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September 14, 2009
Volume XXVII, Issue 11

P2P Pushes IPv6 Surge

Excerpted from The Register Report by John Leyden

IPv6 traffic levels surged over the last 12 months, with the fifteen-fold increase attributable to just one application and one ISP, according to a study by Arbor Networks. Support for IPv6 in uTorrent version 1.8, a version of the world's most popular BitTorrent client released in August 2008, had a huge effect.

"The introduction of IPv6 P2P succeeded where most previous IPv6 inducement efforts had failed (i.e., liberal peering, high-quality IPv6 adult content, IPv6 ASCII animation of 'Star Wars,' etc.)," writes Arbor Networks researcher Craig Labovitz. 

"In the space of ten months, uTorrent helped drive IPv6 traffic from 0.002% to 0.03% of all Internet traffic - a dramatic 15X jump."

Another IPv6 traffic increase came in April 2009, when Hurricane Electric introduced a global Teredo relay service. Hurricane Electric lit up 14 Teredo relays in Seattle, Fremont, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Toronto, New York, Ashburn, Miami, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. Teredo tunneling is a protocol for passing IPv6 data packets through network address translation devices.

Arbor's IPv6 traffic diagram shows an increase from 0.02% to between 0.04 and 0.03% of IPv6 traffic after introduction of Hurricane's service. IPv6 connectivity across the net has historically been useless. The introduction of Hurricane's service goes some way towards addressing an entrenched problem that resulted in inefficient routing and overall lack of coordination between Teredo and 6to4 relay providers that added latency, loss and jitter to IPv6 traffic, Arbor explains.

The IPv6 study compiled by Arbor uses traffic statistics from 110 ISPs. Only six ISPs out of Arbor's 110 have native IPv6 enabled. Because of this limitation, Arbor's data includes only IPv6 traffic through Teredo and 6to4 tunnels.

A similar 2008 IPv6 study by Arbor was criticized for underestimating IPv6 traffic. Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) switch statistics showed a Gigabit or more of IPv6 traffic were cited by critics of Arbor's figures. However, a July 2009 news server outage supported Arbor's theory that AMS-IX IPv6 traffic was largely made up of file sharing through the free AMS-IX based IPv6 news servers and therefore not representative of the Internet as a whole.

IPv6, the next generation Internet protocol, brings a vastly expanded address space along with security and mobility refinements. Uptake has been slow despite predictions that a greater number of Internet-connected devices and expansion of the net into countries such as China would result in IPv4 numbers getting used up. The widespread use of network address translation (NAT) technology has prevented IPv4 address exhaustion from becoming a pressing problem and the interweb has continued much as before.

Cutting-edge technology firms, such as Cisco Systems and Google, have been big supporters of the technology, but mainstream users have stayed clear of it because of the lack of a clear business need for the technology.

Social Gaming Venture Acquires Gimme5games

Zattikka, a major new player in the social gaming market, this week announced the acquisition of respected browser gaming portal and iPhone publisher Gimme5games. Created earlier this year by videogame industry stalwart Tim Chaney and ex Yahoo Europe CEO Mark Opzoomer, Zattikka is set to become the pinpoint destination address for Internet and mobile gaming development and distribution.

Key to this will be acquisition of development talent, making Gimme5games a highly desirable first acquisition. Its respected team of mobile and flash game creators, Matt Spall, Ian Willey, and Ronny Batty, now all join Zattikka on a full-time basis. 

"This is a fantastic first step for us," said Zattikka Founder & CEO, Tim Chaney. "In Gimme5games, we have a talented team and a superb collection of games. These guys are experts in the browser gaming and download space, having racked up over 140 million plays globally. Having worked with Matt Spall before at VIE I know we have great guys on board and it will be a pleasure to work with him again." 

"We're really pleased to find such an exciting new home for Gimme5games, and with the combined industry heritage of Tim Chaney and Mark Opzoomer at the helm, we see Zattikka doing great things with this, and all its planned exploits," said, Matt Spall, Head of Product Development at Gimme5games. 

As part of Zattikka's continuing expansion of its radical network of both broad and niche flash gaming sites, together with its development portfolio of iPhone, Blackberry, and Android games, the end of September sees the launch of Zattikka's new gore n' guns site, BADHED. 

Zattikka is a blend of videogame, Internet platform/distribution, and Internet/mobile gaming talent. The company is targeting fast-track growth via acquisition of development talent and creation of intellectual property (IP).

