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[ NNSquad ] Re: Comments on NNSquad Purpose
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Comments on NNSquad Purpose
- From: Barry Gold <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 08:16:00 -0800
[concerning peer-to-peer servers and moving traffic from centralized
servers -- often owned by the content provider -- to individual users
who may or may not own rights to the content they distribute.]
As for making it 'harder to stop' for illegal activity, this isn't one
of the goals of bittorrent. It _might_ be a side-effect, but its
certainly not the goal and everyone has the right to assume the
technology will be used lawfully.
It should be noted that there is another effect of decentralized
distribution. One bad effect has been noted -- it makes it hard for
copyright owners to maintain stop illegal copying. But there is a
corresponding good effect -- it makes censorship much more difficult.
See for example the Freenet whatis:
If distributing content requires an expensive printing press (or large
centralized server), it is easy for government censors to step in and
shut down speech they do not like. The big server (or press) is easy to
find, and costs a bunch of money so even if the operator avoids getting
jailed or killed, he is unlikely to be able to afford to start another.
But when you can start distributing content for $200, and the "server"
(a desktop PC) can be anywhere in the world, it's a lot harder for a
government to shut you down. The server runs on its own, so the owner
doesn't have to be anywhere near it. And it can be somewhere like the
Netherlands, which takes a dim view of censorship. And if the
government _does_ seize it, the owner can buy another for less than a
week's pay and be back in business 2 days later.
They are not unable to invest -- they are unable to make a return on theThere is no issue with delivering 50-60 gigs for a $40/mo service plan.
If you want credibility in this area, then you'll have to make your
costs public, and show the public a defensible financial argument. So
far, there hasn't been one.
investment or even break even.
Here I disagree. I see no reason why the ISPs & providers should have
to publicly justify their financial decisions. They should have the
right to decide "how much" capacity to provide, and if it makes more
sense _to them_ to underprovision, then let them. If their decisions
are wrong wrt market conditions, somebody else will "eat their lunch".
I think what _is_ needed is for the ISPs to be honest with their
customers. "We are giving you a line that supports a short-term speed
of 1.5 Mbps, but we do not guarantee you will be able to use that all
the time. Over the longer term, you are limited to Xkb during a given
day, Ykb during a given month." That would be honest and fair.
What we're arguing is that ISPs should not be allowed to create a
situation where they are a) gatekeepers and censors of content and
applications b) unaccountable for provisioning adequately and c) allowed
to profit in from the resource scarcity which they have control over.
Surely this makes sense....
Well, not quite the way you have written it. ISPs own the equipment --
the lines and routers and servers that make the network go. They invest
money in that equipment, and on simple principles should be allowed to
decide how to use it. Just as, say, the publisher of Time gets to
decide which articles and columns and ads get into the pages of Time,
the owners of that equipment should be allowed to decide what traffic
they will carry. But there are a couple of exceptions to this principle:
1. If they promise the consumer that "you can have 500kbps of upload
capacity" and don't say it's limited over time, then the user should be
entitled to expect that they can actually _use_ 500kpbs of upload, most
of the time. Not necessarily all of the time, even things like electric
utilities have occasional outages and "rolling blackouts". But most of
the time you should see the capacity you are "paying for".
2. As I have noted elsewhere, the ISPs and backbone providers are given
special privileges -- immunity from civil and criminal liability for the
traffic they carry. These are the same privileges that have
traditionally been extended to common carriers -- railroads, bus
companies, and telcos. In return for that, they should be subject to
the same rules as other "common carriers": carry everybody who obeys the
published rules, without favoring one person over another. The only
difference should be based on price -- you can get more service for
$80/month than for $50/month, and yet more for $500/month.