Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comcast Proposes Self Regulation and P2P Bill of Rights

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-conflict-of-interests-here dept.

Communications 343

Torodung writes "In a recent move, Comcast has proposed a 'P2P Bill of Rights,' joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior. They have instead proposed comprehensive industry self-regulation and cooperation with major P2P software vendors as a lesser evil: 'Comcast is looking to further position itself as proactively — and responsibly — addressing the issue of managing peer-to-peer traffic that traverses its network, announcing Tuesday it will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for users and Internet service providers.'"

cancel ×

343 comments

Finally! (2, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090384)

Finally!

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090598)

Anything they propose will not be binding and will not have the force of law. Any policy statements or forms of "self-regulation" are at the whim of those who want to make [more] money and so changes of policy will happen at any time for any reason without notice. Users will remain as the last people to know when something bad is going on.

It is clear that companies like Virgin and Comcast and the rest need the force of law and the occasional lawsuit in order to keep them in line. Otherwise they will stray outside their areas hunting for more money. The force of law isn't enough by itself... they have to be spanked to keep them in line. It's rather like raising children. Constantly exploring and pushing their limits and no matter how often you cite the rules to them, they will break the rules and require punishment. When a child exclaims, "I don't need punishment I'll be good!" I doubt anyone actually believes that child. So why should we believe Comcast?

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090882)

We shouldn't. Service providers should be seperated from line ownership, and lines should be owned by the state or local municipalities. What really needs to be done is for Comcast to rot in hell though.

Re:Finally! (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090974)

A-f'ing-men.

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

Devv (992734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091026)

I would be pretty disturbed if my kid told me that he'd be working on a "Bill of Rights" for me.

Re:Finally! (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091442)

While I agree that they're a bunch of lying fucks who shouldn't be trusted further than they can collectively be thrown, I'm not sure that

Anything they propose will not be binding and will not have the force of law.
is necessarily the case. If they included their "Bill of Rights" as part of the contract of service, then it would be enforceable through contract law, just like any other part of their agreement is.

(I'm a bit rusty on the details, but I've been advised at various times by lawyers that there are situations where a company can be held via contract law to statements made outside the contract itself, if they basically define the relationship between the company and the customer. I doubt Comcast's lawyers are stupid enough to walk into this trap unknowingly, but you never know.)

Although I very much doubt that Comcast is acting in anything approaching good faith here, it's not impossible for them to make the Bill of Rights binding, if they were sufficiently motivated.

What needs to happen is that we, as users, need to make sure that Congress and various state legislatures aren't distracted by any sort of non-binding agreement on Comcast's part. If they want to avoid burdensome regulation, they can come up with a 'Bill of Rights' and then hold themselves to it contractually. But if they don't do that, or if they put it in their contract but then leave in a way of unilaterally amending the contract, it's not worth two squirts of piss.

Re:Finally! (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091444)

Anything they propose will not be binding and will not have the force of law.


Well,never forget that under the law, two plus two can equal five, for sufficiently large values of two or sufficiently small values of five.

Suppose you are an ISP that advertises its adherence to the P2P Bill of Rights. You entice customers to sign up under a TOS that includes the standard statement saying you can change TOS at any time. Then you decide to take away some of the rights listed in the P2P Bill of Rights, pointing to your TOS statement as proof you are entitled.

I'm not sure that works. A "right" after all is just the flip side of a duty. A right held by an individual consists of a set of duties borne by certain others with respect to him. You can't just unilaterally declare one of your duties towards somebody void. You can't change the TOS in a way that absolves you of the duty of providing service, but does not absolve the customer of the duty of paying you. That's unconscionable.

So, you'd have to say in your TOS that you have the right to declare the specific rights in the Bill of Rights to be void. Or you'd have to say in the Bill of Right that "rights" doesn't mean something the service providers are obligated to abide by. Otherwise, you've just enticed customers to sign on with you by deception.

I am not a lawyer, but surely this is at least one of those things lawyers are always telling you not to do, because even if you are certain to win if it ever comes to court you could not possibly hope to gain enough benefit to pay for the costs of fighting and winning.

Finally? (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091098)

Finally?

I think you misunderstand.

Rights are for the ISPs.
Responsibilities are for the users.

Meanwhile... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23090416)

Wolves propose sheep "Bill of Rights".

Re:Meanwhile... (0, Offtopic)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090486)

Sounds about right. Looks a lot like the UN councils on "human rights" where tin-pot dictatorships, murderous scum, and totalitarian states (cuba, china, saudi arabia anyone?) sit around condemning the nations with the best human rights records in the world while hushing up their abuses.

Concrap needs to be told to cut the crap off and provide the service people are paying for.

Re:Meanwhile... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23090712)

Looks a lot like the UN councils on "human rights" where tin-pot dictatorships, murderous scum, and totalitarian states (cuba, china, saudi arabia anyone?) sit around condemning the nations with the best human rights records in the world while hushing up their abuses.
You forgot to include the USA in that list.

