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Comcast Proposes Self Regulation and P2P Bill of Rights 343

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-conflict-of-interests-here dept.
Torodung writes "In a recent move, Comcast has proposed a 'P2P Bill of Rights,' joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior. They have instead proposed comprehensive industry self-regulation and cooperation with major P2P software vendors as a lesser evil: 'Comcast is looking to further position itself as proactively — and responsibly — addressing the issue of managing peer-to-peer traffic that traverses its network, announcing Tuesday it will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for users and Internet service providers.'"
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Comcast Proposes Self Regulation and P2P Bill of Rights

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  • Finally! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Plazmid (1132467)
    Finally!
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:55AM (#23090598) Homepage
      Anything they propose will not be binding and will not have the force of law. Any policy statements or forms of "self-regulation" are at the whim of those who want to make [more] money and so changes of policy will happen at any time for any reason without notice. Users will remain as the last people to know when something bad is going on.

      It is clear that companies like Virgin and Comcast and the rest need the force of law and the occasional lawsuit in order to keep them in line. Otherwise they will stray outside their areas hunting for more money. The force of law isn't enough by itself... they have to be spanked to keep them in line. It's rather like raising children. Constantly exploring and pushing their limits and no matter how often you cite the rules to them, they will break the rules and require punishment. When a child exclaims, "I don't need punishment I'll be good!" I doubt anyone actually believes that child. So why should we believe Comcast?
      • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:12AM (#23090882)
        We shouldn't. Service providers should be seperated from line ownership, and lines should be owned by the state or local municipalities. What really needs to be done is for Comcast to rot in hell though.
        • A-f'ing-men.
      • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

        by Devv (992734) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:19AM (#23091026)
        I would be pretty disturbed if my kid told me that he'd be working on a "Bill of Rights" for me.
      • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@xoxFREEBSDy.net minus bsd> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:40AM (#23091442) Homepage Journal
        While I agree that they're a bunch of lying fucks who shouldn't be trusted further than they can collectively be thrown, I'm not sure that

        Anything they propose will not be binding and will not have the force of law.
        is necessarily the case. If they included their "Bill of Rights" as part of the contract of service, then it would be enforceable through contract law, just like any other part of their agreement is.

        (I'm a bit rusty on the details, but I've been advised at various times by lawyers that there are situations where a company can be held via contract law to statements made outside the contract itself, if they basically define the relationship between the company and the customer. I doubt Comcast's lawyers are stupid enough to walk into this trap unknowingly, but you never know.)

        Although I very much doubt that Comcast is acting in anything approaching good faith here, it's not impossible for them to make the Bill of Rights binding, if they were sufficiently motivated.

        What needs to happen is that we, as users, need to make sure that Congress and various state legislatures aren't distracted by any sort of non-binding agreement on Comcast's part. If they want to avoid burdensome regulation, they can come up with a 'Bill of Rights' and then hold themselves to it contractually. But if they don't do that, or if they put it in their contract but then leave in a way of unilaterally amending the contract, it's not worth two squirts of piss.
        • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by icebrain (944107) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:37PM (#23092352)

          If they included their "Bill of Rights" as part of the contract of service, then it would be enforceable through contract law, just like any other part of their agreement is.
          That's fine and dandy, until they include the clause of "we may change this contract whenever we want without notice" like everyone else does.
      • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:41AM (#23091444) Homepage Journal

        Anything they propose will not be binding and will not have the force of law.


        Well,never forget that under the law, two plus two can equal five, for sufficiently large values of two or sufficiently small values of five.

        Suppose you are an ISP that advertises its adherence to the P2P Bill of Rights. You entice customers to sign up under a TOS that includes the standard statement saying you can change TOS at any time. Then you decide to take away some of the rights listed in the P2P Bill of Rights, pointing to your TOS statement as proof you are entitled.

        I'm not sure that works. A "right" after all is just the flip side of a duty. A right held by an individual consists of a set of duties borne by certain others with respect to him. You can't just unilaterally declare one of your duties towards somebody void. You can't change the TOS in a way that absolves you of the duty of providing service, but does not absolve the customer of the duty of paying you. That's unconscionable.

