Archives

You are currently viewing archive for October 2007
10/31 2007 | 05:32 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The Pirate Bay will move away from the BitTorrent protocol within the next 12 months, one of the site’s admins has announced in a video interview. The Pirate Bay is actively developing its own, yet-to-be-named P2P protocol that will feature added security measures to foil spammers and other enhancements. The team is said to already have a working software in place but is still hammering out the details of the protocol itself, which will be open source.

This announcement could be bad news for BitTorrent Inc. and anyone who is using the BitTorrent protocol as a basis for commercial applications. The Pirate Bay claims to have between 1.5 million and two million visitors per day and is certainly one of the biggest and most prominent torrent sites; it could probably get a significant amount of its users to switch to a new application utilizing a different protocol. P2P users have proven to be less than loyal to their preferred sharing platforms in the past, abandoning Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa and many others over the years in the search for the best file-sharing fix — so why should this be any different? Continue reading at Newteevee.com.

10/30 2007 | 12:55 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Pirate Bay admin Brokep traveled to Berlin to attend the Oil of the 21st Century conference this weekend where he was interviewed by the German blog Netzpolitik.org. The video interview, which is available here, is at times a little slow for people familiar with the P2P scene, but there are some interesting tidbits in there as well.

Most notable is probably that Brokep is talking a little bit about the new P2P protocol that is being developed by the Pirate Bay and how it will affect the site. The crew apparently already has a working client, but is still adding some features, one of them being metadata right within the Torrent file or its equivalent.

Asked about the future of the Pirate Bay, Brokep explained that he doesn't see the site supporting Bittorrent much longer. In his own words:

"I think we will still grow for a couple of months or maybe a year, and I don't think Bittorrent as a protocol will survive much longer. So if our new protocol works, we will be one of the big websites still. If it doesn't, maybe someone else takes over."

Broke also explained why the Pirate Bay wants to replace Bittorrent with a new protocol - and the reasons are not all technical:

"The biggest problem is that it's owned by the Bittorrent company, which developes new versions of it. So we don't have any input as users to say what we want in the protocol. And Bittorrent is funded by companies which we don't necessarily like as well."

Watch the complete interview here.

10/29 2007 | 06:13 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
It looks like the anonymous blogger who uploaded a fake OS X Torrent late last week has managed to become one of the most-hated persons of the P2P scene. Even the usually well-behaved readers of this blog had some strong words for him. Apparently people didn't really care for the amused style of writing he cultivated on his blog while people were downloading terabytes of useless data in hope of getting OS X 10.5.

Turns out it wasn't all just a big joke for Marc aka rubyonnails3000. He made some interesting observations during the whole process that may hint at possible solutions to limit the effect of fake uploads. From Marc's blog:

"While the community work seemed promising at identifying fakes, the technical infrastructure failed miserably. Especially the torrent's automatic and unchecked redistribution has caused much harm. While sites like The Pirate Bay can't do much about the latter, it's up to the users to pay much more attention wether their favorite torrent sources are hosting first-hand or crawled content."

His fake OS X Torrent was quickly scraped and redistributed by sites like Fulldls.com, Btmon.com, Seedpeer.com and Torrentportal.com. Taking down the original on The Pirate Bay had no effect on this redistribution. The downloads were facilitated through a total of ten different trackers, up from the two Marc used originally.

But the Pirate Bay was apparently a big part of the problem as well. Says Marc:

"The Pirate Bay also failed to harm distribution by not taking the torrent's tracker offline after removing it from their webpage. Distribution could have continued anyway through DHT, but this way it was even more efficient. Users, who didn't visit TPB regularly, could furthermore get the impression that everything was still fine."


