October 12, 2009
Volume XXVIII, Issue 3
P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE Discount Ends Thursday
Pre-registration rates for the first-ever P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE, which offer substantial savings, end this Thursday October 15th. To register, please e-mail P2PGC@dcia.info for instructions.
The event will take place on Thursday October 22nd at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Los Angeles, CA in conjunction with Digital Hollywood Fall, which features a significantly expanded event line-up and special keynote address from Marc Graboff, Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.
The inaugural P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE will focus on business models, delivery services, and case studies that demonstrate the benefits of P2P and cloud computing for the distribution of games and game updates to networked devices. Many of the advances being made in P2P for games can also apply to video content and music.
Keynote speakers include Jim Kott, Co-President, Abacast; Norman Henderson, VP of Business Development, Asankya; Simon Morris, VP Marketing and Product, BitTorrent; Joe Porus & Milt Ellis, Vice Presidents, Harris Interactive; Scott Tilghman, Principal, Hudson Square Research; Nicholas Longano, CEO & Founder, Music Mogul; Robert Levitan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Pando Networks; Rick Buonincontri, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Solid State Networks; and Chris Hennebery, Director of Software Distribution, Yummy Interactive.
Featured conference speakers include Aaron Markham, VP of Research & Development, BayTSP; Max Davis, Director, DataRevenue.Org; Jim Burger, Member, Dow Lohnes; Robert Hunter, Digital Rights Consultant, Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA); Chris Ullrich, Writer / Producer, The Flickcast; Steve Masur, Managing Partner, MasurLaw; Russell Frackman, Partner, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp; Seth Shapiro, Principal, New Amsterdam Media; Hal Bringman, Founder & President, NVPR; Michael Perricone, Principal, Omstream; Rich Roberts, VP of Sales & Business Development, PlayFirst; Mark Isherwood, Senior Consultant, Rightscom; and Laura Tunberg, Principal, We Get It Consulting.
In addition to a very exciting agenda of keynotes and panel sessions featuring industry leaders at the forefront of this new category, there will also be a continental breakfast and conference luncheon.
To register, please e-mail P2PGC@dcia.info today.
CIA Embraces Cloud Computing
Excerpted from EDL Consulting
The General Service Administration, the Army and the Navy - and, most recently, the Department of Defense (DoD) - are not the only government agencies to embrace the cloud; the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has emerged as not just a user, but also an advocate, of cloud computing.
Speaking at the first annual GovIT Conference & Expo this week in Washington, DC, Deputy CIO of the CIA Jill Tummler said that the agency is a proponent of private cloud computing, what she dubbed Enterprise Cloud Computing. This approach allows companies and federal agencies to keep their cloud within their firewalls, thereby boosting overall security by centralizing all applications and systems in a single location, which makes standardization and installing security patches easier, she said.
In addition to security benefits, cloud computing can boost an organization's overall productivity and efficiency, and can help reduce IT costs, said Tummler. "Enterprise Cloud Computing allows you to cut the ball-and-chain of the past or release the albatross from around your neck," Tummler said at the conference, Sys-Con reported.
"You're no longer stuck with slow, lethargic, antiquated solutions. Enterprise Cloud Computing allows your company to break away, soar, and be successful." The government is increasingly advocating cloud computing solutions, as seen in the recent launch of the federal cloud computing initiative's first phase, the Apps.gov cloud solutions storefront.
File Sharing Goes Mainstream
Excerpted from PC Magazine Report by Jamie Lendino
Despite years of litigation by copyright holders, BitTorrent clients are hugely popular. And because they act as part of a peer-to-peer (P2P) system that lets multiple users work together, they remain the best way to distribute large files across the Internet. With the advent of media-portal style clients like Vuze 4.2, just about anyone can get started watching high-definition (HD) video using file sharing as the backbone.
The easiest way to find new content is to run a Google search and tack on the word "torrent" at the end. The problem is that when faced with a blank search box, it's all too tempting to think of things that would normally cost money. That means BitTorrent clients, as always, can be used for both authorized and unauthorized content - even if the clients and protocol themselves operate within the law.
Fortunately, there are plenty of licensed sources for torrents. One is the aptly named LegalTorrents, which has plenty of music, movies, and games. Other authorized sites include LegitTorrents, which offers a search box interface; Linuxtracker for open-source software fans; and the newer YouTorrent, which is still in beta but currently offers torrent files across a broad range of categories such as video, TV, games, and software.
