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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 21st, 2006
Novicius
 
Join Date: August 21st, 2006
Posts: 3
bugsquat is flying high
Default A new concept in Peer to Peer technology - Brightnets!

Unlike traditional darknets, which were confined only to select friends and trusted associates, a new concept changes the need for such privacy. Brightnets, in contrast, are a distributed system where nobody breaks the law, so nobody needs to hide away.

An example of such a system (possibly the first), is a system called OFF, or the owner-free file system. (http://offsystem.sourceforge.net). Although the system is under heavy development, the concept is proven to work.

How does it work? Each client shares a series of 128kb "blocks", which are files filled with randomly chosen bits. These blocks are randomized when given a source file to share in the OFF system. Without the instructions to assemble these blocks, they are useless. Therefore, to download a file, one needs a special URL, similar to an ed2k URL, or a gnutella magnet URL. Every user sharing files on the network will create a unique URL for each file he is sharing.

So what does this all accomplish? Most importantly, the nodes on the network sharing bandwidth CANNOT be held responsible for copyright infringement, because they are not sharing copyrighted works. Somebody could argue that people sharing files on the OFF network are breaking the law when uploading blocks used to assemble copyrighted works, but this argument has no basis. Why? Because the blocks being shared do not in any way represent the original copyrighted work in question.

The system works, but as I mentioned above, is still under development and in heavy testing stages. The project only currently has one developer, and in order to be sustained and improved needs additional talented and competent C++ developers. If you would like to contribute, or have a question or suggestion, head on over to irc.p2pchat.net, #thebighack

All beta testers are welcome, and the latest test releases of the client can be downloaded from http://offsystem.sourceforge.net/installers/
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 21st, 2006
flame-retardant
 
Join Date: November 22nd, 2005
Posts: 196
Hyper-kun is a great assister to others; your light through the dark tunnel
Default

That's nonsense. The people which created this have no clue of laws and it's extremely arrogant to confuse international law with US law.

This system is no less or more legal than any other including Gnutella.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old August 21st, 2006
Novicius
 
Join Date: August 21st, 2006
Posts: 3
bugsquat is flying high
Default

The important distinction you must make here is that the actual act of downloading the random bits of data is not copyright infringement. In the OFF system, pieces are COMPLETELY randomized, and do not represent the works which are being derived. Not only that, but also pieces can be reused. For example, if I created some blocks to store an mp3 I recorded, those same blocks could potentially be used to recreate a home-made video which someone else stored on the network.

Now on the FLIPSIDE, you are correct. The actual act of putting together the pieces to create a copyrighted work is, in itself, infringement. But in this system, you can legally share the pieces without fear of persecution, because without the URLs, the pieces are meaningless.

So now instead of on the host's side, the legal question lies in the user's hands. If the user chooses to assemble the correct blocks using a URL which clearly leads to material that is copyrighted, they are making a conscious choice to break the law.

There are many other legitmate uses for this peer to peer system as well. Some additional benefits of this system are the distribution, and the fact that blocks can be reused. If a file is successfully propogated in the system, you could potentially have a free alternative to paid file hosting, which sounds like a bargain to me.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old August 21st, 2006
flame-retardant
 
Join Date: November 22nd, 2005
Posts: 196
Hyper-kun is a great assister to others; your light through the dark tunnel
Default

File hosting is really cheap nowadays and it gets constantly
cheaper. Also if you have a big pipe at home, you don't have
to bother anyway. I really doubt that single blocks can be shared
between a lot of files. Maybe a few KiBs of generic padding or header
data, yes, but not much more. Video and audio data is highly compressed
nowadays and other data that is compressible is usually provided
as ZIP, RAR, BZ2, GZ etc. Even if files have large chunks in common,
it is rather unlikely that these are on the same boundaries. For example
if one file has a slightly larger header (a longer comment for example),
the complete following data is shifted down a couple of bytes.
I believe MP3 files are a rare and maybe the only example in which
case it can be useful to separate the metadata (ID3 tag) from the
actual audio data as people tend to modify the tags whereas the rest
of the data is identical. However, audio files are pretty small by
todays standards and you don't need a lot of sources to download them
really fast. For all other contents (videos, archive, text documents, pictures)
it much less likely that there are a lot of almost identical versions.

