From the interview:
DigiTimes: Can you please provide a bit of background information about BitTorrent?
Navin: BitTorrent was invented in 2001 by Bram Cohen. When Bram looked at the way that content was delivered on the Web, he realized that a lot of bandwidth from the audience of a website didn’t get used. Bandwidth has been referred to as a commodity but it doesn’t behave like an actual commodity. It is not something that you can buy and then store for later use. If you don’t use it at this moment, it’s gone. The audience of any website has the ability to upload as well as download and very rarely do people use the upload capacity they have.
Bram set out to build a tool that allows the website owner to tap into resources which were not being used, by putting that upload capacity to work. Bram started working on this in 2001 and by 2003 it became the standard for what we call peer-assisted distribution because so many websites and users were using it. Since then, the software has been downloaded about 80 million times and by most measures it accounts for between 40-60% of all Internet traffic.
In 2004, Bram and I got together and incorporated the company to build commercial applications for this technology. We took inventory of what people were using BitTorrent for, and though it wasn’t designed for any one specific or particular purpose, BitTorrent found its use as a media distribution tool. In many cases, media being downloaded wasn’t licensed, so we approached the owners of the content to craft a model where they, as well as BitTorrent, could benefit from BitTorrent’s popularity.
We’ve been quite successful working with the entertainment industry. We’re allowing artists and content creators to potentially benefit from the efficiencies with which we distribute content.