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FCC's Net Neutrality Plan Blocks BitTorrent

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the well-of-course-it-does dept.

Government 303

master_p writes "The FCC's formally issued draft net neutrality regulations have a huge copyright loophole in them; a loophole that would theoretically permit Comcast to block BitTorrent just like it did in 2007 — simply by claiming that it was 'reasonable network management' intended to 'prevent the unlawful transfer of content.' The new proposed net neutrality regulations would allow the same practices that net neutrality was first invoked to prevent, even if these ISP practices end up inflicting collateral damage on perfectly lawful content and activities."

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Well... (3, Insightful)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932958)

Obviously, the only use of Bit Torrent is illegal file sharing. /SARCASM

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933018)

US Postal system shut due to the ease of transfer copyright material as anonymous.

Re:Well... (1, Insightful)

robinstar1574 (1472559) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933044)

That would be incorrect. Consider many of the major linux distros. They distribute via bit torrent. It makes things a lot faster.

Re:Well... (1)

seededfury (699094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933086)

you must have missed the big bold tag he put on the end

/SARCASM

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933098)

Gee, it's almost as if the GP was being sarcastic...

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933188)

No it wasn't. /SARCASM

I see your problem, right there... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933664)

You've got a malformed <sarcasm> tag

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933272)

At a guess, the entity with the largest transfer of legal BitTorrent feeds is Blizzard software; it's the primary distribution method for World of Warcraft updates.

In fact, unless the user is knowledgeable, they won't know any other way to get said updates. The game's launcher automatically detects when a new version of the game is available (because it's an MMORPG, the client needs to be updated when the servers are updated), and launches Blizzard's BitTorrent downloader.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933388)

Turbine's games use BitTorrent as well.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933720)

(because it's an MMORPG, the client needs to be updated when the servers are updated)

Thank you so much for clarifying that point. I had no idea.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934026)

I'm so glad the entire Interwebs is made for you and you alone. Asswaffle...

This will harm legal sharing (4, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933258)

The irony in all this is that legal file sharers will be harmed, while people torrenting stuff illegally will simply find solutions that are harder to distinguish from normal traffic.

Re:This will harm legal sharing (3, Insightful)

hh4m (1549861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933546)

Nothing will happen to torrents, relax. The market is always controlled by the consumers, in some way. So if there is demand for it, someone will come around and make providing it their business model. Just look at cannabis...

Re:This will harm legal sharing (1)

slifox (605302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933744)

What people will start doing is paying for two ISPs: one locally for raw data access, and one remotely as an unfiltered endpoint onto the internet.

If Comcast really wants, all they will see from customers is one encrypted, very high throughput connection

They can't exactly block VPN connections like this, as business users are required to use VPNs more and more often

Re:Well... (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933436)

Thanks for adding in the word SARCASM at the end. If you hadn't done that I would have thought you were being serious. /JOKE

let me fix that for you (-1, Offtopic)

blake1 (1148613) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932964)

> practices

practises

Re:let me fix that for you (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933024)

both are correct.....

Ah! Neutrality to NEUTRILIZE... Now I get it. (1)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932966)

Next step would be get Neutered.

Forget bit torrent. (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932982)

Is this just protocols or also destinations?

Could your ISP block websites which it considers to be involved in copyright infringement?
Might it even only allow you communicate with a whitelist of IP's?

Re:Forget bit torrent. (2, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933220)

Of course the ISP can block whatever they want, but they can't control everything or they will have no customers.

Bittorrent will if blocked be replaced by something more sneaky when it comes to filtering data. So it's not really useful to block it.

Re:Forget bit torrent. (4, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933594)

Of course the ISP can block whatever they want, but they can't control everything or they will have no customers.

Competition only works to prevent this kind of stuff when it exists.

This is the cruz of why America needs regulation like this. Because of the local monopolies, you may not have another choice for ISP. At best, you have the choice of DSL, Cable, and Fiber and each from exactly one provider. At worst, you may have only cable provider for broadband internet. Thus, the providers know that they have a captive public, very few users would voluntarily forego all internet access overall to protest their ISP blocking some of their usage. They can do whatever they want, their customers have nowhere to go.

Re:Forget bit torrent. (3, Insightful)

hany (3601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933706)

If I understand and remember correctly, regulation is the culprit of your current local monopolies. So you want more regulation to solve that?

