Distributed Computing Industry
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May 19, 2008
Volume XXII, Issue 2

Peer-to-Peer Networks Turn Web Saviors

Excerpted from US News & World Report by David LaGesse

The epiphany came last summer. Listening to a Yale doctoral student describe how peer-to-peer (P2P) networks could cut Internet congestion, executives at Pando Networks realized they might no longer be an enemy of Internet service providers (ISPs) - and maybe even be a friend. "It seems so obvious now," says Robert Levitan, CEO of Pando, a P2P company. "It wasn't then."

In a matter of months, a remarkable turnaround has occurred: the bad boys of the Internet are now seen as among its saviors. P2P file sharing, in which end-users link their computers using software like BitTorrent for downloading large files, was long seen as a threat to ISPs, content providers, and the Internet itself. "All of a sudden, we're seen as good for the networks," Levitan says.

The change comes as ISPs feel rising heat from several sides. First is the increasing popularity of video on the web, which sends huge files moving across the Internet and threatens to clog it for everyone.

"The network was never designed to support video," says Lawrence Roberts, a scientist who helped launch the Internet in the 1960s. P2P networks get around the limitations in a way that floods the network with more data than it was designed to handle. Left unchecked, the peer networks will overwhelm any efforts to expand broadband capacity, Roberts says.

Yet, when ISPs tried to block P2P software, they generated an outcry from federal regulators and lawmakers. Critics say broadband providers are targeting video download to protect their other business of selling cable TV channels. Cable and telephone companies fear new "net neutrality" laws could hamstring their ability to manage their networks. They're desperately seeking what Doug Pasko, Senior Technologist at Verizon, calls "industry solutions to industry problems."

Embracing P2P is more than a case of "can't beat them." The research by Yale student Haiyong Xie argued that, if managed properly, P2P networks could in fact benefit the web with faster downloads and less congestion. Pando and Verizon soon launched a group to study how peer networking might ease data flows.

The initial results have been nothing less than "phenomenal," according to Verizon's Pasko. Download speeds jumped several fold, while network costs fell. In short, P2P is "no longer the dark-alley distribution system for unauthorized file sharing," the company said in a press release.

The study group now includes about 60 companies, including numerous P2P vendors and other large ISPs such as Comcast and AT&T. It operates under the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), which is made up primarily of peer networking companies.

Some content providers, meanwhile, already understand that P2P can help distribute their works more quickly. Movie studios have inked deals with Vudu, which runs a proprietary P2P network on the Internet to deliver high-quality videos to homes, and BitTorrent itself offers video downloads for sale on its site.

But until the Yale research, Levitan at Pando says P2P companies could only hope to "play nicely" with ISPs. Pando in 2006 launched new peer software as an effort to commercialize the concept. P2P first emerged in the 1990s in file-sharing networks such as Napster and Grokster, and got a boost with the release of BitTorrent in 2001. BitTorrent dramatically speeds delivery by pulling bits of files simultaneously from numerous end-user PCs.

By opening up those multiple streams, the new generation of P2P networks fill end-user pipes. Each connection gets pushed to capacity. That's well beyond the occasional and episodic streams that come from web surfing or e-mail. Networks quickly get strained under the load. Most P2P software also randomly links computers around the world, sending those streams on long-distance journeys through many pipes.

To shorten the connections, in recent tests, Xie and colleagues at Yale obtained maps of how Verizon and other operators had built their networks. That allowed them to link nearby computers for P2P downloads. The shorter hops meant faster downloads and reduced traffic across the Internet.

Pando Networks provided software for the tests. But Levitan says any P2P company can use the same sort of approach, if it knows the maps to Internet networks.

Still, some advocates of an unencumbered Internet argue that the broadband providers don't invest enough in added capacity.

"The answer to this problem is not to ration access to the engine of our economic growth," Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and former presidential candidate, wrote in a recent op-ed piece. "The answer is to obliterate the argument altogether by building additional capacity."

System strains will require a number of technologies to fairly distribute available bandwidth, says Levitan at Pando Networks. "We do not think P2P alone will solve the problems." He's just basking in being part of the solution, and not the problem.

NBC Direct, Take Two, Out for Testing

Excerpted from NewTeeVee Report by Liz Gannes

NBC is opening a trial of the new version of its web video-on-demand (VOD) software NBC Direct, which now incorporates the download-speeding assistance of P2P service Pando Networks.

The network sent out an e-mail to beta testers inviting them to check out free episodes of "The Office." Here's part of the missive:

"We'd like to invite you to test drive the latest beta of NBC Direct; now with support for 720p HD video. PCs only for now (Mac support coming soon) and the majority of MS OS flavors are supported: XP, Vista (all grades) and even Media Center. Follow the steps below to download the installer and register the player."

