BitTorrent now running outdoor ads

Yup you read right. BitTorrent, is now running ads. I guess to help keep perpetuating their sharing-is-caring narrative.

Gizmodo reported that initially the boards were up without any kind of logo or scratch out or word replacement. Then they were swapped out for the ones you see above. Because apparently 'teaser campaigns,' are a big deal.

Before we get into the political/moral/ethical/whatever position of the ads, let's first look at them from an advertising standpoint.

From an advertising standpoint, the ads are a steaming piece of cow pie. The art direction is hack work straight out of the 80's. When I taught at portfolio school, I had second quarter copywriters who wrote with more insight. The headlines prove how juvenile and simplistic the free-culture argument really is.

"Your data should belong to the NSA. you."

As if anyone has ever said data should belong to the NSA. Hello, straw man.

But hang on a minute: if my data should belong to me, then why do file-sharing software like BitTorrent enable movies, books, art and software to be shared without consent of creator, let alone compensation? Oh right, because it's all 0's and 1's and not content. It's not Lady Gaga. It's data. I forgot.

"Artists need to play by the rules options."

Options like selling T-shirts or getting a day job because they shouldn't expect to make money selling their content.

"The internet should be regulated people-powered."

What other industry do you know that has near zero regulation except Big Tech? We have Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food And Drug Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to name a few of the regulators. Big Tech doesn't even police itself because if it did, it would be losing money by the truck load. This isn't even up for debate.

People-powered, my ass. In the immortal words of our dear president, we didn't build that. Someone else did. They built the internet, the websites, the software. The search engines. The email programs. Just as someone else created the content you're helping yourself to for free. Don't fall for this "people-powered" bullshit at all. The artists and musicians (you know-- the people) do not make money off torrent sites from the 'exposure.' This has been reported on ad nauseam. The only people who have the power are the Big Tech companies getting rich off of content they don't own.

Torrent sites and google-owned sites like Youtube and Blogger etc, are Big Tech companies making butt loads of money off of in-market advertising while taking zero responsibility for compensating creators or regulating against piracy. They have replaced the record companies of the 70's, but they are still screwing the artists. The only difference is, it's much worse. Their capitalist-run-amok oligarchy is damaging more than just the music and media industry.

More like Sheeple Powered. There are legions of dim-witted people being duped into exploiting creators in the worst economy we've seen in decades, all in exchange for Chuck Season 3, and Miley Cyrus' newest album. All while a couple of corporate geeks get rich.

By the way it doesnt' actually have to be this way, despite what is perceived as an inevitability. When content creators and their friendly distributors put anti-piracy measures in place, they make more of a profit. Like Grand Theft Auto.
Gee, whodathunk it?

The opening of Gizmodo's article reads thusly:

"Torrenting" is kind of a dirty word. It makes you think piracy, doesn't it? Well it shouldn't. Torrenting isn't illegal. It's not even morally ambiguous. It's just a way to send data, and it's awesome.

Yes. That's right. Keep telling yourself that. Guns don't kill people. People do. It's not the syringe, it's the heroin. It's not the file sharing platform enabling copyright infringement; its the millions of users using the site to infringe.

Baa, baa, baa, Sheeple.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

From their own blog "BitTorrent is a decentralized, artist-owned publishing platform: a zero-cost alternative for media distribution." Oh, it's a publishing platform now? BitTorrent is a protocol supporting the practice of peer-to-peer file sharing designed by programmer Bram Cohen, who released the protocol in 2001. In itself the BitTorrent protocol provides no way to index torrent files, so calling it a publishing platform is a bit of a stretch IMHO. Quite the rebrand.

AnonymousCowell's picture

"why do file-sharing sites like BitTorrent..."

BitTorrent is not a file sharing site, it's a protocol. Get your facts straight and understand how this works before posting an article like this.

Replace the word BitTorrent with an actual files sharing site that utilise BitTorrent like the pirate bay or Kickass torrents and you might (almost) have a point. But they are not the ones running the ads. Probably more what this ad campaign is referring to (especially the NSA ad) is the newly announced BitTorrent chat.

Next time, before writing an article, do some research.

Dabitch's picture

Why is it that every comment that disagrees on this particular topic, always hollers "do some research" while clearly not fully grokking what the post above says? Is it on some sort of talking-point checklist? Needs to be added so that a technical discussion ensues, instead of the larger issue brought up here, and despite Bittorrents best efforts to paint themselves as a "artists publishing platform"?

cra_rohit's picture

site, protocol how does it matter to end users. First it was kazaa, then lime wire and similar others, now we have torrents. Referring to the larger issue: its true content creators are losing some money and their consumers are receiving their products/content without their permission and without compensating them for the same. The situation is pretty bad for the music companies and somewhat bad for the artists and creators. but this does not seem like the biggest issue involved here to me.

