Distributed Computing Industry
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P2P Safety

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February 16, 2009
Volume XXV, Issue 5

QTRAX Signs Fourth Major Label - Warner Music Group

QTRAX, the industry leading ad-supported peer-to-peer (P2P) music service, has executed an agreement to make Warner Music Group's (WMG) award-winning catalog of digital music available to music fans worldwide over the QTRAX service.

This means that QTRAX has now successfully signed licensing deals with all four major record labels, as well as top music publishers and leading independents.

In addition to WMG, QTRAX licensors now include Warner Music International, Warner Chappell, EMI Music North America, EMI Publishing, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Publishing, Universal Music Group North America, Universal Music Group International, Universal Publishing, TVT Records, Beggars Banquet, and more.

"WMG continues to be a pioneer in the digital music space, and we are thrilled to be able to announce our global licensing deal with them," said QTRAX President & CEO Allan Klepfisz. "They have one of the greatest collections of iconic American record labels and recognizable artists and we could not be more excited to be partnering with them."

"The QTRAX platform, among other things, incorporates a unique licensed P2P experience that we strongly believe will compete favorably with unauthorized sites and will prove the ad supported model to be a viable and valuable alternative in the future monetizing of free music," continued Klepfisz.

In making the announcement, Stephen Bryan, Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development, WMG, said, "Today's music industry is undergoing a dynamic transition, which has us continually exploring fresh ways of delivering music to consumers. We look forward to leveraging platforms like QTRAX's to broaden the reach of our artists' music and provide consumers with a unique, fully licensed music-discovery experience."

QTRAX showcases an ad-supported delivery model that easily and accurately directs revenue back to artists and rights holders. Users who download and install the QTRAX client are able to use it to search for, discover, and download a colorful and diverse catalog of high-quality digital music files numbering in the millions.

WMG is home to a collection of the best-known record labels in the music industry including Asylum, Atlantic, Bad Boy, Cordless, East West, Elektra, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner Bros., and Word.

QTRAX will monetize the experience by selling sponsorships and advertising displayed during the search and listening processes. Additionally, users will have the option to purchase music and related items from third parties throughout the QTRAX interface.

P2P Thought Leaders Features Brand Asset Digital

The newest video in the P2P Thought Leaders webcast series is now online and can be viewed here.

The latest segment features an interview with Joey P, Co-Founder of Brand Asset Digital. Joey talks about the firm's innovative technology for P2P search marketing, P2Pwords, and explains how many leading entertainers and consumer brands are leveraging the power of P2P search to reach their target audiences.

To have a feature webcast produced for your firm and showcased in the P2P Thought Leaders video portal, please contact Paul Ritter, Vice President of Interactive Media Strategies (IMS) at 508-881-7149 or ritter@interactivemediastrategies.com

The DCIA has negotiated a 50% discount on feature webcast production and video case studies for DCIA Member organizations through the end of March.

In addition to producing this cutting-edge online video series, IMS is also publishing an industry white paper entitled "Winning Business Models for P2P Technologies - An Examination of Best Practices and Successful Approaches for Delivering Multimedia Content." DCIA Members are encouraged to participate, including by sponsorship of custom-branded versions of this white paper.

IMS can conduct interviews with customers and end-users to feature in custom-branded white papers, and can also produce case studies in the exciting new format known as Video White Papers. If interested, please contact Paul Ritter at IMS by this Friday, February 20th.

DCIA at Digital Music Forum East

Please join us in New York, NY at Digital Music Forum East, hosted by Digital Media Wire and the Consumer Electronic Association, on February 25th and 26th, for two very timely and valuable sessions presented by the DCIA.

On Wednesday the 25th, at 3:00 PM, the Isle of Man's e-Commerce Advisor, Ron Berry, will lead a delegate roundtable discussion on the topic of Digital Music Testing on the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man (population 80,000), located in the Irish Sea at the center of the British Isles, is a self-governing 221 square-mile territory with the world's longest standing parliament and legal system. The Island has become one of the fastest growing economies in Europe in recent years, led by its international financial services sector and sound regulatory regimes.

There is 100% broadband penetration on the Island, which is served by three Internet service providers (ISPs). In addition, many leading consumer product and service organizations conduct market research and launch-trials on the Isle of Man.

Since early 2008, the sovereignty has taken an increased interest in addressing one of the largest challenges facing our industry: unauthorized distribution of digital music by means of P2P technologies. Now it plans to serve as a test bed for innovative solutions to profitably monetize this non-commercial traffic.

Attendees can sign up for this roundtable at registration upon arrival. The DCIA recently announced the commencement of its new P3P Working Group (P3PWG) to support the Isle of Man's promising and exciting initiative, and qualified interested parties are encouraged to join.

