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Computer Care > BitTorrent
What is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is an open source peer-to-peer protocol for downloading files on the internet. Open source means the code is available for anyone to modify and redistribute at will. Consequently there are several free BitTorrent programs available to the public, each with differing features.

The idea behind BitTorrent is to allow massive distribution of popular files without penalizing the source by soaring bandwidth costs and possible crashes due to demand that exceeds the capability of the server. In this way, anyone who creates a popular program, music file or other product can make it available to the public regardless of assets, even if the file becomes highly popular.

Aside from the many legitimate uses of BitTorrent, some sites hosting BitTorrent downloads were targeted by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in December 2004 for distributing digitized movies in violation of copyright. One intellectual property monitoring system called FirstSource, by BayTSP, reportedly identifies initial clients to upload copyright content to BitTorrent and other P2P networks. In turn all subsequent clients that download or share that file can be traced by IP address.

Some versions of BitTorrent contain spyware, and can infect your computer, while others simply have enhanced features.

Thus, BitTorrent use or file sharing can have questionable legality and are can be violations of our acceptable use contract. This can leave your computer extremely vulnerable to spy-ware, adware and viruses.

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