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March 15, 2010
Volume XXX, Issue 1

Level 3 Joins Forces with Solid State Networks for Games

Level 3 Communications has teamed up with Solid State Networks, a leading provider of P2P game publishing software, to offer an integrated game delivery solution for game developers and publishers designed to increase player conversion and retention, improve operational efficiency, and provide actionable reporting metrics.

Solid State Networks' game publishing software enables a smooth game acquisition and update experience, fostering higher conversion and retention rates. Player engagement opportunities allow for monetization during game downloads and updates, and each time a game is launched. The integrated solution will leverage those capabilities along with Level 3's extensive IP transit network and sophisticated content delivery network (CDN).

"Our online game customers demand the best possible ingress experience for their players along with an efficient updating and patching process in a solution that can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of their games. In combining these capabilities with Level 3's network, we have an end-to-end solution that improves the overall user experience," said Rick Buonincontri, CEO of Solid State Networks. "With this improved experience also comes richer data, as our customers now have access to both our reporting and the Level 3 analytics platform."

Level 3's suite of CDN services for the gaming market includes caching and download services, storage services, live streaming of events including game launches and competitions, as well as advanced reporting capabilities and real-time traffic statistics that provide visibility and insight. Content originated on the Level 3 network passes through fewer networks (hops) en route to Internet destinations, which helps enable more consistent performance, less downtime and less disruption to the gaming experience.

"Level 3's collaboration with Solid State Networks provides a powerful solution for game publishers to improve the user experience while providing real-time usage statistics that help game publishers to better understand traffic patterns and to make adjustments for their business and their customers," said Peter Neill, Senior Vice President of Content Markets at Level 3. "Our network and content analytics platform are well-suited for the game industry, and we're looking forward to expanding our collaborations and presence in this space in the coming year."

AVG & LimeWire Secure World's Largest File-Sharing Network

AVG Technologies, developer of the world's most popular free anti-virus software, announced that LimeWire has licensed the AVG Anti-Virus SDK engine and has integrated the anti-virus / anti-spyware protection into LimeWire Pro, its premium file-sharing software. Through this partnership, all files will be scanned before LimeWire Pro will allow them to play or execute on an end user's computer, which prevents infected files from harming machines. LimeWire Pro users will see the "Protected by AVG" assurance whenever a downloaded file is safely scanned and cleaned.

Millions of people use file-sharing networks every day to exchange audio, video, documents, and other files. LimeWire is the leading provider in this space and distributes the most popular file-sharing application in the world with 50 million monthly users. LimeWire has integrated AVG's security SDK into LimeWire Pro, its premium file-sharing software, to automatically scan each download to help keep LimeWire's users secure.

"File-sharing networks have come a long way. People are using them to share files and documents, and we are pleased to be protecting them," said Rocco Donnino, SVP of Global Strategic Alliances, AVG Technologies. "AVG is committed to securing our online world, whatever it takes."

The ad hoc architecture of file-sharing networks affords no central point where security policies can be enforced, making the networks vulnerable to infected files, adware, spyware and other malware creeping into the system. It is incumbent upon users to secure their computers in order to protect both their own computers and the general health of their file-sharing network.

"LimeWire is committed to providing the best user experience and we are vigilant about user security," said Jason Herskowitz, VP Product Management, LimeWire. "We are always looking for ways to improve, and with AVG's seamless integration into LimeWire, we will be providing users with file sharing's most secure technology."

GDC: OnLive Takes Gaming to the Cloud 

Excerpted from Information Week Report by Thomas Claburn

The videogame industry, where the tradition of proprietary console hardware and high-margin physical media runs deep, is shifting toward the cloud.

The reasons are those advanced by Google and other proponents of cloud computing for businesses: cross-platform functionality, on-demand delivery, instant upgrades, ease of use, availability from any Web-connected location.

Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO of OnLive, an on-demand cloud gaming company, made this argument at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA on Wednesday.

It's a partisan position, to be sure - major console gaming companies might disagree that they're headed for extinction - but it's one that's consistent with the broad migration toward cloud computing that's shaking up corporate computing.

While games, which often demand high-performance graphics processing and low-latency network connections, might seem ill-suited for the cloud, Perlman's demonstration of OnLive, currently in closed beta testing, reveals that assumption is ill-founded. The technical challenge of interactive video compression, necessary to make such a service work, is one that OnLive has overcome, insists Perlman.

The service is scheduled to be released on June 17th at the E3 Show. It provides multiplayer gaming across users of PCs, Macs, and TVs, mass spectating, brag clips, and a variety of social interaction capabilities.

OnLive has managed to make high-end 3D shooters, one of the most computationally demanding game genres, almost immediately available to users without requiring the user to download hundreds of megabytes of game data. The service does require a hardware component for use on TVs, the OnLive MicroConsole, but the interface's price will be built into to service's monthly subscription fee.

