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Censorship The Internet

Mark Cuban Calls on ISPs to Block P2P 463

boaz112358 writes "Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, HDNet CEO, and noted gadfly is publishing on his blog that Comcast and other ISPs should block all P2P traffic, because as he says, "As a consumer, I want my internet experience to be as fast as possible. The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are P2P freeloaders." He complains that commercial content distributors instead of paying for their own bandwidth, are leeching off consumers who are paying for the bandwidth. As an alternative distribution method (at least for audio and video), he suggests Google video."
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Mark Cuban Calls on ISPs to Block P2P

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  • hold on a sec... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:01AM (#21451911)
    .. so this assholes logic is his traffic is better then mine? I pay just the same as he does for the service and as long as i use it inside the terms of my agreement he has no right to say anything.
  • by Basje ( 26968 ) <> on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:02AM (#21451919) Homepage
    The same argument can be applied to voip and more recently internet television. But it's a logic stance for an established player with enough capital: they have the means to provide enough bandwidth to things in a traditional client-server way.

    P2P is only in its infancy. More and more applications are being found for it. Joost is one example, where p2p is used in a way to allow a relatively small player to operate. New uses even bring bandwidth use down, keeping it local.

    It would be stupid to kill these opportunities for the benefit of a few big players.
  • by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:03AM (#21451923) Journal
    Amen. This asshole isn't paying for my bandwidth, so he should shut the hell up. Arrrr.
  • Paying Customer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:05AM (#21451929)
    Ok... so now paying customers who buy a service as it is advertised are freeloaders?

    This is getting silly..... ISPs should NOT be advertising services they can not actually provide and then blaming groups of their own customers for their lack of infrastructure.
  • How exactly ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:06AM (#21451933)
    Sure one can probably block BT, but then how does one block TOR? other P2P protocols to come that will cleverly hide behind innocuous-looking web servers and use port 80 or 22 for traffic ? What about all the legal content delivered via P2P ?

    This is a battle that cannot be won, unless the whole Internet is shut down. Most people in the content business would like to regulate P2P like TV or shut it down like unregulated radio, but unlike these media, P2P doesn't require more equipment or knowledge than ordinary citizen already possess in order to be able to broadcast.

    The cat is out of the bag, and the clever ones will take advantage of it. The others will fight to the bitter end and lose, as always.
  • obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sam.thorogood ( 979334 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:08AM (#21451945)
    As a consumer, I want my P2P experience to be as fast as possible. The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are regular downloading freeloaders, only getting content from one source, and clogging up the tubes, rather than downloading different parts of my final file from a whole bunch of different (and potentially local) sources. Seriously.
  • by beef3k ( 551086 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:14AM (#21451987)
    Moving to Google Video... yeah I guess that'd help a lot. Let's centralize everything and see how well that works out for everyone.
    Or wait... why was it that this P2P concept was invented again? "Distribute load" or something... difficult concept.

    Try again Mark.
  • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:20AM (#21452013)

    "Ok... so now paying customers who buy a service as it is advertised are freeloaders?"

    He means this in the sense that while you might pay Comcast a monthly fee for bandwidth, you're using that bandwidth to get free movies, games and music that are otherwise being offered for sale. Yes, I'm aware that some people use BitTorrent only for legitimate purposes, but he's addressing the other 99%.

    "This is getting silly..... ISPs should NOT be advertising services they can not actually provide and then blaming groups of their own customers for their lack of infrastructure."

    Agreed. Since Comcast is a virtual monopoly in many localities, they could simply drop the "unlimited" plan and start selling monthly bandwidth alotments in tiers. This wouldn't be a popular decision among BitTorrent fans, but it would be more equitable.

  • Re:Freeloaders? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nicholas Evans ( 731773 ) <> on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:31AM (#21452075) Homepage
    Then, is it the customer's fault that his ISP is grossly overselling their capacity?
  • Re:Freeloaders? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:32AM (#21452077) Journal
    Perhaps the ISP shouldn't oversell their bandwidth? It would result in higher prices, but it would be more honest.
  • Re:Freeloaders? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:32AM (#21452079)
    Next we should disable people's cars who drive more often than the grandma next door. And what about those people who use the city parks every day?! I mean clearly everyone should behave *exactly* the same as everyone else. Who do these leechers think they are?
  • Re:Freeloaders? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) * <> on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:34AM (#21452085) Homepage Journal
    They should get their gig of porn, too. In fact, gigs of porn all around.

    Or at least to whomever's ISPs promised them service. That's the real problem here, the overselling of backhaul capacity and quoting of mindless 'burst' speeds rather than average or continuous transfer. What everyone is doing with their connection is irrelevant. If I'm downloading porn or watching YouTube, the effect on my neighbors is going to be basically the same (witness most recent 'imminent death of the net' story, which IIRC blamed video).