Games released under the Gimme5games banner include the "Phantom Mansion" series, "Balloon Headed Boy," "Rat Shot," "Cannon Bods," "Loved Up," "Finger Frenzy," and the irreverent "Butt Scan."

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe DCIA is working with Digital Hollywood and the Consumer Electronics Association to present two day-long "conferences-within-conferences" in Santa Monica, CA on Thursday October 22nd and in Las Vegas, NV on Wednesday January 6th respectively.

The late-October P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE at Digital Hollywood Fall (DHF) will focus on P2P and cloud offerings for online games and game updates, as well as new business models and intellectual property (IP) protection solutions for recreational file sharing on a broader scale.

The games sector is rapidly outpacing other content genres in its adoption and innovation involving distributed computing. 

DHF is the premiere entertainment technology conference and attracts 4,000+ key industry players and media reps.

We hope that by sharing some of the remarkable advances being made in online and videogame distribution with the music and film industries that such constructive work can expand to these categories as well.

The early-January P2P MEDIA SUMMIT at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will focus on all aspects of commercial development within the emerging distributed computing industry. CES is the major international consumer electronics trade exposition and attracts 150,000 attendees.

If you would like to speak at these events, or sponsor them, please contact us as soon as possible. We are putting together the conference agenda and speakers list to be included in the promotional materials and conference programs now.

Please call +1-410-476-7965 or e-mail PGC@dcia.info or P2PMS@dcia.info, respectively, at your earliest convenience for more information.

Our first-ever day-long P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE will focus on consumer issues, business models, revenue generation, market trials, content protection, and case studies that demonstrate the benefits of P2P and cloud computing for the distribution of games and updates to networked devices from PCs to consoles to mobile-phones.

To extend the reach of the P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE to those unable to personally attend the event, which is being held in the Catalina Room of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, a live interactive webcast of the event will also be provided, which will be viewable on-demand after the conference as well.

We are also recruiting participants in the newly formed P2P-for-Games Working Group (PFGWG), which will hold its first group conference call on September 24th.

Qualified interested parties are invited to e-mail PFGWG@dcia.info or call +1-410-476-7965 to sign-up or for more information.

The purpose of this working group is to help leading P2P software distributors and online games publishers develop best practices that will optimize commercial distribution of digital games and updates to personal computers (PCs), game consoles, and mobile devices by means of P2P applications and P2P-enabled software.

Co-Chairs for the PFGWG are Rick Buonincontri, CEO of Solid State Networks and Rich Roberts, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at PlayFirst, representing the interests of P2P software developers and distributors and games publishers and marketers, respectively.

"Instilling the greatest degree of consumer confidence in, adoption of, and satisfaction with P2P technologies used for the distribution of digital games and updates is a key priority for this working group, and we intend to accomplish this by offering consumers optimal transparency, control, and value when using P2P technologies for the distribution of games," said PFGWG Co-Chair Rick Buonincontri.

"Providing industry participants with practices and procedures that will ensure the protection of intellectual property (IP) of such content offerings is also a key priority for our work, and we intend to provide relevant vendors and Internet service providers (ISPs) with recommendations for how they, too, can participate in the commercial enhancement of IP protection for digital games and updates distributed by means of P2P technologies," added PFGWG Co-Chair Rich Roberts.

Solid State Networks is a leading developer of specialized, high performance content delivery solutions. Since early 2007, Solid State Networks has steadily gained recognition within the gaming industry as a highly innovative company with reliable technology and versatile game delivery and patching solutions for companies such as Funcom, Wizards of the Coast, Abandon Interactive, Riot Games, and others. For more information, please visit www.solidstatenetworks.com.

PlayFirst is an innovative entertainment company that makes games appealing to everyone. PlayFirst creates engaging story worlds that capture imaginations and makes those experiences available everywhere consumers want to play. PlayFirst teams create outstanding games, then they bring those games to life across popular platforms worldwide including PC, Mac, mobile, handheld, and console. The company's portfolio includes world-renowned titles, such as Diner Dash, Wedding Dash, Chocolatier, and Dream Chronicles. PlayFirst games are available in major retailers and on more than 500 sites in 20 languages. For more information, visit www.playfirst.com.

Charter members of the PFGWG include Abacast, Activision Blizzard, PlayFirst, Real Networks, Solid State Networks, Turbine, Velocix, and Yummy Interactive.