On Thursday the 26th at 12:30 PM, we'll conduct the keynote interview with LimeWire's CEO, George Searle, in the main auditorium. Prior to joining LimeWire, George led a number of innovative new media ventures that created substantial value for music rights-holders.

The most recent example was Mediaguide, a joint venture with ASCAP, where he developed an automated tracking system to monitor, collect, and disburse payments to rights-holders, while simultaneously expanding their royalty base.

George also co-founded ConneXus, a revolutionary service that let consumers identify and purchase music they hear on ordinary radio using their mobile phones.

With LimeWire continuing to be a lightning rod for controversy among major music interests, can he find a way to monetize the enormous traffic that this leading brand of file-sharing services generates? Can LimeWire be made acceptable - or even attractive - to the music industry?

Don't miss this no-holds-barred Q&A with the man at the helm of the most radioactive property in the digital music space.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyWe are pleased to announce a very exciting agenda of keynotes and panel sessions featuring industry leaders from all over the world for the DCIA's second annual P2P MARKET CONFERENCE.

This DCIA special event is scheduled for Tuesday March 17th at the Cornell Club of New York, and is being held in conjunction with Media Summit New York (MSNY). MSNY keynotes include Jeff Zucker, President & CEO, NBC Universal; Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft; and Philippe Dauman, President & CEO, Viacom.

P2P MARKET CONFERENCE keynotes include Jim Kott, Co-President, Abacast; Rick Kurnit, Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz; Mitchell Edwards, CFO & General Counsel, BitTorrent; John Desmond, VP, MediaSentry Services, SafeNet; George Searle, CEO, LimeWire; Michael Einhorn, Consultant, Media/Technology/Copyright; Robert Levitan, CEO, Pando Networks; Alex Mashinsky, CEO, DigiMeld; Scott Brown, USA CEO, Octoshape; Charles Perkins, Founder, Virtual Rendezvous; Saul Berman, Global & Americas Strategy & Change Practice Leader, IBM; and John Waclawsky, Software Architect, Motorola.

The P2P MARKET CONFERENCE includes a continental breakfast, conference luncheon, and VIP networking cocktail reception. Pre-registration rates, which save attendees up to $500, end March 10th. To register now, please click here.

This year's conference will focus on innovative business opportunities for revenue generation, market trials, financing opportunities, and case studies that demonstrate the benefits, including cost reductions, of P2P and cloud computing technologies for consumer entertainment and enterprise data deployments.

The P2P MARKET STRATEGIES panel will explore consumer and enterprise categories and answer the key question: what are the strategic implications of P2P in key market segments?

Panelists will include Steve Mannel, Cable & Broadband Solutions Executive, IBM; Steve Masur, Managing Partner, MasurLaw; Morgan Reed, Executive Director, Association for Competitive Technology (ACT); Colin Sebastian, SVP, Equity Research, Lazard Capital Markets; and Chuck Stormon, CMO, PacketExchange.

P2P BUSINESS MODELS will examine advertising-supported, subscription, paid download, and other approaches and answer the key question: how do the various approaches compare?

Panelists will include Bambi Francisco, CEO, Vator.tv; Daniel Leon, Head of Strategic Partnerships, HIRO Media; Steve Lerner, Founder, P2P Cleaner; Jay Andreozzi, Chief Creative Officer, Amalgam Digital; Ira Rubenstein, EVP, Global Digital Media Group, Marvel Entertainment; and Neerav Shah, VP, Business Development, Verimatrix.

P2P CASE STUDIES will evaluate experience to date and answer the key question: beyond theory, what's working and what's not in the marketplace?

Panelists will include Teemu Huuhtanen, President, North America, Sulake Corporation; Alex Limberis, COO, Syabas Technology; Rob Manoff, CEO & Co-Founder, Jambo Media; Aaron Markham, VP, Research & Development, BayTSP; and Ron Van Herk, Founder & CEO, AHT International.

And finally, P2P FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES will discuss network efficiency and content protection and answer the key question: how can participants optimize the channel?

Panelists will include Simon Applebaum, Producer, Tomorrow Will be Televised; Keyvan Paymani, COO, Nettwerk Music Group; Betty Chan-Bauza, VP Strategy & Product, LifeLock; Dan Pifer, EVP, Operations & Technology, The Orchard; Laird Popkin, Co-Chair, P4P Working Group (P4PWG); and Rob Sandie, CEO, Viddler.com.

To extend the reach of the P2P MARKET CONFERENCE to those unable to travel to New York, for the first time, the DCIA will be producing a live interactive webcast of the event. In addition to being available in real-time, the webcast will also be recorded and viewable on-demand after the conference.

To sponsor or exhibit at the P2P MARKET CONFERENCE, please contact Laura Tunberg at 310-415-0330 or laura@dcia.info. For DCIA Membership and conference speaker information, please contact Karen Kaplowitz at 888-890-4240 or karen@dcia.info.