If you want "customers" to be able to "go somewhere else", you need to create some competition. I think you can get that if you allow anybody to put fiber in the ground with only regulation being "do not destroy our property" and "the net gain for us - customers - have to be positive too".

We told you. (5, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932996)

We told you that any government-mandated net neutrality was going to be a lot of fun.
But alas, people continue to live with their idyllic, dog-like trust of government, politicians, and bureaucrats, and didn't listen.

Not to mention the whole net neutrality debate was mostly paranoia anyway. The real solution is for local governments to do something about the monopolies they grant telcos, but it's always easier to pray that god (the government) saves the day.

Re:We told you. (3, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933012)

Right... Because if the gov't didn't do anything, this would somehow be better?

Re:We told you. (5, Insightful)

Sinning (1433953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933056)

If there were true competition in the market, the government wouldn't need to do anything. People would flock to the ISPs that give them the best service rather than flocking to the monopoly that offers service in their area.

Re:We told you. (5, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933244)

I don't know about you, but I live in NYC, have a choice of at least three different providers (two cable, one DSL, maybe more since I last checked). The policies imposed are nearly identical between the three, and, as in the case of Comcast, I have no doubt that the stated policy and the de facto policy differ. Exactly which one am I supposed to "flock" to?

Re:We told you. (5, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933288)

You're supposed to flock to the theoretical Libertarian ideal that provides exactly what you want at a reasonable price. Barring that, stick with something you don't like and complain on the Internet that government regulation must be responsible for the situation.

Re:We told you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933704)

Thank you. Best thing I've read today.

Re:We told you. (1)

P0ltergeist333 (1473899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933772)

ShadowRangerRIT said:

I don't know about you, but I live in NYC, have a choice of at least three different providers (two cable, one DSL, maybe more since I last checked). The policies imposed are nearly identical between the three, and, as in the case of Comcast, I have no doubt that the stated policy and the de facto policy differ. Exactly which one am I supposed to "flock" to?

blueg3 said:

You're supposed to flock to the theoretical Libertarian ideal that provides exactly what you want at a reasonable price. Barring that, stick with something you don't like and complain on the Internet that government regulation must be responsible for the situation.

Or you could write letter to the president and your representatives telling them that net neutrality means that all traffic is dealt with neutrally, and that they would be violating our rights by assuming all bit-torrent traffic is illegal. And you could write to editors at various publications in hopes of raising awareness. And you could contribute to the EFF. And you could even run for office or support those candidates who support your point of view. And you could start a grass-roots organization.

I can't guarantee that all or even any of these things will in and of themselves change things, but despite what closet Republicans (who call themselves Libertarians) would have you believe, you are not helpless. Our founding fathers created the best government in the world, and despite the Right's best efforts to destroy it by doing things such as ruling that corporations have the right to free speech, you can still make it work for you, but you have to put in some kind of effort.

Re:We told you. (1, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933954)

And you flock to your theoretical government ideal of government for the people, by the people. Now THAT'S something to laugh at. A business can be dealt with by mass consumer action. A government can only be dealt with [censored by Department of Homeland Security]

Re:We told you. (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933374)

>People would flock to the ISPs that give them the best service rather than flocking to the monopoly that offers service in their area.

Newsflash - this isnt happening. Turns out no one wants to invest in another set of wires to your home, so ISPs tend to fall into basic duopolies or monopolies. When both Comcast and AT&T decide to slow down torrents or competing VOIP, which they have done, then there's really no one else to go to. Thus, the demand for legislation.

What the "free market over all" kiddies dont understand is that there are natural monopolies and duopolies. Not everything falls into the 'marketplace' model of having lots and lots of competitors fighting over your dollar.

Re:We told you. (5, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933450)

If there were true competition in the market, the government wouldn't need to do anything.

Absolutely. As we all know, it's only government intervention that causes a monopoly or cartel to form in the first place. Left to itself, a market would never do this, because companies are far too nice and dumb, and would rather compete fairly for equal shares of the market than bribe and blackmail their customers to completely screw over and crush their competitors.

Also, my doorbell just rang - it's Alyson Hannigan, naked and horny. Riding a pink unicorn. It's OK though - she brought her Evil Twin along for you.

Re:We told you. (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933750)

And if only we vote hard enough, we'll get a benevolent government of the people!