    We need a little more truth in advertising in internet access. Let's make them advertise two separate figures, one for speed and one for transfer, for starters. And if they're going to do QoS or prioritize traffic, that needs to be disclosed, too -- not just that they're going to do it, but on what basis they're going to do the QoS and a breakdown of what traffic is going to get what priority over what else.
  • by thej1nx ( 763573 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:50AM (#21452157)
    Actually it is not the paying customers who are the freeloaders.

    All ISPs offer a "shared bandwidth" plan where they tell you that you will be sharing the bandwidth at the last mile, with your neighbors. And if you want to have fast guaranteed unshared access, they offer a dedicated "bandwidth connection" for a premium fee, where only you get the full bandwidth and if it is any lower than promised average, you can actually complain to the ISP and get it fixed, or even possibly sue them for not providing service as promised.

    Mr. cheapskate bigshot CEO opted for the shared bandwidth option, where he was aware that his neighbors would share the bandwidth and thus his connection quality was dependent on their usage. He chose not to go for the premium dedicated line in order to save a few dollars.

    And now the Greedy Bastard is complaining about why he is not getting the features of the *premium* dedicated service on his cheap shared bandwidth connection. And then he calls *others* freeloaders!!!

  • Re:How exactly ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) * <> on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:07AM (#21452219) Homepage Journal
    Possible, but that's not trivial. In fact, it can be quite hard to tell an encrypted bitstream from a heavily compressed one of some unknown format (say, the Flash video codec-of-the-week). It wouldn't be hard to take encrypted data and encapsulate it in some other format, making it appear to casual inspection to be streaming video or VoIP or something else entirely.

    They could make life on ports 22 and 443 and using conventional protocols like HTTPS and SSH really obnoxious, but you can't just ban all encrypted content, at least not easily and at very high speeds.
  • by vivaoporto ( 1064484 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:11AM (#21452233)
    That makes no sense. One day, he is venting against Youtube, calling it "cockroach in the kitchen" [] and telling everybody knows it is a safe harbor for copyright infringement; and now, he is suggesting that people should be using Google Video (that is, Youtube sister site). IMHO, he should get the Dvorak trolling award for every now and then stirring up the hornets nest for whatever reason he does it. Lame.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:16AM (#21452247)
    Kudos for whoever tagged this 'fucktard'. He had it coming.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:17AM (#21452257)
    How do you prioritize among lots of anonymous encrypted bitstreams?
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:31AM (#21452301) Journal
    Can someone explain to me why anyone should care about what Mark Cuban says?

    Sorry, I'm still trying to figure out why anyone should care what Bill Gates says...

  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @06:05AM (#21452409)
    Mark Cuban is talking about corporate broadcasters using P2P bandwidth. One would hope these corporations pay the artists what they deserve for their hard work. Yes group-think does suck, especially when you are on the wrong side of it.

    Some facts:
    Real fans pay for music.
    Poor fans won't pay for music whether it is easily available or not.
    And if there wasn't any demand, then there wouldn't be any supply.
    The market will work itself out despite DRM and the like.
  • So no TCP/IP then? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @06:36AM (#21452529) Journal
    Mark Cuban is an idiot. You'd think that someone that made most of their money sending media over the Internet would at least understand how it works. TCP/IP itself is a "peer-to-peer" technology. Despite how many ISPs run their service, one of the overarching ideas of TCP/IP is that any machine can connect to any other machine, and if the other machine accepts the connection, can communicate. TCP/IP does not care which machine is the client or the server, and in some cases for some protocols, it is the server that connects to the client. So really, Mark Cuban is against the Internet as a whole, has shown that he is a crackpot, and can rightfully go back to obscurity where he belongs.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <> on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:05AM (#21452667)
    Hmmm, do you really want this? Think hard about this... It's a slippery slope...

    What you are referring to is breaking of network neutrality (
    The principle of net neutrality and regulations designed to support the neutrality of the Internet have been subject to fierce debate in various forums. Since the early 2000s, advocates of net neutrality rules have warned of the danger that broadband providers will use their power over the "last mile" to block applications they oppose, and also to discriminate between content providers (e.g. websites, services, protocols), particularly competitors.

    So if universities do priorization, why not corporations, why not ISP's?

    A slippery slope....
  • by Simple-Simmian ( 710342 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:08AM (#21452673) Journal
    I use bandwidth for P2P and a lot of it. I also pay for the top tier plan that my ISP offers. If it's not enough to pay for the bandwidth I use they need to charge me more. This clown is out of his depth.
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:15AM (#21452695) Homepage Journal
    I'm not talking warez and pr0n - what about all the Free and Open Source software projects that distribute their installers via BitTorrent?

