Internet Archive unleashes 1PB of data through BitTorrent

Low-budget movies among the most popular downloads

The Internet Archive, a non-profit project established to act as an online library of that preserves digital information, has to date offered up nearly a petabyte of content via the BitTorrent file-sharing site.

In a blog post, The Internet Archive said it is offering 1.5 million torrents including live music concerts, the Prelinger movie collection, the librivox audio book collection, feature films, old time radio, more than 1.2 million books, and "all new uploads from patrons who are into community collections."

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An example of a BitTorrent movie download, "Night of the Living Dead"

The Internet Archive said it will continue to grow the content it serves up from the controversial peer-to-peer file sharing site.

The California-based non-profit organization set up the site to store Internet images, video, audio and webpages for posterity.

BitTorrent has been at the center of copywrite infringement lawsuits. The example, The founders of The Pirate Bay, one of the more popular search engines for BitTorrent content, were found guilty of crimes against copywrite laws.

"I supported the original creation of BitTorrent because I believe in building technology to make it easy for communities to share what they have. The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn't just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time," said John Gilmore, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in the nonprofit's blog post. "BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive."

BitTorrent is the fastest way to download items from the archive because the BitTorrent client downloads simultaneously from two different Archive servers located in two different datacenters, and from other Archive users who have downloaded these Torrents already, the site stated.

"The distributed nature of BitTorrent swarms and their ability to retrieve Torrents from local peers may be of particular value to patrons with slower access to the Archive, for example those outside the United States or inside institutions with slow connections."

The site is also offering BitTorrent download statistics. For example, the 1959 B movie classic "Plan 9 from Outer Space 1959" is among the 25 most popular downloads with 69 instances.

The Internet Archive has dozens of web pages dedicated to varying content. For example, the archive's Wayback Machine shows what webpages looked like in the past, such as what Google looked like in the year 2000.

The online archive also chronicles 3,000 hours of 9/11 TV coverage. The coverage includes more than 20 channels of international TV News over seven days, and select analysis by scholars. The footage begins shortly before the first reports.

Read more about internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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