And no, this isn't flamebait. If you take off your blinkers and actually look at the human rights record of the USA, you may be in for a surprise. Yes, there's many nations that are doing worse, but these aren't the ones you'd want to compare yourself to, anyway (seriously, I never got why people say things like "at least our record is better than North Koreas's", as if that's anything to be proud of), and you're nowhere near those "nations with the best human rights records in the world".

What's more, you're not going to be unless you recognise that you aren't, too. You can't fix a problem without acknowledging it, and I hope that at least one US-American reading this might actually actually stop and think and then start to work on improving their own country instead of just claiming that it's the greatest nation in the world, period. (One who has not already gone to work on it, that is.)

No country is *naturally* better or worse than any other. However, there is a correlation between the amount of praise a country has for itself and the badness of its actual record.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090844)

You forgot to include the USA in that list.

Funny - I hold the US has the best rights record in the world. We certainly have the best (though I'd like it to still be better) rights record on freedom of speech.

Then again, you're probably one of those people who thinks capital punishment (e.g. the death penalty) for the brutal rape and murder of children is a "violation of human rights."

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090948)

Really? The same US that says "speech also has unrelated consequences?" That US? As far as your tirad on the death penality, the US has put innocent people to death. Yes, that's a rights violation.

Unless we have a system that will never put an innocent person to death, we shouldn't have a death penality. Since there's no such thing as a perfect system, there should be no such thing as a death penality.

Re:Meanwhile... (-1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091434)

Wrong.

Nature (think the universe, not a forest) has no compunctions about innocents dying. We're merely a tiny subset of nature, so for us to strive for this type of perfection when nature itself doesn't care is kind of silly. And will inevitably fail.

"Innocents" are killed every day. Drive down a highway sometime and look at the roadkill. It was the animals killed that failed to adapt to a hazard present in their lives. Perhaps by chance, but over time nature will get it right.

It's merely a process of natural selection, and thinking that conscious, deliberate, human action is somehow outside nature is misguided at best.

Over time, the animals that don't go near the road start taking over (by virtue of being alive to breed) and soon you don't have as much road kill, but you still have the animals.

If you manage to get put to death for something you didn't do, them somewhere along the line you failed to take a course of action that would lead you out of that. In short, there's something wrong with you. Nature is better at making people than people will ever be through their own volition. Getting up in arms about an extremely small number of individuals is a waste of time. You'll never be batting 1000 where fallible components (read: people) are involved. So stop wasting your time and that of others.

We are a part of nature. Nature has to adapt to us too.

Re:Meanwhile... (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091550)

Non sequitur. None of what you said excuses the state sponsored murder of innocent people.

Re:Meanwhile... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091660)

If you manage to get put to death for something you didn't do, them somewhere along the line you failed to take a course of action that would lead you out of that. In short, there's something wrong with you.
So when the juries were convicting innocent people that got death penalty sentences based on shoddy evidence it was really the defendant's fault. Oh it all makes sense now. *rolls eyes* Let me guess it's also the other driver's fault when they get killed by a drunk driver? Clearly they should have known not to be driving near this drunk driver, right?

Getting up in arms about an extremely small number of individuals is a waste of time. You'll never be batting 1000 where fallible components (read: people) are involved. So stop wasting your time and that of others.
Wow your callous disregard for the lives of others is rather disturbing. I bet you'd be singing a much different tune if it was your or someone you know who was sent to death row wrongly. But hey, as long as it's someone else why give a fuck, right?

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091134)

Personally I have no problem with the death penalty at all. If it applied to murderers, rapists, or j-walkers it makes no difference to me.

My problem with the death penalty is that it isn't PUNISHMENT and it doesn't provide reducation...the death penalty is just society giving up on someone.

What is important is to at least attempt to help the criminal and ensure that the person still helps society. While for especially heinous crimes we as a society may never be able to trust the person enough to release them, they can still provide a benefit. They can become role models on what NOT to do. They can provide insight into how criminals think and help prevent other crimes. They could even simply make license plates or the like.

However if a criminal is unable to help society than the death penalty needs to be on the table. After we have learned everything from this criminal, and then learned why we haven't learned any more THEN we can talk about the death penalty.

But the concept of death as punishment is ridiculous. If you are agnostic than you believe they don't suffer any more. If you are religious you might believe that you have sent them straight to Heaven (IE Christianity and faith in Christ regardless of your sins sends you upstairs).

The death penalty needs to be available but it needs to be exceptionally rare.

Re:Meanwhile... (1, Offtopic)

orasio (188021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091274)

The answer to your post is: Guantanamo.

That is only an example of the respect the US have for human rights.

And about "the brutal rape and murder of children".. . I don't see why you need to add "brutal", as if some other kind of rape was less punishable.

What some people think is that killing people is a violation of human rights, even if the murdered guy is a rapist and a murderer. The whole idea is that human rights apply to all humans. Not people you like. All humans.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091404)

Funny - I hold the US has the best rights record in the world.
Well of course you do. Your jingoism dictates that you say that. If you'd do anything more than a shallow glance you'd notice that the US has a dismal human rights record.

We certainly have the best (though I'd like it to still be better) rights record on freedom of speech.
More jingoism.

