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LegalTorrents Offers CC Works Via BitTorrent 129

Posted by timothy
from the but-p2p-is-for-haxx0r-p1r@73z dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A site called LegalTorrents has just launched that hosts trackers and seeds for digital media licensed under the Creative Commons license. ('We distribute content with the full permission of the rights holders and use the peer-2-peer file-sharing technology called Bittorrent.') The site even provides a way to donate money to artists you like. (LegalTorrents takes 15% off the top unless you are a member, which costs $50 one-time during the beta period.)" It's always good to see "legitimate" content distributed in ways that make it hard to demonize the distribution system itself — something Lawrence Lessig in particular has been doing for years, and his book "Free Culture" is one of the audiobooks available through LegalTorrents. Note that LegalTorrents has been around for a while now, rather than "just launched," but the current beta period won't last forever.
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LegalTorrents Offers CC Works Via BitTorrent

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  • First post (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:22PM (#24076509)

    This post is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license version 3.0.

  • So wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218)
    So wait, you donate money to the bands but LegalTorrents takes money off of there for what? Yes, servers are expensive and hosting isn't free, but really, it isn't your bandwidth, or anything. It is like saying you have to pay $15 to host your files on TPB. Just another reason to support the artist by going to the artist's website and donating or buying CDs/going to concerts. Seriously, LegalTorrents makes money off of what? Making a logo?
    • Re:So wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by McGiraf (196030) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:25PM (#24076543) Homepage

      If the site becomes popular enough , it gives exposure to the artists.

      There, that was not so hard to figure out.

      • Re:So wait... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:38PM (#24076639)
        But so does every other torrent site. So does Last.fm and other Internet radio stations. It isn't unique to LegalTorrents. And I can bet you that more people will use TPB then LegalTorrents even to get CC licensed works.
        • Re:So wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by McGiraf (196030) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:52PM (#24076751) Homepage

          Unknown artists are not uploaded by anyone anywhere except by the artist , they are the only one with the file. Where will they upload it, somewhere they might get money from it or TPB? Sure if they get popular the file will end up everywhere but poeple looking for new stuff and people who love real music will go there instead sifting trough all the RIAA crap on the other torrent sites.

          • What IMHO would constitute the real **AA killer would be a standard RSS-like format for "channels" - a feed with links to other channels and/or "shows" - videos, photo (albumns), audio, radio and music (albums). All nicely XML and mashupabbly and with linked in png images for AlbumnArt and very very importantly, open and widely adopted. The next logical step - and this is the killer part - is then to have the above easily crawlable from your set top box. Fancy watching some SciFi? open up your SciFi.com C
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by aussie_a (778472)

          I refuse to visit torrent sites that mainly deal in illegal goods.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by smallfries (601545)

        If it becomes popular enough?

        Currently:
        LegalTorrents - about 70 files
        ThePirateBay - about 1.2 million files

        How popular do you think they will become while most people continue straight down the street to the all-you-can-eat-for-free next door?

        • Re:So wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by McGiraf (196030) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:47PM (#24077161) Homepage

          Currently:
          LegalTorrents - about 70 files
          ThePirateBay - about 1.2 million files

          Ok.

          If you looking for CC music which of these 2 sites will make it easier for you?

          • Is that really the point when you talk about popularity? For the site to become large enough for the exposure they give to artists being worth the 15% rake you have to assume that the "market" for CC music is large enough to make that happen. With about 10 music files they are a long way from reaching that goal.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by GigaplexNZ (1233886)

              With about 10 music files they are a long way from reaching that goal.

              You have to start somewhere.

        • by pudro (983817)
          Why was this modded flamebait?

          If I want something licensed under CC, I'm going to go where the bigger community is unless they have something in place to promote better seeding (and I see nothing like that for regular users here).
          • by Ahnteis (746045)

            Really? TPB has license-type searching now?

            • by pudro (983817)
              I'm a big boy and I know what is licensed and not. Not to mention most things legally licensed explicitly say so in their descriptions.
      • Re:So wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RobertM1968 (951074) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:22PM (#24079523) Homepage Journal

        If the site becomes popular enough , it gives exposure to the artists.

        There, that was not so hard to figure out.

        Bingo!

        And folks, it does (potentially) far more than that - it proves that the RIAA is out of their mind when they claim that P2P software is only for illegal sharing. It proves that software, like any other tool, is not necessarily good or bad - how it is used determines that.