Series available at launch (in the US) include "30 Rock," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "The Office," and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe P4P Working Group (P4PWG), referenced in this week's lead article from US News & World Report, is making even more impressive strides, now with new field tests planned for June involving multiple ISPs focused on optimizing performance for different broadband network architectures and configurations.

In addition, the P4PWG is already planning field tests for later in the summer with multiple P2P technologies to likewise optimize the benefits of P4P mechanisms for different P2P protocols and applications.

In May, the P4PWG, under the leadership of its Co-Chairs Doug Pasko of Verizon and Laird Popkin of Pando, also added sub-groups to accelerate advancements in key critical areas and to improve overall productivity of the working group by leveraging the enormous talent and resources that this important initiative continues to bring together from all over the world.

The TELCO sub-group, facilitated by AT&T's Jia Wang, is now exploring ways to integrate unique concerns of telco-type ISPs into the next P4PWG field tests. It is also working on how much topological data must be shared with P2Ps for optimal results and whether there should be multiple levels; and how to involve this set of ISPs in the broader P4PWG standards setting / best practices process.

The CACHING sub-group, facilitated by PeerApp's Eliot Listman and Oversi's Eitan Efron, is now investigating ways to integrate caching/content acceleration vendor offerings into the next P4PWG field tests. It is also working on how to communicate in a common way with ISPs; how to communicate in a common way with P2Ps; and how to involve caching/content acceleration solutions in the broader P4PWG standards setting / best practices process.

The CABLE sub-group, facilitated by Comcast's Rich Woundy is likewise now examining ways to integrate unique concerns of cable-type ISPs into the next P4PWG field tests. And it is also working on how much topological data must be shared with P2Ps for optimal results and whether there should be multiple levels; and how to involve this set of ISPs in the broader P4PWG standards setting / best practices process.

Similarly, the WIRELESS/MOBILE sub-group, facilitated by Cisco Systems' Tim Cricchio, and the SATELLITE sub-group, facilitated by KlikVU's Lowell Feuer, are looking into ways integrate unique concerns of their respective types of ISPs into the next P4PWG field tests. And they are also working on how much topological data must be shared with P2Ps for optimal results and whether there should be multiple levels; and how to involve these sets of ISPs in the broader P4PWG standards setting / best practices process.

The LIVE P2P sub-group, facilitated by Abacast's Mike King, is now studying alternatives for integrating live P2P streaming solutions into the second set of upcoming P4PWG field tests. It is also working on how to communicate in a common way with ISPs; how to communicate in a common way with P2Ps; and how to involve live P2P offerings in the broader P4PWG standards setting / best practices process.

The HARDWARE sub-group, facilitated by GridNetworks' Jeffrey Payne is now discussing ways to integrate router and CPE manufacturer issues into future P4PWG field tests. It is also working on how to communicate in a common way with ISPs; how to communicate in a common way with P2Ps; and how to involve hardware manufacturers in the broader P4PWG standards setting / best practices process.

The STANDARDS sub-group, facilitated by Telecom Italia's Enrico Marocco, is now considering alternatives for the process the P4PWG should use to move beyond the field testing phase to the standards setting / best practices definition phase. It is working on whether the P4PWG should generate the open standards / best practices deliverable internally, or whether it should work with an established standards-setting body, such as IETF, on this aspect of the P4PWG mission.

The RESEARCH Sub-group, facilitated by Yale University's Richard Yang, is now appraising what resources are available beyond those tapped to date by the P4PWG and how these should be organized. It is also working on what relevant research has already been done (or is currently in process) by third parties and how should this be integrated into the P4PWG; as well as how research findings should be validated.

Finally, the IP POLICY/GUIDELINES sub-group, facilitated by Microsoft's See-Mong Tan, is now analyzing ways to protect the intellectual property (IP) of all P4PWG participants, as well as how to encourage an open process for continuing to develop, test, and commercially deploy P4P technical solutions to benefit all ISPs and P2P companies that voluntarily wish to take advantage of what these have to offer.

Separately from the P4PWG, the DCIA's newest effort is called P2P Best Practices. This project will focus on safe and efficient use of P2P services. It will have voluntary participation of P2P companies, ISPs, and content providers.

The P2P Best Practices Working Group (PBPG) will be different from the ongoing P4P Working Group (P4PWG) in that the PBPG will focus on P2P business practices while the P4PWG focuses on technical solutions for optimizing P2P traffic across ISP networks.

Both groups are sponsored by the DCIA, but the subject matter and focus of each working group is different. The new effort will be conducted along the lines of other DCIA working groups, which have addressed policy, technology, and consumer issues with participation open on a voluntary basis not only to DCIA Member companies but also to other qualified, interested parties.

The P2P Best Practices initiative is intended as a forum for facilitating better communications and developing common business practices among P2P developers and distributors, broadband carriers and network operators, and content rights holders and aggregators in order to help optimize user experience and facilitate deployment of legitimate P2P applications and distribution of licensed content. It will help address certain concerns of channel participants, including end-users.