In addition, many people torrent legitimate copies of major artist releases. For example, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has made lossless-encoded copies of his free album, "The Slip," available on BitTorrent sites. Those files take up hundreds of megabytes; the resulting crash of fans downloading them at the album's release would strain just about any regular web server, but it's no problem for BitTorrent. In addition, BitTorrent also remains a great way to download open-source software, such as Linux distributions and the OpenOffice suite.
With that, here's our look at the three most popular BitTorrent client apps. BitTorrent's own mainline client, BitTorrent 6.2 is now a virtual clone of the lightweight, fast uTorrent 1.8.4, which is still available separately. Vuze 4.2 includes plenty of media features and offers a more integrated torrent experience. If you have a PC, Mac, or Linux machine with a web browser and a high-speed Internet connection, all you need is one of these free clients to get started.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
From the DCIA's perspective, even one instance of identity theft as a result of file sharing is one too many. But to put the underlying issue in perspective, ID theft costs US businesses and consumers over $50 billion in an estimated 15 million cases per year.
Of this amount, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has prosecuted only two cases associated with file sharing. And among thousands of cases cited in the President's Identity Theft Task Force fact sheet, none involved file sharing.
That does not mean this potential threat should be ignored or under-estimated by our emerging industry, which is the reason we established the Inadvertent Sharing Protection Working Group (ISPG) in 2007.
In about one-fifth of stolen ID cases, the Internet plays a part in perpetrating the crime. Thus far, in such instances, the means have tended to be more directly related to the intentions of the criminal than would have been the case with user-error and file-sharing software programs.
Phishing scams involving a combination of e-mail and fraudulent websites - whose average time in operation is less than three days - have posed by far the greatest danger. Given that reality, the ISPG represents an important preventive measure.
Those of our Member companies who develop file-sharing applications turned their software inside out to address inadvertent sharing once this potential threat was identified. However, without a computer, an operating system, and an Internet connection, as well as a word-processing, or spreadsheet, or income tax preparation software program; the user couldn't have made the error either.
A user could as easily inadvertently e-mail his/her confidential data to the wrong address as file-share it. Inadvertently clicking on "Reply All" in an e-mail application actually poses a far greater risk than inadvertently converting a file to a torrent for sharing by means of a BitTorrent-based software program for example.
There are plenty of ways to search for confidential data, too, starting with Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Often, users don't understand Internet technology and ignore or override provided safeguards.
Stories of spectacular data breaches, whether related to national security or the welfare of consumers, lend themselves to sensational headlines and allow media outlets the opportunity to position themselves favorably by providing helpful consumer tips.
But behind the anecdotal data are more questions than answers.
It's not clear how such information, which ended up on file-sharing networks, actually got there in the first place, or how long it's been there. And of course, the amount of information is cumulative - it never goes away - and so as broadband penetration grows and file-sharing usage expands, this will continue to grow.
The very widely reported example of Marine One's schematics being leaked represents an instructive case, especially when one considers the possible consequences that can result from a series of almost innocent individual errors. In this case, there had to be some kind of security breach that resulted in the data being transferred from a secured computer - and in an unencrypted format.
Then there was the step of that data being loaded onto the personal laptop of a subcontractor. Then the step of that laptop leaving the premises of the secured military installation. Then the step of a recreational file-sharing application being put onto that computer. And then the step of an unsupervised family member overriding default settings and warnings and putting the sensitive military data file into a shared folder.
We are appalled that this took place, but so would be the trade associations for wireless networks, GPS devices, and VoIP phone software applications, whose products and services are also abused or used inappropriately against our national security interests by foreign adversaries. The Internet and digital technology have spawned a virtual revolution in communications and information sharing. Many of the tools are very powerful, and, as we are learning, being used in unforeseen ways.
We moved to address this problem as soon as we were made aware of it, which was in 2007. To understand why file-sharing companies didn't know about this problem sooner, it's because once file-sharing software has been downloaded, installed, and activated by a user, the software provider has no direct visibility into his or her activity. Users download and upload files among themselves without intervention from a centralized authority to interfere with or eavesdrop on that process.
The work of the ISPG represents an all-important first step for the industry - eliminating a possible source of user-error with default settings, affirmative steps, consumer communications, and substantial changes in functionality.
