Distributed Computing Industry
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November 3, 2008
Volume XXIV, Issue 2

Oversi Deploys P2P Network Tool to Complement P4P

Oversi, a pioneer of over-the-top (OTT) caching and delivery solutions, this week announced the first implementation of its NetEnhancer management tool for peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic.

Designed to complement technological advances being developed by the P4P Working Group (P4PWG), Oversi's NetEnhancer optimizes service providers' network resources to accelerate content delivery and provide the best Internet experience for end-users. 

NetEnhancer works by automatically routing P2P traffic to local peers in line with the available network resources of the operator. NetEnhancer can shift the P2P load from international and interconnect peers to local peers or from overstretched areas in the access network to areas with higher capacity.

David Tolub, Oversi's President & CEO, said, "The FCC's ruling on 'discriminatory network management' practices has highlighted the service provider's dilemma with respect to P2P traffic. NetEnhancer provides a win-win solution, relieving the P2P burden for operators while increasing customer satisfaction. Our goal is to help bring the potential benefits of P4P to the real world, under the full control of the service provider." 

Commenting on the announcement, Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), said, "Oversi's NetEnhancer product represents the kind of innovative solution that promises to alleviate network resource utilization at the same time as it improves P2P application performance for consumers. This exemplifies the kind of commercial advancement that the rapidly emerging distributed computing industry needs to continue its steady growth." 

Eitan Efron, Oversi's VP of Marketing and Business Development, delivered a keynote address at the DCIA's P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE on Monday during Digital Hollywood Fall at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, CA.

At a special ceremony during the conference, Oversi received the 2008 DCIA Trendsetter's Award, presented annually to that company which sets the pace in the advancement of distributed computing technologies for commercial purposes.

Rivals Come Together to Conquer Infringement

Excerpted from Sydney Morning Herald Report by Asher Moses

Two former adversaries who squared off in a bitter legal battle over Kazaa have joined forces to invent technology they say will kill the unauthorized sharing of infringing content and child pornography over P2P networks.

Kevin Bermeister, sued for millions by the music industry between 2004 and 2006 over his association with what was once the world's most popular file-sharing service, and Michael Speck, who ran the music industry's case as the head of its anti-piracy arm, Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), are now partners in Brilliant Digital Entertainment.

The pair has developed an application designed to run on Internet service provider (ISP) networks that enables the "instantaneous conversion of infringing activity into legitimate content transactions."

Mr. Speck said the company had completed technical trials and would launch a live trial with an Australian ISP within a month. There was also keen interest from ISPs, law-enforcement agencies, and film and music companies in the United States and Europe.

As well as combating movie, music, and game infringement, the technology can be used to block child-pornography searches. The company has briefed the Australian Federal Police and several state police forces.

Mr. Speck said the technology works by cross-referencing the unique numerical values associated with content files against a list of proven illegal files provided by various sources.

"There is no other information collected - there's an absolute protection of privacy." Files that are not on the list of unlawful files are not blocked or impeded.

Mr. Speck said because there was no Internet-wide surveillance and files were only checked against a predetermined list, the impact on ISP network performance was negligible. "The entire transaction takes in the order of a millisecond," he said.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyCongratulations to Victor Harwood and his entire team for a highly stimulating Digital Hollywood Fall (DHF), and special thanks to all who participated in this year's first-ever P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE, which was particularly valuable and informative.

Feedback has been consistently positive regarding the very high quality of the keynote addresses and panel sessions. 

The archival website now features the opening keynote presentations given by Robert Levitan, CEO, Pando Networks; and Barry Tishgart, VP of Internet Services, Comcast.

We have also added the post-conference-luncheon keynote from Joey P., Co-Founder, Brand Asset Digital.

In addition, we have posted the afternoon keynote presentations given by Tom Patterson, CEO, Digital Containers; and Eitan Efron, VP of Marketing, Oversi.

And finally, we have included the closing keynote by Ronny Golan, Co-Founder & CEO, HIRO Media; and highlights of panel presentations.

We also thank the speakers on the DHF Next Generation P2P panel: Bill Wishon, Director of Marketing, Kontiki; John Jones, Senior Vice President of Programming, Artist and Label Relations, MediaNet; Daniel Leon, Head of Strategic Partnerships, HIRO Media; Patrick Sullivan, CEO, RightsFlow; Johan Ryman, Director of Sales & Partnerships, Octoshape; Michael King, CEO, Abacast; and Kevin Bradshaw, COO, LimeWire.

Bill outlined Kontiki's powering of the BBC iPlayer and how this exemplified P2P's contribution to solving the content access problem, while P2P solutions for networking problems and streaming are now in process. In addition to these tracks, the equally important one of optimizing business models must be pursued, and different types of innovation are needed there.

While stealing content is clearly wrong, sharing it should be viewed as beneficial, and the emphasis should be on innovation to monetize that behavior. There are particularly promising opportunities in the area of improving metadata and increasing consistency in data recognition.

John explained MediaNet's role as a fulfillment service for large-scale online music distributors, among which P2P services are a great model for lighter files. He cited the example of iMesh, with which MediaNet works in the delivery of a P2P-based music subscription offering within a player. Now there is increased interest in streaming super-distribution models.

