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BitTorrent said today it now has more than 100 million monthly active users who download content from the sharing site.

The question remains whether that audience is huge because BitTorrent makes it easy to pirate movies and other software, or because there is genuine demand for legitimate file-sharing services. There is also an ongoing debate about whether piracy and free file-sharing actually leads to more demand for paid media.

The San Francisco-based company has created a network that can efficiently move large files across the internet, spread across its BitTorrent Mainline and µTorrent. On a daily basis, BitTorrent has 20 million active users, the company said in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show, the big tech show which gets under way in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Hollywood studios fear that most of the traffic is related to pirated content.

“Our vision is to build a complete technology ecosystem comprised of software, content and devices, designed to connect modern content creators with a massive digital audience,” said Eric Klinker, chief executive at BitTorrent.

BitTorrent allows users to download software or files in distributed bits from many different computers at once. The service is available in 52 languages, and clients check in from 220 countries a day. BitTorrent says it has created new initiatives aimed at legitimate file-sharing of independent works. It has film distribution deals with VODO that include the films Pioneer One, Yes Men, Four Eyed Monsters and an album from Paz.

The SciFi Channel used the site to distribute Battlestar Galactica episodes in the summer of 2005. That helped stoke demand for the show, which resulted in good word-of-mouth marketing for the TV series. According to TorreentFreak, the top pirated shows of 2010 were Lost and Heroes, while the top-pirate game was Call of Duty Black Ops.

BitTorrent was founded in 2004 and has 37 employees. To date, it has raised $40.8 million from Doll Capital Management, Accel Partners, and DAG Ventures.

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