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BitTorrent Monitization Proposal

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There are lots of “monitize p2p” proposals floating around out there. Most of them look like a levy. The problem with this model is that, using existing p2p networks, there is no particularly good way to know what music is popular, and thus, who gets the money. Also, since some will download far more than others, and there’s no good way to measure how much anyone should pay.

The solution from the private sector so far looks like the Amazon MP3 store or Apple’s iTunes. Much less content, in fewer formats. The big argument from media is that online distribution is a hard problem one that will take research to solve. However, we know quite well that the p2p networks, and especially BitTorrent, have solved this problem.

My proposal? Marry the distribution power of BitTorrent with a sales model. Create a modified tracker that requires authentication. Seed high-quality versions of movies, music, books, and everything on this tracker. Set prices per download/sample and/or membership plans (10 ¤/mo for 3 movies/mo). People have to either have money on their account, a PayPal/credit card associated, or be on some kind of plan, otherwise the tracker refuses them service.

The big media from the big companies gets seeded, and people get it and pay for it. All the old media, small media, etc that becomes available through p2p still shows up as users connect to the network and start seeding stuff, but it too gets paid for, with the money routed to the right people.

Some will argue that there are those who will still pirate if such a system should exist. Of course there will. There will always be those who justify breaking the law. I’m talking about giving people a better option, which right now they don’t really have.

3 Responses


Why should I seed something I’ve paid for? What’s the incentive?

Stephen Paul Weber

What’s the incentive to seed now? People who don’t seed now won’t gain incentive, people who do seed now won’t lose their incentive just because it’s legal 🙂


This sounds like Vuze’s model (kind of).

There are quite a few BT trackers that rely on some kind of authentication, especially those that use it to track sharing ratios amongst users. (I’m not sure if they’re simply checking IP address or doing something more clever like custom per-user .torrent files; either way the BT client itself never auths)

Trouble is, I’m not sure who your scheme is for, nor do I see Big Media claiming that online distribution is hard (there are enough CDNs out there that’ll take care of it for you). The hard thing is getting people to pay for it, and the way that iTunes et al succeed (those of them that do, anyway) is through really good user experience – something that standalone BitTorrent has trouble providing. And that’s where Vuze is trying to fit in.

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