It is a "getting of their own houses in order" for file-sharing companies with respect to this issue. In addition to changing user-facing applications, other work is being done to protect file-sharing networks from malware attacks, such as preventing the download of executables that could be spyware or viruses. This adds an additional layer of protection for consumers. Now, we are also seeking viable commercial solutions that might be available to possibly bundle with file-sharing applications - similar to optional anti-virus programs - that could add even more protection.
It is clearly best to cut-off the inadvertent sharing of personal or sensitive information at its source. Once data has been distributed over the Internet and downloaded by users, it resides on their hard drives. To obtain access to all remote computers in order to delete all instances or copies of a sensitive file that has been widely disseminated would be an enormous challenge, both technologically and in terms of consumer privacy. Most people would not want a third party accessing their computer to delete files, even for this purpose.
Blocking further redistribution of files that have already been downloaded onto hard-drives and are still available in shared directories therefore remains a separate but very important related problem. The optimal solution to that is not as clear at this point as what the ISPG has initially undertaken - preventing inadvertent uploads of sensitive data in the first place.
Meanwhile, the ISPG may well already have had a very positive effect. We view protecting consumers from inadvertently sharing confidential data as a one-person-one-device-at-a-time proposition. Users of ISPG-complying file-sharing software are much safer now.
They will no longer share user-originated files unless they very explicitly decide to do so, and then it will be on an individual file-by-file basis. And they will have to go through additional multiple affirmative steps to share sensitive file types.
This issue also requires education, PR campaigns, website messaging, and other consumer communications.
The best advice to parents and children alike regarding the use of file-sharing software - stick with well-known popular brands and be sure to download the very latest versions for the best performance and the greatest safety.
New versions of LimeWire (5.0 and above), for example, by default do not share users' sensitive documents such as spreadsheets or PDFs. In fact, the software cannot share any file or folder without explicit permission from the user. Share wisely, and take care.
File-Sharing Law Would Do Nothing but Make Congress Feel Good
Excerpted from Computer World Report by Ira Winkler
In response to some incidents in which file sharing caused sensitive information to show up on computers that it shouldn't be on, Congress reasonably decided to hold hearings in anticipation of actions it might take that would prevent future compromises. Unfortunately, one of the actions that Congress has taken is to consider passage of the most useless law imaginable.
One positive result of the hearings was the call by the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for a ban on the use of file-sharing software on all government and contractor computers and networks. That would be useful, and enforceable, legislation. But apparently Rep. Mary Bono Mack wanted to show voters that she is protecting their interests as well. She demonstrated this concern by introducing the laughably pointless Informed P2P User Act (HR 1319).
At first glance, the law seems logical. It requires vendors of file-sharing software to clearly explain to users whether and how their files will be shared, to clearly inform them about which files are being made available for searching and sharing, and to give users the opportunity to explicitly agree to any file sharing.
But how will this play out in reality? Vendors will incorporate new language to satisfy most of the law in the boilerplate of their user agreements. I don't think I'm making a controversial statement if I say that the vast majority of users do not bother to read software licensing terms before clicking "I agree" and getting on with the installation. I assume that readers of this column are more computer savvy than the general population, but how often do you thoroughly review terms of service and default settings on new software settings?
OK, so the general principles of file sharing are likely to be glossed over by most users. But they still will have the opportunity to confirm which of their files they will allow to be shared. Once again, though, things look different when theory meets reality. Very few users are likely to go through all of their files and specify which ones they want shared. They are more likely to just agree to "All" when presented with an option.
But aren't I being too harsh? Wouldn't this law give users the chance to say whether their files will be shared at all, and isn't that something worth legislating? Well, yes, it would do that. But there is no need for it. A lot of people who install file-sharing software do so in order to get data from other people and have no interest in making their own data available. They are able to do this now, without Mack Bono's law, because every file-sharing software package I have ever seen makes it abundantly clear how to do this.
In short, there is nothing in the law that actually makes file sharing more secure. If anything, it would expose people to more liability because they would be agreeing to terms that acknowledge the sharing of files. For example, if music files are unknowingly in the shared directories, the RIAA can now claim that the sharing was purposeful. If there was any intellectual property (IP) or secret data in the directories, any thefts of the data from any source will no longer be crimes, because the data is available to the general public. Likewise, people and companies can sue each other for what will be intentional breaches, because they theoretically acknowledged the sharing of the data.
Two ongoing cases demonstrate that people don't review terms of service and similar information, even when it really matters. In one case, software designed to protect children by monitoring their online activity actually collects data that is then sold to marketers. The Sentry and FamilySafe software sold by EchoMatrix feeds data into the company's data mining service. While EchoMatrix hides the data collection to a certain extent, parents who research the tool adequately can uncover it.