The PBPG will supersede the previously announced proposal to develop a 'P2P Bill of Rights & Responsibilities (BRR),' and broaden the scope of this endeavor. The process that we intend to employ will include recruiting industry participants, which began at the P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA, hosting a formative meeting in conjunction with Streaming Media East in New York, which will take place this week, and completing an initial goal of establishing the PBPG by June.

Working with PBPG members, we will then define a timeline and the deliverable, a document that we intend to finish well before the end of the year. Participation will include P2P companies, ISPs, and content providers, and other qualified parties. We intend to involve leading consumer advocacy groups as the process moves forward.

Interested parties are encouraged to call the DCIA at 410-476-7965 or e-mail us at PBPG@dcia.info for more information. Share wisely, and take care.

QTRAX Signs with Last of Big Four Music Publishers

Excerpted from Wired News Report by Eliot Van Buskirk

QTRAX, the "world's first free and legal P2P service," has signed a deal with music publisher Warner/Chappell, the last of the big four music publishers to sign a deal.

EMI Publishing and Sony/ATV signed with QTRAX in early March and Universal signed earlier this month, meaning that as of today QTRAX has deals with every major music publisher in the world.

A spokeswoman for Warner/Chappell confirmed that the deal was signed.

Although this is a significant milestone for QTRAX, the company still needs more label deals in order to put these publisher deals into effect. So far, Universal Music Group, TVT Records and Beggars have signed on, so QTRAX still has a fair amount of work cut out for it label-wise. TVT's music is already downloadable, while Universal's is still being added.

A spokeswoman for QTRAX said the Beggars catalog, consisting of over a thousand indie labels, will start showing up in about a week.

The deal brings the company one step closer to its stated goal of offering legal, ad-supported, DRM-ed P2P file sharing of the estimated 25 million songs currently available on the world's file-sharing networks. LimeWire is said to be pursuing a similar strategy.

QTRAX's feature set is of secondary concern in advance of more label deals being signed, but when those deals are signed, the company would do well to have all its ducks in a row software-wise during the initial rush to try the service.

To that end, the company updated its Songbird-based software to version 0.3 with linked artist names and keywords, four search options (artist, keyword, track or album), charts ranking the most frequently-traded files, user profile pages and regional sites for France, the US and the UK.

LimeWire Gives Record Labels a Cut of Ad Revenue

Excerpted from P2P Blog Report by Janko Roettgers

LimeWire CEO George Searle announced an ambitious plan to pay rights holders at the P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA last week. His company plans to split the revenue of its upcoming contextual advertising platform with record companies. Labels will get as much as 40% of the money LimeWire is going to make with Google Adsense-type ads.

LimeWire has been working on integrating contextual text ads into its P2P client for a while now. Searle publicly announced these plans late last year at another DCIA conference in Los Angeles, and he used last week's event to reiterate some of his key points: LimeWire's 80 million users generate an estimated five billion search requests each month, putting the P2P client in the same league as search engine giants like Google and Yahoo.

In fact, LimeWire would be the third biggest search destination in terms of unique users, ahead of Live.com and Ask.com, if it was a website. Of course, it's not - and that's why it hasn't made any money from this search activity up until now. This, however, is going to change soon.

Searle told his audience in Los Angeles that LimeWire wants to incorporate contextual ads into its client within the next month. The ads will be at the top of the search results, but clearly marked as advertising. Ads will initially be used to promote the LimeWire Store, but advertisers should be able to buy these spots soon as well.

The advertising program will be run by a separate entity called Fanmedia. It will sell CPC ads against keywords, just like Google does with Adwords. Fanmedia will take a 20% cut of the total revenue per click and then pass on 40% to LimeWire and 40% to the rights holder associated with the ad in question.

So if someone buys an ad for a Ladytron ring-tone (you know you'd want one) and pays a dollar per click for it, then Ladytrons's label would get 40 cents for every click. "This is the first time that such revenue would be shared with rights holders," Searle told me after his presentation.

Of course, not all of the rights holders will be on board. LimeWire was sued by the major record labels in late 2006. Many other P2P companies decided to settle and/or fold in face of such a lawsuit, but LimeWire seems determined to battle it out and has been significantly expanding, starting new ventures like the LimeWire Store and the social networking service LimeSpot.

Searle conceded that Fanmedia will have to do with what he called "participating rights holders," meaning indie labels. The promise of additional income should certainly help to close those deals. And Searle believes that there's enough cash to be made for everybody with systems like Fanmedia. Contextual advertising could eventually become bigger than the entire music business, he said.

Part of the plan is to eventually expand the ad network beyond the LimeWire client to other P2P clients and even websites like music blogs and social networks. One can imagine that LimeWire will test this on its own web properties first. The company not only has a social network for bands and musicians in the making, but is also running a popular blog about New York's indie music scene.