The basic fee will be $14.95 per month, waved for three months for the first 25,000 users who sign up here.

Games on the service will be available for sale and for rental. Specific pricing will be announced when the games are released.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyCongratulations to Victor Harwood and his entire Digital Hollywood team for a serious, provocative, and valuable Media Summit New York (MSNY) this week. 

And thanks to all who participated in our very successful first-ever P2P & CLOUD MARKET CONFERENCE (P2PCMC) at MSNY, which took place at the Cornell Club of New York on Tuesday.

We especially thank our conference sponsors Solid State Networks, PlayFirst, and 9x9 Network.

Solid State Networks is a leading developer of specialized, high-performance content delivery solutions.

The company focuses on delivering much more than just files - it strives to enable its customers to deliver the ultimate content acquisition experience. 

The company founders' vision was to enable software to improve the efficiency of network resource utilization and change the economics of content delivery. Today Solid State offers P2P-based solutions that are complementary with existing CDNs.

PlayFirst is an innovative entertainment company that makes games appealing to everyone. The company creates engaging story worlds that capture imaginations and it makes those experiences available everywhere consumers want to play. 

PlayFirst teams create outstanding games, then bring those games to life across popular platforms worldwide including PC, Mac, mobile, handheld, and console. PlayFirst games are available on more than 500 sites in 20 languages.

9x9 Network seeks to create a revolutionary way of sourcing, organizing, and distributing multimedia content to end users through the use of the Internet, managed P2P technologies, a brand new cloud-based delivery platform, and a new generation of consumer electronics devices - specifically designed for the new TV watching experience. 

9x9Network works with content owners to acquire licensed content, and provides a platform to make this content available to curators to create customized viewing channels to which end users may choose to subscribe.

We are also grateful to Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz (FKK&S) for sponsoring the P2PCMC breakfast. FKK&S celebrates more than 30 years as a full-service law firm with a focus on the media, entertainment, and advertising industries. FKK&S represents some of the world's best-known publishers, producers, directors, distributors, actors, celebrities, models, writers, financiers, charitable organizations, online content and service providers, and many of the foremost advertising agencies, information technology companies, and corporate brands.

We also appreciate LimeWire's hosting of the P2PCMC networking cocktail reception at its new headquarters. LimeWire is an industry leader of innovative software development and solutions offering an unparalleled user experience. Its signature products, LimeWire Basic and LimeWire Pro, are the world's most popular file-sharing applications. 

More recently the firm launched the LimeWire Store, a digital media store, and is working on a number of projects to help further connect LimeWire's user community.

And finally, we thank Abacast for producing the conference webcast. We'll alert DCINFO readers as soon as post-production has been completed and the archival version is available online. Meanwhile, presentations from keynote speakers are posted here

Abacast is a commercial quality content distribution network (CDN), offering the most options in the industry to distribute and monetize live video, online radio broadcasts, and video-on-demand (VoD). High quality Abacast-enabled streams attract audiences and reduce costs.

The opening panel on P2P & cloud market strategies featured Simon Applebaum, Host & Producer, Tomorrow Will be Televised; Ian Donahue, President, RedThorne Media; Jason Henderson, Games Product Manager, Verizon Communications; Rajan Samtani, former Sr. Director of Business Development, Digimarc; and Mike Tedesco, VP, Product Development and Technology, World Wrestling Entertainment. Panelists discussed distinctions between the technologies, success attributes of companies that provide software and services based on them, and the importance of staying focused while also exploiting relevant marketplace opportunities.

In his keynote address, Rick Kurnit, Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, discussed "Fair Use in an All Access World," exploring the application of fair use to new media in such areas as copyright, trademark, publicity rights, association, and defamation.

Robert Levitan, CEO, Pando Networks, spoke about "Our Place in the Cloud," asserting that with hundreds of millions of installs and billions of downloads, "P2P was the cloud before the cloud was cool." He went on to make the case that P2P brings scalability, economics, reporting, and security to cloud-based deployments and will continue to be vitally important.

Mick Bass, VP, Alliance Management, Ascent Media; Vincent Hsieh, CEO, Aleric; Steve Lerner, Practice Director, CDNs & Management, RampRate; Dan Schnapp, Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed; and Greg Stephens, Director/VP, Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) discussed P2P & cloud business models. They examined alternative models and innovative ideas for monetizing currently unlicensed file-sharing traffic. Along with that, panelists examined issues surrounding digital rights management (DRM) and the realities of competing in open-source digital environments.

Zeeshan Zaidi, COO, LimeWire, discussed "Monetization Strategies at LimeWire." He outlined LimeWire monetization principles and provided overviews of LimeWire Basic and Pro. He also described the role of display advertising in the client, the LimeWire Toolbar, and the LimeWire Store.

