Monday, April 10, 2006

peer-to-peer wonder




Try explaining P2P to someone are your claims seem fantastical. Usually the illegality of much of the content shared on P2P networks is what causes many to shun any mention of peer-to-peer sharing, tarring all with the Napster brush. But the ascension of dedicated robust protocols for sharing such as BitTorrent has led to the realization that this is an effective tool for delivering popular content which empowers users more than it stifles creators. Massive complex piles of information can be shared effortlessly now, something which most people are scaerd to dp a toe into and others spread every waking minute telling people how great the water is.

Entertainment companies are pouring all their money into lawyers, public relations efforts equating sharing a Britney Spears song to looting merchant vessels in the South China Sea, and blackhats to fubar file-sharing nets with malicious code. Of course, the only way this helps them is that they spend so much money on this crap that less is there for the art and the artists and thus less work is produced and is desirable to be distributed. It's way to hard for people to keep copies and share media that they enjoy even after they pay for a physical copy. Even playing a song in your own work takes an onerous permission process. People want to stop buy the White Album in a new format everytime it becomes available but the record companies business model can't deal without recycling old property, even as they help restrict the public domain with Mickey Mouse laws and an expansive view of the DMCA.

Still it is a marvelous concept which wins over even those who don't like its potential applications, making it clearly capable of 'non-infringing usage'. Right now I am attempting to catch up on all of hte shows that I love but can't readily see in the Netherlands. There is no King of the Hill here weekly; and who knows when the Sopranos will next be on. In doing so, I am actively trading information with thousands of other computers across the world. While this can be a ho-hum event now on the Internet, both the capacity for you to acquire an explosive news clip in under a minute and to insure that such a volatile and censurable piece of material can be replicated in minutes and safe from time is an immeasurable boon to the consciousness of the world.

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