What Is A Microtorrent? Everything You Need To Know

 BitTorrent

One popular way of sharing files over the internet is to use the BitTorrent protocol. This protocol requires a BitTorrent client in order to download the files. This is just a program that is designed to facilitated file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol.

One of the most popular BitTorrent clients is μTorrent, which is sometimes pronounced as microtorrent. This is because the letter “μ” is the Greek symbol for the micro prefix.

Ultimately, μTorrent chose this prefix in order to emphasize the program’s small memory footprint.

Yet, the term “microtorrent” is also used more generally to refer to the nature of the torrent files used in the BitTorrent protocol, specifically their small sizes.

In this article, we discuss microtorrents in greater depth, emphasizing some of their benefits and drawbacks. Then, we discuss some tips for dealing with microtorrents, finally ending with our thoughts on the future of microtorrents.

An Overview Of Microtorrents


Seeds

A microtorrent is really just a more accurate way of referring to the fractional nature of the torrent files used with the BitTorrent protocol.

This protocol is unique when it comes to peer-to-peer file sharing because it breaks up and distributes files in small chunks or seeds. This allows users to start downloading and sharing files before the whole file has finished downloading, making the service extremely fast.

In this sense, the network of BitTorrent users act as both downloaders and sharers. When a user has the complete file and is no longer downloading it from others, he is known as a seeder.

The microtorrents that a user downloads are assembled into a larger file using the metadata present in the initial torrent file. This makes downloading large files much easier, as these various microtorrents can be downloaded simultaneously.

There has been much controversy in recent years over the legality of using the BitTorrent protocol. Using the program could create liability for end users as well as those issuing the files if the files contain copyrighted content.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Microtorrents?

uTorrent

The main benefit of using microtorrents in order to share and download files is that it makes file sharing extremely easy and quick. With BitTorrent, no central server is needed to distribute large files. Instead, all that is required is a computer that can connect to the internet.

This means that microtorrents can be downloaded and shared across many different geographical regions and thus legal jurisdictions.

For example, if you’re downloading a song, you might be relying on seeders on every continent on the planet. Then, when you finish the download, you might become a seeder for downloaders on every continent as well.

This complicates any kind of legal analysis, as a file might be illegal in one country yet legal in another.  This makes any kind of law enforcement difficult.

For example, if I serve as the seeder for a file that is legal in my country but illegal in the country of the people downloading it, am I liable? Moreover, can the downloaders of this file be held liable if they are accessing it from a location where it is legal?

The answers to these questions are not clear, which means that most users will not experience any negative legal consequences.

In this sense, microtorrents represent an ingenious way of transcending international law.

Some users argue that microtorrents could never be considered truly illegal since they only represent a fraction of the larger file that will be assembled. These users argue that prosecuting someone for downloading or sharing a microtorrent would be akin to prosecuting someone for stealing a crumb of a large cake.

While this act is still technically illegal, it would almost absurd to seek justice in this situation.

The Benefits Of Accessing Files

The Culture Trip

On a more basic level, microtorrents allow users to download files that would otherwise be inaccessible. This is because you start sharing files before you’ve completely downloaded the file. Thus, when searching for a file that you want to download, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a reliable source.

Other file sharing services rely on protocols that are slow and inefficient. It can be difficult when using these inferior services to find certain obscure files.

In this sense, using the microtorrent method of downloading files would be ideal for someone looking for files that are not that popular. The large community of users that rely on BitTorrent should guarantee that your desired file can be found and accessed.

Furthermore, some file sharing services offer a comprehensive community of users and files but only on a local level. Thus, when users want to download a file that is not very popular in their region, it might be difficult to find a seeder to support your download.

This is not the case when using microtorrents. The file you download will draw on small chunks of files from all over the world.


For example, if you live in the US and want to download a television show from China, it’s likely there are many seeders in China who have already downloaded that show. You can rely on these seeders to quickly download your show, which means you can enjoy the content sooner rather than later.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Microtorrents?

Microtorrent

The main drack of using microtorrent is that it can lead to downloading copyrighted files, like many films, television shows, and songs.

Essentially, microtorrents can be used to avoid paying for content that artists worked hard to produce. Some critics of microtorrents claim that this amounts to direct theft and that users should be prosecuted accordingly.

In this sense, using microtorrents for file sharing entails some legal risk that could taint the service. Even though it’s unlikely that you will be caught, the mere possibility is enough to affect some users deeply. These users claim that when they are using the files they illegally downloaded, they can’t stop thinking about the illegality of the act.

Thus, some users can’t enjoy content unless they know they’ve compensated the underlying artist appropriately.

Some critics claim that the financial loss associated with microtorrents is not as significant as the loss of morality that results.

Ultimately, a line must be drawn somewhere, and these critics claim that allowing users to download microtorrents only opens up the door for more atrocious economic violations.

Before you know it, the world might turn into one giant free-for-all in which all products and services are looted.

These critics argue that artists will then lose motivation over time, leading to less art being produced. Thus, using microtorrents now could be seen as counterintuitive to the future enjoyment of artistic media.

What Are Some Tips For Using A Microtorrent?

VPN

If you are using microtorrents, we recommend using a VPN (virtual private network), regardless of whether or not you plan on downloading illegal content.

Remember that you are downloading many small files from many different seeders, so you might unintentionally download an in illegal file even when the larger file you are downloading is actually legal.

A VPN essentially makes your connection to the internet more secure by bypassing your Internet Service Provider.

Your computer’s IP address is essentially hidden, as you are camouflaged by the IP address of the server you are connecting to.  In this sense, government agencies will not be able to spy on you and potentially prosecute you for downloading illegal content.

Some VPN’s log the activity of their users and then report this information to the government.

Thus, make sure you sign up for a VPN that does log any of your information. StrongVPN, for example, is an ideal VPN that many users rely on when sharing microtorrents.

Our Finals Thoughts On Microtorrents

We think microtorrents will continue to be popular in the future as many users seek a way to bypass the high costs associated with purchasing art.

We think future artists will change their business models in order to avoid the losses that result when users download their work using the BitTorrent Protocol.

Many artists are already doing this by offering free downloads of their music. Chance the Rapper is one such musician that is pioneering this movement. These artists make money through concert sales and other avenues rather than purely through downloads.

This same model can be applied to the other arts, especially to the film industry. The streaming services offered by companies like Netflix and Hulu already represent a movement towards minimizing the cost of consuming online content.

We think it’s about time that all online content was free.

Ultimately, the film industry could still make money by valorizing the movie-theatre experience.

If anything, this will only lead to greater developments of the arts, as artists will realize that the only way to make money is to produce truly phenomenal art. This will lead to many artistic innovations that will shower the masses with wisdom, beauty, and pleasure.

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Boney Pandya is a Marketing Manager with WebNet Hosting, a company providing fully managed cloud vps and dedicated servers since 2002 for online video streaming and Shoutcast hosting. Boney helps small businesses and entrepreneurs move their website on the cloud.

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