Music companies and artists have been losing money from piracy since the music scene began. Back then we used mixtapes and cassette recorders for piracy and now new tech has made the same task cheaper and easier.
File sharing software kazaa, limewire were shut down for this very reason. Now BT is being targeted for the same reason.

for me however, the bigger issues involves censorship, morderate watered-down content. Will it be necessary for all future sites, forums, or software to have content censorship. 4chan is facing problems on similar line and have been in the news recently for it. Why is youtube not responsible for the comments posted on their site when these smaller players are guilty of how people use their application. How come no one questions youtube for piracy when it is as easy to download a file from youtube as from bittorrent or any other video/audio sharing platform. Why are these independent guys targeted repeatedly.

Once an artist or music/movie company uploads their digital content to a social sharing website anyone can easily download it from simple software available for free. But no one seems to take any action against them. Digital content will remain easy to share and pirate banning BT will have no effect on this, people will find another way for stealing content and there are hundreds others available even today.

Sorry for ranting for so long but banning things just seems like a dumb idea if the only objective is to protect artists.

Dabitch's picture

Your long rant fills me with Q's.

How is BT being "targeted" and who has spoken about banning? I thought this was an advertising campaign they started to expand their 'market share' by destigmatizing the already hep word "torrenting".

In what way is the Google-account speech in way of comments on youtube related to people torrenting files?

kidsleepy's picture

Agreed, who is talking about banning anything? Policing, yes. Regulation, yes. As I said in my post, why is it, when everything from our healthcare to the food we eat to taxes and infrastructure have regulations in place, somehow the internet should remain unregulated? People built highways, and millions of people pay taxes for the privilege of using them, not to mention their upkeep. In exchange we have traffic laws. You can't drive any way you want to.

Why is it, the same doesn't apply to the internet, where billions if not trillions of dollars are being funneled into the hands of the very few as if its one giant serfdom with three land owners? And make no mistake, own they do. They're in control of the content, pure and simple.

And sorry but I find the mixtape argument very flawed. You might have made a mix tape for a friend, or three friends when it was 1989. How does that in any way compare to millions of people downloading the same content online?

It doesn't.

AnonymousRuler's picture

I think everyone should stop calling everything a "file-sharing" site. None of them are, especially bit-torrent. They are **file-copying** sites.


Well, when any "file" is uploaded, isn't it a copy of the file on the person's system? Now there are two (2) files, one uploaded, and the original one.

When the file is downloaded, it becomes a copy of the uploaded copy of the original. Now we have three (3) files.

Clearly, this is not sharing, it is copying. If bit-torrent were sharing a DVD, it would have to be passed twice. From the holder, to the site, to the recipient, but still one (1) DVD, a physical object.

Now you all have been enlightened. And bit-torrent, and Eric Schmidt (and Al Gore who is behind all of this) knew it all along. You know, Al Gore, the "inventor" of the internet. The "inventor" of evil abuse.

Dabitch's picture

Really? We're doing this again? Fine. Al gore never once claimed he invented the internet. He didn't. He did play a large role in the funding of several entities you still use today, he put forth the High Performance Computing Act and he promoted legislation that funded an expansion of the ARPANET, and eventually this even lead to the creation of Mosaic. He also used the word "create" in one interview when referring to this successful history of his. Now I've completely missed what point you're trying to make.

Savagebeat's picture

i think the point he is trying to make is this: if its online it must be a copy and therefore not really stealing or sharing.

I was not aware of this magical portal through which things pass into the internet forest where they suddenly become unreal and you can do whatever you want to with them because they're copies.

Dabitch's picture

Yes. The point he is trying to make is FREE MUSIC & STUFFS, because at some point when the technology allowed files to jump off of physical discs and onto the internet, the idea of paying for the thing you want also became antiquated in their minds. He's jumping through semantic hoops about "not stealing because copy" to justify his right not to pay, running over established notions of intellectual property and completely ignoring the elephant in the room which is : the intellectual property he creates is his and he's pissing all over that right. We fight for all of our rights, but this one, humans fight against. They would rather their ideas, work and creativity to be owned by giant corporations who can just take it without even asking them, instead of be theirs to do with as they chose.

Reminds me just a little bit of a revolution, Old Russian style. All shall belong to the state. Including your thoughts, comrade.

Andres M.'s picture

I'll forego the usual talking points that I'm bored with already and I'll concentrate on the billboard campaign, as this is adland.

What does this mean? "The internet should be people powered"? What is the naïve thought they are trying to put forth there? I'm assuming we don't mean humans in hamster-wheels making electricity, but it sounds like they mean humans making content for free for large corporations to harvest and use, just like we're all copper-tops in the Matrix. This neoliberal mantra ignores the fact that world is still capitalist and offers creators heads on the chopping block for their ideology. Because "free content!". Free trade and deregulation doesn't have a pretty history, kids.