BitTorrent P2P Trackers on The Move

UPDATED: BitTorrent-based services are picking up steam this year, thanks to
hosted torrent services from a number of vendors and the new eXeem P2P
torrent-based application.

EXeem is a new P2P entity that utilizes the torrent protocol for its
service, which was launched on Friday with its 0.20 public beta. The same people who
used to operate the Torrent directory site Suprnova.org, which was shut
down
last year, are behind the new effort.

BitTorrent directories like
Suprnova.org and LokiTorrent had been the target of legal challenges
because they allegedly contain copyrighted materials that were being
illegally distributed. EXeem is owned and operated by Swarm Systems. An eXeem/Swarm Systems spokesperson
was not available for comment at press time.

The eXeem model differs from Suprnova.org in that it is its own
network, much like Kazaa, rather than an open directory of available
torrents.

BitTorrent has become a successful P2P technology, allowing users to
more rapidly share large files. Instead of one single file download, the
BitTorrent protocol separates the file into multiple chunks, which are
then shared and downloaded via multiple sources. The system also is set up
so that while the user is downloading a file, they are sharing it at the
same time by uploading chunks they’ve already downloaded to others in the
torrent swarm.

In order to share the files though a torrent, a “tracker” file is needed,
which isn’t always easy to set up, find or host. A new type of torrent
hosting service has emerged to help service that need. Fremont, Calif.-based
ISP Hurricane Electric and Web hosting service Prodigem are now offering a
place for users to host their torrent trackers. Both services claim to
make it easier for users to publish and host their torrent trackers with
their respective services.

Benny Ng, Hurricane Electric’s director of marketing, told
internetnews.com that by adding BitTorrent as a feature, it allows
its clients to do things they were not able to do before.

“For example, they will be able to distribute a film they produced, or
distribute portions of a game they wrote, without paying a huge bandwidth
bill,” Ng explained. “We were already hosting content; hosting
via BitTorrent is a natural extension for us.”

Prodigem is based on the open source GPL licensed
by the Monsoon Project. Prodigem founder Gary Lerhaupt noted that his
service is heavily modified to provide all the additional features and
account access. Lerhaupt intends for Prodigem to be used by anyone who
wants to distribute any type of open media, including bloggers and
podcasters.

“I think there is demand because of the budding movement of the
independent media producer. With podcasters and videobloggers quickly
becoming established, they need new types of bandwidth solutions,”
Lerhaupt told internetnews.com. “And since bloggers really take to
community-oriented approaches, BitTorrent really fits well.”

Lerhaupt noted that in reality, Prodigem is like any other hosting
service in that it has a notice of DMCA compliance and it follows the
standard procedures should any user post improperly licensed material.

He explained that currently Prodigem only allows users to tag content as
having the Creative Commons license, but other licenses and options will
be added in the future.

“Suprnova’s popularity was borne out of its distribution of illegal
media, so I certainly wouldn’t want that moniker,” Lerhaupt said. “Prodigem
certainly looks to aid and blow up along with the snowball movement of
free culture and independent and openly licensed content.”

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