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
    Tack Furlo, 16 Apr 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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