Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

MPAA Needs No Evidence To Sue You

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, P2P, bit torrent, bittorrent, iPhone, iPod by Elliott Back on June 30th, 2008.

The following remark was made by Marie. L. van Uitert, MPAA attorney in the Jammie Thomas trial. She wrote in a brief:

It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement. Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many cases.

The rest of the brief goes on to list the reasons why the MPAA feels it should not have to meet the full burden of proof in its case (i.e. proving actual distribution). For them, the existence of a location where the copyright material could be copied is sufficient grounds for prosecution. When you take this off the internet, this is equivalent to suing some for 12 * $150,00 for loaning someone a CD they later copied.

For more coverage, see Wired and TorrentFreak.

Hitman iTunes Download Free

Posted in Apple, Deals & Savings, bit torrent, bittorrent by Elliott Back 2 weeks ago.

Don’t download the Hitman movie with Bittorrent when Apple will give it to you free on iTunes. Just hit “Browse” on the Quick Links on the right side of the main iTunes home page. Then, select “Movies” and “Thriller.” You’ll see the title “Hitman” for free, just 1.1GB away:

hitman-free-itunes.png

You might not want to watch it, Rottentomatoes gave it a 15%.

Mark Cuban’s P2P Ideas Suck

Posted in Celebrities, P2P, Performance, Scalability, bit torrent, bittorrent by Elliott Back on November 25th, 2007.

In a three-part rant about peer-to-peer technologies (1, 2, 3), Mark Cuban demands that peer-to-peer technologies “die a quick death” in order to”speed up [his own] internet connection.” He suggests that “Google Video is a far better solution for audio and video distribution than any P2P solution” and that cable companies “charge for upstream bandwidth usage.”

Guess what–I already get charged for all the bandwidth I use, either up or down. When Verizon strings a fiberoptic cable to my home, I’m getting a certain amount of fixed capacity into the greater internet at large. If I want to trade a little upstream capacity for greater downstream capacity, that’s my call! Have you ever noticed that downloading over http is typically slow because there are 100s of clients and 1 host? If I download the same information over bittorrent, I can sustain 12Mbs because everyone is a server–including me. Distributed protocols, such as the ones powering Amazon Dynamo or bittorrent, are more efficient, cost effective, and fault tolerant than single-server models.

Reactions around the blogosphere indicate that Mark Cuban’s thoughts on P2P are nonsensical rubbish. Mashable calls him “a guy who does not understand how P2P works, and yet he wants it shut down.” Ars Technica notes that “if users who are currently saturating their connections with BitTorrent start saturating their connections with Google Video content, the end result is more or less the same.” And a slashdotter comments, “Just imagine how fast the internet would be if there were no content to view. After P2Ps gone, get rid of all these freeloading websites, emails, etc. and it will be blisteringly fast.”

My guess is that billionaire Mark Cuban has a slow, shared cable internet connection at home, the modern equivalent of a party line. This might lead him to confuse his own slow internet connection with a greater systemic problem. What he should be complaining about is why Verizon hasn’t strung fiber in his area yet.

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