Membership in the PFGWG is organized in two groups: P2P software developers and distributors; and games publishers and marketers.

Qualifications for participation in the PFGWG are that the primary business of prospective participants be one of the above two categories. For such PFGWG participants, there is no cost to participate in the PFGWG and no pre-requisite for acceptance into the PFGWG.

The PFGWG is open to all P2P software developers and distributors and online games publishers and marketers on a global basis, subject only to the approval of PFGWG leadership. In addition, DCIA Member companies in good standing are entitled as a privilege of Membership to participate in the PFGWG.

A membership class of observers may be created for vendors, Internet service providers (ISPs), and support entities that are interested in the PFGWG but are not otherwise qualified to actively participate.

The PFGWG will also seek to enlist public and IP interest groups specializing in games as co-sponsors. In addition, appropriate US federal regulatory authorities have been invited to participate in and monitor PFGWG activities.

Share wisely, and take care.

Riot Games Raises $8 Million in Financing

Riot Games, a leading independent developer and publisher of premium online games, has closed a round of financing with top venture capital firms Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital, and the Chinese online services company Tencent.

Tencent is the leading provider of Internet value-added services with more than 400 million users and the largest digital goods company in China, which operates a fast growing online games business. The investment of these strategic players signals Riot's leadership position as an emerging leader of next generation games based on a digital goods economic model.

Although still nascent in western markets, Riot's session-based, free-to-play, virtual item-based business model is by far the most popular business model for monetizing games in Asia. While most North American and European publishers continue to prioritize a packaged goods model, Riot has embraced the "games-as-service" model, which it believes is undoubtedly the future of games and a major global opportunity.

"Riot is fortunate to have such a strong and diverse group of investors who support our vision of combining triple-A quality gaming content with the emerging free-to-play business model," said Brandon Beck, CEO, Riot Games. "With our focus on delivering and operating core games as premium, live services that constantly adapt to our customers' needs, we have a unique opportunity to build global franchises. This new investment comes as Riot prepares the worldwide launch of its flagship 'League of Legends' title and further positions the company as a leader in next-generation online games."

Riot Games' first free premium game "League of Legends" is slated to launch in North America this Fall. Earlier this year, Riot Games and Tencent announced a distribution partnership for Riot's "League of Legends" in the Chinese market.

Riot Games is an independent Los Angeles, CA based online and videogame developer and publisher. The company was established in 2006 to develop innovative online next-generation titles for consoles, mobile devices, and the PC. Comprised of industry veterans with a shared passion for creating fun, innovative game-play, the company is currently developing a cutting-edge online gaming platform.

Mobile Cloud Computing Subs to Reach 1 Billion by 2014

Excerpted from EDL Consulting Report

With the rising popularity of smart-phones and other advanced mobile devices, just about every market has developed a mobile sector - mobile marketing, mobile commerce, and mobile cloud computing are among the more notable examples. 

The mobile cloud computing market in particular is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, with a recent study from ABI Research reporting that the number of worldwide mobile cloud computing subscribers is expected to reach nearly 1 billion by 2014. 

The current figure for mobile cloud computing subscribers worldwide was 42.8 million in 2008, representing 1.1% of all mobile subscribers. The projected 2014 figure of 998 million will represent almost 19% of all mobile subscribers. 

Furthermore, ABI predicted that business productivity applications will take the lead in mobile cloud computing applications, including collaborative document sharing, scheduling, and sales force automation. 

The major platform-as-a-service providers - Force, Google, and Amazon - are expected to start "aggressively" marketing their mobile capabilities starting in 2010. 

An earlier study from ABI Research reported that mobile cloud computing will generate annual revenues of more than $20 billion by 2014.

Run a Free BitTorrent Tracker on Google

Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report

Operators of BitTorrent sites often argue that they essentially do the same thing that Google does. They offer a search platform for people to find content on the web - specifically, torrent files. To a certain extent they are right, Google can also be used to find torrent files in several ways.

For example, the mother of all search engines has a special search command that allows you to find torrent files scattered across the Internet.

Google's custom search also allows everyone to create their own torrent search engine, and Google's App Engine enables users to start a free torrent search engine for free by using Google's servers.

It is quite clear that there are several ways to find torrents through Google. 

However, just finding torrents is not enough. In order to download content through BitTorrent successfully, one also needs a working tracker in order to locate those all-important peers. Luckily Google can help here, too.

