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P2P, BitTorrent and Net Neutrality
August 3, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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The last week of July will leave a lasting impression on the net neutrality debate and the development of file-sharing technology. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin handed net neutrality supporters a firm victory over Comcast, forcing the ISP to implement a revised network management policy.

Comcast wasn’t thrilled with the ruling, and indicated an appeal may be in the works. The ISP also has support from key Republicans, who feel the FCC overstepped its legal authority. Although this is a clear win for net neutrality supporters, ISPs aren’t without options. The FCC’s legal authority on this matter could be successfully challenged, and revert the debate back into the ISP’s favor.

Yet Comcast already initiated compliance with the FCC’s order before any ruling was announced, indicating that overwhelming public support for net neutrality is more significant than the legal scope of the FCC. Regardless of any appeal, the taste for net neutrality has already soaked in, and like the runaway success of P2P, there’s no going back.

On the server side of things, MiniNova and The Pirate Bay upgraded their services. MiniNova improved the artist distribution platform by offering FTP access for larger files. With high definition video equipment falling in price, community content is becoming increasingly available in this format – and also much larger in size. An HD movie file can easy surpass the size of a DVD, averaging well over 5 gigabytes. The switch from HTTP to FTP better accommodates the transfer of large file sizes.

The Pirate Bay introduced tagging on Thursday, and it's already proving to be a popular addition. Tagging allows the user to affix a brief description on torrent files, which is then displayed on the Tag Cloud page. A new post on The Pirate Bay’s blog announces that old torrents can be edited and tagged as well. These updates were introduced despite server issues looming in the background. Last week’s server issues, which caused some downtime, seem to be resolved.

It wasn’t all good news for the BitTorrent community, as on Monday the IFPI announced that Colombo-BT.org was shut down. Called “The Pirate Bay” of Italy, the fate of this large community proved the metaphor wrong, as it has been permanently forced offline.

Finally, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act was approved by the House of Representatives, and then quickly by the Senate. The reauthorization of this bill includes some very peculiar amendments that hold colleges and universities that receive federal funding responsible for developing anti-piracy initiatives. Those portions of the bill have been widely criticized as anti-P2P and costly. All that stands in the way of the bill’s approval is a signature by the President.


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BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers

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