He also suggests that there might be some other technical tweaks site admins could take to limit the spreading of fake files, like banning Torrents with irregularities immediately. At least some of the admins seem to appreciate those thoughts. One member of the Torrentbox team left this comment on Marc's blog:

"Ouch, we got it off TorrentBox quite late indeed (I myself deleted it actually), not our style usually. We get dozens of fakes a day and it's quite a hard job to deal with them all, yours just slipped through I guess. ;)"

10/29 2007 | 11:00 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
I'm at the DCIA's P2P Advertising Upfront today, which coincides with Digital Hollywood. Unfortunately there's no wireless available in the conference room itself, so I won't be blogging the event. Note to self and others: The Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood is s terrible place to throw a conference ...

There are a few interesting things scheduled for today though, a first look at Limewire's new music download store being one of them. Maybe I'll have a chance to write down a few impressions later today. Meanwhile, if you're around and you happen to read this on your Edge-powered iPhone (fat chance), feel free to say hi. I'm the guy in the bubbly shirt.

10/28 2007 | 09:56 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The open source iTunes alternative Songbird is gearing up for its 0.3 release. It's officially called a developer preview, but it looks like adventurous music lovers will have a lot new stuff to play with as well. One important new feature, realized via Songbird's plug-in architecture: The Mozilla-based media player is now compatible with Greasemonkey, making it possible to use thousands of Greasemonkey scripts right within Songbird and extend Songbird with custom-made Greasemonkey scripts.

greasebird

Greasemonkey is originally a Firefox extension that offers the ability to customize your web experience through scripting. There are for example tons of scripts for GMail that add features like previews and macros to the web mail service. There is a bunch of media related scripts out there as well, some of which could be really useful within Songbird.

Songbird is an interesting alternative to media players like iTunes because of its web-centric approach. Users can browse MP3 blogs and other web pages right within the player and access the linked MP3 files automatically, essentially transforming every web page with MP3s into a playlist. Songbird makes extensive use of Mozilla code. Songbird founder Rob Lord told P2P Blog last year that he thinks Songbird might one day become even more important that Firefox:

"We believe lightning doesn't strike twice. Firefox was downloaded more than 200 million times since it's 1.0 has been released. It would be insane for us to think that we could be so wildly succesful. That said, we think Songbird is more of a disruptive innovation in its category than firefox was in its category."

Read the complete interview with Rob Lord here.

10/27 2007 | 09:31 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Hollywood has just suffered another defeat in the fight against prerelease piracy, The Wall Street Journal reported this week: American Gangster appeared on the streets and online more than a week before its theatrical release date.

americangangster.jpgThe movie is apparently ripped from a DVD, resulting in far better quality than your average hidden camera recording. Universal is denying that DVDs sent to Academy Awards members are the source, but one of the “NFO” files accompanying the online release nevertheless states: “God bless the Awards screener season.”

Of course, this wasn’t the first high-profile movie that found its way onto the Net ahead of its release, but according to the Journal, Hollywood is getting better at preventing those leaks. We wanted to know if that’s true, so we compiled a quick list of the top-grossing new releases of the last 10 weeks and their respective online appearances. Think of it as a prerelease piracy score card. Continue reading at Newteevee.com.

10/24 2007 | 12:08 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
You've read the review of Wua.la, the secure and private file sharing / distributed storage platform, and now want to give it a try yourself?

Sure, go ahead. P2P Blog has been able to secure 50 invites for the current private Alpha test of Wua.la. Just go to p2p-blog.wua.la, use the invite code p2p-blog and download the client. Have fun with it, and don't forget to share your opinions in the comments!

10/23 2007 | 05:00 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Universal's Total music initiative may not be the iTunes killer it wants to be, but it definitely has reignited the discussion about music price points and sale vs. rental approaches.

UK-based "music service provider" Playlouder chimes in now with some interesting market research related to the idea that ISPs should pay for the music subscription and trading of their customers. Playlouder paid a market research company to ask 800 Britons whether they'd like to pay a flat fee to their ISP and in return get unlimited access to music via downloads, streaming and file sharing.