Kumar Subramanian, CEO, MediaMelon, showed how MediaMelon manages content delivery across various delivery sources through a series of higher-layer applications. The advantages of multi-source delivery include expanding capacity of deployed infrastructure and allowing media companies to access content delivery/management at the right price and performance point.

Conference luncheon speaker, Mike Saxon, SVP, Technology, Media and Telecom, Harris Interactive, spoke about "Computing in the Cloud: Fear Vs. Reality" and shared fascinating results of new research on the current use of cloud computing, future intentions, concerns about cloud computing, the mobile cloud, the dark cloud (copyright infringing traffic), and current levels of online infringement and trends in the US and the UK.

Michael Papish, CEO, MediaUnbound, explained how this dynamic media recommendation firm, now entering its tenth year, uniquely harnesses both cloud computing and P2P in its operations. MediaUnbound uses a hybrid private-public cloud, and Michael described what needs to be evaluated in selecting this kind of architecture. He also outlined how MediaUnbound mines P2P data to drive technology.

Melike Amjarv, Independent Producer; Tom Chernaik, Principal, DigComm; Steve Mannel, Media & Communications Industry Director, Salesforce.com; Joe Porus, Senior Consultant, NorthStar Research Group; and Brian Savin, Partner, de Fontenay, Savin & Kiss discussed P2P & cloud case studies, examining the techniques that have proven best so far in terms of monetizing the enormous traffic that P2P generates. They also explored early successes in cloud computing that have been achieved in enterprise categories.

Nicholas Butterworth, CEO, HD Cloud, offered his take on defining "the cloud" - "computing as a utility, as many processors as you want, instantly, the new century 'time share,' and where Google has been living all this time." He went on to share how HD Cloud, as an enterprise-grade, on-demand transcoding service, handles large files and HD bit-rates, offering massive concurrency, throughput, and redundancy. HD Cloud leverages cloud computing to deliver tremendous speed and economy versus traditional encoding solutions.

Gary Greenstein, Of Counsel, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, talked about the regulatory climate that will impact P2P & cloud computing in 2010 and outlined a number of critically important legal scenarios that industry participants need to be prepared to address. Conflict and litigation will continue in this space for the foreseeable future, while experimentation continues involving multiple efforts to define optimal business models.

Scott Campbell, CEO, Virtually Atomic; Lawrence Low, VP of Product Management & Strategy, BayTSP; Bob Oberosler, Investor, Sivoo; Graham Oakes, Chairman, Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA); Neerav Shah, VP of Business Development, Verimatrix; and David Ulmer, Senior Director, Multimedia, Motorola explored P2P & cloud future opportunities. Their discussion centered on the involvement of content rights holders. In addition, this panel addressed the increasingly mobile consumption of media over various combinations of wireless networks and how P2P and cloud computing can provide important solutions.

DCIA Member Services' John Waclawsky gave the closing keynote, introducing new service offerings that will be of significant value to Member organizations. He spoke about "Technology Trends... and Some of How to Win" and underscored the importance of protecting intellectual property (IP) for start-up software companies. Among other services, John will provide DCIA Member companies with support in the areas of patent development and authoring of whitepapers.

We look forward to seeing you at our next event, the P2P & CLOUD MEDIA SUMMIT at Digital Hollywood Spring in early May. Share wisely, and take care.

Annual BitTorrent Download of 5.43 GB of SXSW Music

Excerpted from Zeropaid Report by Jared Moya

Music fans can now use BitTorrent to download all of the MP3 files publicly available on the South by Southwest (SXSW) website.

It's that time of year again with the 2010 SXSW music festival fast approaching. The annual event held in Austin, TX has always been a showcase for some of the latest and greatest music artists around, and this year is no exception.

As part of the event, MP3 files are sporadically made available on the site to showcase some of the artists that are scheduled to appear during the five-day extravaganza.

Greg Hewgill has been kind enough to compile all of those MP3 files into two handy torrent trackers, some 1,038 files totaling 5.43GB worth of free music in all:

SXSW_2010_Showcasing_Artists_Part1.torrent - 646 files, 3.35GB

SXSW_2010_Showcasing_Artists_Part2.torrent - 392 files, 2.08GB

In case you missed last year's music or any of the years going back to 2005 when the music was first compiled into torrent trackers as a BitTorrent download, they're still available here.

Broadcasters Experiment with P2P Technology

Excerpted from The Economist Report

Last year, Norway's public broadcaster, NRK, filmed a stunning seven-hour train ride between Bergen and Oslo, shot entirely in high-definition (HD) video. Over one million Norwegians watched the film on television. But NRK faced a challenge in reaching a larger audience. How could it distribute the hard-drive-busting 246 gigabytes of raw footage to a global audience without bringing its servers to a grinding halt?

The broadcaster made a somewhat surprising choice: it turned to BitTorrent, the well-known P2P Internet service.

