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Comcast Makes Nice with BitTorrent

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the friendly-dogs-and-cats dept.

The Internet 161

An anonymous reader writes "In a dramatic turn-around of relations, cable provider Comcast and BitTorrent are now working together. The deal comes as BitTorrent tries to put its reputation for illegal filesharing behind it. The companies are in talks to collaborate on ways to run BitTorrent's technology more smoothly on Comcast's broadband network. Comcast is actually entertaining the idea of using BitTorrent to transport video files more effectively over its own network in the future, said Tony Warner, Comcast's chief technology officer. '"We are thrilled with this," Ashwin Navin, cofounder and president of BitTorrent, said of the agreement. BitTorrent traffic will be treated the same as that from YouTube Inc., Google Inc. or other Internet companies, he said. It was important that Comcast agreed to expand Internet capacity, because broadband in the United States is falling behind other areas of the world, Navin said. Referring to the clashes with Comcast, he said: "We are not happy about the companies' being in the limelight."'"

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FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882248)

Let me be the first to say: Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????

What they said. (5, Insightful)

Mactrope (1256892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882340)

I'm not sure they have said anything but it looks like nothing good if they want to make a special deal with a single company [slashdot.org] . If they want some good attention, they can unblock ports and dedicate themselves to network buildouts. The core issue is one of network freedom. Without freedom, the internet is no better than cable TV.

In many ways it is worse. (1, Troll)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882912)

Without freedom, the internet is no better than cable TV.Without freedom, the internet is no better than cable TV.

Without good laws and software to protect user privacy, the internet more resembles East German telco than anything American. Your emails and web browsing are checked for subversive thoughts and such things get you stuck on government and corporate blacklists. You are in a prison and don't know it.

Re:In many ways it is worse. (1, Interesting)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883802)

'Good Laws?'

Laws are neither good nor evil. It's a persons perspective that attaches good and evil. It is also worth bearing in mind how laws are created and how they are enforced. In short, the law is not there to protect you but to cage you.

'User Privacy?'

There is no such thing as privacy the sooner people understand this the sooner you can see what a childish concept it is.

'You are in prison and don't know it.'

The size of the cage is limited by the size of your mind. If you wish to be caged then you will be.

No (5, Insightful)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882764)

This still smells bad on Comcast's part. What the heck does Comcast care what is BitTorrent used for? So if it's going to be used to share files with a friend (the extent of which is illegal is questionable) it's wrong and needs to be censored, and if it's going to be used for business it's acceptable?

This is still comcastic censorship, corporativism and licking the media mafia's asshole. Keep boycotting Comcast.

Re:No (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883192)

You don't need bittorrent to share files with your friend, and there is no advantage to using it when there are only two peers. Just set up an FTP server on your machine and let him upload/download. Why go to the trouble of using bittorrent, particularly as Comcast are going out of their way to make life hard for you?

Unless by "friend" you mean "thousands of Pirate Bay users"....

Re:No (3, Insightful)

smartaleq (905491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883882)

Maybe you want to share something with a friend, that several thousand other users have an identical copy of. The scenario itself is not implausible, abandonware computer games come to mind for one. Free online CD quality releases are another.

Re:No (1)

coopaq (601975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883336)

Corporativism?

You keep using that word. I do nota think ita means what you think ita means.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883876)

I completely agree, this still smacks of something fishy.

I wouldn't be surprised if this "turnaround" is in direct relation to a behind-the-scenes "bit of advice" from the FCC.

Comcast still hasn't said they won't mess with your traffic, only that they're working with this company for their own ends.

huh? (5, Funny)

68030 (215387) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882254)

Is it April already?

Re:huh? (2, Interesting)

eudaemon (320983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882348)

Really, submitter posted this story 5 days too early.

But seriously this just means Comcast is going to work with the bittorrent folks
to put tighter than ever controls in place. They'll shape traffic to prefer the comcast
servers and peers to those same peers or any others talking to non-comcast servers.
They way they can claim to be embracing p2p traffic while actually throttling anything
they don't like.

Using comcast peers (4, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882664)

Isn't that the perfect network model?

I'm surprised more ISPs (particularly foreign ones where bandwidth is pricey) haven't looked at ways to bias traffic to share internally. I know i talked with some ISP in the UK and tried to convince them to let their cable modems run much faster but to apply the traffic caps at their network boundary. Unfortunately it didn't seem practical to do that on that scale at that time.

If comcast were to double or triple the upstream available when staying within their network then i'm sure p2p tools would start exploiting it.

Re:Using comcast peers (2, Interesting)

mrogers (85392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883332)

I'm surprised more ISPs (particularly foreign ones where bandwidth is pricey) haven't looked at ways to bias traffic to share internally.

Perhaps part of the reason is that last mile bandwidth is scarcer than backbone bandwidth, so an ISP doesn't save as much by encouraging its customers to share with each other (backbone bandwidth saved, last mile bandwidth remains the same) as it does by discouraging them from sharing at all (backbone and last mile bandwidth saved)?

Re:Using comcast peers (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883578)

In Australia at least, with DSL ISPs need to pay Telstra more for a faster connection.
ADSL2 ISPs do go at full speed but they have good pipes and you also get net at full speed.