They would, according to a summary of the research published on the Playlouder Dev blog. From the summary:

"75% agreed that the MSP service is "a great idea"
61% agreed "it is unique"
32% said that they "have been waiting for a service like this'"


Asked how much they'd pay for such a service, most people replied that 10 British Pounds (about 20 weak US dollars) per month sound like a reasonable price. 70 percent also responded that they'd consider switching to another ISP to get access to such a service. Sounds like a good strategy to get new customers if you don't want to participate in the Telco-financed dumping price race.

Of course one should take all those results with a grain of salt, since they were directly paid for by Playlouder, and the company doesn't reveal the exact methodology of the research. And finally, people might be disappointed to find out that Playlouder's own internet and music access package is in fact not as unlimited as it wants to be. The company's current beta test is lacking music from most of the major labels. So far, only EMI signed up - and promptly forced Playlouder to protect their music with DRM.

10/22 2007 | 12:05 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Apple is gearing up for the release of OS X 10.5 this week - and the file sharing world is preparing for a big release as well. Who knows - maybe we'll even get to see another Pirate Bay doodle.

os x torrent

The Pirate Bay actually was the first Torrent website that carried a copy of the final DVD last Friday. An uploader who called himself "rubyonnails3000" accompanied the release with a few words of true Mac fan boy-ism:

"Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard 9A581. It's the production master. The real deal! Read the attached text file. I release this only for those who can't wait. Please pre-order anyway!!!"

Some Pirate bay users doubted the authenticity of the release. One called "fAkers_annOy_Me" even spread the message in huge ASCII art letters: "FAKE!" Others apparently weren't so convinced - and the fact that somebody would scream fake only made them more curious. Said one user:

"I say, lets trust till we prove it to be fake. I am excited! Hope its 'the real deal'."

Turns out it wasn't. Sure, rubyonnails3000 kept sticking around on The Pirate Bay, discussing his upload and defending it against any doubters. But he also secretly started a Blogspot blog, documenting that the whole thing was really just an experiment to see how fake files are spreading on P2P networks. From the blog:

" What is it like to be a fake uploader? I have been askeding myself for a long time. What makes people do this? It obviously isn't solely the professional business of anti-p2p companies. Often you find copyrighted material just renamed, porn, and sometimes very benign or even funny stuff. So what's the motivation behind it? As I couldn't ask anybody, I just tried it myself. And I know I shouldn't say this publicly, but it was (and still is) quite amusing."


The blog is documenting hour by hour how many people are downloading the Torrent despite growing evidence that it might be fake. People even keep downloading by the hundreds after the Pirate bay deleted the release, and somebody finally uploaded it again on The Pirate Bay after finding it on another site - but apparently before testing. rubyonnails3000'sfinal words:

"Dear Pirates I apologize! I was not the hero to steal this precious gem from Steve Job's strong room. I'm sorry for disappointing your hopes - but hey, it's only five days left! I thank the people who stayed positive throughout the whole discussion on TPB. It's only a download, nothing to get that personal about! I have also downloaded a lot of fakes in my life and that kind of shit just happens."

(via x-foto.ch)

10/21 2007 | 01:25 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
So why again did Snocap, the P2P filtering company that changed its business model to sell MP3s via Myspace, fire 60 percent of its workforce a week ago? Maybe because they didn't sell any MP3s. CD Baby founder Derek Sivers has a long post about his company's relationship with Snocap on CDbaby.org that really puts things into perspective:

"Then the sales reports came in. $12,000 total sales for the 8 months they'd been active. Since we keep a 9% cut, that's $1080 for us, total. Ouch. As a curiosity, I quietly enabled MP3 sales on cdbaby.com, without telling anyone. A "buy MP3" button showing up next to the "buy CD" button. In 3 weeks, with no announcements, we sold over $110,000 in downloads. Hm. "

Snocap was founded by Napster inventor Shawn Fanning and originally wanted to assist P2P vendors to offer filtered and licensed platforms. One of the companies that relied on this was Mashboxx, the P2P venture of Grokster founder Wayne Rosso. I wonder what is gonna happen to that beta test now ...

