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A popular, distributed form of peer-to-peer file sharing that enables a client program to fetch different parts of a file (a "torrent") from different sources in parallel. The system is designed to encourage users to make downloaded data available for others to upload. This is aided by a scheme for exchanging unique identifiers, commonly stored in ".torrent" files. A downloader who does not serve data to others is called a "leech". A "seed" is a computer that has a complete copy of a file, possibly the original.

The site claims there are over 100 million users as of 2007-03-24.

Most of the data is copyright material like films or commercial software.


A popular protocol for sharing large files over the Internet, developed by Bram Cohen and released in 2001. In addition to Cohen's software, other BitTorrent client programs are available for all major platforms. There is no centralized server. Each downloading user becomes a source for another user who wants the same file. The BitTorrent client balances the load on the computer, because download speeds are faster than upload speeds.

Widely used for transferring pirated movies and software, BitTorrent, along with other file sharing systems, accounted for more than half of Internet traffic after the turn of the century. Since then, however, movie streaming from Netflix, YouTube and other legal sources became extremely popular, and BitTorrent traffic dropped dramatically.

BitTorrent breaks large files into smaller ones. A "torrent" is a file of meta-data that describes the files and the servers that keep track of the BitTorrent peers that have the parts of the file. In practice, a file itself is also called a torrent.

Users Share the Load (Leechers and Seeds)
A "seed" is a BitTorrent client that has the file. A "leecher" is a BitTorrent client in the process of downloading, and a leecher thus becomes a seed for someone else. However, a "leech" refers to people who exit BitTorrent after downloading, thus preventing seeding to others. For more information, visit

File sharing systems have been architected in different ways as outlined in the following illustrations. See peer-to-peer network, Napster and KaZaA.

References in periodicals archive ?
file transfers using the BitTorrent protocol, this process has always
When an anti-piracy group wins a case against a BitTorrent protocol site, a court sometimes rules that the internet service provider that hosted the site must block the site's internet protocol (the "IP") address, in order to make it inaccessible to users.
The promotion will include a unique content Bundle for the BitTorrent community, with details to be announced on the Bundle's content in coming the days.
In addition to discussing the pro-version of BitTorrent, Franklin and his guests will talk about Mozilla's switch from Google to Yahoo as the default search engine for the Firefox browser.
BitTorrent is the global standard for delivering high-quality files over the Internet.
Find yourself the right BitTorrent 'stream' as they are known and you could probably have a copy of Star Wars episode III on your hard drive within a couple of hours.
Glickman said that the MPAA has been making progress in shutting down many of the BitTorrent sites dedicated to illegal movie swapping and that more than 90 percent of the sites that have been sued have been shut down.
Global analysts Musicmetric's inaugural Digital Music Index (DMI) names Gainesville, FL, Albany, GA, Fairbanks, AK, Lexington, KY and Tallahassee, FL as the top five metro areas for BitTorrent downloads in the U.
one of the most recognized and prominent bittorrent client developers in the market.
com/top-10-popular-torrent-sites-2014-140104/) TorrentFreak released the list of world's most popular BitTorrent sites.
The BitTorrent Chat uses public key encryption, forward secrecy, and a distributed hash table, which means chats will be individually encrypted and won't be stored on some company's server.
Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL), the leader in storage, communications, and consumer silicon solutions, today announced that BitTorrent, Inc.