Wired: the BitTorrent effect

"You could think of BitTorrent as Napster redux — another rumble in the endless copyright wars. But BitTorrent is something deeper and more subtle. It’s a technology that is changing the landscape of broadcast media.
[…] One example of how the world has already changed: Gary Lerhaupt, a graduate student in computer science at Stanford, became fascinated with Outfoxed, the documentary critical of Fox News, and thought more people should see it. So he convinced the film’s producer to let him put a chunk of it on his Web site for free, as a 500-Mbyte torrent. Within two months, nearly 1,500 people downloaded it. That’s almost 750 gigs of traffic, a heck of a wallop. But to get the ball rolling, Lerhaupt’s site needed to serve up only 5 gigs. After that, the peers took over and hosted it themselves. His bill for that bandwidth? $4. There are drinks at Starbucks that cost more. ‘It’s amazing — I’m a movie distributor,’ he says. ‘If I had my own content, I’d be a TV station." Article.

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