Sharing is part of human behavior, and going against that grain represents a flawed business strategy. What is needed, rather, is to tap into that aspect of distribution in order to monetize it. Viral market expansion is a key to the business opportunity that has been introduced by P2P.

Daniel noted that with the cost of distribution dramatically reduced by P2P, HIRO Media's solution that inserts "unzappable" personalized targeted advertising into online content is growing in acceptance, and that the emphasis is shifting from content protection per se (old DRM approach) to revenue protection. While there's expediency in web-based rich media content delivery, with high-end quality, downloading P2P players should not be problematic.

Regulatory and judicial activities are not effective in addressing today's principal digital marketplace problem, which is to turn an enormous audience into a profitable revenue stream by leveraging the value of content. Daniel recounted being thrown out of a content rights holder's office for the audacity of proposing to exploit a phenomenon that the content company was spending millions in an attempt to stop.

Patrick defined RightsFlow as a licensing outsourcer and indicated that it is witnessing a turning point in the independent market as P2P is being increasingly accepted for its value in promoting and monetizing music. He sees a need in educating the over-34 market on the use of the newest technologies, and a major opportunity for profitable revenue growth as authorized P2P content can be delivered to this segment.

He said the record industry's ineffective emphasis on copyright enforcement is reminiscent of the tale of an executioner executing himself to prove the point that his apparatus worked. What is needed is work on defining the optimal consumer offer to profitably meet demand.

To accelerate progress, business decision makers need to exert their leadership and get more involved until new model(s) have been established, rather than delegating to attorneys orders to defend old models. Massive infringement traditionally has indicated the potential for and led to the establisment of major media markets.

Johan introduced Octoshape as a provider of live P2P streaming that can serve as a content delivery network (CDN) or work with other CDNs and provide unprecedented scalability to broadcasters and other content rights holders. With content driving demand as much as it is, distributed delivery technologies will be the most practical, and while there will always be some level of infringement, innovation and flexibility can leverage the problem to minimize it.

More experimentation is needed with a greater variety of P2P-based business model implementations to determine the most effective approaches.

Mike described Abacast as a hybrid CDN, combining the advantages of P2P, both for live streaming and on-demand downloads, with unicasting. There is a huge gap currently between what traditional CDNs can deliver and the need created by masses coming online to do video, which P2P is in a position to solve. He sees targeted advertising as the most promising business model. Regardless of P2P's legacy as a tool for infringement, it is time to move ahead with solutions that work for all participants in the distribution chain.

Trade associations like the DCIA can be particularly useful in this regard, and working groups, such as its P4P Working Group (P4PWG), which has brought ISPs and P2Ps together to improve network efficiency, can be effective in solving related problems. Excessive involvement of attorneys is not conducive to the innovative problem solving that is needed now in this space.

Kevin indicated that relative to the firms represented by other panelists, which are more B2B focused, LimeWire is closer to the consumer end of the industry, now with 80-to-100 million monthly users (10 million/day). Nevertheless, the company is more of a technology provider and less of a media company, and is looking to partner with media experts to monetize the traffic generated by its highly popular software.

He noted that Comedy Central has just entered into an agreement with the company and is hopeful that its participation will help optimize a profitable business model. There is no doubt that there are complex challenges, but with an aggregated audience of this scale, there has to be a business there.

Imagine what could be accomplished if both sides of the continuing conflict reduced their legal costs and invested more in exploring potential business solutions.

Audience Q&A ranged from eliciting comments from a record industry executive who voiced frustration at the pace at which content monetization is advancing in this channel, to fostering a discussion on the strategic question of how to introduce infringement-filtering into a P2P client without driving monetizable traffic to alternative sources. The consensus was that wide-scale coordination is needed in order to do this effectively. Share wisely, and take care.

The P2P Debate Rages on in Hollywood

Excerpted from Internet News Report by David Miller

P2P - friend or foe of the entertainment industry? The battle raged on at Digital Hollywood Fall Thursday, with plenty of sometimes rowdy audience participation at a mid-day panel discussion.

After listening to an hour of enthusiastic support for P2P, a visibly frustrated David Bean, consultant to recording artists and former President of jazz label CTI Records, stood up and shared his real feelings on P2P networks with the assembled crowd.

"I'm hearing the exact same thing today that I heard nine years ago: 'We need to monetize.' Well, my company was destroyed by P2P," Bean said. "P2P has been here for nine years unabated. You keep telling us what it's going to do for us, but it's done nothing for the record industry."

Moderator Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), jumped in and said, "Three-out-of-four P2P companies here on the podium now use 100% licensed content."

An audience member added that the record company he works for was interested to see that the-artist-currently-known-as-Prince has been giving away his CDs for free, and drawing ever-growing numbers of people for his concerts.

Emotions continued to run high at times as new and old media titans clashed during Next Generation P2P for Music, TV and Film - DRM, Paid for Pass-Along, Ad-Based, and Other Legal Distributed Computing Models and the Entertainment Industries.

Bill Wishon, Director of Marketing for Kontiki, said that P2P solved the content access problem for consumers, enabling them to get music and movies that they couldn't find at all or in the format of their choice through traditional channels.

Wishon believes that legitimate use of P2P, that is, using P2P as a platform to distribute content with its owner's approval, is growing. He also pointed out that there's a strong business model in place: people can buy the content they want, subscribe, or P2P can be ad-supported.