Some at NRK worried that using a system associated by Hollywood with copyright infringement would generate negative publicity. But BitTorrent itself is value neutral. It is a uniquely efficient distribution method that lets broadcasters "seed" the Internet with one or two copies of their massive media files. It then relies on end-users (called peers) who request the file and receive different pieces of it. To assemble a complete version of the file, these peers then share their pieces with each other (hence "peer-to-peer"). The broadcaster does not need expensive server farms or fat data pipes to deliver massive files to viewers anywhere in the world.

Several other public-service broadcasters have also been experimenting with P2P distribution, probably because they are relatively insulated from commercial pressures. In 2008, for instance, Canada's CBC used BitTorrent to distribute a high quality, unprotected version of a prime-time reality show called "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister."

The European Union is investing in P2P as a route to the remaking of broadcasting. In 2008 it put $19 million of funding into a four-year project called P2P-Next. It is an ambitious international undertaking backed by research institutes, companies, and some broadcasters, including the BBC.

Television sets are already starting to stream Internet video from companies like Netflix in America. If P2P-Next has its way, televisions, computers, and mobile phones will all support a standardized P2P network for streaming content distribution in the future. The idea is to create the world's best video service: from anywhere on earth, users can then use a standard protocol to pull up any video, at any time and on any screen.

P2P may be the right way to do this. Bandwidth may be cheap now, but many worry that the explosive growth of video, much of it in HD formats, could soon clog up the Internet. Traffic from online video sites like Hulu, iPlayer, and YouTube has surged in recent years, increasing from 13% of all Internet traffic in 2008 to 27% in 2009. Furthermore, the current infrastructure of the Internet is not suited to the simultaneous transmission of live events to millions of viewers.

Johan Pouwelse, P2P-Next's Scientific Director, envisions a brave new world for broadcasters in which interconnected television sets with P2P sharing can give any television station global reach. Barriers to market entry will be low, ensuring healthy market competition, he says. "Satellite gave us hundreds of channels - Internet television can give us all the free-to-air channels of the globe."

The business model that will support all this, however, is not yet clear. Advertising, the lifeblood of many broadcasters, is difficult to do globally. And many broadcasters make a great deal of money by selling international distribution rights. Though there may be little commercial demand for a seven-hour documentary of a train journey in Norway, and so no harm done by giving it away, the BBC makes lots of money selling programs. It is unlikely that broadcasters, even in the public sector, would give away for nothing on the Internet what they might otherwise sell through traditional routes.

Google App Marketplace Could Revolutionize Cloud Computing

Excerpted from Walyou Report

You must have noticed that Google has been slowly inching towards a culture of online cloud computing, and most companies, individuals and businesses have adapted to the culture of cloud computing because of its obvious advantages. Cloud computing allows users to manage data, applications, and information in a way that traditional software or hardware doesn't allow; and the most important advantage is that you can access your data, application and software from any computer in the world, provided you have the ID and password.

However, cloud computing itself is not without disadvantages, and the most unpleasant one is the lack of applications directly integrated into Google. Hence, users copy and paste data, use different applications time and again in order to get everything into the cloud. Google itself has admitted that it does not have the expertise to integrate the hundreds of business applications out there into the cloud.

But Google has announced that Google Apps Marketplace is now open for business. Developers and software providers can now join the new online store for integrated business applications. These cloud applications will allow Google Apps customers to discover newer applications without having to manage each one of them separately. At the moment, there are already more than 50 companies who are selling their applications. Some of the apps already available are the following.

Intuit Online Payroll: It allows users to run payroll, pay taxes, and check paystubs within an integrated online office environment.

Manymoon: It helps in organizing and sharing information with co-workers and partners, including tasks, projects, documents, status updates, and links.

Professional Services Connect (PS Connect): This provides contextually relevant information about people, projects, customers, and transactions so that one can make better decisions.

JIRA Studio: This app helps to track and manage project issues and workflow, especially in design and development of tools.

Google Apps Marketplace works similarly to the Apple App Store, but is cheaper. Google is asking the developers and businesses a onetime fee of $100 and 20% of the revenue in exchange to the access to 25 million Google users. Apps are authenticated using OpenID and secured through oAuth. The applications are accessible through a universal Google Apps navigation system.

Businesses and companies can stop using multiple applications and get rid of the burden of having to remember multiple passwords for each application. Whether you are an employee or a proprietor, you can use your Google account to access all these applications, and edit/use them based on the permissions you have.

Google Apps are used not just by companies and businesses but also by students, freelance workers, and independent professionals. There are several account management apps, data related apps, and other applications that can help the end-user to make use of Google cloud computing; and the Google App Marketplace makes it easy for everyone.

Cloud computing has already become popular and most of us have been using Google Docs, and other apps successfully. The marketplace allows us to access more applications which are not developed by Google but have been authenticated. This allows for a streamlined system of working and managing data, software, accounts, and information.

