You are currently viewing archive for December 2007
12/29 2007 | 12:25 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
2007 has been the year of the P2P CDNs. Akamai bought Red Swoosh, BitTorrent started to showcase their DNA streaming solution, and Pando inked a deal with NBC to P2P-power the distribution of shows like Law & Order through the network’s NBC Direct download service. Combining traditional CDNs with P2P makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, but unfortunately it doesn’t make the platforms themselves any better.

In other words: Just because something uses P2P technology doesn’t mean it won’t suck. Platforms that suck won’t find any users, and platforms without a solid user base can’t leverage the potentials of P2P. Call it Joost’s Law if you will. So how do you stop things from sucking? By acknowledging that P2P is about more than just saving a few bucks. Continue reading at

12/26 2007 | 12:01 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) wants European ISPs to build the copyright equivalent to the Chinese firewall, and its counting on the help of European lawmakers to achieve this goal.

The music industry association approached the EU parliament with a set of recommendations to "develop cooperations with ISPs", something that the paper calls "key to the future of the music business." So what can ISPs do to cooperate, you might ask? Well, that's easy: Just filter out any illegitimate content, block P2P protocols and block access to websites like The Pirate Bay. That's all.

Here's what IFPI exactly has in mind:

ISPs should use acoustic fingerprinting-based filtering solutions like the one industry darling Audible Magic is offering to block any transfer of unlicensed sound recordings. The IFPI paper likens this to filtered / licensed P2P applications like iMesh and Kazaa, but it doesn't even specify whether these filters should only affect P2P, meaning that possibly every song transfer via IM or FTP could be affected as well.

ISPs should also block any type of Bittorrent or Gnutella traffic. From the paper:

"It is (...) possible for ISPs to block their customers' access to specific P2P services that are known to be predominantly infringing and that have refused to implement steps to prevent infringement, while not affecting regular services such as web and email."

And finally, ISPs are supposed to block "infringing websites" that are located in "rogue jurisdictions" or "refuse to cooperate" with the industry. One example quoted is, another one is The Pirate Bay, a site the IFPI calls "an infamous infringing service locaded in Sweden".

The German IT news website is reporting that IFPI has succeeded in getting some political support for these ideas. The Committee for Culture and Education will decide in January whether they want to incorporate recommendations for ISP-based filtering into a dossier about the future of cultural industries in Europe.

This in itself may sound like a small step, but the EFF Europe is already up in arms about it, calling ISP filtering "an ill-considered and damaging quick fix."

12/23 2007 | 10:07 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The WTO has ruled that Antigua can ignore US trademark and copyrights as long as the US isn't willing to allow its citizens to use Antigua-based online casinos. The ruling is following years of complaints from Antigua against the US, and its supposed to compensate the small Carribean island for its losses due to US online gambling restrictions.

But the ruling doesn't mean that Antigua can start the next - or at least it won't be able to operate it for very long. Antigua has only been awarded damages of 21 million dollars per year. The US has in the past declined to pay any money to Antigua, so the Island will be able to ignore international trade and copyright agreements until it has reimbursed itself for those 21 million dollars. The ruling has a specific list of rights Antiguans don't need to follow anymore:

" Copyright and related rights. Trademarks. Industrial designs. Patents. Protection of undisclosed information."

It's not really clear yet how Antigua wants to adhere to the piracy cap of 21 million dollars. Maybe every of its 690000 citizens will get 300 free song downloads? We'll just have to wait and see. The New York Times however believes that Antigua won't be the last country fighting for their right to pirate:

"By pressing its claim, trade lawyers said, Antigua could set a precedent for other countries to sue the United States for unfair trade practices, potentially opening the door to electronic piracy and other dubious practices around the world."

Maybe Hollywood should stop harassing teenagers with cell phone cameras and start fighting against farm subsidies instead ...

12/20 2007 | 06:52 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Some things never change: The Sony Store / showcase at the San Francisco Metreon blocks access to this blog. Users of the store's free Wifi are greeted by an error page that explains why:

"The Websense category "Peer-to-Peer File Sharing" is filtered."


Blocking file sharing seems to be somewhat understandable if you're operating an open access point with limited bandwidth. But blocking texts about file sharing? That's odd - but I'll take it as a compliment. :)

12/20 2007 | 12:45 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
South Korean Internet users regularly utilize their super-fast broadband connections to stock up on blockbuster movies, according to a new study. Nearly half of the respondents of a survey conducted by the Korean Film Council said they have downloaded movies through file-sharing services, The Korea Times reports, with the typical user downloading 54.4 movies a year.

