But Why Do We Need A P2P Bill Of Rights In The First Place?

from the funny-how-that-works dept

I came close to totally ignoring the news that Comcast has teamed with Pando and announced that it wants to create a P2P "Bill of Rights that would create "a set of rules that would clarify how a user can use P2P applications and how an ISP can manage file-sharing programs running on their networks." This, of course, is all a part of Comcast's suddenly very public efforts to deal with the fallout from the company's rather secretive traffic shaping efforts (and, it hopes, to avoid the wrath of Kevin Martin and the FCC. Of course, this process started with the relationship with BitTorrent -- which was woefully short on details.

This "Bill of Rights" plan is, in some ways, even worse. It's funny how whenever we see companies suddenly declaring a plan for a "Bill of Rights" (which should be about addressing consumer rights), it's really always about figuring out a way for a company to do the same stuff it had been doing all along without getting in trouble for it. It's basically a way for a company to tell the government "hey look, we're self-regulating!" even if that self-regulating is letting them do whatever they want. While it's nice that Comcast tied this to a relationship with Pando (the same company that's trying to help telcos deal with file sharing network issues), it doesn't change that the fact that this is a lot of talk with little action.

While the usual suspects have decried this plan for the press release vaporware that it is (while pointing to Comcasts' questionable activities when its traffic shaping was first discovered), a much bigger question is why we should even want a "P2P Bill of Rights" in the first place. One of the very reasons why internet access is so valuable (and why Comcast got into the business) is the open nature of the internet that allowed all sorts of new, interesting, unexpected and useful services to spring forth. When you start putting rules on it, concerning how an application can run and what a user can do, you're effectively shutting down that ability. You're saying that we have enough innovation, and any new innovation needs to be incremental on top of what we already have and within these well-defined limits. That's not a recipe for innovation. It's a recipe for keeping the status quo, while other places, that don't have unnecessary restrictions, continue to innovate and grow.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Tom, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    The "Comcast Internet Bill of Rights"

    1. Comcast lies and sells you an "Unlimited" Internet access plan.

    2. Customer has the right to pay the full bill every month or get cut off.

    3. Comcast gets to limit the unlimited connection in any way it wants.

    4. Customer has the right to pay the full bill every month or get cut off.

    5. Comcast gets to "force" applications to not work by forging packets and then lie saying it is not doing it.

    6 Customer has the right to pay the full bill every month or get cut off.

    7. Comcast has the right to change the terms of service at any time.

    8. Customer has the right to pay the full bill every month or get cut off.

    9 Comcast provides service on a best effort basis (if service goes out, too bad).

    10. Customer has the right to pay the full bill every month or get cut off.

    11. Comcast has the right to terminate service to anyone going over the limits (don't ask what the limits are on an unlimited service because in the TOS they don't have to tell you).

    12. Customer has the right to pay the full bill every month or get cut off.


    See, the customer has just as many rights as Comcast. Yeah!

    By the unhappy Comcast customer with no other choice

     

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    MATT, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    idea!

    Maybe we should make a consumer's bill of rights just to humorously compare (and show how off-base) comcast is!

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Apr 16th, 2008 @ 11:23am

    Don't fall for ComCast's con game.

    Comcast's problems are of it's own making. It is desperately trying to leverage and preserve it's **technologically obsolete and bottlenecked" antique radio frequency cable network. It has frittered away YEARS **not** rolling out multi-mode fiber to its customers knowing full well that fiber was the only way to handle bandwidth hungry Hi-Def programming and ballooning customer internet data throughput demands.

    No boo-hoo-hoo for these Bozo's from me.

    They can shove their "Bill-of-Rights-and-Responsibilities" and instead, they should start working on their "Bill-of-We-are-Complete-Morons-and-we-Need-to-Start-Digging-Our-Way-Out-of-this-Hole-We-Made-for-Ou rselves".

    Hey! I think I'm channeling "AngryDude"!

    Help Me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 11:36am

    Yeah, because with the pleathra of cable companies fighting for customers... Oh, wait...

    Who do I make the check out to?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    I can't wait to be first again.

     

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    James, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Bunch of S**T

    Comcast is so full of it.. they have no clue. What kind of business/service do they think they are offering? Could you imagine if (insert wireless carrier here) wanted to give you a bill of rights to tell you HOW you could speak on your OWN phone???

     

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      Tack Furlo, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 2:06pm

      Re: Bunch of S**T

      Not only can I imagine it, it could happen. Between the patriot act, gitmo, and all the other civil rights violations that have been committed against the American populace in the last 8 years in the hallow name of freedom, having the government, or for that matter phone companies by proxy, censor your calls in real time is something that I would not be surprised to see occur in the next 8 years, should a "conservative" be elected as president.

      They hate the environment. They hate civil rights. They love life as long as it's unborn but when it's a 6 year old kid at a wedding in Mosul they don't care about that either. The only thing that a "conservative" will ever conserve is the status quo. Anything that threatens their power or traditions must be lit on fire and burned in effigy, else it might become popular and people might start to believe it. Never mind that it might be intelligent or correct or realistic. If it doesn't fit into their cookie cutter world wherein the NSA never makes mistakes so only bad guys get tortured and freedom of religion only means freedom of the most popular religion then it must either be illegalized or killed.

