Illegal Sharing May be Bad Bathwater. But P2P is a perfectly good little baby.

Mark Cuban recently blogged that he thinks ISPs should block P2P. …Period. His idea being that P2P usage is hogging up all the precious bandwidth, and in turn, slowing down the Web.

I don’t want to bother with taking apart all the things that Mr. Cuban said over there, because I think they’re mostly completely ignorant things to say like

“…To help those of you who cant understand how to distribute audio on Google Video, here is a hint: Re encode it with a little video, a couple pictures, whatever. Then it it wont be an audio file, it will be a video file.. Ta da . You get distribution by the best distribution network on the planet, for free.”

There are so many reasons why that statement makes me want to break something. Oh well

Let me focus on this instead:

Cuban’s point of view reflects some common misconceptions.

Misconception 1: P2P and File-Sharing are a bad things.

Peer-to-Peer, or P2P, describes a number of technologies for using IP to network computers. Of these, some of the most frequently talked about in the mainstream news are the Gnutella Network (Kazaa, Limewire Etc) and BitTorrent.

There are others though. Many, many others. For instance, if you use AIM and while chatting, you decide to send a picture to your buddy, you are using P2P. I’m pretty sure (correct me if I’m wrong) Vonage, Skype and other VOIP services are also examples of P2P.


And in fact, BitTorrent is being used for a number of lawful purposes including legal distribution of software and video and audio content.

“File-Sharing” and “P2P” are very broad terms. Using one of these broad terms when you are referring only to the specific instance of a technology that you do not approve of is misleading and/or ignorant. It’s a bit like referring to pornography websites as “The World Wide Web.”


Misconception 2: There is a shortage of bandwidth.

There is not a shortage of bandwidth. If you consider that practically every one of us has a wire coming into our homes that is carrying 100 channels of full-rez video that are always on, 24 hours a day… Yes, all 100 of them are on all the time even when you’re not watching them… Then you might start to wonder:

“Why do they say we have a bandwidth problem?”


“Why are Cable TV and the Internet Separate when with Cable’s speed and the internet’s freedom, […yada yada…]?”

and eventually you might find yourself thinking about:

“What would happen to the Television Advertising Market if all the TV shows were just watched via the Web? Would that be bad for cable companies or good? Where would all that money go? ”

Or even

“Is it possible that there’s an actual reason that our Internet Connections aren’t fast enough to replace Cable TV yet?”

“Is this like a conspiracy theory or something?”

Now would be a good time to learn a thing or two about theThe Net Neutrality Debate. Pay close attention to what the Cable Companies seem to be after. Can you see what they want to do? Can you see why?

As you observe the bizarre feeding ritual of the greedy cable company, keep in mind, some of us are hogging all your bandwidth with our P2P technologies, so your research might get slowed down a little bit .


One Reply to “Illegal Sharing May be Bad Bathwater. But P2P is a perfectly good little baby.”

  1. I didn’t have enough time to read through your whole post but Joost is also partly powered by P2P. Not wholly, but P2P connections contribute to their content distribution system.

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