Then again, you're probably one of those people who thinks capital punishment (e.g. the death penalty) for the brutal rape and murder of children is a "violation of human rights."
Nope. I think it's a violation of human rights because it's not only been shown that there were and still are numerous innocent people on death row but that innocent people have been put to death. I find it rather inhumane that one could support a system that has been proven to execute innocent people.

Exactly. (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090984)

Anyone care to explain to me why a completely informal, unenforced "Bill of Rights", between Comcast and whatever commercial entities exist in P2P, is any better for consumers than government intervention?

Or answer this: If Comcast really is willing to cooperate, why are they so terrified of government regulation? Why is a legally mandated "Bill of Rights" worse for them than what they are proposing?

The obvious answer is, if it was a law, they couldn't simply violate it.

Next question: Why is Comcast working with BitTorrent, the company? Why do they need to "work with" any P2P corporations, rather than simply dropping their packet shapers and letting P2P protocols work well? Smells to me like Microsoft cutting a deal with Novell -- Microsoft obviously can't cut a deal with Linux itself, as it's a completely distributed, fault-tolerant community, so there's no one CEO to buy -- so they make a deal with Novell, while leaving everyone else out in the cold. Smells to me like Comcast is trying to do the same with P2P -- they can't make a deal with every single filesharer, everywhere, and they won't accept simply falling back to net neutrality, which is what we really want -- so they make a deal with some company which does filesharing, leaving everyone else out in the cold.

Gotta love the smell of bullshit in the morning.

Re:Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091112)

I am a comcast "subscriber" (as if I had a choice they are the monoply in my area) the only statement I wold believe from them is " we are going to charge you more and serve you less"

Re:Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091170)

Taking that analogy a little further, they also hold a hearing for those to vote neigh or yay. So the wolves pack the courtroom 2 hours before the sheep arrive.

BobB-nw (5, Interesting)

alphadogg (971356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090432)

Now why would anyone be concerned about ISPs meddling with their traffic? University of Washington researchers are set to release a paper today that says one percent of the Web pages being delivered on the Internet are being changed along the way... http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/041608-isps-meddled-with-their-customers.html [networkworld.com]

Re:BobB-nw (0)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090646)

i do that to people who try to use my wireless... it's fun and easy, you just leave it unsecured (WEP counts as unsecured, im afraid) and let an unsuspecting wardriver come along... they get the picture when they attempt to break into my machines and notify me that my wireless is unsecured when they get a nice notice on THEIR screen saying "your entire OS is unsecured, kthxbai". next time they'll leave alone machines with hostnames like "linux-secured" :p

Re:BobB-nw (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090762)

Could you describe how you do that or point me to a guide? Thanks

Re:BobB-nw (2, Informative)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091264)

Presumably it's just an extension of the old Upside-downternet [ex-parrot.com]

Re:BobB-nw (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091594)

Could you describe how you do that or point me to a guide?

No problem.

1. Setup unsecured wireless network where people will find it.
2. Intercept their webpage traffic and replace it with something more to your liking (Goatse images work well)
3. ???
4. Profit!

Thanks

Your welcome!

Re:BobB-nw (5, Funny)

QuantumFlux (228693) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090656)

Really? I've never had a problem with pages being changed along the way, even though I think Comcast IS GREAT. IT'S COMCASTIC(TM)!

Re:BobB-nw (1)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090758)

i've heard people say that about microsoft too, and linux, and macs. you really ought to take comcast's level of service into account with the level of service that others provide, and balance it with the amount of bullshit they put you through, to get a good picture of what comcast actually is as an ISP.

Re:BobB-nw (1)

colesw (951825) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091298)

I know internet humor is hard, and I could be wrong, but I think his posting was "modified" by comcast to let us know how good they are ;)

Re:BobB-nw (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091144)

I've never had any pages changed either, and I don't see why everyone is so hard on Comcast. They are the best company ever!

Didn't anyone see that headline on cnn.com about the Comcast CEO spending a day handing out food to starving orphans? Or the study on WebMD that shows that cable Internet cures cancer, while DSL can give you herpes? What about that story on Yahoo news that reported on DirecTV's new doomsday device that will incinerate people through their satellite dishes?

Or what about all those passages in the Bible (thank you bible.com) about how only those with Comcast digital phone service will be Raptured into Heaven during the Second Coming? Seriously people, Comcast is awesome!

P2P bill of rights? (4, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090434)

Yeah, right. The ISPs have gotten so far into bed with the RIAA that the only thing listed in the "P2P Bill of Rights" will be the right to remain silent.

Keep up the pressure! (4, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090440)

Comcast is beginning to feel the pressure, they are stalling for time now with faux "rights bills". Now is the time to push EVEN HARDER for full Net Neutrality legislation. We have them on the ropes, don't let up now!

"Industry Experts" (3, Insightful)

MChisholm (1115123) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090450)

Not surprising that missing from their list of "industry experts" are groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the EFF [arstechnica.com] .

Almost 10 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23090454)

Wow. It took it almost 10 years for major corporations to see how P2P can be used effectively for a lot of things other than just 'sharing illegal mp3s'.