        So, you'd have to say in your TOS that you have the right to declare the specific rights in the Bill of Rights to be void. Or you'd have to say in the Bill of Right that "rights" doesn't mean something the service providers are obligated to abide by. Otherwise, you've just enticed customers to sign on with you by deception.

        I am not a lawyer, but surely this is at least one of those things lawyers are always telling you not to do, because even if you are certain to win if it ever comes to court you could not possibly hope to gain enough benefit to pay for the costs of fighting and winning.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jason Levine (196982)
        "It's rather like raising children. Constantly exploring and pushing their limits and no matter how often you cite the rules to them, they will break the rules and require punishment. When a child exclaims, "I don't need punishment I'll be good!" I doubt anyone actually believes that child. So why should we believe Comcast?"

        This brought to mind my experiences raising my 4 year old. He's constantly trying to push the limits and as a result is constantly getting into trouble. Mostly simple stuff like turnin
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by erroneus (253617)
          There's more need for it now than ever before.

          Corporations have learned on a global-cultural level that they can buy laws. They saw it happen and now they are all trying to play the same game. The data updates on OpenSecrets.org has never seemed busier.

          That business and government relationship needs to be severed in order to make the government's actions swing in favor of "the people" instead of "the people that hold controlling interest in General Motors."
    • Finally? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:23AM (#23091098)
      Finally?

      I think you misunderstand.

      Rights are for the ISPs.
      Responsibilities are for the users.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:46AM (#23090416)
    Wolves propose sheep "Bill of Rights".
    • Exactly. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:17AM (#23090984) Journal
      Anyone care to explain to me why a completely informal, unenforced "Bill of Rights", between Comcast and whatever commercial entities exist in P2P, is any better for consumers than government intervention?

      Or answer this: If Comcast really is willing to cooperate, why are they so terrified of government regulation? Why is a legally mandated "Bill of Rights" worse for them than what they are proposing?

      The obvious answer is, if it was a law, they couldn't simply violate it.

      Next question: Why is Comcast working with BitTorrent, the company? Why do they need to "work with" any P2P corporations, rather than simply dropping their packet shapers and letting P2P protocols work well? Smells to me like Microsoft cutting a deal with Novell -- Microsoft obviously can't cut a deal with Linux itself, as it's a completely distributed, fault-tolerant community, so there's no one CEO to buy -- so they make a deal with Novell, while leaving everyone else out in the cold. Smells to me like Comcast is trying to do the same with P2P -- they can't make a deal with every single filesharer, everywhere, and they won't accept simply falling back to net neutrality, which is what we really want -- so they make a deal with some company which does filesharing, leaving everyone else out in the cold.

      Gotta love the smell of bullshit in the morning.
      • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:05PM (#23091830) Homepage
        The only way I can see "working with" P2P software developers would be:

        CC: "Is there anything we could provide you that would allow you to reduce your impact on our network?"
        P2P Author: "Multicast please."
        CC: "We don't do multicast because no applications support it."
        P2P Author: "If you build it, they will come."
        • by gozu (541069)
          Swarms and multicast are just like poop and flies, they may stink and you may not like them, but they belong together.

      • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:44PM (#23092446)

        Or answer this: If Comcast really is willing to cooperate, why are they so terrified of government regulation? Why is a legally mandated "Bill of Rights" worse for them than what they are proposing?

        The obvious answer is, if it was a law, they couldn't simply violate it.

        In this particular instance I agree with you. But in the general case, laws tend to be immutable in the short-term (and sometimes the long-term - just look at the Blue Laws [wikipedia.org] still in many States' books), whereas self-regulation can quickly be overhauled if it becomes clear that something isn't working. On a more ideological level, laws are rules made by a committee (who often knows little about the industry), self-regulation is rules made by market forces. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

        The baffling thing to me about this whole thing is that Comcast could solve it really easily - just stop advertising "unlimited" bandwidth and publish the monthly transfer quotas. If they want they can even charge more for higher quotas. Then customers can make an informed decision how much they're willing to pay and self-police their own downloading. Instead for some bizarre reason Comcast (and most ISPs) seem to think the word "unlimited" is some holy marketing term which Shall Not Be Touched, and will go to enormous technically challenging and legally dubious methods to protect it.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:44PM (#23092458) Journal
      What worries me even more there, is that it seems to be rather called a "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" of users. Seems to me more like they want to formalize the "thou shalt not actually use all the bandwidth we sold you, and thou art an evil spawn of Satan and, yeah, verily, a ruthless predator upon thy neighbours, if you actually use more than 1/100 of all that unlimited, unmettered usage we advertised" bullshit that disgusts me of ISPs already.

