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Aequitas: A Trusted P2P System for Paid Content Delivery

Sherman, Alex; Chawla, Japinder; Nieh, Jason; Stein, Clifford S.; Sarma, Justin

P2P file-sharing has been recognized as a powerful and efficient distribution model due to its ability to leverage users' upload bandwidth. However, companies that sell digital content on-line are hesitant to rely on P2P models for paid content distribution due to the free file-sharing inherent in P2P models. In this paper we present Aequitas, a P2P system in which users share paid content anonymously via a layer of intermediate nodes. We argue that with the extra anonymity in Aequitas, vendors could leverage P2P bandwidth while effectively maintaining the same level of trust towards their customers as in traditional models of paid content distribution. As a result, a content provider could reduce its infrastructure costs and subsequently lower the costs for the end-users. The intermediate nodes are incentivized to contribute their bandwidth via electronic micropayments. We also introduce techniques that prevent the intermediate nodes from learning the content of the files they help transmit. In this paper we present the design of our system, an analysis of its properties and an implementation and experimental evaluation. We quantify the value of the intermediate nodes, both in terms of efficiency and their effect on anonoymity. We argue in support of the economic and technological merits of the system.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Publisher
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Series
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-019-07
Published Here
April 27, 2011
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