Early registration for the P2P MARKET CONFERENCE and MSNY can yield a substantial savings for attendees. For more information, please click here. To register now - and save up to $500 - please call 410-476-7964 or click here. Share wisely, and take care.

The Future of the Music Industry Is Now

Excerpted from Online Spin Report by Cory Treffiletti

In case you missed it - and you very well may have missed it, because it happened awfully quickly - the web has finally become a legitimate channel for the promotion and distribution of music, and the music industry is finally embracing this fact. Of course, this can be debated, since the web also pretty much killed the record industry at the very same time.

This struck me while watching the Grammys this year. The award for Best Rap Album went to Lil Wayne. Wayne had the top-selling album of 2008, selling 2.88 million copies of "Tha Carter III," followed by Coldplay with 2.15 million. This is amazing in two distinct ways; first, because Lil Wayne built his reputation by giving away hundreds of hours of music through mix tapes and other online methods in order to establish a fan base, and followed it up with a whimsical array of beats and rhymes on a legitimate label release, netting the biggest, most ubiquitous album of the year. It's also amazing that for the very first time since tracking album sales started under the current model in 1991, the number-one album didn't clear 3 million copies.

What has finally happened is that some artists, if not their labels, are waking up to the idea that the web can be used to hone their craft, build a fan base and promote their music. Lil Wayne gave away hours and hours of material for free, proving his own prolific status as a maniacal musician and allowing anyone who wanted to hear him to get a taste of his style. In doing so, he also perfected his craft and became a better artist by weeding through the process in public and inviting his fans to come along for the ride! By the time he was ready to put out another proper release, he'd become the self-proclaimed "best rapper alive" - a title that can certainly be argued, but at least he makes a case for it.

This leaves the labels and the industry itself flailing a bit and testing out every new model under the sun - which is a good thing. They are testing paid downloads, subscription services, ad-supported streaming, ad-supported and ad-integrated P2P download services - and in so doing, they're rewriting the rules for the future.

The rules for the future of the music industry are astonishingly simple:

Rule #1: Make good music and leave the filler at home. Rule #2: Invite fans into the experience and build a stronger relationship with them. Rule #3: Utilize multiple revenue streams; it's not only about selling albums anymore. Rule #4: Have we mentioned make good music, and leave the filler at home? Rule #5: Shape your artists, or let them shape themselves publicly (Pearl Jam, U2 and Coldplay are just three examples of artists that took time to develop and are now some of the biggest acts in the world).

If the industry pays attention, it will survive, albeit in a slimmer, more efficient model than the fat-cat days of the 80s and early 90s. I'm pulling for it and so, probably, are you!

Spotify P2P Music Service Opens Up in the UK

Excerpted from TechCrunch Report by Mike Butcher

P2P music streaming start-up Spotify has removed the "invite only" barrier from its streaming music service in the UK. Until now, it's been keeping growth in check with an invite-only subscription method. Since it started in Sweden, it has that market pretty much sown up, although, bizarrely, it remains invite-only in that country. But invites have been spreading across the planet like wildfire for this very simple-to-use service. And others are using it whether they are in the UK or not.

However, Spotify has warned users that if it can't handle the traffic, it may put the invite-only hurdle back in place. "We want to make sure that everyone who uses Spotify gets the same fast, uninterrupted experience; so providing a stable service is our priority," the company said on its blog . "If growth happens too fast and it starts affecting quality, we may have to re-instate the invitation system. Hopefully, this won't happen."

The service has licensing deals with the big-four record labels (EMI, Warner Music, Sony BMG, and Universal) and other smaller players. Its P2P client streams in Ogg (quality equivalent to 192kbps MP3) instantly with no delays. The business model for the free version is unskippable ads every 5/6 tracks, but a monthly subscription option wipes these out.

Spotify has wowed users with its catalog, but as the service has grown it's started to attract more interest from the music industry and not in a good way .

As one user comments on the Spotify blog: "Just like to say, I'm using Spotify less-and-less since labels have been removing music constantly. 50% of my playlists are now gone."

Groove Armada Pioneers Online Music Sharing System

Excerpted from Spacelab Research Report

The always inventive Groove Armada has created a new way to share music online that rewards the people who participate. Called Pass-Along-Paid-For (PAP4), the system gives away music for free as users share the music with other people.

Once registered, a user will receive the first track off of the new Groove Armada EP for free. To get the second track for free, the user needs to send a link to 20 of their friends. After the track has been shared with 200 people, they'll get the third track. After 2000 times, the fourth track. Which all makes sense until one group of people do it and post it online and it goes viral outside of the Groove Armada system.

