Do We Need Incentive Mechanisms for Peer-to-Peer Media Streaming?

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Executive Summary

Peer-To-Peer (P2P) streaming can be extremely effective in alleviating the load on popular servers and proxies but only if there is a sufficient level of cooperation among the peers. Hence, the question is: do the people need incentive mechanisms for P2P streaming? The authors quantify the cost of sharing and show that, unlike traditional file sharing systems, a streaming system cannot provide good streaming quality to its users if only a few altruistic users cooperate and everybody else defects.

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