Greetings from the invisible hand…Comcast Cuts Service to Bandwidth Hogs

Those of you who read this blog may recall my post called “Fix it or we’ll Fix It For You” (a version of which I posted on the Digital Music News “Insider’s Blog“) in which I suggested that the easiest way to create impediments to illegal downloading was to cut off users who were using more bandwidth than they could justify legitimately. The Washington Post carried an article this week confirming that Comcast was doing just that. I had to rub my eyes and read that piece a couple times to be sure, but yes–that’s exactly what Comcast is doing. “Comcast Cuts Internet Service to Bandwidth Hogs” says it all.

Some of you may also recall a post I made on Kings of A&R entitled “Why You Hate Net Neutrality if you Love Copyright” for which I was taken to task by that well known music industry genius, the dynamic and oh, so very soulful, Tim Lee (with apologies to Captain Koons). The piece is also discussed on the Progress & Freedom Foundation’s IP Central blog.

The point in both those pieces is essentially the same: In order to discourage illegal downloading we must employ a variety of tools that can leverage the beneficial effects of the Invisible Hand. In my view, the one economic move that could make using the Internet unpleasant for illegal downloaders is to make it v-e-r-y s-l-o-w. And we know how well mall rats in the lab deal with things that are v-e-r-y s-l-o-w, the dopamine withdrawal due to lack of instantaneous gratification alone might result in an increase in the crime rate.

If you don’t like v-e-r-y s-l-o-w you’re much more likely to be willing to pay for metered Internet service so that you can steal at the old blindingly fast rates. In a metered service environment, our little friends Corky and Muffy might not be able to download quite so much the first time Mummy got a metered Internet bill and they actually had to pay for their free riding. GROUNDED FOR LIFE!! Kind of like the 140,000 people who lost their jobs in the music industry over the last few years.

I can just hear the cries of the EFFluviati now–cutting off users won’t stop downloading, they’ll just go to to more “progressive” ISPs, darknets and hard drive trading, yadda yadda yadda freaking yadda. Charging more for bandwidth won’t stop downloading! No one said it would “stop” illegal downloading. I’m saying, and now it appears that Comcast is also saying, I may not be able to make people understand that what they do is at best immoral and at worst criminal, but ISPs are able to say we don’t want your business if you steal, or if you fit the stealing profile. If you have legitimate business that take up bandwidth to an undue extent, then come forward and discuss it.

The Comcast cutoff is the predicate to metered pricing, and metered pricing is the beginning of the end for massive downloading. Sure, there will be some ISPs who keep their pricing constant, but they are going to be gifted with a bunch of massive downloaders. We’ll see how long those prices stay constant.
Also–if a handful of ISPs become havens for massive downloaders, what implications for inducement claims or civil RICO claims against those ISPs? Or–dare I even think it–the government might actually take some law enforcement action?
And one other thing–this would be the same ISPs who supposedly want to engage on the “voluntary collective licensing scheme” propounded by the EFFluviati? Cutting people off for downloading doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement of that idea.
And of course–if anyone does start paying for metered Internet service so that Muffy and Corky can continue their “can buy, won’t buy” obstinacy, I have a very good idea where that metered money should be going.

One thought on “Greetings from the invisible hand…Comcast Cuts Service to Bandwidth Hogs

  1. Your idea will not work.Here is why:1. Internet Service Providerssuch as Comcast, Knology , Cox etc are a PROFIT driven industry. The illegal measures they are taking to discourage peer to peer file trading are not in place because of the “moral” stance of these companies LOLIt is because of the WHINING and MOANING on the part of the MPAA and RIAA, and whats left of those associations legal budget….. whats left of it anyway.As long as those associations are willing to shell out millions of dollars to fight a completely pointless battle, then ISP’s will make these token gestures at “controlling” the peer to peer network traffic. Even with these peer to peer packet level filters in place however, the traffic will continue to flow across the internet growing exponentially with every passing chronon.As the open source camps grow in popularity and people get more and more sick of paying for garbage software ( Windows) the average persons skill in using cmoputers will inherently advance. As this happens, ISP’s will be faced with a decision. Either provide a true, unfettered connection to the internet, and respect privacy laws, or lose customers , all except your completely clueless computer users who go to google.com once or twice a week and thats it…Period, as people wise up and realize that they can take a few extra steps to protect their identities online, using darknets and other ip proxy utilities such as I2P , Tor , and Freenet , more and more people will start doing so. Effectivley creating several different internets, with varying levels of security , authentication and identity protection levels.”The” Internet is rapidly becoming”those” internets , and there is nothing that can be done to stop it.No amount of illegal , privacy invasive lawsuits brought up by the MPAA and RIAA can discourage the fact that NO ONE CAN STOP US.Not the Corporate titans that hire hackers to try and poison our p2p nets, not the ISP’s and for DANG sure not people who whine about how 140 thousand people lost their music industry jobs last year…and why because of EMULE and BT?!?Give me a BREAK man… these people need to get a job that does not hinge on what I decide to download on the internet. And for those who say that p2p file trading causes a decrease in the production of good and “true” art production….Musicians have not been superstars ever since the dawn of time my freinds. Perhaps if the CASH payout is an artists motivation for creating music, then they dont need to be producing their commercial driven CRAP any way.I cant help but think thats maybe why we have so much CRAP on the airwaves these days…. too much money in this industry in the first dang place.People used to make music for the LOVE OF THE MUSIC, and they WANTED as many people as possible to be able to hear their music as possible.If their music was good enough, then people would PAY to SEE THEM PERFORM. And live quite comfortably. There is a balance that exists in this life, sometimes the balance is delicate and sometimes the balance builds up on one end of the spectrum for a time , until the pendulum comes crashing back in the opposite direction to balance things out.P2P file sharing is BALANCING this RIDICULOUS industry out, hopefully once and for all.Data encryption will protect us….mathmatics will protect us from you who would have us locked in a cage for sharing harmless bits of binary data over a network.In the end….you cannot stop us.You cannot defeat the math of it.The encryption is just too strong.And the ISP’s are just too concerned with how much CA$h they are making to make more than a token gesture of stopping it.HAve a great day freinds.Amobius Tek

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