10/18 2007 | 04:13 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Countless internet users might soon receive spam e-mails that promise them a "new global sharing network" full of MP3s, movies and games. The network goes by the name of Krackin, and the picture in the e-mail will make it look like so much fun!

krackin

Unlike many spam e-mails this one is actually somewhat accurate. Users who install the attached file named krakin.exe will actually join a global sharing network, but for the fun part: Not so much - unless they enjoy being part of a global botnet called storm that is used for spam e-mails and DDOS attacks.

Storm has been around since early 2007, and security researchers estimate that there are as many as 50 million infected computers taking part. Parts of the network, which itself is using encrypted P2P traffic, are apparently for sale to the highest bidder.

It seems like there is a new scam every few weeks to get people to join storm. TrendMicro, the security company that found out about Krackin ahead of time, estimates that the spam mails promising P2P networking fun will hit users within the next few weeks.

10/17 2007 | 11:46 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
All the excitement about new lawsuits against companies like Usenet.com almost makes you forget that there are some really old fights still going on. Like the lawsuits of the music industry against Streamcast Networks, the makes of the Morpheus file sharing software, which just entered its sixth year.

The lawsuit originally included Kazaa and Grokster as well, but Streamcast is the last company that hasn't settled yet, even though it has been on a losing streak ever since the Supreme Court sided with the music industry. The United States District Court Central District of California (yep, that's the name) filed a permanent injunction against Streamcast yesterday, demanding that the company stops distributing Morpheus and stops displaying any advertising on Morpheus clients already in use until it has been able to install effective filters.

Morpheus apparently has been distributing their software since late last year with a home-made, keyword-based filtering system that was based on a list of artists the company found on the RIAA website. Morpheus also stopped their users from downloading any video file bigger than 100 Megabytes and longer than 10 minutes of running time - something that's similar to Youtube's early filtering attempts. Morpheus eventually also included a hash-based copyright filter.

The music industry argued that these filters were ineffective and demanded that Streamcast uses acoustic fingerprinting technology. The court agreed on Streamcast not doing it's homework and appointed a "Special Master" to "aid (the) decision of what constitutes the most 'effective' filtering regiment". It will be interesting to follow this. Decisions on filtering could not only effect the Limewire lawsuit, but also Youtube and other user generated content sites.

The whole court decision is somewhat lengthy, but definitely interesting for all the Grokster geeks out there - most of which seem to be bloggers: EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz started to analyze it in his blog, and Ed Felten poses the most obvious question over at Freedom to Tinker:

"I can understand why the plaintiffs might want to keep StreamCast on life support, in the hope of getting legal rulings that prove helpful elsewhere. But why does StreamCast keep fighting?"

10/16 2007 | 06:22 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Some folks like to think of Usenet as the file sharing world's fight club. Rule number one: You don't talk about Usenet - or else the RIAA will quote you in their next lawsuit, one might add. Slyck's Thomas Mennecke just received the dubious honor of having one of his texts treated as evidence in the lawsuit against Usenet.com.

slyck in usenet.com lawsuit

From the lawsuit:

"Newsgroups are widely touted - in numerous publications, Internet postings, and other media - as a great source of infringing material, one that is superior to P2P services. See, e.g., Thomas Mennecke, "Bittorrent vs. Usenet", Jan. 9, 2007, available at http://www.slyck.com/story1376.html (comparing Usenet favorably to Bittorrent as a piracy tool)"

Of course the whole notion that rights holders wouldn't be aware of something as old and popular as Usenet is somewhat silly. In fact, record labels and movie studios have been sending cease and desist letters to Usenet providers for years - here is an example from early 2002. The only one who has been ignoring this inconvenient truth are users who are downloading content from Usenet providers, simply because they enjoy relative anonymity. At least for now.