      Now, I'm not a Comcast subscriber, and I'm not even a heavy user. Other than Slashdot and the like, and the mandatory gazillion banners on the average web page elsewhere, my biggest downloads are the occasional MMO patches. They're not that big, so actually I'd rather stop subsidizing the heavy downloaders.

      But if I'm to look at it impartially, and through the glasses of whatever ethics my education stuck into my head, it smells like pure BS.

      It's _not_ some shiny-hippy... err... happy communal sharing scheme. If it were, I could maybe see the point of trying to tar and feather anyone who's used more than his fair share. But that's not it. It's one company selling a service to a person. It's their job to see that they can actually provide the service they charge for.

      To illustrate the fundamental difference:

      - if me and the neighbours were to have a potluck dinner, then it's ok to be annoyed if someone eats ten times more than they brought to the table.

      But if we go to an "all you can eat" restaurant, then it's the restaurant owner's problem to make sure he can provide what he advertised. If a particularly high-metabolism co-worker finishes half the buffet by himself, tough luck, you may even have my compassion, but it's _not_ ok to paint him as some ruthless predator upon the other patrons and kick him out. If other patrons end up hungry, it's not because of that guy, it's simply because the restaurant didn't provide enough food for the bargain they offered.

      - if me and the co-workers pool out petty change and buy a Wii and a TV at the office, then it's a communal sharing thing. It's not nice to be the guy who hogs it full time. The others should get a chance at it too.

      But if we go to some (hypothetical) arcade that advertises that you can play all day for the flat fee of a ticket, then that's it. It's their job to see that they have enough machines and space for that kind of offer. If I find an old Penetrator machine and hog it for the next 16 hours for nostalgia sake, well, that's what was advertised there. I'm just using what I paid for.

      Etc.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they _should_ provide free unlimited anything whatsoever. It's up to them to decide whether they can afford to do that or not. But if they decided to advertise it that way, then it's their problem to have enough of it.

      Even briefer, I don't feel any _responsibility_ (since we're talking a "bill of responsibilities") to _not_ use a resource that was sold to me as an unlimited and unmetered resource. The users there paid for a service. They're not pooling their funds to create some communal internet scheme (and indeed ISPs have fought tooth and nail against municipal ISP ideas), they have paid fair and square for a service, and have _no_ duty or responsibility to leave enough bandwidth for the others. The contract isn't with any other users, it's with the ISP.

      I honestly don't see why the ISPs are any different from any other service provider. If I buy a monthly ticket for the bus, then everywhere in the world I'd feel free to use it as much and as often as I need to. If I have to make 20 trips in a day, heck, that's exactly what such tickets are for. If the transport company doesn't have enough busses to serve everyone they sold tickets to, then it would be seen as their shortcoming. Not as, basically, "some evil, unscrupulous users use more than their fair share of bus trips, and we must tar and feather them." They don't get to draw up bills of customers' responsibilities, to weasel out of providing the service they sold.

      I don't see what makes ISPs that special, basically. In the name of... exactly _what_, do they get to draw bills of customers' reponsibilities?
  • BobB-nw (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alphadogg (971356) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:47AM (#23090432)
    Now why would anyone be concerned about ISPs meddling with their traffic? University of Washington researchers are set to release a paper today that says one percent of the Web pages being delivered on the Internet are being changed along the way... http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/041608-isps-meddled-with-their-customers.html [networkworld.com]
    • Re:BobB-nw (Score:5, Funny)

      by QuantumFlux (228693) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:59AM (#23090656)
      Really? I've never had a problem with pages being changed along the way, even though I think Comcast IS GREAT. IT'S COMCASTIC(TM)!
      • by eln (21727)
        I've never had any pages changed either, and I don't see why everyone is so hard on Comcast. They are the best company ever!