But we all know how these go by now, right? People will still share through the Groove Armada system, while others obtain the music by other means. Then on March 2nd, the album will be available for purchase, and people will pay for music that was available for free. 

Trent Reznor did that with the Nine Inch Nails release "Ghosts" last year, seeding the album on BitTorrent as well as making it available for free through the NIN website, and people still paid for it to show support

"Sharing music has always gone on. It's giving music away that's the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it's disposable. When you share it, it's done with love," said Andy Cato about the new system. The sharing system is up and running now.

MP3 Co-Inventor Backs Start-Up Audiomagnet

Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger

Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg, credited as co-inventor of the MP3 digital audio format, has invested an undisclosed sum in German music start-up Audiomagnet, Music Ally reports.

Slated to launch officially in April, Audiomagnet will allow consumers to set up their own online stores to sell CDs, downloads and merchandise from their favorite artists. 

Brandenburg also recently invested in European music store DJTunes.

Ruckus Closure Opens Door to University Music Licensing

Excerpted from Wired News Report by Eliot Van Buskirk

Ruckus, the music service that charged university students $15 per semester for a DRM'd music service that was incompatible with the Macintosh operating system favored by many students, ceased operation on Friday after American university students roundly rejected it in favor of easier-to-use alternatives.

The service's closure creates a vacuum that could soon be filled by another major label-sponsored initiative to get college students to pay for music - this time without making the mistake of trying to make students alter their existing behavior (BitTorrent, P2P networks, etc.) in order to download music.

The closure of Ruckus means that major music interests are abandoning it in favor of another approach. What will that other approach be?

My money is on Choruss - the Warner Music-backed drive to charge first universities, then ISPs, for the right of their users to access music however they want - P2P, streaming, downloading, uploading, whatever.

Somewhat reminiscent of ESPN's existing plan to license certain ISPs, Choruss would make the freedom to do whatever you want with music files a premium ISP feature.

Choruss is like a DRM-free, technology-agnostic version of Ruckus that would let college students share as much music as they want, so long as their university compensates the labels for that. It may not be the answer - many have decried the idea of "a tax on music" that wouldn't give consumers (or in this case, students) enough choice in how they consume music. But surely, it has to be a better idea than Ruckus' DRM'd, Windows-only approach, which never really stood a chance in the first place.

Former EMI Chief Says P2P Fight is Useless

Excerpted from Techspot Report by Justin Mann

Through thousands of lawsuits and hundreds of court cases, the RIAA and others in the music industry have claimed that copyright infringement will be the death of music. They say the war they wage must be done, if only to prevent the industry from collapsing, even though that has been proved time and again to be completely false. 

Do the people behind it truly believe in this idea, or are they just representing the company they work for? To get a clearer picture of what industry execs are really thinking, the former director of EMI, Per-Erik Johansen, has come forward to give his opinion on the entire situation.

Johansen, a former supporter of DRM, used to claim that these copy protection measures were necessary and the fight against infringers was crucial. 

Now, after leaving his post at EMI, his stance seems to have changed dramatically. While not supporting copyright infringement, Johansen says that now a "whole generation" is violating copyrights, and that the answer is to find better solutions rather than to fight against P2P and other distribution methods. 

Concerning the future of the recording industry, he had one very interesting thing to say: music as a whole has not lost anything and the future still looks promising.

Instead, it is the recording industry which is suffering due to its inaction and inability to adapt its business model. You can infer that to mean he believes the RIAA and others made a huge mistake in fighting, as opposed to embracing, modern technology.

Strategies for Distributing Online Video Content

Excerpted from ClickZ Report by Christine Beardsell

Innovative brand content must have a smart distribution strategy behind it. Otherwise, you won't reach the mass audience it deserves. As more of a brand's audience is scattered across the web, seeking out that audience across channels and over time is key. Just trying to pull them into one location won't bring the results you want.

That's not to say a destination isn't necessary. But it's more important than ever to ensure that people can consume your content how, when, and where they want. And the social web demands that it's shareable. Here's a brief overview of available distribution choices.

Seeding and nurturing content is the first step in creating a successful distribution strategy and managing your audience. There are many paid and organic options; which way you go depends on your internal resources.

If your content partner already has an audience, don't reinvent the wheel. Instead, harness your partner's enthusiasm and compensate them appropriately for the audience they reach.

Ad networks of the past are becoming the future's content distribution pipelines. Companies like Adconion Media Group and Tremor Media are paving the way for the creative use of in-page full video stream experiences. Win attention by having your content exist on websites where there isn't any other video. You can even dynamically update that content as well as serve multiple clips in one unit.

No matter where and how people find your content, ensure it's easy for them to find that content again. That means allowing people to subscribe through RSS, and/or download and subscribe with players like P2PTV Miro.