10/16 2007 | 12:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Billboard is reporting that some of the major record labels have sued the Usenet provider Usenet.com. From the article:

"The complaint, filed late Friday in the federal District Court in New York, alleges that Fargo, N.D.-based usenet.com enables and encourages its customers to reproduce and distribute millions of the labels' recordings without permission. Specifically, the complaint alleges, usenet.com loads online bulletin boards or "newsgroups" obtained from the usenet network onto its server. It then sells access to the newsgroups that it has chosen to host on its usenet.com service. The suit claims that many of the newsgroups that usenet.com chooses to offer 'are explicitly dedicated to copyright infringement.'"

This could be an interesting test case for the DMCA, and definitely one that many Usenet providers and ISPs will be watching. I'm not sure why the labels decided to go after Usenet.com. Was it the name? Or does it have something to do with the fact that Usenet.com apparently didn't respond to DMCA take down notices?

The DMCA will be at the center stage should this case come to trial. The Grokster decision will definitely play a big role too, but there are some other legal precedences for this case as well. Here are just two:

Parker v. Google dealt with an author who objected to Google archiving his own Usenet postings. The author lost, and the court found Google wasn't lable for direct, contributory or vicarious copyright infringement.

Ellison v. Robertson, et al. was the case of an author sueing, among others, AOL for hosting Usenet groups that were used to distribute his works. The case itself ended with a setttlement, but it's interesting because major record companies sided with the author in a friends of the court letter.

Update: Wired.com is now hosting a copy of the lawsuit.

10/15 2007 | 09:37 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Remember 0xdb? The same folks who brought you this highly experimental yet very interesting P2P-based film database are organizing an event at the end of this month in Berlin that is called "The Oil of the 21st Century." It's about a new era of copyright warfares - and the new class of irregular combatants that you meet in file sharing networks and at pirate cinema events these days.

oil of the 21st century

From the website
:

"'Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century' - this quote by Mark Getty, chairman of Getty Images, one of the world's largest Intellectual Proprietors, offers a unique perspective on the current conflicts around copyrights, patents and trademarks. Not only does it open up the complete panorama of conceptual confusion that surrounds this relatively new and rather hallucinatory form of property - it must also be understood as a direct declaration of war."

The conference itself is on the 26th, 27th and 28th of October, with a preview being given at the 18th. Everything is going down in Berlin, but there will also be follow-up events in Umea, Sweden as well as Bombay, India. Sounds like a really interesting series of events. I won't be able to make it to any of them, but I hope there will be some kind of video documentation available afterwards ...

10/13 2007 | 09:41 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Fellow European Dominik Grolimund recently stopped by in Los Angeles to show me the new distributed storage and sharing platform Wua.la. He gave me the chance to look at it even before Om Malik could give it a try, but I was a little too preoccupied with other projects to review it right away, and Wua.la has since been mentioned on Gigaom as well as Techcrunch UK. Oh well. Maybe I can go for the review with the most buzz words instead :)

So what is Wua.la all about? It's a file sharing application that is built on the notion of secure, distributed storage and social relationships. You can share files with your friends, private groups or the general public - features that are somewhat similar to Allpeers or other private sharing services. It's a stand alone Java application that is available for Windows and OS X, with Linux support promised for future releases. Wua.la is still in closed Alpha, but a beta launch is planed for early next year.

wua.la

There are a couple of things that set Wua.la apart from Allpeers and the likes, with the distributed storage component being one of the most obvious. Sharing files on Wua.la automatically means uploading them to the network, the upside of this being that your contacts can download your files even when you are not online. Files are split up into little pieces, encrypted and then spread around on the network, with each piece being saved on at least five different nodes.

The interesting part about this is that there is a bit of redundancy built into this process: A file might be split into a hundred pieces, but you don't actually need all those exact pieces to reassemble the file. I guess one could compare it to the role of PAR files on Usenet that give you access to extra data blocks in case an original fragment gets lost or corrupted.