By using Google's App Engine, everyone can run a tracker without having to invest a single dime in hardware or bandwidth. The only problem is making the tracker compatible with the App Engine, but thanks to the newly released Atrack software. it is a piece of cake to set one up.

The Atrack Bittorrent tracker is designed to run on Google App Engine and its main goals are a minimal memory use, speed, low bandwidth usage, and efficient CPU use. On top of this, the tracker won't store any data at all, making it as secure as possible for its users.

"Atrack also aims to respect your privacy: other than what is needed for the most basic tracking, Atrack gathers no information whatsoever. Beyond that, no aggregate statistics are kept of anything, and nothing is stored permanently anywhere, not even hashes and ip/ports," the Atrack team writes.

So now everyone can set up a standalone BitTorrent tracker at no cost aside from the time it takes to set things up. The Atrack software is released into the public domain, and a test tracker is up and running on Google's App Engine.

Spotify: 800% Growth In Six Months

Excerpted from ITProportal Report by Desire Athow

An interesting piece of data that we managed to extract from this week's releases is that P2P music streaming service Spotify grew its user base from one million in March 2009 to eight million by the end of August. 

That's a staggering 800% increase in six months; this is impressive given that Spotify is essentially a piece of P2P software that you need to download/install first. 

Spotify, which was launched back in October 2008, took five months to reach its first million users. Swedishwire also reported that it had six million users across Europe at the beginning of August. If true, that's a growth of two million users in four weeks and doesn't even include the thousands of new potential premium subscribers that its new mobile platforms could bring in. 

If Spotify can maintain the tempo with the launch of its service in other territories, it could well reach 20 million users worldwide by the end of the year. 

Last but not least, let's not forget that Spotify has yet to launch in the US and in other territories. If Spotify can convert a significant proportion of its free users to the £120 premium subscription, it could rival iTunes on a global scale. 

It is useful to remind our readers that Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, and EMI hold a small but significant stake in Spotify. Altogether, they bought 18% of the shares for 100,000 Kronor according to Computer Sweden.

Spotify Goes Back to Invitation-Only in UK

Excerpted from The Inquirer Report by Nick Farrell

P2P music streaming service Spotify has gone back to being "invite-only" in the UK because it can't handle the sudden huge demand for its mobile listening service.

On the Internet, by leveraging the efficiency and other advantages of P2P, Spotify allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with almost no buffering delay.

When the outfit was testing its service, it had an invite-only subscription method, which meant that users had to be invited by a friend. It dumped that in February, but the company warned that if too many people signed up for the service it might have to go back to the invitation system.

Writing in his blog, Andres Sehr said that the change was due to the huge jump in demand in the UK over the last few days since the outfit launched its mobile service.

Sehr said he hoped that Spotify would remain invite-only only for a short time. Punters are still able to sign-up for premium accounts immediately. However those who don't want to pay will have to go on a waiting list.

Spotify, which is based in London in the UK, has more than eight million users. It uses proprietary P2P software for its online service and has licensing deals with the record companies.

Volpi No Longer Chairman of Joost

Excerpted from Silicon Alley Insider Report by Dan Frommer

Mike Volpi is no longer Chairman of P2P video streaming company Joost, we have confirmed with the company. Volpi resigned as Joost's CEO in June, becoming Chairman. He is also now a partner at Index Ventures - the VC firm behind Joost - which just teamed up to buy P2P VoIP phenomenon Skype from eBay.

Joost's relationship with Skype has recently gotten more complicated, which could explain the move. Both companies were founded by the same duo - Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom. The two tried to buy Skype back from eBay earlier this year, but were shot down.

Adding to the complexity: Skype and its founders are in a legal battle over some of Skype's underlying P2P technology code. Meanwhile, Volpi - a rising star at Cisco Systems at the time - was on Skype's board before it was sold to eBay.

He later became CEO of Joost. And now he's rumored to be in the running for the Skype CEO position.

Nettwerk Selects RoyaltyShare for Web-Based Processing

RoyaltyShare, a premier provider of technology solutions to the entertainment industry, this week announced that Nettwerk Music Group, Canada's leading privately owned record label and artist management company, has selected RoyaltyShare to manage its digital sales processing and mechanical and artist royalties.

With the rapid growth of digital music sales through online retailers, subscription services, and mobile channels, record labels and music distributors are faced with an enormous challenge to keep track of the incoming sales data originating from these disparate retail sources and calculate accurate royalty payments to the artists and music publishers who hold the copyrights for each track.

