Music Piracy Wars May Finally Take a Break

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Stormy relationships between pirates and the music industry could start to settle down some, now

music piracy
Illustration: Lou Beach
that BitTorrent is developing new software aimed at eliminating any reason for ISPs to throttle peer-to-peer (P2P) network traffic. Meanwhile, a new survey suggests that instead of posing a menace to record companies, pirates are actually helping the music industry to survive, anyway.

Those who illegally download music from the Internet actually spend more money on music than anyone else, according to the poll, done in the U.K. among 1000 people, ages 16 to 50, who have Internet access.

Believing otherwise, music industry groups such as the US-based RIAA have been cracking down hard on illegal downloaders for years now.

ISPs such as Comcast in the U.S. and Bell Canada have also gotten into the control act by "throttling" or limiting downloads by users with P2P applications.

But now popular P2P network BitTorrent is seeking to police itself, through the creation of a new uTorrent client which uses a new protocol dubbed uTP to essentially throttle itself when network congestion is detected.

Now in beta testing, uTorrent 2.0 is described by uTorrent as an "alternative communication method for BitTorrent traffic that allows the client to

music piracy
automatically regulate its bandwidth usage to avoid adversely impacting your Internet connection."

Basically, the revised implementation of BitTorrent's protocol is supposed to prevent BitTorrent from interfering with other applications, all without slowing download times for P2P users.

The client software also includes a transfer cap setting feature designed to let users monitor how much network bandwidth they are consuming and configure uTorrent to stop downloading once they have reached the limits of fixed bandwidth monthly plans, for example.

Yet while some P2P downloaders are taking an accepting attitude, others aren't. "This kind of process claims to prevent the necessity for ‘ISP throttling,' but how is the means they go by to accomplish this any different [from] throttling itself? It's essentially the same concept, throttling when congestion is high," wrote one user, Rart, on the Web site.

This story, "Music Piracy Wars May Finally Take a Break" was originally published by PCWorld.

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