Future Danger to P2P ?

P2p apps have continued to be popular and effective for millions of users. While its probably true the the majority of bits which travel over these systems are doing so against the will of the “protectors” of the bits (the RIAA, MPAA, BSA etc), there also seems to be no way to stop it. The traffic simply moves from Napster, to AudioGalaxy, to Mopheus, to Kazaa to LimeWire, to Edonkey, to Bittorrent.

Despite both the money and political power of the groups mentioned above, the solution to stopping the “problem” of filesharing remains elusive. While this may be a sense of pride for people who are engaging in filesharing, I think its possible that a darker future for P2P lies ahead. No, I don’t think the MPAA is going to be sucessful in duping the congress into enacting the death penalty for anyone caught with a hidden camera video of a movie on thier hard drive. I think the companies which are trying to protect the copyrights of this IP aren’t the most dangerous.

The greatest leveraqe point in the system held by the companies which provide broadband access. They have the ultimate power to regulate what traffic is permissible on thier networks. I’m not talking about port filtering. I am talking about routing. I don’t see anyway I can send traffic to another peer unless my cable provider’s network lets me or I find some other “nice person” to elbow the bandwidth through.

Why would these companies do this? Simple. Recently we have seen a growth in p2p technologies which compete with or have the potential to compete with the core business of these companies. Skype is a direct frontal assualt on the phone companies that provide the DSL lines it runs over. Swarmstreaming could soon become the basis for an alternative video on demand network. If I had HBO I could stream it out to my friends who don’t and really piss off cable and satellite providers who make alot of there money selling this stuff.

But aren’t there laws about open access? How could they get away with this? Well I am not saying they will try, but I think If they tried they would have a pretty good chance of succeeding. If we have learned nothing from the past several years we have learned that its is pathetically easy to manipulate the public. If the broadband providers choose to try to force more restrictions on p2p expect to see an increase in “Evils of P2P” stories in the free and independent press that we have. Here’s some sample headlines.

  • Internet “Bogged Down” by P2P Applications
  • P2P Piracy Threatens US IP Dominance
  • Unregulated Home Broadband Responsible for Denial Of Service Attacks

And Of course:

  • Terrorists found to be using Skype for Coordinating Attacks”

Of course the broadband providers would never do this. People would revolt or switch. Really? You would go back to dialup?






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