Finally, LimeWire is also working on a UI redesign, and the new client will apparently include a web browser. This certainly makes even more sense in light of its contextual advertising plans, and it will be interesting what the company comes up with. Searle said the new UI would come "hopefully this year."

Will P2P Become a Legitimate Means of Delivering Video

Excerpted from Streaming Media Report by Dan Rayburn

At the Streaming Media East (SME) show on Tuesday May 20th, Marty Lafferty from the DCIA will be leading a session entitled Will P2P Become a Legitimate Means of Delivering Video. Controversy now surrounds the role P2P will play especially in high-quality video delivery on the Net.

Does P2P have a legitimate shot at becoming a mass-market distribution model or will networks block the traffic before it has the chance?

Confirmed speakers include: Doug Pasko, PMTS, Network and Technology Group, Verizon; Robert Levitan, CEO, Pando; Barry Tishgart, VP, Internet Services, Comcast;  and Patty Perkins, VP, Special Projects Manager, Wachovia.

Have a topic or question for any of the speakers you want to see addressed? Submit it in the comments section and SME will add it to the Q&A portion of the session.

Registration is still open and you can see all the various pricing packages, including a one-day ticket on the conference website.

Flash Player 10: Adobe's Advanced Content P2P Plans

Excerpted from IT Pro Portal Report by Desire Athowl

Adobe could become one of the biggest content distributors overnight thanks to its newly released Flash 10 player which contains some very interesting P2P features including the ability to save files locally.

According to GigaOM, the media company purchased a small P2P called Amicima back in January 2007, which brought in some serious P2P know-how to the firm.Om Malik reckons that the impact of Adobe on the online media publishing and distribution sector could be dramatic especially for companies like Akamai, Joost or Babelgum.

The application, codenamed Astro, is still in beta and is very popular with online video and audio websites like YouTube and DailyMotion, which use it to deliver content to their users.

A Flash P2P service would be a killer feature for content distributors since it would allow media to be distributed quickly, easily and at a cheaper cost.

The new Flash 10 also promises 3D effects which can convert 2D images into 3D models, dynamic audio support as well as an engine for text rendering and inbuilt hardware acceleration.

Node Business Like Show Business

Excerpted from C21 Media Report by Adrian Pennington

Content delivery networks (CDNs) reshape the Internet so it can do what it wasn't designed for - push around vast volumes of data at speed. Without the global network of servers and nodes that cache mirrored versions of content, the web would have ground to a halt long ago. Even with them, there is concern that the sheer amount of data now being shipped online will force the Internet's architecture to buckle.

CDNs distribute a whole gamut of content and services, but the sector is so volatile due to the rapacious demand for video galvanizing the whole Internet community.

VeriSign last week sold Kontiki, Akamai recently won a $45 million patent infringement case against Limelight; and Highwinds just raised $55 million.

Cisco Systems says IP traffic is running at two million terabytes a month, equivalent to two billion gigabytes, and predicts this will hit 12 exabytes (that's 24 billion gigabytes) a month in just four years. Thirty percent of this demand is for video.

"Users once willing to watch low-quality 30-second clips of skateboarding dogs now want long-form, TV-style content blown up to large screens," says Joe Trainor, Director of Offer Management at content delivery specialist Level 3 Communications. "That's made video delivery a super-competitive business."

"The way we consume web content is fundamentally changing," says Trainor. "The web was designed for communicating text. Web 2.0 functions included image sharing and Web 3.0 is all about interactive video and games. We aren't consuming more web pages, just more data."

First-generation CDNs installed a fiber backbone around the globe, cached content in hundreds of local server farms, and used mathematics to intelligently cut the distance, therefore the delay, in routing content to consumers. This methodology is being challenged by new entrants arguing for a radically different approach.

"Traditional CDNs are single-source, which only deliver a particular file from a particular cache," says Phill Robinson, CEO of Velocix. "The problem is that the conditions on the net are always changing. What may have been stable at the start of your movie stream may have completely changed a minute or an hour later, fatally undermining performance."

Velocix's answer is multi-source delivery. It intends to serve content from its CDN augmented by portions of the same content stored on users' computers. For clients like peer-to-peer television (P2PTV) service Babelgum or HD video service MediaMelon, Velocix dynamically alters the balance of service between the peer network and its CDN to maintain constant bit rate.

This blend of P2P and CDN offers "rock solid performance," according to Robinson, and since an amount of data is always delivered over the peer network, for which ISPs pick-up the bandwidth cost, the cost to content owners will be cheaper than that of legacy CDNs. Indeed, Velocix has recently gone a step further and launched a free offering for start-ups.

Hybrid P2P is by no means unique to Velocix and is gaining considerable traction. Cisco, the largest Internet infrastructure provider, has invested in hybrid service GridNetworks; CDN Internap partnered with P2P platform Pando, which distributes NBC Direct, making NBC the first US major to use P2P; while Highwinds Network, which categorizes itself as one of the five leading CDNs, has deals with several P2P clients in the works.