Re:We told you. (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933474)

If there were true competition in the market...

And if magical fairies existed, we could all fly to never-never land.

Hint: If the world doesn't work the way you want, passing laws and regulations as if it did results in *broken laws and a broken system*.

Re:We told you. (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933480)

Except that there's hardly any choices (oh, I'm sorry that NEW YORK CITY has attracted some business, my mistake) and an oligarchy of 5 companies which all scratch each others' back doesn't make for competition. And the majority of the people don't know how the internet works or what network neutrality means. And most of those that do can only guess if their connection is being infringed. You know, when it "feels sluggish". It's a very very small subset that actually checks to see if their traffic is unmolested. Then there's the subset that would correctly identify when the ISP is screwing them.

And when comcast was caught red-handed throttling p2p connections, how many people shunned them and went to a 56Kbps competitor?

Re:We told you. (3, Insightful)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933124)

Actually, it was better. Consumers put up a big fuss and Comcast changed their policy. Do you think they're likely to respond that well to their customers' rage once they have governmental backing for their anti-consumer policies?

Re:We told you. (1, Interesting)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933142)

You mean except for the simple fact that Comcast didn't actually change their policy despite saying they would?

Re:We told you. (1)

limaxray (1292094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933876)

Huh, what? I have Comcast internet, and believe me, I have as much of a burning hatred for that company as the next guy, but they definitely do NOT filter or throttle bit torrent. I use it constantly and test it regularly and have not seen any sign of outside interference. Please hate on Comcast, but don't make shit up.

Re:We told you. (3, Funny)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933160)

Do you think the government involvement somehow reduces the value of customer rage?

Re:We told you. (1)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933202)

Unfortunately, yes, it does.

Fortunately, I'm starting to see more and more citizen rage as a result.

Re:We told you. (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934034)

Actually, it was better. Consumers put up a big fuss and Comcast changed their policy. Do you think they're likely to respond that well to their customers' rage once they have governmental backing for their anti-consumer policies?

Hold on.....right now, they can get away with whatever the hell they want, and they folded under bad publicity. So, when this proposal is released, it will say that they can do whatever the hell they want. And you think they will respond to customers by saying "we know you're pissed, but the government said we can't be fined over it"?

I know Comcast has bad customer service, but they aren't _that_ bad.

Re:We told you. (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933336)

It's not that the government should do nothing, the government should take control of the infrastructure and let any company provide internet service over it. That would create competition, and would be better than government-mandated net neutrality and the status quo.

The Government did do something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933380)

Right... Because if the gov't didn't do anything, this would somehow be better?

The Government did do something - it allowed and even legislated local monopolies.

Re:We told you. (2, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933816)

Yes it would be. We are now faced with ALL ISPs being FORCED to block bittorrent.

Before some companies were choosing to block bittorrent and getting bad press because of it.

Now government regulation could screw everyone and there will be nothing we could do about it.

It appears that the government getting involved in net neutrality could make things much much worse.

It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly adept the government is at taking something the people want, working on it, and then delivering something that is EXACTLY what the people DIDN'T want.

Net neutrality goes from allowing a free internet to mandating ISP filtering.
Cheaper health care goes from actually trying to lower health care costs for most people to increasing them for most people.

Be careful what you wish for because the government will screw it up. This net neutrality thing is becoming our worst nightmare....

Mindless, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933048)

That's a very interesting post coming from someone with a name like you.

Re:We told you. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933158)

The problem isn't that it's government-mandated, the problem is that it's mandated by a government that doesn't fear the voters and will gladly let itself be bought by wealthy special interest groups.

Unfortunately more and more governments are adopting this view of the world...

/Mikael

Re:We told you. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933270)

Unfortunately more and more governments are adopting this view of the world...

Because there were oh so many in the world who weren't being heavily influenced by wealthy special interest groups?

Re:We told you. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933506)

Because there were oh so many in the world who weren't being heavily influenced by wealthy special interest groups?

There are many places in the world that are *far better* than the US in this regard. The first step is not codifying in law the utterly ridiculous notion that money == speech. Then you ban the legalized bribrary that is the US lobbying industry. Do that and maybe the level of corruption in the US government could drop to levels that would be comparable with the rest of the developed world.

Re:We told you. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933578)

There are many places in the world that are *far better* than the US in this regard.

