By Rob Pegoraro
Most file-sharing programs aren’t the most upstanding citizens of the computing world. Yes, the entertainment industry hates them for the way they’re used to download movies and albums without paying — but many of these programs also fail to treat their own users well, often installing an unadvertised, unwanted load of advertising and spyware.
BitTorrent is different. This free, open-source program offers a spyware- and nuisance-free installation. And while it is certainly handy for downloading movies and other copyrighted material for free, it’s also increasingly used to distribute software and entertainment legally.
This makes BitTorrent (www.bittorrent.com) not only a fascinating test case for legal experts, but it also looks a lot like the logical fusion of peer-to-peer file-sharing and traditional downloading. It’s too robust to stamp out with lawsuits, but too effective not to adopt for commercial use.
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