You are currently viewing archive for November 2009
11/30 2009 | 11:55 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor is selling most of his studio and live equipment on Ebay. The auction site currently lists around 20 guitars, and each item is accompanied by the following explanation:

"This is the equipment from the Nine Inch Nails touring Gear and studio rig that we are no longer in need of. (...) We will be listing hundreds of items over the next several weeks such as guitars, keyboards, amplifiers, drums, staging, anvil cases, cables, rack/outboard gear, guitar effects, pedal boards. So keep checking in on our auctions."

nin guitar

Some of the auctions already reached prices way over market value of the instruments, as noted by the Guardian. The paper explains:

"Nine Inch Nails have long enjoyed an interactive relationship with fans. Reznor has given away albums, leaked professionally shot live footage, and was for a long time one of music's most candid Twitterers. If Nine Inch Nails are no longer using some of their equipment, it seems they would rather see it in the hands of fans than gathering dust in a warehouse."

In fact, NIN has been embracing Bittorrent to distribute music and reach fans like no other band. Trent Reznor gave away multiple Creative Commons-licensed albums via torrent sites like The Pirate Bay. NIN also leaked a giant, 405 GB torrent with uncut HD footage, and the band even started up its own torrent tracker to fully utilize P2P.

In other words: NIN are Bittorrent's first rock stars, and these are the very guitars that rocked The Pirate Bay. Still need a present for the NIN-loving P2P enthusiast in your life? Then check out Reznor's auctions here.

11/29 2009 | 03:39 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The popular torrent-indexing site late yesterday took the drastic step of removing all but a few torrents in response to a copyright infringement lawsuit. Dutch rights group BREIN went to court against Mininova in June, and later that summer, the site was ordered to remove any links to infringing content and prevent any further uploads of such content. Mininova is still considering appealing the ruling, according to a blog post published yesterday, but it decided to take down millions of links in the meantime.

The end of Mininova as we know it comes just a few days after The Pirate Bay announced the closure of its tracker. It also marks yet another wasted opportunity to monetize BitTorrrent. Continue reading on

11/27 2009 | 09:05 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Chinese P2P TV start-up PPStream is looking for an additional round of funding, according to Marbridge Daily. The company previously received a total of 30 million dollars from LG's venture subsidiary LB Investment, Ceyuan Ventures and Qiming Venture Partners. From Marbridge Daily:

"PPStream's needs for cash are modest at this point; its main interest is reportedly resources it can gain from strategic investors."

PPStream previously forecasted 12 million dollars in revenue for 2009 and is now saying that it will end the year with "very small" losses.

PPStream apparently isn't the only Chinese P2P TV company looking for more funding. There have also been rumors about PPLive raising more money, but I haven't been able to confirm this with the company.

11/25 2009 | 10:05 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The passage of the EU’s Telecoms Reform package yesterday and a new survey from UK ISP Talk Talk cast new doubts about so-called “three strikes” copyright laws against file sharers, but that doesn’t stop Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jim Gianopulos from suggesting that the U.S. need similar legislation. The European parliament passed a wide-ranging package of regulations for the member states’ Telecom companies. It includes an amendment ensuring that any measures that would cut off end users’ Internet access would have to be “fair and impartial” and offer a “timely judicial review.”

In the meantime, British ISP Talk Talk has reiterated why precautions like these are so important. According to a survey conducted by the ISP, only half of its P2P-using customers actually realize that they have file-sharing applications on their computers. Kids would oftentimes install P2P apps without their parents knowledge, according to the ISP, and hijacked PCs that share files without the users’ knowledge are apparently also more common that we’d assume. Continue reading on

11/25 2009 | 03:28 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Swedish broadcasteer SVT has started to experiment with live-streaming based on Octoshape's P2P plug-in for coverage of the computer gaming convention Dreamhack that is starting tomorrow in the Swedish town of Jönköping. SVT will provide around 10 hours of live coverage of the event online, and the programming will include in-game video of e-sports tournaments, according to The Local. From the newspaper's website:

"The web-based Dreamhack broadcasts will also allow SVT to beta-test a new webcasting technology that the station hopes will allow it to send higher quality video to more viewers. The technology relies on a P2P distribution network, which utilizes viewers’ free bandwidth to send SVT’s video stream on to other viewers nearby."

The Local doesn't mention Octoshape by name, but a quick look at SVT's website reveals that the broadcaster is in fact utilizing Octoshape's technology. Of course, SVT isn't the first one doing so for live video. CNN previously utilized Octoshape for live coverage of the Obama inauguration, serving 25 million streams in the process.