Similarly, McAfee and Symantec embed very troubling automatic renewal terms into their terms of service when you purchase or renew the software online. Although the state of New York has fined the companies for unfair business practices, the terms still exist and people continue to be ignorant of them, simply because they choose not to read terms of service.
Given a record that suggests that users do not pay attention to the information available in licensing agreements, why does Bono Mack believe that her proposed law would improve the security of file sharing?
This law will probably be passed. Passage is likely to make members of Congress feel that they demonstrated that they understand the Internet and are helping to protect it. The reality is that they have once again shown their ignorance and wasted a great deal of time and effort. In the greatest irony, Bono Mack is not only not protecting the average citizen, but also solidifying their legal liability for any loss.
Japan Court Acquits File-Share Software Creator
Excerpted from AFP Report
A Japanese high court on Thursday acquitted the creator of a popular file-sharing software program of copyright violations, overturning an earlier conviction.
"It was a very fair judgment," Isamu Kaneko, the 39-year-old developer of the Winny file-sharing program, told reporters after the Osaka High Court in western Japan handed down the verdict.
"This will obviously have a good impact" on software development, he said.
Winny, which Kaneko had made available on his website, enables users to exchange files such as computer games and movies over the Internet for free, making Kaneko a cyberspace icon in Japan.
He had pleaded not guilty, arguing that holding programmers responsible for copyright infringement would hamper technological development.
In December 2006, the Kyoto District Court had convicted Kaneko, ruling that he made the software available on the Internet while knowing it would be widely used for unauthorized purposes.
The Kyoto court had refused a call from prosecutors for a one-year prison sentence but fined him $17,000 in Japan's first ruling on file-sharing software.
Chief Judge Masazo Ogura at the Osaka High Court said Thursday that Kaneko had been aware of the possibility that the software might be used for inappropriate purposes but had not recommended users to do so.
Winny allows the anonymous exchange of files between two computers. It has also been said to suffer programming flaws that make it vulnerable to viruses and has been the source of information leaks, including from a number of computers belonging to government officials and industry executives who used the software privately.
Kaneko was a Research Assistant at Tokyo University until his arrest in 2004. He had amassed thousands of dollars in donations for his legal defense.
PlayFirst Debuts First-Ever Adventure Game Featuring Flo
PlayFirst, the award-winning gaming company, has unveiled details for the highly anticipated launch of "Avenue Flo," the first ever adventure game starring Flo, the iconic star from the best-selling "Diner Dash" series.
While the "Diner Dash" series is known for delivering award-winning time management-based entertainment, "Avenue Flo" takes a different, complementary approach that introduces fans of Flo to an entirely new style of adventure game play with an unfolding, immersive, and interactive story. "Avenue Flo" will be available October 13th for PC and Mac digital download from PlayFirst's website and available on all major portals beginning November 13th.
In "Avenue Flo," players are fully immersed into the streets of Flo's neighborhood, DinerTown, interacting with its residents, and helping Flo save the biggest wedding of the year. Sporting her signature red sneakers and blue apron, Flo does what she does best - saves the day - by taking on missions and quests to help solve puzzles, find lost objects, and pitch-in wherever help is needed, as she lends a hand to the citizens and merchants of DinerTown to save the wedding.
Surprises are around every corner with more than 40 unique environments, 20 challenging activities, and many familiar faces including Grandma Florence and Quinn the Wedding Planner.
"In a sneak-preview to our fans, this was one of our highest reviewed games in company history, and we're not surprised," said Kenny Shea Dinkin, Chief Creative Officer at PlayFirst. "Fans are clamoring for new ways to interact with Flo and the rich cast of DinerToons in the DinerTown universe. By creating an easy-to-play, puzzle-based adventure game with a humorous and immersive story, we are bringing Flo's world to life in new ways and allowing the player to interact with their favorite casual characters in rich environments that we know will please Diner Dash fans new and old."
PlayFirst's VP of Sales and Business Development, Rich Roberts, will be a featured speaker at the P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE.
TinyChat Goes P2P - Leverages Adobe's Real Time Media Flow Protocol
Excerpted from ReadWriteWeb Report by Frederic Lardinois
TinyChat, the popular Twitter-centric video chatroom solution, just launched a P2P-enabled version of its service. While the regular TinyChat routes its videos through the company's servers, the P2P version uses the Real Time Media Flow Protocol that Adobe builds into the Flash platform and Flash Player 10.