Panelists also praised P2P for reducing costs of distribution, and suggested that since content is already moving freely among users, the entertainment industry should focus on protecting revenue rather than protecting the content itself.

One way to do this would be to insert advertising into the content, and let people freely share the ad-laden files. Panelists seemed to firmly believe in the power and appeal of advertising based on individual user's interests.

"The future is targeted advertising, not subscriptions," said Michael King, CEO of Abacast. "Force me to look at something that has no value to me and I get irritated."

The bottom-line, said Daniel Leon, Head of Strategic Partnerships at HIRO Media, is that media companies must distribute on P2P - the economy demands it. "People are canceling cable. Who wants to spend $1k a year? I'm canceling cable right after the election. Everyone is going online for entertainment now."

But it's a rough choice for traditional media who have equated P2P with the dark evils of piracy. Do they start swigging rum now with the enemy or continue to ignore the obvious need to change their business model?

"If media companies stop suing people and let go of the idea that they can stop P2P, they might actually be able to focus on monetization. They should think about what the consumers want and try to make them an offer," said Leon.

"It's interesting to ponder what we might be able to innovate if we spent less on lawyers. I spend a huge amount on legal issues," added LimeWire's COO Kevin Bradshaw.

Moderator Lafferty then asked panelists, "If the RIAA were here, what you advise them to do now?"

"If we could get rid of attorneys we'd have a much better business," said RightsFlow's CEO Patrick Sullivan. "No offense to attorneys, but we've had them dictating to people at the top and bottom. The current decision makers aren't the right people - you need to have people who understand technology."

At this point an attorney in the audience piped up. "It's not the lawyers who are doing this. Hilary Rosen from the RIAA was on a mission," he said. "She sent the lawyers out there. The lawyers did what their clients wanted them to do."

Panelists agreed that rather than using lawyers in an attempt to legally bludgeon consumers into submission, media companies should instead try to understand what is motivating people's behavior online.

"'Piracy' is either stealing, which we believe is wrong, or 'piracy' is more like sharing, and we're taught that that is good. If people believe they are sharing, then we need to be innovative about how to work with that because otherwise we're fighting a losing battle," said Wishon.

"You can't go against the grain of human behavior," added John Jones, Senior Vice President of Programming, Artist and Label Relations for MediaNet. "Sharing is human nature. It cannot be stopped."

Looking at Students and P2P - With Data

Excerpted from Inside Higher Education Report by Andy Guess

Between the deluge of litigation from the entertainment industry and defiant opposition from college students, is there a way out of the deadlock surrounding the debate on P2P file sharing?

Researchers now conducting an in-depth study of students' downloading habits - and how they respond to policy changes - think there is, and the magic bullet isn't a call for a restructuring of the industry or a punitive approach to music theft. It's data.

So much data, in fact, that banks of computers at Carnegie Mellon University are still processing the reams of numbers collected last year.

Although the full extent of the study's conclusions isn't known yet, those involved in the project shared some results of the data analyzed so far: students' Internet activity during the full month of April 2007 on Illinois State University's campus network.

The university, a major producer of K-12 teachers and home of the Digital Citizen Project, which funded the study with support from both higher education associations and industry, allowed its IT specialists to monitor the Internet use of all students who live on campus for three separate months: April of last year, September of last year, and April of this year. The last two months are still being analyzed.

The unprecedented scope of the project - complicated by the sheer amounts of data, not to mention the privacy concerns that had to be addressed before multiple institutional review boards - has allowed, and will continue to allow, researchers an in-depth peek at students' downloading habits.

Some of the results - such as that iPods dominate in students' choices for portable music players or that peak downloading times are around 1 AM - confirm conventional wisdom. Others upend it, while data soon to be released could provide new insights into what kinds of interventions can reduce unauthorized file sharing on campus. Please click here for the rest of this report.

A New Economics of P2P File Sharing

Excerpted from The Register Report by Andrew Orlowski

What happens when you put three economists from Internet, telecom, and music businesses in a room and don't let them out until they've agreed on something useful?

A paper published by the research unit of the British composers' collection society this week gives us a clue. The first results of a "knocking heads together" exercise, entitled "Shadow Pricing P2P's Economic Impact," doesn't offer any ready policy proposals - partly as a result of compromise - but it does offer a framework that's better thought out than most attempts so far.

The paper identifies three elements of the supply chain in the digital age. There are what it calls Music Service Providers (MSPs), such as PirateBay or iTunes, for example; Music Rights Providers (MRPs) such as ASCAP or the PPL, and ISPs. When these groups are lined up in a Game Theory Prisoner's Dilemma situation, the paper suggests, there is a high risk of a "sub-optimal outcome."

That's a diplomatic way of saying everyone loses.

Rights providers would be tempted to continue to shun the digital market, ISPs continue to bear heavy costs and potential liabilities and stick with delivering music to their customers using the unlicensed MSPs (e.g., via BitTorrent trackers), and the MSPs remain at the mercy of the others, so fail to invest.

All the while, the amount of unlicensed music continues to dwarf licensed music - which again discourages parties to seek a licensed settlement that captures some of the market's value. There are some odd side-effects to this situation - unlicensed MSPs (torrent sites) mean we pay more for our network connections than we need to, for example, as well as making legitimate music more expensive.