11/24 2009 | 03:07 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
For years, the Pirate Bay was the place to go to if you wanted to share movies, music or other digital goods. Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, who resigned from his job as the site's spokesperson earlier this year, now has his eyes set on a different kind of loot: Sunde is one of the founders of the Swedish start-up Kvittar that promises to keep track of all of your purchases and offer a kind of online locker for receipts. From Kvittar's website:

"Receipts exist almost everywhere digitally today. By tradition they are still printed on paper, which we account for is illogical. Kvittar solves this illogical fact. If you pay with card you can get your receipt secure, encrypted and digitally with the service Kvittar, making them searchable."

The site doesn't offer that many details yet, but apparently consumers would connect their credit or debit cards to Kvittar, thereby giving the company access to their purchase data. Kvittar then saves this data and makes it available online. Here's a quick promo video from Kvittar's website:

Kvittar Intro from Joakim Fors on Vimeo.

The company plans to offer private accounts for 5 Euros per year and business accounts for 10 Euros per year and credit card. Business accounts apparently offer the ability to export the data and use it for accounting purposes.

Kvittar isn't exactly the only company thinking about solutions like this. In fact, another P2P pioneer just recently helped to launch a similar start-up: co-founder and Redswoosh founder Travis Kalanick invested in Expensify, a company that also offers expense tracking through credit card data.

11/23 2009 | 12:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Next time you going to buy some magazines, you might be able to pick up unlimited downloads from as well: The well-known one-click file hoster is beginning to sell prepaid cards through retail outlets in Europe, according to a report from Users will be able to buy cards with varying denominations, starting with a one month membership and going all the way up to a whole year of access.

rapidshare prepaid

Rapidshare has been offering premium accounts for years now. Paying users are not only able to download files at higher speed rates and without waiting, but also upload files as big as 2GB. Critics have long suspected that Rapidshare is essentially making money off of users downloading movies and other copyrighted works, but the company has argued that it's merely hosting and not indexing any files and also offered rights holders various ways to take down infringing content.

Either way, the introduction of prepaid cards could be a big boon to Rapidshare's bottom line: Many European countries make it hard, if not impossible for minors to get credit cards, but teenagers are exactly the audience Rapidshare has been targeting with its Rapidgames section and its upcoming Rapidmusic service.

(via gulli)

11/22 2009 | 10:45 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Forget multitouch: By far the most disruptive — and overlooked — feature of the Flash Player 10.1 beta that Adobe launched this week is the ability to transmit video via P2P multicast. In fact, Adobe built some enhanced P2P capabilities into both the new Flash Player and Air 2 beta that could be used to replicate BitTorrent functionality within Flash, build large-scale P2P groupware solutions that work right within the browser and stream video to millions of viewers without having to pay a fortune for bandwidth.

Adobe has been hinting at big plans for P2P ever since it bought a small P2P startup called amicima in early 2007. It made some of amicima’s technology available to developers about a year ago, but restricted it to small-scale use cases like P2P video conferencing or multiplayer games based on a few Flash players directly connected to each other via P2P. With Flash Player 10.1, Adobe appears ready to open the floodgates. CDNs and P2P video solutions providers would be well-advised to take notice. Continue reading on

11/19 2009 | 11:45 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The Pirate Bay made headlines earlier this week with yet another dramatic announcement, this time that the notorious BitTorrent site’s tracker has been officially shut down. But the move won’t impact downloading, site admins explained on a blog. Trackers are no longer needed to facilitate BitTorrent transfers, the blog entry explained, because decentralized extensions of the P2P protocol are mature enough to pick up the tab. “It’s the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date,” the blog proclaimed.

As always with announcements from the folks at The Pirate Bay, there’s a lot of self-serving smoke and mirrors, mixed with a good amount of hubris. However, the announcement does bring up an interesting question: Is BitTorrent really ready for a world without trackers? We talked to some of the major players to find out. Continue reading on

11/19 2009 | 02:29 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
One-click file hosting services relaunched with an interesting proposition this week: will host any file of up to 5GB for up to seven days for 99 Cents. Payments are facilitated through Amazon Payments. originally launched with free 24 hour file hosting back in August, but temporarily had to shut down because the service got too popular too quickly. "Visits came in from 157 countries and within the first couple weeks of launch we were already seeing terabytes of data per day," Scott Barrow from maker Media Hog told me.

Many other file hosting services have been facing similar issues in the past. Some have shut down completely, while others have been trying to sell subscription services to consumers willing to pay 10 or so bucks per month for an easy way to upload and share files.

