Disclaimer: The author doesn’t endorse or approve piracy in any form and the content of the article is meant to be a depiction of reality.
Almost all millennials out there on the internet have used BitTorrent at least once in their life, maybe to illegally download the latest song or to download the latest version of Ubuntu for their desktop which is perfectly legal. Free content on torrents made it worth worshipping. Unfortunately, it may not go on like that for long. Thanks to bitcoin and the latest article on BitTorrent and bitcoin which I read recently.
It saddens me to consider the possibility, but it is a valid commentary which we have to accept. The author in the article expresses his views about have paid torrents that accepts payment in bitcoin to allow downloads. I have my reasons to fear that any move to introduce payments for torrents may put an end to one of the few channels that offer unrestricted information (I am not talking about pirated movies, games or software).
BitTorrent protocol is one of the most successful peer-to peer protocols which can be run by almost any system connected to the internet. There is no money involved for sharing content, but only bandwidth shared by other users. Most of the users sharing bandwidth are users by themselves making it work like barter system and none of them so far have had any complaints with it.
Now the founder of JoyStream, Bedeho Mender seems to have come up with this not so wonderful idea of monetizing the BitTorrent. Incidentally, JoyStream itself is a BitTorrent client which Bedeho is trying to monetize by allowing peer-to-peer bitcoin payments in return for bandwidth or content. While the idea behind it seems to be sound and may work in developed countries, there are still places around the world with slow internet connections and access to global content is mostly through torrents. Be it eBooks or software.
Some of these may amount to piracy, but in dire circumstances in places where the price of a book (mostly published by international publishers) or a software is more than a person’s average monthly income it is unavoidable. Of course, unless these companies come up with affordable versions for these regions. There are few publishers who have different low priced editions targeted to particular geographies, not everyone is following suit.
We will have to just wait to see how it pans out for JoyStream and BitTorrent community.