Instead, the authors call for a new approach: "The incentive structure under which media providers operate should be reconsidered and restructured," the authors write. Please click here for their proposal.

Online Ad Spending Will Keep Growing

Excerpted from eMarketer Report by Geoff Ramsey

In its latest projections, released in August, eMarketer saw online advertising growing from $24.5 billion in 2008 to $28.5 billion in 2009.

eMarketer benchmarks its online ad spending projections against quarterly reports by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which uses PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct its surveys. For the first half of 2008, the IAB reported 15.2% growth for online ad spending, which is in line with eMarketer's predictions.

Another factor confirming its predictions is that the combined growth rate for first half online ad revenues among the top four US portals - Yahoo, Google, AOL, and Microsoft - was 19%.

Although most of the following projections from a range of different analyst firms and researchers are likely to be high, since they were published before the recent outpouring of negative financial news, there is still a consensus among many analysts that spending growth for online advertising will continue to show double-digit gains in both 2008 and 2009. eMarketer agrees.

According to a June McKinsey & Co. survey of 340 senior marketing executives worldwide, 91% are using online advertising, and over one-half indicate that their companies plan to maintain or exceed current levels where possible. Even more telling, 55% of marketers said they're cutting expenditures on traditional media, precisely in order to increase funding for online efforts.

Last spring, Forrester Research surveyed 333 marketers with 200 or more employees and asked a very telling question: "How would you change your online spending patterns if there is an economic recession in the next six months?" Over one-quarter said they would increase spending on Internet advertising, while only 13% said they would decrease it. Another 15% were undecided.

Even more-bullish expectations for digital spending were cited by respondents in an Epsilon CMO survey conducted in September. Among 175 senior marketing executives, 63% expected increases for interactive/online marketing spending for 2008; only 14% expected a reduction.

This month, a survey by MarketingProfs, of 600 US marketers, found that 60% planned to increase their spending on online advertising in reaction to the downturn.

Marketers should rightly ask, "What is behind the bullish projections for online ad spending, especially when most traditional media are taking the financial equivalent of body blows?" The reasons are as follows:

The Internet is inherently more measurable and accountable than are traditional channels.

The Internet allows for better, more-granular targeting than do other forms of media. That reduces media waste and can save marketing dollars.

The Internet is interactive, thereby allowing for a higher degree of engagement with consumer and business prospects and customers.

Particularly among younger consumers, the Internet is accounting for a larger and larger share of total media time; numerous studies demonstrate that teens, millennials and other younger cohorts are spending more time online per week than they are watching television.

The Internet plays into the consumer-in-control movement and therefore provides new opportunities for marketers to be a part of their conversations about interests, attitudes, shopping plans, and even brands.

New Web 2.0 phenomena such as blogs, social networks, and Twitter provide marketers with the potential to gain rich insights into consumer behavior and attitudes (the Internet is like a perpetual focus group on steroids).

The Internet, unlike any other medium or channel, allows marketers to reach prospects throughout the entire consumer buying cycle, from initial awareness through pre-information-gathering to sales and post-sale feedback and support.

LimeWire Licenses Comedy Central Content

Excerpted from Fortune Magazine Report by Devin Leonard

On Wednesday, LimeWire announced that it had struck a deal with Viacom's Comedy Central to sell the cable network's library of 60 digital comedy albums by guys like Lewis Black, Denis Leary, and Dane Cook in its download store.

This is a coup for LimeWire, which is trying to become a licensed digital entertainment provider. As part of this campaign, LimeWire in March launched a download store where users can purchase songs from small, independent labels like Kanine Records and Ghostly International for 99 cents.

The pact with Comedy Central is LimeWire's first partnership with a major entertainment company. George Searle, LimeWire's CEO, said it shows that his company has something beneficial to offer the entertainment industry.

"What's happening at LimeWire right now represents a unique opportunity for content owners," he said. "Comedy Central Records sees this."

LimeWire is also trying to get the big four record companies - Universal, Warner Music, EMI, and SonyBMG - to join with it and create a Google-like ad-supported music search engine that LimeWire argues would be extremely profitable.

Surely, LimeWire is in a persuasive position in the wake of the Comedy Central deal. "It's another indication of the speed at which traditional media companies are evolving their thinking about the Internet," says Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, a digital media analytics company. "Eighteen months ago, I don't think you would have seen an announcement like this."

Searle agrees: "I'm very optimistic. The problems and opportunities facing digital media right now lie squarely with providing the right offering to the right consumer. We're working hard to help big entertainment companies do just that."

Solid State Delivers Game Downloads to Asia Market

Content delivery software maker Solid State Networks, the leading developer of game and patch delivery solutions, this week announced that Digital Media Exchange (DME) selected the Solid Axis game delivery solution to deliver Dekaron, a massively multi-player online (MMO) game.

Dekaron is already one of the leading free-to-play MMO games in the US and other countries around the globe. The game will now be offered in the Southeast Asia market, which includes the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.

"We are excited to have Solid State Networks delivering the digital downloads of Dekaron to the Asian gaming market," said Scott Countryman, Founder & CEO of DME.

