Monday, November 8

File-sharing is now a torrent of bits - Are we heading for a tragedy of the commons?

Wow, you say our little internet revolution has outrun the tragedy of the commons with our glorious and fancy internet technologies that allowed us to stop shipping physical goods and switch to shipping bits and bytes? I say, maybe not. We may yet find the limit to how many movies, videos and MP3s can be pushed down the fat pipes of the internet before things start going very wrong.

Wired has picked up on the CaseLogic report which states that 35% of internet traffic is from bittorrent. More I should say Wired finally picked up THE Reuters article about CaseLogic. Wired has yet to write an actual article referencing the CaseLogic report which has now been out for over a month.

I have now blogged about the Case Logic report three times and this is my second post about the same Reuters article on the subject. I cannot express the significance of the Caselogic report enough. The big question it brings up (ignoring for a moment the obviously huge yet incalcuable scale of intellectual property theft) is will such open filesharing traffic eventually grow to the point where it will cause a degregation in general internet traffic?

The fact that 35% of traffic on the internet might be bittorrent traffic does not mean it is 35% of the internet's capacity. In fact capacity for the overall internet may be incalucuble but we may still see capacity problems between certain coutries and certain nodes. The point is the amount of traffic bittorrent is already generating is mind boggling and it will only continue to grow as it's market has not yet matured. The growth of bittorrent traffic may yet prove the tragedy of the commons. A torrent of bits, at least they got the name right.

"LONDON -- A file-sharing program called BitTorrent has become a behemoth, devouring more than a third of the internet's bandwidth, and Hollywood's copyright cops are taking notice.

For those who know where to look, there's a wealth of content, both legal -- such as hip-hop from the Beastie Boys and video game promos -- and illicit, including a wide range of TV shows, computer games and movies.

Average users are taking advantage of the software's ability to cheaply spread files around the internet. For example, when comedian Jon Stewart made an incendiary appearance on CNN's political talk show Crossfire, thousands used BitTorrent to share the much-discussed video segment."

LINK CacheLogic - Research Release

LINK Wired News: File-Sharing Thrives Under Radar

This may well be my most poignant post on this blog to date. I know even as I write it that I have not heard the last of this report. It has tremendous ramifications for the future of the intellectual property and filesharing debate. This report will appear in debate and will be weilded by the likes of the RIAA and MPAA and yet how can we even stem the tide of illegal activity without forever supressing the voices of those whose anonimity is the only guarentee of free speach?

I remind you, I have a comments board.

No comments: