Wiki for listing legitimate uses of P2P

Alarmed that Bell Canada is throttling and degrading P2P traffic, David Fewer and some of his friends have created a wiki to list "all of the legitimate things that P2P can and is doing. Kind of a one stop shop for evidence of how this technology has the capacity to change the world." The idea is that this can be used in regulatory proceedings and other policy fora to establish the legitimacy of P2P. They want your input!
Why peer-to-peer is efficient
When a user wishes to download a file from a website, the submit a HTTP GET request. This request for the file uses a single TCP socket, and communicates with a single server which transfers the entire file. By contrast, a P2P protocol creates TCP connections with multiple hosts and makes many small data requests to each. The P2P client then combines the chunks to recreate the file. A single file host will usually have limited upload capacity, but connecting to many servers simultaneously allows for higher file transfers, and disperses the costs associated with data transfers amongst many peers. Moreover, a client mid-way through downloading the file also acts as a server, hosting the bits to others which they have already downloaded. These differences from traditional HTTP GET requests allow for lower costs and higher redundancy since many people are sharing the files.


  1. “By contrast, a P2P protocol creates TCP connections with multiple hosts and makes many small data requests to each. The P2P client then combines the chunks to recreate the file.”

    Isn’t bittorrent the only one that does that?

  2. Yeah, they’re mistaken by confining P2P to “multiple hosts.” P2P simply refers to the idea that any node on a network can be a server. Nothing else.

  3. The irony is that the most famous P2P protocol of them all is the SMTP email system. For some reason, nobody ever calls the politicians on that one.

  4. the engineer mind collides with the legal mind.
    Tight,totally inclusive definitions are good if you are doing science and trying to actually accomplish things. Sloppy, incomplete definitions give you an escape route and and an attack point if you are lying to get your way in court (as EVERYONE in the court room is doing).

    The more the brains that make and create try to explain to the brains that take and steal, the tighter the chains are wrapped. Let them pass bad law with lots of holes in it. You must understand you are fighting a never ending war. There will never be a final, conclusive battle for freedom. Keep them strategically ignorant, you have no duty to them to be truthful. They are NEVER going to leave you alone.

  5. They forgot one: When the singularity arrives, p2p will be the virtual world that post humans will travel in.

  6. Those that want to ban P2P aren’t, ever going to be looking for why it’s good. They simply don’t have the correct type of brain to see both the positive and negative effects/ uses for something. If they did, the idea of banning something wouldn’t come to their heads.

    They are as much zealots in this as the Spanish Inquisition.

  7. I’m with Baldhead on this. A list like this is about as useful as a list of Biblical contradictions is for convincing a fundie to lighten up.

  8. The list is to point people at who haven’t made up their minds. Like everyone who hasn’t sold their souls to the RIAA, or doesn’t know what P2P is.

  9. I can’t see myself using it to convince someone but that could be a failure of my imagination. I Could Be Wrong* about it.

    *Repeated use of this phrase may get you banned from internet forums.

  10. The blurb will get a non-technical user confused by the 16th word, if not 15th…

    “HTTP GET? What the hell is that? TCP? Aaaa…!!!!”

    You’re free to try to promote P2P and BT in my world, but if you talk nerdy, no one but nerds will listen to you.

    While counting the words, I noticed the 12th word is a typo. FAIL.

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