"Gamers in Southeast Asia are now experiencing new levels of speed and convenience when downloading Dekaron through our custom downloader.

As a publisher, we get the benefits of highly efficient and cost-effective digital delivery, which allows us to leverage the investment we made in our existing CDN infrastructure while offloading some of the traffic to P2P. We feel this is a win for us and for our gamers."

"We are extremely pleased to be working with DME and thrilled that they chose Solid Axis game delivery technology to deliver Dekaron," said Rick Buonincontri, Founder & CEO of Solid State Networks.

"Not only are we proud to be working with DME, but we are also excited for the opportunity to deliver games to the emerging Asian game market."

Olympics in HD Powered by Octoshape

During the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Octoshape solutions were streaming Olympic coverage in HD (2.5 mbps) for several broadcasters in Asia, some in corporation with CDNetworks.

Using the powerful features of the Octoshape streaming protocol, multiple point fail-over, throughput optimization, and loss resilience made it possible to deliver HD quality to end users all over Asia.

Hundreds of Gbps were delivered and millions of hours consumed. The HD-quality distribution ensured a great user experience which in turn caused the average session duration to hit almost a full hour.

The unique Octoshape P2P-engine, or grid delivery system, also proved itself essential for webcasts of this magnitude. Saving as much as 95% of the bandwidth needed to power this high-quality webcast, meant that the Olympic spirit could reach almost an unlimited amount of users.

"We used the Octoshape P2P streaming technology for our Olympics streaming, and the number of users far exceeded our expectation in terms of usage" said Asaad Bagharib, Senior Vice-President of Mediacorp Technologies. "We are exceptionally surprised by the high session duration for the stream that further indicated a very high quality streaming experience without any interruptions."

Octoshape's ongoing mission is to turn live streaming into a reliable business. Enabling HD-webcasts in massive scale at reasonable costs will benefit both viewers and broadcasters today and in the future of online media.

BFM Digital Selects RightsFlow for Outsourced Licensing

BFM Digital, a leading digital music aggregator and distributor of independent music, has signed with RightsFlow, an outsourced licensing solution for mechanical, streaming, ring-tone, and Digital Phonorecord Delivery (DPD) licensing, to handle its DPD licensing needs through RightsFlow's proprietary "FLOW" system. BFM Digital will now offer the DPD licensing service to its label clients.

"RightsFlow's system presents an efficient, all-inclusive service and adds further value to our label clients," said Steven Corn, CEO of BFM Digital. "Through RightsFlow, we will be able to effectively manage DPD licensing across our diverse catalog."

"Our clients look to us to provide a turnkey solution for DPD licensing and publishing royalty payouts on US sales," said Ben Cockerham, COO of RightsFlow. "We are excited to work with BFM Digital in providing this service to its rich label clientele."

"BFM Digital will be able to tap into the latest version of FLOW, as we continue to provide an ever expanding suite of service offerings for online music services, distributors, labels, and artists," said Matt Irvin, Senior Manager of Licensing for RightsFlow.

Under US Copyright Law, mechanical licenses are required for music to be distributed through online music services. The current US statutory mechanical rate for permanent downloads is 9.1 ¢ for songs five minutes or less and 1.75 ¢ per minute for songs over five minutes. RightsFlow's outsourced licensing service utilizes the bulk licensing system of The Harry Fox Agency (HFA), a leading US music rights licensing organization, to ensure publishers and songwriters are properly compensated under US law.

Mezeo Monetizes Personal Cloud Storage

Excerpted from Web Host Directory Report

Mezeo Software Corporation, a Houston, TX-based developer of online file services software, this week announced the industry's first deployable, white-label online file-sharing and collaboration solution, Mezeo Personal Cloud Storage (PCS). Built upon the successful, highly scalable and secure Mezeo platform currently in production at KDDI, the third largest telecommunications company in the world, Mezeo PCS enables service providers to quickly leverage the fast-growing online file storage market and offer their own branded file service solution.

According to a study from The Insight Research Corporation, "The Global IP-Based Applications Services Market 2008-2013," the worldwide market for P2P and file-sharing services is expected to generate $250 billion in revenue for carriers and ISPs over the next five years. "The ability to store files online and access them from anywhere and anytime using PDAs, web browsers, or the Windows native desktop brings immense value to the business world where response time can determine the winner," said Steve Lesem, CEO, Mezeo Software.

"We believe a solution like this will be very attractive for business users and especially SMBs, who often lack some of the tools that are available to large corporations." In addition to the traditional uploading and sharing of files, Mezeo PCS provides advanced collaboration capabilities through its "Projects" feature.

Multiple users can manage a set of files, sharing and collaborating on them without actually moving the files from where they are stored or creating multiple versions of the same file.

Out of the box, Mezeo PCS comes with the ability to download, share and collaborate via the web, via the native desktop, and with native clients for the Blackberry, Windows Mobile devices, and the iPhone.

Tribler Set to Make BitTorrent Sites Obsolete

Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report

The Tribler BitTorrent client, a project run by researchers from several European universities and Harvard, is the first to incorporate decentralized search capabilities. With Tribler, users can now find .torrent files that are hosted among other peers, instead of on a centralized site.