Telecom giants AT&T and Verizon are part of the P4P Working Group (P4PWG), which includes Pando, LimeWire, and BitTorrent. Their goal is to figure out a way to make P2P transfers more efficient for both the CDNs managing them and the ISPs who own the pipes they ride on.

Even Akamai, the CDN behemoth that manages 15% of total web traffic, is bulking up a P2P offering based on the Red Swoosh technology it acquired last year.

"We're ahead of everybody," claims Alex Gibbons, the company's Director of Digital Media Sales in Europe. "P2P works best when backed by a massive CDN, and we are building a true P2P-plus-CDN environment. Our challenge is getting the Red Swoosh client grid (the number of users storing a piece of content) to be huge, and we are striking a lot of deals to get it accepted by a wider audience."

However, the jury is out on whether this concept is the panacea for the Internet's troubles. For Akamai or Highwinds, a hybrid remains one of several delivery solutions in their arsenal.

iSlsk Brings File Sharing to the iPhone

Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report by Enigmax

Those lucky enough to own a jail-broken iPhone got a rather pleasant surprise last evening. When refreshing the installer, a brand new application appeared. iSlsk brings the Soulseek file-sharing network directly to iPhone. Created by former Napster programmer Nir Arbel, Soulseek can be used to share any type of file.

TorrentFreak caught up with iSlsk developer, Errrick Castro, for the lowdown.

TF: Please describe iSlsk.

Errrick: iSlsk is simply an application that lets you connect, download, and share (in the future) music directly from your iPod/iPhone through the Soulseek network. Anywhere, no computer required. That's what makes "iSlsk" special and different from all other Soulseek clients out there.

TF: When did you start work on iSlsk and what motivated you to do so?

Errrick: In February 2008. What motivated me? Well. First of all, I saw all the capabilities this little gadget had and then thought, 'Why didn't someone already do something like this?' A long time ago I did a little web application, just for fun, which let me connect to the Soulseek chat rooms from a web interface written entirely in ASP.NET and C++. So I already had some experience with the protocol. Then I saw new applications being added everyday so I thought, 'Hey, making applications for the iPhone shouldn't be that hard.' And I thought how useful it would be to have a P2P client - first for me, then for the people - so I started learning and developing it myself.

TF: Tell us a little more about iSlsk from a technical viewpoint.

Errrick: In terms of code and programming, it's entirely written in Objective-C like most Cocoa and iPhone apps. The core of the application was made with the help of some open source Soulseek clients for Mac: SolarSeek and SoleSeek. When I started developing it, I was really afraid the iPhone/iPod wouldn't be able to support, for example, a high number of connections, constant byte transferring from peers, and such. At that time, I ran into thousands of problems, which almost frustrated me, but most of them were really because I was a total newbie to Cocoa and Objective-C and not because of a hardware or software limitation like I thought.

Downloading and installing the 224.5kb package takes a few seconds. At this point, it has a basic file search and a display of any downloads queued along with progress. Media can be downloaded on any firmware above 1.1.3.

Raketu Extends Free Calling and SMS Promotion

Excerpted from TMCnet Report by Anil Sharma

Raketu, a global P2P communications, information, entertainment, and social networking company, is extending its free VoIP calling and SMS promotion. Customers can still take advantage of the company's free international calling and SMS by making a pre-payment.

Users who pre-pay receive up to 1,200 minutes (20 hours) international calling per month for 3 months to mobile and landline phones in locations in more than 40 countries around the world. This pre-payment is not a monthly fee; it is placed in the user's account to be used for pay-for services.

Moreover, pre-pay users will also receive three free SMS messages per month for three months to send to anywhere in the world.

"Raketu offers the best calling and SMS rates to any location around the world, and with our free international minutes and SMS-texting, it is far less expensive than our competitors like Skype offer," said Greg Parker, President & CEO of Raketu. "Why pay for international calling when Raketu has it for free. And with the recent addition of our mobile services, there are now more ways than ever for consumers and businesses to take advantage of our free and discounted calling and text rates."

Raketu Communications develops P2P IP applications that provide communications, information, media and social networking services for consumers and for business. The company has users in more than 150 countries around the world.

Raketu's services run over any Internet connection from roaming mobile to dial-up to broadband, giving consumers and businesses the ability to access their Raketu account from any device.

Last month, Raketu released its mobile social networking application. In addition to Raketu's voice calling, SMS, file sharing and other communications, information and entertainment services, the new application allows any user, anywhere, to contribute, share, and interact from any device.

Raketu's new Mobile Social Networking is also available on any desktop through a web browser and the Raketu download client.

Harry Fox Blesses RightsFlow: Deal Focused on Downloads

Excerpted from Digital Music News Report by Alexandra Osorio

Royalty licensing, accounting, and compensation is a full-time job, one that can easily overwhelm a digital music start-up. That screams for an outsourcing solution, and a number of companies - including RoyaltyShare, Royalty Review Council, and RightsFlow - are aiming to fill the market niche.