So why did opt for 99 Cents per file instead? Again, Barrow: "We think there's a mass market proposition out there for an average user who has to send a large file to a colleague, friend, or family, but doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg and isn't ready to commit to some premium subscription."

He added that many casual users often need file hosting services in the eye of a crisis, and not as a permanent service. That does make sense to me, especially since I've actually been in that very situation myself. I had to send someone a 1GB video file, but the FTP upload wouldn't work. I ended up subscribing for a month to a file hoster, but I really didn't use the service much after that initial transmission. upload

I actually just tried, and it's a pretty painless experience, especially if you have an account (which apparently 98 million of you do, according to Barrow.) You don't actually have to register with at all, so all you need to do is log into your Amazon account, click pay, and the upload starts automatically. Here's the download page for the file I uploaded.

I could see myself using this occasionally, but I'd be a little more hesitant than with a free service. Of course, that seems to be exactly the point of this offering. One has to wait and see whether these occasional use cases are enough to make a profitable business.

11/18 2009 | 10:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Boxee CEO Avner Ronen stopped by our NewTeeVee Live conference last week to officially announce the first Boxee-branded hardware, a set-top box that will be available sometime next year. I interviewed Ronen after his keynote, and he gave me a few more details about both the box itself and the upcoming beta of Boxee’s software, which will be officially unveiled at an event in New York on Dec. 7th.

The upcoming beta is going to be much more media-centric and less application-focused than the current alpha version, which Ronen told me is largely to make it easier to find movies and TV content. Users will no longer have to remember who’s supplying Boxee with what kind of content, but will simply be able to browse a list of shows or search for specific titles. Continue reading on

11/18 2009 | 04:24 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Proponents and opponents of new net neutrality legislation squared off in New York yesterday as part of an Oxford-style debate organized by The participants included Tim Wu from Colombia Law School, AT&T SVP Robert Quinn and Brad Burnham from Union Square Ventures.

What's an Oxford-style debate, you might ask? Here's a helpful explanation straight from the event's web site:

"This debate is not a panel discussion or a lecture. It is a contest, and at its conclusion there will be a winner. Before the event, the audience will vote whether they are for the motion, against the motion, or undecided. The audience will vote again at the conclusion of the debate. The side that has moved the most votes will be declared the winner."

Sounds like fun, right? Well, the event was actually really interesting, as evidenced by the video recording:

However, there's one caveat. The video ends before the votes are in. I asked the Tech Debate folks about it, and they promised to out an extended version up later tonight. Of course, I know you can't wait to find out who won. No worries, I got the official score:

tech debate

The motion, of course, was to pass net neutrality legislation, which means Wu and his crew won this one fair and square.

11/18 2009 | 12:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
This one could be interesting for really obsessive P2P users: P2P GUI makes it possible to remotely control MLdonkey, aMule, rTorrent, Transmission and giFT all through one web interface.

p2p gui

It's based on an executable that starts up a web server on your system and then offers access to three different interface styles. Here's a list of some of its features, taken straight form the P2P GUI website:

"Highly configurable (CSS/JS/HTML/D). No installation needed: download & run. Settings are stored. SSL cryptography. HTTP basic authentification. Flexible api to cover most network features/designs. Preliminary account support. Download unfinished files for preview."

P2P-GUI is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux, and can be downloaded from Sourceforge.

11/12 2009 | 10:56 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
I'm at Newteevee Live today, doing some live blogging for, as well as the occasional interview for the live stream. Go check out the stream and the many posts that will go oup throughout the day, or stop by and say hello if you're there!

11/11 2009 | 04:51 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Remember how iTunes popularized podcasts? The same could soon happen to TV torrenting, thanks to a new BitTorrent application called TVTrigger. Windows-only TVTrigger is like an iTunes for your torrent downloads. It sits on your desktop, giving you access to a programming guide with a few thousand TV shows, complete with torrent links to download each one of them.

Sounds legally questionable? It probably is in the U.S., but that doesn’t bother TVTrigger’s Egypt-based makers, who claim that BitTorrent is legal in their country and they don’t have access to Continue reading on

11/10 2009 | 12:18 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Limewire announced two new hires today: John Pavley is joining the company as VP of egineering and Shoshana Winter as VP of marketing. Winter is one of the co-founders of the pioneering social networking site Six Degrees, which in itself is pretty interesting, but the hire of Pavley should be a real eye opener. Here's a quick bio from the company's press release:

"Pavley comes to Lime Wire from Conductor, Inc., where as Chief Technology Officer, he led R&D, Development, Technical Operations, and IT for the company. Prior to Conductor, Inc., Pavley was Chief Technology Officer of ContextWeb, where he managed R&D, Development, Technical Operations, Q & A and IT with both local and offshore resources. He joined ContextWeb after a term as VP Business Systems Engineering for Yahoo! Search Marketing."

