# Running a 1 MB/s Tor Relay on Linode

### Why block BitTorrent? I thought this was about freedom!

Linode does not prohibit the use of distributed, peer to peer network services such as Tor, nor does Linode routinely monitor the network communications of customer Linodes as a normal business practice. However, customers are responsible for the contents of network traffic exiting their Linode. Any usage that prompts the receipt of abuse complaints pertaining to violation of United States and/or international copyright law must be promptly discontinued to avoid service cancellation for violation of these terms.

In practical terms: if you run an exit relay, Linode will receive DMCA takedown notices for your IP address. They will pass those on to you, making them your responsibility.

To mitigate this risk, we block BitTorrent. Otherwise we’ll eventually have to

• take down the node; or
• ExitPolicy reject *:*; or
• move elsewhere.

An offline node is of use to no one. A middle relay is less useful, since overall Tor network performance relies upon having exit nodes. Moving elsewhere is doable, but it would definitely be less cost-effective (at least at our current scale - see below).

Another option is to donate to other relay operators. Donations are more cost-effective in increasing Tor network bandwidth, but this comes at the expense of network diversity. (If you don’t see why this is a problem, consider what happens when a malicious actor - NSA/GCHQ/etc., for instance - operates some proportion of Tor relays.)

Even if Linode handled DMCA complaints differently, a relay that’s swamped with high-bandwidth, high-connection-count traffic from BitTorrent is of use to far fewer people than one that isn’t. We’d rather support people who need Tor than some dude who just can’t find that awesome movie on Netflix.

If that’s not enough for you, the Tor Project itself notes that BitTorrent over Tor isn’t a good idea, as it leaks identifying information and generally hurts network performance.

So: we have nothing against BitTorrent, and we do wish the DMCA would burn and die, but we will make every effort possible to prevent BitTorrent traffic from running through our relay.

### Last Words

This is easy to do and relatively inexpensive, and if you run a 1 MB/s relay you might get a T-shirt from the EFF.