The specialization makes sense, especially given the complex maze of music-related licenses. And a number of backend deals must be in place. On Tuesday, upstart RightsFlow finalized licensing agreements with the Harry Fox Agency, a mechanical licensing administrator.

The deal is specific to permanent, full-length downloads. According to Gary Churgin, President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HFA, RightsFlow is being plugged into a bulk licensing program that started in 2002. The current US-based statutory mechanical rate is 9.1 cents for songs five minutes or less, and 1.75 cents per minute for songs over five minutes. 

Bennett Lincoff Proposes Digital Transmission Right

In an article entitled Common Sense, Accommodation and Sound Policy for the Digital Music Marketplace, which was published in the winter 2008 edition of the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, DCIA Member Bennett Lincoff offers a solution to the public policy deadlock surrounding the use and protection of recorded music on the Internet.

Lincoff proposes a comprehensive approach to rights administration specifically adapted to digital transmissions of sound recordings and the musical works embodied in them.

His plan involves the creation of a new right for songwriters, music publishers, recording artists and record labels, the "digital transmission right," that would replace the parties' now-existing reproduction, distribution, and public performance rights, but only for digital transmissions of their works.

The right would not depend on access restrictions or anti-copying measures for its success. Its monetization would not involve the imposition of a statutory license or an Internet access tax. And it would not require the enlistment of Internet service providers (ISPs) or colleges and universities as enforcers on behalf of music industry rights holders.

Licenses under the digital transmission right would be made available without regard to whether recordings are transmitted for streaming, downloading, or by some means not yet devised; or whether musical programming is interactive or non-interactive, or contains this, that or another recording.

The number of copies, if any, that are made in the course of transmissions, the type of transmission technology used and the file format in which recordings are transmitted would not be of concern.

Lincoff's plan specifically provides that licenses would be readily available to operators of centralized P2P networks, as well as to those who provide software for the operation of decentralized file-sharing networks.

Implementation of the digital transmission right as proposed in Lincoff's article would allow transmissions of recorded music to be made available through the largest number and widest array of licensed sources, anytime, anywhere, to anyone with network access.

Such a result would provide music industry rights holders with their best opportunity to do as well financially as they have done under the system that Lincoff's proposal would replace.

In addition, the digital transmission right would promote technological innovation, enhance the free market for consumer electronics and technology products, and facilitate the growth of all manner of licensed digital audio services. It would also meet consumer demand for full, unfettered, DRM-free, and lawful access to music when, where and how consumers want.

Unauthorized P2P Soars While Licensed Music Flatlines

Excerpted from The Register Report by Andrew Orlowski

Freeloading music is more habit-forming than paying for licensed downloads, according to polling in the UK.

Digital music consultancy MusicAlly and pollster The Leading Question found that while 28% of people surveyed have occasionally used P2P file-sharing - the same number as have bought licensed digital music online - the number of regulars differs. Only 14% regularly used the licensed option, and 22% regularly used P2P.

Digital downloads are considered to be too expensive, with punters paying 50p for a per-song download and 34p for a mobile download. On average, only 3.32 licensed songs are downloaded each month, compared to 12 unlicensed P2P downloads.

"They might buy a few tracks from iTunes when they get a new iPod for Christmas but few go on to become regular paying downloaders," said The Leading Question's Tim Walker.

Another way of looking at it is that 86% of people never do P2P music, which as some angry readers have pointed out, means a few Internet users are simply jacking up the cost of the legal option.

Then again, if 86% of people don't do P2P - why are the major record labels so obsessed with it? Modeling commissioned for the pan-industry Value Recognition Strategy in the UK suggested that P2P isn't the biggest factor in declining music revenue: it's cost-cutting from the likes of Tesco, people burning CDs at home, and the unbundling of the album.

When lawyers are busy, it looks like the whole company is busy - so firing off lawsuits substitutes for a real strategy.

Frustrating the Pirates

Excerpted from NY Times Report by Dan Mitchell

Dispensing with the bluster that normally surrounds the issue of pirated movies and music, Anders Bylund of Ars Technica tries to appeal to business sense in arguing that media companies should stop suing their potential customers and instead try to serve them.

Media piracy will always be with us. But the pirates, Mr. Bylund writes, "can be beaten - it happens all the time - but not primarily by means of legal threats and lawsuits."

Rather, he says, "You subjugate these rebels with the tools of free enterprise. Piracy is just another business model, and the pirates will lose and go away when you come up with a better model."

Consumers make buying decisions based on three factors, according to Mr. Bylund: "price, convenience and quality." Pirates will always win on price (free), but media companies can and do beat them on the other factors. Among the examples he cites is the cable channel Comedy Central, owned by Viacom. The website offers the complete archives of "The Daily Show" and makes them searchable.

