Comments: Mark Pesce on BitTorrent: Chaos is Your Metaphor

" and each played host to thousands of BitTorrent trackers."

This is untrue (for the former, at least). SuprNova did not, as a rule host torrents.

Posted by at December 21, 2004 10:03 PM

This article did not discuss the other interesting battle in P2P networks - anonymity. Sure you can build fault tolerant P2P systems but as long as RIAA and MPAA can sue people for breaking copyright they will be able to intimidate such networks out of existance - at least in the USA. Other countries wont be as obliging and there will always be some country in the world willing to play host to such "services" (as there are ones to service the tax dodging corporations).

However the anonymity battle is already well under way, check out Tor, I2P, Mute, Waste and Freenet. All are well on the way to achieving my dream of an anonynet (see my blog) where anonymity is guaranteed and implicit in the network infrastructure. It has a lot of consequences - many of them bad, but it lets the citizens of that anonymous world form their own rules and not have them handed down from high.

However the consequences of anonymity by whatever means will just ensure that our freedom loving government will eventually seek, and probably succeed, in banning all access, attempts to access and technologies to create and access such networks. Wait for it - its all part of the "ownership society" they want to create. If you cannot guarantee the value and security of owned goods then the ownership society will fail - hence its security must be enforced by the full force of the law.

The problem, as I might misquote, is that "freedom will find a way" and eventually it will become evident that the ONLY way to deal with this huge problem of copyright is to actually just TRUST people and give them a society and life in which trustworthiness is a worthwhile valuable asset to have. I believe that is exactly the kind of society that the anonynet would foster.

As an example of trust - if the TV companies would just TRUST ME with a permanent digital copy of their content then I'd be willing to TRUST THEM to deliver good ad-free content for a reasonable fee. I'd be willing to pay a nonimal fee to watch it on a show by show basis, say $1 an hour instead of the smogesboard $80 or more a month cable companies want to charge. And if they would just sell me inalienable rights to view or listen to their content converted to whatever the latest standards of digital delivery are (so when CDs are obsolete I'm not forced to buy again) then I would be willing to pay the $20 or so a CD or DVD they want to charge. But when that content is likely to be obsolete or heavily protected against fair uses - forget it! I think iPod users may be breaking new territory, but I think they are being ripped off for what they are getting in terms of longevity of their purchases.

Like I said, MPAA and RIAA need to stop ripping off customers and start treating them like partners in the content production-consuming process. Without RIAA and MPA we'll just go somewhere else for our content and don't imagine for a second we'll never be able to find that alternative. Its out there already.

Posted by Blog Gently at December 22, 2004 12:22 AM