As these video streams require a lot of bandwidth, this current version is limited to two active participants per room. For now, this version is more of a demo than a full-blown product, though the company plans to roll it into the regular TinyChat experience in the next few months.
Adobe introduced its P2P technology, the Real Time Media Flow Protocol, last December, but developers haven't really latched on to it yet, as enabling this technology is still rather involved.
For TinyChat, the ability to route these videos around its servers means reduced bandwidth costs. Once this feature becomes part of the default TinyChat setup, only calls with more than 2 participants will have to go through the company's servers and as TinyChat's founder Dan Blake told us earlier today, the experience of switching between the P2P chat and the server-based version should be completely seamless.
Unlike other P2P solutions, TinyChat is able to leverage a plug-in that virtually all users already have on their machines without having to download another plug-in. All a user needs is a webcam and a microphone. Currently, when you are chatting on the P2P server, your privacy is also protected, as the service simply won't allow a third user to listen in or join the call.
Casual Games Publisher PopCap Raises $22.5 Million
Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger
PopCap Games, a developer and publisher of casual video games, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $22.5 million in its first round of outside financing, led by Meritech Capital Partners. Also participating were investors Larry Bowman and John McCaw.
Founded in 2000, Seattle, WA based PopCap's games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times, and are available online, as well as on mobile devices, game consoles, and in-flight entertainment systems.
The company's flagship title, "Bejeweled," has sold more than 25 million units across all platforms. "We're excited to have additional working capital that lets us be more aggressive with our expansion into social media and reaching new geographies," said PopCap CEO David Roberts.
"We've been pursued by investment firms for many years and have resisted taking outside capital, but we liked Meritech's style and believe there's a tremendous opportunity to grow and evolve our business at a time when many other video game firms are retrenching."
TVU Networks' iPhone App Hits 1 Million Downloads
TVU Networks, the leading provider of live peer-to-peer television (P2PTV) services and developer of TVUPlayer, has exceeded the milestone of one million downloads for TVUPlayer on the iPhone and the iPod touch.
The PC-based TVUPlayer has been downloaded by over 50 million viewers in 220 countries to date. Now, the same great channels that viewers watch with TVUPlayer on the PC and Mac, are available on the iPhone over WiFi connections. TVU's 400 live television channels from around the world, including top tier channels such as Deutsche Welle and Telemundo, international sports such as cricket, and alternative niche programming are now live on the iPhone.
The one million downloads include TVULite, which has been available on the iPhone since February as a free application, and TVUPlayer, a paid app available for $4.99 as a one-time download fee. Upon its release in August 2009, TVUPlayer for the iPhone immediately took its place among the top 100 iPhone Entertainment applications in the iTunes store, and holds a 31st ranking today.
TVULite and TVUPlayer for iPhone feature many of the features available on the original TVUPlayer for PC and Mac, such as selecting from Channel Lists and Channel Categories, adding to Favorites and conducting a channel Search. TVU has added iPhone-specific features as well, enabling viewing in Portrait mode, which gives the user information on the channel name and number, channel description, channel quality indicator, and volume control, or watching in Landscape mode, which allows for full screen viewing.
Paul Shen, CEO of TVU Networks states, "To be ranked 31st in the top iPhone Entertainment apps - considering there are 93,000 apps available from 125,000 registered developers being sold in the iTunes App Store today - demonstrates the tremendous value users see in TVU. Our cross-platform live TV service gives viewers instant access to vast amounts of live TV from around the world anytime, anywhere."
Spotify Partners with ISP for Opt-In P2P Music Service
Excerpted from Wired News Report by Eliot Van Buskirk
The Spotify freemium P2P music streaming service, set to launch by the end of the year in the US, announced a deal on Thursday to develop services for the Swedish ISP and telecom company Telia that would offer the premium version of the service to its subscribers on their computers, cell-phones, and television sets, in return for an optional additional fee on their monthly ISP/cell-phone bill.
"It's official," tweeted Spotify Co-Founder Daniel Ek. "Our first major ISP and carrier deal is with Telia in Sweden. This will be big!"
The deal marks the first time Spotify has signed a deal to put its service on televisions - an important development, if the service is to break through to the living room. It also paints a fuller picture of what the service could look like when it launches in the US.