Hulu, owned by NBC and Fox, offers many television shows and some movies with limited (and short) advertisements. All are offered in high-quality video.

But it should not stop there, Mr. Bylund says. "Figure out an ad-supported model if you can, or charge less than a dollar per episode. Let people burn it to DVD or play the file on iPhones for a buck." Eventually, "piracy will force all the big-time content producers to move in this kind of direction," Mr. Bylund says. "Capitalism, properly applied, will beat the rebels every time."

Africa's Bandwidth Capacity

Excerpted from AllAfrica.com Report

Mobile service uptake may be growing like wildfire in Africa, but the continent's access to international bandwidth and broadband remain limited.

Now, though, that bottleneck is being addressed by a raft of connectivity projects across the continent aimed at getting Africa hooked up to the rest of the world. Many of the 53 African countries, particularly those that are landlocked, rely solely on expensive satellite technologies to make calls and connect to the Internet since there is little fixed-line infrastructure.

There's a growing need for connectivity as Africa's communications services market, which is dominated by mobile use, continues to grow. At the end of 2007, the continent had more than 250 million mobile users and just 35 million fixed lines. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 3% of the population has Internet access.

The South Atlantic 3 / West Africa Submarine Cable (SAT-3/WASC) cable provides the only international fiber optic connectivity to the continent, leaving its east coast without a terrestrial landing point. SAT-3/WASC connects Portugal and Spain with 12 African countries and connects South Africa with the South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable, which extends to India and Malaysia.

The dearth of sub-sea competition has kept prices on the 320-Gbit/s SAT-3 cable high and access limited, because the consortium members have held a monopoly on providing bandwidth to other providers until late last year when Neotel became South's Africa's second national operator.

Although Telecom Namibia has ownership on the SAT-3 cable, the operator has no access to it, because the southwest African nation doesn't have a landing station, and the Namibian carrier has refused to pay Telkom South Africa's high capacity charges. Now, though, there are signs that much more bandwidth will become available to Africa's nations.

With the availability of communications services increasingly becoming an economic development issue, a dozen submarine cable projects have been initiated that should help introduce wholesale sub-sea bandwidth competition and bring fiber to more places.

Of the 12 cables proposed so far, the largest is the Uhurunet project being developed by New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), an initiative adopted by African governments. The proposed $1.4 billion cable will have a maximum capacity of 3.84 Tbit/s and run 50,000 kilometers, connecting Africa with the Americas, Europe, and India.

The cable was initially intended to link eastern and southern Africa, but plans were extended to West Africa and onward to Europe, and landing points have yet to be finalized. The project also has a terrestrial element, UmoJanet, which will extend the network to Africa's interior nations.

That's key, because as well as lacking a sub-sea connection, many of Africa's national networks are not interconnected, so traffic between neighboring countries is routinely routed through Europe or the US.

Five of the current projects - Seacom, Eastern African Submarine Cable System (Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), The East African Marine System (Teams), Main One, and Nigerian carrier Globacom's GLO-1 - have awarded construction contracts, while deals for the Africa West Coast Cable (AWCC) are expected to be awarded next month.

The $600 million AWCC project is led by Infraco, a company set up by the South African government to develop the country's broadband penetration. It's intended to run from a landing station near Cape Town to London, hooking up 10 other African countries along the way, with a maximum capacity of 3.84 Tbit/s.

The government of Kenya, one of the countries that relies solely on satellite, is involved in the Teams cable that will link Kenya with the United Arab Emirates.

Except for the Indian Ocean Network, the remaining cables are being developed by private operators. Most of the cables are tentatively scheduled for completion in 2010, and are hoped to be up and running in time for the soccer World Cup, which will be held in South Africa that year.

Alliance Creates Private P2P File-Sharing Networks

Excerpted from Lifehacker Report

Alliance, a free, open-source, cross-platform P2P application, takes nearly all of the security and privacy concerns out of P2P file sharing by putting you in charge of your own network.

The dead-simple interface lets you add Alliance-using friends to your network and files on your system to share, and you can search, chat, and download like any other P2P app.

The traffic among clients is encrypted at a low level, but you can apply an experimental SSL layer if you'd like a bit more protection.

For trading files with co-workers or friends, it's a nice no-overhead solution. Alliance is a free download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems.

Cox Accused of Blocking P2P

Excerpted from Multichannel News Report by Todd Spangler

Cox Communications appears to be impeding P2P file-sharing traffic, according to a study released Thursday by a German research group.

Germany's Max Planck Institute, a science and technology research organization, analyzed a test of 8,175 Internet volunteers around the world and found that Cox is blocking P2P traffic during all hours of the day.

Cox said it "ensures the highest-quality online experience for all our customers by using reasonable network management practices, which are explained in our user policies. Cox's practices ensure that bandwidth-intensive applications don't negatively impact our customers' Internet service." 

