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I have a large dataset which I plan to release to the public (around 80GB compressed, 1TB uncompressed), and after considering my options it appears that using the BitTorrent protocol would be the best way to go about this. However, the BitTorrent protocol is often associated with copyright infringement, and I would like to have the torrent files tracked by somewhere slightly more reputable than The Pirate Bay. While I wouldn't like to get into a discussion of whether it is correct, and how easy it may be to circumvent, The Pirate Bay and others are blocked in the United Kingdom.

What BitTorrent tracker would you recommend for release of a dataset?

UPDATE: After some research, it appears that I have slightly misunderstood how BitTorrent trackers work. A tracker simply stores a list of peers against a hash of the torrent file. A user can provide a hash along with details of themselves to announce that they have a percentage of the file(s) available, or can request a list of peers for a given hash in order that their client can connect to these peers to begin downloading. I have found two trackers which will accept any torrents without them needing to be uploaded to an index, PublicBitTorrent and OpenBitTorrent which may be suitable for my needs, however I would need to find another way to distribute the .torrent files to those who may be interested in the data.

An index site is a website such as The Pirate Bay. Index sites will often run their own trackers, and as such the term tracker is often used interchangeably for the websites. The index site provides a way for users to search for .torrent files which contain the contain they desire. I have not found any index sites either specialising in Open Data and datasets, or one which appears to have a non-infringement reputation.

  • @Snubian, would you mind turning your two comments into an answer? That way, people could vote for it, and it could be accepted as the best answer for this question. – Patrick Hoefler Jun 29 '13 at 13:22
  • @PatrickHoefler, have done so, thanks. I'm perhaps over-wary of posting an answer that I don't think addresses the specific question. Of course we need answers during the beta phase, so will bear your comment in mind. – Snubian Jun 30 '13 at 22:44
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Consider whether posting your .torrent file to a BitTorrent index site is the best solution for you. If your objective is to publicise your dataset you may be better off simply posting your .torrent file to a website or forum that focuses on open data or, more specifically, the topic to which the data relates.

You should also bear in mind the large amount of upload capacity you'll need for this initially. Depending on the level of interest, you might find it difficult to retain seeders, and so could find yourself uploading the file repeatedly. I assume you've looked into paid cloud storage (such as Mega), but bandwidth limits will be a potential issue.

It might also be worth confirming that you are using the maximum compression possible. Compression software commonly defaults to a moderate compression ratio as a trade-off for quicker compression time.

  • This is my current plan, but for reference my paid cloud storage is likely to be a "seedbox" provider (no links because I don't endorse anyone, but a Google search will find many). These provide storage and bandwidth for the purpose of torrents, and $5 a month will be enough to seed my dataset. I plan to upload to their cloud from a University or Library connection, which in the long run should deliver the data quickly to everyone who wants it. – Charles A Jul 1 '13 at 23:01
  • @CharlesA: Sounds like a nice solution - best of luck! – Snubian Jul 2 '13 at 0:29
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Several linux distributions chose legittorrents as their primary means of distribution. However, according to the FAQ the site administrators might delist your torrent if it wasn't seeded well (whatever they mean by that).

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