Just consider how many possible versions of block of 512 bytes (a typical disk sector size)
exist: 2^(512*8). This is a huge number. This number is magnitudes larger than the number of atoms in the
universe:

2^4096 is this:
10443888814131525066917527107166243825799642490473 83780384233483283953907971557456848826811934997558 34089010671443926283798757343818579360726323608785 13652779459569765437099983403615901343837183144280 70011855946226376318839397712745672334684344586617 49680790870580370407128404874011860911446797778359 80290066869389768817877859469056301902609405995794 53432823469303026696443059025015972399867714215541 69383555988529148631823791443449673408781187263949 64751001890413490084170616750936683338505510329720 88269550769983616369411933015213796825837188091833 65675122131849284636812555022599830041234478486259 56744921946170238065059132456108257318353800876086 22102834270197698202313169017678006675195485079921 63641937028537512478401490715913545998279051339961 15517942711068311340905842728842797915548497829543 23534517065223269061394905987693002122963395687782 87894844061600741294567491982305057164237715481632 13806310459029161369267083428564407304478999719017 81465763473223850267253059899795996090799469201774 62481771844986745565925017832907047311943316555080 75682218465717463732968849128195203174570024409266 16910874148385078411929804522981857338977648103126 08590300130241346718972667321649151113160292078173 8033436090243804708340403154190336

Estimated number of atoms in the universe:
10^81 is this:
10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000

It's a small world, isn't it?
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old August 21st, 2006
flame-retardant
 
Join Date: November 22nd, 2005
Posts: 196
Hyper-kun is a great assister to others; your light through the dark tunnel
Default

For what it's worth, they seem use blocks as large as 128 KiB, if I understand correctly. Do you know how likely an overlap of such huge blocks is? Complete novels and pictures fit easily into such a huge block. Considering this I don't see their point that this is supposed to prevent copyright infringement at all. Do you think 20 seconds of an song are not copyrighted? Artists have been sued for sampling less than a second of someone else's work. Even if you could assume that this is "Fair Use", keep in mind that "Fair Use" exists only in US law and it might not be applicable for this case anyway.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2006
Novicius
 
Join Date: August 21st, 2006
Posts: 3
bugsquat is flying high
Default

In the OFF system, the blocks are NOT chunks of the file. They are completely randomized pieces of data that are not derived from the original source file.

So then how, you may ask, if they are random, can they be assembled? With the use of mathematics. The URL used to assemble them was formed with the XORing of blocks used to transfer the material. So you apply the reverse to re-assemble them on your local machine. Yes, that may be considered copyright infringement, but UP UNTIL THAT POINT, transmission of random pieces of data does not constitute as breaking the law.

Think of it this way: A computer file is, like you said, a really big number. For every number there are an infinite number of possible representations for this number. If for some reason we were to allow 12 to be copyrighted by Brittney, she would still have no claim on the numbers 5, 7, 13 and 25.

So if the blocks are not representative of the original data, They are simply numbers that (with the use of mathematics) can be re-assembled into the original data on the user's machine. If you think of it from a mathematical point of view, 56 can be represented as 4*14, 2*28, 1*56, 7*8, 58 - 2, 50 + 6, and so on. So if you have one file, lets say the number 24, and another file, the number 80, they still share the common factors 1, 2, 4, and 8.

So what the system accomplishes is this: Users cannot be held accountable for transfering data. The only possible legal argument could be against those who share URLs, the instructions on assembling data. It remains to be seen how this will be dealt with.

Last edited by bugsquat; August 22nd, 2006 at 10:14 AM.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2006
flame-retardant
 
Join Date: November 22nd, 2005
Posts: 196
Hyper-kun is a great assister to others; your light through the dark tunnel
Default

You are confused. OFF splits every file into 128 KiB large chunks, then transcodes these and operates on them. This is technically not different to splitting a file into chunks and putting each into a ZIP or RAR container. If the legal argument of OFF worked, you could use a much simpler encoding. Just negate all bits and it's not the original data nor usable anymore. Everything else is just overkill.

I think this approach just shifts the problem but doesn't solve it. Even if it was legal now, I guarantee you that it will be declared illegal as soon as it becomes popular. Just like they stole so many other rights from people before.
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