Previously, the researchers introduced BitTorrent streaming and new algorithms that will improve the sharing behavior of BitTorrent users. The latest innovation, however, might have even broader consequences, as it creates the world's first true P2P BitTorrent client.

Up until now, central servers have always been required in order to use BitTorrent effectively. Although the transfer of files via BitTorrent has always been decentralized, the .torrent files that are required to start sharing are always hosted on central servers, such as those of The Pirate Bay or MiniNova, for example.

The Tribler developers have found a way to make their client work, without having to rely on BitTorrent sites. Although others have tried to come up with similar solutions, such as the Cubit plug-in for Vuze, Tribler is the first to understand that with decentralized BitTorrent search, there also has to be a way to moderate these decentralized torrents in order to avoid a flood of spam.

BuddyCast, the decentralized search feature of the Tribler client is able to do so. Tribler project leader Johan Pouwelse told TorrentFreak: "It has taken us many years to get the zero-server search infrastructure called 'BuddyCast' running fast and efficiently. We believe that today BuddyCast is the most efficient, scalable, and battle-hardened algorithm out there which is also ready for user tagging and ratings in true buzz-compliant 2.0 style."

In addition to the decentralized torrent distribution and search capabilities, Tribler aims to make the BitTorrent experience more social. For instance, users will have the option to boost the download speed of friends, the client will give recommendations based on your download behavior, and it rewards users who are good sharers while punishing those who leech.

MewSeek: Finally a P2P Client for iPhone

Excerpted from iPhone World Report

The iPhone seems to already have all sorts of programs, but the one thing that it's been really missing is a P2P download client.

That's why it's rather noteworthy that P2P is now actually available on the iPhone, in the form of a native program called MewSeek, created by developer Eric Castro.

The current build of MewSeek is still at an experimental stage, and according to Mr. Castro, was released for experimental and testing purposes, but it already works. It allows you to search for and download music directly to your iPhone.

According to Mr Castro, "I admit it is not quite stable yet and I also had to disable a few features temporarily until I find better ways to implement them. However, the core and basic features are working."

MewSeek is based on SoulSeek, a P2P network and application created by ex-Napster programmer Nir Arbel.

At the moment MewSeek is only available as a third-party app for the iPhone, which means it cannot be found in AppStore. Instead, users need to use Cydia in order to download and install it. MewSeek was designed for iPhone firmware v2.x.

In order to play downloaded media, users need to install and use PwnPlayer, also available through Cydia. There's also an official forum for MewSeek and the official website will be launched soon.

Boxee Wants to Enlist Infringers to Grow Legit Audiences

Excerpted from NewTeeVee Report by Janko Roettgers

Forget filters, DRM, and locked-down set-top boxes (STBs). The makers of the open-source media center Boxee have a novel approach aimed at getting people to watch TV from legitimate sources. The idea behind it is not to punish infringers, but instead to use them as taste-makers that could drive others to Hulu, Joost, and similar streaming media websites.

I sat down with Boxee's Head of Products, Dave Mathews, at the DCIA's P2P & VIDEO CONFERENCE. Boxee has been enjoying a busy month, issuing a major announcement almost every week.

First it was unveiled that Boxee is now running on the Apple TV platform. Then Hulu came to Boxee, and most recently, the Boxee team won the CES i-stage competition, earning not only $50,000 but a booth at the next CES in Las Vegas. Boxee won the award, in part, because of its social features, which could help turn potential infringers into licensed service users.

The Boxee software includes a BitTorrent client, but Mathews said that the system only lists legal torrents. Still, many users will probably have gigabytes of infringing content on their hard drives, and quite a few of them will get new TV shows' episodes from sites like The Pirate Bay or MiniNova.

Boxee plays any content, no matter where it's from. It does, however, try to identify each video through a combination of keywords, metadata analysis, and video fingerprinting, and it makes use of various social features to communicate what Boxee users are watching, provided they want to share their media consumption habits.

Boxee has already made some progress. Joost has agreed to let Boxee use its content, and the struggling video service might be more willing to share its ad revenue in order to increase its user base than a market leader like Hulu.

Harnessing Network Anarchy for the Common Good

Excerpted from PhysOrg Report by Scott Maxwell

No hierarchical authority controls the Internet and users have the freedom to create information and leave or rejoin the network at will.

Yet the essential freedoms users have on shared networks such as the Internet - described famously by political scientist Dana Ward as the "quintessential example of a large-scale anarchist organization" - make them difficult to manage efficiently. 

A team of European researchers set out in 2004 to solve the problems inherent in keeping such networks operating efficiently, while maintaining the personal freedoms users find attractive. 

The Delis project, which ended in February 2008, puts Europe at the cutting edge of network development. 

"Our purpose was not to change the Internet but to understand it," says Friedhelm Meyer auf der Heide, the project's coordinator and a computer science professor at the University of Paderborn in Germany. 

The Delis team coupled the algorithmic techniques used in computer science with the expertise gained from biological and social behavior studies, statistical physics, economics, and game theory in a bid to develop better methods of managing such networks. 

Prototype software - such as a search engine based on P2P sharing techniques, a new network management system for Internet providers, and a spam database - has attracted the interest of companies such as Yahoo. 

Large-scale networks such as the Internet have become so big that we can no longer deploy and manage them using traditional techniques, says Meyer auf der Heide. "The reasons for this are their sheer size, with millions of users and interconnected devices and their dynamics," he says. 

