Distributed Computing Industry
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In This Issue

P2P Safety

P2PTV Guide

P2P Networking

Industry News

Data Bank

Techno Features


October 27, 2008
Volume XXIV, Issue 1

Don't Miss the P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE Monday

It's not too late to register online, or by phone at 410-476-7964, or in person at 9:30 AM on Monday at-the-door of Room 631 at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel for the P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE.

If your future career involves online video in any way, this special DCIA event within Digital Hollywood Fall represents your best and last chance this year to learn firsthand from industry leaders about why-and-how some form of peer-to-peer (P2P) distribution will play a role.

P2P traffic will grow almost 400% over the next five years as legitimate P2P applications become a meaningful segment.

The implications to Internet service providers (ISPs), content creators, and other stakeholders as P2P traffic quadruples will be profound and, at this first-ever conference, these issues will be candidly assessed by those most affected.

Attendees will be the first to hear about amazing new results from P4P Field Trials that hold the potential to boost broadband network capacity for handling rich media content by an order of magnitude.

Several history-making new product announcements and live demonstrations will be presented at this show - such as Brand Asset Digital's new P2Pwords that the LA Times sees as Bringing Search Ads to File Sharers - and others that are embargoed until Monday.

Delegates are invited to a continental breakfast, conference luncheon, and VIP cocktail reception in addition to a day of highly rated sessions featuring keynotes, panel discussions, and ample opportunities for networking. Click here to register now or call 410-476-7964.

Licensed P2P Growing 10 Times Faster than Unlicensed

Excerpted from TechSpot Report by Justin Mann

The music industry, movie industry, game industry and just about any other that can have content distributed online wants nothing more than for the world to believe P2P file sharing is a devil that leads to rampant infringement. 

Companies block it and lawsuits are filed against companies and individuals who dare host or use file-sharing software. 

And yet, despite all the efforts against it, recent studies not only project a massive 400% increase in P2P traffic over the next five years, but indicate authorized use of P2P is growing at a rate ten times faster than unlawful use

While this information won't entirely placate those who seek to block its use, it surely is a huge blow to those who point the finger at P2P as the biggest infringement tool in the world.

At the very least, perhaps, it can help change the perception that P2P is a tool of infringement, and instead endorse it for the numerous benefits it can bring. The next five years will prove to be very interesting for P2P technology as more licensed content becomes available.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyI hope to see you personally on Monday in Santa Monica and, if you can't make it, by all means send a colleague to attend the inaugural P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE at Digital Hollywood Fall.

The first morning panel will address VIDEO CONTENT PROTECTION: Strategies and Tools, and answer questions such as: what approaches are the most effective today in protecting video content being distributed in an authorized manner with P2P; what are the relative strengths of digital watermarking, fingerprinting, metadata filtering, and other digital rights management (DRM) techniques; and how can unlicensed content that has been released into an open file-sharing environment be reclaimed? 

Featured speakers include Chris Gillis, Director of Sales, MediaDefender; Peder Jungck, CTO, Cloudshield; Gerry Kaufhold, Principal Analyst, Reed Business; and Neerav Shah, VP, Business Development & Strategy, Verimatrix.

Opening keynotes will be delivered by Robert Levitan, CEO, Pando Networks; Barry Tishgart, VP of Internet Services, Comcast; and Michael King, CEO, Abacast.

The second morning panel will cover P2P TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT: Quality and Efficiency, and address issues such as: what P2P or hybrid peer-assisted approaches are the most effective in maximizing the reliability and speed of delivery for high-value video content; what approaches are best for reducing transmission costs and use of network resources for more disposable videos and are these mutually exclusive; and what new approaches, from content acceleration to bandwidth utilization currently show the most promise? 

Panelists include Kshitij Kumar, CEO, TellyTopia; Alex Mashinsky, CEO, DigiMeld; and Laird Popkin, CTO, Pando Networks and Co-Chair of the P4P Working Group (P4PWG).

Our Conference Luncheon is sponsored by RightsFlow. Post-luncheon keynote addresses will be delivered by Joey Patuleia, Co-Founder, Brand Asset Digital; Kumar Subramanian, CEO, MediaMelon; and Orang Dialameh, CEO, iVisit.

The first afternoon panel will deal with P2P CONTENT LICENSING: Private and Public Approaches, and answer: what are the various content licensing and market exploitation strategies that have been tried to date with respect to P2P distribution; how and why is collective licensing gaining traction in some geographic regions; what do video rights holders require of P2P distributors in order to grant licenses; what should the roles and responsibilities be for P2P companies, ISPs, CDNs, and other parties in an optimal but practical P2P video licensing regime? 