        If this site makes it and becomes popular, it is perfect proof that the laws that the **AA are lobbying for are really for getting/keeping control over online media - and not about piracy.

        Of course, the **AA's next step will be trying to pass a law ensuring that royalties and profits for these types of services go to one of their organizations (like SoundExchange) for them to control funds distribution (ie: the **AA keeps the money - just like the recent Internet Radio bullshit that passed).

        But, that's a few more miles down the road - first, this site (and similar sites) must prove that BitTorrent can be and is being used for legal purposes to help prevent the **AA (and others') attempts at laws making P2P software illegal.

        Oddly, someone above posted about the upcoming "accidental" attack on this service by the **AA - and was modded OffTopic... dunno why. I surely wouldnt doubt that such a thing will occur, and I definitely find it on-topic to a discussion about LegalTorrent offering legal BitTorrent downloads - as such a situation would potentially cause two issues directly related (assuming the **AA find open servers)... (1) LegalTorrent would be "offering" illegal torrents, and/or (2) LegalTorrent wouldnt be offering anything once the **AA's server farm pummelled them into nothingness - just like they did to Revision3).

    • Re:So wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:28PM (#24076557)

      15% isn't all that outrageous when you consider that the credit card and banking fees are included in that total. They are providing a value-added convenience... you don't have to track down the artist's site, the artist doesn't have to contract with a payment service, etc.

      Plus, since it isn't mandatory, I'd say this is a perfect example of the free market at work. Unlike, say, the record company system where the only way to compensate the artists is through their record company. May the best distribution model win! If people don't like this, it will go away :)

      • Re:So wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:42PM (#24076669)

        Right, you're always able to freeload off LegalTorrents in order to find and download the music you like, and then you can always donate to the artist separately if you so choose, and then LegalTorrents ends up having to foot the bill for their servers (however minimal it may be).

        So in order to recoup the costs of all the freeloaders, they have to charge the good samaritans 15%.

      • /agree good people with a good idea
    • by Narpak (961733)
      Indeed, paying the artists directly might be the only way for them to get the full amount. However, that only works for artists you know or have heard about(not to mention that they have to have a working system for accepting donations). Sites like LegalTorrent can help make it easier for new artists get some recognition (and money). Handling what is most often minor donations is probably easier if done at a slightly larger scale than any one artists is able to maintain. Of course you could always just send
    • Re:So wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rm999 (775449) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:49PM (#24076741)

      If we REFUSE to give any money to the people who put effort into publicizing artists, music might as well as be dead. I don't buy the record studio's argument that we need them, but in their absence the grassroots movement needs some funding.

      If you are too cheap to tack 15% on top of your donation, just go to the artist's page and donate directly.

      • If we REFUSE to give any money to the people who put effort into publicizing artists, music might as well as be dead. I don't buy the record studio's argument that we need them, but in their absence the grassroots movement needs some funding.

        But, if they were HTTP downloads I might agree with them, for FTP downloads or something other then P2P downloads, I would say that it is good for them to charge 15%, but when something that costs minimal bandwidth is being hosted, I find it hard to agree with them charging 15% on donations. Now, don't get me wrong, I think that this is a great idea, but honestly, 15% is kinda expensive considering they don't do much. And when you figure in how every other torrent site does the same thing without taking 1

        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          I also think that 15% is way too much (I'd be OK with maybe 1-2%) but then again if it's really so easy to make a site like this and run it for much less, somebody else will do it and win all the customers. Come to think of it, this kind of site can be coded in a couple of days :) I guess promotion is going to cost, though.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by kaizokuace (1082079)

            I guess promotion is going to cost, though.

            No it's not, just post a few /. articles or something.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TooMuchToDo (882796)
            Most credit cards charge the merchant a fee per transaction plus a percentage (2-3% at least). So LegalTorrents should just eat the rest of their costs and run as a charity? I think not.
          • by aussie_a (778472)

            IMO 15% is an estimate based on them expecting very few people to donate money. The more people that donate, the more they make, the lower they can make their cut. Assuming of course they're not greedy capitalists.

            • by warsql (878659)
              I hope they are greedy capitalists. Those types tend to be successful, and I'd like to see this succeed.
              I'm just glad they aren't - use the legal system to enforce my monopolistic revenue stream - greedy capitalists.
        • by Firehed (942385)

          Maybe, but I expect that running a tracker can get fairly pricey even if the http side of things for the website people use to get the torrents is cheap. And if it's a few people making this their full-time jobs to improve the service, track down the artists for donation locations, keep everything running nicely, etc... I don't know, it still seems fairly high but knock a bit off for CC processing (down to ~12% now) and having your one-stop shopping, it's not unreasonable either.