South Korea is often referred to as the future of broadband, with 90 percent of all households connected to the Net at high speed. No, we’re not talking about the type of slow-poke DSL that telcos euphemistically call broadband in the U.S. Think 40 Mbit, straight to your living room. And apparently South Koreans are putting these blazing-fast speeds to use. Continue reading at

12/18 2007 | 11:57 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
No, I haven't fallen of the face of the earth, I just had to deal with a mixture of food poisoning, cold / flu and pre-holiday heavy workload. Oh, and I got a new toy this weekend that's been keeping me busy ...


I'm on assignment for this, so I won't write too much about it here, but I thought it was worth mentioning that the Chumby uses an integrated Bittorrent client to distribute system updates.

Not sure if this could in theory be used to transform this little guy into a full-fledged Bittorrent device. It has limited RAM and no long-term storage, but then there are those USB ports for mass storage devices ... any tinkerers out there?

12/13 2007 | 03:05 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Now this is what I call market share: BigChampagne and Digital Music News just put out a joint report that finds Limewire is installed on 36.4% of all PCs worldwide. These findings are based on an analysis of more than 1.6 million PCs done by PC Pitstop - a company that offers users free online diagnostics and in turn collects marketing data about the install base of popular apps.

A market share of this magnitude isn't exactly new for Limewire. Pc Pitstop found the file sharing application on 34.1% of all inspected machines just a year ago. A press release from Digital Music News and BigChampagne has research analyst Richard Menta saying:

"Limewire continues to be the iTunes of P2P by a wide margin ... but growth has remained flat over the last several months."

One aspect not mentioned in the press release is that PC Pitstop only analyzes Windows PCs. I'd suspect that the market share for OS X users is even bigger, considering the fact that Limewire has been one of the most popular Mac downloads for years.

12/12 2007 | 12:27 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
TV execs aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of the writers’ strike. If repeats and reality programming end up ruling the airwaves in the coming months, a plethora of web sites devoted to hit shows like 24 or Lost could also be affected, notably torrent sites and other P2P communities that draw a sizable audience of TV show fans from all around the world looking for their latest fix. The question is: How will they be affected, exactly? For better, or for worse?

eztv-24.jpgWill the file-swapping pace on sites like The Pirate Bay, Mininova or EZTV die down due to a lack of new releases? Or will the opposite happen, with people flocking to P2P communities to rediscover old favorites and take their shot at some foreign goodies? We talked to Eric Garland of the media measurement company BigChampagne to find out. Continue reading at

12/11 2007 | 06:28 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
An unknown number of German file sharers have received a cease and desist notice complete with a bill for 250 Euros for sharing pornographic movies in recent months. The letters are coming from the German law firm kuw that previously was involved in a mass enforcement campaign against users who shared a pinball game. Back then, kuw partnered with the Swiss anti-piracy company Logistep to send settlement invoices to some 12.000 German file sharers. Users who didn't settle and pay up were threatened with civil litigation.

kuw has apparently been hired by various German porn companies to repeat the same strategy. It's unknown how many users are involved in the current wave of cease and desist notes, but it looks like they're again targeting a massive amount of downloaders. A copy of one of the letters obtained by the German online magazine shows a bar code, presumably used to automate registration of incoming signed c&d notices.

porno candd

The letter relates to a movie called "Saphira - Fick mich", which translates to "Saphira - Fuck me" that was downloaded through Bittorrent and produced by the German porn company Videorama. The letter also refers to a company called "Copy Right Solutions GmbH", who supposedly logged the file sharers IP address. The Copy Right Solutions website reads:

"Although pirates might have a different opinion, we consider ourselves the good guys dealing efficiently with the dubious business of illegal filesharing. With our know-how and our experience, we are fighting a daily war against illegal downloads, against illegal seeders and leechers."

250 Euros may sound a little bit much for a movie with a somewhat questionable name, but it does seem like a light slap on the wrist, especially compared to the thousands of dollars US file sharers have to cough up to settle with the music industry. Unfortunately those 250 Euros are only part of the story. kuw obtains the names of file sharers by getting authorities to start criminal investigations, and those can continue even if users settle civil claims.