RoyaltyShare's advanced, web-based service radically simplifies the entire royalty processing by automating the input of sales files from dozens of retailers and distributors and providing an easy-to-use system for managing the complex business rules contained in artist/producer contracts and mechanical licenses.

"Our business has changed radically in the past five years, requiring a completely new way of doing business," said Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group. "We process significantly more transactions today than just a few years ago, which means we must have systems that effectively manage this complexity. RoyaltyShare's system accomplishes this for us and allows us to provide timely, transparent reporting to our artists and publishers."

"Nettwerk stands out as a company that has aggressively and successfully adapted to the new digital marketplace," said Bob Kohn, Chairman & CEO of RoyaltyShare. "We are pleased to be working with a label that continues to be one of the most innovative in the business."

NTT DATA to Market BayTSP Services in Japan

BayTSP and NTT DATA Corporation announced this week that NTT DATA will resell BayTSP's online intellectual property (IP) monitoring, enforcement, business intelligence, and monetization services in Japan.

Japanese content is tremendously popular online and has a worldwide audience. Fans of a popular Japanese TV broadcasting anime series around the world have viewed clips from the series more than 51 million times over the past year and some single Japanese TV shows has been viewed online 1.8 million times, according to BayTSP. BayTSP monitors digital content worldwide across all major Internet protocols, including P2P networks, cyber-lockers, live streaming video, and user generated content (UGC) sites.

"We've seen tremendous interest from content owners and distributors across Asia who want better control over how and where their content appears online, to understand how consumers are interacting with it and identify monetization opportunities," said BayTSP CEO Mark Ishikawa. "This agreement with NTT DATA ensures content creators and distributors in Japan have access to best-of-breed technology and the most superior management solutions available anywhere in the world."

The agreement includes reselling BayTSP's Content Authentication Platform (CAP), which integrates NTT's Robust Media Search (RMS) technology. Major motion picture studios, broadcasters, sports leagues, music labels, and independent artists use CAP/RMS to manage where their content appears online and gather business intelligence to drive their monetization strategies.

"The combination of NTT's RMS technology and BayTSP's CAP technology will allow NTT DATA to offer Japanese customers a complete system that integrates the collecting of content and metadata, registering of content, searching for registered content, detecting it and then taking appropriate actions according to predetermined business rules," said Naohiro Yamaguchi, Senior Manager Media Industry Business Unit, Enterprise Business Sector, NTT DATA.

BayTSP's CAP technology monitors all major UGC sites, totaling approximately three million minutes of new postings daily. It tracks viewership on more than 100 million minutes (the equivalent of 190 person years) of previously posted video clips and continuously updates an index of two billion minutes of previously uploaded video. CAP generates real-time metrics that content owners, distributors, and advertisers can use to deliver context-sensitive advertising based on what appears in a video clip, rather than relying on less accurate targeting using keywords or file names.

NTT's RMS technology is the first reliable audio and video fingerprinting system capable of scaling to process the amount of video posted to the major UGC sites, cyberlockers and P2P networks daily.

BayTSP, founded in 1999, provides global online copyright monitoring, enforcement, measurement and monetization services for the entertainment industry, software, and videogame makers and the publishing industry. The company has its headquarters in Los Gatos, CA.

China Clamps Down On Music Infringement

Excerpted from TechCrunch Report by Leena Rao

China's Ministry of Culture (MoC) warned that it would strengthen checks and policing of online music content. The MoC said that search engines, which have been a source of infringing music in China, can only provide search information for tracks from legitimate music companies. This move may pose a serious problem for China's most popular search engine Baidu, which has long faced legal issues surrounding its index of unlicensed music.

According to the report, the MoC is requiring that companies providing online music streams or downloads gain approval as "Internet culture companies," and only companies that have directly obtained broadcasting or licensing rights can apply for approval. Imported music that is already broadcast online in China but has not been approved must be submitted to the MoC before December 31st.

The impact this will have on Baidu is noted by Pali Research's analyst Tian Hou, who estimates that as much as 80% of Baidu's traffic is from music search. Hou says that with respect to music search results, most of the links provided are posted by unlicensed music companies. If these links are cut off, says Hou, traffic to Baidu could decrease.

