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01/31 2007 | 07:28 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Weblogs Inc. has shut down their Digital Music Weblog today. I've made fun of other Weblogs Inc. blogs here before, but I must say I always enjoyed their online music coverage - especially since they recently made an efford to mix things up with some links to music videos and downloads that gave the blog some personality. Oh well.

Update: Whoops - looks like the Digital Music Weblog isn't the only one being axed. AOL is also shutting down AdJab, Divester, BBHub, PVRWire, The Wireless Report, DV Guru and possibly a few other blogs. Guess the whole idea of massively parallel niche blogging isn't really in style at AOL anymore?

01/30 2007 | 12:03 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Today's the day: Windows Vista is finally being released, and millions of eager computer users will run to Bestbuy to grab a copy just stick with what they have, just as they have done before.

Of course new PCs will be equiped with Vista from now on, so we'll see some new technology reach the marketplace eventually. Part of it will be Vista's integrated P2P networking. Vista offers functions like People Near me to discover and eventually collaborate with other Vista users in your own subnet.

I know, I know. Sounds like Bonjour, doesn't it? Well, People Near Me might now be that original, but Windows has a far bigger market peneration than OS X - and there is a ton of P2P developers for Windows out there that might use this for some interesting new close range applications.

You'll find a more general overview about Vista's P2P technology at CNET and some example code at Codeproject.com.

01/26 2007 | 03:04 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
De:Bug editor Sascha Koesch published some interesting observations (in German) about the controversy between Fox and Youtube / Google on his blog today.

Apparently you don't need an army of lawyers to figure out who posted those episodes of 24 on Youtube. The guy left traces of his identity all over the web, leading to a 14 year old soccer fan living in Switzerland who actually announced in a forum that the cat and mouse game between rights holders and him could take months.

He might be right. Especially if you take the fight to court instead of just issuing take down notices. But hey, that's the price if you want to expand the DMCA ...

01/25 2007 | 10:36 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Ever wondered where all these bogus search results in P2P networks come from? It seems like you can’t use Limewire anymore without getting videos that suspiciously seem to echo your search request, but on playback just open a bunch of pop-ups for adult Youtube clones and classified websites. Find out now at Newteevee.com.

01/24 2007 | 07:17 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The German performing and mechanical rights organization GEMA has won a preliminary injunction against usenet provider Usenext. According to GEMA, a Hamburg district court granted an injunction late last week that bars Usenext from offering GEMA repertoire and specifically targeting users of file sharing platforms.

Usenext is one of several commercial usenet providers that have become popular in recent years. The company is based in London and Munich and has specifically been targeting P2P communities and related websites with ads that promise free and anonymous downloads of MP3s, videos and software.

This injunction is another victory for GEMA in just a few days. Last week the organization announced similiar preliminary injunctions against Rapidshare.de and Rapidshare.com.

Update: Usenext has responded with a press release - see comments.

01/24 2007 | 12:21 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
You can never have too much exposure, right? That's what Lionsgate tought when they sent tons of Crash DVDs to possible Academy Awards voters last year. Apparently they were right: Crash got the prize for best picture, and the Brokeback Mountain folks cried foul.

Waxy.org published an interesting article about piracy and The Oscars yesterday, digging deep into the numbers. One of his findings:

"On average, a screener appears online 24 days before it's received by Academy members."

Of course there is no such thing as too much exposure for P2P technology itself - which is why Om Malik believes that Adobe's cooperation with VeriSign "is a way for P2P to really — really — go mainstream."

Finally, New Music Strategies thinks that there is enough exposure for unsigned bands already. From a rant worth reading:

"We need another new website that promotes unsigned bands like we need a hole in the head. Come up with something clever, by all means — but if you plan to just build a community where unsigned bands can showcase their music to an audience hungry for new sounds, then forget it. The audience is full to bursting, thanks."

01/23 2007 | 02:53 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Remember WASTE, the private, encrypted file sharing and instant messaging software Winamp founder Justin Frankel published in May 2003? WASTE was supposedly released as free software, but AOL wasn't too pleased with this idea and removed the project promptly, only to replace it with some harsh corporate warnings about "unauthorized software". End of story. Right?

