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11/29 2008 | 10:50 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Apple continues to find itself in hot water over its decision to support strict copy protection standards with its new line of Macbooks. Owners of the new generation of Macbooks and Macbook Pros were up in arms last week about the fact that HD movies bought at the iTunes store wouldn’t show up on many external displays, such as LCD screens or digital projectors. Instead, users were greeted by a warning that their displays were “not authorized to play protected movies.”

Apple reacted to the brouhaha this week with a Quicktime update that disabled the copy protection scheme. That apparently wasn’t enough to appease the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The open source advocacy organization just started a holiday-themed “35 Days against DRM” campaign that attempts to point out flaws of consumer electronics with DRM support and dissuade shoppers from buying them, one device a day. Think of it as an advent calendar from the Church of Linux, if you will. Apple’s new Macbooks have the dubious honor of being featured on the campaign’s very first day. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/26 2008 | 09:14 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The Pirate Bay is celebrating its fifth birthday this week, complete with a special anniversary logo and a blog post that makes fun of Swedish and U.S. anti-piracy efforts and claims that even George Bush knows the founder’s names. Humility was never really one of their virtues, I guess.

In fact, if it’s one thing that helped the Pirate Bay to become the BitTorrent power house that it is, it’s that distinctive mixture of populist rhetoric, the always-deferred promise of huge announcements and continuous nose-thumbing at Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry. Here are five of the most memorable moments of the Pirate Bay’s glamorous history. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/25 2008 | 10:22 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
A team of computer scientists from Northwestern University has started to utilize Bittorrent as a seismograph for network problems. Users of the popular Vuze / Azureus client can install a small plug-in to take part in the "Network Early Warning System", or short NEWS.

pic of news test

Once installed, the plug-in will start to exchange data with other NEWS users in an attempt to spot any unusual latencies or interruptions. From the NEWS website:

"As a user, you want to be sure that you are getting the service that you're paying for and be notified quickly about network problems, especially those that can lead to compensation for service interruption. For ISPs, this software helps to quickly localize and identify network problems so they can be fixed more rapidly and make users happy. "

The NEWS plug-in has been downloaded some 13,000 times so far, but it obviously works better if more people use it. The team behind NEWS is working on a complementary application that makes it easy to gather reports about network conditions from NEWS participants, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. They plan to offer this application as a free download starting next week in the hope that it will be used by ISPs to respond to network issues more quickly.

11/24 2008 | 01:24 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Former Limewire developer Adam Fisk is officially launching his new browser-based P2P service Littleshoot this week. Mashable had a good first review of the service last Friday, and a post on Lifehacker also seems to have generated quite a bit of interest. I met up with Fisk in Los Angeles late last week did a short video interview about the service for P2P Blog.



Littleshoot is in short a browser-based P2P service that is based on the open source SIP protocol. The service also offers search and download capability for various other media services, such as Youtube, Yahoo's video search and Limewire / Gnutella.

It features a nifty integration of Yahoo's Flash media player, making it possible to play back MP3s you download right in your browser. One interesting technical aspect about it is that it making substantial use of Google's App engine. Fisk is also working on a Twitter integration right now that will make it possible to share media files through Twitter in your browser.

You can hear more about all of this in the interview - that is if the coffee house noise deoesn't distract you too much. I guess I gotta get myself a good lapel mic.

11/21 2008 | 03:30 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Torrentfreak reported yesterday that the French music industry has sued Soulseek after also taking Vuze, Limewire, the long-defunct Morpheus and the open source hosting site Sourceforge to court. Soulseek has been a well-known secret amongst music sharing enthusiasts for a long time. The system initially just focused on electronic music, but now serves many non-mainstream niches.

I've been following Soulseek for a long time and in fact still have physical copies of the first two Soulseek Records releases in my CD shelf. I also did an early interview with Soulseek founder Nir Arbel in 2002, which at the time got published by the German electronic music magazine De:Bug. Obviously a lot of things have changed since then, but I think at least parts of the interview are still relevant, which is why I decided to re-publish it on P2P Blog in light of the lawsuit, minus a few parts that aren't that interesting to this adience or don't make sense at all anymore six years later.

One should note that I wasn't able to find the original transcript of the interview on such a short notice, which I believe was done through the Soulseek chat. Fortunately someone decided to re-translate it to English after De:Bug published it in German. There is a chance that the back and forth between the two langages introduced a few inaccuracies, but I think it's worth reading nonetheless - especially when t comes to the last question. I tried to get back in touch with Nir today to get an update, but haven't heard anyhihng back. I'll publish an update as soon as I do.

So here we go:

DEBUG: With which filesharing networks did you as a user feel more comfortable?

NIR: I love the audiogalaxy design very much. Features like the artist-orientated clubs or the possibilty to write comments on tracks. That s extremely community-orientated. KaZaa is some technological wonder, but the community-features are even worse then in Napster.

(...)

DEBUG: And what do musicians and record companies say about soulseek?

NIR: Most of them either don t know about soulseek or they don t care. Up to today none of them took a position. Once we got a polite letter from Warp with the request to filter out some special tracks, but that was all.

DEBUG: What did you answer them?

NIR: I explained to them, it wouldn t be technivally possible, cause the server doesn t care about search requests. And that we re a very small and very specialized filesharing community. That our case would be more to inform us mutual about new music, then to steal music, we otherwise would buy. These days i had this suspicion that this might not be true. So i asked the people within our messageboard in a poll. It seems that pretty everyone of us is buying at least as much music as before soulseek. A small minority is buying less. That confirmed me that we help the genre. I hope that labels for electronic music and their musicians can acknowledge that.

(...)

De:Bug: Can you tell us something about the architecture of Soulseek?

Nir: Sure, but I can t promise, that it will be the same when this interview will be published. While working for Napster, I have learned a lot about the pros and cons of systems with centralized servers. When decentralized networks got suitable for everyday life, I looked at them in order to make Soulseek scalable. Soulseek is now a hybrid of centralized and decentralized networking. That means that it can be shut down as easily as Napster. But a Soulseek server is scaling much better than a Napster server. Besides, we have features that are only possible in a centralized system, e.g. the chat rooms and the system of recommendations.


De:bug: How can someone picture the division of work between central server and decentralized network?

Nir: Soulseek works with two different, nearly completely disjoint networks. The centralized one, in which every user is connected to the server, and the decentralized one, in which the server operates as a top node, but almost every user is connected to another. This decentralized network inherits the inquiries und looks more like KazaA than Gnutella.

(...)

De:Bug: What are you going to do about the future of Soulseek?

Nir: Absolutely nothing. I m enjoying it as a platform for learning and experimenting. Maybe I ll get sued, or maybe I won t feel like it someday.

De:Bug: What would happen, if someone is going to sue Soulseek?

Nir: I d give up and release the source code.

11/21 2008 | 03:11 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The accelerating economic downturn is taking its toll on the entertainment industry, with DVD sales lagging and Blu-ray sales disappointing, according to the New York Times. DVD sales are down 4 percent so far this year, the paper reports, citing data collected by Warner Brothers. The results for the third quarter are even worse, with a 9 percent drop overall and a steep 22 percent decline for new titles, according to numbers from Nielsen VideoScan quoted by the Times.

Meanwhile, free online content is doing better than ever. Hulu attracted 5.3 million unique visitors in October, a nearly 90 percent surge over the previous month. The Pirate Bay doubled the number of simultaneously connected users within the last six months, reaching a total of 25 million peers in November. The site’s admins apparently couldn’t quite believe their logs either, asking somewhat perplexed: “Wtf is going on(?)” The answer, in short, is this: We are in a recession. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/20 2008 | 12:00 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
This is pretty ingenious: Stuart Langridge was bothered by the fact that his torrent downloads were eating up all of his bandwidth, making it impossible to do other things. His solution? A short Python script that stops all of his torrent transfers whenever he is on the computer, and resumes them as soon as the screen saver kicks back in. This hack was made possible by Transmission's API, and the script can be downloaded here.

Another solution would of course have been to implement some sort of Quality of Service traffic management, preferably on the router level, as it is possible with advanced open source router firmware platforms like DD-WRT - but then again, QoS isn't really all that flexible when it comes to different contexts, so why not regulate the software on your machine directly?

11/20 2008 | 09:06 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The DCIA has just published videos of its recent P2P & Video Conference on the Abacast website. The videos feature presentations and discussions with folks like Mediadefender's Director of Sales Chris Gillis, Pando CEO Robert Levitan, Brand Asset Digital Co-Founder Joey P., Nettwerk COO Keyvan Peymani, Boxee's Dave Mathews and others.

I couldn't get the videos to work in anything but IE on Windows, but maybe some of you have a little more luck.