Companies and individuals can make use of payroll, data entry, management, and an office suite; and integrate them into their Google accounts. It will also help in terms of social media, data management, and communication. Google App Marketplace could be a great beginning.

Spotify Streaming via TV Could Soon be a Reality 

Excerpted from Expert Reviews Report by Gareth Halfacree

The popular Spotify P2P music streaming service is set to leap out of your computer and into your living room - at least, if you live in Finland.

The deal between Finnish Internet service provider (ISP) TeliaSonera and Spotify will give users of the company's Sonera Home TV IP-based television service access to Spotify via their set-top boxes (STBs).

Although the IPTV service itself has already launched, the software required to stream music from Spotify will not make it onto users' set-top boxes until some time in the summer.

Music blog Music Ally quotes TeliaSonera's Vice President of TV services Jussi Salminen as stating that he believes, "Right now, new services that provide innovative features for TV and music will be one of the most in-demand additions."

Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek describes TeliaSonera as "a key partner" for the company, and hopes that the deal will allow Spotify to "reach out to many more Finnish music fans than ever before."

The deal comes on the same day that a similar collaboration between US satellite TV service Dish Network and Google is reported in the Wall Street Journal, allowing selected trial users access to YouTube videos via their STBs.

The Sonera Home TV service will join Spotify's existing computer and smart-phone P2P streaming services, allowing access to the company's large collection of music on an increasing number of devices. So far the company has yet to announce any similar deals with IPTV companies in the UK.

Is P2P Streaming Music Service KKBox the Chinese Spotify? 

Excerpted from Fast Company Report by Zachary Wilson

Media companies worldwide are struggling with ad sales and budgets, desperately trying new business models like online pay walls to scrape by. But what if they moved into selling something other than journalism - like, say, music?

Enter China's KKBox, which takes the unique approach of working as a P2P streaming music service that happens to give away music journalism as a bonus. It sort of flips the Spotify model on its head, too. The music streaming isn't free. Users pay about $4.50 a month to access a huge, Spotify-style library of the latest songs, available on the computer and mobile devices like the iPhone and Android phones. As a bonus, they get an online music and entertainment magazine.

KKBox has its own editorial staff of 30 or so editors, interviews Chinese pop stars, has columnists, hosts its own awards show, and so on. Embedded in artist profiles and other places throughout the site is music, which listeners can preview a la Amazon's MP3 store or the iTunes preview feature or, presumably, go find and stream from KKBox's catalog if they're paid subscribers.

In other words, "They come for the music, and stay for the music coverage," says Stanford-educated Founder Chris Lin. He says the site has about 200,000 paid subscribers and 6 million non-paying visitors. "They're here because this is a fun music destination. We've grown into a very popular media outlet" outside of selling music, Lin says.

KKBox is the largest digital music service in China - and it's profitable. Lin says there's no magic secret to profitability, just common sense. "Per-stream royalty costs are what are going to suck you dry. You're giving your best service out for free, then asking people to pay later. That's awkward. If you can get all the music for free with ads, the willingness to pay for it is not very high."

Right now the service is mainly focused on Hong Kong and Taiwan, but later this year, KKBox plans to roll-out a North American version, targeted at the 8 million ethnic Chinese living in the US and Canada. "They are hungry for information about artists and entertainment news from home," says Lin. "We want to be a sort of an entertainment Chinatown for them." Lin expects the North American service to run a little more expensive than its Eastern brother, but says the price will definitely be less than $10 a month, depending on negotiations with the labels in Taiwan.

After the North American roll-out, Lin wants to move the company's efforts to greater China starting in 2011, when 3G is more widely spread. "Smart-phones and 3G have helped us in converting visitors to paid users," he says.

Damaka Launches Live P2P Streaming Video on Androids & Blackberries

Damaka, a technology pioneer in Mobile Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), has launched its live P2P streaming video solution on laptops and mobile devices. This feature is offered on Android and Blackberry devices.

Damaka's P2P solution provides instant communication of video and voice over encrypted channels including session archival and annotation features. The live video streaming can be transmitted to multiple receiving devices over WiFi/3G/4G networks.

With this feature release, Damaka Mobile UCC solution augments its current feature offerings of highly secure and encrypted live P2P video calling on smart-phones and laptops.

The Damaka UCC solution is available in both managed P2P and traditional SIP based client server architectures. Damaka's software application is based on patented direct peering P2P technology with highly optimized footprint for smart-phones running on different operating systems.

mBit Runs Contest to Test, Debug its Mobile P2P App

Excerpted from EE Times India Report

mBit Infotech announced a multi-college Tech War mega-event named "Champ of the Champs (COC)" via a series of online competitions. It aims at finding the expert who holds the best analytical and business skills for testing and finding bugs in the mBit application, which it touts as the world's first mobile P2P application used for file sharing, publishing, data sharing, subscribing to channels, and making groups.