Oh yeah, and before that, he worked for Doubleclick. Just in case you're not familiar with all of those companies: Conductor is doing SEO management and optimization, Contextweb runs a contextual ad exchange and Yahoo Search Marketing is essentially Google Adsense in purple.

Limewire has been working on a contextual ad platform for its P2P client and its growing family of web sites for at least two years now. The ad platform is still in stealth mode, and part of it is actually developed by a separate corporate entity in California, but Pavley's hire certainly tells me that the company is taking these efforts very serious.

11/09 2009 | 12:40 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Networkworld has an interesting, albeit a little ill-formatted interview with founder Garry Fung, who offers a few interesting details about his site. Isohunt is currently getting around 30 million visitors per month, according to Fung, and its MySQL index is a whopping 30 GB. That's a lot of torrent data right there.

Still, he's been able to run the whole site with merely 14 servers, which kind of validates a point I was trying to make a few months back: It doesn't take a lot of hardware or capital to distribute the world's information if you utilize P2P. I'd love to be able to compare this with the number of servers it takes to run Hulu ...

Fung also has some thoughts to share on why he believes copyright owners should and eventually will work with torrent sites, including an interesting tidbit:

"The MPAA is suing us, but one of their members is working with us just like a normal copyright owner should."

Any guesses who this might be?

11/06 2009 | 04:41 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
UK-based P2P video platform VODO published its second feature film on dozens of file-sharing sites Thursday, hoping that worldwide exposure will bring in donations, subscriptions and traditional distribution deals. David Miller’s documentary In Guantanamo, which is the result of a press tour of the controversial detention facility, has been downloaded around 15,000 times within the first 24 hours, according toVODO founder Jamie King.

The site’s first feature, Us Now, got downloaded around 250,000 times since its release in mid-October. Part of the volume is due to VODO’s relationships with a number of well-known BitTorrrent sites, with Isohunt and The Pirate Bay currently featuring In Guantanamo on their front pages. VODO hasn’t been quite as successful in making money from these downloads, but King hopes that a combination of one-off donations and a subscription level for documentary geeks and movie buffs will help eventually make the site sustainable and provide an additional revenue stream for filmmakers. Continue reading on

11/05 2009 | 03:49 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Last summer, a number of big ISPs discontinued their Usenet offerings as a response to an anti-child porn initiative led by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who had called Usenet a major source of child pornography. Time Warner completely gave up on offering Usenet to its customers and Sprint as well as Verizon deleted all alt.* groups from their service. Comcast and RCN quickly followed suit and shut down their own Usenet offerings.

Critics complained that this was an overly broad response to a very small problem. Giganews Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Vogelpohl told me back then that his company offered access to 3.7 billion postings in 110,000 newsgroups. In other words: A lot of content, especially if you consider that Cuomo's office found 11,390 child-porn images in 88 newsgroups. I've been saying all along that ISPs simply wanted to cut costs by shuttering their Usenet offerings, but people in the entertainment industry concerned with piracy were obviously happy as well about big ISPs abandoning Usenet.

Except, it didn't actually change much. If anything, Usenet actually got bigger after Time Warner & Co. left the party, according to Giganews' Edward Henigin, who shared a few statistics about the global Usenet feed at one of the recent North American Network Operators Group meetings. Henigin told the Nanog audience that Usenet has seen a 26 percent annual growth over the last four years, averaging around 500Mbps at the end of this summer.

giganews stats

Giganews did notice a big dip when Time Warner & Co. pulled the plug last summer, but this was actually followed by an even bigger spike. Henigin didn't elaborate on how to explain the spike, but one can safely assume that it was caused by people signing up for commercial Usenet services after their ISPs left them in the cold.

giganews stats

Henigin also shared a few interesting facts about the amount of storage needed to keep one trailing year of the full Usenet feed. Currently, you'd need around 1700 Terabyte if you'd want to offer what's also know as one year retention. At the end of next year, it will take around 2500 Terabye.

giganews stats

That's a lot of data, but actually not that much storage in an age where your local electronics store offers terabyte drives for around 100 bucks. "It may be within reach to never expire articles again," said Henigin.