Capitalism is good, but not when lead by blind corps with no consumer interest in mind.

Catch (5, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090462)

And here's the catch:

cooperation with major P2P software vendors

Which still means that if the P2P "software vendors" (who are these?) pays them, they'll allow it. Great neutrality.

Re:Catch (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090704)

Exactly. Fool me once, shame on me. You know the rest.

Re:Catch (2, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090730)

And apparently I don't.
Fool me once, shame on you. jeeze.

Re:Catch (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090988)

Don't feel so bad, you still got re-elected as President.

Re:Catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23090994)

Fool me twice, .... shame on ... shame on ...

Re:Catch (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090746)

Which in turn means that if this is accepted throttling/blocking open source peer to peer is fair game.

Re:Catch (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090786)

Your sig: "'Intellectual property is the oil of the twenty first century' -- Mark Getty"

Strangely and twistedly on topic!

I never heard of him so I looked him up on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . Ironically, there is no photo of him, just a placeholder that says "No free image. Do you own one? If so, please click here".

From the Wikipedia article he sounds like a very evil man, being born into riches and promoting intellectual "property" like that.

Mark Getty is a businessman. He was born in England, UK in 1960/1961[2]. A member of a family which originally made its money from oil, he is the son of American-British billionaire philanthropist Sir Paul Getty.

Getty began his career with spells at Kidder Peabody [a coal company] in New York and then joined Hambros Bank Limited in London.
Here in the US, banks are the temple that people of the dominant US religion worship in.

Re:Catch (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091152)

Indeed. I found out about the quote here: http://www.stealthisfilm.com/Part2/projects.php [stealthisfilm.com] , and it felt very spooky to read that and get some sort of insight. Without very strong IP-laws, the US has nothing. For the US, it's more than worth to go to war for, in order to make sure all other nations will respect it.

Re:Catch (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091522)

Well, at least art and literature don't pollute or promote global warming!

They should put goatse or tubgirl, or a picture of a snake, where the placeholder for his picture is.

That's an interesting site you linked BTW, thanks for that.

Why am I not surprised... (4, Insightful)

clonan (64380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090514)

They suggest SELF-regulation...

I wonder how long this regulation will actually last before it goes back to the status quo.

Re:Why am I not surprised... (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090686)

Exactly. The FCC and Congress are looking into the matter specifically because the industry has shown that it's not capable of "self regulation," which is what they supposedly have been doing all along.

They could do that, sure... (4, Insightful)

llamalad (12917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090518)

or, how about instead they just provide the service people are, um, you know paying for?

Just move my packets around without f'ing with them, please and thank you.

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090666)

"or, how about instead they just provide the service people are, um, you know paying for?"

They have no need or desire to listen to their customers as long as the government continues to meddle in the economy. If Congress was incapable of stopping other companies from competing, corrupt companies like Comcast could not thrive. The solution is to overturn the laws preventing competition from existing. Then Comcast will have to listen to its customers or risk losing them! (*GASP*)

Why you've got this problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23090708)

y'know, if the us govn't was willing to subsidize infrastructure ... then you might not have these problems.
Yeah, I posted AC ... to avoid all those american mods who mod down for 'anti-american sentiments' rather than modding up for 'common sense'. The two seem to be mutually exclusive.

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090782)

The solution is to overturn the laws preventing competition from existing.

What laws would this be?

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090870)

They are too numerous to list in one post. In general, any restriction preventing someone (in this case, a company) from freely providing cable internet access to someone else at a freely agreed-upon price, is going to have an effect on the economy, and reduce the chances of competition being able to come into existence. The ideal situation is no government restriction. How can a true monopoly thrive without the use of force?

Re:They could do that, sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091168)

Um, what? No law prevents a company from buying land adjacent to mine in order to sell me a connection to their network.

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091394)

Please don't be obtuse. The laws preventing companies from laying their own cable lines are how the cable monopoly thrives. A company can't just come along and lay the lines on the sides of "public roads" (ie, property held as a monopoly by the government, and only useable as the government wishes).

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091124)

Copyright and patent law. If you want me to quit harping on that, at the very least roll it back to its original and damn near logical duration of 15 years.

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091234)

Well, as a member of the Pirate Party I know about those, but I thought it would be interesting to know what kind of laws that prevent competition in the US broadband market. :)

Re:They could do that, sure... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091482)

Sometimes a local municipality, or even entire states will award the franchise to only one company. You could be stuck with whoever paid the most to your local councilman/woman to vote their way and lock all others out. It is very rare to see it awarded based on technical merit. If the constitution actually had any force, I'm sure this practice run up against some commerce cause or another.

Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090538)

"joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior"

I loved ridiculously ignorant statements like this. How did it become a monopoly in the first place? What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper? Answer - government intervention. Saying that government regulation is somehow going to fix what government regulation broke is absurd. If you want to get rid of a monopoly, get rid of the government regulation that prevents competing companies from existing. Creating the illusion of choice through increased regulation is not going to be good for consumers. They're going to continue getting inflated prices and idiotic restrictions like what was attempted for torrents.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (2, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090636)

How did it become a monopoly in the first place? What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper? Answer - government intervention.
What the hell are you talking about? I live in an area where competing cable companies show up all the time (there used to be several in fact). The problem isn't that the government doesn't allow these companies to exist, it's that comcast buys them all out.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090772)

"The problem isn't that the government doesn't allow these companies to exist, it's that comcast buys them all out."