Speakers include Walter Leaphart, Advisor, Music Intelligence Solutions; Steven Masur, Managing Partner, MasurLaw; Keyvan Peymani, COO, Nettwerk Music Group; Patrick Ross, Executive Director, Copyright Alliance; and Laura Tunberg, CEO, EM Syndication.

Early afternoon keynotes will be delivered by Tom Patterson, CEO, Digital Containers; David Rice, VP of Marketing, Move Networks; and Eitan Efron, VP of Marketing, Oversi.

The second afternoon panel will address P2P VIDEO REVENUE: Marketing & Monetization, and cover the issues such as: is P2P better exploited for sponsor-supported or viewer-supported video business models in the short term; are there hybrid approaches; and how can contextual marketing and the social networking phenomenon be monetized? 

Panelists include Arash Amel, Head of Broadband Media/AMR, Screen Digest; Paul Grusche, COO, Ultramercial; Rob Manoff, CEO, Jambo Media; Johan Ryman, Director of Sales and Partnerships, Octoshape; and Dave Toole, CEO, MediaMobz.

Late afternoon keynote addresses feature Ronny Golan, Co-Founder & CEO, HIRO Media; and Harvey Benedict, VP, Corporate Development & Strategy, Kontiki.

Finally, the closing afternoon panel will explore FUTURE P2PTV INNOVATION: Solutions, and answer questions such as: how can massive piracy of certain content in some markets be overcome so that these regions enter the global community for video distribution; can P2P video business models be tailored for these opportunities or is P2P the problem; and what technological breakthroughs for live, download, and enhanced P2P video content are on the horizon? 

Speakers include Philippe Benoliel, CEO, MashON; Jonathan Lee, SVP, PiCast; Dave Mathews, Head of Products, Boxee; and Jeffrey Payne, CTO, GridNetworks.

In addition to RightsFlow, the P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE is being sponsored by CUGate, Javien Digital Payment Solutions, and Unlimited Media, and is a companion piece to the P2P & MUSIC CONFERENCE, which took place at PopKomm in Berlin, Germany.

Our media partner for this event is Screen Digest, the pre-eminent firm of industry analysts covering global media markets. Headquartered in London, with offices in New York and Monterey, CA, Screen Digest employs a team of 40 analysts covering film, television, broadband, mobile, cinema, home entertainment, and gaming.

For more information, please click here. To register, please click here or call 410-476-7964. Share wisely, and take care.

US Internet User Update

Excerpted from eMarketer Report by Lisa Phillips

The Internet has long been a mass medium in the US, but it just got a little more massive.

eMarketer estimates that 63.4% of the US population uses the web at least once per month, and that nearly seven-out-of-ten Americans will do so by 2013.

Since January, several companies have published their own projections of Internet users. The differences are significant: estimates range from 164 million by Nielsen Online to 217 million by JP Morgan.

The differences are directly attributable to methodologies and definitions used. eMarketer defines an Internet user as any person who accesses the Internet from any location - home, work, school, a wireless hot spot, etc. - at least once per month. That is, a minimum of 12 times per year.

To make an apples-to-apples comparison, eMarketer calculated adult Internet users, 18 and older, and compared the number with data provided by comScore and Nielsen. Both firms' figures are for August 2008.

Sandvine Releases Global Internet Traffic Trends Report

Sandvine, a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for DSL, cable, FTTx, fixed wireless, and mobile operators, this week released a global Internet traffic trends report based on millions of subscribers from around the world.

Report findings include real proof of the inevitable shift in consumer behavior as online entertainment-based applications such as gaming, video streaming, social networking, and VoIP communications dominate peak evening hours between 6:00 and 11:00 PM. These real-time, interactive applications increase up to 50% per subscriber during the peak evening hours.

"Our research implies that families are spending more of their leisure time during evening hours on Internet-based entertainment and communication such as YouTube, Xbox Live, and Skype," said Dave Caputo, Sandvine Co-Founder, President & CEO. "Not only does this signal a dramatic shift in consumer behavior but emphasizes the rapid evolution and real strain placed on the Internet."

According to the research, P2P traffic remains dominant in the upstream direction totaling 61% of network traffic and is also responsible for more than 22% of downstream bandwidth consumption worldwide. The study indicates that the amount of P2P traffic per subscriber maintains a relatively high steady state during times when networks are facing their highest volumes of traffic.

"Bulk bandwidth applications like P2P are on all day, everyday and are unaffected by changes to network utilization," said Mr. Caputo. "This reinforces the importance of protecting real-time applications that are sensitive to jitter and latency during times of peak usage. Effective network traffic optimization techniques use sophisticated policies that balance network capacity, application requirements, and subscriber quality of experience in real-time."