According to comScore, Baidu had 145 million unique visitors in July 2009 worldwide (with more than 95% of those coming from Asia), while its MP3 search engine attracted 47 million uniques, which is only 32% but still significant. For July, Baidu was ranked fifth among most visited search engines worldwide, behind Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask.

The success of Baidu has been credited to its index of music, which is available from its front page, something Google caught onto last year when it entered a joint venture with Top100.cn to offer "free-and-legal" music in China. Baidu's potential troubles could be good news for Google China, which took the beta label off its music search engine this March and signed major deals to license music from the four major record labels. Google China, however, just lost its chief executive Kaifu Lee.

Vote: What's Next for The Pirate Bay?

Excerpted from Wired News Report by David Kravets

Thursday's de-listing from a Swedish stock exchange of The Pirate Bay's (TPB) corporate suitor is likely to scuttle the planned $7.8 million purchase of the world's most notorious BitTorrent site.

The removal of Global Gaming Factory (GGF) from the AktieTorget exchange was based, in large part, on the exchange's findings that the Swedish company's CEO, Hans Pandeya, never had the financing to go through with the deal, and was just trying to manipulate the company's penny-stock prices.

That leaves the proprietors of the five-year-old TPB without an obvious exit strategy at a time of unrelenting legal pressure. The four co-founders were convicted last April on charges of facilitating copyright infringement. Their year-long prison sentences have been stayed pending appeal, but a Swedish judge has already issued an order aimed at closing the site.

For now, that order has been frustrated by TPB's technical counter-measures, but can the cat-and-mouse game really last forever? The TPB crew's previously stated commitment to operate forever as an outlet for free content was exposed as an illusion when they made the GGF deal. So what happens now?

Your guess is as good as ours. We've come up with some predictions and welcome you to vote on what you think the site's future holds, or submit your own predictions if you have a better idea for the future of Sweden's file-sharing supersite.

Let us know what you would add to the list, and vote. Click to see predictions that are: hot, new, top-rated, or submit your own prediction.

Music Industry Must Embrace File Sharing

Excerpted from Minnesota Daily Report

College students everywhere are mourning the tragic, soon-to-be loss of The Pirate Bay (TPB), an online file-sharing legend that has recently come under some insurmountable legal scrutiny.

For many college students, this may signal a change to a more respectable lifestyle, but for countless others it will simply mean habituating a different website, located in some other remote country with other servers and an even more inscrutable copyright policy.

But this article was not meant as a lecture on the morality of infringement, and it was not meant to browbeat infringers into becoming upstanding citizens.

On the contrary, I believe that there is merit in file sharing; that artists, programmers and directors can all collectively benefit from the vast file-sharing networks that exist now and that a balance can be struck between users and providers as long as policy makers are willing to listen to some progressive solutions.

File sharing is utterly inevitable: enormous lawsuits have been unable to deter users. Hobbyist programmers will continue to dedicate free time to "cracking" and distributing unauthorized copies of software, and, as technology develops, the ability to share anonymously will ensure that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will not be able to detect infringers.

The endless streams of donations that are given to file-sharing websites by loyal users are indicative of the demand for such services: people aren't going to change their unapproved habits any time soon.

What's worse is the RIAA, despite suing more than 30,000 music and movie fans, has not made a single cent for artists. Instead, they've violated digital privacy by coercing Internet service providers (ISPs) into providing the identity of individual file sharers, and they've disproportionately handed out punishment to a few users, many of whom were not even aware that they were infringing.

Yet, the goal is not to abolish file sharing; the current mechanisms that are in place to distribute software, music, and movies are pivotal to the creation of a compendium of digital information. As is frequently proclaimed, file sharing is a crucial tool that may result in the construction of a modern "Library of Alexandria."

To believe the RIAA's claims, that infringement is going to devastate the music industry as a whole, is to believe home cooking would destroy the restaurant industry. There will always be music, and there will always be file sharing. The only question is how to strike a balance.

So what's the solution? How do we prevent the entertainment industry from stifling innovation, bottlenecking our legal system with outrageous suits and suppressing economic growth? 

How do we ensure that artists are fairly given a cut of the profit for the fruits of their labor? 

And how do we ensure that no innocent individuals are caught in the crossfire for legitimately using file-sharing services?

The solution lies in a proposal advocated by non-profits advocating "digital freedom," such as the Electronic Freedom Frontier (EFF): voluntary collective licensing.

The idea is simple: the music industry (or other industry that wishes to be involved) establishes a "collecting society," which offers its services to users for a reasonable fee of $5 to $10 a month.

