One thing continues to be a certainty in the technology world, NEVER challenge a sacred cow. If you do, the punches start flying. Of course the punches have to fly because the there isn't a real response otherwise.
I'm obviously not a huge P2P fan. Gordon Haff did a far better job than I explaining some reasons why. I think there. are valid applications for P2P on private networks, but nothing on the Internet that I think is worth surviving.
My position has nothing to do with Piracy. I think the MPAA and RIAA efforts towards piracy are a joke. They spend more money and waste more government resources than should be allowed. If they spent that money and time promoting why people should go to the movies and the value of owning music, those industries would benefit far more than anything they lose to piracy.
My position is not "if it uses bandwidth, its a bad thing". Flickr, Google Video, any host that pays for their bandwidth is all right by me. If they want to give it away, go for it. I actually think Google Video is a far better solution for audio and video distribution than any P2P solution. Google is willing to subsidize the worlds bandwidth for multimedia, why doesn't everyone take them up on their offer ? Go for it Google.
My position is not related to the Internet backbone. There is plenty of bandwidth there and will be for the short and as long a term as I can envision.
My position is related to the last mile. P2P is so incredibly inefficient. You send and receive the same bytes , which means for the portion of the file you are a seed for, you are at least 50pct inefficient. The more often you supply the bytes on your PC to others, the more you impose on the network. If there is a failure somewhere in the chain of delivery and assembly on the destination device , the error recovery process makes things far less efficient. All consuming more and more last mile bandwidth. The bandwidth that defines how fast my internet connection is.
I think the position that "you pay for the bandwidth, so you can use it any way you want" isn't reality and very flawed when it comes to P2P.
P2P "works" because those who install the clients are wiling to barter some of their bandwidth in exchange for getting a file that represents something of value to them. The bandwidth obviously has significant value to the person or company asking you to contribute it. That's why torrent clients and almost every P2P client requires you to contribute bandwidth in order to receive the goodies you want.
Bottom line, you are re-selling bandwidth. For those of you who like the buffet analogy, that's like saying you paid for the buffet, so its OK to take as much jello and mac and cheese as you can carry and walk outside the restaurant and sell it or trade it. Bizarre example, but it makes the point. Just because something is not metered and seemingly not suffering from any level of scarcity doesn't mean it isn't limited in availability and costly.
Because if it wasn't costly, we all would already have 1gbs to our home via fiber or free wireless everywhere.
The reality of our bandwidth to the home scenario today is that there isn't enough bandwidth to cure all ills. Last Mile Bandwidth is constrained and expensive to grow in multiples of what we all are ready and happily able to consume with legit applications
I personally don't want to see my connections slow down so P2P users can resell bandwidth to someone who isn't willing to pay for bandwidth in order to distribute their bandwidth consuming files.
but hey, that's me.