      I'm 21. I'm inheriting a world where people still believe that abortion of an egg which doesn't even have a spinal cord or brain hurts it. People still believe that evolution is actually a questionable concept. Hell, the Onion ran a spoof article about "intelligent falling" replacing gravity and I had to tripple check the URL to be certain I hadn't accidentally clicked through to fox news. I live in a world where people not only are willing to allow their advanced intelligence to subsist to 6,000+ year old fairy tales, but also their basic, common, idiot sense too. To top it off, apparently we're still having trouble with enrollment in the armed forces, else the second amendment, which is, and I quote, "in order to establish and maintain a well armed militia" is no longer relevant in modern society and has no reason not to be repealed. When's the last time you heard of a 14 year old outcast walking into a classroom full of 5th graders and knifing them all to death? Weaponry doesn't have to disappear from the face of the earth, but can't we all as a society just admit that either you have to agree to the rights of Bambi and your fellow classmates to live, or else agree to give up the right of your unborn glob of skin cells and muscle tissue to do the same?

      Sure, I know it seems unrelated, but at the end of the day, conservatives are killing this country, one would-be great mind at a time. First we'll be apprehensive about them filtering our packets, but we'll give up and put up with it. Then it'll be our phone calls. Then it'll be our mail. Pretty soon, half the US will live in the old eastern block gulags - but even though they were taken there against their will by the newly crowned dictator of the united states, they won't complain, because unlike America where the coldest night drops to a low temperature of 134 degrees, at least the 80 degree heat will be bearable, because global warming will effect the entire globe, and will do so severely, despite what the conservatives say.

      Get prepared. The S**tstorm is coming.

       

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    anthony, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 2:11pm

    We already have this

    Im 16 now, into old skool piracy (such as copying something and mailing it to my buddy) and i have seen that the p2p "industry alreadu has something like this...

    its called the SRR (standard rip rules)
    this is a guide that sais what format "copied" matirial is to be "placed" on the net.

    we dont need a Bill Of Rights. Have you ever noticed how when the man gets involved they just skrew things up?

    if we keep goin like this, im gonna see myself on dial-up and a terminal pretty soon :(

     

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    Jamespn1333, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 2:24am

    Cable Companies

    Comcast and other cable companies really suck. It’s not as if P2P is anything new or wasn’t around when they started providing Internet service to the public. This simple fact is that they are CHEAP BASTARDS and only want to stall the cost of expanding it’s network to handle the traffic it is seeking to make more money at the expense of people who are already customers of theirs.

    I suggest that Comcast and other ISP providers get out of the business if they can’t spend 50% of the income they receive for Internet service so that existing customers can get what they’ve already paid for and come to expect.

    If you work for Comcast or any of the other cable companies and my post bothers or upsets you, then I suggest you BYTE ME !!!

     

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    Lucretious, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 3:25pm

    I wish I had Comcast just so I could cancel their service....

     

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      judianne, Apr 30th, 2008 @ 11:30am

      RE: Comcast P2P

      I have to say that in the last 6 months I have had growing distaste for Comcast's approach to their subscribers and the use of "P2P" activities. I hadn't noticed anything when downloading P2P until last November, when the early release of "Bourne Ultimatum" hit the p2p arena, even ahead of the release date the movie was in the theaters.

      Of course I download, and have not even had to use PG. I have never been blocked, nor had my hand ever been slapped for doing this. Yet upon the release of this one movie, all H**L broke loose with Comcast. In one day I had 2 nasty emails, the typical threat of losing your INTERNET connection. I had heard of this, but have not yet seen it enforced, or heard of it with Comcast. 2 days later, another email, and heck, the movie had been on my external drive for 3 days already, and I wasn't even uploading it.

      However, I was not banned, or shut down, just the opposite---My download speeds were uncanny, I was moving at light speed, and just couldn't understand why.

      All of a sudden I got another email, which I have to say was so ludicrous, asking me to move my service up to the next speed, for nothing. I had to wonder what they were up to, so I went ahead and let down my guard, thinking, well, if they are going to support the P2P stuff, perhaps this is the first step...Until one day, I was downloading, and suddenly it all went south...I had Peer Guardian ( a way to avoid the Internet police)installed, and knew I was not being seen on line...I went down hard with ""listen Port is blocked" from my bit torrent downloader. When the listening port is slowed, you lose a lot of your DL speed, and I went to work trying to fix it. I checked my firewall, the router firewall, and even made sure the port was open that I was listening on.

      No luck. So I restarted, and tested the port with another program, and, voila!, THE PORT WAS OPEN AFTER ALL. So, I went back to downloading, and again, no listen port.

      Now this happens on a regular basis, Comcast appears to be playing with me. I just told them that unless they give me my download speed back I will cancel, as it was not fair to allow me the speed, then tell me it is an unavailable option, now that they have found a way to make money with BitComet. I found out they were going to partner with Bit Comet a couple of months ago, and wondered what the cost to us would be. After all, look at the Napster situation; we were happily downloading and sharing all of our music, when BANG!!, we got slapped with Napster trading us out to partner with Big Brother, and turning a good site into yesterday's ham sandwich.

      This is what I see happening on the P2P level now. Eventually filesharing won't be filesharing, it will be "fileselling" at the full expense of our freedom, once again trading something off at the expense of the users.

      Anytime something gets really popular on line, there will always be the potential to make money at it, even when it isn't necessary.

      I am prepared for the total control of everything we do on the Internet being censored. Unfortunately there are not nearly enough of us standing up for our rights, THE PEOPLE'S RIGHTS..I see our people as people being lead to the slaughter, at the expense of the rights we have had since????

      Only if we let them interfere with all we hold dear on line, and also, they ARE taking our freedom on line, and after all, what frredom do we have left?? GO FIGGER IT OUT, then let them lead us to slaughter, because as usual, society just is too scared to say no.

       

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    Paul Curtis, May 6th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    Comcast

    You almost seem surprised that Comcast behaves the way it does. One of the first things it did when it achieved any size at all was to dispose of it's moral compass (quietly).

    They then secretly changed the name of their PR department to the BS department but never told anyone so everyone thought that what they were seeing was PR. Surprise!

     

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    denisty, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:48am

    bill of rights

    bill of rights can go to hell

     

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