Such as? Please name me these magical utopia countries where none of the politicians are beholden to any special interest groups.

Do that and maybe the level of corruption in the US government could drop to levels that would be comparable with the rest of the developed world.

And yet looking around I see just as much corruption in those countries as anywhere else.

Re:We told you. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933470)

The voters are the ones that vote in the politician in the first place. The "blame big business" schtick is just an easy way for voters to excuse their own ignorance and poor voting behavior.

Re:We told you. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933542)

The voters are the ones that vote in the politician in the first place.

Ignoring the fact that the only remotely viable choices to make were bad ones?

The "blame big business" schtick is just an easy way for voters to excuse their own ignorance and poor voting behavior.

Only if you completely ignore the reality of the fact that the only viable candidates for any significant political office is going to be those with wealthy special interests backing them.

Re:We told you. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933702)

Ignoring the fact that the only remotely viable choices to make were bad ones?

And by "remotely viable" choices you mean democrat or republican. Maybe people shouldn't be voting for "remotely viable" candidates.

Question for you... (4, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933262)

Do you think you'll get more of a response if you write your senator or the CEOs of Comcast and AT&T and Verizon?

If there were no regulation against monopolies, internet service would almost certainly be in the hands of one. They wouldn't ask anyone for permission to block any protocol, they would just do it. (CEO Bob wants another 10% to the bottom line? No problem... shut down port 25 and double the price of mail storage.) Not to mention the fact that without serious investment by DARPA, the internet may not have existed in the first place.

When a functioning democracy is in place, you can affect change with your vote, and it barely costs you anything except your time. That's supposed to be the equalizer for corporate power, since you're not going to have as much money as anyone in the Fortune 10,000 (if there is such a thing). When there's not even a mechanism in place to reign in business shenanigans, they just have to hold back enough so there aren't riots. Unless they can figure out a way to make money from riots.

We are supposed to be a constitutional republic, which holds everyone equal in the eyes of the law, which should be written by the society as a whole -- not just the rich and powerful. This is specifically due to the abuses of the monarchies and churches and companies that dominated society at the time of our founding, and continue today. Once again, the answer to a non-functioning democracy is a functioning one. Throwing away the government check to corporate power won't do anyone a damn bit of good, except for the people who own the corporations.

Re:We told you. (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933286)

MindlessAutomata, that is an excellent point. Break up the ISP oligarchy and return control to the consumer and you need not involve government. Although, government will become involved because the telecom weenies will start crying unfair competition. They will start spewing their hypocritical rhetoric.

Re:We told you. (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933328)

They already have the right to block all torrents if they pleased. They are privat companies with very few regulations. Companies already block copyright materials via DMCA take down requests. These guidelines change nothing, except put in some sane rules regarding the payola tiered web companies like Comcast want to put in. Im sure your anti-government screed is very convincing to young republicans, I mean libertarians, but this all looks like a lot of fearmongering from the eff.

Re:We told you. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933434)

Im sure your anti-government screed is very convincing to young republicans, I mean libertarians, but this all looks like a lot of fearmongering from the eff.

DMCA

Mmm-hmmm....

Re:We told you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933912)

Geez, I guess it's a good thing the FCC holds no control over the internet.

Oh wait, damn you Communications Act of 1934 [wikipedia.org] !

War in the Internet Superhighway. (4, Interesting)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933008)

Stupid. As people will just change protocol, so.. what will you do? repeat your strategy? then enter on a tecnological battle where you ban thinks that "look" like suspicious "bad" traffic. How much time will this war need to result on a almost totally broken internet where all applications that need reliable latency fail for not apparent reason?

Do not start trowing rocks, if you live in a cristal house, concast.

Re:War in the Internet Superhighway. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933214)

Actually, it's made more of spun glass.

Re:War in the Internet Superhighway. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933420)

Did IPv6 include a flag in the IP header to mark the content as "Illegal"? Maybe we can use a reserved flag in IPv4 for the purpose?

That way they can see what traffic is legit and just block what isn't. Simple :-)

Re:War in the Internet Superhighway. (1)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933980)

The title of your post made me think of a virtual realm version of mad max, where the evil ISPs are trying to take down your truck on the internet superhighway.