Each user starts of with one gigabyte of storage that is initially supplied by the company's servers. You can get extra storage space for sharing some free gigabytes of your own hard disk, but Wua.la doesn't just take anyone. You need be able to accept incoming connections as well as have your client online for at least five or so hours per day to be considered as a node for their distributed storage system. Keeping the client online longer will earn you some extra credits. From the Wua.la website:

"If you provide 10 GB of your local storage and you are online 70% of the time, you get 7 GB of additional online storage."

wua.la

Of course one could argue that storage really isn't worth that much of a hassle in the age of S3, but this is where the second unique aspect of Wua.la comes into play: The platform utilizes an extreme degree of decentralization as a way to protect your privacy. All the metadata associated with your files is stored locally, and private searches are carried out completely independent of the Wua.la server, so the company has no clue what kind of files you and your contacts are exchanging, as long as you don't make them public within the Wua.la network.

This sounds like a wet dream for lawsuit-plagued file sharers, and Techcrunch UK writer Mike Butcher even worried whether Wua.la migh be poised to become "a system to store things you don’t want anyone else to see", whatever that means. Kylie Minogue MP3s?

wua.la

I'm not really sure if Wua.la makes for such a good darknet. Hardcore file swappers tend to share tens or even hundreds of gigabytes, something that would be a little hard to accomplish even for the most generous Wua.la users. I do believe though that Wua.la, or a system like it, could become really important as some kind of secure, distributed storage for the social graph.

Okay, here we go with the buzz words. Social networks like Facebook or Myspace have become the primary way for many people to swap photos with their friends. Flickr and Youtube obviously play a big role in personal media sharing as well, and sites like Pownce merge media sharing with activity streams.

People are however increasingly waking up to the fact that many of these offerings are in fact not as private as they thought. Average users are starting to remove their beer bong pictures from their Myspace profiles because they have heard of potential employers scouring social networks to find out more about the folks they are about to interview. And then there are those privacy glitches. Remember how upset the Facebook community got when the site first introduced news feeds?

Finally, there is the discussion about social network portability and openness. Currently, people are focusing on the fact that Facebook owns your social relationships and that you have to start rebuilding those relationships every time you join a new social network.

Well, guess what? The exact same thing is true for the relationship between people and media. Sure, you can save all your files at Box.net or all your photos on Flickr and then just post an application or a widget on your new profile page. But there is no easy way to give your contacts on Facebook and Linkedin access to a certain file, or even to be selective within a network about who gets access to what. Once you added someone as your friend on Facebook you automatically give him access to all those photos you shared back in those days when you only had your five best buddies as friends.

Media sharing has huge privacy implications, and that's where something like Wua.la could come to the rescue as kind of a secure, personal storage vault for your social graph. Just upload files to the Wua.la cloud, define access rights on a case by case basis, generate links for your personal profiles that are scattered around the web - and you're ready to securely share files with your friends, no matter which service they are using.

wua.la

Granted, Wua.la doesn't have the best Web integration right now. You can link to individual files you re sharing, but there are no widgets, no public profiles and no APIs - something that would make really a lot of sense to get other developers involved and plug Wua.la into other social platforms. But the potential is definitely there, and it will be interesting to see where this is going.

10/11 2007 | 06:04 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Current TV, the Al Gore-backed TV network, is gearing up for a major relaunch of its web site that could help it break away from the nirvana of cable and recapture the Net. The official launch of the site is scheduled for Oct. 16, and Gore himself has been taking a break from the slideshow business to drum up publicity at the Emmys and on The Tonight Show, proclaiming that Current.com will “take interactivity to a new level.” Current.com

A number of beta testers have been able to play with the new site a few days early, and we couldn’t resist sneaking in. The biggest news: Current is dropping the TV. The site, which was called Current.TV in it’s old incarnation, is now simply known as Current. References to the actual TV program have been moved to a side column, leaving lots of space for social news and videos. Continue reading at Newteevee.com.

10/10 2007 | 11:19 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Bittorrent is in the headlines these days for their new DNA content delivery platform. Another offering didn't get quite as much attention: The company also started to invite some publishers to a closed beta test of their new publisher program that includes hosting for up to 100 Gigabyte of content.

