BitTorrent is, at heart, a very efficient way of distributing large files over the internet. That's precisely why it's so popular in file sharing circles, but that doesn't mean it was created with that purpose in mind. But try telling the RIAA and MPAA that.
Still, while BitTorrent has always been popular with pirates, it's had plenty of legitimate uses. Those legitimate uses are on the rise actually and, at this point, almost a third of BitTorrent traffic is legal.
Well, the figure is only for music files and it may not be a straight representation as it mixes two data sources, but it is telling nonetheless.
In a recent report, Musicmetric found that there were 405 million music downloads in the first six months of the year.
But BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the protocol and the popular uTorrent client, says
it alone is responsible for over 124 million legitimate music downloads through its programs.
Assuming that Musicmetric listed all of the downloads from that period, which it very likely hasn't, it would mean that some 31 percent of those were legitimate.
The figure may not be entirely accurate, but it's a lot better than what the copyright dependent industries have been pushing as facts up to now.
Still legitimate use of BitTorrent is definitely on the rise, the Internet Archive recently created 1.4 million new torrents by itself
. So no, downloading Linux distros is definitely not the only legal use for BitTorrent these days.
Even among illegal downloads, many artists are happy to have the audience. The most downloaded artist in the UK has a lot more fans that have illegally downloaded his songs than have bought them, but he's glad to have them as it means more concert ticket sales and more fans.