Statistics coming out of P2P last year are a bit mind boggling. A large percentage of online video users are consuming content through P2P downloading. And that's not going to change anytime soon.

Media partners like Tremor Media offer options that will make your content more discoverable when people search for P2P video downloads and podcasts on platforms like Vuze, uTorrent, and LimeWire.

Similar to search, you can purchase keywords that will guarantee increased discoverability and in turn, downloads - made possible through technologies originally created by companies like Media Defender to find unauthorized downloads.

Don't abuse P2P. Over the years, some advertisers have been more inclined to abuse these technologies with spam versus actually offering compelling content.

Miro P2PTV Offering Gets a Makeover

Excerpted from TechCrunch Report by Leena Rao

Miro, an open-source peer-to-peer television (P2PTV) hybrid client-player, launched Miro 2.0, an updated, re-designed service featuring a more powerful HD video player.

Several new features have been added to spruce up Miro, including faster performance and torrent downloads, the ability to stream shows from websites on the sidebar, and the ability to play videos in a separate player.

Similar to the 1.0 version, Miro allows users to search for and download video podcasts from multiple sources, but Miro is offering a greater selection of video podcasts for users.

Miro, a BitTorrent-enabled, Firefox-like, open-source application was built by non-profit Participatory Culture Foundation and boasted more than 4 million downloads in 2008.

Miro is in direct competition with Joost and lists all of its advantages over its rival here .

Perhaps the recent makeover of Miro isn't just an update of the application but also a move to keep up with the growth its competitor has seen in the past few months. Joost's viewership recently picked up steam after the company moved away from the use of downloaded software to an all-browser video experience.

Babelgum Content Republic Deal for 24 Films

Excerpted from Variety Report by Nick Vivarelli

In a substantial digital deal inked at the European Film Market in Berlin, industry leading P2PTV platform Babelgum has pacted with London-based digital distribbery Content Republic to release jointly top-tier art-house titles as online exclusives.

Under the agreement, an initial 24-pic package, including Lars Von Trier's "The Boss of it All," Milcho Manchevski's Oscar-nommed "Before the Rain," and Steve Barron's "Choking Man," will become available in free streaming P2P video on Babelgum starting in May.

Babelgum will be streaming two of these titles per month on the youth-skewed platform that caters to the indie film community. After each exclusive month the pics will remain on the platform non-exclusively.

The deal was brokered by Babelgum acquisitions chief Andreas Lemos and Content Republic co-founder Teun Hilte. Terms were not disclosed.

"We are proud to be working with Babelgum at this exciting time where new routes to market are finally opening up," said Hilte in a statement. "We look forward to working with our friends at Babelgum on the upcoming online releases and many more to come," he added.

Babelgum, which operates the Babelgum Online Film Festival topped by Spike Lee and a sister music vid web fest topped by Michel Gondry, is owned by Italo new media mogul Silvio Scaglia.

Local NBC Affiliate Pioneers Skype Use for D-ENG

Excerpted from NBC Augusta News Report

NBC Augusta 26 News used P2P industry leader Skype's technology for the first time this week to broadcast live from Atlanta. 26 News' Dustin Blanchard covered Augusta Day at the State Capitol using Skype for digital electronic news gathering (D-ENG) on Tuesday.

Skype is P2P technology that only requires a camera, a computer, and an Internet connection to broadcast a live report.

News stations normally use microwave, satellite, or fiber connections for live reports which require a reporter and photojournalist in the field and someone at the station to locate the live signal.

Satellite connections also require an extra person to operate the satellite truck and communicate with the station.

A live shot through Skype requires just one person to set up.

Octoshape Delivers Electronic Sports League

Since May 2008, IPTV station ESL TV has been using Octoshape's live P2P streaming technology to deliver the ESL Pro Series Finals live to more than 200,000 viewers worldwide.

Thanks to the high performance of the unique gridcasting technology provided by Octoshape, more viewers could tune in to ESL TV programming than otherwise would have been possible.

The high-quality P2P streaming from Octoshape is very popular with the worldwide ESL audience - the ability to deliver a stream without buffering makes online streaming a true alternative to traditional TV broadcasting.

In 2008, ESL TV not only streamed live 24/7 from its studio, but also streamed live from a number of major events such as Intel Extreme Masters in Dubai and Montreal, WC3L Finals in China, and Dreamhack, the world's largest computer festival, held in Sweden.

"Our cooperation with Octoshape has been a total success", said Sven Hoffmann, CEO of ESL's Turtle Entertainment TV. "Octoshape's P2P streaming technology supports an almost unlimited number of viewers on the stream. Thereby we can guarantee smooth coverage of eSports events from the Electronic Sports League (ESL) for a long time to come."