        Didn't anyone see that headline on cnn.com about the Comcast CEO spending a day handing out food to starving orphans? Or the study on WebMD that shows that cable Internet cures cancer, while DSL can give you herpes? What about that story on Yahoo news that reported on DirecTV's new doomsday device that will incinerate people through their satellite dishes?

        Or what about all those pas
  • by Millennium (2451) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:47AM (#23090434) Homepage
    Yeah, right. The ISPs have gotten so far into bed with the RIAA that the only thing listed in the "P2P Bill of Rights" will be the right to remain silent.
  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:48AM (#23090440)
    Comcast is beginning to feel the pressure, they are stalling for time now with faux "rights bills". Now is the time to push EVEN HARDER for full Net Neutrality legislation. We have them on the ropes, don't let up now!
  • "Industry Experts" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MChisholm (1115123) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:48AM (#23090450)
    Not surprising that missing from their list of "industry experts" are groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the EFF [arstechnica.com].
  • Catch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:49AM (#23090462) Homepage

    And here's the catch:

    cooperation with major P2P software vendors

    Which still means that if the P2P "software vendors" (who are these?) pays them, they'll allow it. Great neutrality.

    • by esocid (946821)
      Exactly. Fool me once, shame on me. You know the rest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406)
      Which in turn means that if this is accepted throttling/blocking open source peer to peer is fair game.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Your sig: "'Intellectual property is the oil of the twenty first century' -- Mark Getty"

      Strangely and twistedly on topic!

      I never heard of him so I looked him up on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]. Ironically, there is no photo of him, just a placeholder that says "No free image. Do you own one? If so, please click here".

      From the Wikipedia article he sounds like a very evil man, being born into riches and promoting intellectual "property" like that.

      Mark Getty is a businessman. He was born in England, UK in 1960/1961[2]. A member

      • by pipatron (966506)
        Indeed. I found out about the quote here: http://www.stealthisfilm.com/Part2/projects.php [stealthisfilm.com], and it felt very spooky to read that and get some sort of insight. Without very strong IP-laws, the US has nothing. For the US, it's more than worth to go to war for, in order to make sure all other nations will respect it.
  • by clonan (64380) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:51AM (#23090514)
    They suggest SELF-regulation...

    I wonder how long this regulation will actually last before it goes back to the status quo.
  • by llamalad (12917) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:52AM (#23090518)
    or, how about instead they just provide the service people are, um, you know paying for?

    Just move my packets around without f'ing with them, please and thank you.
    • "or, how about instead they just provide the service people are, um, you know paying for?"

      They have no need or desire to listen to their customers as long as the government continues to meddle in the economy. If Congress was incapable of stopping other companies from competing, corrupt companies like Comcast could not thrive. The solution is to overturn the laws preventing competition from existing. Then Comcast will have to listen to its customers or risk losing them! (*GASP*)
      • by pipatron (966506)

        The solution is to overturn the laws preventing competition from existing.

        What laws would this be?

        • They are too numerous to list in one post. In general, any restriction preventing someone (in this case, a company) from freely providing cable internet access to someone else at a freely agreed-upon price, is going to have an effect on the economy, and reduce the chances of competition being able to come into existence. The ideal situation is no government restriction. How can a true monopoly thrive without the use of force?
  • "joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior"

    I loved ridiculously ignorant statements like this. How did it become a monopoly in the first place? What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper? Answer - government intervention. Saying that government regulation is somehow going to fix what government regulation broke is absurd. If you want to get rid of a monopoly, get rid of the government regulat
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Compholio (770966)

      How did it become a monopoly in the first place? What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper? Answer - government intervention.
      What the hell are you talking about? I live in an area where competing cable companies show up all the time (there used to be several in fact). The problem isn't that the government doesn't allow these companies to exist, it's that comcast buys them all out.
      • "The problem isn't that the government doesn't allow these companies to exist, it's that comcast buys them all out."

        I'm not sure where you live. Around here there is only one choice, and as far as I know that is the case for countless areas of the US.

        Let's assume that you actually had two choices for cable internet at some point in the past, and you found out that the one you liked was going to sell out to the one you disliked. Did you contact them and let them know of your opposition to the move? Did
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      It's not that simple. You need infrastructure - rights of way, etc, which is provided by the government.