NGMA, the event partner will be hosting a series of workshops in different colleges across the nation on "IT Security and Ethical Hacking" along with the mBit application demo. The interested candidates can register themselves at the company website. The objective of the event is to use the application, find bugs, report them, and propose a business strategy to enhance its use.

"There will be three winner teams every month, where the prizes would include cash rewards. But, there will be only one individual winner for the mega event "COC" and the bonanza attraction is going to be very lucrative. The winner of "COC" will directly be placed at mBit as the Certified Security Tester", said Raghavendra Aggarwala, CEO, mBit Infotech.

Further, prizes include award certificates for the winners of all series. Also, there will be certificates of participation for people who participate in more than three series.

The first set of such online competition was hosted at BITS Pilani Goa Campus where mBit Infotech was the event sponsor for FIX!mBit. There were over 2,000 registrations for this competition from approximately 800 engineering colleges across the country. FIX!mBit problem statement was "Bug Reporting and Suggesting Enhancements" for mBit as a P2P file sharing application for mobiles. mBit successfully completed the first round of competition by announcing the three winner teams, who are the first short listed and eligible teams for "COC."

Adconion Revives Joost to Drive Video Tools

Adconion Media Group, the largest independent global audience and content network, this week introduced the Joost Video Network, a complete suite of online video advertising products and services. The Joost Video Network will provide agencies and brand marketers with global in-banner and in-stream video advertising capabilities, including pre-, mid-, and post-roll video advertisements, with expert targeting and scale.

"As consumers continue to spend more time online - and more time watching video online - agencies and brand marketers have more opportunities to use the power of video advertising to build brand awareness online," said Nick Higgins, Director of Global Video, Adconion. 

"With the Joost Video Network, agencies and marketers can design targeted campaigns that run exclusively against premium content on premium sites, and leverage the experience and power of our network to find targeted audiences and maximize the value of their campaigns. Adding this product offering gives Adconion a distinguished position among ad networks, as we are the only provider with in-banner and in-stream capabilities; an exclusive relationship with a branded entertainment studio; in-house creative services; and a video portal, Joost.com, that we own, operate and sell exclusively."

The Joost Video Network streamlines Adconion's entire video advertising product line, from pre-, mid-, and post-roll video ads to a variety of in-banner video advertising executions, into one product line. All Adconion products, including the Joost Video Network, take advantage of Adconion's proprietary ad serving and targeting technology. 

In addition, the Joost Video Network delivers both pre-roll and in-stream campaigns targeted with BlueKai data, thanks to a unique global partnership with the world's highest-quality online data exchange. The Joost Video Network is DoubleVerified and IASH compliant, ensuring all video ads run in brand-safe environments.

The product launch marks an important step in Adconion's evolution, as it is the first product and service from the combined entity formed when Adconion acquired Joost's technology assets in November 2009. Since the acquisition, Adconion has integrated its ad server with the Joost video player and is the exclusive video ad provider for Joost.com and the Joost video player in its embedded form.

Adconion, which has aggressive plans to grow by nearly 50% in 2010, will add a European video specialist to its team this month.

Cloud Computing Provides Opportunity for Chinese Software Market 

Excerpted from News Center Report

Cloud computing, a fast-growing way of selling software services via the web without physical copies, offers a chance for China finally to develop a software market, according to a Chinese industry veteran.

Kai-Fu Lee, who recently resigned as head of Google China, said the kind of infringement that has hobbled Chinese IT was near-impossible in a cloud-computing model, in which companies or individuals pay to access services that are hosted elsewhere.

"China has been plagued by infringement for the last 20 years and that unfortunately has caused China not to have a software industry," Lee told Reuters in an interview at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

"But it's irrelevant now, because software distribution is shifting from packaged software, from end-user licensing, to cloud Internet distribution; and when you're on the cloud you gotta pay," he said.

Lee resigned from Google last year, a few months before the company reported a large-scale hacking incident that caused it to threaten to withdraw from China. Google is in talks with the Chinese government and expect a resolution soon.

Lee, who also previously headed Microsoft's Chinese operations, has now started a $115 million venture-capital fund, Innovation Works, that aims to foster Chinese entrepreneurs in the areas of mobile Internet, e-commerce, and cloud computing.

China's business software industry will make revenues of $6.2 billion this year, analysts at IT research firm Gartner estimate, dwarfed by the United States' $99.2 billion and less than 3% of the world's total.

Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer said last week the company would be cautious about investing in China until it improved intellectual property (IP) rights, and said China would not achieve its potential until that happened.

Cloud computing is still a young industry and was pioneered by Salesforce.com, which centers around offering web-hosted customer relationship-management (CRM) software for sales people.

Lee said cloud computing had already revived China's online gaming industry, which seemed moribund 10 years ago but is now thriving, thanks to micropayments that gamers make for virtual weapons or other props that improve their performance or status.