"It's amazing to see our high session duration for the audience without any buffering, and this is the key element for us in delivering pay-per-view services," Hoffmann added. "Feedback has been great from our audience, especially since releasing our new Flash-services."

"We are excited about our cooperation with with ESL TV. They recognize, as we do, that when it comes to professional online games coverage, you need to deliver high quality. Rarely do we see such major audiences and geographical spread as with eSports. Looking ahead, ESL TV will continue to be one of the main sources for professional gaming," said Johan Ryman, Director of Sales and Partnerships at Octoshape.

In 2009, more projects are planned to optimize the functions and quality of ESL TV's streaming service.

Share Big Files Online with These Services

Excerpted from CNET News Report by Don Reisinger

Transferring a large file isn't always easy. When e-mail won't work (which it often doesn't for files of any heft), you can burn to a disc or send a file piecemeal, but neither option provides much value to the person who just needs your file now, and simply.

Online file-sharing services can transfer large files for you. To use these services, you upload your file to them, and then your recipient gets a link to the download. The file itself doesn't go through e-mail, just the link to it. Let's look at a few different products that perform this service.

Box.net may be billed as a service designed for companies, but it's equally useful for consumers.

Overall, Box is extremely easy to use and its interface is second to none. After signing up for an account, users can upload files of up to 1GB in size, add comments to it to provide some context for other users, and save it to a single folder or multiple folders on the site. Once the file is uploaded, you can e-mail or IM a Box link to others, who can then download that file to their local machines.

Dropbox is similar to Box because it allows users to upload files and share those with others. But in order for them to see the files, the service requires you to add them as authorized users.

Microsoft's Live Mesh is an ambitious cross-platform sharing tool that allows users to collaborate with others and share files in a manner that's similar to Dropbox.

Users can create folders and after uploading files, share those with others. Live Mesh features a handy sync tool, dubbed Live Desktop, that allows users to pick folders on their PCs and upload them to the service. They can then be shared with others and any changes to the files will sync with the local copies, so everything is up-to-date. Music files can be streamed over Live Desktop using Microsoft's Silverlight player. Live Desktop P2P synchronization is available for Windows PCs only so far. Microsoft says Mac OS X and mobile device support for Live Desktop will be coming soon.

YouSendIt is the tool I use most often when I need to send large files to people who I don't want to collaborate with. It's quick, it's easy, and if you don't mind losing all the extras you'll find in competing products, it's ideal.

Please click here for the full report.

MiniNova - One Million Torrents Strong

Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report

For the first time in its four year existence, MiniNova now has a million torrent files stored on its servers. These meta-data files are spread out over ten categories on this BitTorrent giant, with movies and music representing more than half of all the torrents.

To keep up with the exponential growth in its early days, MiniNova was hosted by Anakata of The Pirate Bay (TPB), and later by Gary Fung of isoHunt. Demand was high, so it didn't take long before the site had to invest in its own servers to keep pace. Over the years, one thing hasn't changed - MiniNova's upward growth.

With 734,300,000 page views in January, MiniNova broke yet another traffic record, and the number of uploaded torrents has been growing steadily over the years, too. Today, for the first time in its history, MiniNova has over one million torrent files in its database.

On an average day, 3,000 torrents are uploaded to MiniNova, either anonymously by members or by premium publishers using MiniNova's content distribution system. Of course, torrents are also removed from the site. Fake torrents and those linked occasionally to a virus have to go, but also some are deleted based on takedown requests from copyright holders.

So how does MiniNova compare to the competition, one might ask. TPB has 765,000 torrents on its site, although it tracks twice as many files. IsoHunt currently indexes 1,734,435 torrents, and Torrentz searches through 4,070,699. The latter is a meta-search engine though, and doesn't host any files of its own.

However, to weigh these sites against each other is really like comparing apples and oranges, since they all have different policies regarding older content. On some sites, users will find thousands of torrents without any seeds or peers, while others remove dead files quickly. The overall trend, however, is that more content is added than removed on all BitTorrent sites, and because of this they keep on growing.

Twitter Lands Another $35 Million in Funding

Twitter, the popular micro-blogging service based in San Francisco, CA, has raised $35 million in its third round of funding, co-led by Institutional Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital.

Started as a side project in March 2006, Twitter now has raised a total of $55 million.

"We weren't actively seeking more funding. Nevertheless, our strong growth attracted interest and we decided to accept a unique opportunity to make Twitter even stronger with a very attractive offer," the company said in a blog post.

The company said that it will use a portion of the proceeds to "begin building revenue-generating products," as well as expand the size of its staff, currently at 29 employees.

Cisco Appears Ready to Make Acquisitions

Excerpted from Gerson Lehman Group Report by Samuel Greehnoltz

A big purchase (or more than one smaller purchases) seems to be the main reason why Cisco Systems is getting nearly $4 billion in financing. Some of the money will certainly be used to pay-off existing debt. However, apparently over half of the money has not been accounted for at this time. 