    And not just software - p2p is critical to the ability of independent musicians to distribute downloads of their music. For example, Jamendo [] offers Creative Commons music from thousands of artists via BitTorrent and eMule.

    I'm such a musician - I offer BitTorrent downloads of my music []. If (Heaven forbid!) I got slashdotted, the torrents would keep me from being bankrupted by bandwidth bills, as would be the case if I only offered HTTP downloads.

  • Re:Freeloaders? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bstone ( 145356 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:41AM (#21452823)
    >>Perhaps the ISP shouldn't oversell their bandwidth? It would result in higher prices, but it would be more honest.

    Or perhaps they should sell their bandwidth differently. Some people want a really high-speed connection for instant response time and occasional large transfers, others want to use all the bandwidth they can get 24/7. The two could be charged differently for their usage. Sell different plans with the same connection speed but different limits on maximum monthly usage. When someone goes over the limit, either throttle their connection to a much lower speed or bill the extra usage at a premium rate. The ISPs could actually offer higher speeds at much cheaper rates to the 'normal' users, and make extra bucks off the high volume users. Users would pay for what they use, and as people moved to high volume use, the ISP could add the bandwidth without having to gripe about it. They could even shape their traffic if they wanted to, offering lower rates during off hours for high volume use.

    A side benefit would be that they wouldn't have to oversell bandwidth by anywhere near as much since they would know how much real bandwidth they need by the type of account.

  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:57AM (#21452881) Homepage

    All the excuses in the world won't change the fact that if I get my music for free and don't go to concerts, the artists don't get a penny.

    FWIW, with the sort of music I listen to (modern-classical music), the performers don't usually get royalties, and the labels--even if they sold all copies of a CD--still wouldn't turn a profit without funding from state arts ministries. That changes the situation significant. The ethical dilemma of downloading the works of a rock band is not the same as in other genres.

    Then there are cases in the popular music world where the artist, because of some contract issue, no longer gets royalties on his albums at all I believe that that is the case with Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins, for example. If not a penny goes to the artist anymore, what is the difference between downloading and buying?

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @08:27AM (#21452971)
    I'll buy music when it's a reasonable price. No song is worth a dollar. It's just music. And a dollar for much lower quality music compared to the uncompressed CD format? What a rip off.

    I'm all for supporting artists, but I won't support the RIAA and bullshit business tactics to do it. I stick to music from people I know or discover and that I can buy directly from them or an outlet similar to CDBaby.
  • by zotz ( 3951 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:49AM (#21453335) Homepage Journal
    "P2P allows a significant number of small-time content producers to get their content out to a lot of people. Otherwise, they could never afford it and only the big guys would get to play the game."

    And this would make the big guys very happy. I wonder if our Mr. Cuban is a big guy or a small guy these days...

    all the best,

  • by untaken_name ( 660789 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:50AM (#21453343) Homepage
    Either that or get their own Internet access and get off the school's network.

    They should not use the access they're paying for, but instead should go pay another internet provider also? That sounds fair. And by fair, I mean utterly stupid. It's not like you get to choose not to pay your inet fee - most schools either require it or bury it in other fees anyway, so even if you DO pay for your own inet access, you're just double or triple-paying. How about when you pay for internet access, you get to... I know this is crazy... access the internet? If it's too slow for Mark Cuban, he's welcome to run his own, faster network and put whatever policies he wants in to place to govern it. He has enough money. But he, you, and everyone else can stay the fuck out of my internet usage, thank you.
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @10:37AM (#21453683)
    That seems like a reasonable price. I'd also buy a lot more music. The question is whether or not the movement artists are slowly making to get away from the major distribution labels and moving into self-distribution (thanks, intarweb!), will result in artists dropping the price of their product significantly, while still managing to raise the amount they would receive from royalties with a corporate label? Or will they decide that if record labels can charge $20 for a CD and give them a buck, they should be able to charge $20 and keep it all?

    See, here is the thing. How much is music worth? Well, it is worth whatever the artist is paid. The idiot anonymous coward who posted elsewhere here in reply to me suggesting that I am somehow obligated to buy music I don't even line for whatever value corporations place on them is completely off base.

    How much does a VERY successful band get from a single $20 CD? A buck. Maybe two bucks if they are lucky. Therefore, the music is worth one or two dollars for an entire album of content. The other $18 is the price of advertising, distribution, lawyers, music videos, corporate revenue building. It has nothing to do with the value of the actual music to me as a consumer. Those are all added expenses by other people to get the music to me. It isn't needed anymore. Especially since I don't find out about music on the radio or television, but through friends and the internet. If a band is paid $2 for the royalty on each album, then $2 is what the album itself is worth. Do away with the middle man and sell me the product for $2. Or charge $4 if you like, as the artist.

