5 Comments

Summary:

Wil Wheaton needed a copy of Ubuntu over the weekend, but the download from one of Ubuntu’s web-based mirrors simply took to long. So he turned to BitTorrent – and was reminded of the fact that many entertainment industry colleagues want ISPs to throttle it.

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Actor, author and celebrity geek Wil Wheaton is pleading with ISPs not to degrade or downright block BitTorrent traffic and with studios not to push for laws that would force ISPs to do so.

In a post on his blog, Wheaton wrote this week:

“Some ISPs are blocking all BitTorrent traffic, because BitTorrent can be used to share files in a piratical way. Hollywood lobbying groups are trying to pass laws which would force ISPs to block or degrade BitTorrent traffic, too. Personally, I think this is like closing down freeways because a bank robber could use them to get away.”

Wheaton’s reason for writing the post was his downloading of Ubuntu this past weekend. First, he tried to simply download it via HTTP from one of Ubuntu’s mirror servers, but the download was taking more than an hour. So Wheaton turned to the popular BitTorrent client Transmission, which allowed him to download the whole ISO file in about six minutes – something Wheaton called “an example of the usefulness of bittorrent for entirely legal purposes.”

Wheaton went on to write that he is often frustrated with the lack of understanding of Internet policy issues in the entertainment world:

“One of the things that drives me crazy is the belief in Hollywood that bittorrent exists solely for stealing things. Efforts to explain that this is not necessarily true are often met with hands clamped tightly over ears, accompanied by ‘I CAN’T HEAR YOU LA LA LA.’”

Wheaton has been outspoken about issues of piracy and net neutrality before. Just in January, he blamed the entertainment industry’s insistence on DRM as the reason for piracy.

Image courtesy of (CC-BY-SA) Flickr user ste3ve.

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  1. He needs Sheldon and Amy, Leonard and Penny, Raj and Priya, Howard and Bernadette and of course Stuart to join in.

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  2. dean collins Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    last time i checked Wil Wheaton was not a studio and wasn’t funding (nor profiting apart from acting contract) on the financial success failure to return ROI on the costs of creating a movie/series with him in it.

    So basically what i’m saying is Wil Wheaton should STFU

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    1. Jonathan K. Wong Tuesday, May 15, 2012

      That doesn’t justify blocking all bit-torrent sites which are very helpful in downloading legal files quickly such as with the case of downloading Ubuntu via torrent or from Canonical’s servers. The latter is slow while the bit-torrent route is significantly faster.

      “this is like closing down freeways because a bank robber could use them to get away.”

      Sure, freeways can help criminals get away quickly but it is also used legally by many. The same is with bit-torrent.

      And last I checked, nearly all the movies people pirate are already major successes where the publishers are already making loads of money. Yes, pirating content is a bad thing and only done by greedy, lazy people but that doesn’t mean bit-torrent should be banned. By that sort of logic, the entire Internet ought to be banned and taken offline.

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    2. Wil Wheaton doesn’t want his totally legal download of ubuntu through a torrent to be blocked or hindered by a movie studio’s fear of piracy…which has nothing to do with what he was doing. I think is fair to question the “i don’t understand it and so am scared of it” s
      tance.

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    3. C. D. Storgaard Friday, May 18, 2012

      So, only people that are potentially scared of the technology are allowed to comment on it? Yeah, that’s a good way to have an unbiased dialogue…

      Also, if studios were so worried about illegal downloads, they wouldn’t (in a right mindset) block access to legal means of getting to their content from outside “approved” areas of the world, thereby leaving the illegal method as the only one for many people (unless those people don’t mind waiting two years for that new series that they will already have spoilered completely by the time they get it).

      Oh wait, I’m not a studio; I’ll STFU.

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