Other notable findings include the observation that web traffic and streaming videos account for 59% of downstream bandwidth consumption. During the evening's peak hours these web applications consume up to 64% of total downstream bandwidth. This large share of bandwidth is composed of many different types of traffic, including web browsing, social sites with large amounts of digital photos, and buffered real-time video sites.

The study was conducted by analyzing data of more than 16 million broadband Internet subscribers from 26 cable modem and digital subscriber line (DSL) service providers representing 18 countries from five continents. Data was gathered between July 1st and September 12th, 2008 and captured the bits-per-second, per protocol and the number of active hosts on the network.

The data gathered in Sandvine's global Internet traffic report is completely subscriber-anonymous. No identifiable information of any kind, including, but not limited to, subscriber identification or IP addresses were collected during this study. Sandvine's network equipment analyzes data from an application utilization level and is not content aware.

In Tough Times, Internet Seen as Necessity

Excerpted from Online Examiner Report

Should economic woes lead people to cut back on spending, consumers are more likely to cancel their cable subscriptions or landlines than their Internet or wireless plans. That's according to a new report by the Toronto-based Solutions Research Group.

"The most resilient to a downturn will be expenditures on home Internet connections, followed by wireless," states the report, based on an October survey of around 800 North Americans. "Many consumers, with minor exceptions, view these as essential utilities like water and electricity."

The report ranks ten ways that people are likely to cut back on entertainment bills. Not attending big-ticket concerts or sports events was at the top of the list, while cutting back on cable was No. 5. Shedding Internet subscriptions took last place.

Those findings shouldn't be a surprise, given that the explosion of online video has, in some ways, made cable TV redundant. Why pay for MTV or Showtime when "The Hills" and "Dexter" are available online?

Of course, not everything is online yet, which is one reason why the cable companies are still in business. Another is that streaming video sometimes still has delivery glitches.

Those glitches will probably be worked out over time, and more content will undoubtedly come online soon. Still, a bigger long-term threat to the web will be bandwidth caps or traffic slowdowns, which could discourage people from downloading or streaming video. This prospect seems especially likely when the same cable companies that stand to lose subscription revenue also deliver broadband services.

At the same time, broadband might soon become more available, thanks to some potential upcoming policy changes. Among other new developments, the FCC appears to be backing a plan to allow use of "white space," or the airwaves not used by TV broadcasters, for wireless broadband. Should that proposal go forward, cable operators could have an even harder time convincing people to keep up their subscriptions.

Comcast Deploys 50 Mbps High-Speed Service

Excerpted from Slyck.com Report by Thomas Mennecke

Consider the magnitude of this week's news from Comcast, as the ISP unveiled its new tiered broadband packages and service enhancements. In most markets, Comcast will double the bandwidth capacity of its 6 and 8 Mbps packages to 12 and 16 Mbps at no extra cost. 

The big news is the introduction of two new residential tiers - "Extreme 50" and "Ultra." Extreme 50 will offer 50 Mbps downstream, and 10 Mbps upstream for $139.95/month. If that's a bit pricey for you, "Ultra" offers 22 Mbps downstream for $62.95/month. 

Although BitTorrent users have often times felt at odds with Comcast, the cable provider's press release offers an enticing lure. "With Extreme 50, Comcast customers, for example, will be able to download a high-def movie (6 GB) in about 16 minutes, a standard-def movie (2 GB) in about 5 minutes and a standard-def TV show (300 MB) in a matter of seconds. Customers with Extreme 50 also will be able to download digital photos, songs, and games faster than ever." 

Today's lesson for the BitTorrent community, or at least the BitTorrent community using Comcast, is: if you want to download at full throttle, you're going to have to pay for it. Downloading a 6 gigabyte HD movie at blazing speeds is enticing, and it's not a stretch of the imagination to believe that some hard core file-sharers will decide that $139.95 per month is worth it. These users will still face the same 250 gigabyte bandwidth cap as before. 

A Comcast representative informed us, however, that this cap only affects less then 1% of customers. Most users only consume 2-4 gigabytes per month. With the 250 gigabyte limit, the end-user can still download between 10-20 HD movies a month. 

While undoubtedly cheered by average customers, heavy downloaders feel the faster speed will only help reach the bandwidth cap in less time. Comcast's announcement will help the ISP repair its public image, especially in the markets that see their speeds double. It will also finally initiate an increase of broadband speeds in the United States, which remain woefully slow compared to the rest of the world. 

According to Comcast, 50 Mbps is just an introduction, as 160 Mbps should be on the way soon.

Barry Tishgart, VP of Internet Services, Comcast, will deliver one of the opening keynote addresses at the P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE.

