Jupiter’s London office broadband connectivity has been really poor recently and after some trouble shooting by our IT guys the problem was traced to a colleagueís computer. It turns out that she had Channel 4ís Kontiki powered, p-to-p based 4OD application installed on her machine and that it was busy distributing content without her knowing. Fair enough you might say, thatís how supra-distribution works. However she had turned off the application and according to her system tray it wasnít even running. If an application had been turned off, it should be exactly that: ‘off’, not running, hidden in the background. You’d expect that of malware, not from a national broadcaster.
This is in microcosm what must be happening in many UK households now, and is what will happen on a much larger scale should / when BBCís Kontiki powered iPlayer launch(es). Many households will find their broadband speeds drastically reduced and others will end up using up their monthly data limits without knowingly having downloaded any content. If consumers aren’t adequately briefed / warned of the implications of installing P-to-P software the BBC may find itself surfing a massive swell of popular discontent.
P-to-P just seems unable to shake off itís dubious heritage, even when itís trying to play the legitimate game. But it doesnít have to be that way: my colleague Ian Fogg pointed out that Joost has very clear, up front warnings that the application will use bandwidth etc and even instructs how to turn the P-to-P functionality off. Lessons well learnt from their Kazaa days.