Despite more than 100 million registered consumers and accolades from across the blogosphere, concern is growing among fans of uTorrent that the file-sharing giant’s days are numbered.
A major potential problem for the company's longevity is its company’s sheer size. UTorrent is under the BitTorrent Inc. umbrella, an enterprise whose CEO denies that it's affiliated with Internet piracy, even though it's a favorite target of entertainment lobbying groups like the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA.
Some social media users who illegally download torrent files of movies, music and other media content have complained that uTorrent has lost its spot as the best torrent client. They blame the eroding quality on a continued focus on expansion, rather than improving what the beta torrent client has been so efficient at in the past.
The most controversial changes, according to the majority of commenters on social news site Reddit, are advertisements and a “featured torrent,” which rise in the search results because of a sponsor.
BitTorrent’s name recognition has opened up the company, and uTorrent, to imposters. A group of scammers calling themselves the Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency has been mailing BitTorrent users letters -- a method used by the MPAA -- threatening legal action if the customer doesn’t send a small fee in response.
Targets receive letters, TorrentFreak reported, asking for hundreds of dollars in return for alleged copyright infringement.
“We work with law enforcement agencies and strategic partners around the world to enforce copyright laws and to help prosecute individuals and companies who violate these laws,” the letter reads, according to TorrentFreak.
“You may face serious potential criminal and/or civil charges filed against you. If you are arrested for felony criminal copyright infringement, you will be fingerprinted, photographed and held in jail until you are arraigned in court,” it continues, clearly using the intimidation technique.
The difficulty comes at the same time BitTorrent Inc. was named at No. 31 on Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2013. The designation was given because of the relatively new, widespread distribution method afforded by torrent downloads. A post on the company blog claimed BitTorrent moves between 20 percent and 40 percent of all Internet traffic, although there was no mention of the newfound criticism.