Distribution of Digital Content on P2P Networks


The nature of digital goods (software applications, games, images, videos, music, documents, e-books …) is very different from tangible goods. Traditionally, there have been major drawbacks for the sale of digital goods via the Internet, mainly in the high transmission latency and the difficulty of protecting copyright. However, these limitations are now nearly obsolete. Today, the Internet has become for many types of businesses such as software firms, producing movies and series, and music publishers, not just a marketing tool in business and sales of tangible goods, but also a very efficient tool costs for the promotion, sale and distribution in any immediate time and place of digital goods. Not in vain, the Internet allows brokers and reduce stocks, and eliminate hardware type CD or DVD, among other advantages.

P2P (Peer-To-Peer) is undoubtedly the most efficient means for the transfer of large digital files. Others have amply demonstrated their enthusiasm for the ease, speed, strength and social aspects of this method of sharing files. However, this technology has been unjustly persecuted because of its universality as a means of sharing and free of illegal content protected by copyright. The industry most affected by piracy via P2P networks has been the record, followed by the film, but has also affected the video games and book publishers. But it is undeniable, despite the controversy generated, that P2P has been the “killer application” for broadband.

P2P networks make use of distributed resources (storage capacity, bandwidth, content, applications, CPU cycles …) available on machines with Internet access and permissions within a virtual community. This great application, which given the enormous popularity of today enjoy, is the distribution of content, following the success of Napster initially, and subsequently by KaZaA, eDonkey, Gnutella, BitTorrent and eMule. P2P technology used in Internet and intranet involves, among other advantages, a powerful means of access, distribution and sale of digital content, it can also be applied in the business environment for the exchange of information between employees or between and other corporate partners.

In this context, the DRM (Digital Rights Management), based on digital encryption techniques, to manage the distribution of content protected by copyright. In a business environment, DRM is related to the management of security policies that control access and information management in different user profiles. Despite its complex process of standardization and globalization, these technologies are evolving rapidly and in a few years will be essential to the infrastructure of the Internet and intranets.

The convergence between P2P and DRM is inevitable. DRM is the most efficient and practical to protect, authorize, authenticate and grant access to digital information on P2P networks. In fact, safeguarding the economic value of digital content, protecting them from unauthorized use and forcing them to meet the payment terms and conditions attached for your fair use. In addition, DRM ensures confidentiality and privacy of information protected from the unauthorized use, dominating the way that can be used for different levels of authorization and, if desired, records how it is used.

Most of the current trade and business networks are based on centralized systems, which behave well when handling fixed hearings that do not require the exchange of high volumes of data. These systems are usually easy to manage, but when trying to download large volumes of information to many customers, are slow, expensive, not scalable and robust little. Do not use, for example, that a very remote server can be the subject of access by two customers very close together.

The availability of large centralized servers and vast communications systems dedicated to the distribution of content is increasingly limited due to high infrastructure costs and maintenance at generating business and fear that continues to weigh on the sector to make substantial investments fixed assets in fixed after the outbreak of the technology bubble. However, users are demanding high-quality multimedia files and very heavy, and are extremely sensitive to the duration of the download.

The only distribution architecture capable of meeting these needs is, undoubtedly, P2P (Peer-To-Peer), where the client computers will help each other, becoming clients of other servers. These networks can grow indefinitely without need for costly centralized resources: Using the bandwidth, storage capacity and processing power of machines that interconnect, the number of those resources always increases in direct proportion to the growth of the network. To download a file via P2P networks, first, the subject of downloading files are segmented into smaller parts for distribution. Then, different customers request to the server or other clients and begin downloading concurrently for greater speed. Then, those same clients become servers for parties who are downloading or just downloaded. As the file is downloaded from multiple sources at the same time, the speed is much greater when a growing number of users who share. Since the bandwidth and the number of connections is limited on each server, a queuing system that allows customers to download all the segments in an equitable manner. Once the customer has all the pieces downloaded, the file will rebuild total. At that time, the user can access the downloaded file.