BitTorrent and Libraries


I wonder if any of you have had this experience. I was recently told by the IT Department of my library that I needed to remove the application “Transmission” from my laptop. They essentially told me that they were “doing me a favor” by telling me this (which is a thinly veiled threat if you ask me). I let them know that there are perfectly legal uses for BitTorrent, but they were not swayed.

Isn’t this a bit like a library deciding that they are going to remove all of the copiers because there might be a risk of someone using those copiers to break copyrite laws? Transmission – or any BitTorrent app – is just a tool. The tool itself isn’t the issue, it’s what the tool is being used for that should be scrutinized.

I happen to use BitTorrent to download perfectly legal live audio from Internet Archive. I’ve done this for close to a decade. I don’t do it very often – maybe once a month – and now I guess I’m just going to need to do that from home which isn’t a big deal. But I’m bothered that our library isn’t able to understand (or isn’t willing to understand) that there is nothing inherently wrong with BitTorrent.


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