Bittorrent has been allowing third party publishers to distribute content through their website for quite a while, but up until now you had to host the content somewhere else to actually keep it available on the network if you didn't want to rely on the good will of random seeders.

Bittorrent is playing a little bit of catch up when it comes to podcasters and online video makers. The copmany has been getting some love from major movie studios and TV networks, but competitor Azureus has been attracting many more independent content publishers. How did they do that? Azureus has been offering to host an inital seed on their own servers since the launch of their Vuze.com platform. The company went even further recently by giving publishers the ability to monetize their content through ads or pay per download.

bt publisher

So how is Bittorrent doing with their new publisher program? Let's just say it's still in closed beta for a reason. Invited users are required to download a separate publisher application that is basically just the old mainline client with some additional Torrent editing features. I hope this will eventually find its way into the regular client - there is really no reason to make people install yet another application.

bt publisher

The application itself does allow drag and drop publishing after you signed into your Bittorrent.com account. Edit some additional details about your files, and your upload will start right away. Or at least that's the idea. I couldn't get it to upload anything because it tried to connect to a non-existing tracker address.

bt publisher

Admittedly, this is a small error that can be fixed quickly. There are some other issues though that might convince people to stick with Vuze instead. One of them: The publisher application only supports single file uploads because it's based on the mainline client. There is no way to, say, upload a collection of pictures or a whole album with lots of MP3 files.

The fact that it's still much easier to find new and non-mainstream content on Vuze.com than on Bittorrent.com might be another reason. Let's see what Bittorrent is giong to do to close the gap.

10/08 2007 | 05:52 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
No? Don't worry, you're not alone. Pretty much everyone has forgotten about Kazaa's ill-fated call to political action back in 2003. Everyone except Mike Fox that is, who still has a poster of those glorious times on his wall.

kazaaposter


Fox still remembers the day he found this poster that can safely be considered one of the great cultural artifacts of the file sharing wars:

"I was leaving a chemistry lab on the University of Washington campus when I encountered this, and the only thought I had was, “I must have this.” I then did as any hardcore P2Per at the time would have done (or should have done); I pulled-out the pushpin, removed it from the bulletin board and took it for my own…"

At least now we know why the Kazaa revolution never played out the way the folks at Sharman networks wanted to. Kazaa's users just kept all those pamphlets to themselves instead of spreading the word about the coming uprising. Guess that's what happens when you rely on people who are used to a free and ever-growing personal media collection ...

10/07 2007 | 12:53 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The gay porn studio Titan Media filed a round of 22 lawsuits this week against porn bloggers and file swappers. These lawsuits are a sign for things to come for the adult industry: more and more porn companies are getting ready to take legal action against file-sharing web sites and their users. There are even preparations to start an industry association to coordinate those lawsuits.

Nobody paying attention to this community is surprised. Adult content has always played a big role in the file-sharing world. The NPD group estimates that as much as 60 percent of all videos downloaded from P2P networks are porn. The real question is: Why did it take the “other Hollywood” so long to do something about it? Why are they about to copy a strategy from the music industry that so clearly hasn’t stopped people from swapping files. And where is that spirit of innovation that is supposed to make the adult industry the motor of technological progress? Continue reading at Newteevee.com.

10/05 2007 | 01:17 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The Pirate Bay is know for their creative doodles that mash the site's iconic pirate ship with corporate logos and pop culture phenomenons.

The vessel appeared inside of an Apple when the first version of OS X for Intel PC leaked on the net. The site became the Grand Theft Bay when everyone's favorite felony video game got released, and it featured the North Korean flag when - well, that was actually an April fool's joke.

burma

These days visitors of the Pirate Bay get to see a different kind of statement. A banner in the top left of the site simply reads "Free Burma" in a font that looks like traditional Burmese characters. The banner links to Freeburma.org - a site that simply features links to Burma activists in Europe, the US, Canada, Asia and Latin America.

