UK File-Sharer Has To Pay £16,000: Historic Background

UK File-Sharer Has To Pay £16,000An unnamed woman in UK has been ordered to pay £16,000 after having been found guilty of sharing a game, Dream Pinball 3D, on P2P networks.

The initial default judgement was made against her was at the London County Court on 27 May.

Subsequently the Patents County Court in London handed down damages of £6,086.56 plus costs and disbursements of £10,000.

Recent UK actions
Davenport Lyons, a UK law firm, has been instructed by Topware Interactive, a video game company started in Germany, to pursue UK residents who have been sharing their games on P2P network.

We all know that law is a slow moving beast, but as far back as March, 2007 there was discussion on P2P sites about letters that had been received from Davenport Lyons, which had targeted 500 people at that point.

Continue reading UK File-Sharer Has To Pay £16,000: Historic Background

iPlayer: BBC DOES Want Open Platform: OSC

iPlayer: BBC DOES Want Open Platform: OSCWe met with Mark Taylor, President of the Open Source Consortium (OSC) last night, directly after his meeting with the BBC to discuss opening-up the iPlayer to run on more platforms than just the Microsoft browser.

It appears that the meetings were positive and boiled down to two points, the BBC feels they haven’t communicated their desires for iPlayer properly and that they want the iPlayer to run on an open platform.
Continue reading iPlayer: BBC DOES Want Open Platform: OSC

Guinness World Records Joost Deal Live

Guinness World Records TV have been in touch to let us know that they’ve just completed a deal with Joost.

Guinness World Record Joost Deal LiveWe weren’t expecting to be so Joost-tastic today, but when the news arrives, you’ve got to tell it.

Initially 35 hours will be made available comprising of their UK show, Ultimate Guinness World Records. It’s available to Joost viewers globally.

They haven’t hung around either in getting the content out. Checking the latest incarnation of Joost, we see that the content is up there already.

Additional content will be added on a monthly basis, with Guinness World Record (GWR) making the point that they’ll be “controlling its programming line-up on the platform.”

Guinness World Record Joost Deal LiveThey’ve got 400 hours of it, so there’s plenty more to come.

Both sides are in back-slapping mode with Rob Molloy, Director of Television at Guinness World Records keen to keep the door open to deliver their content to other platforms by saying “We are thrilled to be partnering with a company as exciting as Joost, once again this shows how easily Guinness World Records content can be adapted to fit into so many areas of new media and for such varied audiences.”

Guinness World Record Joost Deal LiveYvette Alberdingkthijm, EVP of content strategy and acquisition Joost took the pun-ing route of “We are delighted to have Guinness World Records on board and look forward to offering our viewers record breaking content.”

It’s interesting to realise that GWR TV is part of the HIT Entertainment who own the hugely popular children’s content Bob the Builder, Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine.

We wonder if this GWR deal is a tester for HIT, opening the doors for a much bigger deal to be coming out.

Guinness World Records TV

Skype Downloaded Over 0.5 Billion Times

Skype has announced that its VoIP software has been downloaded over 500 million times since its inception in August 2003.

Skype Downloaded Over 0.5 Billion TimesA pretty staggering number, even when you realise that it includes all of the downloads and possibly all upgrades of the software (* We’re in the process of checking this with Skype HQ).

Working out that this averages just under 11m downloads per month is pretty meaningless, as in the early days there were very few people knowing about Skype, or even how to pronounce it. In the early days some numpties called it Skype-eee – and we bet that the guilty keep that one quiet these days.

Some numbers that are worth looking at – because they’re pretty mind blowing – are that Skype is being downloaded at the rate of six times per second; Skype to Skype minutes in Q4 2006 alone totalled 7.6 billion minutes; and in September 2005, Skype had 54 million registered users. Today it has over 171 million registered users worldwide.

Skype CEO and co-founder Niklas Zennström shares the love and enthused, “The entire Skype team owes its success to the global community of registered users we have today who tell their loved ones how much they enjoy using Skype.”

The original Skype users were mostly people who had used Zennström previously wildly popular product, Kazza, a P2P file-sharing application. Much of the knowledge his team had built up in handling considerable amount of data sharing between machines was invaluable in building the bones of Skype.

Skype is now just part of everyday life. A product that you couldn’t imagine being without. A pretty impressive feat in anyones book.

Joost: The Venice Project Renamed

The next-market-to-disrupt target of the Skype/Kazaa founders – TV – has it’s latest news. The Venice Project’s working name has been changed to Joost, continuing their penchant for picking weird names – always a benefit when you want the domains(!).

