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.
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Filed Under: p2p, p2p bill of rights, traffic shaping
Companies: comcast, pando


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  1. identicon
    judianne, 30 Apr 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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