Bringing Search Ads to File Sharers

Excerpted from LA Times Report by Jon Healey

What would happen if you introduced one of the most lucrative business models on the Internet - search-related advertising - to the file-sharing networks that power much of the Net's underground economy? We're about to find out. This week, Brand Asset Digital launches a public version of P2Pwords, a service that lets advertisers deliver keyword-triggered pitches through P2P networks.

As with Google's AdWords, P2Pwords enables advertisers to target promotional messages to users based on what they're looking for. Brand Asset Digital's task is trickier than Google's because it inserts those messages into the search results delivered by other companies' programs (e.g., LimeWire). It does so with techniques similar to the ones anti-piracy firms use to prevent people from downloading bootlegged songs, movies, and games.

Yet AdWords and P2Pwords share a simple but powerful concept: pitches are more likely to work if they're shown to people hunting for something like the product being advertised. The approach has been so effective for Google, AdWords has practically become a license to print money.

This conceptual similarity won't necessarily vault Brand Asset Digital co-founders Tim Hogan and Joey Patuleia into Larry Page and Sergey Brin's tax bracket. Many advertisers have shunned the most popular file-sharing networks because, let's face it, people use them mainly to download bootlegged songs, videos, and games. Also, Brand Asset Digital isn't trying to reach users of BitTorrent, one of the most popular file-sharing programs.

Nevertheless, the opportunity presented by P2Pwords is so large, it may be hard for advertisers to resist - particularly if they're promoting something designed for younger users. Just compare web searches to the activity on file-sharing networks. According to comScore, web search engines answer queries about 400 million times per day. Those searches generate more than $20 billion a year in advertising. But by data security firm Tiversa's count, file-sharers search for content on P2P networks about 1.5 billion times daily. That's almost four times the volume of web searches.

Patuleia argues that no matter how you feel about what people are doing on P2P networks, it makes no sense to ignore such an enormous, content-hungry audience.

"This is the most unleveraged, unbranded, unmarketed space in the history of the Internet," Patuleia said.

Besides, P2Pwords gives advertisers and content owners a way to divert file-sharers from illegal downloads to authorized ones. Brand Asset Digital's strategy could be described as "legitimize, don't stigmatize." It reflects the company's roots - the privately held firm was formed last year by the merger of two companies, Beyond Media and INTENT MediaWorks, that specialized in delivering licensed content and advertising to P2P users.

The merged company helps artists and other brands market themselves through file-sharing networks in two basic ways. It seeds P2P networks with songs, clips, and other promotional materials that, when played, steer the consumer to online stores where they can purchase more items. More intriguing, it drives links to that content high into the search results to influence people as they're hunting for something else. In other words, Patuleia said, content becomes the new storefront, and "the search result is the new ad."

The potential reach is staggering. Each of those 1.5 billion daily searches on P2P networks leads to the display of at least one screen filled with search results. That screen includes 10 or more links. If only half of those are links delivered by P2Pwords, that's 7.5 billion chances a day for brands to make impressions on P2P users. Brand Asset Digital's goal is to turn search results into promotions that users want to download. But even if they don't click on the links, they'll still be reading them and absorbing the brand's message.

Here's how P2Pwords works. An advertiser (or content owner) agrees to pay a flat per-click fee for one or more keywords that are relevant to its brand. For example, Coca-Cola, which owns Vitaminwater, might buy the phrase "50 Cent" because the rapper is a pitchman for the nutrient-infused beverage. Then, whenever someone does a search on a P2P network that contains sponsored keyword(s), Brand Asset Digital's computers pepper the results page with links to downloadable content chosen by the advertiser. In Coca-Cola's case, it could be a Vitaminwater video that featured 50 Cent, or it could be a free song sponsored by Vitaminwater. The link's text would be a mini advertisement for the brand, too.

This manipulation of search results is reminiscent of what a number of firms - including SafeNet's MediaSentry and Kazaa partner Brilliant Digital - have tried to do to deter P2P infringement. These firms typically flood a file-sharing network with spoofed files, making it harder for users to find what they're looking for.

Similarly, Brand Asset Digital can fill the screen with sponsored links or merely scatter them among the top listings, depending on how aggressive the advertiser wants to be, Patuleia said. Unlike spoofs, however, the links would clearly identify the content being provided. Taking up the Coca-Cola example again, when a LimeWire user searched for 50 Cent's new single by typing "50 Cent Get Up" into the search box, the first 10 results might say, "Vitaminwater presents 50 Cent conducting the National Symphony."