I'm not sure where you live. Around here there is only one choice, and as far as I know that is the case for countless areas of the US.

Let's assume that you actually had two choices for cable internet at some point in the past, and you found out that the one you liked was going to sell out to the one you disliked. Did you contact them and let them know of your opposition to the move? Did you persuade your friends/family/neighbors to do the same? If it was going bankrupt, were any donations made? Did you persuade everyone you know to switch from the crap service to the good one? If you believed their service to be superior in some way (eg, no torrent restrictions), where were you when it was faced with extinction?

Coming back to reality, a monopoly, for it to thrive, must be backed by force. A monopoly may exist for some brief period, but (assuming there are no govt restrictions) competing companies will pop up to provide better solutions for the customers. The only thing that can stop those companies from popping up is force - ie, government restriction. This is undeniable. So if Comcast has a sustained monopoly, it is only through government manipulation of the economy.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

Rakeris (1114111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091154)

The problem isn't that the government doesn't allow these companies to exist, it's that comcast buys them all out.
Sadly this is true, where I live there used to be 4 major cable companies...now there is one. You guess which one.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090842)

It's not that simple. You need infrastructure - rights of way, etc, which is provided by the government.

And I'm being simplistic here as well.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090968)

"It's not that simple. You need infrastructure - rights of way, etc, which is provided by the government."

You've just listed off more government restrictions, thus supporting my original post. These "services" are not "provided by the government", they are held as a contrived monopoly by the government. Why does the government need to provide services that can be provided by private individuals and organizations?

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091260)

Because:

1. In some cases, the government does a better job.

Roads, for example.

2. Ideally, private industry is motivated by profit, while government is motivated to help civilians.

While emphasis should be placed on ideally in the previous sentence, the basic idea is that the government is more likely to behave altruistically than private industry, if for no reason than because it is more accountable to civilians.

This is why government is entrusted with control of right-of-ways and private industry is not.

Do you really believe that, having independently arrived at a solution of throttling Bittorrent traffic, Comcast is likely to regulate itself any better in the future if left alone? Why? How much time should they be given to arrive at a "self-regulated" state? I suppose they should be allowed to decide that, as well.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091474)

"Doing a better job" does not justify rights violations, which are exactly what occurs with "public property" (ie, property forcibly held by the government, with the result that it can contrive monopolies on that property). Competition will eventually provide better, longer-lasting results than a regularly repopulated (ie, reelected) government can provide, as long as consumers actually want better services. Taking a shortcut to a temporarily better state, at the expense of rights violations, is not justified. The is entirely analogous to someone robbing a bank to make them temporarily wealthy, and then saying "theft does a better job than hard work". Ridiculous.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091700)

Regarding the 2nd half of your reply (no, I didn't forget :)):

"Ideally, private industry is motivated by profit, while government is motivated to help civilians."

No, ideally the government exists solely to support and uphold the rights and freedoms of its citizens. It is not the responsibility of the government to determine what "helps civilians" or the general public, or anything like that. The government should only help by making sure our rights are not violated (that's why we have police) and if violations do occur, that proper compensation/punishment is decided (that's why we have courts).

And even if the government was supposed to do what you say it is, exactly what "helps civilians" is never concretely defined, and changes every 2-4 years as someone new is reelected with their own ideas, discarding their predecessor's progress.

"While emphasis should be placed on ideally in the previous sentence, the basic idea is that the government is more likely to behave altruistically than private industry, if for no reason than because it is more accountable to civilians."

Again, altruism is not the responsibility of the government. Individuals can be altruistic and freely donate some portion of their productivity (income) to others. A government that forcibly takes others productivity (income) and distributes it to certain special individuals is immoral and corrupt.

"This is why government is entrusted with control of right-of-ways and private industry is not."

It is ludicrous to think that some line of pure thought, grounded in sound principles, arrived at this conclusion. More likely, corrupt legislators entrusted themselves (as if they have that right) to this control, in exchange for fundraising from corrupt organizations. Remember, private industry by itself is not capable of corruption. Only government enforcement (either through selective taxation/tax breaks or through restrictions) permits corruption to exist. Cronyism is an example of the same corruption on an individual scale.

"Do you really believe that, having independently arrived at a solution of throttling Bittorrent traffic, Comcast is likely to regulate itself any better in the future if left alone?"

As long as it can maintain its monopoly, and consumers have no other choice for service provider, no, I would not trust Comcast to listen to its customers. It is only when other service providers are free to exist that Comcast will have to listen or risk losing customers.

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091460)

How are "private individuals and organizations" going to provide rights of way?

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090914)

"I loved ridiculously ignorant statements like this."

So do I, and so I loved your post.

