September 05, 2005

Kazaa Loses Court Case, But Will Appeal

ZDNet Australia: The music industry is claiming a win against Kazaa with the decision of Australian judge Justice Murray Wilcox. It's not an absolute win -- Wilcox threw out a number of charges and respondents -- but Kazaa has two months to makes some changes so it can remain in operation. According to ZDNet Australia, the judge ruled Kazaa had to include "non-optional keyword filter technology" in current versions of the software received by new users, in future versions of the software and exert "maximum pressure" on existing users to upgrade to a new version containing the technology, or that the Altnet search software -- called TopSearch -- is restricted to providing lists of non copyright-infringing works.
OK, the filters are a good idea, but how would they work? Will there be a central body that has digital fingerprints of copyrighted song and each file is compared against them? Record labels will claim that puts the onus on them to prevent copyright infringement -- at least, that's what publishing houses claim about Google's statement it would allow them to opt-out of having their books scanned. There are filter technologies but the general consensus is that people will find a way around them, although the more steps there are the less people who will bother. Still, maybe the record labels will finally allow their files onto p2p programs...after all, the real reason their sales are going down is because they don't offer the public what it wants. (from The Mind Trap)

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August 20, 2005

Digital Music At Colleges

AP: A good overview of the issues at colleges and universities, especially after the introduction of legal services such as Ruckus, Cdigix, Napster and RealNetworks' own efforts.
The experiment with Ruckus Networks at American University in Washington, D.C. didn't go very well, and the univ. is switching to Napster next semester. Only about half of the 3,800 eligible students actually used the Ruckus service last spring, despite having an anonymous benefactor cover the subscription costs.
The key is that students still can't move the music to iPods, a pipe dream for everyone (except using iTunes) else as well.
Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, said the response to the legal services show that universities also need to employ technical measures to block file-swapping of copyright music.

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August 16, 2005

BigChampagne Links with AOL for Music, Video Charting

BBRM: Media-measurement service BigChampagne is getting bigger and recently announced a partnership with America On Line (AOL) to monitor AOL Music’s Top 11 song and video charts, as well as the online service’s AOL Music Sessions and AOL Music Breakers.

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August 14, 2005

Morpheus P2P Network Goes Legit

BetaNews: StreamCast is launching a legitimate distribution platform for music, games and video through its Morpheus P2P client, which has long been under legal attack from the music industry.
Using a system it calls PeerResponse, StreamCast will enable users to search Morpheus and discover authorized content, which can be purchased through the software's built-in eWallet system.

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Open-source audio growing on P2P CacheLogic has a new study out with interesting observations about file formats being traded through P2P...Among them is that while MP3 files still account for the bulk of audio swaps (about 68 percent), the open-source Ogg Vorbis format now accounts for 12 percent of music trading. This use is coming primarily in Asia, and primarily using the BitTorrent.

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August 03, 2005

BitTorrent's Bid For Legitimate Media Play BitTorrent, the P2P solution, is bidding for legitimacy these days with a media distribution play, and has been having negotiations with movie studios and other content providers. An update on the progress.
The company is now based in SF, and is looking for venture capital.
Negotiations between the MPAA and BitTorrent are continuing, talks that founder Bram Cohen characterizing as "friendly."BitTorrent is also in discussions with two studios he declined to identify.
As negotiations progress, BitTorrent is focused on content that might not otherwise be available for download because the bandwidth costs would prohibitive. It has also reached agreements with game publishers to distribute about 1,000 licensed titles in the coming weeks.

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August 01, 2005

New File-Sharing Techniques Coming Soon

NY Times: Apparently, there's new versions of P2P file-sharing systems brewing that will make it easier to share digital information anonymously and make detection by corporations and governments far more difficult...But the ultimate goal "is to create tools to circumvent censorship and political repression - not to abet copyright violation."

Ian Clarke, a 28-year-old free-speech advocate who originally introduced Freenet five years ago, plans to introduce a newer version (i.e., a closed network) in the next few months...Currently, Freenet is being developed by a group of five or six volunteer programmers and a single full-time employee who is paid by donations.

"As the legal consequences for file sharing become clearer, there will be a proliferation of systems with features similar to Freenet, according to a range of industry specialists. In Silicon Valley, start-up companies like Imeem and Grouper are already making it possible to create groups to share digital information...To join a darknet, a potential user must be trusted by one of the existing members. Thus such networks grow as part of a 'web of trust', and are far more restricted than open systems." The end result will yield systems that are next to impossible to trace and/or monitor member activity, so the RIAA better come up with something better than 'John Doe' lawsuits...

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ArtistDirect Purchases MediaDefender For $42.5 Million

Slyck: ArtistDirect, the online indie-music network/retailer, has bought out MediaDefender, a anti-piracy solutions company, for $42.5 million. MediaDefender develops software for detecting illegal file trading and is used on P2P networks. ArtistDirect now plans to offer the MediaDefender technology for protecting videos, computer games, software, and e-books too.
"The merger should prove to be an interesting one, as it is the first time an authorized music distributor is also directly in control of a P2P flooding firm."
Randy Saaf will remain as MediaDefender's CEO during and after the transition.

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July 22, 2005

Interview With Big Champagne CEO

technewsworld:  Big Champagne CEO Eric Garland discusses the impact of recording industry lawsuits on file sharing, the key drivers behind the phenomenon, and emerging trends surrounding the technology..."Depending on which reports you read, NPD Group says that from March of 2004 to March of 2005 file sharing activity is up 25 percent. Our view of the same phenomenon puts it somewhere closer to 20 percent growth. But it's significant growth. There are still more people using some variety of file sharing tools than there were in the heyday of Napster." While there is a lot of discrepancy in the reported data on file sharing, Garland thinks that "There are many different ways of taking the tape measure to a phenomenon like this...I think that most of the different researchers are expressing the same story in different terms."

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July 20, 2005

Peer Impact Adds Indy MP3's

Press Release: Wow....I still can't believe it. Wurld Media (who currently has licensed content from all 4 major record labels) seems to truly understand the radical paradigm shift occurring in the music industry and has announced  that its legal P2P network, Peer Impact, will now offer MP3s from leading independent music labels in addition to DRM protected content. Adapting to change is the name of the game lately, especially with the rapidity in which the technology is changing. Folks, this is big news and my hats off to them for seeing the handwriting on the wall...This is what consumers really want and will eventually be the norm for the majors too...Initially, about 100,000 MP3s will be available for sale and redistribution on the network.

"Wurld Media has made a commitment to our users -- the Peer Impact community -- to provide them with as much legal digital content as possible so they can easily and conveniently purchase music when they want it and the way they want it," said Gregory Kerber, chairman and CEO of Wurld Media. "The addition of MP3s to the catalogue allows more freedom for both consumers and copyright holders and moves us towards the goal of the most diverse catalogue of legal, digital content available online."

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