    So until the artist is the one dictating the price of their product, people like that anonymous coward who want CORPORATIONS to dictate the price of an artist's product can suck it.
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Friday November 23, 2007 @10:41AM (#21453715) Journal
    So if universities do priorization, why not corporations, why not ISP's?

    Because a university is a private network. Same with a business. Your house is also a private network.
    So if I do priorization in my own home, why not corporations, why not ISP's?

    Do you want the government telling you that you can't prioritize you WOW session over you daughters MySpace traffic?
    When there is only one choice of ISP in a given area, that ISP becomes a public utility, not a private university, company or home. This is where net nutrality rules will apply. Once that traffic is delivered to the ISP's customers, it becomes private data and is not governed by Internet rules.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:11PM (#21456303)
    The fools at Yahoo, in between lighting cigars with $100 bills during the dotcom bubble, paid this useless blabbermouth for then promptly tossed its technology and content in the memory hole.

    The guy became a billionaire and contributed absolutely zip to anything. Every time his name shows up on this site I throw up a little in my mouth.
  • by scarboni888 ( 1122993 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:53PM (#21458413)
    I REALLY do use P2P to download my Ubuntu .ISO's. You want to cut me out too?
  • by totally bogus dude ( 1040246 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:12PM (#21459009)

    I think the term "business class" means something else when you're a student at a uni.

    Anyway, this is a horrible idea. ISPs should just make sure they have enough bandwidth to satisfy everyone at peak time. Not doing so is called being cheap and nasty.

    In Australia we have monthly download quotas, which some people hate but seems to actually be a good solution. If you want to P2P 200 gigs a month you can, but you're going to pay a lot more for your access than someone who wants to do 10 gigs a month over their company's VPN. Also, you have a well-defined limit to work to; I've seen quite a few posts here about some ISPs having a seemingly undefined "limit" after which they start asking you to curb your net usage. But if you ask them what they consider acceptable you'll never get an answer, because it's always changing. So, I might only get 40 gigs a month on my account, but I know I'll always be able to use it at full speed because my ISP ensures they have enough capacity to handle peak periods.

    There is of course money to be made by catering to the heavy downloaders who don't care too much about performance, by selling them cheap accounts with heavily overcommitted bandwidth. But if you're doing that without being upfront about it, then you're cheap and nasty; and it shouldn't be the norm. If you pay for a X mbit/sec connection, that's what you should get, and the only time you shouldn't get the full throughput is if the host you're receiving data from can't handle it.

  • by totally bogus dude ( 1040246 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @10:03PM (#21459319)

    I think it's more that people don't care how ISPs make their money. It's not my problem if an ISP offers a product which they're unable to make a profit on, any more than it's my problem if a store mis-prices an item and sells it a loss.

    ISPs have been telling everyone that bandwidth is cheap, by selling X mbit at Y$ per month. "Use it as much as you want and that's all you'll pay", they say. Now they're complaining that their customers actually think their $Y per month entitles them to X mbit of bandwidth. Gee, I wonder why that is?

    If you sell an internet connection as an unlimited service, people are going to use it as an unlimited service. If you can't actually provide that, then don't sell it! IMHO, if an ISP that sells you an unlimited X mbit connection and then tells you you're using it too much, it should be an open-and-shut case of false advertising. They're entering into a contract with you without being able to fulfil their side of it.

    In the internet backwaters of Australia, ISPs used to offer unlimited access plans on dialup. The low bandwidth of dialup meant that this was kind of feasible, because there's only so much you can download at 56k. When ADSL started coming out, they went to a quota system, because even a couple of hundred kilobits per second can add up to a crapload of data if left going 24/7, and data from overseas costs a lot.

    So now I'm paying for 40 gigs of traffic on an ADSL2 link at ~ 19mbit down, 1mbit up. Sure, it's only 40 gigs, but they're my 40 gigs. I can do whatever I want with that and not worry about being throttled because my ISP doesn't approve of particular types of traffic.

    There are ISPs here which offer cheaper prices for a much higher quota (and even some offering unlimited quotas at low speeds, i.e. 256kbit). I'm with a more expensive ISP because the cheaper ones heavily oversubscribe and that means you often get poor performance during peak periods. I don't have a problem with ISPs providing such a service; there's people who want to download a lot but don't really care if sometimes (or often) websites are slow to load. It's only a problem if they try to hide the fact that they do this.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"