Although the user was trying to download a song, not a commercial, there's a chance he or she will click on the link anyway (trial users of P2Pwords had an average click-through rate of more than 4%, the company said). That's because file sharers searching for "50 Cent" aren't looking just for his hits or the movies he's been in; according to Patuleia, they're curious and willing to download all sorts of content from the artists and companies they like. Simply put, the P2P networks are where millions of people go to find new things to consume, just as they might surf through TV channels or browse what's new on YouTube.

Vitaminwater was one of the early users of P2Pwords. So were General Motors, Henkel AG's Dial Corp. and a few dozen independent artists, Patuleia said.

Major media companies may consider file-sharing networks toxic, but "brands are a lot more progressive in targeting users where the users are," he said. Besides, Google is hardly a pristine environment for advertisers loath to associate their brands with infringing content. Its search engine can churn up bootlegs too. The main difference between the two, Patuleia contended, is that Google powers a "browsing culture," and P2P caters to a "consuming culture."

Tim Hanlon, managing director of VivaKi Ventures (an arm of the advertising agency Publicis Groupe), said promoting products through P2P searches is a natural extension of what companies are already doing through Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft's Live Search.

"Any smart search strategy should also consider all other forms of search-related or search-oriented activity," he said. He also noted that many artists have more creative control over the business aspects of their careers than ever before, giving them an incentive to use promotional tools such as P2Pwords that their labels might not touch.

"Traditional methods of promotion don't necessarily succeed against a new digital media landscape," Hanlon said. "It's an era of transparency that we're now in. That challenges sort of traditional conventions of marketing, and ironically benefits both consumer and artist, but clearly via different methods. And perhaps this is one of those different methods."

Then again, there might not be too wide a gap these days between artists and labels on P2P. After all, Brand Asset Digital is a strategic partner of Brand Asset Group, a joint venture between Warner Music Group and Chris Lighty's Violator Records/Management. The raison d'etre for Brand Asset Group is to generate more non-music-related revenue for artists such as 50 Cent through endorsement deals, corporate sponsorships, and the like.

And labels are eager to gain a piece of those revenues through so-called 360-degree deals with artists. Still, it's hard to imagine the major record labels supporting a legitimate use of LimeWire while they're suing its owners for copyright infringement.

A less sanguine view of P2Pwords came from Scott Wensman, director of media strategy and content for Interpublic Group's Emerging Media Lab. "It will be interesting to see if it takes off - if it's adopted by the user base, or if they ignore it," said Wensman, whose lab has been eyeing file-sharing networks as new channels for media.

From the advertisers' perspective, there remain "legacy issues surrounding the perception of P2P networks or tools," as Wensman delicately put it. There's also the control issue: once marketers put content on a file-sharing network, they can't control where it goes. That's why an approach like P2Pwords may be better suited to entertainment companies than other brands. Although it's worth evaluating, Wensman said, "my opinion is, it isn't going to be the perfect fit for every marketer to just jump into this space."

Brand Asset Digital's Co-Founder Joey Patuleia will deliver a post-luncheon keynote address at the P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE.

Boxee Wants to Kill Your Television

Excerpted from Forbes Report by James Abels

Avner Ronen thinks he can kill cable television. How? With software that aggregates all the web's video, music, and media into a slick interface.

What's more, Ronen thinks he can convince broadcasters and others to encourage cable's death by paying him a $.05 to $.10 fee every time someone watches or listens to something his software recommends.

"We think it becomes a cable replacement for a lot of young people," says Ronen, who has raised $1 to $3 million for his New York-based start-up, Boxee.

Crazy? Maybe. Gutsy? You bet. While there's no shortage of people looking to steal a television advertising market worth some $65 billion, Boxee's five founders - who learned their trade working in the Israeli army - think they can take advantage of content producers' need to find audiences by creating what is essentially a television with limitless channels and offerings that's easy to use. Kind of a personalized YouTube on your desktop.

Boxee's server makes recommendations to people based on their past preferences, the media stored on their hard drives and what friends from social networks prefer. Essentially, it "moves" content, creating an advertising incentive for media to give him a cut of ad sales. Ronen argues, people - particularly kids - will instantly give up cable service if Internet media were easily aggregated in one place.

At the moment, there is little data to support his idea. But there is plenty that shows web video is exploding. According to a study by Forrester Research earlier this month, 40% of Internet users watch more than an hour of online video a week, and some 55% of them are 13 to 34 years old.

ABI Research reported the number of consumers watching video in an Internet browser doubled in the last year to some 63% in a study of 985 households; comScore said in July that 75% of all Internet users are watching video online; and Cisco Systems recently reported its expectation that Internet traffic for video seen on a computer will account for some 25% of all Internet traffic this year. It was 11% in 2006.