That being said, I sync at 1.5Mbit on a 512k plan.
Havent figured out what thats about yet. ;)

Re:huh? (2, Funny)

entoke (933113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882714)

it's just a preemptive strike so it can be duped on april the first..

Re:huh? (4, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882416)

No, read the article more closely, especially in between the lines -- Comcast will starting screwing with *other* protocols on an even keel with bittorrent.

Soon you can expect to get false 404's on port 80 if you've used "too much" of your "unlimited" bandwidth...

Re:huh? (2, Funny)

Kickersny.com (913902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882656)

Soon you can expect to get false 404's on port 80 if you've used "too much" of your "unlimited" bandwidth..
It's funny you should mention that ... [imageshack.us]

I've been seeing these on /. for the last few days. And yes, I'm on Comcast :)

Re:huh? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882924)

So have I -- and no, I'm not ;)

Re:huh? (1)

girasquid (1234570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883786)

I think that might just be a pathing issue - it's been happening to me for the last week or two as well, and I'm up in the frigid wastelands of Canada, using Shaw internet.

Re:huh? (4, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882726)

Mod parent up. It's exactly what Comcast will be doing, slowing all traffic for people who use more bandwidth than they deem acceptable. They're still as seedy as ever. I just hope this doesn't throw the FCC of of their track, if they even intend to do anything about it.

They're still lying bastards! (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883692)

True or not, they're still lying bastards!

Re:huh? (3, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882822)

What I don't get is why they're not just advertising that you do in fact have a bandwidth limit - that way the customer knows what they're *actually* getting, and Comcast can make a few extra dollars selling top-ups to people who hit their bandwidth limit.

In an ideal world, you could do whatever you want with your connection, but this is the real world, where bandwidth is expensive, and ISPs would rather not be the ones paying to feed your free porn addiction ;)

Already happening? (1)

xRizen (319121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883858)

I can't believe how perfect this was:

http://i28.tinypic.com/111rsyr.png [tinypic.com]

(But, no, I'm not on Comcast. Still funny.)

Re:huh? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883928)

Soon you can expect to get false 404's on port 80 if you've used "too much" of your "unlimited" bandwidth...
No one advertises "unlimited" internet anymore. Now it's "an always-on connection," so that they don't have to deal with people complaining that the data transfer wasn't really unlimited.

Re:huh? (1)

Rehman.Umair (1263284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882502)

Relevant Gandhi quote:
First they ignore you, then they launch a FUD campaign, then they waste money on lawyers, then you win.

Re:huh? (1)

Farakin (1101889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882514)

I call Shenanigans.

Half a loaf is bad when you are thirsty. (5, Insightful)

Mactrope (1256892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882258)

This sounds more like, "sorry I got caught" than sorry:

BitTorrent traffic will be treated the same as that from YouTube Inc., Google Inc. or other Internet companies, he said. ... "We are not happy about the companies' being in the limelight."

No one caught doing something wrong is happy about the attention but they need to admit what they did was wrong not because a company was involved but because it harmed their customers. The above makes it look like they think they still have the right to block traffic their customers want. Beware of special deals like this.

Re:Half a loaf is bad when you are thirsty. (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882384)

The above makes it look like they think they still have the right to block traffic their customers want. Beware of special deals like this.

There is probably more to it. Might be they will target P2P users in a different way, like nabbing music and whatever else sharers. Also there might be a fear that unless a deal is struck with Bit Torrent, the technology will be pushed underground where it will become even more difficult to monitor and control.

the water is still wet. (5, Interesting)

Mactrope (1256892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882634)

All that "more to it" is the problem and Comcast needs to be clear about network freedom. They can rig all sorts of schemes to make BitTorrent a traffic cop or to be some kind of traffic cop but none of that is appropriate. Comcast needs to do it's job, which is delivering bandwith. Everything else is bad for them and leads to real censorship.

All of this nonsense about "unauthorized reproduction" and single file copies being a criminal offense represent a tremendous and wrong expansion of copyright laws. Copyright disputes should be a civil matter of who deserves money earned from works. Copyright protection of restricted files violates the limited time provision of the Constitutional establishment clause and the whole point of copyright is to insure a rich public domain. Censoring the press (aka the internet) in order to enforce this new and unwholesome copyright idea violates yet another portion of the US Constitution.

Money that can't be earned in a free society is money that should not be earned. It would be better to live without mass produced entertainment than to live without a free press. Comcast and other ISPs should be at the forefront of the battle to preserve network freedom. As long as they insist on port blocks and traffic shaping, they are an enemy of freedom.

Re:the water is still wet. (0, Redundant)

x102output (536049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884482)

"As long as they insist on port blocks and traffic shaping, they are an enemy of freedom."

Let me start by saying I'm a huge advocate of net neutrality.

Now, I support net neutrality in the sense that no one should be able to block/shape traffic based on source or destination (everyone should be treated equal), but I also think that traffic should be allowed to be shaped in tiers based on WHAT it is.

Bit torrent traffic, video downloads, whatever....should always be lower on the priority scale then from http/port 80 traffic and email. I know at one extreme this can fuel an argument "well the ISPs just don't want to deliver bandwidth" and I agree with that.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's unrealistic to completely not allow any form of traffic shaping based on information content (of course, this would be an organized process with a lot of oversight, and based off of protocols).