Joost: The Venice Project Reborn

As to the source/root of the name … ? Well it could be that their massive fans of ’80s video game Joust or perhaps it’s a reference to the German for a friendly ‘goodbye’, Tschüss. Who knows? FYI – It’s actually pronounced Juiced.

We’ve been fiddling with the Venice Project, sorry, Joost for a couple of weeks now, since Christopher Wood very kindly sent us an invite to join up.

Joost: The Venice Project RebornWe whacked it on an older (1.5GHz) machine and found that it really didn’t have the horsepower to run it properly. It’s a pretty greedy little number, even running out of steam on a 2.5GHz. The buzz around us beta testers is that currently, it _loves_ taking power/resources.

Clearly the Joost crew are seeing this as a product for the future (not a bad assumption), that will need to have a current processor to run it on. Queue computer and chip makers cheering and clapping.

A couple of beta testers are pointing and declaring that Joost will be the first failure of the founders. We think that it’s waaaaay to early to be calling that. Be patient my headline grabbing-friend and see how it turns out.

Let’s not forget 1) this is still in Beta, 2) Windows Media Centre was a total dog throughout many of its incarnation, taking years to get to the point where it was even usable.


Digital Hollywood Europe:Next Generation P2P: Synopsis: (pt 3/3)

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe (Pt Three)Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) concludes his synopsis of the Next Generation P2P sessions at the recent Digital Hollywood Europe conference held in London’s docklands.
Guido Ciburski (pictured right) announced that CyberSky-TV’s streaming video P2P software was declared legal in Germany two months ago, after protracted court proceedings, and that now the questions are how to put it to best commercial use and how to advertise it so that it stays that way. He said the attractiveness of the software is its higher quality online video experience, which takes advantage of higher upload speeds available to broadband users. The US Supreme court decision has been misinterpreted by many, but in the final analysis has not changed much in terms of consumer behavior. P2P usage has continued its steady expansion, notwithstanding market share shifts among applications, basically regardless of related cases and settlements.

Major record labels and movie studios need to take time at this point in their migration to a digital distribution marketplace to listen more to consumers. There has been too little feedback from users factored into digital distribution strategies. There needs to be more interaction with the community of P2P users, and an effort to maximize the satisfaction of consumers with new business models. Going forward, the increase in broadband penetration will drive more growth of P2P, and local storage capabilities and content consumption patterns will change as a function of more speed and capacity.

Dr. Nimrod Koslowski articulated a new vision by stating that content being redistributed via P2P networks can be both controlled and accelerated. Oversi’s patent-pending caching system enables ISPs to monetize P2P and deal with network imbalances arising from the widespread adoption of P2P. It should indeed be experimentation time in this channel. Major content companies can participate at very little risk by putting some of their deeply archived, least monetized, long-tail content into P2P trials. Let material that is not the highest value content travel freely and find new ways to monetize it. There are many new interactive advertising and value-adding layers and payment mechanisms. Experiment and then scale what works.

The Grokster decision should be a clear green light that P2P is legal; inducement to infringe copyright is not. Going after end-users for enforcement purposes is a failed proposition, however. Encouraging content to be redistributed with new forms of monetization will be the winner. We need to get away from proprietary formats and embrace P2P in intuitive ways and couple it with operating systems. The industry needs to relate to the way content actually is being redistributed in terms of developmental priorities and not fight it. Don’t block applications. P2P will become much more integrated into the online environment in the future; not just files, but also acceptable levels of security integrated into our digital-social fabric.

Bruce Benson concluded with his observation that the entertainment industry is indeed evolving to digital distribution – and that such iconoclastic developments as music companies learning to market MP3s rather than DRM’d content may be coming, as well as movie companies adopting new approaches to market their entire libraries online despite legacy sequential-distribution windows. What’s working in P2P is free content. What’s not working is paid content. We need to take a lesson from the video/DVD market, which learned that it could more than makeup with high volume lower-unit-cost transactions (rentals) what it lost from relying exclusively on sales.

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe (Pt Three)FTI Consulting believes it could generate sixty cents per view in ad-supported P2P movies for example. There is the opportunity to put whole libraries to work in this channel. The problems are rights complications, executive bandwidth, etc. – business issues rather than technology issues. Copyright laws are outdated and the US Congress writing tuck ‘n fixes for what has become too complex is no longer going to be effective – copyright laws can’t deal with mash-ups for instance. Rights holders should digitize everything and clear the rights to be able to monetize their works as new P2P models become clarified. We will see the completion of a cable by-pass online, and content elasticity will continue to expand as YouTube has so aptly demonstrated.