      And I'm being simplistic here as well.
      • "It's not that simple. You need infrastructure - rights of way, etc, which is provided by the government."

        You've just listed off more government restrictions, thus supporting my original post. These "services" are not "provided by the government", they are held as a contrived monopoly by the government. Why does the government need to provide services that can be provided by private individuals and organizations?
        • Because:

          1. In some cases, the government does a better job.

          Roads, for example.

          2. Ideally, private industry is motivated by profit, while government is motivated to help civilians.

          While emphasis should be placed on ideally in the previous sentence, the basic idea is that the government is more likely to behave altruistically than private industry, if for no reason than because it is more accountable to civilians.

          This is why government is entrusted with control of right-of-ways and private industry is not.

          Do
          • "Doing a better job" does not justify rights violations, which are exactly what occurs with "public property" (ie, property forcibly held by the government, with the result that it can contrive monopolies on that property). Competition will eventually provide better, longer-lasting results than a regularly repopulated (ie, reelected) government can provide, as long as consumers actually want better services. Taking a shortcut to a temporarily better state, at the expense of rights violations, is not justifi
          • Regarding the 2nd half of your reply (no, I didn't forget :)):

            "Ideally, private industry is motivated by profit, while government is motivated to help civilians."

            No, ideally the government exists solely to support and uphold the rights and freedoms of its citizens. It is not the responsibility of the government to determine what "helps civilians" or the general public, or anything like that. The government should only help by making sure our rights are not violated (that's why we have police) and if v
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          How are "private individuals and organizations" going to provide rights of way?
    • by Romancer (19668)
      "I loved ridiculously ignorant statements like this."

      So do I, and so I loved your post.

      "How did it become a monopoly in the first place?"
      By buying out the competition. Ever read the history of the company?

      "What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper?"
      The ones who own the copper/fiber and connections. They are trying to stop third party use of their lines as required by some laws. Laws that were put there by the Govt BTW.
      So your own answer is 180 degrees from t
      • "By buying out the competition. Ever read the history of the company?"

        Any company can buy out competition if the competition is willing to pay. So what? If group A wants to freely trade X amount of property that it rightly owns, to group B in exchange for Y compensation, what right does anyone have to stop them? On the same token, nobody has the right to stop group C from coming into existence and providing a competing service.

        "The ones who own the copper/fiber and connections. They are trying to stop
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Romancer (19668)
          Thanks for playing, you might want to actually read this time.

          "Any company can buy out competition if the competition is willing to pay. So what? If group A wants to freely trade X amount of property that it rightly owns, to group B in exchange for Y compensation, what right does anyone have to stop them? On the same token, nobody has the right to stop group C from coming into existence and providing a competing service."

          This is a non-point and I do not, and never have tried to argue it. The statements were
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What stops another company from springing up to provide cable internet services for cheaper? Answer - government intervention.

      Whenever I hear this, I always ask: Are you seriously suggesting that there be more than one company in a given area running physical cables to every house? Or are you suggesting more government regulation to force them to share the cables they've got?

      Saying that government regulation is somehow going to fix what government regulation broke is absurd.

      It sounds funny, yes, but why

    • by k1e0x (1040314)
      This is very true.

      The reason their is duopolys with ISP providers is the various local governments will only allow one cable and one telephone provider. The government has handed Comcast a monopoly (if it is one) on a silver platter.

  • I didn't actually RTFA but I quickly skimmed it, as I save my reading for writers who don't put me to sleep, except when I read in bed. Where in the article does it say what rights P2P users should have?

    My guess is "you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
  • responsibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:00AM (#23090668) Homepage
    BitTorrent was originally designed to be VERY tolerant of ISP's needs. Prior to the obfuscated protocol expansion, the first thing sent by each connection, on both sides, was "BitTorrent protocol", easy for a protocol analyzer to discover and assign a lower bandwidth tier.

    So what did ISPs do? They throttled it to zero, rather than to an intermediate level we all could live with.

    The end result: Encrypted BitTorrent, and ISPs using drastic methods like spoofing reset packets.
  • this might even work in today's anti-regulatory environment.
  • And this is there way of co-opting use profiles very handily into their plans. Instead, it's time for them to invest capex and opex into new and improved facility for Comcast shareholders and most importantly users -- to keep up with demand.
  • This is what happens when you let an ISP service also become a very large and controling media outlet.

