[Smaug] Zero tolerance for P2P?

John Callaway john.callaway at visicomp.com
Sun, 12 May 2002 11:45:09 -0700


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On Sunday 12 May 2002 07:05, Josh Neal wrote:
> On Sun, May 12, 2002 at 01:47:18AM -0700, CERisE...mass consumer of bazooka 
gum wrote:
...
> >    Simply put, if there's a lot of bandwidth being used, they should be
> > happy.  That means they're getting the most for their money.  You
> > shouldn't take heavy load to imply that a few people are hogging the
> > network for everyone (even if you were, it should imply that you ought to
> > apply some sort of bandwidth throttle), rather you should take heavy load
> > to imply heavy usage and a need to add more resources.
>
> Hmmmm. There are only two ways to handle a saturated network: add bandwidth
> (at some expense) or stop the traffic. I have difficulty believing that
> MP3/warez trading is proper use of an academic network, so I'd probably
> quote the AUP while I'm switching off ports.
>

   The only way to determine that "MP3/warez" are being exchanged is to 
examine the packets, assuming that copyrighted materials are watermarked in 
some way.  Blocking ports will get you nowhere since the P2P apps can be and 
are used to share open-source and public domain works (as Nacho pointed out 
when he noted he shares the Linux kernel and OpenOffice over the UCSC SOE 
net).

   Watermarking/DRM in every piece of software and hardware (from hard drives, 
routers, processors, NICs, right up to the OS) would solve this problem.  
This is the preferred solution of Senator "Disney" Hollings, the RIAA, and 
the MPAA.  Personally I find it a nightmarish vision that would mean the end 
of computing as we know it (and certainly the end of legal open-source 
software, since many of the DRM algorithms are themselves patented or 
proprietary).

   I realize that network administration is a tiring and thankless job.  As I 
pointed out earlier, my main beef is that this is a University network 
supported by public tax dollars.  Sure, a corporation's IT department is free 
to block as many ports as it wants, but shouldn't a place of learning lean 
more towards the open (and possibly copyright-infringing) end of the 
spectrum?  Also note that the network in question is NOT the general UCSC 
network, but rather the SOE network, used only by the depts. of math, 
computer science, and computer engineering's grad students and faculty.  No 
dorm rooms are connected to this network.

   I guess my main disappointment comes from the fact that the University of 
California is a powerful institution with lots of lawyers that, if it wanted 
to, could take on the content mafia and at least make them file real lawsuits 
against universities (and maybe students) instead of just sending vague 
threats as they've been known to do.  For instance, UC is the lead plaintiff 
in the current class-action lawsuit against Enron--quite a large legal job.  
If universities, libraries, schools etc. don't stand up against Rosen, 
Valenti, Eisner, and Hollings then the battle is truly lost.


- ------------------------------------------------------------
|  John Callaway      |  www.cse.ucsc.edu/~callaway/       |
|  Software Engineer  |  VisiComp, Inc.  www.visicomp.com  |
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