Audience questions ranged from how to get tech savvy kids to pay for content to how to convince ISPs that P2P can provide desired quality of service (QoS) levels. Answers confirmed that people will pay for convenience, value, and reliability; and enhanced hybrid P2P systems can do this better than alternatives.

All affected parties need to participate actively in developing a new commerce engine, which is different from just putting up toll-booths. It’s time for more resources to be directed towards creators and innovators. This is a uniquely open environment with the lowest barrier to entry of any channel and enormous possibilities. Share wisely, and take care.

Part one of the coverage – Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe.
Part two of the coverage – Next Generation P2P – Digital Hollywood Europe.

Reproduced with permission of the DCIA. For more information, plan to attend the day-long P2P MEDIA SUMMIT NY on February 6, 2007.

Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe: Synopsis (pt 2/3)

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe (Pt Two)Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) gives us a synopsis of the Next Generation P2P sessions at the recent Digital Hollywood Europe conference held in London’s docklands.

Ingjerd Jevnaker (pictured right) distinguished the use of P2P for live streaming as separate from file sharing. P2P essentially means interconnecting users computer-to-computer on the same level, and this can be to share bandwidth as well as content. There should be no contradiction between P2P and protecting content. Because of legacy issues tainting P2P’s image, however, some successful P2P applications don’t advertise that they use P2P – and users don’t care. Meanwhile, other P2P networks have increased their popularity with almost a revolutionary appeal to consumers by emphasizing P2P. The biggest emerging failures are digital services that use DRM in too draconian a manner. Flexibility is needed.

P2P companies now are either going open source and in some ways underground and non-commercial, or working to get consumers to sign onto licensed models. We need to encourage the technology sector to support and advance legitimate uses of P2P on multiple networks; and we need to encourage the entertainment sector to think about alternative business models, such as adopting RawFlow streaming and integrating ad-supported commercial content with user-generated content (UGC). In the coming future, there will be no more TVs – PCs will become the video appliance.

Les Ottolenghi explained how P2P is a superior delivery method for rich media content, with INTENT MediaWorks now delivering 370,000 licensed files per day up from 10K/day a year ago and participating in such groundbreaking efforts as the recent Coca-Cola sponsored Jay-Z P2P-exclusive promotion. INTENT uses DRM to track content, converting the open P2P universe into an ecosystem for legitimate business, which is emerging as primarily ad-supported. Licensed content is provided free, giving instant gratification to end-users, with the result that 84% of discovered files are retained. Unified file-discovery across all P2P and social networks has also emerged as an important attribute for success; hence INTENT has just launched its DelveDown service to provide that functionality.

Fostering the community nature of the channel is also very important, and P2P is uniquely configured for social networking. Post-Grokster, major entertainment companies are showing more interest in working with INTENT and, globally, copyright court cases have reduced the reluctance of majors to move forward and embrace P2P. It is critical not to let telecom firms dictate what happens regarding further innovation by eliminating net neutrality. We also need to work to make files smarter – so that content packages themselves have intelligence – plus continue to improve interoperability and attract higher quality content to be licensed for P2P.

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe (Pt Two)Daniel Harris (pictured right) provided Kendra’s perspective on P2P from its alliance of content owners and software makers. Daniel’s vision is that any application on any device should be able to browse any catalog, and there should be universal interoperability. Record labels have had different ways of managing their catalogs, historically; now we need to show them that with P2P it is possible to aggregate databases and achieve across-the-board content monetization. P2P can bring benefits of non-centralized search and publishing to all sorts of content databases.

P2P can be used for information transfer – not just file transfer. Standardization will help make this a commercially viable consumer medium. It is increasingly futile to pursue legal strategies when open standards are proliferating. Huge advancements could be made in commercial development by simply bolting payment systems onto traditional P2Ps and letting developers earn money by working to make this happen. It is time to embrace, support, and extend P2P with open standards to build a market that has enormous potential. Let’s empower developers to make this succeed with the reality of more open standards.