    Comcast wants to make money off of the ISP service, their media services and any access to media (mostly make money off of others media) in one way or another.

    I can see how they would want to make money off the ISP side and the media side, but when they want to control media though control of their ISP business they are crossing a line which I'm sure they will be fully allowed to.

    If they are allowed to star
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:05AM (#23090756) Journal
    Where is the SMTP bill of rights and responsibilities?

    Or how about a bill of rights and responsibilities for ISO downloading? HTML surfing?

    When only one protocol/application is named, we are in for a long line of regulations (self imposed by ISPs or not) regarding every type of use for our Internet connections.

    Car analogy? The speed limit is 75 if there is only one passenger, but 55 if there are three or more. 35mph if you have a child under the age of 12 in the vehicle. That is unless they are blood relatives, then the speed limit is 65 regardless of passenger count.

    Rights and responsibilities have already been defined by the contract you sign with the ISP in the first place. They have gone to great effort to tell you what you can't do in that contract, and vaguely explained for what reasons your account might be canceled.

    This new effort is an attempt to go back on that agreement, to modify it without pissing end user's off, and to get away with throttling in such a way as there is NO government oversight nor any other kind of oversight.

    Sorry, sounds like I'm being bitchy, but if you don't push back on each little thing, it will be 'give an inch, they take a mile' and we'll end up with an Internet connection that is little more use than a dial up connection, and the price will continue to rise while service degrades.

    No, I'm not wearing a tin-foil hat, I just see the writing on the wall here.
  • This is getting old. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Guanine (883175)

    I'd been following this Comcast P2P news in the past, but I hadn't really noticed any issues with torrents over my Comcast connection. So, naturally, I didn't think much of it since things were working fine. But in the past week when I try to download any torrent, web browsing is slowed to the point of being useless -- and that's _with_ upload speeds throttled to 3kbps. I know something changed on their end, because everything has remained identical on mine -- I don't even own the stupid Comcast-issued m

    • by boris111 (837756)
      Me too! I noticed my web browsing experience was painfully slow when I used a non-encrypted client such as Miro (with my own throttling). When I used uTorrent with encryption no problems.
  • Best interest? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kextyn (961845)

    Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said the proposed "bill of rights and responsibilities," to be released later this year, is in the best interest of service providers, peer-to-peer companies and consumers.
    How could anything possibly be in the best interest of all of those groups? Consumers want cheap, unlimited, unfiltered connections. ISPs want to oversell their capacity and charge too much for their service while secretly throttling connections.
  • Don't think it's just P2P that Comcast is trying to control. I've noticed that when I attempt large downloads from Apple (regardless of material, I've seen it on both iTunes movies and the iPhone SDK), they just craaawl along. (~200 kbps).

    When I switch to the VPN at my company, the speeds suddenly shoot up to around 7-8 Mbps, even with the encryption/tunnel overhead, and still traveling over Comcast's network. Can't just be coincidence, eh?
  • Why Subscribe? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jchawk (127686) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:11AM (#23090862) Homepage Journal
    I'll ask the obvious question here... Why subscribe to these providers that limit or restrict your traffic?

    You may respond that, they are your only choice. Well unless you choose to go without or you choose to help lobby for better legislation then you're stuck.

    Also are you willing to pay more for your internet? I choose to go with a DSL provider who is 1/3 the speed of Comcast and I pay a little more every month to be with them. Why? They don't limit my traffic and they let me have a static IP. To me it's worth it.

    Just my two cents. I see a lot of people complaining but most don't want to do more then just that. Vote with your dollar! Donate to lobbies that are fighting for your cause. Otherwise stop complaining.
    • by snarfies (115214)
      This has been answered a thousand times in a thousand previous stories. I'll do it again: I HAVE NO OTHER OPTION. I can stick with Comcast. Maybe I can get a naked DSL - less than half the speed for almost the same price, gee-whiz sign me right up! Or I can find somebody who provides dial-up, though I haven't had a modem in any of my computers at any point this decade. I can't get FIOS - they won't sell it to me. I tried muni-wifi once, that was a horrible joke. Nope, looks like I'm sticking with Co
    • by not_anne (203907)