11/19 2008 | 10:14 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
I somehow missed this one last week: Billboard did a long interview with not one, but three EMI execs about the record company's history, current state and strategy going forward. Especially interesting was the part where Doug Merrill, EMI's president of digital, commented on the label's decision to abandon DRM on iTunes and other download stores.

Merrill said that the move towards MP3 only has been great for the company and that DRM in his eyes doesn't provide a value to the fan or the label. DRM was setting the wrong tone with the customers, Merrill said, because the message was that a musician's label didn't trust his fans. Therefore, abandoning DRM was good for consumers and artists.

So what about piracy? Have there been any more files traded since the company decided to forgo content protection? Merrill doesn't think so. Here's what he told Billboard:

"The pirates are doing a busy business regardless. The best way to get a pirated copy probably isn't to buy it from iTunes and then push it. We didn't see the needle move at all on [piracy]."

11/19 2008 | 09:57 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
YouTube users upload tens of thousands of clips every day, and only a select few go on to become true viral success stories. But what’s really going on when videos that feature things like a dog on a skateboard, otters holding hands or the evolution of dance go viral? Two Switzerland-based scientists have analyzed the popularity of nearly 5 million YouTube videos over a period of eight months to find out.

Riley Crane and Didier Sornette of The ETH Zurich found that 90 percent of all YouTube videos never get any significant bump, but instead just attract a steady flow of viewers. Meanwhile ten percent of them, according to the study that was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences magazine, exhibit “herding behavior,” meaning that the clips either become viral or get a spike in views because of being featured on YouTube or elsewhere. Further, viral videos tend to get more views on average than featured content or one-hit wonders. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/17 2008 | 04:29 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
I've been saying for a while now that Akamai missed out on a huge opportunity after they acquired Red Swoosh for 19 million dollars in 2007. There was a chance to expand the CDN market towards user generated content hosted on blogs and social networks, but Akamai instead just decided to ... do nothing, I guess.

At least that's what the company did with Red Swoosh's domain name Redswoosh.com. Akamai apparently somehow forgot to renew it, and now it's in the hand of god knows whom, hosting a generic ad-laden landing page.

To be fair, Redswoosh.com wasn't Red Swoosh's primary domain name, which instead was Redswoosh.net. That domain is now forwarding to a subsection of Akamai's site that deals with he company's "Netsession Interface", which presumably is just another name for the Red Swoosh client.

11/17 2008 | 10:29 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Market researchers from Multimedia Intelligence estimate that the value of all music swapped via P2P last year was 69 billion dollars. The number is coming from the same report that I recently referenced in a posting on Newteevee.com about the fact that legal P2P is growing faster than unlicensed file sharing, but that illegal downloads will continue to dominate.

The report also predicts that the number of full-length movies traded on P2P networks will grow almost four times until 2012, and that the overall amount of P2P traffic will grow almost 400 percent in the same time frame.

Of course one should always take those notes with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to estimates about lost or potential revenue. The record labels have long made the case that file sharing has cost them billions, but the actual loss is of course hard to estimate because we simply don't know how many records someone would hve bought if he or she didn't get them for free.

Multimedia Intelligence does acknowledge this, pointing out that the 69 billion dollars figure is not actually lost revenue, but rather based on the number of tracks traded worldwide and their far market value - which I guess would be one dollar per track in the US.

The fair market value would obviously change if you changed the way the market itself works, let's say by introducing a collective licensing scheme. Still, the number could be a good reminder that there is a whole lot of money left on the table.

11/15 2008 | 03:31 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Duke University has just announced a significant change of policy related to the RIAA's so-called pre-litigation settlement notices. The music industry has been sending notices of infringement to universities all over the country that just featured the IP address of a suspected infringer.

Duke and many other universities have forwarded these letters to the students in question to give them a chance to settle with the music industry and avoid a costly lawsuit. Well, that's not gonna happen anymore at Duke - unless the record labels prove that any actual infringement occurred. An article in the Duke Chronicle quotes the university's Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta with the following words:

"What we're saying is that in order for us to pass on a settlement letter to a student, we're going to start requiring evidence that someone actually downloaded from that student. If the RIAA can't prove that actual illegal behavior occurred, then we're not going to comply."

This announcement has been received with a kind of muted satisfaction in the P2P community. Good first step, but it won't fundamentally change anything, many seem to think, with the prominent Anti-RIAA lawyer
. I do however think that this announcement is actually kind of a big deal: Read Moneta's words again, and you'll understand that a respected institution like Duke just questioned the validity of music industry's entire lawsuit campaign.