          And indeed, if someone else

        • Re:So wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by politicsapocalypse (1296149) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:54PM (#24077223)
          LegalTorrents do provide a seed also. We accept donations directly from our site but yeah if they manage to get someone to donate through their site I don't really mind giving them 15%. As I stated in my other post we have our music there.
        • Re:So wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:25PM (#24078347)

          15% is kinda expensive considering they don't do much

          Whatever. I'd like to see random Slashdot dudes build a website that is still up and responds in under a second through a holiday-weekend front-page Slashdotting, attached to a storage system built to scale out to terabytes of hosted data with dedicated BT seeds, integrates several different programming languages and toolsets, supports multi-file uploads over the web with full Unicode support, has a Facebook app, backups, load balancing, memcached, and on top of all that also aims to build a community of real people who support and give their time and energy to help build it because it's such a cool idea.

          Go for it, really. Maybe in your spare time.

          I know some of the people building this... and they are working their assess off

        • if the artists think it is a good deal, they will upload their content. if they do not then they wont. Who are you to second guess the motivations of those artists?
          I am in a similar situation. If you buy direct from my site, I get over 90% of sale price, if you buy the same game from yahoo, I likely get under 40%. But this doesn't mean yahoo are evil or I am being fucked over, it means that I have made a rational business decision that piggybacking on yahoos audience is worth the lower royalty rate to me. I

        • "15% is kinda expensive considering they don't do much"

          Interestingly, it's a lot more than many distributors let the artists have.

    • The 15% goes away if you're a member. It's just a business based incentive to convince you to pay for the membership.

      The idea would be that at 15%, you'd have to donate ~$334 to pay for that 1 time membership fee. $334 is probably more then most people would donate.

      so, to pay for tracker hosting costs (which is more extremely frequent requests for small amounts of information, opposed to fewer requests of large amounts of information) you can either pay $50 to become a member, or donate over $300 to have

    • Re:So wait... (Score:4, Informative)

      by jlarocco (851450) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:01PM (#24077303) Homepage

      Seriously, LegalTorrents makes money off of what? Making a logo?

      Where did you get the idea that you get to tell people how much money they can make? If you don't think the service LegalTorrents provides is worth 15% of your donation, shut the fuck up and donate somewhere else. It's that simple.

    • Why don't you just come out and say that you hate capitalism and that nobody should ever make any money at all for providing a value added service? At least you'd be honest.

    • by bane2571 (1024309)
      I'm honestly curious because I don't know the answer but how much of a cut does iTunes get when an artist wants their song on there?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ahnteis (746045)

        I believe the *artist* gets something like 7%? It was a subject of some discussion a year or two back, so you can probably find some good details still.

        • by bane2571 (1024309)
          I thought it was something ludicrous like that, makes the 85% from legal torrents seem very generous.
    • Re:So wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Omnedon (701049) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:29PM (#24078377)
      LegalTorrents provides tracker *and* seed hosting. Go over to TPB and count how many torrents they have running with zero seeds. A donation of $10 via LegalTorrents will clear $8.50 to the artist, buying from the RIAA members gives how much to those that actually made the music?

      15% is not a bad 'payment' for a seed that will be there as long as the torrent is available.

    • by indi0144 (1264518)
      is this smart? calling it LEGAL torrents does not help, because it implies that any other torrent site it's per se illegal. Yeah we know it's a fact.. but average Joe will say "OMG Terrorists" bad karma to torrent sites as a whole. Why don't call it CCTorrent/ FREETORRENT etc. Bad naming, some enterprises born dead because of bad naming. and yes I know they were around before.. so relaunch with a diff name.
  • Bad name (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eudial (590661) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:28PM (#24076561)

    The name of the tracker indirectly spreads the notion that other torrents are inherently less legal. It's a content distribution platform. Much like with firearms, it's the people that use it that commit or don't commit crimes. Not the tools they use.

    Other trackers are full of CC and open source contents as well. Just do a search for gentoo, ubuntu, slackware or some such on the pirate bay and you'll see what I mean.

