Legitimate uses of p2p – updated 10 October

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UPDATE – There have been some comments that have come in with some additions to this list, and some folks who’ve said it’s useful to have a list like this, so I’ll try and add examples of legitimate p2p applications as they come in, and gather them all in this post so they’re at a predictable permanent URL.

Sandy pointed out this weekend that as we have long been excoriating the entertainment industry for painting all use of peer to peer technologies as illegitimate, and for claiming that there are lots of legitimate uses for these technologies, that it might be useful to be able to provide examples of that kind of legitimate use that we can share with people who are part of these discussions with legislators.

I came up with this list and would be happy to have more examples to add to it:

Additions 10 October:

Jim Gaynor points out that Trent Reznor and his popular band Nine Inch Nails post multitrack audio files of their raw tracks in Apple’s Garage Band format that they distribute via bittorrent.

It’s also very interesting to see Reznor’s post of 08 October that says:

I’ve waited a LONG time to be able to make the
following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally
free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have
been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the
business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very
different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a
direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.

Additions 09 October:

Thom Deardorff sent in a couple of very cool bioinformatics efforts:

Chinook, which is a Canadian project that aims to “facilitate exchange of analysis techniques within a local community and/or worldwide.” and

Tranche, which says “In a nutshell, we’re using peer-to-peer (P2P) concepts mixed with modern encryption to make a secure distributed file system that is well-suited for proteomics research data and independent of any particular centralized authority.”

Jim Gaynor notes in a comment:

VMWare offers a catalog of “virtual appliances” – pre-built VMs that can be freely shared, made by members of the VM community. Most VMs have a torrent download.

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft game (an immense commercial enterprise with over 9 million subscribers) distributes game updates via bittorrent. Sometimes major content patches exceed a quarter gigabyte.

Terry points out that Joost and Skype use their own p2p protocols for video and VOIP.

Oren’s Original List (07 October 2007)

Red Hat and other linux distros rely on bittorrent to distribute the operating systems and updates. There’s a site that tries to keep track of them at:
http://linuxtracker.org/

There are lots of folks who use various p2p filesharing services to share files wit friends and family. One thing I saw notes that p2p offers better error correction in file transfer than most other methods.

http://bt.etree.org/ is a bittorrent network used to distribute recordings of musicians who are “trade-friendly” (authorize fans to trade recordings of their performances).

The Democracy video distribution service uses bittorrent: http://www.technologyevangelist.com/2006/03/democracy_player_rev.html

There’s a bittorrent interface to Amazon’s s3 storage service.

Bibster is a project that aims to assist researchers in managing, searching, and sharing bibliographic metadata (e.g. from BibTeX files) in a peer-to-peer network. – http://bibster.semanticweb.org/

Project Gutenberg uses bittorrent to distribute CD and DVD images: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:The_CD_and_DVD_Project

iBiblio, which calls itself “the public’s library and digital archive” uses bittorrent: http://torrent.ibiblio.org/

Librivox distributes audio recordings of books that are in the public domain via bittorrent. They have a page that explains why p2p distribution is important to them at http://tinyurl.com/2gw3by

The makers of the award-winning documentary film “The Corporation” are distributing a version of the film via p2p (bittorrent). The director says:

I think most people downloading the film understand what an enormous effort it is to make a film like this and will support it, if there’s a reasonably easy way to. So, I decided to release my own “shareware” version of the film, but with a short message at the beginning, asking viewers for a little financial consideration to help offset the costs of production and keep our outreach efforts going.

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4 thoughts on “Legitimate uses of p2p – updated 10 October”

  1. VMWare offers a catalog of “virtual appliances” – pre-built VMs that can be freely shared, made by members of the VM community. Most VMs have a torrent download.

    Blizzard’s World of Warcraft game (an immense commercial enterprise with over 9 million subscribers) distributes game updates via bittorrent. Sometimes major content patches exceed a quarter gigabyte.

    Like

  2. (wanted to make this distinct from adding to your list)

    Those who have been spending the most effort attempting to legislate out p2p/torrent have not been the actual creators of entertainment IP. They are the publishers/distributors.

    Their money comes from being the sole owners of the delivery mechanism. This isn’t so much about rights management – it’s about controlling the delivery mechanism. If a bar band can distribute their entire CD to the world via bittorrent, that’s one less customer for the industry’s delivery system.

    Like

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