North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Can P2P applications learn to play fair on networks?

  • From: Eric Spaeth
  • Date: Sun Oct 21 15:58:15 2007

Joe Greco wrote:
Well, because when you promise someone an Internet connection, they usually
expect it to work. Is it reasonable for Comcast to unilaterally decide that
my P2P filesharing of my family photos and video clips is bad?

Comcast is currently providing 1GB of web hosting space per e-mail address associated with each account; one could argue that's a significantly more efficient method of distributing that type of content and it still doesn't cost you anything extra.

The use case you describe isn't the problem though, it's the gluttonous "kid in the candy store" reaction that people tend to have when they're presented with all of the content available via P2P networks. This type of behavior has been around forever, be it in people tagging up thousands of Usenet articles, or setting themselves up on several DCC queues on IRC. Certainly innovations like newsreaders capable of using NZB files have made retrieval of content easier on Usenet, but nothing has lowered the barrier to content access more than P2P software. It's to the point now where people will download anything and everything via P2P whether they want it or not. For the AP article they were attempting to seed the Project Gutenburg version of the King James Bible -- a work that is readily available with a 3 second Google search and a clicked hyperlink straight to the eBook. Even with that being the case, the folks doing the testing still saw connection attempts against against their machine to retrieve the content. Must of this is due to a disturbing trend in users subscribing to RSS feeds for new torrent content, with clients automatically joining in the distribution of any new content presented to the tracker regardless of what it is. Again, flat-rate pricing does little to discourage this type of behavior.