I just don't want some kid down the street downloading porn making my simple after-work email checking a slow process. At the same time, if I choose to download movies I'm okay with being at a lower priority then people who want to check their email, go on the web, VoIP, etc etc

Re:Half a loaf is bad when you are thirsty. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882970)

That line is from Navin. He's the BitTorrent guy, not the Comcast guy.

Re:Half a loaf is bad when you are thirsty. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883088)

Hey fucktard, were you planning on giving Slashdot the gift of your insightful opinion on the latest news [slashdot.org] from Apple? Seeing as you spent two days slinging shit [slashdot.org] like a good monkey (with all your sockpuppets) about how totally unfair people were being towards Apple? More importantly, are we feeling stupid this fine morning?

Stick to this sterile "bwah, bwah teh rights are being eroded" blabber and avoid even opening your trap on everything else, mkay? That's the advice I give to all high school dropouts with dyslexia and persecution complex issues like you.

O RLY? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882274)

So I can look forward to 0.3KB/s downloads for using "too much" bandwidth? Haven't we been down this road with Comcast before, advertising "unlimited" internet and then sending sh*t-o-grams to people who go above an unwritten limit?

Re:O RLY? (5, Funny)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883710)

When i was shopping around for internet a few months ago I tried to get a comcast call center employee to explain this "unlimited - no it's not" thing to me. It went like this:

Me: "Is there a limit on bandwidth usage?"
CR: "No."
Me: "So I'll never be cut off no matter how much bandwidth I use?"
CR: "If you disrupt other customers' service with your usage, you will be cut off."
Me: "How much bandwidth would I have to use to disrupt other customers' service?"
CR: "There's no actual limit."
Me: "But if I'll be cut off for using enough to disrupt other customers, you must know how much it would take to do that."
CR: "There's no hard limit on bandwidth usage."

So... there's no such thing as too much... but I'd better not use too much.

BAANNNGG!!!! SPLLAAATTTT (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882296)

My head just asploded!

Even though I had hoped that bit torrent would become the ISP's friend, I had not expected the devil himself to be one of the first to cozy up... WTF?

Re:BAANNNGG!!!! SPLLAAATTTT (2, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883498)

My head just asploded!

As it should.

Heavy users (typically the younger crowd who typically don't have landlines) are precisely the demographic that Comcast targets.

The situation is not unlike the media companies complaining about widespread piracy when the category of people who regularly pirate music and movies are the media company's best customers. You think, for example, someone over 40 buys or watches the same number of movies? Or would even consider buying the same number of new CDs?

Good to see that progress is being made. I expect similar "ironical" situations will be resolved by others, but not before more gnashing and wailing of teeth is heard from those trying to resist change.

Re:BAANNNGG!!!! SPLLAAATTTT (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884326)

The difference is that the record company's favourite customer is the one who buys the most CDs. I ISPs favorite customer is the one who pays for the service, but doesn't use it. Nothing better than a guy paying for a 10 mbit connection, so he can check his email, chat on msn, and read a few news articles everyday. The ISPs don't like people who download 100 GB of stuff every month.

proving once again... (1)

to_kallon (778547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882306)

...that the best way to ensure cooperation is via the threat of banishment:
1.) excommunicate
2.) ???
3.) cooperate!

Obligatory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882310)

It's a trap!!!

Jacking off into a hat (2, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882314)

This, to me, is like Comcast jacking off into a hat and BitTorrent wearing that hat with the full knowledge of what's just been deposited in that hat.

Re:Jacking off into a hat (4, Funny)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882696)

This, to me, is like Comcast jacking off into a hat and BitTorrent wearing that hat with the full knowledge of what's just been deposited in that hat.
I like to think of it as Comcast allowing bittorrent traffic, but your analogy works too.

Re:Jacking off into a hat (1)

Maestro485 (1166937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884152)

That casts your handle in a whole new light.

Re:Jacking off into a hat (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884178)

This, to me, is like Comcast jacking off into a hat and BitTorrent wearing that hat with the full knowledge of what's just been deposited in that hat.

What on Earth made this article make you think of that???

Is wearing spooge-filled hats something which comes up in your life?? That's just such a hugely bizarre analogy I'm stunned by it!

I mean ... damn dude! You win the prize for oddest analogy I've seen this week.

Cheers

I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882318)

When I say, It's about fucking time.

Can we get a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense tag on this one?

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882356)

i think itsatrap would be more appropriate. something tells me we're not getting the whole picture here.

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882556)

If anyone doesn't get the whole picture, it might be Comcast. BitTorrent is based on peering and people seeding what they have. They can't exploit it unless they find a way to get their users to seed content for other users instead of coming from their ser... vers....

Oh dear. I guess they do have the big picture. I can see it now: all Comcast users must keep a background application running while using their network (or have bandwidth severely throttled on a per MAC address instead of per packet shape) and will seed data to other users using your hard disk space and electricity instead of Comcast's central servers. Diabolical.

*adjusts tin-foil hat*

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884040)

I for one wouldn't mind that at all if it meant decent upload rates and being able to actually seed on some BT networks without getting kicked off because comcast throttles my upstream to 40KB/s.