"How did it become a monopoly in the first place?"
By buying out the competition. Ever read the history of the company?

"What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper?"
The ones who own the copper/fiber and connections. They are trying to stop third party use of their lines as required by some laws. Laws that were put there by the Govt BTW.
So your own answer is 180 degrees from true. "Answer - government intervention." Point it out. What exactly did the government do to interviene to stop an ISP startup, use citations or your homework will be discounted.

The rest of your statement is based on this logic and so is flawed. Therefore disregarded.

Regulation has its place, it is able to protect the people if used correctly and has been shown to do just that in the past. The big Bell breakup worked for a long time and you have some choices left even now. They've been whittled away for years but without them being broken up you would have had no choices. None, as they were too powerful in any market they wanted to have. They could undercut prices to drive out competition since they were large enough to take a temporary hit in any area. Then they could raise prices again when the threat had passed. I think you need to go read up on your economic history since it sounds like you didn't live through it (with your eyes open anyway).

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091190)

"By buying out the competition. Ever read the history of the company?"

Any company can buy out competition if the competition is willing to pay. So what? If group A wants to freely trade X amount of property that it rightly owns, to group B in exchange for Y compensation, what right does anyone have to stop them? On the same token, nobody has the right to stop group C from coming into existence and providing a competing service.

"The ones who own the copper/fiber and connections. They are trying to stop third party use of their lines as required by some laws. Laws that were put there by the Govt BTW."

So the monopoly is with the cable lines? And what stops another company from supplying their own lines - you guessed it, government regulation. As I originally said and will state again, the only thing that can stop a monopoly from persisting and prevent competition from existing is force, so either these companies are literally holding their prospective competition at gunpoint, or the government is the one holding the guns, deterring anyone from starting up a competing company. Which is the case here?

Re:Monopoly threatened by government regulation? (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091386)

What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper? Answer - government intervention.

Whenever I hear this, I always ask: Are you seriously suggesting that there be more than one company in a given area running physical cables to every house? Or are you suggesting more government regulation to force them to share the cables they've got?

Saying that government regulation is somehow going to fix what government regulation broke is absurd.

It sounds funny, yes, but why is that absurd? Insert anything else in place of the words "government regulation" -- like, oh, "my kid" or "the construction company" -- and it doesn't seem absurd anymore.

I keep getting newer and newer here (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090620)

I didn't actually RTFA but I quickly skimmed it, as I save my reading for writers who don't put me to sleep, except when I read in bed. Where in the article does it say what rights P2P users should have?

My guess is "you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23090648)

Reminds me of a poorly translated sign I saw on a third-world trade shop picture: "We won't cheat you too bad."

responsibility (5, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090668)

BitTorrent was originally designed to be VERY tolerant of ISP's needs. Prior to the obfuscated protocol expansion, the first thing sent by each connection, on both sides, was "BitTorrent protocol", easy for a protocol analyzer to discover and assign a lower bandwidth tier.

So what did ISPs do? They throttled it to zero, rather than to an intermediate level we all could live with.

The end result: Encrypted BitTorrent, and ISPs using drastic methods like spoofing reset packets.

my compliments to Comcast PR (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090692)

this might even work in today's anti-regulatory environment.

Comcast wants a throttle, badly (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090742)

And this is there way of co-opting use profiles very handily into their plans. Instead, it's time for them to invest capex and opex into new and improved facility for Comcast shareholders and most importantly users -- to keep up with demand.

ISP and media provider (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090750)

This is what happens when you let an ISP service also become a very large and controling media outlet.

Comcast wants to make money off of the ISP service, their media services and any access to media (mostly make money off of others media) in one way or another.

I can see how they would want to make money off the ISP side and the media side, but when they want to control media though control of their ISP business they are crossing a line which I'm sure they will be fully allowed to.

If they are allowed to start controling p2p service like they will be allowed to control how not only how people access the internet though their network but what they access it will be yet another step towards them controling nearly every aspect of what you see when you use them as an ISP provider.

NATCH!!! I don't like where this is going.... (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090756)

Where is the SMTP bill of rights and responsibilities?

Or how about a bill of rights and responsibilities for ISO downloading? HTML surfing?

When only one protocol/application is named, we are in for a long line of regulations (self imposed by ISPs or not) regarding every type of use for our Internet connections.

Car analogy? The speed limit is 75 if there is only one passenger, but 55 if there are three or more. 35mph if you have a child under the age of 12 in the vehicle. That is unless they are blood relatives, then the speed limit is 65 regardless of passenger count.

Rights and responsibilities have already been defined by the contract you sign with the ISP in the first place. They have gone to great effort to tell you what you can't do in that contract, and vaguely explained for what reasons your account might be canceled.

This new effort is an attempt to go back on that agreement, to modify it without pissing end user's off, and to get away with throttling in such a way as there is NO government oversight nor any other kind of oversight.

Sorry, sounds like I'm being bitchy, but if you don't push back on each little thing, it will be 'give an inch, they take a mile' and we'll end up with an Internet connection that is little more use than a dial up connection, and the price will continue to rise while service degrades.