As with Spotify's other ISP deal (a just-expired contract with Bredbandsblaget), this service is optional for subscribers, meaning that they can decide whether or not to tack a Spotify premium fee onto their ISP bill.
"It won't cover all Telia subscribers," Spotify spokesman Andres Sehr told Wired. "Spotify will be bundled into different mobile, internet packages, etc."
ESPN took a different approach in the US: charging ISPs one big licensing fee to cover all of its subscribers, which then gets passed on to consumers whether they watch it or not. The record labels' Choruss plan, led by Warner Music Group, would ostensibly offer the same approach, by charging ISPs a blanket license, which would then pass the fee on to music fans and non-fans alike.
At the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit earlier this week in Washington, DC, where Ek gave a talk, hallway chatter centered around licensing ISPs the way the music industry does radio, and Spotify was often mentioned as a service that could potentially make that happen. And it has already proven capable of inking deals at the ISP/telco level.
If ISPs in the United States offer the same, opt-in model that Telia will offer in Sweden, consumers will likely relish that freedom. However, it remains to be seen whether labels in the United States will be willing to abandon their dream of licensing 100% of an ISP's subscribers in a single stroke.
Spotify Content Director Niklas Ivarsson appeared in a joint presentation with the British rights collection society PRS for Music, in which he revealed new stats. For instance, Spotify had 2.7 million users in the UK in July, with more males than females using the service.
Ivarsson also revealed that the service only includes four million tracks in the UK - about half of what you can find in iTunes. If Spotify hopes to ink ISP deals for its stateside rollout, it will probably have to become more comprehensive, and that could mean signing deals with smaller labels and independent bands (so far, it has been willing only to sign deals with large labels and indie aggregators like The Orchard, Merlin, and CD Baby).
GoalBit: P2P Streaming Goes Open Source
Excerpted from NewTeeVee Report by Janko Roettgers
Bandwidth-conscious broadcasters have a new way to distribute their live video streams. A group of Uruguay-based P2P researchers recently released the first English-language version of their open-source P2P streaming application, GoalBit. The application, which is based on a BitTorrent-like architecture, aims to compete with P2P streaming services like PPLive and PPStream by giving anyone looking to distribute their own live video programming a way to do so.
GoalBit, which is available for Windows and Linux, currently features just a handful of Uruguay's TV networks streaming at fairly low bitrates. But the service looks promising nonetheless, and its extensive documentation could be intriguing to anyone interested in P2P streaming.
GoalBit uses a hybrid approach that combines the best of the BitTorrent world, with features from the likes of P2P networks such as Gnutella and Kazaa's FastTrack network. Its network features a tracker similar to the one used by BitTorrent clients, but it also makes use of so-called super-peers. These are computers with fat pipes that help to distribute the initial signal until it trickles down to users with ordinary DSL connections and limited upload speeds. Super-peers can be run either by the broadcasters themselves, or self-selected based on the connectivity of the individual end user. The idea of this multilayer approach is to prevent too many direct connections to the broadcaster while at the same time making the system scalable.
Another interesting aspect of GoalBit is that channel lists are distributed in the form of small files similar to .torrent files in the world of BitTorrent. Broadcasters simply have to create such a file with the help of the GoalBit client, announce their stream with a GoalBit tracker and upload the file to a web server - and they're ready to stream to the world. Well, that's the theory anyway. The developers of GoalBit state that this so-called "Broadcast Yourself" functionality is still experimental, and I haven't actually tested it myself.
GoalBit is competing with a wide array of P2P streaming applications, most of which are proprietary. Particularly successful examples are PPLive, which claims up to 30 million active users per month, and PPStream, which boasted 1 billion video viewing hours per month a good year ago. Another player in the open-source P2P streaming field is P2P Next, a European project funded with $20 million by the European Union. P2P Next demonstrated a streaming client dubbed SwarmPlayer in the summer of 2008 and has since been busy developing and testing a set-top-box implementation.
Companies like PPLive and PPStream cater primarily to users in China as well as Chinese-speaking audiences worldwide, but P2P streaming apps have also always been popular with sports fans looking for their latest soccer or Olympics fix - a fact that was clearly not lost on the GoalBit makers, as is evidenced by the choice of name.