11/05 2009 | 09:41 AM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Chinese P2P startup Xunlei has sued its competitor Sohu for copyright infringement, according to the Shenzen Daily. Xunlei is alleging that Sohu’s search engine, Sogou, is infringing on copyrights related to Xunlei’s P2P software as well as its own search engine, Sohu had previously filed its own copyright infringement lawsuits against Xunlei and other Chinese P2P vendors.

China has long been a P2P video wunderkind of sorts. Efforts to establish P2P-based consumer video platforms like Joost and Babelgum have largely failed in the U.S. and Europe, but similar offerings attract millions of users in China. However, the Chinese market is saturated with literally dozens of video vendors, and efforts to grow their business beyond the PC have stalled due to strict government licensing requirements. Continue reading on

11/04 2009 | 02:46 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
50 percent of the Internet's most active users would pay a monthly flat fee to legally download content from file sharing networks, according to a new study by the German Institute for Strategy Development (IFSE). These results are based on a survey amongst almost seven million so called "power users," according to a report.

IFSE defines power users as users that contribute the majority of content to Twitter and the blogosphere and in general use the Internet more than just occasionally. Most of these users regularly download music and movies from file sharing networks, and more than 70 percent of them object to entertainment industry lawsuits against file sharers based on evidence from ISPs.

However, IFSE's researchers also noted that the amount of files traded by this group of users has been stagnant. One reason for this behavior: Much of the content is actually available on demand, so users feel less of a need to download it to their own computers.

11/03 2009 | 03:08 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
German movie producer Max Wiedemann has a plan to combat online piracy: He wants ISPs to block access to streaming video sites that offer unlicensed full-length feature films. Wiedemann proposed this type of ISP-based access control during an event organized by the German anti-piracy organization GVU, according to IT news site Wiedemann told is audience that it would be "technically trivial" to implement such blocks and singled out German-language streaming media directory as an example for a site that should be blocked.

Wiedemann's idea isn't exactly new. Germany has recently begun to force ISPs to block access to web sites suspected of hosting child porn. Book publishers have already argued that Rapidshare should be on that list as well, and representatives of the music industry also want to have a say on future versions of these block lists.

ISPs on the other hand are pushing back against these attempts to have them block access to a wide range of file hosting and video streaming sites. A representative of the German ISP association eco told the audience of the GVU event that there are already take down procedures in place to deal with illicit content. He suggested it would be better to empower the police to investigate online crime more effectively.

11/03 2009 | 02:43 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
One in three Internet users in the UK is watching TV online, according to a new study by the British media regulation authority Ofcom. This trend seems to be largely driven by the BBC’s iPlayer, which is used by 27 percent of the country’s online population. However, traditional TV viewing still plays a huge role, and time-shifting through DVRs is growing quickly.

Compare those data points to other countries in Europe, and you’ll get a significantly different picture. Online TV platforms are far less developed in Germany, for example, a country that just like the UK has a strong online population. DVRs are also much more popular in the UK than elsewhere. Still, there’s one thing we all seem to agree on, no matter where we are: We do love our TV. Continue reading on

11/02 2009 | 12:04 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
The makers of the multi-network open source P2P client Shareaza just released a new version with working chat functionality as well as a bunch of other bug fixes. Shareaza users can simultaneously use Edonkey, Gnutella, G2 and Bittorrent to download and share files with the world.

Shareaza has a somewhat tumultuous history. The client caused quite a stir when initially released because Shareaza's original developer branded its P2P network as Gnutella2 - something that didn't really go over well with the Gnutella developer community. Efforts to replace Gnutella with Gnutella2 however quickly lost steam, and Shareaza's development stalled while various Bittorrent advanced rapidly.

Shareaza got back into the spotlight two years ago when its website was taken over by the company behind the music industry-sanctioned P2P client iMesh. It's still unclear how exacly iMesh got hold of the Shareaza domain, but it has been using it to distribute its own software under the Shareaza name ever since. The company also trademarked Shareaza, to which the Shareaza community responded by reorganizing under the new name "Panthera Project."

But guess what? It wasn't supposed to be. Shareaza's Wikipedia page alleges that a former member of the team sabotaged the Panthera Project page, erasing the client's Wiki and forum and even trying to take down content from Sourceforge. As a result, Shareaza isn't associated to the Panthera Projet anymore.

That's a whole lot of bad luck for a P2P client with a small but dedicated audience. Shareaza actually used to be one of my favorite P2P clients under Windows, so it's good to see them back on their feet, doing what developers are supposed to do: Release software updates, instead of fighting with shadowy companies and disgruntled former team members.