Generally speaking I find most of what Mark Cuban has to say fairly good, but today I have to disagree. His latest rant against P2P I think starts off with faulty premises, thus the conclusions don't hold.
As a consumer, I want my internet experience to be as fast as possible. The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are P2P freeloaders. Thats right, P2P content distributors are nothing more than freeloaders. The only person/organization that benefits from P2P usage are those that are trying to distribute content and want to distribute it on someone else's bandwidth dime.
Have we conclusively shown that P2P slows down the Internet? I'd like to see the proof of that. It's apparent that what he's mainly complaining about here is the amount of upload traffic. If somebody downloaded the same content via non-P2P, aka the non-freeloading way, they would eat up the same amount of download. So the only difference is the extra upload with P2P. Is that really a problem though? I can tell you, my network has upload to spare. I would estimate that our upload traffic is about half of what the download is at.
Does anyone really think its free ? That all the bandwidth consumed with content being distributed by P2P isn't being paid for by someone ? That bandwidth is being paid for by consumers.
When I buy a DS3, I get 45mbps of bandwidth in each direction. I have to have enough to support the download demands of my customers and I just get the upload to boot. It's just sitting there. So yeah, the consumer is paying for it but there's no way to recover that cost. Even if every consumer stopped uploading, they would still pay the same amount. Why not put it to some good use?
And there is a good use. If that bandwidth isn't used by the P2P content distributors, they end up forking out additional money on their end for the extra bandwidth. They then have to pass the cost on to consumers. Why should consumers pay twice?
Consumers who pay for personal, not commercial applications. When consumers provide their bandwidth to assist commercial applications, they are subsidizing those commercial applications which if it isn't already, should be against an ISPs terms of service.
I'm a little surprised honestly, to see Cuban talk about consumers as people who just eat and eat whatever the big media companies feel generous enough to feed them. What about the generation of the long tail? Consumer created content and all that jazz? I realize that most of what's going on with P2P is unauthorized distribution of other peoples' copyrighted works, but baby, bathwater. You know the saying.
And finally, to round out my argument I will point out that blocking P2P isn't an easy task. P2P software designers have made is hard on purpose. That means ISPs have to shell out for big hardware to do the task. Who ends up eating those costs? I would have to redesign my network in order to even accommodate the devices, which would add even more.
I won't even get into the whole neutrality debate. That's a can of worms for another day.