Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pirating the Internet

Cox Communications, the third largest internet service provider (ISP) in America, is hitting BitTorrent users with slower downloads. But they are not the only ones wishing to start a war against torrent users. Even ISPs across the globe, such as Eircom in Ireland, are fighting in the battle.

The internet was originally created to help connect people that live far apart and have them share information. With the evolution of the web, more and more information has been uploaded; especially copyrighted files. Music, movies, and applications are just among a few of the illegal files that are exchanges through what are called peer-to-peer (p2p) networks. Programs such as Limewire provide a means of connection between a computer trying to download a file and other computers that have that same file.

Files shared through p2p networks that are copyrighted are completely illegal. It is unfair that, while some people actually pay for a movie, others just go online and download it completely free of charge and without leaving the comfort of their chair. Not only that, but if p2p networks become as mainstream as the internet itself, the billion dollar entertainment industry will suffer.

Thousands of houses are under the same Comcast connection in order for the company to save money. Comcast created a front against p2p because households running such programs would occupy a good amount of bandwidth denying other households access to the internet. They proposed the idea of dividing up bandwidth between all households they provide internet equally to make it so p2p networks on one connection cannot boot another computer off the internet because the p2p program pushes Comcast’s limits to the max. When the FCC took a look at Comcast’s plan, they deemed it illegal since they were hindering the sharing of information on the free air.

Sharing files doesn’t truly hurt anyone. The only thing that it does is lower the profits of people making multi-billion dollars. Pirating movies and music is the same as borrowing it from a friend; you watch the movie or rip the music files to your computer. Pirating is unstoppable because of how the files are sent across the internet. The files are broken up into small pieces called packets. The packets are sent to the computer download the file from various computers. Those very same computers sent the packets through different pathways to get to the computer downloading the file. The packets stay separate until all of them arrive at their destination where they are pieced together by the p2p software.

Because the internet was created to share information and files, nothing is going to stop p2p networks. The people that created the programs are some of the best programmers in America and will manage to find ways around any wall that is put up in defense. The government should just forfeit all its fruitless attempts to block illegal file sharing. There is nothing they can do without invasion of privacy. It is all harmless fun that only hurts the rich.

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