The MPAA, better known as the Motion Picture Association of America ( a conglomerate of Universal Studios, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, MGM, 20th CenturyFox and Paramount ) have been having talks with the ultra high speed Internet2 consortium according to CNet News today.
The MPAA are hoping both to test next-generation video delivery projects and to monitor peer-to-peer piracy on the ultra high-speed network. Internet2 is essentially a vastly faster version of the Internet, “run by a consortium led by 207 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating the creation of tomorrow’s Internet.” (according to the i2 website).
One of the applications that i2 have been working on is the Digital Video Initiative who have been working on a new generation of digital video applications that take full advantage of the potential of high performance networks.
Not surprisingly, student file-swapping traffic has also has found its way onto the network, and in the light of lawsuits announced this week by the film body and a more vigorous anti file sharing stance, the MPAA are taking a serious look at the connotations superfast bandwidth brings for digital delivery, legal and illegal files. Using ordinary broadband connections, movies can take many hours to download, particularly if a network is congested. In tests earlier in the year researchers from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and Geneva-based CERN transferred data across nearly 11,000 kilometers at an average speed of 6.25 gigabits per second. The achieved speed is about 10,000 times faster than a typical home broadband connection according to CERN.
“We’ve been working with Internet2 for a while to explore ways we can take advantage of delivering content at these extremely high speeds, and basically manage illegitimate content distribution at the same time,” said Chris Russell, the MPAA’s vice president of Internet standards and technology in the CNet article.
The MPAA has been talking with the research consortium for several months, with an eye toward possibly joining the Internet2 group as a member, or simply opening up a collaborative relationship. At least one studio, Warner Bros., is already a member of the group, as is the Napster online music service.
In the light of recent lawsuits by both the RIAA and the MPAA, there has been some concern at the involvement of both entertainment bodies in the role of P2P police. Also in the last year, more than 20 schools have signed up for deeply discounted access to music services such as Napster, MusicNet and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody.
Internet2 is part of the Abilene network, a proving ground for high-bandwidth technologies. The cross-country backbone is 10 gigabits per second, with the goal of offering 100 megabits per second of connectivity between every Abilene connected desktop. Speaking to Tech Republic recently Steve Corbato, the director of backbone network infrastructure for Internet2 said “Abilene has become a necessity for research universities,” and, “It’s not just about building a really fast network. University members rely on it to collaborate with colleagues and students around the world.”
To put that into more perspective a very fast broadband connection from Comcast for example would be around 3.5 megabits per second, a mere fraction of the Abilene target.
One of the biggest groups of users on the Internet2 network is the supercharged student file sharing project, i2Hub. i2hub arose early this year as an on-campus alternative to older swapping services such as Kazaa, offering speeds that far outstripped its rivals.
To connect to this extremely fast network students need to download a free client from Direct Connect who’s website states, “Unlike other impersonal, server-driven file-sharing networks, Direct Connect offers a community-oriented, open, user-controlled network. Moreover, Direct Connect’s network architecture is built on a peer-to-peer foundation; users run, control, and maintain the network.”
Many colleges in the United States and Europe allow student communications to default to the Internet2 network, which connects universities at speeds much higher than the ordinary Internet can provide. The i2hub software takes advantage of this to let students at participating universities swap files using this bandwidth bonanza.
Hollywood Seeks Internet2 Tests [CNet News]
MPAA P2P File Share Weapon [P2PNet.net]
Internet2 Activities at Georgia Tech [Gatech.edu]
Internet2: File Swopping Heaven? [NewsFactor.com]
Internet2 at Stanford [Stanford.edu]
Colleges Shut Down the Network to P2P Users [Copyfutures]
the Internet2 Project [Cisco.com]
College P2P Use on the Decline? [ZDnet News]
Internet2:2004 and Beyond [Tech Republic]
Why the RIAA Targets College Students [Boycott-RIAA.com]