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Comcast, Pando to Work With Industry on P2P Bill of Rights

[Editor's note: This story was originally posted on May 3, 2008. On Monday, May 5, Comcast announced at the DCIA P2P Media Summit that the company was no longer actively pursuing a P2P Bill of Rights.]

Comcast and Pando Networks are working together with the help of the DCIA to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" that will address the problems of capacity and network management, problems that many people argue are due to excessive use of P2P networks to download video and other large files, whether those files are legit or pirated.

According to Comcast director of corporate communications Charlie Douglas, the company wants to work with a large group of ISPs, P2P companies, content providers, and others to create a set of best practices and rights that will allow the industry to fix these and other issues presented by P2P applications.

"It’s hard to say what the exact rights and responsibilities will look like, because Comcast and Pando are just taking the first step to engage the dialogue," Douglas said. "These issues are not about Comcast and Pando specifically, anyway. These are about some of the technological issues that the whole industry is facing."

The Proposal
Comcast and Pando first announced their intention to work on a bill of rights in a press release issued April 15 in which the companies also stated that they would conduct a test of Pando’s Network Aware P2P technology on Comcast’s network. The test would allow Comcast to collect data that would help it migrate to a protocol-agnostic network by the end of the year, according to the release. Comcast had also announced on March 27 that it would collaborate with P2P company BitTorrent to "more effectively address issues associated with rich media content and network capacity management."

After the announcement, the companies went to the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) for help taking the project "to the next level," according to DCIA CEO Marty Lafferty. He said that at the P2P Media Summit, which will be held May 5 in Los Angeles, the DCIA plans to begin recruiting other companies to participate in a working group that will draft the bill. Lafferty hopes to have the group formalized by June and a product completed by Labor Day.

"It’s another industry-led effort that can demonstrate how the private sector can be responsive to the issues that come up and concerns that are raised by various parties," he said.

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