"If you don't pay, you can't log in. If you log in, we're gonna charge you. If you don't give me your credit card, you can't use our product," he said.

"That's going to enable the next Salesforce.com, the next CRM, the next whatever company, because now the software companies can charge."

Lee estimated it would take about five years before China would produce a company of the scale of Salesforce, which made sales of $1.3 billion last year and has a market capitalization of $9.4 billion.

Chatroulette Map: Mash-Up of Chatroulette and Google Maps

Excerpted from Techie Buzz Report by Pallab De

Chatroulette's popularity has skyrocketed over the past few weeks thanks to widespread media coverage. At the moment, you can love it or hate it, but you just can't ignore it. 

The basic premise of Chatroulette is simple - it connects random strangers for a two-way webcam chat. Although the officially stated purpose of the site is to simply meet and befriend random people from different corners of the world, like most things on the Internet, it is used by many for cheap titillation.

Chatroulette Map is an interesting mash-up of Chatroulette and Google Maps. Chatroulette utilizes a P2P connection among users for communication. Hence, determining the IP address of the user on the other end is not too hard. Chatroulette Map grabs the IP address and screenshot of random users and uses Geo IP database to obtain the approximate location of the user.

Chatroulette Map does not serve any real purpose, but neither does Chatroulette. It is an interesting mash-up, but the morality of taking screenshots of unsuspecting users and using them publicly is dubious. 

In fact, one of the biggest attractions of Chatroulette is anonymity. However, if services like Chatroulette Map take off, then unwary users may be in for trouble. 

Digital Economy Bill Is Disaster for Digital Economy

Excerpted from New Scientist Report by Jim Killock, Executive Director, ORG 

Peter Mandelson's Digital Economy Bill is a complete mess. 

We at the Open Rights Group (ORG) believe the measures proposed by the Bill on copyright infringement constitute nothing less than a violation of human rights. But equally disturbing is its failure to take the complexity of Internet usage into account - a failure which threatens the future development of the digital economy it supposedly safeguards. 

The Bill - currently being debated by the House of Lords - assumes that the "threat" that copyright infringement poses to today's giant music and film companies is the only economic element of the web worth considering. 

Nothing else seems to matter: not the government's stated objective of universal Internet access; not the social and commercial benefits of new technology; and not the prospect of copyright enforcement being used to effect censorship.

Let's start with the threat to access. Rather than seeking to identify actual infringers, the Bill makes Internet "account holders" responsible for any infringing activity conducted over their connection, punishable by summary disconnection. 

This is rather like confiscating a photocopier from its owner because someone has used it to copy a book. To get it back, the account holder will have pay for an appeal and show that he or she had secured the connection against potentially infringing activity. 

It's all too easy to see how this arrangement will result in the innocent being punished for offenses that haven't actually taken place. 

A week or two ago, I watched David Cameron's talk at TED via a legal BitTorrent file. If, in the future, a cafe were to let me do this, its failure to "secure" its Internet account against tools that could be used for copyright infringement - even if they're not - would expose it to disconnection if a claim was made. 

This outlawing of tools with perfectly legitimate uses ought to worry anyone interested in the social, educational, and commercial uses of the Internet - and it has. 

As well as ORG's own campaign, Liberty and Consumer Focus have expressed concern about the Bill. Universities and libraries have expressed outrage that they are, somewhat perversely, covered by the Bill's proposals much as householders are. Internet giants like Google, Facebook, and BT have banded together to object to to the Bill, as have small businesses. 

Were this not enough, Clause 17 of the Bill threatens to allow ministers to rewrite copyright enforcement provisions at will - thus changing the rules on the fly and introducing enormous financial and operational uncertainties for any organization or business that offers, or relies on, the Internet. 

Given the extent to which the government's policy-making in this area seems to have been captured by large rights-holding commercial concerns, this is a recipe for disaster. 

Fortunately, Liberal Democrats and Conservative peers did a good job of highlighting the problems with this "instant whip" approach to copyright law. Unfortunately, they proposed an alternative which seems just as bad. 

The Lib Dem-Tory proposal would allow a rights-holder to apply for an injunction that would compel an Internet service provider (ISP) to block access to a website accused of copyright infringement. 

That puts the ISPs in an impossible situation, as ORG's Francis Davey has explained: they have no way of knowing if the accusation is valid, but face potentially enormous legal costs if they fail to act. 

The likelihood is that most ISPs will take the view that blocking is the easiest and most trouble-free course of action. This has certainly been the case in similar situations to date: as Lilian Edwards, a Professor of Law at the University of Sheffield, points out, free speech and justice have proven to be remote considerations: "In one amusing study, an Oxford team posing as rights-holders asked ISPs to take down a chapter from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty - out of copyright for several centuries. All the ISPs complied without a murmur."

