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October 20, 2003
Volume 2, Issue 3

New Peer-to-Peer Network Coming


Looking to distribute works of academia through a global and secure network, Penn State is working to develop a legitimate peer-to-peer (P2P) network. Called "LionShare", the project will work in collaboration with the Internet2 community.

The RIAA and MPAA have been quick to label P2P networking as a piracy machine; while giving little attention to its positive, non-infringing potential. Like many in the Internet world, Penn State sees P2P networking in a different light.

"It's vital for higher education today to make a concerted effort to develop technologies that encourage responsible file sharing," said J. Gary Augustson, vice provost for information technology. "We believe that LionShare will lead the way in this effort by providing a model for the positive ways P2P technology can be used for legitimate educational purposes."

The scope and potential of LionShare is quite interesting, including its open source nature.

"The unique structure of Peer-to-Peer (which allows a high level of bandwidth and computing power to be shared equally among a community of network users or "peers") will make it possible for participants to extract specific resources from fellow peer computers, while simultaneously ensuring that these interactions are secure.

LionShare will also provide a means for users to access well known large-scale "repositories" that contain digital video, images and other data throughout the U.S., Europe and other locations."

Mark Becker to Lead Consumer Privacy Effort

Ensuring consumer privacy is a larger issue than protecting against inadvertent file-sharing of personal confidential data. This will become increasingly important as DCIA Members help define business models that generally involve some form of peer-to-peer (P2P) music content tracking at the consumer level.

We are very pleased that Mark Becker has agreed to work with the DCIA, providing his leadership in this area, as well as supporting our work with Members and third-parties to eliminate criminally obscene content. Mark has served as Arbitron's Privacy Officer and Senior Attorney since 2002, and has extensive experience with a range of issues surrounding policy setting in traditional entertainment and new media firms, government relations, as well as the FCC.

We would like to continue to encourage additional industry feedback on this critical issue. Please contact Mark with your comments at mark@dcia.info.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

This week was notable at the DCIA for two reasons.

First, several new technology suppliers contacted us regarding the tracking and billing system(s) called for in Phase 3 of DCIA's 10/8 Business Model. As you may recall, a key requirement for such a system is identification of copyrighted music files being transferred via P2P-protocol traffic.

In addition to the challenges of integrating several computer programs and operations to accomplish this at reasonable cost and with acceptable accuracy, there are a number of business practice issues that this raises.

These range from treatment of consumer-seeded replicas and variations of label-licensed music tracks to ensure content integrity, to measures for separating personal identification data from file download tracking data to protect consumer privacy.

As DCIA Platform, Operations, and Content Groups coalesce around one or more optimal business models, hopefully, by the time of our Winter Quarterly General Meeting, it may be appropriate to issue a request-for-proposals (RFP) to help these suppliers develop such universal P2P music tracking and billing systems.

The other notable DCIA activity this week was the start of input gathering for the second of three-to-five business models, with the next one to be completed by early-to-mid November.

As previously noted, the orientation of this model will be content-centric, and so we are focusing on music labels and publishers for ideas, and strongly encouraging their participation.

As an advance preview of some of the ideas being discussed, and to contrast these with the 10/8 model, here is an alternative set of three phases that were discussed with music industry representatives this week.

Phase 1 - ASAP, institute a flat nominal monthly fee to be collected by ISPs or P2P software companies from all broadband subscribers who use music file-sharing software. Provide the lion's share of revenue so collected to music rights holders to share on an actuarial basis, until more accurate tracking systems are developed and deployed (as above).

Phase 2 - After stabilizing Phase 1, introduce broadcast-encrypted genre-specific P2P music channels with value-added features and exclusive content. These optional add-on services would carry additional fixed monthly fees, in the range of one-fifth the price of the basic offering contemplated in Phase 1.

Phase 3 - After solidifying Phase 2, add individual DRM-protected new releases with per-track charges to be promoted into P2P for a TBD launch period, after which such titles would be made available in genre-specific channels (launched in Phase 2), and eventually in the basic offering (established in Phase 1).

Additional ideas, including further development of separate P2P streaming (performance) as well as download (recording) service offerings, were brought forth and are also under consideration.

If you are a music rights holder, whether or not you are in the process of actively considering DCIA Membership, please get in touch with me directly at 888-864-DCIA or marty@dcia.info to express your ideas for this next P2P business model.

Kudos to P2P United for "Parent 2 Parent"

DCIA commends P2P United for its responsiveness to the issue of child pornography with its announcement of its "Parent 2 Parent" program. It is this kind of self-regulation and acceptance of responsibility that can distinguish peer-to-peer software companies as true industry leaders.

Being held to a higher standard than Internet companies which have come before them is not something from which file-sharing companies are shirking.

Instead, as P2P United's program exemplifies, even with child pornography distribution over peer-to-peer networks below two percent (2%) and a declining portion of such undesirable and illegal material being distributed on the Internet, P2P software companies are doing more.

No amount of child pornography can be deemed acceptable, and helping users rid these consumer-operated networks from perverts and pedophiles is to be highly lauded. DCIA's sincere congratulations go out to P2P United members.

If you would like to help DCIA's complementary initiative in this area, which includes individual Member actions now underway and a user assistance program for recognizing, removing, and reporting criminally obscene content, please contact sari@dcia.info.

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