Popular file-sharing software uTorrent could start asking users to pay for the service, TorrentFreak reports.
uTorrent is a torrent client which people use to handle downloads of torrent files from the internet. The software isn’t illegal, but a lot of people use it to download movies and music from pirate websites.
uTorrent is currently monetized through advertising and bundled software, so it’s free to download. But the uTorrent team has never been happy forcing additional software on users when they download the BitTorrent client. According to a forum post, the team will be trying out alternative revenue models over the next few weeks.
It’s not yet clear what those alternatives might be. The team says they will include options “for every budget,” which suggests that uTorrent will start charging its 150 million monthly users.;
The uTorrent team has several options to consider. Other torrent clients have asked users for donations in the past, but have found users reluctant to pay voluntarily. BitTorrent Sync, another client developed by the same company, currently charges users a $US29.99 yearly subscription. TorrentFreak points out that thanks to uTorrent’s large user base, it could get away with charging a much smaller fee. The company could release a trimmed down version of its software for free in the future, meaning users would have to pay to upgrade to the standard version.