Well, not really. Of course a bunch websites started mirroring WASTE, and some folks even continued development for a while. The WASTE community has gotten a little quiet lately, but there is still quite a few folks out there who use the software regularly.

AOL apparently hasn't really given up on WASTE either. A well known patent law firm filed a patent application for a "method and apparatus for secure distributed collaboration and communication" just two months after AOL forced Nullsoft to remove WASTE from it's website.

waste patent 1

Here's a quote from the application:

"The invention comprises a system that permits secure distributed collaboration and communications for small trusted groups of people. The presently preferred embodiment of the invention allows users to communicate and transfer information easily and effortlessly. The invention requires very little administration, and no central server or central administration is required."

The application is very specific to WASTE, describing the encryption model of the application in detail. It doesn't refer to WASTE by it's name, but the images supporting the application clearly show a screenshot of the software. It also mentions Justin Frankel as the inventor.

waste patent 2

Now how does AOL fit into all of this? The application doesn't assign the patent to the company, but the patent lawyers who did the filing has previously been used by AOL. So it's not a big surprise that the apllication's attorney docket number - which is some kind of unique identifier patent lawyers use to easily relate patent applications to their clients - reads AOL0107.

It's safe to assume that Frankel's contract with AOL didn't only give the company the rights to all the software he produced while working for them, but also all other forms of related intellectual property, including patents. This means that AOL might some day be the proud owner of a patent for WASTE.

Other companies in the personal P2P space might want to take notice.

01/20 2007 | 02:01 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Remember that study about 60 percent of all P2P downloads being porn? Turns out that this trend might be much less naughty than we all thought.

According to digital archivist Kurt Bollacker, P2P users are just trying to find ways to preserve the world's knowledge - one money shot at a time, if you will. Bollacker told CNet that archivists should look to online porn for ways to preserve art and other cultural artifacts:

"I guarantee that a wealth of pornography from the late 20th century will survive in digital distributed form (because) it's a social model that's working extremely well."

Interesting idea. I just hope this won't result in people trying to spam this blog with comments about Carl Barks instead of Briana Banks ...

01/18 2007 | 03:43 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The German performing and mechanical rights organization GEMA won a preliminary injunction against the free file hoster Rapidshare. heise online is reporting that the district court of Cologne ordered the injuction to stop Rapidshare from distributing GEMA-licensed music titles.

The business newspaper Handelsblatt is adding that Rapidshare might have to pay 250.00 Euro (about 320.000 USD) if it violates the injunction. It is unclear however how Rapidshare will react and how the injunction is supposed to get enforced. The company was founded in Germany, but has since relocated to Switzerland.

GEMA apparently sees the injunction as a prelude to further action against US-based music and video hosters. A press release of the organization quotes board member Harald Heker with the words:

"These decisions have enormous relevance for further dealings with Web2.0 platforms like Youtube and Myspace."


01/18 2007 | 11:45 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
NewTeeVee.com asked me to write a few lines the Balkanization of Bittorrent. Here's a quick sneak peek:

"There is a real danger that we will have a Balkanization of BitTorrent, with clients fighting over filetype associations and vendors introducing one proprietary feature after another. Think of the media player war, and the way you felt every time the RealPlayer changed all your default settings."

01/16 2007 | 03:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Azureus just announced a deal with Bennet Media Woldwide that will allow them to distribute HD shows via their Zudeo.com P2P download platform. From their news release:

"Among the Bennett Media original productions to be featured in HD on Zudeo include Bikini Destinations, The Wild Side, The Extremists, Xotic Xtreme and Snowology. Bennett Media content will be available on Azureus later this year."

No word yet on the costs of the content. The shows are pretty much the same ones that were licensed to Guba.com for distribution "on a pay-per-view, download-to-own and ad-supported basis" late last year, so that might be an indicator for what Azureus could do with them.

