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uTorrent Review

There are a couple important aspects to a good Torrent client. The first is usability, the second is speed, the third is size. All these are covered by the latest release of uTorrent (1.8.1) It’s got an easy to use UI for the beginner, and plenty of little ways to tweak it for the expert. There’s the simultaneous downloads many users like, making it simple to set up and leave. It only uses around 5 Mb of memory so it’s not a burden to your RAM, with most torrent clients you really ought to leave it on overnight or when you’re away from the computer because they slow everything down so much. Not uTorrent.

An interesting feature is the RSS Downloader. Like the RSS reader on Miro or other video players, you have a way of subscribing to a feed and having the client go get it every time it the feed is updated.  This is nice to have. It’s not all that novel, but having the same features you get with other clients without noticing a performance drain is not to be understated.  It’s kind of ugly, but there are a huge variety of skins you can download to change that.  All in all, I’d give it two thumbs up, if that were the whole story.

What makes me really nervous about uTorrent is that it’s partially owned by the MPAA. Well, maybe not so much. It’s owned by Bittorent Inc, and they have partnerships with the 20th Century Fox, Comedy Central, Lionsgate Films, MTV, Paramount, Warner Brothers, and New Line Cinema.

Yes, that’s almost the entire Motion Picture Association of America. So if you’re thinking of doing something on uTorrent that could be deemed illegal, you might want to think twice. It’s hard to imagine that the MPAA is just going to partner with the guy running one of the more popular torrent clients on the internet WITHOUT asking for his help stopping the theft of their product. You might look for ways to block the MPAA looking at your downloads, but you really can’t. You can block your ISP by using something like peer2guardian, but the MPAA is way sneakier than that, and they are hiding on the Torrent Servers themselves, so you won’t know your caught until you’re getting a phone call or letter in the mail. There’s currently no evidence that uTorrent or Bitorrent are putting tracking code in their clients, but how confident can you be? Forewarned is Forearmed.

So if you’re doing things completely legally, I love it. If your ethical code doesn’t involve  protecting the financial interests of rich Hollywood types, run for the hills!

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