The World of P2P: What is P2P, a Sociological Perspective
From a Sociological Perspective
From person to person or user to user, a new world is being born in that all are at the same time producers and consumers. The information will be free since the costs of distribution will continue to fall and the power for creative participation is at anyones hands.
Is it morally wrong?
As discussed previously there is no common ground to answer this question, views differ wildly, even states degrees with the interpretation or legality of restricting/implementing intellectual property rights.
- For every action there is a reaction
It is today an evidence that there is a social movement against what is generally perceived as the corruption of copyright over public goods, that is, legally a minority is attempting to impose extensions and reductions of liberties to defend economical interests of mostly sizable international corporations that in it's vast majority aren't even the direct creators of the goods. In this particular case virtual goods, mostly digital that have a approaching 0 cost of replication and aren't eroded by time or use.
DRM (Digital Rights Management)
When we talk about DRM it useful to keep in mind that the rights that are being "managed" are completely distinct from simple intellectual rights that were granted protection on non-digital media. Since the level of control permitted can be extreme, for those that respect the DRM, sometimes the rights that are removed from the consumer are simply freedom that existed in past media, for example the freedom to lend. It has gone to a point that the concept of buying a good has been slowly changing to renting, in a way that you ultimately do not own or have full control over what you paid for.
A more unified marker for DRM-free files that also educates downloaders about DRM is a powerful way to increase the value of being DRM-free. People looking for ebooks in places like Amazon often have trouble figuring out which ebooks have DRM and which don't because Amazon does not advertise that information. This label is a step toward solving that problem, making it easy for people who oppose DRM to find like-minded artists, authors, and publishers to support.
In late 2005, market-based rationales influenced Sony BMG's deployment of DRM systems on millions of Compact Discs that threatened the security of its customers computers and compromised the integrity of the information infrastructure more broadly. This became known as the Sony BMG Rootkit debacle (see the paper Mulligan, Deirdre and Perzanowski, Aaron K., "The Magnificence of the Disaster: Reconstructing the Sony BMG Rootkit, for detailed information).
In February 2007, Steve Jobs, wrote an open letter addressing DRM since it was impacting Apples business on the iTunes/iPod store ( http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ ).
On a presentation made by David Hughes of the RIAA at Arizona State University (2007), David Hughes, senior vice president of technology for the RIAA, dubbed the spiritual leader of Apple Steve Jobs as a "hypocrite" over his attitude to DRM on iTunes. "While Steve has been banging on about the music companies dropping DRM he has been unwilling to sell his Pixar movies through iTunes without DRM and DVDs without CSS encryption."
a danger for historical records
A now disbanded organization formed by six of the biggest P2P groups (those behind eDonkey, Grokster, Morpheus, Blubster, Limewire and BearShare), with Adam Eisgrau as executive director. It was started in mid-July 2003 to provide a way to lobby for the P2P on U.S. Congress and WIPO, the UN organization that administers intellectual property treaties since the file-sharing industry (as an industry) had no identifiable name and face in Washington or in the media.
This attempt was a bust and since then most of the members of the group has lost court cases or have settled and closed operations.
Peer-to-Peer working group
The Peer-to-Peer WG (P2Pwg).
A great article about problems with the creation of the working group is available at (www.openp2p.com) by Tim O'Reilly 10/13/2000 is available (http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2000/10/13/working_grp.html).
P2P in non technological fields
There are also several movements attempting to establish how to apply the concept of P2P to non technological fields like politics, economics, ecology etc...
One of such attempts is the The Foundation for P2P Alternatives ( http://p2pfoundation.net ), that function as a clearinghouse for such open/free, participatory/p2p and commons-oriented initiatives and aims to be a pluralist network to document, research, and promote peer to peer alternatives.