Idiot hosting company thinks BitTorrent is illegal and bandwidth-hogging

On Friday, I blogged about how a hosting company called 1and1 had told one of its customers to stop infringing copyright — where the "infringing" activity was distributing his own movie over BitTorrent.

Now 1and1 is shoving its foot deeper and deeper down its own throat. Carl, another 1and1 customer, wrote to the company to say how disappointed he was by this decision and got this mind-bogglingly clueless response:

I am sorry that you feel this way. However bit torrent generates a lot of traffic and is too hard to keep under control. If we allow bit torrent on our shared system this would create a huge influx in traffic. Also even though people using the bit torrent for good purposes such a promoting there own work or whatever it might be. It is mainly used to download copyrighted files of music, video, etc. If we are allow this on our service we could have a lot of legal issues to deal with that could just be avoided. I apologize for this inconvience again and hope you have a good day.

Well, no it doesn't generate a lot of traffic. That's the whole point of BitTorrent. If you distribute large, popular files via a BitTorrent tracker (instead of via an ftp or web server) then the vast majority of the bandwidth used to transfer the file is provided by the people who are downloading it, not by the person hosting it.

And no, you can't get in legal trouble for allowing people to use BitTorrent to serve non-infringing files. Hell, email and IM and http are used to carry copyrighted, infringing "music, video, etc" in vast, uncountable numbers — why not make your ISP even safer by not permitting your customers to use any protocols? (The answer is that the DMCA specifically exempts ISPs from liability for this sort of thing, so there is literally nothing to worry about — something that anyone running an ISP should know)

The hosting company in question is 1and1. Their phone number is 1-877-GO-1AND1. The main email address is


(Thanks, Carl!)

Update: Colin sez, "I thought I'd point to Hurricane Electric who actually offer a bittorrent tracker and superseed to their hosting customers which goes to show 1and1 are just talking through a hole in their hat (and Hurricane Electric actually get the net)."