Obviously paying for a show like Bikini Destinations might not be that compelling to the average Azureus user. After all, there is lots of this stuff available for free on your average porn tracker sites like Mariposahd.tv.

What makes this interesting is that Mark Cuban used to show Bikini Destinations at industry conventions back in the days when he wanted to persuade the audience of the power of HD but didn't have Dan Rather yet. In fact, Cuban's network HDNet still lists Bikini Destinations as "original programming".

Now this type of original programming will be available via P2P. Maybe this would be a good time to rethink that whole "HDTV is the Internet video killer" claim?

01/12 2007 | 12:49 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Speaking of television: It looks like Bittorrent-enabled TV sets might not be that far away. IAdea and Star Semiconductor announced this week that they developed a Bittorrent-optimized chipset for consumer electronics devices.

The chip will allow Bittorrent integration for routers, set top boxes and all kinds of other non-PC hardware. Star Semiconductor CEO Steven Huang was quoted in the press release saying:

"Very soon our chip will enable millions of consumer devices to run BitTorrent and help consumers do what they do today on the PC using just a simple remote control."

Netgear also announced a cooperation with Bittorrent this week, but disappointed once you got a closer look at the details. The new Digital Entertainer HD media receiver will feature Bittorrent - on it's website.

The upcoming Bittorrent content store will somehow be inluded into Netgear's web offerings, but there won't be any Bittorrent code in the device itself. Asked by P2P Blog whether Netgear is working on any embedded solutions, their PR spokesperson only had to say that the company "isn't discussing any definite plans" about this right now.

Finally, NewTeeVee is having a more detailed look at The Venice Project. Turns out that TVP, much like Songbird and the Democracy Player, is based on XUL.

This supposedly enables the company to port the program to other platforms than Windows "within weeks not months". Mac OS X users all around the world are asking: So what are you waiting for?

01/10 2007 | 02:40 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Apple's iPhone is making some big waves this week. An editor at one of the papers I work for just told me that they will feature it on page three tomorrow. You heard it right: That in-depth, feature of the day page three that previously was reserved for global conflicts and portraits of world leaders ...

The iPhone hype overshadows the introduction of the AppleTV a bit. Rightfully so, I think, because a home media device without an integrated TV tuner and Tivo-like DVR capabilities just doesn't cut it for me. Of course people will buy it nonetheless. It's an Apple product, after all.

appletv

And there is one feature hidden in the AppleTV that could prove to be quite revolutionary. From the Apple website:

"Apple TV puts your iTunes library — movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts — plus movie trailers from Apple.com on your TV."

I'll give you a hint: it's not the movie trailers I'm excited about. No, of course it's the podcasts. Syncing your RSS-automated downloads with your TV will be a great feature especially for video podcasts. Finally you'll be able to watch shows like Rocketboom, Ze Frank or Ctrl-Alt-Chicken on the very same device that gives you Lost, Heroes and The Daily Show.

I think bringing video podcasts into the living room will have a huge impact on both podcasters and the TV world. Some video podcasts already have more viewers than your average cable TV show. Now they'll be competing head-to-head for the attention of the tech-savvy couch potato. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some cross overs, with cable shows expanding to podcasting or tv show producers leaving the networks behind them alltogether.

And it's not only Apple who is bringing RSS into the living room. Tivo has been experimenting with podcasts for a while now. Sony just this week announced a device called the “BRAVIA Internet Video Link” that will make use of podcasts and user generated video as well. Their press release quotes Sony Electronics SVP Randy Waynick with the following words:

"Internet video will clearly be the next step in the evolution of high-definition television, giving users more control over the content they view."

The Sony device will apparently just be a small module that connects your TV to your home network. So it won't be another set top box that comes with yet another remote control, but more like a small network adapter that, according to Sony, "is easily attached and concealed behind the TV for a clean, integrated appearance – even when hung on the wall."

RSS is coming to your living room, and TV viewing will never be the same again. I can only hope that Tivo is understanding where this is going - and that the only chance to compete will be to open the device instead of trying to establish yourself as a a new gatekeeper.

