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French, Canadians, (Mark) Cuban Go After P2P

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Torrents and peer-to-peer networks have had a rough couple of weeks lately. In addition to Cox and Comcast’s recent blocking of torrent sites, file-sharing has been under assault in France and Canada, not to mention from billionaire Mark Cuban.

Mike MasnickThe Entertainment Industry has governments across the globe under its thumb. In France, new legislation "intended to curb casual piracy" will require ISPs to monitor file-sharing traffic and report offenders to an independent body. Violators risk having their connection terminated.

As Mike Masnick at TechDirt points out, that’s a far-sight better than being jailed for it. He writes:

[I]t’s not clear why ISPs are now doing the bidding of the entertainment industry, and why casual, non-commercial file sharing deserves punishment as serious as losing your internet access completely. About the only "good" thing you can say about this new proposal is that at least it doesn’t involve throwing people into jail for casual file sharing.  

In Francophilic Quebec, the entertainment industry is also busy trying to shut down torrents. Their main target, because it was the only one that provided a name and address, is QuebecTorrent.

The legal departments of some of the largest players in the industry  — Sony BMG Music Canada, Universal Music Canada and EMI Group Canada – are suing Quebec Torrent and are seeking a court injunction to shut down the site. P2P fans fear such a court-approved action will provide the necessary legal precedent for the recording industry to shut other Canadian sites down as well.

But, as often is the case, the recording industry is casting a rather wide net. QuebecTorrent complains that the plaintiffs’ "vision of what constitutes a Peer to Peer website is rather limited. They present Peer to Peer and QuebecTorrent solely as pirates that deliberately infringe upon copyrights and are harmful to the music industry."

And finally, back in the US, entertainment and Internet mogul Mark Cuban, who ironically has invested in P2P companies in the past, is calling for the "quick death" of P2P via a tiered Internet service.

Taking the traditional telco and cable stance against Internet "freeloaders," Cuban called for cable companies to "charge a premium to those users who want to act as a seed and relay for P2P traffic." Doing so, he argues, will speed up cable connections.

Ryan Paul at Ars Technica disagrees:

[W]hat, exactly, is wrong with users saturating their connections? They are, after all, paying for that connectivity, and most ISPs are keen to market their higher-cost, higher-speed services. Dictating how bandwidth can be used will not make bandwidth any faster or cheaper, nor will attempting to play favorites with what kind of Internet traffic is legit or not.

But all three of these examples raise very important questions as to the amount of power we’re willing to grant ISPs to monitor what we do on the Internet and to report to "governing" authorities.

By "governing" authorities, I mean every multi-billion dollar corporation actually in charge of running things, not the band of rats in government now. Just ask Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert. They know how it works.



French, Canadians, (Mark) Cuban Go After P2P
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