The RIAA's lawsuit are based on the assumption that sharing files online is in itself already an act of distribution, no matter whether people actually download them or not. Duke is however now insisting that the labels submit proof that such downloads actually occurred. And no, they can't just download the MP3s in question themselves, because it has to be a downloaded by a third party, as the Chronicle article explains.

Offering such a proof is technically possible in at least some cases, like for example the first seeder of a BitTorrent swarm, but it would be tough to wage a mass-scale lawsuit campaign against file sharers if it wasn't for the so-called "making available" theory. Critics of the lawsuits have tried to undermine this theory, and they have had at least some success with this in the courts.

Still, most people have so far accepted that sharing files - even accidentally - is the same as distribution actual copies of a work. Duke's announcement is a significant sign that this assumption is increasingly getting challenged.

11/15 2008 | 03:30 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Commercial P2P, we hardly knew ye: The recent shake-up at BitTorrent Inc., which consisted of replacing its CEO, losing its president and firing half of its workforce, has fueled speculation that P2P as a B2C business model is dead. Mashable writer Paul Glazowski mused the other day that, “[T]he legit, utopian vision of paid-for P2P downloads is headed for a depression,” while the typically upbeat P2P news site Slyck.com contended that “things could get dicey” for BitTorrent and other, similar startups.

Actually, things already have, at least in terms of the number of people that have been laid off. BitTorrent went to 18 employees from 55 in just four months, and Vuze recently confirmed two rounds of cuts totaling 24 people. P2P advertising startup Skyrider closed shop completely in October, and file-sharing dinosaur Morpheus quietly faded away earlier this year. Still, there is hope on the horizon for P2P startups — if they’re willing to annoy their user base, that is. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/12 2008 | 11:49 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
I will not only attend Newteevee Live tomorrow, but actually do some live interviews on the red carpet. Stop by and say hi if you're around, or tune in on Ustream starting around 8am Pacific. Also, check out the main stream featuring all of the panels as well as the live blogging coverage on Newteevee.com!
11/11 2008 | 10:31 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The folks over at iBored were able to get two interesting screen shots of Limewire's redesigned client.

pic of leaked limewire screenshot

Check out iBored for a second screen shot showing a search results page.

Of course one should note that those screen shots are marked as "early concept art". I've also been told from people in the know that this is not exactly how the final version 5.0 will look like, but that the redesigned UI will be somewhat similar, so these shots definitely offer some clues about what to expect from Limewire's next version - and what can I say? I like what I see so far.

Gone is much of the Java clunkiness that defined Limewire over the last few years, always making it look like it escaped from a weird parallel universe where everyone is still using Windows 3.1. Instead it's been replaced by a much smoother, web-like UI that I believe is based on Xulrunner, which is the same code that's also used for the UI of Firefox, Songbird and Miro.

The library shot offers first clues about the upcoming social features, displaying your friends' shared files right next to your own. Friends that are not online are greyed out in the buddy list. Also notable: the download page displays the upcoming Limelinks ads next to, and not on top of the current serach results. That's definitely a huge improvement that makes it look much more like Google Adsense and should help to differenciate the own ad product from various SEO companies that try to inject "ads" right into the search results.

I wouldn't be too surprised if the Limewire team leaked these screenshots on purpose to get some feedback from its user base. So let's weigh in on it: Wat do you think?

11/09 2008 | 09:16 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Limewire has announced that it will soon release version 5.0 of its popular file sharing client, featuring advanced social sharing capabilities. The new version will allow users to integrate buddy lists from Jabber-compatible services and share files just with their buddies. A tighter integration of the Limewire music store, which I mused about earlier this year, is also in the works. A press release quotes Limewire COO Kevin Bradshaw with the following words:

"The peer to peer world has always had an inherently social aspect to it, and with our next version, we are bringing social sharing to the forefront."

The fact that Limewire will be compatible with Jabber services is kind of interesting, because it means that you for example can almost instantly start sharing content with other GMail / Google Talk users that happen to use Limewire as well.

It's also a clever set-up on Limewire's part. The company, which is still struggling with at least in two legal battles with content owners, has good reasons for not wanting to know who its users are and what they are sharing - but there's nothing wrong with piggybacking on another service architecture that already allows social connections.

I had a chance to chat with Bradshaw at the Digital Hollywood conference the other day, and went away from our conversation with the impression that Limewire's version 5.0 will just be a first step on a slow, measured transition towards a much more social P2P service. It will definitely be interesting to see how those first steps will be received by Limewire's still huge user base.