What did you expect? (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933014)

You expected "net neutrality" regulations to call for actual neutrality? Of course it was going to have some caveat in it to allow ISP's to regulate traffice the government doesn't want to flow.

Re:What did you expect? (1)

slifox (605302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933628)

This reminds me of a perfect quote from one of my favorite shows, "Yes, Minister" -- a show that is a hilariously accurate depiction of beaurocracy...

"...but I thought we were calling the whitepaper 'Open Government'?"

"Yes, well... always dispose of the difficult bit in the title -- it does less harm there than in the text!
It's the law of inverse relevance -- the less you intend doing about something, the more you have to keep talking about it"

Re:What did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933732)

This IS net neutrality . . . but only if you don't use too much bandwidth.

bitTorrent was used to spread the CRU emails (1, Flamebait)

wganz (113345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933036)

BitTorrent was used to spread the Climate Research Unit's hacked emails to show how climate change is a hoax. In the future, we will not have the ability to distribute important news due to RIAA's concern about getting royalties from 70 year old Mickey Mouse cartoons.

Re:bitTorrent was used to spread the CRU emails (1, Offtopic)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933196)

I'm going off-topic here but I wouldn't say those emails even remotely proved "how climate change is a hoax", what they did prove however was that there were/are some questionable practices among a subset of climate researchers, I have yet to see any proof of the emails proving that climate change (caused by humans) is a fraud, just that the data these researchers were using was being modified in some very questionable ways.

/Mikael

Re:bitTorrent was used to spread the CRU emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933532)

Agreed. The headlines for those were just absolutely terrible. Thanks Republicans.

well... (3, Informative)

polle404 (727386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933092)

Here you go, your neutrality regulations,
bought and paid for by your local, friendly *AA.

no no, no need to give thanks, they're here for you.

Re:well... (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933206)

bought and paid for by your local, friendly *AA.

What, you didn't think that all that Hollywood support for the Democratic Party came without strings attached, did you?

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933508)

Better than the Republican war machine.

Not so much a "loophole" (3, Interesting)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933102)

I'm guessing this is less an unintentional "loophole" than a very intentional concession to the lobbyists who are writing this bill.

The only reason Congress cares about "Net Neutrality" is that some big tech companies like Google are lobbying hard for it, while big service providers like Comcast are lobbying against it. But since neither group actually cares about your right to use BitTorrent, the RIAA lobbyists are free to stick in some extra restrictions like this.

I'm ever so glad the Supreme Court thinks these corporate groups should have even MORE influence over our elections.

Yay Democrats (1, Funny)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933152)

They're so much better. Aren't they? Aren't you glad this is left up to the government now rather than individual service providers? Aren't you glad you won't have a choice anymore?

Re:Yay Democrats (3, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933254)

Trouble is, the democrats always want start with a compromise. When you are in a debate cum argument, you never start with a compromise. You do your best to get your way in totality. This is where the republicans succeed, they are ruthless and merciless about pushing their views and only seek bipartisanship when they have exhausted all possible angles.

Re:Yay Democrats (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933276)

Umm... You do have a choice. The FCC is setting the minimum floor of neutrality. ISPs can still compete on raising that bar, even though they won't (and despite your utopian fantasies, would not have done so without FCC regulation either). Not to mention that this is an FCC draft; the Democrats have only marginal influence over the outcome of a draft produced primarily by civil servants.

Politics (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933222)

Someone has to say it: The more things change, the more they stay the same. If torrents and other "legal" P2P sharing is allowed to be blocked, what is the point of this entire legislation? My impression of the FCC was that it was supposed to promote and ensure fairness amongst the telecom and internet providers. I was sincerely hoping that the FCC would grow a spine.

Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (3, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933230)

The key word here is: " unlawful transfer of content"

The reason BitTorrent has not suffered the fate of Napster is that there is significant noninfringing uses, ranging from Linux ISOs to public broadcasting to companies like Vuse which use BitTorrent for purely legal, liscenced content.

Thus you could do blocking of specific torrents under this proposed regulation, but you couldn't block all bittorrent.

It is questionable to include, because I don't like the idea of copyright enforcement in the wire (its too easy to abuse), but the headline is wrong: this would not block BitTorrent.

Re:Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (4, Insightful)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933342)

Let's do a little thought-excercise here.