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883158)

I agree that this seems bad, something stinks here. I mean I know I'm paranoid and all but this just seems wrong.

Too late... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883392)

I cancelled 2 days ago. Went with Dish Network and (gulp) Verizon DSL. Cheaper all around and I won't have Comcast messing with my inetrnet speed.

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882388)

I mistakenly feared slashdot users would have one less thing to whine about now. But the real difference is instead of "Comcast sucks because they do this!" we'll be hearing "Comcast sucks because they once did this!"

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883456)

instead of "Comcast sucks because they do this!" we'll be hearing "Comcast sucks because they once did this!"
Holding a grudge at entity X because they had previously done (or even not done) something is the very foundation of /.

Examples: Microsoft, Novell, Sony, United States, Dvorak, Natalie Portman

Re:I think I speak for all Comcraptastic Customers (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883892)

Why are we holding a grudge against Dvorak? or Natalie Portman?

I'm done with them altogether (0)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882686)

I just signed up for fios Internet, TV, and phone.

all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc? (5, Interesting)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882322)

well now the question is: does this refer to all bittorrent (the protocol) traffic, or just torrents approved by BitTorrent, Inc. (the company)?

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (1)

drchoffnes (1256396) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882370)

I think they're going to treat all traffic equally, so if your BT download rates suck due to congestion, so will your YouTube, Slashdot, etc. I don't see any way they can reliably allow on BT, Inc. traffic. Anyway, the more interesting question is what are they doing to make BitTorrent "more efficient" for Comcast. Maybe something like Ono [northwestern.edu] ?

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882392)

Right. All you people going "about time" "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense" didn't even read the summary. The deal is with BitTorrent, Inc. and probably has nothing to do with ALL bittorrent traffic, just the stuff Comcast is doing with video.

BIG HINT: This is probably why they started throttling bittorrent traffic to begin with.

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (5, Interesting)

Kickersny.com (913902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882742)

As an added bonus, it further makes the issue harder for non-nerds to understand. Obligatory car analogy: You own a highway, and I own a motor vehicle company called "Cars". You deny all access to motor vehicles (due to "congestion"), and when people start complaining that you're denying cars, you let my Cars-brand vehicles on and say "That's not true, we fully allow Cars!" Yikes, even the car analogy was hard to explain. This should get interesting...

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882996)

They can give hell to a much more popular client's DHT packets and go fine with Bittorrent Inc. DHT packets which would lead to horrible experience to the "other client" users. Or filter a specific large (and legal) tracker?

A company who hand picked bittorrent packets and conspired their own customers IP traffic can do anything.

Bittorrent is a great protocol but Bittorrent Inc. isn't really loved. uTorrent users stay with OUTDATED clients just because they don't trust to Bittorrent.com Inc.

Anyway, I was downloading (and still seeding) Neooffice for OS X. That is pure GPL software which the vendor (developers) prefer Bittorrent distribution as ONLY option. As I use Azureus 3.5.x, I was bored and started watching seeders and leechers. Everyone downloading that perfectly legal, open source disk image was using ultra-paranoid methods like RC-160 encryption. Comcast can be proud.

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882434)

Exactly.

If it is just the company, congrats to Slashdot for just printing another empty press release!

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882610)

But how would they discern the difference between anything using the bt protocol and official BT traffic? Is that even possible? You couldn't target the source since the sharers would be the source.

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (2, Informative)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882744)

My understanding of their BT filtering is that they're sniffing the tracker traffic in order to determine which connections to cut. Since any internal use of BT would be to known trackers that they run themselves, I'd assume that it would be relatively easy to add exclusions to the filters to avoid blocking "legitimate" traffic.

It should be noted that one can bypass comcasts crappy seeding-only blocks by running tracker traffic through an external proxy. Encryption of the individual p2p connections doesn't cut it, you need an encrypted tracker stream as well.

This would point heavily to the tracker being the telltale

Re:all bittorrent traffic, or just BitTorrent, Inc (2, Informative)

}{avoc (90632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882778)

But how would they discern the difference

BT Inc. could provide hashes of official torrents to Comcast. If the handshake doesn't send an approved info_hash, Comcast throttles.

Money? (2, Interesting)

webword (82711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882364)

I'm looking and looking and looking but I can't find anything where money is changing hands between these companies. Someone has to be making money on this deal but I can't figure it out. Either that, or BitTorrent has a lot of data to make Comcast look really bad. So, they are taking a path that keeps their "evil deeds" hidden. Does anyone have any insight here on the financial deal, if there is one?

Re:Money? (1)

funkyloki (648436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884164)

Exactly. Someone is making money on this. Navin, the rep for BitTorrent (the company, not the protocol) said they were very excited about this, this being Comcast video running with the BitTorrent protocol assigned by BitTorrent Inc on the Comcast internal network. That's where the profit is, and that is why there is a deal. And as stated in other posts, it could have been planned like this all along. BiTorrent protocol gets throttled, BitTorrent, Inc. makes a deal with Comcast and now has a legitimate reason to change the original protocol for profit. And since it would be internal only, they can still throttle the original protocol. Comcast and BT both clean up their image, and Mr. and Mrs. Common Denominator think everything is hunky-dory agina in the land of broadband. IDK, maybe a little conspiratorial, but worse things have happened.

