Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle announced on Tuesday that the site is now offering over 1 million torrents spanning movies, radio shows, live music concerts, books and other free public domain works. Kahle said the site chose BitTorrent as the primary download service because of its overall speed. Still, visitors wary of the peer-to-peer network can use the old-fashioned method of downloading via HTTP and HTTPS.
"BitTorrent is the now fastest way to download items from the Archive, because the BitTorrent client downloads simultaneously from two different Archive servers located in two different data centers, and from other Archive users who have downloaded these Torrents already," he said.
As he points out, the distributed nature of BitTorrent swarms and their ability to retrieve Torrents from local peers may benefit Internet Archive visitors with slower access to the Archive ,including those living outside the United States or inside institutions with slow connections.
"Thank you, BitTorrent community, for evolving such a valuable technology for the rapid, reliable, and resilient distribution of large numbers of files," he said.
So what exactly is the Internet Archive offering to download? Anything that's in the public domain. The site's Top 25 downloads include Isaac Asimov's awesome Foundation trilogy of books, the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), Night of the Living Dead (1969), episodes of The Three Stooges, Alice's Adventures, House on Haunted Hill (1959) and loads more.
"I supported the original creation of BitTorrent because I believe in building technology to make it easy for communities to share what they have," said John Gilmore, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "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. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive."
Looking for Night of the Living Dead in 1080p? This Archive listing actually shows 25 individual files that can be combined into one torrent download taking up 54.7 GB of space on your HDD. The smallest download in the group is a mere 318.5 MB (512 Kb MPEG4) whereas the largest file weighs a hefty 16.3 GB (h.264 MPEG4). The files can be downloaded individually, or streamed online.
To upload files to the Internet Archive, please use http://archive.org/upload or http://archive.org/create. To download the Torrent of a specific search result, click the Torrent link at the bottom of the download box located on the left. Users can also download listed individual files outside the Torrent network by clicking their link, or by clicking the HTTP/HTTPS link and downloading them from a directory.