Trevor Albery cited Warner Bros.’ recent development of new business initiatives in the P2P sphere, while also continuing a strong focus on anti-piracy activities. Examples include licensing BitTorrent and the joint venture announced earlier this year with DCIA Member arvato mobile using its GNAB platform for the In2Movies service in Germany. So far, these approaches have involved offering filmed content in traditional business models, but with a P2P delivery aspect. It is still the very early days for the P2P distribution channel, and now is the time for experimentation in what is a nascent industry in order to learn what will work best.

There should be no apologies for the Grokster case, which was about profiting from inducement to infringe copyright, not about P2P technology. Today’s challenge is to build good services that will excite consumers and compete with unlicensed online content. There may well be more litigation, as the channel continues its legitimization. We need to bring all stakeholders together to make DRM work better so that P2P can safely monetize content. P2P will find its place among distribution channels, while DVDs will continue and other electronic distribution will as well.

Anthony Rose outlined Altnet’s experience from 2001, when, in retrospect, its approach was ahead of its time. Altnet pioneered DRM-protected content distribution through open P2Ps, but major entertainment content rights holders initially resisted. Now that legal settlements are complete, however, Altnet is finally obtaining licenses. Its newest offering, the Global File Registry (GFR), connects people who own content with people who use content. Five years ago, there was much innovation in the P2P space, but then Web 2.0 became more innovative as P2Ps faced litigation. Now we are at a stage where the transport layer for P2P works quite well, but how people use it is still not working as a business. We need renewed innovation here – for example, with better indexing technologies – so that users will not be polarized.

Of concern is the fact that dispute settlements have bi-furcated the development community into those who want licensed distribution and those who are trying to anonymize usage. What should be obvious is that value will be generated by large-volume licensed-content distribution. Social wrapping in P2P is also an area of high potential. Consumers are more empowered than ever and, therefore, trying to dictate their behavior harshly will fail and drive them to the waiting darknets. The desire for control must be tempered; the winning play will be one based on equilibrium. The future will bring an increase in hybrid systems with a mix of centralized and distributed servers.

Part one of the coverage – Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe.
Part three of the coverage – Next Generation P2P – Digital Hollywood Europe.

Reproduced with permission of the DCIA. For more information, plan to attend the day-long P2P MEDIA SUMMIT NY on February 6, 2007.

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe (pt 1/3)

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyMarty Lafferty, (pictured right) CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) gives us a synopsis of the Next Generation P2P sessions at the recent Digital Hollywood Europe conference held in London’s docklands.

The Next Generation P2P sessions spread over the morning and afternoon with speakers including CacheLogic CTO Andrew Parker; Digital Containers CEO Chip Venters; Friend Media Technology Systems (FMTS) CTO Jonathan Friend; RawFlow Marketing Manager Ingjerd Jevnaker; INTENT MediaWorks CEO & Co-Founder Les Ottolenghi; Kendra Initiative Founder Daniel Harris; Warner Bros. VP of EMEA Anti-Piracy Operations Trevor Albery; Altnet CTO Anthony Rose; CyberSky-TV CEO Guido Ciburski; Oversi VP of Strategy and Legal Affairs Dr. Nimrod Koslowski; and FTI Consulting Senior Managing Director Bruce Benson.

Andrew Parker (pictured right) opened by noting that P2P first moved to the forefront of digital media distribution in 1999. It has since become the single most dominant Internet protocol now representing 65%-to-75% of all online traffic globally. Remarkably, each time that adverse pressure has been applied to slow its growth, the technology has moved forward to wider adoption. Now, economic incentives are driving content owners to explore the benefits of embracing P2P, which holds the potential to provide a near broadcast environment online.

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood EuropeThere are still many technical challenges to overcome to achieve the full potential of P2P as an entertainment distribution channel, however, and CacheLogic is working in this arena with several critical offerings. It is important at this juncture to avoid a pendulum effect from swinging too far in the direction of extreme control with overly restrictive DRM implementations.

Chip Venters (pictured left) postulated that P2P is the ideal protocol for super-distribution based on the exploitation of payment systems traveling with content files – digital containers that persistently send information back to content providers – for example, when a file has moved or copies have been made. P2P today represents a market of 200 million consumers, but with not much yet available for sale to them.

Synopsis: Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood EuropeP2P has gained considerable credibility since the establishment of the MGM v. Grokster inducement doctrine, and leading content owners are no longer focused on bullet-proof encryption as a pre-requisite for exploring P2P, but rather on how to make money. The current DRM mantra has become “keep honest people honest.” We need to move beyond proprietary and walled-garden approaches in digital distribution; content must be able to be readily redistributed usably. With the coming of IPV6 and virtually unlimited IP addresses, Digital Containers’ harnessing of P2P will have even greater applicability and value.

