Distributed Computing Industry
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Industry News

Techno Features

Sharman Complaint

Data Bank


September 29, 2003
Volume 1, Issue 12

Space is Limited for 10/8 DCIA General Meeting

Please register now to ensure your attendance at DCIA's Quarterly General Meeting for Members and prospective Members on Wednesday October 8th at our headquarters in Arlington, VA (near Washington, DC).

The morning general session will begin with a continental breakfast at 9:30 AM and formally commence at 10:00 AM. A buffet luncheon will be served at 12:00 noon with adjournment at 1:00 PM. The detailed agenda, focusing on developing viable solutions to peer-to-peer piracy, will be distributed in advance to all registered attendees this Wednesday 10/1.

The closed afternoon session will center on proposed constructive actions, including recommendations made during the morning session, to be reviewed and discussed by invited industry leaders representing content, technology, broadband, and peer-to-peer (P2P) software interests.

A special room rate is available at the Arlington Hilton, above the Ballston Metro stop convenient to Reagan National Airport and the District, and one block from DCIA's headquarters, at 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203.

Please call 888-864-DCIA for more information or register now online at www.dcia.info.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

It has been a week of extremes.

Publicly, industry leading P2P software company Sharman Networks, Ltd. (SNL), a DCIA Charter Member, announced and filed a counterclaim against the recording industry, out of its enormous frustration with the lack of constructive progress in being able to forge business relationships there.

Meanwhile privately, and without betraying newly pledged confidences or giving way to naïve enthusiasm, DCIA held conversations with senior level music and telecom executives that offered signs of encouragement.

There is now the possibility of DCIA's facilitating a series of private meetings, centering on positive business solutions, among major music companies, ISPs, and leading P2P software firms, beginning within the next several weeks.

This prospect helps bring our October 8th General Meeting into clear focus. The best and highest use of this event will be to provide constructive input to those who may soon engage in these private negotiations.

What principles should they insist upon? What pitfalls should they avoid? Where should they seek compromise?

We strongly encourage all who wish to offer suggestions to attend our open general session next Wednesday 10/8 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM to make your views on these issues known.

In recent meetings, we have heard extremes of such views that can serve to frame the boundaries for our discussion on October 8th.

We've heard the wish expressed to temporarily suspend all P2P activity until content and technology providers can agree on a strategy to address the current crisis caused by perfect digital replication and rapid broadband distribution of copyrighted material.

At another extreme, we've heard the wish expressed to declare P2P a global utility and impose a tax on citizens of the world with proceeds to be divided among content and technology providers according to government mandated formulae.

Fortunately, there are also valuable recommendations of workable solutions between such extremes. And there is now the prospect that the best of these ideas may be acted upon in the near future by those empowered to make use of them.

How shall we strike a balance between extremes in positions that advocate the rights and interests of consumers versus those of copyright holders in the P2P environment? How shall we strike a balance between extremes in positions that advocate technological advancement versus protection of established business interests?

We sincerely hope that you will RSVP and join us on October 8th to help our new industry shape an optimal outcome for all affected parties.

Congressional Hearing on 9/30

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Norm Coleman (MN), will hold a hearing on "Privacy & Piracy: The Paradox of Illegal File Sharing on Peer-to-Peer Networks and the Impact of Technology on the Entertainment Industry" on Tuesday September 30th at 10:00 AM.

Three panels are scheduled, featuring entertainment industry trade association leaders, music retailers, performing artists, consumers, and academics. Our two founding DCIA Charter Members, SNL and Altnet, have been invited to provide testimony at this hearing.

Alan Morris, Executive Vice President of SNL will travel from London to participate. Derek Broes, Executive Vice President of Altnet, will travel from Los Angeles to participate.

It is our hope that this hearing will provide continuing encouragement for the private sector to develop constructive solutions, including under the auspices of neutral forums such as the DCIA, and will offer added input to our agenda for DCIA's October 8th General Meeting.

Consumer Privacy and Content Integrity

As previously noted, a core attribute of any viable proposed business solution will be the way in which it balances protection of two important concerns: consumer privacy and content integrity.

DCIA's review of end user license agreements (EULA) currently employed by P2P software providers was favorable overall in their language prohibiting abuses by consumers, including copyright infringement, but less favorable in their language regarding the protection of the privacy of consumers.

Obviously, of even greater concern than the language of these EULAs currently, is the issue of enforcement of them.

This is a very important area, and DCIA will embark on the development and proposal of industry guidelines for standards-and-practices to address the critical issues here. Please respond with your recommendations at issues@dcia.info.

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