I've previously had my problems with the (lack of) political focus of copyleft activists, but I was actually really touched when I saw this banner at The Pirate Bay. It's part of a bigger online movement in support for the Burmese struggle for freedom. A couple of hundred thousand people are connected through Facebook to organize things like the global day of action this Saturday. Some few thousand bloggers took part in a Free Burma action yesterday as well.

Unfortunately the blog action was kind of missing focus. The main goal seemed to sign up as many sites as possible, but visitors of the main site didn't get any encouragement to take action themselves. The fact that the bloggers used banners featuring a rendition of the military junta's flag for Burma that was mashed up with a Christian peace dove didn't really make any sense either.

The Pirate Bay folks have instead chosen to link to activists that need our support - and hopefully get a lot lot more eyeballs through the banner.

10/04 2007 | 11:31 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Your company or college wants to stop file sharing, but is too cheap to get a dedicated traffic shaping solution? Chances are they're instead blocking the download of .torrent files to stop you from getting your latest Bittorrent fix. No Torrent file, not download. Or so they think.

Txtor begs to differ. The site features a number of entertaining reasons why filtering Torrent files is a bad idea:

"1. The technical solution is at most mediocre. Blocking content based on file extension, that's not very web 2.0.
(...)
5. We think it's stupid in a general kind of way."


Reason number six would probably be that it can be easily circumvented - a point that Txtor is proving by making it possible to download Torrent files as simple txt files. Change the extension of the downloaded file, and you're ready to go.

10/03 2007 | 12:02 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Gay porn production company Titan Media has announced that they have sued the author of a couple of popular porn blogs as well as 21 John Does who apparently uploaded Titan films to various one click hosters or streaming video websites.

The lawsuit singles out a Californian who called himself MikeyG on the net and operated at least two separate gay porn blogs that featured content from Titan media. AVN quotes Titan president Keith Webb saying:

"People need to realize that nothing they do online is anonymous. Every single posting, upload, download, or page view is tracked and recorded, and can eventually be traced back to the individual. (...) If you steal Titan Media property, we will identify you and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Titan announced that they subpoenaed various file hosters to get the identity of the uploaders in question. The lawsuit itself doesn't deal with P2P users, but it could be the start of a campaign that will eventually be extended to Bittorent and other file sharing networks. A few studios of the porn industry recently came together in Los Angeles to discuss strategies against online piracy, and some of them apparently want to follow the example of the music industry and sue end users.

Ironically, it looks like Titan Media is about to learn some of the lessons the record labels have been struggling with the hard way. At least one of the blogs that MikeyG used to operate has recently been taken over by folks from Brazil who now continue to distribute unauthorized porn downloads outside of the reach of US courts.

10/01 2007 | 04:21 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The social TV download guide Tape It Off The Internet (TIOTI) will finally open to the public tomorrow. As one of the first sites to combine online TV with social recommendations, wiki features and tagging, TIOTI got some rave reviews when it first appeared late last year for a private beta test. The fact that it offered easy access to torrent downloads of your favorite shows didn’t hurt either.

Now TIOTI is back with a refined design and a bunch of new features. Of course, TIOTI isn’t the only one trying to reinvent the TV guide in the age of the Internet. Sidereel launched with a similar concept this spring, Locate TV just opened up today, offering its users a more Google-like experience, and TV Guide itself has been revamping its website. So how does the new TIOTI stack up against the competition — and how does it walk the delicate line between torrents, TV networks and the world of YouTube & Co.? Continue reading at Newteevee.com.

10/01 2007 | 11:53 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Joost just released a revamped version 1.0 of their client that is available to everybody, so no need for invites anymore. My colleagues over at Newteevee have all the details, including a video interview with Joost CEO Mike Volpi, and Joostteam.com features screenshots of the new client.

I'll probably write a little more about it once I get to play with it a little bit. One thing to watch out for is Joost's performance over the next couple of days. The platform had some serious issues when they started to give out unlimited invites back in spring.