      I'll ask the obvious question here... Why subscribe to these providers that limit or restrict your traffic?
      Because they don't traffic shape everyone. Traffic shaping is rare. ISPs typically only traffic shape nodes which are getting flooded.
  • Must have taken a page from the G W Bush playbook by naming something the opposite of what it is. Patriot Act, No child Left Behind, Clean Air Act, now P2P Bill of Rights.
  • I just want the unlimited package that I was promised by my ISP when I signed up! Quit giving us this when we pay for that!
  • As soon as the hubbub blows over, they'll start modifying their "regulations" to suit themselves. Some sort of government regulation is needed... at least if Congress or the FCC can be trusted to do the Right Thing.
  • by drDugan (219551) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:21AM (#23091064) Homepage
    All the players who have power: (read the large businesses), get together and have a scrum. Not invited to the table are the (1) the public, or (2) the content creators. - both of which are large and mostly unorganized groups of individuals.

    Sounds suspiciously like the process the industry went through to re-invent copyright law.

    One only needs to be guaranteed "Rights" in the context of Wrongs. Comcast and Virgin and others should get their head completely out of their ass and start providing a real **customer** focused service (instead of profit-driven) and this whole issue goes away.

  • If Comcast were the last surviving ISP on the planet, I'd go back and totally focus on Ham radio. There is not enough money in the world that could get me back to Comcrap. The service was terrible, customer service even worse. They hire the most unskilled people to do the work and rely on a few people with skills as leads. They are so over priced for what you get it isn't funny.

    Comcast can keep their so-called agreements. They need federal regulation big-time!!!
  • Much this will depend on whether or not our Internet connections are considered commodities or utilities.

    If Comcast and other cable companies want to consdier connectivity a commodity, it would mean that Comcast is essentially providing the information we're accessing and have a say in exercising control over what we can have.

    Personally, I would prefer our Internet access be regulated as a utility, like water and electricity. The water and electric companies do not generally limit or restrict our access to
  • Bill of what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Godji (957148) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:37AM (#23091366) Homepage
    I expect that the definition of "Rights" in "P2P Bill of Rights" will be the same as the one in "Digital Rights Management". There will be a whole lot you can't do, and very little that you can do, which you already had before the bill.

    P2P Bill of Restrictions?
  • My rights as a consumer is unlimited use of your network, as you advertised it as "Unlimited Internet."

    Anything else is weasel-speek and semantics. You sell unlimited broadband internet. Stop trying to get us to not use what we paid for.
  • Well this is good news. I guess we have nothing to worry about now. All of you Comcast subscribers should be able to sleep easy now that there's no worry that your 50 gig hentai video pack torrent won't get shut down in the middle of the night.
  • Comcast is proposing this because only they want to control it. We don't need regulations, we need Comcast to the right thing. If they sell a 8/2 line (or what ever it is) then they should actually provide 8/2 24/7/365 .. It's not our fault that most of their users don't use maxim capacity on the line.. they cant bank on that.
  • Somehow I was under the impression that the Internet is a decentralized network with all traffic on the Internet running between two peers. What, then, falls under the category of P2P? What doesn't?
  • Exactly the self-regulation model the airlines have been getting away with for years. Look where that's gotten us. Stranded, starving, stuck in voice mail hell and grounded. Self-regulation has never been of the slightest benefit to the consumer.

    So yeah, why not trust ComCast and their ilk when they say we can trust them not to rape us in the wallets in some imaginative new way? Either the "Bill of Rights" will have loopholes a whale could fit through or penalties for violating it won't match a CEO's s

  • Bill of Rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jester998 (156179) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:32PM (#23092276) Homepage
    How about this?

    1) Comcast's customers shall fulfill their obligations (i.e. pay their bill).
    2) Comcast shall fulfill their obligations (i.e. deliver any network traffic without prejudice).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freedom_india (780002)
      Self regulation is crap.
      If comcast thinks they need to self-regulate, then what harm is there in making it as law?
      After all as Bush often claims, why do you worry about surveillance, if you are not breaking the law?
      I suggest FCC adopt comcast's sell-regulation, make it as a felony to break it and say to comcast: "If you break this, your CEO and the board would goto jail on charges of perjury and child endargement."

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