Public Domain Movie Torrents is a decent resource for torrents of classic and B-movies in which the copyright has expired (public domain media). This will be useful for my ECMP 355 course where students perform video editing/mixing. Using sites like this as a resource also help to explain that the Bit Torrent protocol is not to be equated with illegal activity, the similar bad-rap that the .mp3 format still suffers.

5 thoughts on “Public Domain Movie Torrents

  1. All I can say is “I’m glad I’m not taking that course!”

    While I applaud PDT for their high and noble concept, the concept betrays a fundamental understanding of what a bittorrent does — by the very nature of the material on that site, the bittorrent becomes far from any enabling technology, but is rather an enormous pain in the backside.

    Literally: I had to sit and watch 1k/sec trickle into my machine for several weeks just to grab one 350M low-res Gamera movie. Ok, the content was worth the wait, but I would so have preferred the site engineers had chosen a technology appropriate to the primary use-case. Bit-Torrent is only useful when there is a high demand, and it is worse than Chinese Water Torture if you just want some old obscure gem like The Mysterians.

    Mind you, in the specific context of your course, BT may be relatively functional, at least it would if (a) your students are all clustered around some small list of files and (b) those first round of students leave the bittorrent download running on their computer for the benefit of the second term students and so forth. True, there may be some small benefit as the first wave of downloads begin trading among themselves, but at 1k/sec (and that will go down if you all load PDT at the same time) it’s going to take a while before any of your crew have collected significant bits to feed the others.

    Conceptually, maybe not a bad idea, but in practice, I hope you’re very forgiving of projects handed in late :)

  2. You make a great point re: demand. For those that don’t understand what BitTorrent is or how it works, this is very important to consider. I’ve had mixed results with the site, and of course, it depends on the file you seek. I also noticed that this site was on, and experienced a bit of a SlashDot effect and was down for a bit. As for the torrent files themselves, that’s likely a good thing … it just wasn’t for the site itself. But, by blogging this, and I noticed it on, more people can be aware of this site, and the demand will hopefully increase.

    As far as my ECMP 355 course, yes … I’m usually fairly forgiving, as long as it’s a technology issue, and not a student one. :-) And I said this “will be useful” as I didn’t get a chance to use it this year. However, we do use video from the Creative Commons, CBC Archives, etc. … the regular stuff. I also noticed the NBA is making all of their video (every televised game, etc.), and users will be able to create their own highlight reels. This may be something that is also of interest.

    Thanks for your comment!

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