Torrentfreak is featuring an article about the "dark side of P4P", essentially saying that the technology that's been proposed to make P2P more effective within an ISP's network will eventually lead to tighter control on intellectual property, with the end goal being to filter out unauthorized file transfers. Torrentfreak's Ernesto writes that the researchers behind P4P might have some good ideas, but that the entertainment industry will eventually turn the technology into an anti-P2P tool.

I disagree with him on this one, as I've written here before. To be fair, nobody will really know how P4P will look like until it's deployed, but my understanding has always been that it won't be mandatory, meaning that P2P vendors can chose to ignore the recommendations a P4P system gives them. That's not really a setup that sounds like a good copyright filter to me.

There's one other point in the Torrentfreak article that's very much up to interpretation. Ernesto quotes the P4P mission statement with the following words:

"[to] Determine, validate, and encourage the adoption of methods for ISPs and P2P software distributors to work together to enable and support consumer service improvements as P2P adoption and resultant traffic evolves while protecting the intellectual property (IP) of participating entities"

His conclusion is that this is about protecting the rights of the MPAA's members, since the association is an observing member of the P4P working group.

I think there is a much simpler explanation: ISPs view the architecture of their networks as trade secrets. P2P vendors like Joost on the other hand are secretive about the inner workings of their clients. That's why P4P is build as being a neutral entity that doesn't transmit complete network maps or protocol specifications, but only helps to find the closest links in particular instances.

Of course, all of this comes back to a point I made earlier on this blog: P4P not only needs to win over ISPs and P2P vendors, but also consumers, and they haven't really done a great job in doing so. Part of that is to be frank about privacy - even if it means to take fire from the entertainment industry that would like to see other solutions in place.

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