The company said it allows the use of file-sharing and P2P services for uploads and downloads, "and we allow access to all legal content, but we must manage the traffic impact of P2P services, as most ISPs do for the benefit of the customer. We'll continue to seek even better ways to manage our network to ensure a high-quality experience for our customers."

Cox also noted that its subscriber agreement has indicated since at least 2006 that it uses protocol filtering to manage network resources.

The Max Planck study found that 82 of the 151 Cox broadband subscribers (54%) that voluntarily tested their connections through the research group's site had their P2P connections blocked.

Max Planck researchers identified Singapore's StarHub as also blocking P2P connection attempts.

Researchers found evidence that seven other US cable operators interfere with P2P traffic, but they said the number of blocked connections was too low to conclude that they were actively interfering with connections.

With the Max Planck study, advocates who want to impose "network neutrality" laws on broadband providers renewed their calls for Congress to enact legislation that would prohibit such network-management practices.

"Consumers have no reason left to trust their cable company," said Ben Scott, Policy Director of Free Press. "The harmful practice appears to be spreading through the marketplace. Unimpeachable research from network engineers in Germany now demonstrates that Cox Communications is blocking Internet content."

A Max Planck researcher, however, told the AP that the tests did not conclusively show Cox blocking traffic, because theoretically the traffic could have been disrupted as it traversed trans-Atlantic networks to Germany.

The cable industry opposes net neutrality legislation, as do telecommunications providers, arguing that such regulations would inhibit the growth of the Internet.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President Kyle McSlarrow, at a hearing this month before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, said Congress should refrain from adopting a network neutrality law because cable operators are managing their broadband networks in an open manner and don't engage in anti-competitive conduct.

A study released last month, by P2P video distributor Vuze, found that the eight biggest Internet service providers in the US - which collectively serve more than 54 million broadband users - all "artificially interrupt" P2P traffic to some extent.

AT&T, for one, refuted the findings and asserted that it does not reset P2P connection attempts.

McCormick Says No to Network Neutrality

Excerpted from Broadcasting & Cable Report by John Eggerton

Speaking to Washington, DC-based The Media Institute for the first time, Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom, made an argument against network-neutrality regulation.

He likened it to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)) Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters, which the commission jettisoned in the 1980s.

McCormick said speech was the "killer app" of the broadband revolution, but it would be threatened by over-regulation.

McCormick praised The Media Institute for "taking a stand for an arms-length role for the government when it comes to this extraordinary new platform of broadband."

He talked about how broadband is "enhancing individual freedom of expression and diversity of views and how no one can control the message." Of course, the complaint against phone and cable networks by network-neutrality-legislation proponents is that "network management" has translated into controlling that message.

He also talked of the importance of private investment in broadband, which networks argued would be chilled by regulations.

McCormick said that it was no time to be regulating the phone companies' broadband business, making a pitch for "the freedom to engage in sophisticated network management to ensure that the Internet works well for all of us."

Asked why the FCC shouldn't provide a better definition of "reasonable network management," McCormick likened it to a first amendment fight broadcasters waged against the fairness doctrine, which required broadcasters to air both sides of controversial issues of public importance.

He said that the government's "grand experiment" with the doctrine was a kind of management regulation of broadcasting, pointing out that it was never applied to newspapers because anyone was free to buy a newspaper.

"With the Internet, we don't need net neutrality imposed on network service providers because today, anybody who wants to invest and offer Internet access is free to do so," he added. "And they should be free to partner with those who can take broadband and develop applications and services that will be of enormous benefit."

Coming Events of Interest

Streaming Media East – May 20th-21st in New York, NY. SME is the place to learn what is taking place with all forms of online video business models and technology. Content owners, viral video creators, online marketers, enterprise corporations, broadcast professionals, ad agencies, educators, and others attend. The DCIA will participate in the P2P session.

Advertising 2.0 New York - June 4th-5th in New York, NY. A new kind of event being developed as a partnership of Advertising Age and Digital Hollywood. The DCIA is fully supporting this important inaugural effort and encourages DCINFO readers to plan now to attend. 

P2P MEDIA SUMMIT SV - August 4th in San Jose, CA. The first-ever P2P MEDIA SUMMIT in Silicon Valley. Featuring keynotes from industry-leading P2P and social network operators; tracks on policy, technology and marketing; panel discussions covering content distribution and solutions development; valuable workshops; networking opportunities; and more.

Building Blocks 2008 - August 5th-7th in San Jose, CA. The premier event for transforming entertainment, consumer electronics, social media & web application technologies & the global communications network: TV, cable, telco, consumer electronics, mobile, broadband, search, games and the digital home.

International Broadcasting Convention - September 11th-16th in Amsterdam, Holland. IBC is committed to providing the world's best event for everyone involved in the creation, management, and delivery of content for the entertainment industry. Uniquely, the key executives and committees who control the convention are drawn from the industry, bringing with them experience and expertise in all aspects.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated July 6, 2008
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