    • Re:Bad name (Score:5, Funny)

      by McGiraf (196030) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:45PM (#24076699) Homepage

      "The name of the tracker indirectly spreads the notion that other torrents are inherently less legal"

      What about the name of the piratebay? does name of the piratebay indirectly spreads the notion that other torrents are inherently less piraty?

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What about the name of the piratebay? does name of the piratebay indirectly spreads the notion that other torrents are inherently less piraty?

        Yarr

      • Re:Bad name (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Eudial (590661) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:08PM (#24077365)

        "The name of the tracker indirectly spreads the notion that other torrents are inherently less legal"

        What about the name of the piratebay? does name of the piratebay indirectly spreads the notion that other torrents are inherently less piraty?

        The Pirate Bay's case is more a matter of not being beaten down by epithets. If they call downloaders pirates, then the downloaders wear the name pirate with pride, and take the power away from the word, draining away negative connotations and whatnot.

        It's the same method as homosexuals have used on 'fag' and black people on 'nigger'.

        • by McGiraf (196030)

          "It's the same method as homosexuals have used on 'fag' and black people on 'nigger'."

          Yes! You are absolutely right! these two words have TOTALLY lost all their negative connotations!

          *going out to the gay part of the city to great black gays on the street with a loud: HI! NIGGER FAG!

        • by scaryjohn (120394)

          The Pirate Bay's case is more a matter of not being beaten down by epithets. If they call downloaders pirates, then the downloaders wear the name pirate with pride, and take the power away from the word, draining away negative connotations and whatnot.

          I disagree entirely. The intent of their name is obvious, especially after you read their responses to inquiries from U.S. media companies. They want (wanted?) to rub the legal protections (previously?) afforded by Swedish laws in the face of American media interests. Something along the lines of "Yeah. We know what we're doing would be illegal in the United States. But we aren't in the United States. So you can't touch us!"

          It wasn't about reclaiming the word "pirate" from anybody

        • by log1385 (1199377)
          Downloaders can't remove negative connotations from the word "pirate" just by using it. Look at the term "hacker". That term still has negative connotations despite being proudly used by computer geeks (there's another negative term) for years.
        • by syousef (465911)

          The Pirate Bay's case is more a matter of not being beaten down by epithets. If they call downloaders pirates, then the downloaders wear the name pirate with pride, and take the power away from the word, draining away negative connotations and whatnot.

          It's the same method as homosexuals have used on 'fag' and black people on 'nigger'.

          Yep, and it's about as effective too. I'll only let you counter argue if you're willing to prove you're right. You can either walk into the predominantly black club and start c

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      hahahah, so is media sentry gonna ddos the hell outta them to cause they are sharing content they have legal rights to share?
  • ..... most likely almost universally dismal

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MightyYar (622222)

      Which is true of both CC and legit stuff, BTW :)

      In all seriousness, does anyone know what percentage of traditionally produced IP is even watchable? I don't even buy cable anymore because the pickings were so slim... and don't even get me started on radio.

      I'll be the first to admit that most of the CC stuff that I've downloaded is pretty shitty, but I've found some songs (and one Star Trek spoof from Europe) that are keepers.

    • by aussie_a (778472)

      I could say the same about commercial music as well.

  • by politicsapocalypse (1296149) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:43PM (#24076681)
    We released our album Politics Apocalypse online recently, including on LegalTorrents. It is available free to download. Licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. This licence lets you use this music for commercial products or make remixes or other derivative works, so long as you give credit to the original artists. Politics Apocalypse is political and subversive post-industrial rock with an interesting mix of classical instruments, guitars, electronic beats, and a small dash of aussie hip-hop. You can download the whole 11 track album at no cost at our website. We are also doing a name your own price CD (starting at cost price). http://www.politicsapocalypse.com/ [politicsapocalypse.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Broken Toys (1198853)

      Normally I dislike people shilling their wares here but it got me to thinking that it might be interesting if there was one thread where that was *all* that people posted. Everyone has a pet project or knows of one that could use some exposure.

      Best of luck to ya.

      • Yeah. Sorry to sound spam-ish. At least it is on-topic spam :). I can say that in all of my dealings with the guys that run LegalTorrents they have been helpful and friendly. It is a great way to release music and the creative commons license is great. Not the best way to make money (I have been playing around with ways to try to make money while giving away my music) but a great way to be heard.
      • I would love if someone would do a Ask Slashdot for exactly what you described. It would be a thread for the ages, and may help a lot of people gain some traction.
  • This actually a very good idea, and I don't know why no one has done this. I like and will take a look around and see what they have. Currently interested in audio books.
    • I totally love this idea as well, and maybe with this I will whip out my bit torrent user agent and start to download stuff. 50 bucks is well worth it in my opinion.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      LegalTorrents has been around for a while now, it's just that nobody has paid them any attention since they have such a small selection. That can change, though.

