It's pretty well established that torrent files can be used for downloading pirated music, movies, games and more. But the company BitTorrent wants it to be known that it has nothing to do with such piracy.
The company's vice president of marketing Matt Mason penned a blog post on Tuesday, saying that while BitTorrent built the open-source, peer-to-peer technology used for content sharing, it does not endorse piracy in any shape or form.
"We don't host infringing content. We don't point to it. It's literally impossible to 'illegally download something on BitTorrent'," Mason wrote. "To pirate stuff, you need more than a protocol. You need search, a pirate content site and a content manager. We offer none of those things. If you're using BitTorrent for piracy, you're doing it wrong."
It appears that Mason got riled up over the news that the TV show Game of Thrones is said to have been illegally downloaded via torrent files by 5.2 million people worldwide. Thus, the show has been allegedly crowned with the "BitTorrent Piracy Record".
"The idea of a 'BitTorrent Piracy Record' is a complete fabrication. Because there's actually no such thing as a 'BitTorrent Piracy Record'. Because piracy happens outside the BitTorrent ecosystem," Mason wrote. "These so-called 'records' are presumably based on numbers from pirate websites that have no affiliation with BitTorrent, Inc. If they're corroborated using data from pirate websites, they're 'Internet Piracy Records'. They're not 'BitTorrent Piracy Records'."
To thumb its nose at the Game of Thrones download number, BitTorrent did some tallying of its own. According to Mason, the "real king" of BitTorrent is a show legally published into BitTorrent called Epic Meal Time. This show was reportedly downloaded more than 8.6 million times in 2013 alone.
BitTorrent is increasingly becoming involved in partnerships with music artists and labels, and movie and TV studios as a way to monetise its service. In May, the company introduced the BitTorrent Bundle, which builds a paywall within a torrent to enable content producers to charge for files or collect user information.
Some of the musicians, film-makers and authors featured in bundles include Public Enemy, Kaskade, the Death Grips, Tim Ferriss and his book The 4-Hour Chef and a deeper preview look at the Colin Firth and Emily Blunt movie Arthur Newman.
According to Mason, the company has made more than 2 million licensed and legal pieces of content available for download via BitTorrent. And in 2012, people downloaded titles from BitTorrent more than 152 million times.