No, I'm not wearing a tin-foil hat, I just see the writing on the wall here.

Re:NATCH!!! I don't like where this is going.... (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091376)

...and we'll end up with an Internet connection that is little more use than a dial up connection except for content provided by those paying the ISPs


There fixed that for ya. </sarcasm>

That's the aspect of net neutrality that really scares the crap outta me/pisses me off. One of the most important things that the Internet has accomplished is making information very difficult to control. If every TV news source spins stories with some kind of 'America is so cool because...' it's no wonder that most of Americans generally believe the rest of the world has no good reason not to like us. Now we have access to foreign news sources and a variety of blogs providing different points of view. If Net Neutrality is thrown out the window we could easily regress to a time when CNN and FOX News are the only easily accessible news sources.

This is getting old. (2, Interesting)

Guanine (883175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090780)

I'd been following this Comcast P2P news in the past, but I hadn't really noticed any issues with torrents over my Comcast connection. So, naturally, I didn't think much of it since things were working fine. But in the past week when I try to download any torrent, web browsing is slowed to the point of being useless -- and that's _with_ upload speeds throttled to 3kbps. I know something changed on their end, because everything has remained identical on mine -- I don't even own the stupid Comcast-issued modem.

Normally I'm really patient about all this sort of stuff, but I'm paying $59.95 per month on a student budget for shit internet. Fuck this and fuck Comcast. If only I could set up something with a place like Speakeasy and resell to my neighbors... but I can't afford the sysadmin time cost, nor do I feel as comfortable now that Best Buy owns Speakeasy.

Best interest? (2, Insightful)

kextyn (961845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090806)

Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said the proposed "bill of rights and responsibilities," to be released later this year, is in the best interest of service providers, peer-to-peer companies and consumers.
How could anything possibly be in the best interest of all of those groups? Consumers want cheap, unlimited, unfiltered connections. ISPs want to oversell their capacity and charge too much for their service while secretly throttling connections.

Comcast is throttling everything they don't like (2, Informative)

QuantumFlux (228693) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090828)

Don't think it's just P2P that Comcast is trying to control. I've noticed that when I attempt large downloads from Apple (regardless of material, I've seen it on both iTunes movies and the iPhone SDK), they just craaawl along. (~200 kbps).

When I switch to the VPN at my company, the speeds suddenly shoot up to around 7-8 Mbps, even with the encryption/tunnel overhead, and still traveling over Comcast's network. Can't just be coincidence, eh?

Why Subscribe? (4, Interesting)

jchawk (127686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090862)

I'll ask the obvious question here... Why subscribe to these providers that limit or restrict your traffic?

You may respond that, they are your only choice. Well unless you choose to go without or you choose to help lobby for better legislation then you're stuck.

Also are you willing to pay more for your internet? I choose to go with a DSL provider who is 1/3 the speed of Comcast and I pay a little more every month to be with them. Why? They don't limit my traffic and they let me have a static IP. To me it's worth it.

Just my two cents. I see a lot of people complaining but most don't want to do more then just that. Vote with your dollar! Donate to lobbies that are fighting for your cause. Otherwise stop complaining.

From the GW Play Book (1)

jdc180 (125863) | more than 6 years ago | (#23090910)

Must have taken a page from the G W Bush playbook by naming something the opposite of what it is. Patriot Act, No child Left Behind, Clean Air Act, now P2P Bill of Rights.

Self regulation is good in theory (0)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091004)

Self regulation beats government regulation, by and large. It can avoid bureaucracy and calm fear in the market.

On the otherhand, Comcast has been doing underhanded things with their traffic. Do you really trust them to adhere to any self-regulation proposal?

On the third hand (if you're Zaphod), this might be a good opportunity for concerned internet users to air exactly how they think an ISP should treat their traffic. Maybe the technocrats at the IEEE can get involved too.

Screw a bill of rights! (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091008)

I just want the unlimited package that I was promised by my ISP when I signed up! Quit giving us this when we pay for that!

p2p/net neutrality/hypocricy/slashdot bias?!?!?! (-1, Troll)

Richard.g.k (1215362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091020)

Could the summary have possibly been written any more biased?

Its weird how (the majority of) slashdot is entirely anti regulation when it comes to personal regulation by the government.
Its even more weird how (the majority of) slashdot happens to be pro regulation when it comes to protecting your 'right' to steal.

Go figure.

If the people(most of whom are just trying to provide an excuse for comitting a crime...) who claim that the music/movie/isp industry 'needs to change' legitimately wanted to see change, they wouldnt be downloading any illegal movies/music at all. They would be downloading and donating towards independant music/movies exclusively.

People dont like how the riaa calls downloads a 'lost sale'. Well, if you're a salesman, and you have someone interested in your product but who decides not to buy it, that is a lost sale. The fact that you downloaded proves your interest in said item. As long as people are interested in the current product, change will be shunned.