Still, Howard Horowitz, whose Horowitz Associates researches the cable and Internet industries, says there are no real studies investigating a link between increasing web video consumption and canceled cable subscriptions. "In a linear sense, it's very hard to make a prediction," he says of how the field develops. His data show cable subscriptions for the 18-to-34 set have only decreased 10% since 2005, usually in favor of technologies such as digital cable. But a representative notes it's still in its early days, and Horowitz is continuing to study the topic in greater depth.

Ronen says the future is clear. And, he says, he's already found the people who prove the point: Apple users (he is one). The famously young, hip group is ready to turn their iBooks and iMacs into televisions and stereos that tap all Internet media, he says. While Apple's Front Row tries to do it, Ronen says it fails by being tightly tied to the company's iTunes media store. Boxee's first version has been written for the Mac.

Earlier this month, they released instructions to easily upgrade (or hack) an AppleTV with their software. (They've also hacked Apple's remote to work with it.) The company claims far more than 10,000 people are already using Boxee in a private test and says a similarly sized group has signed onto a waiting list to join them. The software goes public later this year.

If it sounds a bit grand, it is. Despite a novel business model, Boxee's got its share of challenges ahead. The first is that, despite its claims, it doesn't currently aggregate all the web's video - but it is getting better. This week it added CBS, Comedy Central, MySpaceTV and Hulu to its repertoire. Ronen also says Boxee's in talks with all the major networks and content aggregators like Netflix to fix that. Why shouldn't they work with him, argues Ronen, if he can find them viewers to increase the volume of ad sales.

Another equally thorny problem: To access all the media stored on a hard drive, Boxee does not run inside a web browser. Forcing people to download software is increasingly impossible in an Internet world that accesses information and programs via the web. The strategy just about killed off Joost - a high-profile web video portal that raised $40 million from the likes of CBS and Viacom - earlier this year. Boxee is now working with Joost, which recently launched a browser version, on a new partnership.

One thing is for sure, Horowitz says. The stakes are as big as Ronen thinks. "If big media is going to be complacent, they'll lose going forward."

Dave Mathews, Head of Products, Boxee, is a featured speaker in the closing session at the P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE.

Streaming Video Firm VBrick Secures $10.4 Million

Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger

VBrick Systems, a provider of live, online networked video services, has secured $10.4 million of a $15.7 million sixth round of venture capital financing, PEHub reported, citing a regulatory filing. 

Investors in the round include previous backers Adams Capital Management, Menlo Ventures, Morgan Stanley Venture Partners, Redshift Ventures, and Two River Associates. 

Founded in 1999, Connecticut-based VBrick provides streaming technology to video hosting sites. The company has to date raised over $50 million.

P2PTV Music Video Competition Launched

Excerpted from Web User Report

Babelgum, the industry leading ad-supported P2PTV service, has launched a music video competition with parter Universal Music UK.

Artists and bands can upload their entries for the Babelgum Music Video Award to the company's website.

Like Babelgum's film festival, the winners will be selected by viewers and a panel of professionals.

Music video and movie director Michel Gondry is one of the jury members who will choose the grand prize winner. The winning band or artist will get a record deal with Universal UK.

The artist behind the video selected by most Babelgum viewers will also get the opportunity to perform live across a host of venues in the UK, including the Barfly pub chain.

"This is a great opportunity for young musicians and video makers to expand their audience and find a new route into the industry," said Babelgum chief executive Valerio Zingarelli.

"Today's web users can't get enough of new, non-mainstream music acts, so the Internet is an excellent place to present strong musical talent and an original vision to a vast audience," he added.

Entries for the music competition close November 16th.

P2P-Based MMO Engine Slashes Hosting Costs

Excerpted from ITWire Report by Mike Bantick

NICTA, Australia's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Center of Excellence, has released a beta version of its massively multi-player online (MMO) P2P network engine, Badumna

According to NICTA's P2P Project Leader Dr Santosh Kulkarni, Badumna can support millions of users with minimal infrastructure. "It provides a significant competitive advantage over traditional network engines," he maintains. 

Badumna has already been successfully integrated with the platform of 3-D virtual worlds' platform provider VastPark. 

"The VastPark platform allows developers to create their own fully immersive 3-D virtual world," explains VastPark CEO Bruce Joy, "NICTA's Badumna network suite gives developers the ability to have thousands of users in their virtual world without needing to pre-invest in expensive infrastructure. This is something we always wanted." 

According to the Director of NICTA's Victorian Research Laboratory Professor Rob Evans, the Badumna network engine is an example of how NICTA can collaborate with Australian industry to address opportunities in the digital economy. 

"From today, online games companies around the world will be able to trial this promising technology and take advantage of its many benefits," he says. 