Comcast Guy 1 : Oooh, I see User Joe is running BitTorrent.
Comcast Guy 2 : Why, I think you're right. Let's ban his ass.
Comcast Guy 1 : Now, wait just a minute, Comcast Guy 2.. We don't know whether it's legal or not.
Comcast Guy 2 : Hmm... You may be right about that. Let's ban him anyways, and see if he complains. After all, he might be pirating valuable NBC programming, like the Tonight Show with Jay Leno! And if we don't stop him now, we will cease to be!
Comcast Guy 1 : My God... you're right.

Seriously, do you think, in any plane of the multiverse, that Comcast would do the research to find out if the torrent the user was sending was legal, as opposed to block now and ask question later? Especially with them getting into content ownership, as well as being a content deliverer?

Let's take a look at the DMCA, and see how often companies that send DMCA notices really care about doing the research, and how often it backfires on them. Well, it does backfire on them from time to time, but are there actual consequences beyond Slashdot laughing at them?

No.

Re:Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933394)

But see, they're just going to call it unlawful, then block it. It doesn't matter one whit whether it is or not.

It's up to your to prove it isn't. Of course it'll take 18 months to resolve.

Re:Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (1)

somepunk (720296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933454)

In practice, discriminating torrent content is very difficult. And there's nothing stopping from going after all of it; the language is too vague. It might seem pointless, since such a fuss was made the first time around, but the next time, they'll have this nice bit of explicit policy to fall back on, and some of the voices raised before will not be as loud the next time, as fatigue and cynicism set in.

Speaking of cynics, why don't all you comment-posters invest that time you put into posting your rants into signing the petition [realnetneutrality.org] linked to in the article, since we all know you didn't read it :)

Re:Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933562)

Actually, there are blocking strategies which ISPs could use that put the onus on the copyright owners to identify the bad content, and would have reasonably limited collateral damage eg, DMCA-style graph takedown [blogspot.com] .

You can do copyright enforcement on the wire without DPI, without blocking all bittorrent, and putting the onus on the copyright owners to directly identify infringing content. I think this would be a horrible idea , but you can do copyright enforcement on the wire without blocking all BitTorrent.

And blocking all BitTorrent is very difficult for an ISP to do today. Even an actual sensible BitTorrent policy, such as only blocking pure uploads (seeds and leeches), while also providing web space for customers to distribute their own content, creates a massive PR Fecal Tornado that no US ISP would dare risk again.

Re:Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933746)

> "Linux ISOs"

Great, you had to blab it out loud. Now Microsoft knows that it can hurt Linux by shutting down BitTorrent.

Re:Not all BitTorrent is unlawful... (5, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933748)

The way I read this, net neutrality means they not only can't block traffic without proving that it's unlawful, but traffic not proven unlawful should be allowed to block other presumed lawful traffic(pipe saturation). I mean I've not seen anything in there that's not just a fancy way to call QoS. Of course QoS with a 1kb/s class is no fun, and almost blocking it... but unless the legalese actually defines a minimum QoS as "blocking" it's not legally blocking... Also, if a provider like comcat can give a QoS of 10kb/s, and assign all youtube traffic to it unless youtube pays, we're back to the "paying twice for the same traffic" case.

On the other hand, the FCC cannot do what network neutrality proponents most want it to do: mandate network (mostly backbone, but also edge in some cases) upgrades.

So it's mostly a catch-22.

I think the only thing that would work is a law that says a network cannot discriminate by source, target, protocol or source/target ports without proof of wrongdoing is the only thing that would work. Of course, the providers would scream that they can't. What they mean is that they can't without admitting just how poorly provisioned their networks really are.

As per your arguments they can't block... The idea is for a law to tell them what they can't do to unknown traffic. Known unlawful traffic, well they already have other laws for them, they don't need to QoS it, except to protect other customers. If they send the FBI to the tracker's location, you can be sure the torrent won't be on long, in that case though, they need to have(well so far, although they've been exceptions) a lot more evidence than just an overloaded network...

Status quo for us, Win for FCC (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933246)

So nothing has changed, but the reach of the FCC grows.

Sounds like a perfect win for them.

So what? (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933308)

So bit torrent gets blocked? The neat thing about innovation is that it out paces legislation. There will be another technology that will come out to replace bit torrent in P2P that will defeat Comcast's Great Firewall.