Limelight Networks Introduces XD, Next-Generation Global Network Platform
Limelight Networks this week introduced XD, the next-generation of the company's global network platform, which adds new patent-pending Adaptive Intelligence to its massively scaled infrastructure. Also, in a separate announcement, the company unveiled LimelightDELIVER XD and LimelightCONTROL XD - new services that take advantage of Adaptive Intelligence to provide advanced levels of control, performance, and insight into real-time delivery conditions.
"Content and applications are moving beyond the PC to smart-phones, TVs, gaming consoles, widgets, and other connected devices. With each device having its own unique characteristics, the historical industry approach of selecting the right server is no longer enough to achieve maximum performance on a consistent basis," said Nathan Raciborski, Co-Founder & CTO, Limelight Networks. "With XD, we are combining network innovations and advanced software to actively manage each object delivery in real-time on a per-connection basis, ensuring a brilliant user experience across a wide variety of devices, even under extreme and changing network conditions."
XD represents an evolution of the Limelight Networks' operating environment, the software that for over eight years has powered the company's content delivery service. XD expands this environment beyond delivery to include storage, analytics, and computing subsystems that will support future value-added services. The launch of the new platform represents more than two years of research and development by the company's engineering team, and thousands of hours of internal and field testing with customers.
At the heart of the XD Platform is Adaptive Intelligence, a new software layer that harnesses the collective power of the company's globally distributed computing resources to actively manage the delivery of every object in real-time. Using data collected about the unique conditions (such as content type, network connection, and user location) surrounding each delivery request, Adaptive Intelligence dynamically adjusts settings at the edge server to streamline and accelerate each specific delivery.
Customers who choose new Limelight delivery services based on the XD platform will see overall performance improvements in speed, consistency of delivery, and experience quality. They will also gain unique insights into real-time Internet conditions which will help them increase conversion rates, lengthen viewing or gaming times, and provide higher-quality end-user experiences. Additionally, customers will have the choice to use these new services for one segment of their content library, and use standard delivery for another segment.
RightsFlow Helps Muzak Celebrate 75th Anniversary
Muzak, the world's leading provider of music, messaging, and branded sensory media, commemorated its 75th anniversary by hosting an industry conference devoted to music and branding, at the North Carolina Music Factory, with the support of RightsFlow, a partner company that provides a publishing licensing service to Muzak and helps to simplify the complex issues of copyright compliance and royalty payment.
"We are proud to be a partner for Muzak's 75th anniversary celebration and to support this first-ever conference's discussions, music, and networking," said Patrick Sullivan, President & CEO of RightsFlow. "We have been working with Muzak to provide mechanical licensing services that ensure copyright compliance. RightsFlow's proprietary service allows Muzak to fully dedicate its resources to creating the best music branding experience for its clients."
In addition to the industry conference, Muzak hosted the company's annual National Convention at its Fort Mill, SC home office. Over 1,000 Muzak field office employees and independent affiliates from across the country converged for intensive discussions about new products, services, and plans for 2010. The conference concluded with live performances by Virgin Records' band The Constellations and NewWest Records artist Benji Hughes at the North Carolina Music Factory October 9th.
Dailymotion Raises Another $22 Million as Costs Prove Challenging
Excerpted from PaidContent Report by Robert Andrews
French video site Dailymotion, which has been funded with $43.5 million since 2006, has raised another $22 million as its economics continue to look challenging.
Dailymotion's recently named CEO Cedric Tournay shaved 20% of Dailymotion's costs, partly through layoffs, in the last year. The service to date has not taken advantage of the cost savings that could be accrued by using P2P technology, however.
Dailymotion had taken $9.5 million in setup money from Atlas Venture and Partech International in 2006 plus an additional $34 million from Advent Venture Partners and AGF Private Equity a year later. Tournay told Capital.fr the new money, which comes from original investors and one new backer, "strengthens our balance sheet and allows us to fund our growth."
He forecasts 50% better revenue this year and next, and says the company is profitable at the operating level. Sales are now outstripping bandwidth expenses, which make-up 25% of costs, Tournay said.
"At the moment, we are poor at monetizing our audience," Tournay says. "Dailymotion started its business strategy there only two years ago. The consequence: less than 10% of our videos include advertising."
The site, which claims 60 million monthly uniques, is a firm fixture in its native France but has been trying to make a name for itself in overseas markets, too. It has tried to set itself apart from user-generated content (UGC) sites with a mix of professional content including independent films.
Skype and eBay Win Appeal in Patent Case
Excerpted from Skype Blog Report by Robert Miller
On October 6th, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Skype and eBay affirming a judgment from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas finding that two patents asserted against Skype and eBay are invalid.