One cannot help thinking about potential acquisition targets with so much money on the table. And with so much emphasis on the consumer space lately, it seems logical that this would be the sector that Cisco Systems is targeting. At both CES as well as on its last earning calls, "connectivity" was stressed.

At the earnings conference, CEO, John Chambers put his SVP of Corporate Development & Consumer Group on the spot by wanting him to speak to how the Linksys and Scientific-Atlantic purchases were not just stand-alone devices. Ned Hooper used the words "share," "connect," and "across" a total of nine times in the space of two sentences. 

Perhaps we should go down the list of exhibitors at CES to determine the next major acquisition(s) by Cisco - look for a company that is worth in the neighborhood of $2 billion - with a good chance that it offers one or more stand-alone products; or several smaller high-potential companies.

Cox Claims Packet Delays Won't Hurt

Excerpted from Light Reading Report by Jeff Baumgartner 

Cox Communications believes its new Internet traffic management system will delay some "non-interactive" packets only during times of congestion and only briefly, not long enough for users to notice.

"We think the delay will be momentary in nature - on the order of seconds or even sub-seconds. It's not like a packet's going to be delayed by three minutes," said Cox SVP of Technology Jay Rolls. Rolls likened the delay to an on-ramp in which a red light paces the traffic that's being allowed onto the main highway. Cox is getting a chance to vet its theories, as it's testing the system in parts of Kansas and Arkansas.

Cox's pilot approach breaks traffic into "time-sensitive" (e.g., web pages, voice calls, streaming videos, games), and "non-time-sensitive" (e.g., file uploads, P2P, and Usenet) categories. The system is intended to temporarily delay the upstream, non-time-sensitive traffic when network congestion is detected. All traffic returns to normal speed when the congestion abates.

This system differs from what Comcast has recently deployed across the board. Comcast's system manages speeds temporarily during states of congestion but does not put traffic into different buckets based on the time sensitivity of the application or protocol. (See Comcast Goes Protocol Agnostic Everywhere ).

Through studies, Cox determined that delaying more interactive forms of traffic would be noticed by customers. "Those interactive packets we want to leave be, and really focus our attention on the non-interactive applications, which, frankly, are more tolerant of being managed," Rolls said. And Cox doesn't expect it will have to delay traffic very often.

"Most of the time our networks aren't sitting there in congestion or having problems. It's really the exception, not the norm. Think of this more as a tactical tool that can go on the spot and attack a problem that might crop up very quickly."

Cox said its new system doesn't pick on particular protocols or applications, but the pilot system has drawn naysayers.

Vuze, a company that uses P2P technology to distribute video content, complained that Cox's system treats such services as "second-class citizens." (See Vuze Chirps at Cox).

Others have grumbled that Cox's traffic classification approach allows the MSO to play God with the Internet. Cox, which is now spending more time explaining its system to policy makers and public interest groups, counters that its system actually benefits "over-the-top" video providers because it aims to provide a better consumer experience.

Boucher: Deploying Wider Broadband Is Overriding Goal

Excerpted from Broadcasting & Cable Report by John Eggerton

The billions of dollars in broadband grants in the economic stimulus package should be targeted to areas that need it most, and with access requirements that do not discourage broadband providers from applying for the grants. 

Those encouraging words came from new House Communications, Technology & Internet Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher. Boucher said that deploying broadband "more comprehensively" will be his "overriding goal" as Chairman of the Committee. 

The Virginia Democrat conceded that language in the bill that conditions the $6.5 billion in broadband grants on nondiscriminatory treatment of content providers is an "undefined term" that the grant-making agencies - NTIA, USDA, with help from the FCC - must define.

He also suggested his Committee would keep a close eye on the process to ensure that "as that definition is given substance, it does not impose obligations on the broadband providers that would lead them not to apply for these grants. We want them to be a part of this process," he said. 

"That is a balance we have to strike, and I think we can." In other encouraging words, Boucher, speaking about nondiscrimination in the broader context of network neutrality, suggested that was an old debate that needed to be superseded by conversations between networks and content providers. 

Boucher said he still opposes a two-lane last mile, divided between those who could afford faster speeds and the rest relegated to the slower lane, but he also said that everyone also concedes operators need to be able to manage their networks. 

"I think we need to be more forward looking," he said, pointing out he has encouraged content providers and networks to seek some common ground. 

Comcast and BitTorrent, for example, began working together on management solutions regarding P2P traffic management, albeit after BitTorrent had gotten the FCC on its side. 

"I think with more clarity brought to what the core concerns of each side would be, there is an opportunity to achieve a more general understanding of what is an effective network management practice and what kind of assurances can be given to the content originators that they can reach their customers in an appropriate way.