BitTorrent the company, not the protocol (5, Interesting)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882366)

BitTorrent the company is not BitTorrent the protocol. Bram Cohen may be working with Comcast to get the "legitimate" BitTorrent 6.0 (with its closed source code and protocol) operating cleanly on their networks, but don't expect that this will magically work for every client and tracker out there. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they actively collaborate to cripple the original, open protocol.

Re:BitTorrent the company, not the protocol (1)

CallFinalClass (801589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883536)

Parent is exactly correct, continue to mod up.

BitTorrent Plugin Detects ISPs Raping Your Torrent (5, Interesting)

Volanin (935080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882374)

Interestingly, this news comes almost at the same time Azureus develops a plug-in to detect ISPs that cripple your torrents transfers:
http://gizmodo.com/372442/bittorrent-plugin-detects-isps-raping-your-torrents [gizmodo.com]

Of course, a peaceful solution such as this agreement is always preferred, as it enlightens more and more people about the true nature of BitTorrent, and opens up the doors for more and more ISPs to do The Right Thing (tm).

first off.. (3, Interesting)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882398)

First off they were getting BAAAAD publicity, and in this instance bad publicity is bad. When geeks start turning away from you and telling their friends not to use your service it begins to ahem... hurt. But I also think that perhaps the congress critters that are worried we are falling behind infrastructurally, may have hinted at dropping investigations and maybe even a little free gubmint money to help "upgrade" the public infrastructure. Indeed. And the other benefit is that .... AT&T is now the SPY ISP attempting to pick through traffic and block your downloads. We shall see, though, keep an eye on the broadband forums, we shall know soon enough.

Could Make P2P more palatable for CDNs (3, Interesting)

miller60 (554835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882404)

The new architecture from the Comcast/BitTorrent effort will be of great interest to content delivery networks (CDNs) who have been sorting out the best way that P2P can be used to assist in delivery of large files. Yesterday a CDN called Velocix announced a hybrid P2P streaming media service [datacenterknowledge.com] combining traditional caching with P2P delivery for live events. Velocix used to be CacheLogic, and worked with BitTorrent to develop the Cache Discovery Protocol, which lets ISPs cache the most popular torrent files, and then seed the files from servers within their network, reducing network traffic.

Re:Could Make P2P more palatable for CDNs (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882824)

Anyone else do a double-take on CDNs thinking "Canadians"? What with CBC starting to send stuff out via bittorrent.

note : IAC

Useless article (3, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882448)

The article states:

"The Comcast-BitTorrent dispute has been a cause celebre among Internet advocacy groups and others who called for greater regulation for an open Internet, citing Comcast."

I fail to see how greater regulation would ever be the solution. It was regulation that made Comcast's monopoly possible in the first place, allowing them to pull idiotic stunts like traffic filtering. No company in a competitive environment could ever get away with that, because users would simply switch to another provider. Greater regulation is definitely not the answer. Instead, the government should be keeping its claws out of the economy in the first place.

Re:Useless article (2, Interesting)

Toasty16 (586358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882682)

Greater regulation protecting the idea of net neutrality (that is, an open network without higher status for certain packets over others and without intentional blocking/delay of certain packets) could be part of the solution, in the same way that the dismantling of the Hollywood studio system in the 1960s paved the way for the cinematic creative explosion of the 1970s and ultimately the current blockbuster/tent pole business model.

The Hollywood studios howled that their business was being destroyed by government interference, but without it we would never have a system that gave the directors more power over their films and Jaws, the first blockbuster, wouldn't have been released - the rest is history. Regulation can open up markets and increase creativity and profits, if it's done correctly.

Re:Useless article (2, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882904)

"The Hollywood studios howled that their business was being destroyed by government interference, but without it we would never have a system that gave the directors more power over their films and Jaws, the first blockbuster, wouldn't have been released - the rest is history. Regulation can open up markets and increase creativity and profits, if it's done correctly."

This is laughable. A director signs a contract with a studio, which agrees to exchange their property (money) for the director's talent. If the director doesn't like the terms of the agreement, he can refuse to sign the contract unless and until it is modified to his pleasing. If after signing the contract, that studio reneges on any part of the contract, the director can sue the studio for losses. If there is any gray area, such as the studio knowingly hiding something important from the director, a lawsuit will also clear that up. Where in this is a need for regulation to "give directors more power over their films"?

Whether or not the great films of the 70s would have occurred is of no concern; the ends do not justify the means, because that would eliminate the basic principles by which one guides one's actions (these principles are explained in the documents of the founding fathers). Most likely those films still would have occurred, because in most cases their stories were floating around in their respective writers' heads well before the increased regulation was put in place; it would simply be a matter of finding a studio willing to agree to their terms. If none exists, then there is a demand without a supply, and the necessary supply is likely to spring up to fulfill that demand.

No matter how hard they try, the legislature cannot regulate property rights out of existence. Anytime the government gets involved in the economy in this way, rights violations occur.

Re:Useless article (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883086)

No matter how hard they try, the legislature cannot regulate property rights out of existence. Anytime the government gets involved in the economy in this way, rights violations occur.


