The Pirate Bay has announced that it is dropping torrent files in favor of magnet links to keep up with current trends.
“Magnet is now default, Download torrent is now where the magnet links used to be,’ said the group said on its blog. “The reason is the same as always: Magnets are now good enough to use, and it's not as easy to block as .torrent files. Also it saves us a huge amount of bandwidth! So go ahead, magnet away!”
Magnet files offer a number of advantages for file sharing. They are stripped down to contain just the hash tag for the data content, not the location or name of the file in question. This not only makes them harder to block, and also makes the data easier to share, as its source is less platform dependent. It may also provide the site with a legal defense that it is merely acting in a search engine capacity.
In practice the change will mean very little difference to users of the site - or even adherents to the faith. Getting a download started might take slightly longer, but most clients (including BitTorrent and uTorrent) should be able to handle the upgrade without any problems.
The move was presaged in 2009, when Pirate Bay said that it was dropping its tracker technology in favor of distributed hash tables (DHT). This latest move will also let the site set up mirror locations much more quickly – a facility that may come in handy is current legal problems persist. ®