Torlock: An Interview with Jack the P2P Administrator

What It's Like to Be a Torrent Search Site Administrator

Torlock.com's office in Australia
Torlock.com's office in Australia. Torlock.com: Co-Owner Jack of Australia


Readers,

I recently met with Jack of Torlock.com via Skype, and we had a very interesting conversation about his part-time life as a P2P service provider. While his work is legally grey and stigmatized by public perception, millions of peer-to-peer users flock to services like Torlock to access the latest in television series and movies.

Jack is a private citizen in Australia who is the co-owner of Torlock.com. In addition to his life as a student, Jack spends 40 hours per week doing admin and maintenance work to keep Torlock sustained and its membership healthy.



About.com: Jack, thank you for meeting with me. I can only imagine what kinds of scrutinizing attention your Torlock service gets on the web.

Jack: Thank you for giving me and my site, Torlock.com, the opportunity to speak to your readers. I would like to state that my answers are based from my personal experience and opinion and not that of the torrent world and site owners at large. I speak for myself and my site and not anyone else.

To answer your question, most of the scrutinizing seems to come from people who really do not understand P2P and torrent sites in general. Hundreds of millions of people use torrent sites around the world daily and Torlock.com is one of thousands of torrent sites that cater to this market.

About.com: Please tell me about what Torlock is, and how it is different from other P2P torrent providers.

Jack: Torlock.com is the Largest Verified Only Torrent Site on the Internet.

We have over 750 000 verified torrents and not one fake torrent or virus. We are unique in the sense that we offer our users monetary compensation if they can find a fake and report it to us. We pay users $1 per fake they can find.

This is not a gimmick to attract users but rather a statement that we would like to make by saying we are so sure of what we offer that we will put our money on the table to assure you of the quality and content Torlock.com offers.



About.com: Describe how Torlock fits into your life, Jack. Is this a hobby job? A type of volunteerism? Or does it pay the bills while you are in school?

Jack: I would say it started as a hobby but after the overwhelming response by users it has become more than a mere hobby, it has become an active part of my life where I would easily spend more than 6 hours a day doing administration and maintenance work on it to improve it for the users.

You start seeing the service you offer and how people become reliant on your site, this changes it from a hobby to a sense of providing a public service if you will. The money made from the site is used to pay the servers and upkeep of the site along with hosting monthly competitions where members can win various prizes.
 

About.com: What drives someone like yourself to run a file sharing service online? Why put yourself at risk of getting sued or arrested for copyright violation?

Jack: I think one quote really sums it up pretty well and it goes as follows:

“One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter,”.

This is clearly evident in the various countries around the world and their stance on what is legal and what is not.

In many countries downloading is completely legal if it's for personal use, in other countries you can receive jail time for doing the exact same thing. Torlock.com abides by strict copyright laws and whenever a DMCA or EUCD request is sent the site abides by it and we remove the alleged copyrighted content. Torlock works within the law and it's due to that that I am comfortable with doing what I'm doing.

I run a file sharing site as a service to the public. What most people don't know is that torrent sites at their core are completely legal. These sites list content that is NOT hosted on their own servers. The sites by themselves cannot control what comes in and what goes out. Instead they merely host the torrent file with information (called metadata) of 1 or more files. There is nothing illegal in that.

You often hear the movie studios and television networks claim that every time someone downloads their content illegally, it is equal to one lost sale.

This can't be further from the truth. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world download something because it is not available in their country. This can't possibly mean one sale lost as it was never available to begin with.

The opposite of what they say usually turns out to be true. If someone sees a TV show or a movie that they enjoy they would go onto websites like ebay.com and order the complete series or Blu-Ray version of the movie when it comes out.

Torlock had a question posted on the site for over a year and after 400 000 votes it clearly showed that majority of people who download TV shows or movies would buy the original product if they enjoyed it.

Another reason why I run a file sharing site is to bridge the gap between the US and the rest of the world. I know that the US has great ways for people to enjoy entertainment. You can see movies via cable or satellite TV and have access to TiVo's DVR services, and online entertainment sites that cater for people within the US Borders. TV shows that air in USA/Canada, normally tend to air months or even years later in the other parts of the world. Many shows tend to talk about subjects that are currently in the news, like Family Guy, which has always been very strong at political satire. By the time such show airs in Europe or South America, the jokes don't really make that much sense anymore and the same applies to music and movies.



Interview continued in Part 3 and Part 4 here...

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