Unfortunately property rights cannot be absolute for any business whose infrastructure needs to be built on or across the property of others. Cable and telephone companies can't build their networks without obtaining right-of-way. Now, I suppose they could obtain that permission from each and every property owner whose land they have to cross but it would only take a handful of people saying "no under any circumstances" to ensure that we wouldn't have cable, landlines, railroads, or even roads for that matter. That would be just fine with a lot of hard-core libertarians but it is a non-starter in the real world.

Since we deem such infrastructure necessarily, there is some abrogation of property rights so that cable companies and phone companies can build out. That being the case, I'm not all against precluding certain types of dickery with what is partially a public good.

Re:Useless article (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883338)

As I said, property rights do not disappear just because laws have been passed that violate them, or because large parts of society want to violate them to get what they want as quickly as possible. If there is a large enough demand, the service providers will find a way to fulfill that demand with the contractual agreement of everyone necessary to make that fulfillment happen. Fantasizing about situations where this would be impossible is useless because the requirements for that fantasy to be maintained are unrealistic - in short, a huge demand is a huge influence upon suppliers.

If you have a pet desire that service X be provided to as many people in the US as possible, you can freely donate whatever amount you desire to service providers to help make that happen, and influence your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. Using legislation to make this happen is an immoral violation of property rights and makes a mockery of your own rights and the rights of those same friends, family, and neighbors.

Unfortunately, these pet desires have made it an accepted practice to use legislation to violate property rights, making it easier for those same legislators to accept violations of other rights (for examples, see the countless YRO, censorship, and privacy stories that occur daily on /.).

Lincon/Kennedy (1)

wirebird (1263278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882512)

Tony Warner is Comcast's chief technology officer... ...no doubt there is a Carl Cast working at Time Warner.

Re:Lincon/Kennedy (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883604)

Damn you..you beat me to it. i was gonna make that joke :p

agnostic (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882554)

Internet management should be "fair, agnostic and disclosed,"
Come again? (That's what she said) But seriously, what is agnostic about internet management, the fact that emotions and politics shouldn't play a part in it, or that people just can't sense it?

Bittorrent Inc., NOT bittorrent protocol! (4, Insightful)

Toasty16 (586358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882578)

This is just Comcast PR spin doctor damage control, since most people won't differentiate between Bittorrent, Inc and the bittorrent protocol. Comcast is just saying that they will stop inhibiting Bittorent, Inc's traffic without mentioning other bittorent programs/services like Azureus, utorrent, etc... Or possibly Comcast will give Bittorent, Inc. preferential treatment as compared to other bittorrent programs/services - so long, net neutrality!

The real issue is Comcast underinvesting in its infrastructure to the point where nodes meant to serve 400 residential customers are serving up to 700 (as confirmed to me by a tech who came in for a service call). In fact, Comcast actually INCREASED it's dividend to shareholders this year, meaning that instead of investing its increased profits into its own network for the benefit of its customers, it paid out to investors since the stock price is stagnant and it hopes they will plow that dividend back into Comcast shares.

Without investing in its infrastructure Comcast will continue to use underhanded tactics to scrimp and save bandwidth costs on a seriously overburdened network, to the detriment of its millions of customers. Complain loudly enough to Comcast and threaten to switch providers unless their service improves - ultimately that's the only way to make it change course to a customer-centric business model, which ultimately is the only way for it to stay in business.

Re:Bittorrent Inc., NOT bittorrent protocol! (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883852)

Complain loudly enough to Comcast and threaten to switch providers unless their service improves
I'd love to, if there were an alternative where I live. There isn't, and they know it.

(And to forestall the question, dial-up and satellite Internet are not alternatives -- the former due to throughput, the latter due to latency.)

Really, really creepy (4, Funny)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882674)

This sounds like the plot of a B-rated sci-fi horror flick. Two organizations have a difference of interests, become aggressive and then hostile, conflict escalates, and then, all of a sudden: everybody's happy! Of course we'll help you out! We'd be delighted! Think of all the ways we could help each other! And then the one PI starts poking his nose where everyone's so happy and he finds out it's stage one of the evil plan of a mind-controlling space bug from Venus, building it's legion of manslaves.

Re:Really, really creepy (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883312)

Think of it as the two main characters in a romantic comedy-drama. They hate each other so much that they lean in too close while shouting, then they start making out, possibly while still whispering hateful things.

Re:Really, really creepy (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884046)

You forgot the part about the FCC investigation.

What does comcast get from this? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882712)

I'm not sure I see what comcast is gaining from this ... except PR.

Unless bittorrent has sold out, the way kazaa and napster have... *sigh*

Re:What does comcast get from this? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882946)

You, like many others, are making the mistake of confusing BitTorrent, the protocol, with BitTorrent, Inc.

Comcast is making some sort of deal with the company, hoping people will assume they're playing nice with the protocol. And yes, the company can sell out -- but the protocol can't. Nothing BitTorrent, Inc. can do will make a dent in The Pirate Bay, other than Comcast being nice to BT Inc's torrents, and still throttling TPB torrents.

I like-a to say (5, Interesting)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882750)

In the words of Strongbad, "I like-a to say, 'Holy Crap!'"