Those conversations are beginning to take place," he said, adding that "I intend to be involved in them and hopefully we can achieve some form of agreement that can avoid the necessity of having to reengage in the old debate about network neutrality."

Sniffing Out Unauthorized Torrent Files

Excerpted from MIT Technology Review Report by Duncan Graham-Rowe

A new technique has been developed for detecting and tracking unlicensed content transferred using the BitTorrent file-trading protocol. According to its creators, the approach can monitor networks without interrupting the flow of data and provides investigators with hard evidence of unauthorized file transfers.

Contraband files might include copyright infringing movies, music, or software, and even criminally obscene content. When the tool detects such a file, it keeps a record of the network addresses involved for later analysis, said Major Karl Schrader, who led the work at the Air Force Institute of Technology, in Kettering, OH.

The use of P2P software and of the BitTorrent protocol in particular have increased steadily over recent years. In fact, for many Internet service providers (ISPs), the vast majority of Internet traffic now consists of P2P transfers.

ISPs are generally only interested in detecting this type of traffic in order to control it and free up bandwidth for other uses. However, this approach reveals nothing about the contents of each transfer, said Schrader. A handful of network-monitoring tools can identify specific BitTorrent files, but the process is generally slow, since the contents of each file have to be examined. The time that this takes also increases exponentially as the number of files that need to be scanned grows.

"Our system differs in that it is completely passive, meaning that it does not change any information entering or leaving a network," said Schrader. It works, he says, by first spotting files that bare the hallmark of the BitTorrent protocol by examining the first 32 bits of the files' header data.

Then the system looks at the files' hash, a unique identifying code used to coordinate the simultaneous download of hundreds of file fragments by different users. If a hash matches any stored in a database of prohibited hashes, then the system will make a record of the transfer and store the network addresses involved.

"I'm convinced that the solution works and that it will be quite cheap, as it is very specialized," said Hendrik Schulze, Chief Technology Officer of Ipoque, a network analysis company based in Leipzig, Germany. More generalized solutions that try to monitor for a wide range of file types may be more flexible, he says, but they will also be more expensive.

One reason why the new technique is so fast is that the apparatus required consists of a specially configured field programmable gate array (FPGA) chip and a flash-memory card that stores a log of the unauthorized activity.

Coming Events of Interest

Digital Music Forum East - February 25th-26th in New York, NY. Participants include top label execs, artists and reps, association heads, attorneys, investors, consumer electronics, plus technology leaders from social networks, payments companies, online retailers, mobile companies, technology start-ups, and more.

East Coast Music Awards - February 26th - March 1st in Corner Brook, NL, Canada. Live, original music during a four-day festival. Terry McBride, Co-Founder & CEO of Nettwerk Music Group, will be the keynote speaker for the conference component of the ECMA weekend.

P2P MARKET CONFERENCE - March 17th in New York, NY. Strategies to fulfill the multi-billion dollar revenue potential of the P2P and social network channel for the distribution of entertainment content. Case studies of sponsorships, cross-promotion, interactive advertising, and exciting new hybrid business models.

Media Summit New York - March 18th-19th in New York, NY. Sponsored by McGraw-Hill and Digital Hollywood, the 2009 MSNY is the premier international conference on media, broadband, advertising, television, cable & satellite, mobile, publishing, radio, magazines, news & print media, and marketing. 

Future of Television West - March 24th-25th in Los Angeles, CA. A cutting-edge community of content creators, technology innovators, advertising representatives, and distributors forge relationships and share ideas about the future of television. The event is interactive.

LA Games Conference - April 28th-29th in Los Angeles, CA. Focused on business, finance and creative developments in the games industry, including mobile, online and console markets and the increasing intersection of Madison Avenue and Hollywood with the industry. 

P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA - May 4th in Santa Monica, CA. The fourth annual P2PMSLA, the DCIA's flagship event, featuring keynotes from industry-leading P2P and social network operators; tracks on policy, technology and marketing; panel discussions covering content distribution and solutions development; valuable workshops; networking opportunities; and more.

Digital Hollywood Spring - May 5th-7th in Santa Monica, CA. With many new sessions and feature events, DHS has become the premiere digital entertainment conference and exposition. DCIA Member companies will exhibit and speak on a number of panels.

Streaming Media East - May 12th-13th in New York, NY. The number-one place to see, learn, and discuss what is taking place with all forms of online video business models and technology. Content owners, viral video creators, online marketers, enterprise corporations, broadcast professionals, ad agencies, and educators.

World Copyright Summit - June 9th-10th in Washington, DC. The international forum that brings together all those directly involved in creative industries to openly debate the future of copyright and the distribution of creative works in the digital era. WCS is organized by CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated February 21, 2009
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