HTTP1.1 multipart/byteranges and off-port HTTP (1)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933316)

It could work almost identically to BitTorrent and no sane ISP would block HTTP.

Anyone interested in working on a FOSS implementation, PM me.

File sharing (1)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933330)

When they were going after P2P networks like Napster and Kazaa, you could argue the merits of what the technology could be used for versus what it was actually being used for.

However, BitTorrent sees very widespread legitimate use that you can't argue with. And honestly, in those legit cases, blocking BitTorrent won't reduce network traffic, but instead shift it back into the FTP/HTTP client-server model, instead of allowing BitTorrent to distribute the load among people who already have the data.

The net has changed... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933354)

Well the old argument was that consumers who use a lot of bandwidth were pirating content.... But the world has changed, For example I only watch TV via the internet now. All 100%, paid for, legal content.

So if they think blocking (slowing down etc) p2p will fix their network problems, think again.

Don't worry about it. (4, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933360)

If they block bittorrent, they'll suddenly have millions of WoW players at their main offices with pitchforks and torches demanding to know why they can't update...

Why bittorrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933404)

I'm sure there's plenty of "unlawful transfer of content" happening by plain, old HTTP, FTP, SMTP, and innumerable other internet protocols.

Next they'll be suggesting we block the highways and postal service for the same reasons -- because they are being used for "unlawful transfer of content".

Whatever happened to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933560)

... Getting rid of lobbyists in DC? It's pretty obvious who put together this bill... But then, it's been pretty obvious the lobbyists have written almost all of the legislation being pushed through Congress and the Senate...

This can't be tolerated (2, Insightful)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933568)

If we assume a generalized policy of allowing interference with traffic where piracy is suspected, the logical evolution is that end-to-end communications on the Internet is eventually doomed. BitTorrent is just one technology used to get information directly from my IP to your IP. What happens when an ISP realizes that IRC DCC SEND exists, and that some piracy happens that way? Or that encrypted VPN's have been used for this purpose? What happens as encryption becomes ever more prevalent? Do ISP's block all encrypted traffic between end-user endpoints just because there might be piracy going on?

typeof BitTorrent == 'guilty' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933600)

What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

The Evil Bit Has Its Day! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933622)

Can't wait to see people implement this RFC [faqs.org] !

trollk0re (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933730)

Pervasive Encryption... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933740)

...seems the logical and inevitable conclusion to this arms race.

You asked for it (1)

mclazarus (538741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933790)

For those of you who screamed you had a "right" to control the property of your service providers to tell them how they had to run their network by the simple fact that you couldn't build a network of your own.

You found that the only way to enforce that right was through the use of a gun, in other words the government. If in whatever way your twisted logic somehow decided by regulating the internet you would free it, here is just one example of the logical consequence of these types of regulations.

Wait until the special interests start lobbying the FCC for the right to force the service providers to insert disclaimers here, or block some sort of thing they declare as libel but are too cowardly to sue for.

And wait until you start paying the "Net Neutrality recovery fee" as a percentage of your monthly bill at a rate set not by any need of providing bandwidth, but by the whim and vote of unaccountable bureaucrats in the PUC or FCC or some other allegedly beneficial set of parasites.

Brother, you asked for it.

WoW Patches and Linux ISOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933894)

How is this going to affect these two uses of BitTorrent? What about companies that do large scale DLC deployment using BT?

Does the regulation mention BitTorrent? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933952)

Does the regulation mention BitTorrent, or is this just the author's interpretation?

Any time someone says "Law X would let Person Y do Z by claiming A, B, and C", take it with a grain of salt. Sure, they can claim that blocking BT is a reasonable restriction, and then it would be up to the courts to decide if it really is. If the court decides not, then blocking BT is illegal. Anyone can claim whatever they want; and look how well that worked for SCO in the long run.

Might the court reach the wrong conclusion? That risk is inherant in the nature of the court system. It's the responsibility of those who understand the legitimate uses of BT to advocate for them as effectively as possible. Of course, every moment spent arguing that "sharing" of copyrighted works should be legal is worse than wasted effort. That argument will increase regulators' perception that blocking BT is reasonable.

what next for comcarp nbc cable only? csn (all) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934002)

what next for comcarp nbc cable only? csn (all areas) as well?

Sci-FI cable only that will just make more people use torrents.

if they do that crap lets block there offices with satellite dish's.

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