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

Widely used to transfer pirated movies and software, BitTorrent and other file sharing systems accounted for more than half of Internet traffic around the turn of the century. After movie streaming from Netflix, YouTube and other legal sources became popular, BitTorrent traffic dropped dramatically.

A torrent was originally a file of meta-data on a BitTorrent server that keeps track of where all the files are. In practice, torrent refers to any file transferred via BitTorrent, and large files are broken into smaller ones.

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

BitTorrent Leechers and Seeds
A "seed" is a BitTorrent client that has the file. A "leecher" is a BitTorrent client downloading, who then becomes a seed for someone else. However, a "leech" is a user who exits the program immediately after downloading to prevent being a seed. For more information, visit

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References in periodicals archive ?
(34.) Austin Can, BitTorrent Has More Users than Netflix and Hulu Combined--and Doubled, FASTCOMPANY (Jan.
Thus, we propose the new technique to cluster of peer-to-peer nodes within an autonomous system to help peers in the BitTorrent system by using efficient indexing resources and transmission of piece and route information.
Unlike other protocols designed to transfer files, BitTorrent
BitTorrent downloads have diminished the viability of a moribund DVD distribution system, often in the form of cheap, low-quality pirated DVDs.
Contrary to popular belief that Bittorrent protocol is only used to share copyrighted material, has been created in order to facilitate the easy access to open source softwares, linux distros and more such material made available by the owners through this platform.
Called BitTorrent Sync, it synchronizes folders and files on different computers and mobile devices much the way services like Dropbox do, but without ever copying data to a central cloud server.
Key social and online media sites such as Facebook, Shazam, Soundcloud, VEVO and even BitTorrent are showing ever-increasing roles in that success."
17 ( ANI ): BitTorrent is reportedly working on a smartphone app that would allow users to steam live videos right from their mobile devices.
In 2011, 23.76% of global internet traffic involved downloading or uploading pirated content, with BitTorrent accounting for an estimated 17.9% of all internet traffic.
BitTorrent is one of the most used applications in the current Internet and is responsible for an important portion of the upstream and downstream traffic as revealed by recent reports [1].