We at the ORG have raised our concerns about the "chilling effects" of this proposal with the Liberal Democrat front bench. It is more or less impossible to avoid these chilling effects - even if the obviously absent checks and balances were to be put in place. 

That leaves us faced with the prospect of a fight in the Commons between incontestable court orders, as favored by the Lib Dems and Tories; and unaccountable copyright rewrites, as favored by Labour. 

Whoever wins, the result will be disastrous for innovation in the digital economy.

French Anti-Piracy Legislation Fails Dismally

Excerpted from Download Squad Report by Sebastian Anthony

In what must surely be the least surprising news of 2010, a study by a French university found that online copyright infringement increased after France's enactment of a Three-Strikes Law. Under the Bill, which went into effect in July 2009, repeat offenders can be cut-off from the Internet. 

If being cut-off is deemed not suitable, the judge can instead levy a 300,000 euro fine or send the infringer to prison for two years. 

As it turns out, though, the law has a loophole: streaming services and file-storage sites like Rapidshare. While BitTorrent's share of infringement dropped from 17.1% to 14.6% between September and December 2009, total infringement rose by 3%. 

Shut down or outlaw one service and its users flee to another - where have we seen this before?

Harris Confirms Levels of Piracy Are Steady

Excerpted from Digital Music News Report by Paul Resnikoff

Harris Interactive confirmed data on Tuesday showing that piracy levels are remaining level, a survey-based result. "Overall levels of piracy are steady over the past 15 months," shared Mike Saxon, EVP of Harris Interactive, during a detailed presentation in New York. The findings were first leaked to Digital Music News last week, and officially discussed at the P2P & CLOUD MARKET CONFERENCE in New York during a luncheon presentation. The event was hosted at the Cornell Club by the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA)

The presentation included one of the leaked slides, essentially showing consistent levels of file sharing (via LimeWire, BitTorrent, others). But Harris also discovered increased levels of hard-drive swapping, and elevated downloading from virtual hosting sites like Megaupload. Harris also showed increased sharing of television shows, games, and movies. Some of that corresponds to information presented last month by NPD Group, though the data on file-sharing activity is inconsistent. 

Saxon also compared media patterns between the UK and US, and found remarkable similarities across device ownership, online entertainment access, gaming, and streaming music from social networks. Still, a number of differences emerged, including a far broader appetite among British consumers for file sharing across every platform and media type. 

The data was actually part of a broader discussion on cloud computing, and its application to music and entertainment assets. That discussion is incomplete without devices, and Harris measured everything from a connected Wii to an Android. 

Overall, Harris showed that consumers have mixed sentiments towards cloud-based access. The access component sounds great, though serious concerns surround connectivity (can it be accessed all the time, every time), security of files, and security of personal information. 

But the cloud is well-entrenched in areas like e-mail, an argument that has bolstered models like Lala. Saxon noted that in many cases, users are hardly aware that the cloud exists; instead, they skip the details and just grab their data - from anywhere. 

And, on mobile devices, cloud-based access is increasingly happening on multimedia and entertainment assets. The percentages are still relatively low, though mobile-based access of videos (YouTube), photo sharing (via e-mail, MMS, or web), and music streaming (Pandora, AOL Radio, others) are just taking root.

Coming Events of Interest

Cloud Connect - March 15th-18th at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. The defining event that brings together the entire cloud computing community, including IT leaders, industry executives, and developers.

Cloud Computing Congress - March 16th in London, England. A practical guide on cloud computing for business - the value proposition, and the impact on the IT function. Building and managing applications in the cloud - how to manage and control applications and resources in the cloud environment. Security, testing and management of cloud infrastructures.

Cloud Expo - April 19th-21st in New York, NY. Co-located with the 8th international Virtualization Conference & Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City with more than 5,000 delegates and over 100 sponsors and exhibitors participating in the conference.

LA Games Conference - April 29th in Los Angeles, CA. Over 300 of the most influential decision-makers in the games industry gather for the LA Games Conference to network, do deals, and share ideas about the future of console, PC, online and mobile games. LA Games Conference - now in its 4th year - features a lively and fun debate on timely cutting-edge business topics

Digital Hollywood Spring - May 3rd-6th in Santa Monica, CA. Digital Hollywood Spring (DHS) is the premier entertainment and technology conference in the country covering the convergence of entertainment, the web, television, and technology.

P2P & CLOUD MEDIA SUMMIT - May 6th in Santa Monica, CA. The DCIA presents this fifth annual seminal industry event as a conference within DHS, now expanded to include cloud computing, the most advanced and rapidly growing distributed computing technology.

Digital Media Conference East - June 25th in McLean, VA. The Washington Post calls this Digital Media Wire flagship event "a confab of powerful communicators and content providers in the region." This conference explores the current state of digital media and the directions in which the industry is heading.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated March 18, 2010
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