Just saying the word "BitTorrent" makes those at record labels and movie studios cringe, but honestly, it's not always used for nefarious purposes. The Internet Archive, which is a non-profit digital library built to enable "universal access to all knowledge," is making over one million pieces of archived content available to the world via the BitTorrent protocol. That's right -- 1,000,000 files freely available on P2P networks. The Internet Archive offers permanent storage of and free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and over 2 million public-domain books. Today all of the archives' live music concerts, the Prelinger movie collection, the librivox audio book collection, feature films, old time radio, lots of books, and all new community uploads will be available as torrent files.
It's a huge day for education, and it's proof that P2P networks can be used to spread good. It'd cost a fortune for a single non-profit to host all of the files on their own FTP, but by using P2P networks, that strain is spread over many more computers and users. To download the torrent file from an archive.org details page, click the torrent link at the bottom of the download box; your BitTorrent protocol-based client can use the torrent file you get to download all the files in the Archive item, including the original item files, plus all derivative and metadata files. Individual files can be selected (or deselected) from the list within most BitTorrent protocol-based clients, allowing torrent files to be used to retrieve both an entire item, or, a specific subset of files within it.
The Internet Archive has also admitted that it's starting to track some of those statistics, and it'll be interesting to see how many folks take 'em up on the offer. Freedom of information! Yeah!