"They evolve dynamically over time, with components changing or being removed or inserted permanently. For such systems, we have to abandon the goal of global optimality." A new approach is needed.

The researchers based part of their approach on P2P networks, known best through online services such as Gnutella and Skype

P2P networks typically are used for file sharing, media streaming, telecommunications, and discussion forums. A P2P network's strength is its lack of a central server or router. Instead, each computer (or peer) acts as a shared server on the network. 

In theory, the traffic load is balanced evenly across a large number of peers and is resilient to failure, allowing the network to handle huge amounts of data in a distributed and self-organizing manner.  Please click here for the full report.

Belgian ISP Scores First Victory in P2P Case

Excerpted from Slashdot Report

Belgian ISP Scarlet has scored its first victory in an important case that has been dragging on for years. This case is the first real test of how European copyright law can be applied to P2P networks. To provide a quick recap:

The Belgian Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (Sabam - the Belgian version of the RIAA) started a case against Tiscali, one of the largest ISPs in Belgium. In it, they argue that ISPs are responsible when their customers transfer copyrighted files via their networks.

In 2004, Sabam (in its own words) "obtained an intermediary judgment by virtue of which the court acknowledged that copyright infringements regarding the reproduction right and right of communication to the public were being committed by Tiscali customers."

The court then ordered a study into whether Tiscali (now called Scarlet) could be forced to block the transfer of copyrighted material through its network.

This was finished last year, and in June 2007 Scarlet was ordered to implement technical measures to block the transfer of copyrighted works via P2P networks within six months. The fine for not following these instructions was set to 2,500 euros per day.

This year, Scarlet asked the court to cancel this order because the systems Sabam proposed for filtering traffic didn't work as advertised; Sabam has already apologized to the judge about providing incorrect information.

The court has now ruled in favor of Scarlet, staying the fine until the final ruling in this case which is expected about a year from now.

Vendors Debate ISP DPI Deployment

Excerpted from Ars Technica Report by Nate Anderson

Companies don't often announce that they aren't doing something, much less that they stopped doing it two years ago. But that's what bandwidth-shaping hardware vendor APconnections did in a press release this week, throwing deep packet inspection (DPI) under the bus and running it over several times for good measure.

Customers, it seems, were increasingly asking questions about the legal implications of deploying the company's products, and CEO Art Reisman said that it is now "quite risky that any public US-based ISP would invest in this technique, especially after the FCC's recent ruling."

DPI is a network management tool generally used to identify and control Internet traffic. It was at the heart of the FCC P2P throttling decision: all Internet packets contain both routing information and content and, when DPI vendors "look inside the envelope," it's no different from postal employees who might do the same thing.

In response, ISPs are switching to systems that simply look at total bandwidth consumption of each user, without trying to identify the type of protocol or content being transmitted.

Procera, a DPI vendor, "strongly disagrees" with APconnections' conclusion.

"The term DPI is being used very broadly here," says Procera's VP of Global Marketing Jon Linden. "It's true; when talking about Layer 7 shaping, if wrongfully used, it can do more harm than good. But the DPI APconnections is referencing - P2P control based on Layer 7 shaping - is a thing of the past. Although P2P originally presented an opportunity for DPI, this technology has - and continues to - evolve."

Arbor Networks, another major US DPI vendor, concedes that the FCC ruling has "helped providers better understand where and how to apply the technology," but insists that demand "remains very strong."

"The debate," he adds, "has always been the application of the technology and the disclosure around it." Please click here for the rest of this report.

Atari Drops Game File-Sharing Case

Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger

A couple who said they have never played a computer game in their lives has been accused of unauthorized file sharing by attorneys representing video game publisher Atari, the BBC reports, citing Which? Computing magazine. 

Ken and Gill Murdoch, ages 54 and 66, were asked to pay $855 for allegedly sharing Atari's "Race 07" driving game, or else face a copyright infringement lawsuit.

The demand was brought by UK law firm Davenport Lyons, which utilized anti-piracy investigations firm Logistep. The Murdochs contacted UK publication Which? Computing, whose editor Sarah Kidner believed their argument. 

"We do not have, and have never had, any computer game or sharing software. We did not even know what 'peer-to-peer' was until we received the letter," the Murdochs told the magazine. 

Since Which? began reporting on the Murdochs' case, Davenport Lyons has opted to drop its case against the couple.

Charles Nesson Challenges RIAA Lawsuits

Excerpted from TechDirt Report

It's not the first time that folks have argued that the damages sought by the RIAA in various lawsuits against file sharers are unconstitutional

However, this time around, the argument seems more comprehensive and compelling. RIAA critic and well known Harvard law professor, Charles Nesson, has hit back hard on the RIAA's effort in a court filing, where it's noted that the basis for many of the RIAA's lawsuits is very likely unconstitutional. 

He makes the argument that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is unconstitutional in that its hefty fines for copyright infringement (misleadingly called "theft" in the title of the bill) show that the bill is effectively a criminal statute, yet for a civil crime.

