A research team has created a new peer-to-peer file-sharing system that penalizes those who take while rewarding those "selfless" sharers who contribute content to the network. A
manners-enforcing file-sharing network addresses the issue of clogged networks; networks become sluggish when more users are downloading content rather than sharing it. The new system, dubbed Tribler,
effectively turns bandwidth into a currency, promoting P2P stewardship.
Tribler is already being used by Sony to turn its Web-enabled PlayStation 3 video game console into a
file-sharing device. It's also being reviewed by the European Broadcasting Union, which wants to pump TV across the Web. The idea would be to connect a TV directly to the Web, turning it into an
entirely on-demand experience; the system automatically shares downloaded programs as a TV lies dormant, collecting download "currency."
"In our model, your TV would use 'TV watching minutes', our form of P2P currency, to download content," said Dr Johan Pouwelse, co-creator of Tribler and an assistant professor at the Delft University in Amsterdam. The Tribler group also includes David Parkes, an associate professor at Harvard University, who's devising the accounting system to keep track of "TV watching minutes." "If we get this right, it would mean quite a change in the TV business," said Dr Pouwelse.