11/09 2008 | 11:40 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
How does a huge, monolithic and somewhat old-fashioned public broadcaster get the attention of a generation that gets its TV moments via YouTube and BitTorrent? How about a big conspiracy, completely with allegations that the broadcaster is manipulating the public and possibly cooperating with a powerful secret society? That’s exactly what unfolded in Sweden when the publicly-owned SVT network started its participatory drama The Truth About Marika in the fall of ‘07. Marika producer Christopher Sandberg stopped by the American Film Institute’s Digifest in Hollywood this week and shared some rare insights into the drama that received the International Interactive Emmy for being the best interactive TV service earlier this year.

The Truth About Marika was only one example presented at Digifest that merged new media with oldteevee through alternate reality games or similar approaches that transform viewers into participants. Heroes producer Jason Alexander talked about his experience with online storytelling, and the alternate reality game specialists from 42 Entertainment explained how Trent Reznor has used their services to promote his music. The common thread of these presentations: Letting your audience become part of the story has its dangers, but it can also be very rewarding. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/07 2008 | 11:00 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
It’s been a year since Google implemented YouTube’s video filtering in order to stop the upload of unauthorized clips and eventually monetize its users’ uploads. The folks over at ZDNet decided to cover the anniversary with a special 15-page report called The YouTube File (PDF available for registered users only), in which the system receives a largely sympathetic review from NBC Universal Chief Counsel Rick Cotton. The report has Cotton on record with the assessment that YouTube’s filters are “improving month by month” and now catch some 75-80 percent of all illegal uploads.

Others, however, disagree, among them the vendor of a competing filtering solution that puts the number at closer to 3 percent. Google’s response is that some of those videos may have been legitimate copies that were authorized by content owners, and viewing some of the disputed clips suggests that may in fact be the case. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

11/06 2008 | 03:36 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Covering a company like Limewire is fun, but at times a little confusing. Limewire used to be all about its Gnutella client, but has recently branched out and is now operating an online music store, a podcast directory, a social networking / blog site, an experimental web app platform, and soon an ad network, among other things.

Well, what can I say: It looks like the Limewire universe has just expanded yet another time, because the company apparently recently launched a domain name registrar and web hosting service. The site, which is somewhat predictably called Limedomains, currently offers fairly standard deals for bloggers who want to set up an installation of Wordpress or a similar CMS in a shared hosting environment.

pic of lime domains logo

It is run by Lime Labs, which is technically a sister company of Limewire, but the About page lists Limewire execs like Mark Gorton and George Searle as part of the Limedomains team.

Running a domain registrar certainly makes sense for Limewire, because all those folks that start blogs at Limespot.com might eventually want to buy their own domain names. Being a domain registrar is also a great way to make some money with advertising. In fact, many registrars nowadays generate the majority of their revenue with ads placed on parked domain pages. Limedomains pages for parked domains already feature an ad for the pro version of the Limewire client, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see ads from the company's upcoming ad network pop up on those pages as well.

So is it all just a small side project to make a few extra bucks? That's what I thought - until I found this mission statement on the Internic website:

"LimeDomains.com plans to become the leader in domain name registration and hosting over the next 5 years. In recent years, the internet has evolved such that users who used to be primarily information seekers have now started to create a web identity via expression. There has been significant growth in community content driven services like wikis, blogs etc. LimeDomains aims to create a niche in providing individuals worldwide an easy way to host applications by utilizing its next generation hosting platform."


With the next generation hosting platform obviously being Limespot. Or maybe Limebits? Or even the yet to be launched Limemesh.com? As I said: It's confusing.

11/03 2008 | 10:54 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Regular readers of this blog probably know that I've been looking at the popularity of Barack Obama and John McCain on various torrent sites over the last few months. To be honest, I don't necessarily consider this a very accurate way to predict the election, and it's becoming much less meaningful as time goes by.

Early on, Obama supporters mostly traded his speeches and books. Now you get not only SNL clips, but also an amazing amount of ABBA recordings and other stuff dedicated to the candidate.

pic of obama nfo

A political message in an NFO file as the warez scene's attempt to get out the vote is pretty interesting in itself, but it makes looking at seeders and leechers kind of pointless, because obviously not every ABBA downloader supports Obama.

Search on the other hand is a little more significant. Take a look at this graphic from Google Trends for example:

pic of google trends obama vs mccain

Doesn't that almost look like the Rasmussen Poll? McCain is up in September. Then the credit crisis hits the US and Obama's ratings go through the roof ...