This certainly is unexpected.

First off, Comcast is going to stop blocking or filtering or slowing down bittorrent traffic. That's bittorrent the protocol, not BitTorrent the company. From TFA, "We are working hard on a different approach that is protocol-agnostic during peak periods." Protocol. Not just torrents sanctioned by BitTorrent, Inc., but any torrents whatsoever.

Second, what seems to be even better, is that Comcast is going to be increasing throughput to its customers. "Internet Capacity" as stated in the summary doesn't really make sense, unless it's referring to an IPv4-IPv6 changeover (-1: Pedantic), but if that means what I think it was supposed to mean, then it's great. However, is it an increase in last-mile throughput, or overall throughput? Or both? Because overall throughput would simply mean that if your neighbors are torrenting, your connection isn't slowed down, whereas last-mile throughput would only increase your peak speed when no one else is downloading anything. It seems like last-mile throughput is generally already maxed out with today's (yesterday's?) technology, namely, cable, at around 6Mbps, and the bottleneck is in the shared line.

What I'm saying is that both should be improved. The shared line should be made so that everyone could attain peak throughput at all times, and the peak throughput should be about 10x-20x what it is now. That's right. The bottleneck should be in our own Cat5 cables or 802.11g networks, not imposed on us by our ISPs.

Of course, ISPs won't willingly provide this (it costs precious $$$s), but for what we're paying ($50 a month, or $100 with TV, which amounts to $1,200 a year) it kinda seems like we deserve it. Telecom companies are required to put most of their profits back into their networks, but I don't think ISPs like Comcast, which operate over cable, are. Maybe they should be. Seems like it might help.

Of course, most of that was just my incoherent rambling about one aspect of the state of technology in the US (don't get me started), so if you were expecting that to be meaningful, well, just forget what you read.

The next step... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883062)

Full disclosure of bandwidth limits.

That is: Either give your users truly unlimited service, or cap that at some value, in units we understand.

See, Comcast did ban people at one point for using "too much" bandwidth. They eventually did clarify what "too much" was -- it was a certain number of songs, photos, videos, or emails (different numbers for each). In other words, it was in units of "whatever the fuck we feel like."

Re:I like-a to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883598)

First off, Comcast is going to stop blocking or filtering or slowing down bittorrent traffic. That's bittorrent the protocol, not BitTorrent the company. From TFA, "We are working hard on a different approach that is protocol-agnostic during peak periods." Protocol. Not just torrents sanctioned by BitTorrent, Inc., but any torrents whatsoever.

I see nothing in that statement saying they're not going to shape bittorrent traffic. Just the opposite, it says they're going to block *more* to my reading. No more nice guys. And it's worded so that even geeks are misreading.

Let us review the very first line of the article together:
"Comcast Corp. says it will stop targeting BitTorrent on the Internet, according to an announcement to be made today."

Oops! Looks like we're talking BitTorrent and muddying the waters to mislead people.

It's all PR speak. Shaping will continue, and it'll affect more traffic.

To me, this looks like we're moving to highway tolls (ex the BitTorrent/Comcast aggreement) if people want to transfer, but implying the opposite.

Re:I like-a to say (2, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883630)

Remember the protocol is now closed source. It is very possible they will allow Bittorrent Inc.'s protocol, leaving the other clients having to reverse engineer/hack if they want their clients to work.

Comca$t is our $aviour (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882892)

Rumor has it, Comca$t is also talking to someone somewhere about lowering prices. They're going to work together on it. It's just around the corner. God bless the Com.

misleading headline (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883100)

Compare this with the betanews headline "Comcast opens up negotiations with BitTorrent on bandwidth"

Listen up: nothing will change (1)

trelayne (930715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883156)

In the face of FCC embarrassments, this is a public relations stunt
to confuse the public into believing torrents will now be treated politely.
Like others have said, they have the technology to play nice with specific content
provider torrents (friendly corporations) and not other legitimate torrents.

Don't stop the pressure! CLASS ACTION SUIT NOW!

Notice the Fine Print, please... (2, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883190)

Notice the fine print: They aren't saying they are ending interference with P2P, they are saying they will stop treating BitTorrent differently then other heavy transfers.

Which is a Good Thing, IMO, and I'm happy to have been proven wrong (I thought the P2P vs ISP war was going to heat up further.)

However, a guess: it may be a consequence of improved traffic shaping: they are already starting to prioritize short connections ("Speed boost", which is being very heavily advertised in this area).

You don't NEED to do RST injections if you can take the 1% heavy-users and traffic shape them down to a reasonable level when there's congestion. RST injection is very crude traffic management compared to the alternatives.

It also allows the ISP to deal with the cost externalities indirectly, because now the 90% don't complain as much about bad performance when they want to surf the net.

Finally, there is NOTHING in this that says they have to treat BitTorrent UPLOADS as special, just "not different from youtube".

Comcast has repeatedly claimed that they are only killing "leeches/seeds", flows which upload vastly more than they download. If Comcast instead just shapes all large uploads, this will have effectively the same effect, without the visible political repercussions.

Likewise, if ALL ISPs agressively shape uploads, this kills the P2P business model nearly as sure as anything else.

