BitTorrent launches locked bundles, trying to distance itself from pirates


BitTorrent — the company behind the file format that users have been gleefully using to share and download pirated content for years — has been working hard recently to try to make sure you associate something other than copyright infringement with its name. Its latest effort is called BitTorrent Bundles, and it’s designed to let brands get content to the fans, but also receive something in return.

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The alpha version of Bundles is being tested though a collaboration with Ultra — the music group behind David Guetta, deadmau5 and Calvin Harris — which has become the first label release content direct-to-fan using the new gated format. BitTorrent is allowing fans to download a remix of a song by American DJ Kaskade, as well as a trailer for the documentary around his recent tour, for free. But if they want to access the other content included in the download, they’ll have to give the label their email address — although BitTorrent says labels could also ask for a small donation, a like on Facebook or another activity in exchange for opening up the locked portion of the file.

In an official blog post, Vice President of Marketing at BitTorrent, Matt Mason, said that the move was designed to offer creators another way to distribute content and make use of BitTorrent’s massive 170-million user base. “We don’t need another digital radio station. We don’t need another walled garden or standalone content store,” says Mason. “We need ways to place value exchanges within the content itself – allowing these exchanges to travel freely, without barriers or limitations; allowing these exchanges to multiply as content is shared.”

It’s a more legitimate use of the file format and BitTorrent client, which still allows users to share and download freely, although giving the creators a boost in their income, fan counts or email database for any future projects. As The Verge points out, it also makes BitTorrent a more valuable option for brands hoping for a release to go viral, and means that creators will have to go through BitTorrent to make use of the gated technology, at least until the company releases a DIY kit allowing them to make their own Bundles.

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