Given that many millions of users currently infringe music, the revenue stream will be massive, and because this is a purely digital endeavor, cost savings will accrue in advertising, CD creation, shipping, etc.

In return, users will be able to freely share music with anyone they please without fear of legal reprimand. The money collected monthly will be allocated to the artists depending on the popularity of the music. The more that people share, the more the respective artist gets paid. 

It should be noted that this concept is not without precedent. During the advent of the radio, the same opposition by music industries was formed in response to the broadcasting of music.

However, the "collecting societies" model soon proved to be incredibly effective - small segments of the population could be exposed to music they had never considered, artists were compensated fairly and were not obliged to license their music to any radio station with which they disagreed, and all of this could be provided without long-winded legal battles.

Further, independent artists could distribute their music without having to sign on with financially-draining record labels. The equal-footing competition provided by this digital platform would incentivize the development of better sharing programs, more sophisticated networks and greater quality products.

ISPs could even encourage this process by offering a file-sharing package with the purchase of their broadband access services.

Our current system is fundamentally flawed and must be changed. You can't blame the players for a game that encourages abuse.

I encourage students to conduct research for themselves about voluntary collective licensing, to support the EFF, and to steal, modify, share, and distribute these ideas. Until then, pirates, argggh!

This editorial was originally published in the Oklahoma Daily at the University of Oklahoma. Please send comments to letters@mndaily.com.

UK Officials Double File-Sharing Statistics

Excerpted from Softpedia Report by Catalin Cimpanu

A BBC radio show has recently investigated and proven that interpretation errors in surveys taken in the UK have led to a hugely exaggerated number of online file sharers. The British government was planning to use this figure in issuing file-sharing software banning laws across the UK's territory in the next months.

Radio show "Less or More," which airs on BBC 4 in the UK, is recognized as a statistics breakdown machine, focusing on different research studies, investigating and showing whether they are accurate or off the target.

In one of the September shows, the crew decided to investigate a survey promoted by one of UK's advisory panels, the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP, which showed that seven million UK citizens were engaged in unauthorized file-sharing activities.

It seems that SABIP commissioned research from the University College London regarding this topic, but when the investigating crew took a closer look at that study, it never mentioned the seven million figure anywhere in its content.

After talking to the study's author, it was revealed that the SABIP study was published by Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company that also published similar research by the same author, a study sponsored by another UK advisory board, the music trade body BPI and carried out by Jupiter Research.

Analyzing the other report, the BBC reporters showed that the survey figures were quite bogus. The seven million file sharers were rounded up from 6.7 million, a number which was calculated from a survey taken among only 1,176 people, from which only 11.6% answered affirmatively to file sharing. 

Now, if we quickly compute all these numbers, we realize that only 136 people have transformed into 7 million results and have sentenced the UK population to a file-sharing software banning law.

But the errors didn't stop there. It seems that the 11.6% was outrageously adjusted to the bigger value of 16.3%, because someone from Jupiter Research thought that fewer people would ever admit to file sharing on a survey. 

Also, Jupiter took it a step further when it used its figure of 40 million people in the UK that have Internet access, and so roughly getting the 6.7 million result, which was later raised to 7 million.

So, doing another round of calculations (using the government's own official statistics of 33.9 million Internet users), the survey's real result is 3.9 million instead of 7 million.

File-Sharing Disconnection Plan Comes under More Fire

Excerpted from Afterdawn Report by James Delahunty

In an open letter sent to The Times last week, the heads of the major Internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK, as well as representatives of the Open Rights Group, Which Magazine, and Consumer Focus, all protested the plans to disconnect "repeat offenders" of file-sharing infringement from the Internet. 

"Consumers must be presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty," the letter read. "We must avoid an extrajudicial 'kangaroo court' process where evidence is not tested properly and accused broadband users are denied the right to defend themselves against false accusations." 

The letter acknowledged the industry's legitimate concerns about unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material, but still said the government's proposals for dealing with the issue are "misconceived and threaten broadband consumers' rights and the development of new, attractive services". 

"Without protections, innocent customers will suffer. Any penalty must be proportionate. Disconnecting users from the Internet would place serious limits on their freedom of expression." 

The proposal to disconnect file-sharers came from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in late August. BIS suggested that ISPs should pay a large amount of the costs of monitoring usage and for the legal mechanisms needed to decide which file sharers should be disconnected from the Internet. 