      Jamendo [jamendo.com] also operates on a similar idea, and they have a much bigger selection (seems to be a lot of French stuff, but whatever). Also have choices between direct download/torrent and mp3/ogg.

  • Another good place to check for legally redistributable works is The Internet Archive [archive.org], one of the most important sites on the Internet.

    They host a lot of things across a wide spectrum of interests. They are the place hosting the digital archives for organizations that frequently publish new work (such as news programs and audio labels). Big files are okay there as well: You might be interested in a copy of the DVDs for "Big Buck Bunny [archive.org]" (most of the material on the DVDs are licensed CC-BY 3.0 [creativecommons.org]), The Story of Stuff [archive.org] (my copy of this came with a signed note that said I should "Feel free to copy and share it freely for any non-commercial use".

  • legal or not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jacquesm (154384) <j@SLACKWAREww.com minus distro> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:24PM (#24077003) Homepage

    Depends on your definition of 'legal'. It used to be 'That which does not harm society is legal', lately it has come to mean 'that which special interest groups are unable to buy laws against'.

  • You know what'd be really sweet is to start a section on there for stock photos. They could have people just take a picture of whatever and do whatever they want to it in photoshop (or Gimp :P) and throw it up there with no copyright. It's not that hard to go take a picture of an apple with your 3 MP camera and throw it up on the site. Then keyword it and tada, you've got a searchable, open photo library! Way better than paying like $30 per full res image at rip off stock photo libraries.
    • I have found flickr pretty good for finding creative commons licensed images. I am sure other similar site exist. I think bittorrent is better suited for collections of files (or very big files) rather than single images.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shark72 (702619)

      "Way better than paying like $30 per full res image at rip off stock photo libraries."

      Where are you paying $30? The hi-res images at istockphoto are around $8, and the web-res versions (which I use the most) are under a couple of bucks.

      With stock photography, you typically get what you pay for. Corbis, Getty, et al tend to have the best quality, but they're pricy. istockphoto is really cheap, but you often have to sift through a lot of crap. And the "free stock photo" places tend to be awful.

      That's why I'm

    • by arose (644256)
      http://www.burningwell.org/ [burningwell.org]
  • "The Legitimate Businessmen's Social Website."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a big B-movie fan there ought to be a mention of publicdomaintorrents.com [publicdomaintorrents.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This used to be a free service up until at least August 12, 2007: http://web.archive.org/web/20070812051918rn_1/www.legaltorrents.com/index.htm [archive.org]

    Why would anyone use this when archive.org (and etree) allows you to upload music for free in flac,shn,mp3,and ogg? Nine Inch Nails is up on archive.org:
    http://www.archive.org/details/nineinchnails_ghosts_I_IV [archive.org]
    http://www.archive.org/details/nine_inch_nails_the_slip [archive.org]

    If archive.org can host NIN's music without problems, they can certainly host less popular music. Use a

  • It implies that all other torrent sites are illegal.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      It implies that all other torrent sites are illegal.

      Hey, maybe I should start using it to publish some Intelligent Dance Music...

  • by assassinator42 (844848) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:36PM (#24078043)
    It's been around for a while. The oldest item on the tracker is from March 24, 2004. Ther earliest version on archive.org [archive.org] is from December 12, 2003. I guess this is a "re-launch" though, it's no longer just a flat list of torrents.
  • I remember downloading things from LegalTorrents a while back (at least one year).

    If you go to http://beta.legaltorrents.com/ [legaltorrents.com], you'll see a lot of items listed with a date. I claim that this is the date the item was uploaded.

    It's clearly not the date the item was published; for instance, if you go to http://orange.blender.org/ [blender.org], you'll learn that "Elephants Dream will be shown on the German TV channel 3sat, apparently right about now, 13 August 2006." Note that the elephants dream is tagged with the date o

  • So I was wondering if there'd be any decent music on the site. Bands I like:
    * Cat Stevens
    * Bee Gees
    * Queen

    Bands I dislike:
    * My Chemical Romance
    * Metallica
    * AC/DC

  • ...did it first [legittorrents.info] and for free.

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