12/10 2007 | 02:10 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Isohunt admin Gary Fung just came out with an interesting statement that hints at a dramatically different future for the embattled Bittorrent website. Fung used the Isohunt Forums this weekend to out himself as a believer in doing the right thing, which for him means "that you should not steal", adding: "No, I'm not being hypocritical, and the MPAA didn't tell me so."

Instead it was Larry Lessig, says Fung, who is full of praise for Lessig's book Free Culture. Being a Lessig disciple of course also means praising Creative Commons. From the article:

"You want to save P2P? BitTorrent? File sharing? isoHunt? Then take your anarchist sentiments and eat it, because all you will get is being labelled pirates and thieves and that's not cool. Instead, get as much adoption of Creative Commons licensing as possible, then we can all share our hearts out on more CC licensed materials on isoHunt and BitTorrent and P2P networks without legal repercussions or risk of starving your favorite artist or actor or film maker."

Embracing Creative Commons isn't just a sentiment for Fung. Instead, he sees Isohunt moving towards CC licensed content. Does that mean that all unlicensed torrents will vanish from the site? Fung hasn't come out with any details, but he hints at big changes ahead:

"And Creative Commons is isoHunt's future, you can interpret that however you like. More on that too as things develop. Next year you will see interesting things, I assure you. "

12/08 2007 | 01:26 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
It’s that time of year again, when many of us are rushing from mall to mall (or site to site) to buy gifts for all those important people in our lives. A Wii for a few lucky ones, a Zune for the less fortunate, and a Ze Frank action figure for that burgeoning web video director. But we’re not the only ones getting ready to hand out presents.

Lawmakers from both parties just introduced an intellectual property bill that reads like it’s straight off the wish list of the entire entertainment industry. Also advancing in Congress is a controversial bill that aims to strengthen copyright enforcement at universities. And finally, there’s been a few gifts from the courts this week, as well. Google won against dirty picture publisher Perfect10, and the same company also suffered a defeat against Visa and other billing service providers. So what does all of this mean for you? Continue reading at

12/05 2007 | 11:31 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
When Michael M. Belmont, a.k.a. M dot Strange, heard that his recently released animated movie We Are The Strange had been leaked onto torrent sites, he immediately fired up his email client. But he didn’t send out DMCA takedown notices to stop the unlicensed distribution of the movie he had worked on for three years. Instead, he thanked the pirates for the free publicity: “I’m glad to see it being released and possibly finding more strange people who appreciate it.”

In fact, Belmont was so happy about his movie being pirated that he recorded a hilarious five-minute rant on video and uploaded it to YouTube. In it, he explains that he’s gotten tons of new traffic, sold “more than two” DVDs, and overall really appreciates what he calls the “torrentrical” release of his work. Continue reading at

12/03 2007 | 02:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Limewire is gearing up for the launch of its online music store by adding a browser to their Gnutella client, and apparently it has been quite a hassle to integrate it.

Many new media players like Miro or Songbird are based on Mozilla's XUL framework, which is the same code that Firefox is based, so they basically have web browsing capabilities built in from the start. Limewire however is Java-based, and that seems to be a completely different story. The official Limewire blog has all the details for hardcore Java fans:

"So a JDIC browser would use a native browser on each OS and simply paint it on a heavy weight AWT component. The only problem was Sun dropped the ball."

The rest of us should take notice that a browser integration isn't only great for integrating the upcoming MP3 download store into the client, but also for the type of contextual advertising Limewire wants to roll out at some point in the future. And who knows, maybe they'll even realize that social network they've been thinking about for years?

12/02 2007 | 12:32 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Vuze CEO Gilles BianRosa almost didn’t make it to NewTeeVee Live two weeks ago, because his company was busy filing a petition with the FCC to stop ISPs like Comcast from interfering with P2P traffic. The petition has since gotten a lot of positive feedback from consumer and industry associations, but BianRosa sees it as just a first step. He primarily wants the FCC to step in and mandate a hands-off approach — but he also wants to start a dialogue with ISPs about the future of P2P and network management.

Granted, government mandates aren’t widely considered great conversation starters. Then again, a company that publicly denies any wrongdoing, even in the face of hard evidence, isn’t your average coffee-shop flirt. So how are things going with the FCC petition, what are the next steps, and what does all of this mean for the debate about net neutrality? We caught up with BianRosa this week to get an update. Continue reading at