Of course this leaves one question: if P2P users overwhelmingly support Obama, who is the P2P industry rooting for? I went over to Opensecrets to find out - and, guess what? Most of the people working in P2P start-ups favor the Democrat as well, and they're willing to spend big bucks to get him into the white house.

Pando CEO Robert Levitan gave Obama 2300 dollars during the primaries and 1000 dollars during the general election. Joost CEO Mike Volpi donated 2300 dollars to the Obama campaign, and one of his managers signed a check for an additional 550 bucks. P2P set top box maker Vudu's employees came up with 1150 dollars. The folks from Skype were even more generous, donating a total of 10,200 dollars to the Obama campaign.

Also in the Obama camp: Bittorrent Inc., where three people have given a total of 1000 bucks to the Democrat's campaign. Among the donors: Bram Cohen, Bittorrent inventor and company co-founder, who actually donated his 250 dollars before the primaries had even started. Two folks at Limewire gave a total of 550 dollars to Obama.

McCain on the other hand doesn't seem to have a lot of backers in the P2P industry. I couldn't find a single donor working at a P2P start-up that gave money to his campaign. To be fair, I might have overlooked a few start-ups, but all the ones that came to mind are either employing Obama supporters or no donors at all.

But there's at least one name on the list of McCain donors that will ring a bell with P2P users: RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol maxed out his donations for the Republican with two checks totaling 2300 dollars.

11/03 2008 | 12:02 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
French new media start-up Zslide is launching the private beta of a free Bittorent-powered file hosting service called Vipeers today. Vipeers is in part based on Zslide's private P2P service Podmailing, which combines server-based file hosting with Bittorent distribution. Vipers however goes one step further, offering unlimited downloads via Bittorrent and HTTP.

I was able to test Vipeers during the last few days and must say that it is a really attractive service, especially compared to one-click-hosters like Rapidshare and Megaupload. Users do have to register for an account first, and the current private beta phase also requires an invitation code. Readers of this blog can use the code P2PBLOG66 to register.

pic of vipeers uploader

Vipeers uses a Java-based uploader to transfer your files to the company's servers, which makes it possible to resume uploads in case you accidentally close your browser or your Internet connection is interrupted. You can also use a new version of the Podmailing client to upload your files, which among other things offers the ability to upload whole directories at once.

The service automatically generates a torrent file and all the necessary links once your file is completely uploaded. Users not only get a direct download link to the torrent file, but also the link to a generic landing page as well as various buttons for blogs and social networks.

pic of vipeers links

The Vipeers landing page gives users the ability to either download a file straight through their browser, or via Bittorrent or Podmailing. Check out the landing page I did for a Creative Commons-licensed copy of my (German language) book Mix Burn & R.I.P. by clicking on the blog button below:

File sharing & torrents by VIPeers


One interesting aspect about Vipeers is that it is completely based on Amazon's S3 and EC2 architecture. Download a torrent from Vipeers, and you're actually using an Amazon EC2 server as a tracker and an S3 server as a super-sized seed box. That's especially great for content that isn't insanely popular. Rare torrents that would die quickly on regular torrent sites are sustainable on Vipeers because Amazon always offers a seed from its servers.

Amazon's infrastructure is also pretty cheap, especially when it comes to the initial costs of scaling your infrastructure. But of course it's not completely free, and serving huge files is going to cost you eventually, even if you use P2P to offset some of the costs. One-click-hosters like Rapidshare have proven that you can make money with file hosting, but they make users jump through painful hoops in order to optimize ad revenue.

Vipeers wants to take a different route. The service doesn't feature any ads at all, and it doesn't make you wait and stare at obnoxious count-downs until you can download your files. Zslide's Louis Choquel explained that his company instead eventually wants to offer premium services. He told me that Vipeers is still working out the details, but mentioned some examples: "Limits on the volume of data you can store at any given time, limit on hosting duration and the possibility to download faster. This makes sense and it is fair to our users", he told me.

So how about he legal side of the service? One-click-hoster Rapidshare has been struggling with court defeats lately, and video hosters like Youtube have found themselves in court because of the uploads of their users as well. "I am not saying that running a file sharing / Bittorrent / P2P service like Vipeers is going to be an easy ride", acknowledged Choquel. "But I think it is worth it. Making it easy with Vipeers to share using Bittorrent is our modest contribution to the Internet. I believe in technology and progress, so I think that a little controversy should not stop us. We are building the future of media and knowledge distribution."