01/05 2007 | 02:38 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
I'm experimenting a little bit with Swivel.com right now - it's a pretty neat site that allows you to create graphs on the fly. You share your data with other users of the site who in turn can use it to come up with their own correlations.

Here's a graph I just made that shows the growing - and by now waning - popularity of the XViD format in the warez release scene:

XviD and SVCD

Note that the actual data for this graph might not be that accurate. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything about DVD-ISOs, which should have been a nice addition to this graph.

01/05 2007 | 12:11 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
All this excitement about Prosper and other forms of P2P lending sometimes lets us forget that there has been a framework of semi-centralized P2P banking in place for many years - credit unions.

Some folks from the Burning Man community are now rediscovering these community-owned financial institutions and plan to open their own, which will be called the Black Rock Federal Credit Union.

Jesse Robbins recently got to present a short lightning talk about these effords at Ignite Seattle. Here's the video:



Now, there's a few things that have to be said about this video. In Jesse's own words:

"1. I was, in fact, drunk when I wrote and presented this talk. I feel the need to state for the record that this event was held in a bar which didn’t have food and I’m I lightweight because I don’t drink that often. So… moving on…
2. I was wrong about Credit Union capitalization."


It's nevertheless a very spirited talk entertaining. And it's good to see that people start incorporating open source software and web-based social communities into the credit union movement.

Ignite Seattle was / is an unconference organized by some of the folks from O'Reilly. Every talk is just five minutes long, so it's easy to catch up afterwards. Curious? Then just grab the torrent with videos of all the pesentations.

(via O'Reilly Radar)

01/03 2007 | 01:36 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The German IT news website heise.de is reporting today that two powerful members of the EU parliament want to broaden criminal enforcement rules against copyright infringement. Janelly Fourtou, who is married to the former Vivendi CEO Jean-René Fourtou, and her colleague Nicole Fontaine want file sharers to be treated the same way as commercial infringers.

Fontaine and Fourtou introduced several amendments to the second Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive that is currently being debated by a committee of the European parliament. Some of them just consist of striking the words "on a commercial scale" out of the original proposal, thus making every act of copyright infringement a criminal offense.

Others target specific types of copyright infringement. One example: Tourists that bring home counterfeit DVDs from their vacation could be treated the same way as the producers of these products. From the amendments:

"For the purposes of this Directive, 'counterfeiting' includes: (a) holding with no legitimate reason, importing under any customs arrangements or exporting goods presented under a counterfeit trade mark;"

Fourtou and Fontaine also want to increase minimum maximum (see comments for explanation) penalties for copyright infringements to fines of at least 600.000 Euro for serious cases, with the ability to go to ten times the profit made by the counterfeiter.

01/01 2007 | 08:20 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Is it too late of yet another look back at 2006? Not according to VH1, those folks are still busy reviewing the 80ies. Anyway, here's a quick list of the most popular stories of 2006:

1. Allofmp3 is giving away entire catalogue

2. 60 percent of P2P video downloads are porn

3. Allofmp3 vows to continue despite tougher copyright laws

4. Azureus 3.0 and Zudeo: Some first impressions

5. Germany: P2P lawsuits cost taxpayers millions

6. Allpeers review

7. Rob Lord: Songbird will be more disruptive than Firefox

8. TIOTI: The next step for Bittorrent TV downloading

9. Online Music Recorder: A free replacement for Allofmp3.com?

10. Snocap starts selling MP3s through web widgets

P2P Blog started in early summer 2006, and the first few months were admittedly a little slow, so this list might not be the best indicator for what was really important in the P2P space in 2006. But it's still always nice to take a look back.

Oh, and while we're at it ... here's the list of most requested search engine key phrases that led folks to P2P Blog:

1. relakks
2. allpeers review
3. azureus 3.0
4. redswoosh p2p
5. doubletwist ventures
6. zudeo
7. p2p blog
8. p2p
9. relakks review
10. music for masses

Okay, enough lists and charts. 2006 was an exciting year to start P2P Blog, and I think 2007 will have a lot to offer as well. So stay tuned, and happy new year!