Pin It
Favorite

Bomb Garden 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & The Libertarian Web & r & & r & Last Friday, BitTorrent, the company that created the file-sharing software of the same name, announced it would lay off about half its staff, or 18 workers -- including founder/inventor Ashwin Navin. This isn't as big a deal as the crisis in our financial markets or anything, but certain estimates peg BitTorrent uploads and downloads as accounting for half of Web traffic worldwide, so it's no stretch to call BitTorrent the Wachovia of file-sharing. (Actually, calling it that is an understatement.)





Much of the company's staff is dedicated to figuring out how file sharing can make money. In the last two years, it has failed miserably. Its BitTorrent Entertainment Network, conceived as an iTunes rival, is going away.





There are three salient points here: 1) Half of all Web traffic comes from the transfer of digital music, movies, TV, etc.; 2) The company that created the standard for that transfer is laying off about half its workforce; and, most important, 3) the company only employed about 40 people to begin with.





The upshot: For years, the recording industry has complained that people who share music are taking money from the pockets of artists. That's true, as far as it goes. The opposite side of that coin, though, is that even the pirates -- or in this case those the industry believes are complicit in the piracy -- are broke too.





I haven't written much about national trends in music in a while (much to the joy of certain scene people, I hear). In general, this column space is going to become as locally focused as I can make it. This news, though, is too big to be getting as little coverage as it is. There's little money to be made in digital media. There's even less to be made in digital media distribution. The old open-source maxim, "Information wants to be free," is as true as ever but isn't broad enough. It's not just information that wants to be free, but the way that information reaches people. No one is going to get rich in digital media, least of all the supposed pirates.
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • The First Seahawk
  • The First Seahawk

    Publisher's Note
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • Mean Streets
  • Mean Streets

    Local small businesses have it hard enough without having to battle overzealous parking patrols
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • Moving Forward
  • Moving Forward

    The process of self-examination and change inside the Spokane Police Department
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Say 'No' to Fear

    Why Spokane ought to embrace its roots as an immigrant-friendly place
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • Mothers and Leaders

    History often overlooks the women who powered the politics of the civil rights movement
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation