Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Big win for free speech and for the internet

Team Member - Patrick S.

In a landmark case, BC Supreme Court judge Stephen Kelleher has ruled merely linking to an article does not amount to publication. "This is a very important precedent for internet law in Canada, confirming that website operators are not responsible for defamatory content on other websites to which they have merely linked," says Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) director Philippa Lawson.

"It's also big win for free speech and for the internet as we know it."

See the full article HERE.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Private P2P sharing?

Team Member - Joshua Gorman

(Via Google News) GigaTribe, a Web 2.0 file-sharing service, announced Monday that it has launched its product to the U.S. market. The company's software will allow users to share photos, videos, music, and documents with other users over a private peer-to-peer network.

At its core, GigaTribe is much like other file-sharing sites on the Web that are being monitored by the RIAA and MPAA, but it creates a private network to keep them out. The service allows users to share any file for free and create a group that can send files back and forth.

Due to the inherent security risk that goes along with its business model, GigaTribe's executives pointed out that the company does its best to keep files secure. To do that, it allows users to assign friends into groups and allow them access to certain files. The company also encrypts all files to add an extra layer of security.


This brings P2P sharing to a whole new level in my opinion as to giving more power to the users. No longer would the RIAA or MPAA be able to search your computer for shared files, the only people that will be able to see the files you are sharing is the people you invite to your friends lists. This is a massive step forward in user privacy for P2P networks...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Music Industry takes soulseek to court

Here's an interesting article on the legal end to filesharing. Basically if your in France don't be downloading pirated material.

Team Member Michael Graulich

Music Industry Takes Soulseek to Court
Written by Ernesto on November 20, 2008

Soulseek is one the greatest music sharing communities that most of the world has never heard of. Covering all genres, Soulseek is an active network specializing in electronic music, where many of the members are musicians themselves. The music industry, however, sees the filesharing application as a threat, and will go after Soulseek in court.

soulseekLast week we reported that French record labels were going after four file-sharing applications, including Limewire and the BitTorrent client Vuze. Now, just days later, two other French organizations are to continue this crackdown and sue Soulseek.

SACEM, the French association for music producers and SCPP, which represents record labels including Universal, EMI, BMG, Warner have filed a complaint against the filesharing application.

The industry bodies argue that Soulseek, an application created by former Napster programmer Nir Arbel, is designed to permit unauthorized access to copyrighted works. According to a French law adopted in 2006, distributing such software is an offense that can lead to a 3 year jail sentence, as well as a fine up to 300,000 euros.

While Soulseek can be used to share any type of file, it is almost exclusively used to share music. Soulseek has a multitude of sub-communities, each dedicated to their chosen musical genres. The members can be incredibly passionate and many of them are experts in their field. Although mainstream music is available, the majority of the files shared on the network are underground independent music.

On the Soulseek website, it is clearly stated that the intention of their application is not to infringe copyright. Instead, it aims “to help unsigned and/or independent artists find a place in the ever-growing music industry, in a place where discussion and the creation of music can take place.”

Similar to other music sharing communities such as the BitTorrent sites and, many members are artists themselves, who share their music freely. True to this spirit, members of the Soulseek community founded Soulseek Records (or SLSK Records), a non-profit netlabel where artists publish their music for free, under a Creative Commons license.

Instead of supporting this creative platform, the French music industry continues its witch-hunt, effectively killing their own business. If they are successful, this case, or the lawsuits against the other four p2p clients, will undoubtedly impact other filesharing applications.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Duke University - A BitTorrent Friendly Campus?

Posted by Bill Frost

Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, has long been regarded as one of the premier institutes of higher learning. Located in the "Research Triangle" area of Raleigh-Durham, Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill can be considered, if not the South's then at least, the state of North Carolina's version of "Ivy League" universities. History and tradition would lead one to believe that a college, such as Duke, would not buck the system or go against the norm; however, they have just done that.

Duke University's Office of Student Affairs has announced that they will require the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other holding groups of copyrighted material to submit evidence before they will investigate or prosecute alleged violations of the anti-copyright laws. Whereas many universities may have written policies for students regarding this sort of activity or notices are sent directly to students "no questions asked" if they are accused, Duke has decided to put their student's first.

This "behavior" by the university should be both applaued and adopted by other schools. This is not necessarily condoning the action; however, it does give the students a feeling that they are supported by their institution.

Limitations and security vulnerabilities

Kevin Jung

Limitations and Security Vulnerabilities:

Lack of Anonymity
BitTorrent does not offer its users anonymity. It is possible to obtain the IP addresses of all current, and possibly previous, participants in a swarm from the tracker. This may expose users with insecure systems to attacks.[5]

Dialup versus Broadband
BitTorrent is best suited to continuously connected broadband environments. Dial-up users find it less efficient due to frequent disconnects and slow download rates.

The Leech Problem
BitTorrent file sharers, compared to users of client/server technology, often have little incentive to become seeders after they finish downloading. The result of this is that torrent swarms gradually die out, meaning a lower possibility of obtaining older torrents. Some BitTorrent websites have attempted to address this by recording each user's download and upload ratio for all or just the user to see, as well as the provision of access to newer torrent files to people with better ratios. Users who have low upload ratios may see slower download speeds until they upload more. This prevents (statistical) leeching, since after a while they become unable to download much faster than 1-10 kB/s on a high-speed connection. Some trackers exempt dial-up users from this policy, because they cannot upload faster than 1-3 kB/s.

The Leech Compensation Problem
To combat this leeching problem, some seeders deliberately withhold one final piece from the seed, thus leaving a large number of potential seeders once they receive the withheld piece of data. With clients each awaiting that one final piece, the seeder ensures that there will be many more seeds once the final piece is released.

It is considered good etiquette to utilize the "Share Ratio" data, and equal (1.000 Ratio) or double (2.000 Ratio) one's leeching. This provides an opportunity for one to compensate for one's own leeching, and support the torrent, and nature of the protocol. While this is usually most easily accomplished with a DSL or ADSL connection, those using Dial-up will not be able to conform easily to this rule of etiquette. Also, it should be noted that many internet providers still have restrictions as to the amount of traffic generated over a certain period of time. As such it is likely for users with such internet connections to minimalise their share ratio.

The Cheater Problem
There are "cheating" clients like BitThief which claim to be able to download without uploading. Such exploitation negatively affects the cooperative nature of the BitTorrent protocol, although it might prove useful for people in countries where uploading pirated material is illegal, but downloading is not.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Kevin Jung


Peer Accelerated Content Delivery
BitTorrent DNATM is the next step in the evolution of digital content delivery; it combines the extreme efficiency and organic scalability of peer networking with the control and reliability of a traditional content delivery network (CDN). BitTorrent DNA uses one or more existing origin servers or CDNs to seed a managed peer network.

Use of the peer network is tightly controlled by a specialized tracker operated by BitTorrent, Inc. and accessible to BitTorrent DNA customers through a web-based dashboard that provides control and reporting tools.

Assured Delivery
BitTorrent DNA is designed to complement existing delivery mechanisms, making the best use of both peer and infrastructure resources. Customers using BitTorrent DNA for downloads may associate with each object a quality of service (QoS) parameter that defines a required minimum bit rate. When BitTorrent DNA is used for streaming media, QoS is set automatically to ensure smooth playback with no buffering interruptions, while still making the most use of the peer network. Throughout the download process, BitTorrent DNA carefully balances its use of peer and CDN or server resources, downloading from all, in parallel, to meet per-object or streaming media QoS requirements.

Organic Scalability
By unobtrusively harnessing end-users’ unused network capacity, BitTorrent DNA scales organically with demand, providing capacity exactly where and when you need it. Need delivery capacity in some particular corner of the world? BitTorrent DNA will give you capacity there. Do you occasionally experience unexpected spikes in demand that strain your delivery infrastructure? BitTorrent DNA automatically scales its delivery capacity with demand to ensure a consistently high-quality user experience.

Advanced Bandwidth Management

BitTorrent DNA runs quietly in the background with minimal impact to the end-user experience. Our proprietary transport technology leverages the full available network capacity of all paths without disrupting other applications. By detecting the presence of other applications, computers, and devices sharing the consumer’s broadband connection, BitTorrent DNA automatically moderates its use of the network to ensure that web browsing, voice over IP (VoIP), Internet gaming, and other applications are not disrupted.

Friendly to Service Provider Networks
BitTorrent DNA contains a number of enhancements to mitigate the impact of peer networking on service provider networks. These enhancements include: BitTorrent’s sophisticated congestion-avoiding transport technology; an intelligent peer selection algorithm that prefers peers on the same LAN, network, or AS; and work with vendors of BitTorrent caching products to support local cache discovery. By keeping traffic local and non-congestive, BitTorrent DNA reduces long-haul and peering traffic for service providers, while improving the end-user experience.

Multi-CDN Acceleration

BitTorrent DNA is designed to complement existing delivery mechanisms, including content delivery networks (CDNs) and traditional web servers. To provide maximum flexibility and robustness, BitTorrent DNA can seed its managed peer network from multiple CDNs in parallel.

Multi-CDN Analytics

BitTorrent DNA’s client-side telemetry and web-based dashboard provide performance visibility across all deployed content delivery solutions, including third-party CDNs. With BitTorrent DNA, you see accurate reports of the actual performance experienced by your end users.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Comcast Tests New P2P Protocol, Nearly Doubles Download Speeds

Team Member - J. Gorman - Comcast is apparently testing a new P2P protocol known as P4P, and they are reporting that the download speeds are increased significantly. However there is a catch. Currently when a user downloads a torrent they are leeching from seeders located all over the world, P4P would prioritize seeders on your own ISP over others making the download speeds obviously faster. The catch is that the system relies on ITrackers being installed on the ISP's network, which would allow ISPs to see what files are being seeded, and from where they are being seeded. In theory it's explained as being good for efficiency of the network so downloads are prioritized, but I think personally it's a little too invasive.