Also, the lack of topological awareness does hurt BitTorrent, as well as the lack of cacheability. If the ISP is able to say that
a) BitTorrent-type protocols can stay in my local loop and
b) These flows are ones I CAN cache without being sued

BitTorrent type flows become far less objectionable.

Cobblers. (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883266)

Its kinda obvious, and other posters have stated it, but its important enough to state again.

BitTorrent the company is NOT BitTorrent the protocol.

This is much like the MS Gambit of saying that that as there are other OSes then they do not have a monopoly. It is like the **AA saying that their own pet DRMware internet services exist so they cannot be against music on the internet. It is like drugs companies saying that even though the patents have expired they still have the copyright on the name and process.

In otherwords it is a fanciful fiction that makes people think one thing while hiding another in plain sight. I bet my (metaphorical) hat this they will continue to throttle the bandwith for non-approved or non-compliant P2P.

So why BitTorrent ? (0, Flamebait)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883300)

What I don't get is how they're saying BitTorrent (inc) wants to distance itself from software piracy.

BitTorrent is a tool. FTP is a tool. Web/IRC/usenet/email are tools. They're all used for distributing a large portion of illegal content.

You know what else is a tool ? Bram Cohen. By incorporating/selling out, he has positioned himself as a target for this level of corporate bullshit. The reason people aren't suing the creators of FTP and IRC is because they're public domain protocols that predate the idiotic MySpace generation. Whoever "invented" FTP isn't touring the country giving seminars about how awesome they are and why they should be paid gobs of money.

US broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883390)

... because broadband in the United States is falling behind other areas of the world...
Be clear- it's NOT a technological or engineering talent problem- it's purely a socio-policical problem, including the significant problem of extremely top-heavy and overly powerful huge corporations (like Comcast) and collectives (like RIAA.)

I call BS, bigtime here, enormously (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883406)

First off. Wait till there is action on this. I still saw a 30% reset rate as of this morning seeding a torrent.

The phrase is : I'll believe it when I see it.

So I would not believe even for an instant this is anything other than trying to get people off their backs a little as anyone who found out about it has been majorly pissed off. Really, this is comcast, they have a reputation of doing shady and stupid things. Would anyone logically expect them to just turn a new leaf anytime before they have competition? I doubt it.

note: not intended as flame, please don't flame me, I welcome replies and opinions

I was right & thought on first run movies on B (1)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883612)

If you can't support it don't sell it!
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=497516&cid=22848256 [slashdot.org]

I wouldn't be surprised if Bit Torrent and there partners threatened ComCast, maybe with a boycott or civil action.

I now predict that Bit Torrent or it descendant will obsolete BlueRay and Cable for recorded video content distribution, Even 1080i HD

Now not to tangent too much:

In the short term BlueRay will clearly kill off DVD, DVD-R, and HD-DVD had already just died.

I just talked yesterday with the only BlueRay disk manufacturer in the US.
  They were talking about 500GB disks, so I think will be a long time before Bit Torrent will be able to compete with that. (Especially when spray on 4K Digital Cinema video walls come out in 20 years.. )

500GB BlueRay-R when it arrives sounds like a great media to back up my Torrent downloaded pirated movie collection.
  But seriously how the heck can I back up 1TB Sata drives?

Now for the Wacky Idea: first run movies on Bit Torrent.

    I have the rights to make a movie based on a famous SciFi writer short story who just passed away at age 90.
      Can not share his name, but you can easily guess this one.

      After 3 years of rejections from Hollywood, I was thinking that maybe we can fund the movie with donations and grants and release the movie freely (GPL style) over Bit Torrent and BlueRay and then see what it will take to get it played in theaters. I really think it would be so cool and set a whole new model for film production, copyleft movies. Am I a nut job or is this just crazy enough to work?

  If you have any thoughts on that hit me up on http://videotechnology.blogspot.com/2008/03/now-for-wacky-idea-first-run-movies-on.html [blogspot.com] I tried posting this as a Ask SlashDot article but was rejected for some reason.

I have another blog post here.
http://johnsokol.blogspot.com/2008/03/copyleft-movies-can-it-be-done.html [blogspot.com]

Is there a bizarro error present in BTassumptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883672)

Somewhat off-topic:

I've seen plenty of posts and comments and praise of using the BitTorrent protocol as a distribution model.

Isn't this however slightly comparable to the following:

It's discovered that a lot of new cables need to be laid in a city, but the traditional distribution methods (digging up streets or stretching overhead) is too expensive. So some smartass comes up with the idea of pulling cables through the gas mains. And it actually works. Because there's plenty of space.

Then the TV company wants in on it. Then the other TV company wants to be in on it. Then the electricity company wants to be in on it. Then each of them makes a plan saying "The water mains have spare capacity X, and we can fill that capacity with our stuff for cheap", and put down a lot of effort in planning and hiring teams and researching how they can make their cables faster, better, go around corners, etc.

Then the first company implements the plan, and suddenly there's no room for anyone else.

In short, if the tubes have capacity X, and the sum of currently independently planned filling is >X, and especially as there is no business model for allocating X between these (in fact, there is a very strong movement against allowing any form of individual capacity reservation) how can that end not with a train wreck?
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