The case was filed two years ago by Peer Communications, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corp. Peer alleged that Skype's Internet communications product infringed two of its patents relating to a P2P communications network.
The case reached the Federal Circuit after the district court ruled favorably for Skype and eBay on a key claim construction term, which then led to a judgment of invalidity on both of Peer's patents.
"We applaud the Federal Circuit's ruling," said Robert Miller, Skype's General Counsel. "We will always fight against allegations of patent infringement that lack merit and protect Skype's interests to the full extent necessary."
Irell & Manella LLP represented eBay and Skype and Andrei Iancu of Irell argued at the appeal. The law firms of Susman Godfrey and Friedman, Suder & Cooke represented Peer.
Takeover of Pirate Bay File-Sharing Site Uncertain
Excerpted from MJ Times-Herald Report
Global Gaming Factory, the small Swedish software firm that planned to buy popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay (TPB), said Wednesday the takeover now looks uncertain.
The Stockholm-based group in June unveiled plans to buy the site for $7.8 million. The aim was to transform it into a licensed online hub for sharing music and films.
In a brief statement, the GGF Board said the acquisition of TPB "has been rendered difficult," adding the group can no longer "evaluate whether the acquisition will be finalized."
The reason, it said, is that a company called Advatar has claimed that GGF owes it $200K - and has applied for GGF to be declared bankrupt.
Advatar is reportedly run by a former GGF Board Member. The case will be brought up in the Stockholm District Court on November 2nd.
GGF said the claim "lacks substance" and that its financial position is strong.
"The bogus bankruptcy filing has been widely reported and brought the acquisition process to a halt. Despite GGF's assurances on several occasions, the uncertainty has not dispersed," GGF chief executive Hans Pandeya said.
TPB is one of the world's largest file-sharing venues with more than 20 million users globally. In April, four men connected with the site were sentenced to one-year prison terms for abetting violations of copyright law and ordered to pay a fine of $3.9 million.
GGF's takeover plans, which include licensing content for the site, and the company's ability to raise required funds have been met by some skepticism.
Mobile P2P - Youth Will Open Networks
Excerpted from Mobile-Financial Report
In a recent article about mobile P2P payments, the American Banker states mobile P2P "could be the elusive key to reaching Gen Y" consumers. Gen Y consumers will embrace mobile P2P and will almost certainly embrace it faster than any other demographic but it will end with them.
The article discusses the challenges mobile P2P faces, mainly the fact that each network is essentially a closed-loop system. For example, if CitiBank rolls out mobile P2P payments for its users only other Citi customers can use it thus limiting its usefulness especially in America where there are thousands of different financial institutions. This issue is not new and relatively not complex when you take into consideration similar issues like this have been resolved in the past. Technology is not the issue; it is really just a matter of putting the agreements in place among the players and developing standards to support this.
This issue was around for ATM usage, mobile phone roaming, SMS, and the list goes on and on. When ATM's were first invented you could not simply take your card and use it at any ATM, you had to use it at your bank's ATM. As the popularity grew, so did the ubiquitous nature of ATM usage, SMS, and so on.
The financial institutions are already moving to introduce this service. The American Banker reports that Fiserv, CashEdge, Citigroup, MasterCard, and Visa are all planning to release mobile P2P, some as early as the end of this year.
As with almost everything technology related, the youth with lead the charge. According to Fiserv President, Jeffery W. Yabuki, Gen Y members are likely to be making 40% of transactions in five years.
That is a big market, and providing the appropriate services will be key to winning them over. P2P payments will follow the SMS lifecycle. They will start with the youth as the main driver and these closed networks will support them until a critical mass develops and then the networks will become open and more and more users will start to adopt mobile P2P payments.
Jonathan Anderson, Founder & CEO of Selfbank Mobile will be a featured speaker at the P2P & GAMES CONFERENCE and Digital Hollywood Fall.
Coming Events of Interest
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 & 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.
P2P MEDIA SUMMIT at CES - January 6th in Las Vegas, NV. The DCIA's seminal industry event, featuring keynotes from top P2P and cloud computing software companies; tracks on policy, technology, and marketing; panel discussions covering content distribution and solutions development.
2010 International CES - January 6th-10th in Las Vegas, NV. The industry's largest educational forum to help companies expand their businesses and understand new technology. Over 200 conferences and more than 300 expert speakers encompass International CES.