality. I don’t think anyone can argue that Bram’s python client was lousy - it did the job, almost, but there were variants available immediately to address shortcomings and the original bit torrent client continually changed with features coming and going version by version (stability in features was part of the reason to use anything BUT the original author’s version).

Fortunately, Bram was recently able to buy uTorrent, and in doing so stepped from a quality idea to a quality implementation. I sincerely hope that this does not become a lesson about how to destroy great software.

While we’re talking about Torrent, can I branch slightly and ask if the dreaded “Event 4226” an issue with this client?

(The Microsoft imposed limit on the maximum number of half-open TCP connections: see )

I know there are suitable patches out there, ,but there doesn’t seem to be a current patch for XP x64 so my torrent use is really suffering (I’m currently using Shareaza).

I find it interesting how angry Charles seems to be at you, seeing as you have committed no crime.

Regardless, uTorrent is a great program, so great, that I even use WINE to run it on my Linux box. I just can’t find something to beat it (feature-wise), for the extremely small memory footprint it has.

The statistics are even nicer in Azureus while the ones they both share and highly similar.

Reading most of the comments on this blog and Charles Petzold’s i am surprised that noone has brought up the way studios market their products, emphasizing that you have to get everything now at any cost, everything is a MUST watch extravanganza, and then they expect you to just forget something if they cant be bothered realeasing it after spending millions telling you that your extremeties will rot off if you dont get it.

Everyone seems to be praising azureus’ swarm visuilisation. I see this as windows 98 defragmenter vs windows xp. One is more fun to watch, one defragments your hdd. I am still not going to roll back to 98.

If there is no legitimate way to get a hold of it, you are supposed to be just plain out of luck.

Well, here I see a future for the production team to make their website, and then to offer the rights to get the file for a price - or to put 'm through another distribution channel.

I admit I don’t know much about the payment pyramids in video, and I’m aware that they can become pretty hairy and convoluted with music, not releasing episodes (when there’s a possibility to eliminate distribution costs) is letting intellectual property rot and deprecate instead of turning in more of a profit than it generates currently.