[vlc-devel] [WIP PATCH 0/4] Access module torrent/magnet

Rémi Denis-Courmont remi at remlab.net
Fri Jan 30 08:10:59 CET 2015

Le 2015-01-30 03:21, Jonathan Calmels a écrit :
> Well thats one point of view. I personally think that its a great
> feature to add.
> I dont see why VLC would get banned for the implementation of a new
> protocol.

No, that's not a point of view. That's a fact:

VLC would run foul of many corporate IT policies if it got peer-to-peer 
download support, and possibly even the law in some restrictive 

For the record, VLC is already found almost nowhere in corporate Japan 
just because of DVDCSS inclusion.

> Sure, the Bittorrent protocol is often known for its use in piracy 
> but
> I dont blame say HTTP for serving illegal content.

There are a few minority legal use of BitTorrent, such as downloading 
ISOs of free software. But that's not for VLC.

I know only two real movies legally available over BT, Big Buck Bunny 
and Star Wreck. Only one of them is feature length. Neither of them 
you'd particularly want to stream, when downloading them first will be 
more reliable.

> Also, what do you mean exactly by the association of your name with
> this feature ?

VLC has always been about open-source multimedia and fair use. Playing 
your DVDs abnd BDs is fair use. Streaming unlicensed content is Pirate 
party politics, not fair use.

Beyond the explicit goal of the project and the association, we 
normally strive to remain politically neutral. We have always refused to 
include P2P feature because of this, and also because of the obvious bad 
press. Unlike you and a whole lot of other people here, I do not have 
the luxury to earn my living developping VLC. I can't just say that it 
was just business: if I contribute it's a statement.

Personally, that is not a statement I am willing to make. I just don't 
agree with the ideas of the Pirate party and I would much rather the 
project did not drag me into politics.

Professionally, I do not want the risk of my name associated with a 
project promoting almost exclusively illegal P2P downloads.

If push comes to shove, it means I will (have to) leave the project 
completely at least on my free time.

>> Besides the Torrent protocol is optimized for downloading before
>> playing.
>> Sure, you can abuse the protocol to perform sequential live
>> reading, but what
>> is the point, over using HTTP then?
> HTTP was not designed to stream multimedia content either and

HTTP is a byte stream transfer protocol... Yeah, so HTTP 0.9 was meant 
to replace Gopher and transmit hypertext. We are at HTTP 2.0 (or 1.1 in 
VLC) now. But have you ever heard of HTML5, WebRTC, DASH or HLS? I was 
under the impression that all those protocols were streaming media over 
HTTP(S). Hypocrisy much?

> Bittorrent is built with decentralization in mind.

Way back when Napster was all the rage, there was probably some 
technical sense in decentralized bandwidth use. Nowadays the Internet is 
highly asymmetrical, and most people have very low upload limits. It no 
longer makes any technical sense to do so. Decentralization à la 
BitTorrent is only an evasion feature. The only reamining reason is to 
help piracy, or worse, objectionable or illegal content.

Modern decentralization nowadays is done with anycast and 
geographically distributed CDNs.

Rémi Denis-Courmont

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