In order to discuss why seed boxes will most likely become much more popular in the coming months, it’s necessary to fill in a little background.
In the world of file sharing, especially when it comes to private trackers like Cinemageddon, users are required to maintain a ratio hovering around 1:1. In other words, you must upload as much as you download. If you fail to do this, discipline follows, up to and including being banned from the site.
How do you keep your ratio up? This can be difficult for many, especially if they enjoy obscure movies. Usually, such movies don’t have a lot of leechers (that’s the term for folks who haven’t downloaded the entire torrent yet), so once you’ve download the content, you might have to seed for months before you’ve uploaded the equivalent amount of data.
This can even be a problem with popular torrents if you have vanilla DSL (~600 kb/sec down, 60 kb/sec up). Generally speaking, a popular torrent can download at a vastly greater rate than a person with vanilla DSL can upload.
A seed box can alleviate both of these problems. So, what is a seed box, anyway?
A seed box is a server or a space on a server which a person can rent, which can upload a torrent at blistering rates, sometimes as much as 6 mg/sec. This allows file sharers to swiftly increase their seeding ratio and remain in the good graces of a private tracker.
Now, seed boxes have been around for a little while now, and there isn’t exactly a stampede to rent them, but that might be changing.
In mid-July, ISPs in the United States will start aggressively monitoring file sharing by their customers, and when they determine that copyright laws are violated, they will enforce sanctions, such as decreased bandwidth, higher charges, limited access to the web, and denial of service. The ISPs will also most likely turn over their data to the government and to the enforcement arm of the entertainment industry, which could lead to enormous fines and even jail time.
So, what does that have to do with seed boxes?
Well, in addition to seed boxes providing increased upload speed for torrents, some also provide users with secure FTP and/or secure HTTP. What that means is that when you download files via secure FTP and/or secure HTTP from a seedbox, your ISP has no way of knowing what you just downloaded. They will know how much you downloaded, but the contents of that download will be encrypted. And of course, the initial download of the torrent takes place on a server that isn’t yours, providing another layer of privacy.
Then again, that doesn’t do users much good if government entities issue a court order to seed box providers demanding that they turn over their user data, but seed boxes may still provide a thin veil of protection if the seed box server is located in a country with strong privacy protections.
One thing is for sure. Users who insist on file sharing copyright protected materials, such as recent movies and music, will be in for a rude awakening after mid July if they don’t have a seedbox.