But, the FACT is that the majority of people do not actually want any change in the industry, the only REAL reason 90% of the people crying about p2p filtering/net neutrality care about it is to allow themselves to STEAL

Insight to Comcast switch sucks (1)

slagell (959298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091040)

Man, I have been very disappointed with the switch from INsight to COmcast in Illinois. Even though they are using the same hardware locally, upload speeds (and download to some extent) have been severely reduced---over an order of magnitude. I don't run a server, but I sync my home and work computer with rsync scripts nightly, and it takes forever now. I am guessing they are doing a LOT more filtering and traffic carving which has screwed with throughput.

Self-regulation? Ha! (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091042)

As soon as the hubbub blows over, they'll start modifying their "regulations" to suit themselves. Some sort of government regulation is needed... at least if Congress or the FCC can be trusted to do the Right Thing.

here's the picture: (2, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091064)

All the players who have power: (read the large businesses), get together and have a scrum. Not invited to the table are the (1) the public, or (2) the content creators. - both of which are large and mostly unorganized groups of individuals.

Sounds suspiciously like the process the industry went through to re-invent copyright law.

One only needs to be guaranteed "Rights" in the context of Wrongs. Comcast and Virgin and others should get their head completely out of their ass and start providing a real **customer** focused service (instead of profit-driven) and this whole issue goes away.

Remember This Is Amerika (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091084)

So you have the right to be screwed over by the corporations, who have the right to buy whatever Congressmen they need to get their consumer-unfriendly legislation passed to maintain their monopoly.

Ain't it grand?

My take on this... (1)

jskline (301574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091090)

If Comcast were the last surviving ISP on the planet, I'd go back and totally focus on Ham radio. There is not enough money in the world that could get me back to Comcrap. The service was terrible, customer service even worse. They hire the most unskilled people to do the work and rely on a few people with skills as leads. They are so over priced for what you get it isn't funny.

Comcast can keep their so-called agreements. They need federal regulation big-time!!!

What is Connectivity? (1)

Gallenod (84385) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091180)

Much this will depend on whether or not our Internet connections are considered commodities or utilities.

If Comcast and other cable companies want to consdier connectivity a commodity, it would mean that Comcast is essentially providing the information we're accessing and have a say in exercising control over what we can have.

Personally, I would prefer our Internet access be regulated as a utility, like water and electricity. The water and electric companies do not generally limit or restrict our access to water or electricity except in exceptional circumstances like a severe water shortage or power grid failure. As a public utility, ISPs should not be in the business of censoring what traverses their networks or favoring certain content over others except as prescribed by law (e.g. the earlier post that mentioned giving bittorrent packets a lower priority but not throttling them completely).

However, if we adopt a utility model that does not allow ISPs to charge based on content, it may also allow ISPs to charge based on metered usage, just like we pay for water and electricity. Part of the regulator's job is to ensure those charges are fair and equitable.

Either way, the days of low-cost flat-rate free-flowing Internet service may be numbered.

Comcrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091182)

Now that's a COMCRAPTIC idea if I've heard of one before. Then again, I guess that the bonus checks were a little light this year...

Lie down with dogs..... (1)

DCGaymer (956987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091276)

Simply put...If you lie down with dogs...you get up with fleas.

An offer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23091292)

Greetings, Exhalted ones! I am Anonymous Coward, Slashdot Nerd, and friend of P2P. I know that you are powerful, mighty Comcast, and that your anger
with P2P must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for P2P's life. With your wisdom, I'm sure that we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation. As a token of my goodwill, I present to you a gift: these two Britney Spears torrents. Both are overrated, but will serve you well.

You can profit from this, or be destroyed...

Bill of what? (4, Insightful)

Godji (957148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091366)

I expect that the definition of "Rights" in "P2P Bill of Rights" will be the same as the one in "Digital Rights Management". There will be a whole lot you can't do, and very little that you can do, which you already had before the bill.

P2P Bill of Restrictions?

ALG (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091554)

Not that comca$t would ever go for it...

But they could alleviate a CRAPLOAD of the alleged "stress" caused by BT.

They should write a "BT proxy" that intelligently caches torrents and saves them craploads of border router bandwidth.

Just like an HTTP proxy, it would localize information and make it go faster.

CC might not save any internal bandwidth, but since they won't be able to stop BT, they could at least step aside and reduce strain on its edge routers.

Rights? (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091560)

My rights as a consumer is unlimited use of your network, as you advertised it as "Unlimited Internet."

Anything else is weasel-speek and semantics. You sell unlimited broadband internet. Stop trying to get us to not use what we paid for.

well then (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091578)

Well this is good news. I guess we have nothing to worry about now. All of you Comcast subscribers should be able to sleep easy now that there's no worry that your 50 gig hentai video pack torrent won't get shut down in the middle of the night.

This is a BAD THING. (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091664)

Comcast is proposing this because only they want to control it. We don't need regulations, we need Comcast to the right thing. If they sell a 8/2 line (or what ever it is) then they should actually provide 8/2 24/7/365 .. It's not our fault that most of their users don't use maxim capacity on the line.. they cant bank on that.

What is P2P? (1)

phozz bare (720522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23091698)

Somehow I was under the impression that the Internet is a decentralized network with all traffic on the Internet running between two peers. What, then, falls under the category of P2P? What doesn't?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...