Badumna utilizes a managed P2P network that acts as an intelligent server and provides the functionality required for applications such as large multiplayer games and on-line virtual worlds. The network engine also provides an interface that delivers information in real-time to end users, ensuring that the load on central servers is minimal so overall costs for hosting the application are reduced. 

NICTA signed a commercial license agreement with VastPark in February this year that gives VastPark access to technology developed in the P2P project. 

The agreement also provides the P2P team with a commercial platform to conduct a large-scale trial and a commercialization path with VastPark as an industry collaborator.

Tech Sizzlers: A Peer Talk

Excerpted from Ciol News Report by Urvashi Kaul

Despite its highly controversial nature, and various pros and cons, P2P would qualify as one of the most interesting communication models in this Internet age. The reason it evokes more curiosity, could well be the way it functions and its ever-increasing popularity.

P2P software typically allows people to share files on the Internet using diverse connectivity between participants in a network and cumulative bandwidth of network participants.

In other words, it does not use the conventional centralized resources where a number of servers provide value to a service or an application. A P2P network depends on its users for computing power as well as the storage space.

A pure P2P network does not have a centralized server or a central router; and every user enjoys equal rights as his or her machine is connected and passes on information to the others attached to the network.

P2P is very popular for sharing content files containing audio, video, data, or anything in a digital format, and real-time data, such as telephony traffic.

So for instance, if you download and run software from any of the P2P sites, you will instantly have access to all the files that are there on the system of the other users of the P2P network.

In the same way, the others, too, will have access to files that you make available to the network. Broadly, P2P networks can be classified into file sharing, telephony, media streaming (audio and video), and discussion forums.

A typical example of a file transfer that is not P2P is an FTP server where the client and server programs are quite distinct: the clients initiate the download/uploads, and the servers react to and satisfy these requests.

Anything to do with P2P would not br inclusive without a mention of Napster. This extensively used online music file-sharing software was one of the first P2P software programs.

It created quite a wave as it hugely impacted how people use the Internet. Napster allowed music fans to easily share MP3 format song files with each other. The software created by Shawn Fanning, operated between June 1999 and July 2001.

Interestingly, Napster, which worked very similar to how an instant messaging system worked, wasn't a P2P service in its entirety, as it used central servers to maintain lists of connected systems and files they provided, while the actual transactions were conducted directly between machines.

While there already were networks that facilitated exchange of files on the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and USENET, Fanning's Napster climbed the popularity charts as it revolutionized the music downloads from the Internet.

Though the software firm lost its court case against the music companies, it paved way for the decentralized P2P file sharing programs, which have been much harder to monitor.

Gnutella, eMule, LimeWire, Freenet, and BitTorrent are some of the most popular P2P networks at present.

P2P is being increasingly used as a powerful tool by companies for Internet marketing. It was IBM, HP, and Intel that started it all by taking steps to standardize and commercialize the technology.

The technology is being used by large and small companies for legitimate commercial purposes, because of its very efficient distribution system.

And why not, it is a low cost electronic communication and information sharing system that has made inter-company collaboration one of the most discussed topics.

Research communities too are widely using the P2P networks for sharing files over the Internet.

More recently, a group of Internet service providers (ISPs) led by Verizon Communications announced work on harnessing the technology to reduce network traffic and speed up video downloads on the web.

Verizon will offer protocols to help cooperate with P2P networks to deliver entertainment.

So is P2P finally getting favorable acceptance from all corners? Maybe or maybe not. We need to wait and watch.

Study Looks at Cost to Police Campus Networks

Excerpted from eSchool News Report by Mary Prabhu

A federal rule cracking down on file sharing could be costly for colleges.

Some colleges and universities might have to spend up to half a million dollars per year to comply with new federal rules aimed at controlling unauthorized P2P file sharing on campuses, according to a study by the Campus Computing Project.

The regulations were included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and passed by Congress in July. The law asks colleges and universities to implement network administration technologies that deter unauthorized P2P file sharing. These technologies can include bandwidth shaping, traffic monitoring to identify the largest bandwidth users, or products designed to reduce or block unauthorized file sharing, according to the legislation. The law allows each institution to determine its own policy and use the corresponding technology.

"The costs will vary dramatically depending on the college," said Kenneth Green, Founding Director of the Campus Computing Project, a continuing study of the role of information technology (IT) at American colleges and universities.

He noted that the law applies to all of America's post-secondary institutions that participate in Title IV financial aid programs-about 4,400 public, private, and for-profit degree-granting institutions, as well as another 1,700 career colleges and other non-degree-granting institutions.

To meet the law's regulations, higher-education institutions will have to purchase hardware or software to stem file sharing, if they don't already use such technologies. There are also other costs related to time spent by school administration, legal counsel, IT personnel, and student affairs personnel, Green said.

