[unisog] P2p file sharing...

Clark Gaylord cgaylord at vt.edu
Fri Dec 16 10:54:02 GMT 2005

On Thu, 15 Dec 2005 09:22:10 -0500, "Michael Holstein"
<michael.holstein at csuohio.edu> said:
> > I'm sure there is an extensive archive I'm missing, but what are the top few approaches being considered/applied to monitor and enforce  student/faculty acceptable use policy as it relates to illegal p2p file sharing?  Interested in solutions that either totally  remediate or just ease DMCA compliance.
> There are a few different hardware approaches (Packeteer being chief 
> among them) that will help you deal with it .. but remember, many of the 
> clients can use encryption, etc (BitCommet for example) so they will 
> evade any throtling/blocking attempts.

Michael's point is key to our approach: there are legitimate uses of the
p2p apps themselves.  Playing whack-a-mole with ports and hoping that
they'll decide to allow you to see their traffic are both strategies
hopelessly doomed to failure -- though in th emeantime there are plenty
of people who will take your money to tell you that their approach
works, even though it is obvious that this cannot be a long-term
solution.  What we focus on instead is a three-pronged approach:
 1) User education -- while I'm sure many of the users are just feigning
 ignorance, it is surprising how many say they really didn't konw that
 this was illegal
 2) Bandwidth management -- this has nothing to do with p2p apps.  If
 you use a p2p application (ostensibly for legitate uses) and you do not
 consume an inordinate amount of traffic, then why, as your network
 service provider, should that offend me?  The problem comes in when
 someone has lots and lots of flows, so TCP cannot equitably share the
 bandwidth.  But this "lots of sessions" is a character of popular
 servers .. if you focus on the bandwidth, you'll find these and
 mitigate the real damage they are doing right now to your other
 customers.  So, we have a cap on what you can send to the Internet in a
 day, and if you go over it, you are less able to the next day.  It's
 that simple. And then, if they are abusing web or encrypted traffic or
 whatever, you still mitigate their behavior.
 3) Aggressive DMCA followup -- between this and 2), you have the
 stongest reinforcement of 1).

[Note that bw manamgement has more than rate-limiting of abusers
involved in it -- but that is the most important piece for this
discusssion -- you also have to deal with TCP vs non-TCP, et al issues.]

Clark Gaylord
Communications Research Engineer
Virginia Tech
cgaylord at vt.edu

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary 
 safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
 - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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