Jonathan Friend expressed the view that there needs to continue to be a strong anti-piracy focus to fully develop the commercial potential of P2P. The fact is that the majority of P2P content continues to be copyright-infringing, despite court rulings and enforcement efforts. User education has also been deficient, with some 60% of P2P users not even aware of the legitimate uses of P2P. Disturbingly, too, is that recent dispute settlements have propelled an accelerated migration to open-source client development, which along with commercially beneficial attributes, has also brought a greater emphasis on techniques to guarantee user privacy, exacerbating the challenges faced by interdiction and other enforcement initiatives.

What is needed now is to combine FMTS’ more advanced anti-piracy efforts with other activities, such as marketing campaigns and educational programs. The inevitable movement to open standards must be guided towards positive aspects such as interoperability, and the industry will find additional business uses of P2P as the growth of decentralized networks continues to expand.

Part two of the coverage – Next Generation P2P: Digital Hollywood Europe.
Part three of this coverage – Next Generation P2P – Digital Hollywood Europe.

Reproduced with permission of the DCIA. For more information, plan to attend the day-long P2P MEDIA SUMMIT NY on February 6, 2007.

Kazaa Owners Settle Lawsuits Globally

Kazza Owners Settle Lawsuits GloballySharman Networks, the company that distributed the file-sharing software, Kazaa, has finally come to an agreement with the media companies that have been chasing them for years throughout courts around the globe.

The details of the settlement was covered by secrecy clauses, but the Associated Press is reporting the settlement figure as $115m, which they say has mostly been paid by Sharman already. The media companies will drop all of their law suits.

As part of the settlement, Sharman has agreed to discourage online privacy using ”all reasonable means.’ How this is be achieved is unclear. Kazaa was specificaly designed to be distributed, making it’s very hard to have any control over the network. It’s design would make the use of filtering software, which would remove or block copyright material, difficult.

Being upbeat Nikki Hemming, CEO of Sharman Networks, enthused, “This settlement marks the dawn of a new age of cooperation between P2P technology and content industries which will promise an exciting future for online distribution in general and Kazaa users in particular.”

Kazza Owners Settle Lawsuits GloballyIt’s understood that the settlement doesn’t require the media companies to provide their content to Kazaa, but equally it doesn’t forbid Kazza carrying copyrighted material, if done ‘legitimately.’

Given the software has been downloaded over 398 million times to date, the media companies could well see the benefit utilising the P2P network.

There was some shock in November last year when Grokster, who like Sharman made software for distributed file-sharing networks, changed their minds and closed down their service.

NTL And BitTorrent Announce P2P File-Sharing Trial

NTL And BitTorrent Announce P2P File-Sharing TrialMajor UK consumer broadband providers NTL are teaming up with BitTorrent, the developers of the world’s most popular peer-to-peer (P2P) application.

The download service will offer a large variety of licensed video content for purchase in the UK, including popular films, music videos and TV programmes.

BitTorrent’s enormous bandwidth-hogging qualities has proved expensive for some Internet providers, but NTL are looking to speed delivery and reduce network costs by using CacheLogic’s caching technology which stores frequently downloaded files within the NTL network.

NTL believes that this combination will provide ultra-fast download speeds of broadcast quality content – or, as Kevin Baughan, their director of network strategy liked to call it, a “transformational video downloading experience.”

BitTorrent is already firmly established as the de facto tool of choice for connoisseurs of pirated TV and movie files, with BitTorrent traffic estimated to hog around a third of all internet bandwidth, and an even higher ratio on NTL’s network.

NTL And BitTorrent Announce P2P File-Sharing TrialNaturally, rights holders and movie heavyweights weren’t too chuffed to see their content whizzing around the Internet for gratis, and quickly hired in squadrons of lawyers to apply pressure on BitTorrent.

Late last year, a deal was struck with the Motion Picture Association of America to remove copyrighted material from the search engine, and the company has since been in talks with movie moguls and Internet service providers to find ways to use the software for the distribution of legal, paid-for downloads.

“NTL has seen a huge percentage of their traffic in the BitTorrent protocol,” said BitTorrent President Ashwin Navin. “But in the past, neither rights holders, ISPs nor BitTorrent derived any economic benefit from it.”

NTL’s trial is expected to start next month and run through the summer, with a small initial sample group of around 100 homes.