As of fall 2007, about 90% of the nation's four-year colleges and universities, and nearly two-thirds of its community colleges, had some type of policy to address unauthorized P2P file sharing. But fewer than 40% of all higher-education institutions had installed a technology-based solution to stem P2P infringement as of that time, according to the study.

Green's organization says colleges and universities incurred a wide range of costs in combating P2P file sharing last year. These costs ranged from just under $6,000 in software licensing fees by public bachelor's institutions to more than $158,000 for special hardware by private universities.

Higher-education institutions also have established mandatory user education programs or penalized students for sharing unlicensed files, by giving them sanctions or financial penalties - or even taking away their network access.

For example, Green said, Cornell University requires students to complete a mandatory online tutorial before they gain access to the school's network.

"There's nothing like that in place for consumer networks. They turn it on and say, 'Go ahead and have fun,'" he said, noting that colleges and universities have been very proactive in trying to stem online infringement.

The stipulations come after years of lobbying by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which originally stated that college students account for nearly half of all infringing music and movies.

"In 2005, the RIAA said 44% of their financial losses were due to college students in the US," Green said. However, earlier this year the RIAA issued a news release acknowledging that students accounted for only about 15% of losses.

Green said that while there was a lot of unauthorized file sharing in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the vast majority of schools now have policies to address unlicensed or inappropriate P2P file sharing.

"It's a consumer issue, not a campus issue," he said, adding: "The industry's swiftboating efforts are asking higher education to pay" to control a small percentage of unauthorized file sharing.

Innocent Infringer Smells Blood, Pushes for Full Trial

Excerpted from Digital Music News Report 

Is ignorance a reasonable defense in file-sharing cases? Ask the RIAA, and the answer is predictably no. But ignorance towards file-sharing infringement has now taken center stage in Maverick v. Harper. In August, US District Court judge Xavier Rodriguez sympathized with defendant Whitney Harper, who admitted to sharing a total of 37 songs through Kazaa while still a teenager. 

But Harper was oblivious to the legal aspects, and in consideration of the innocent infringer defense, Rodriguez offered a $200-per-track settlement resolution, for total damages of $7,400. The RIAA was initially uninterested in the compromise, though the group has since accepted the $200-per-track proposal. 

Unfortunately, Harper lawyer Donald Mackenzie is now pushing for a full trial, a move that comes at a vulnerable point for the RIAA. Just recently, a major RIAA victory in Capitol v. Thomas was called into question by US District Court judge Michael J. Davis, who ordered a retrial based on questionable evidence gathering techniques. 

Specifically, Davis reversed earlier instructions to the jury that tied infringement to the act of making content available through applications like Kazaa - instead of actually downloading the copyrighted works in question. 

That changes the landscape entirely, and spells serious opportunity for an ambitious attorney. "This case is not just a solitary matter lingering on a docket; rather it is a potential fulcrum for many others who are currently ensnared in this massive portion of the Federal Judicial case load," Mackenzie expressed in a recent filing. 

Related court filings can be found here.

Coming Events of Interest

P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE - October 27th in Santa Monica, CA. The DCIA proudly presents an all-new day-long conference in conjunction with Digital Hollywood, focused totally on P2P solutions for the television and enterprise A/V industries. How to protect and monetize video content in the steadily growing P2P marketplace.

Digital Hollywood Fall - October 27th-30th in Santa Monica, CA. With many new sessions and feature events, DHF has become the premiere digital entertainment conference and exposition. DCIA Member companies will exhibit and speak on a number of panels, including the P2P session at 11:05 AM on Thursday.

DDEX Conferences – Digital Data Exchange (DDEX) Implementation Conferences on October 23rd, 28th, and November 6th in New York, NY; Santa Monica, CA; and Paris, France respectively. Automation of B2B data exchange for digital content markets. Registration required.

US Election 2008 - Implications for the Distributed Computing Industry - A live webinar on November 12th presented by Dow Lohnes exclusively for DCIA Member companies and Working Group participants. Topics will include net neutrality, content filtering, contextual advertising, online privacy, Internet taxation, IP issues, and venture capital - carried interest.

P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LV - January 7th in Las Vegas, NV. This is the DCIA's must-attend event for everyone interested in monetizing content using P2P and related technologies. Keynotes, panels, and workshops on the latest breakthroughs. This DCIA flagship event is a Conference within CES - the Consumer Electronics Show.

International CES - January 8th-11th in Las Vegas, NC. With more than four decades of success, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) reaches across global markets, connects the industry and enables CE innovations to grow and thrive. CES is produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry. 

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This page last updated December 14, 2008
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