The open letter claimed that these costs, mounted on ISPs, would need to be passed on to customers, most of whom never use file-sharing software for infringement. 

In a consultation launched by BIS in June to address the issue of copyrighted material being shared online, an estimate of £200 million per year in industry damage done by unauthorized file sharing was given. 

However, this figure relies on the premise that every single downloaded track represents a lost sale.

Why Lars Has Left the Building

Excerpted from Digital Music News Report by Paul Resnikoff

Ten years ago, serious artists with serious sales were afraid to piss off their labels. Now, those same artists are far more afraid of pissing off their fans. 

When Napster was being sued, Lars Ulrich was the one trumpeting the cause against free file sharing. Dr. Dre and Madonna were also hardliners. But those were the exceptions - most of the other big-label artists just stayed put, even if their opinions ran contrary to the company line. 

On the flip side, Chuck D and a number of independent artists supported file sharing, and embraced the direct-to-fan and promotional possibilities. But, for the most part, these were not artists in need of serious support from their labels - cash for videos, tour support, studio time, distribution, and proper accounting. 

They were on the outside, with more to gain from liberated distribution and promotion. And remember - in 2001, major labels were enjoying their strongest sales levels ever. They also largely viewed Napster as a one-off problem, an annoyance that could be crushed with decisiveness. 

Plenty of artists felt the same way. The rest of the story is well known. But in 2009, the power of major labels has eroded so much that artists are more focused on the opinions of their fans. In the current British imbroglio over ISP disconnections, the BPI and legislators are the ones stumping for cut-offs. But the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors (BASCA), and the Music Producers Guild (MPG) are pushing against the punitive approach. 

"We vehemently oppose the proposals being made and suggest that the stick is now in danger of being way out of proportion to the carrot," the consortium stated. Those groups are speaking for some of the largest artists alive, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Radiohead, Robbie Williams, and Damon Albarn. 

Sure, these artists aren't marching on the streets, but their participation would never have happened in the earlier part of this decade. So why the shift? In an environment where the consumer is truly king, the priorities of the music fan are paramount. Direct-to-consumer is more than just a neat new trick - fan relationships are now critical, and require constant nurturing. 

Plenty of mega-artists have ditched their labels in favor of direct-to-fan models - but even those remaining within the system must develop close ties with their followers or suffer long-term consequences. And, turns out that internet connectivity is now just as important as any other utility. 

A growing number feel that the Internet is far more important than television and radio, and many feel that snipping the net is like cutting off a necessity. That was a core consideration in France; what about the UK? 

For the artist, the answer is simple - pissing off the fan by cutting the line is a bad solution. In ten years, the major label could be gone, and will almost certainly be a transformed entity. The fan - and more importantly, the direct-to-fan connection - is the only constant left.

Coming Events of Interest

all2gethernow! - September 16th-18th in Berlin, Germany. An "open source" forward-looking Music 2.0 substitute for the postponed PopKomm, one of the leading international conferences and expos for the music and entertainment businesses worldwide. 

New York Games Conference - September 30th in New York, NY. Join games industry leaders - including  leading videogame publishers and developers, carriers, portals, technology companies, advertising execs, venture capitalists, lawyers, analysts, and many more.

FMC Policy Summit 2009 - October 4th-6th in Washington, DC. Future of Music's (FMC) annual event where, this year, music, technology, policy and law are going "back to the future." Early-bird discounts are now available.

BayTSP Online Trends & Insight Conference - October 14th-15th in Los Gatos, CA. Topics include advances in digital distribution of content, the state of TV piracy, new uses for business intelligence and monetization in the entertainment industry, graduated response, and anti-piracy litigation trends.

P2P and Games Conference - October 22nd in Santa Monica, CA. The DCIA's first-ever event focusing on the use of P2P and cloud computing technologies for the distribution of games and updates. Industry leaders from around the world will participate.

Digital Hollywood Fall - October 19th-22nd in Santa Monica, CA. With many new sessions and feature events, DHF has become the premiere digital entertainment conference and exposition. DCIA Member companies will exhibit and speak on a number of panels.

Cloud Computing Expo - November 2nd-4th in Santa Clara, CA. Fourth international conference on this subject. Cloud computing is a game changer. The cloud is disrupting traditional software and hardware business models by disrupting how IT service gets delivered.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated September 20, 2009
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