That's because it really focuses on punitive damages, rather than making private parties whole again. Even worse, it puts the act of enforcing the criminal statute in the hands of a private body (the RIAA), which uses it as a profit motive in being able to get hefty fines:

"Imagine a statute which, in the name of deterrence, provides for a $750 fine for each mile-per-hour that a driver exceeds the speed limit, with the fine escalating to $150,000 per mile over the limit if the driver knew he or she was speeding. Imagine that the fines are not publicized, and most drivers do not know they exist.

Imagine that enforcement of the fines is put in the hands of a private, self-interested police force, that has no political accountability, that can pursue any defendant it chooses at its own whim, that can accept or reject payoffs in exchange for not prosecuting the tickets, and that pockets for itself all payoffs and fines.

Imagine that a significant percentage of these fines were never contested, regardless of whether they had merit, because the individuals being fined have limited financial resources and little idea of whether they can prevail in front of an objective judicial body."

Beyond just questioning the constitutionality of the law, Nesson argues that the court ought to punish the RIAA for its abuses of the law:

"This Court should exercise its inherent power to allow background image redress to Joel Tenenbaum for Plaintiffs' abuse of law and federal civil court process.

As detailed throughout this brief, Plaintiffs are using any and all available avenues of federal process to pursue grossly disproportionate - and unconstitutional - punitive damages in the name of making an example of him to an entire generation of students.

The case at hand warrants the use of inherent federal power not just because of what Plaintiffs are doing to Joel Tenenbaum in this Court, but because of the manner in which Plaintiffs are abusing the federal courts all across the country.

Plaintiffs have pursued over 30,000 individuals in the same way they have pursued Joel. For these 30,000 individuals, Plaintiffs have wielded federal process as a bludgeon, threatening legal action to such an extent that settlement remains the only viable option.

Joel Tenenbaum is unique in his insistence, in the face of it all, on having his day in court. The federal courts have an inherent interest in deciding whether they will continue being used as the bludgeon in RIAA's campaign of sacrificing individuals in this way."

The filing goes on to describe how this is an abuse of the law and the courts, noting that it is a "perversion of lawfully initiated process to illegitimate ends," and citing the case law that suggests such behavior should be punished by the courts:

"One who uses a legal process against another primarily to accomplish a purpose for which it is not designed, is subject to liability to the other for harm caused by the abuse of process." To prove abuse of process, the filing uses the RIAA's own words against it. First, the writers note and cite the relevant cases that even if there is a "proper purpose" behind the filing, it's an abuse of process if the primary purpose in filing the lawsuit is different from the "proper purpose" behind the lawsuit.

And, then the authors point to multiple sources where the RIAA noted that the reason it was filing these lawsuits was not to punish these particular individuals for file sharing, but as part of its "deterrence" educational program.

From deterrence, Nesson shows how it's actually used as more of a bludgeon to get students to settle, which is clearly not the "proper purpose" of the law:

"In essence, Plaintiffs are using the prosecution of Joel Tenenbaum to extort other accused infringers: the accused are told to either pay the settlement, or else be exposed to the protracted litigation and potentially astronomical damages that Joel now faces. See Milford Power v. New England (MA 1996) holding that 'the essence of the tort of abuse of process is the use of process as a threat to coerce or extort some collateral advantage not properly involved in the proceeding.'

The intimidation tactics are working: of the 30,000 accusations the RIAA has leveled against individuals, only a single defendant has made her case in front of a judge and jury; and that sole defendant is now awaiting a new trial. The RIAA intimidates and steamrolls accused infringers into settling before they have their day in court and before the courts can weigh the merits of their defenses.

The inherent dangers in allowing a single interest group, desperate in the face of technological change, led by a voracious, cohesive, extraordinarily well-funded and deeply experienced legal team doing battle with pro se defendants, armed with a statute written by them and lobbied and quietly passed through a compliant Congress, to march defendants through the federal courts to make examples out of them should lead this Court to say 'stop.'"

This case is going to be worth watching.

MTV Bleeps Names of File-Sharing Programs

Excerpted from TechDirt Report by Matthew Muro

MTV's new video hosting site is apparently bleeping out the names of file-sharing services in Weird Al Yankovic's famous 2006 song, "Don't Download This Song."

The opening verse to the song goes as follows: "Once in a while maybe you will feel the urge to break international copyright law by downloading MP3s from file-sharing sites like Morpheus or Grokster or LimeWire or Kazaa."

Yet, in that new MTV version, the last line is "like bleep or bleep or bleep or bleep" rather than naming the four file-sharing programs.

You can see the original (unbleeped) video on Weird Al's own YouTube site. Does MTV think that the names of file-sharing programs are the equivalent of curse words? Or do they really think that, by bleeping them out, people won't be able to figure out what's in the song?

Seems like yet another sign of how out-of-touch MTV has become from today's musically-inclined youth.

Coming Events of Interest

DDEX Conference – Digital Data Exchange (DDEX) Implementation Conference on November 6th in Paris, France. Automation of B2B data exchange for digital content markets. Registration required.

Optimizing Security and Carrier Network Performance - A live webinar event on November 12th at 2:00 PM ET sponsored by CloudShield and IBM. Presenters will include Bill Scull, Vice President of Marketing, CloudShield. The webinar is open to all and free to any interested attendees who register.

US Election 2008 - Implications for the Distributed Computing Industry - A live webinar on November 18th 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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