Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: The Brilliant Scheme of Bit Torrent

You always hear conspiracy theories about the government inventing crack cocaine or time travel, but they never get credit for the beloved stuff. For instance, the government invented Bit Torrent. It was one of their easiest cover-ups - point the finger at a scruffy white guy in a t-shirt and everybody thinks, "Of course he made that computer thing. Now shut up while I download all nine seasons of Scrubs."

Bit Torrent was a simple program. It was P2P, connecting your computer to every other one with a user that had or wanted a certain file. A movie, an album, etc. People scaled back using normal websites to download because all the users connecting to a Torrent allowed it to go faster, or for them to browse more conveniently, or eventually, because it had taken over the market. It caused trillions of dollars of media to be accessed freely. It became the platform for media piracy, just like they wanted.

The government had set this all in motion. They received obscene campaign donations from Hollywood and music moguls. Who would believe they’d help college students pirate blockbusters?

While Bit Torrent was on the rise, other companies came up as well. Netflix, which offered to deliver DVD’s to your house or let you watch things instantly. Wal Mart for people who might buy things in person, and for internet shoppers, both very consciously telling you that you were getting a cutrate deal. Nobody would patronize these services, of course, so long as they used Bit Torrent.

That’s when the last part of the plan came through. Internet Service Providers everywhere throttled bandwidth – meaning all those HD videos you were downloading at 800 K were suddenly going at 50 K. They knew exactly how to do it because they had the code. They had been planning the slowdown all along. An hour download turned into a day. The vehicle Bit Torrent had built, of instant free gratification, slammed on the breaks. Before this time, 50 K per second was actually a good speed. Now it was absolutely unacceptable, and rendered Bit Torrent useless. But because it controlled the market, there was no serious competition. There was no other program to run to. All you had were a dozen other slow Bit Torrent clients.

Meanwhile, you could watch that movie you wanted over on Netflix instantly, for a moderate fee. And while people blasted Supernatural or American Dad for being garbage, that garbage had filled an hour-long void in their lives every week for a while. They were hooked on crap. The options were either to tune in when it was on, a skill the next generation had not learned at all, or pick it up from Amazon for 56% off with free shipping on orders over $25. It’d get there faster than the throttled Bit Torrent would download it, and it was sort of a deal, so they bought it in bulk while writing negative reviews of the shows on their blogs. Bit Torrent had been the most expensive advertising campaign in history.

You wouldn’t believe what Youtube is for.


  1. i love the last line, but what about porntube?

  2. Phenomenally clever, John. Loved it to bits.

  3. Best conspiracy theory ever. Have you thought of running for office this election? You could probably get at least a seat in the House with a theory like that.

    And the last line is great.

  4. "Meanwhile, you could watch that movie you wanted over on Netflix instantly, for a moderate fee"

    ... And it's gonna get even cheaper I hear. They're gonna start charging only a streaming fee.


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