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May 3, 2004
Volume 4, Issue 7

DCIA Quarterly General Meeting

Please register now for DCIA's Spring Meeting taking place in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 12th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the USC Davidson Center adjacent to the LA Convention Center. Cosponsored by iHollywood, this promises to be our most valuable and stimulating event to date.

The meeting will kickoff with a networking buffet dinner. Then opening remarks from Nikki Hemming, CEO of DCIA Charter Member Sharman Networks, and Elliot Maxwell, Project Leader, Digital Connections Council, Committee for Economic Development. All participants will receive the new CED Report "PROMOTING INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: THE SPECIAL PROBLEM OF DIGITAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY."

Next join Harvard Business School 's Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Rich Feldman, President of Feldman Research Lab, for a lively discussion of the just released Harvard/UNC P2P Music Study.

Our centerpiece will be a panel on digital distribution of games. We are thrilled to have Kevin Bachus , President of Infinium Labs; Rich Roberts, director of Atari; Jason Rubinstein, GM of UbiSoft; John Welch, CEO of PlayFirst; and Gabe Zichermann , VP of new DCIA Member Trymedia Systems . John Gaudiosi of iHollywood Gamemaker will moderate.

We will focus on what is working now and what more is needed to ensure successful licensed digital distribution of games, with an emphasis on the special issues of commercial redistribution in P2P environments.   

Closing remarks will be provided by Christian von Burkleo , Senior Vice President of DCIA Charter Member Altnet, now the world's largest distributor of legally traded games, music, and movies on the Internet.

Welcome New Member Predixis

Please warmly welcome Predixis as the newest member of the Platform Group. We look forward to providing valuable services to this newest DCIA Member and supporting its contributions to commercial development of the distributed computing industry.

Predixis, based in Monrovia , CA , offers an acoustical solution for entertainment media file identification and management in P2P environments. Its MusicMagic patented technology has been developed to manage digital libraries of music based on inherent sounds.  It provides the power to manage music not only by artist, album, or genre, but also by key musical attributes.

MusicMagic can automatically identify key attributes of any song in any digital format and can be delivered across different media and devices ranging from PCs to portable handhelds. It performs automatic scalable music analysis connecting to a nearly two-million song attribute database, developed to accommodate very large music collections. Predixis software complies with industry APIs and works on a variety of chipsets, including MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and Flac.

Currently, MusicMagic Mixer functions as a customizable desktop application in which its revolutionary matching technology enables users to create custom playlists based on sound. MusicMagic Web Service provides communication between the attribute database and the client application very rapidly over the Internet.

Attributes per song are only about 80 bytes, making it possible to use MusicMagic on even small devices. The 12K to 56K code footprint can fit on DSP and ARM chips.

Predixis is interested in working with other Members and prospectives on solutions for consumer-introduced tracks in P2P environments for licensed redistribution.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

We urge all who are interested in commercial development of Internet-based technologies to take notice of two bills now making their way through Congress.

HR 4077 would place P2P users in federal prison for three years and effectively outlaw the use of file-sharing technologies.

S 2237 would shift the cost of copyright infringement lawsuits from entertainment interests to US taxpayers by having the DOJ bring such actions on behalf of large media conglomerates.

The constructive response to promising new technologies, particularly when there is no evidence of significant economic harm to the entertainment industries, should not be criminalization but commercialization. Previous claims of "piracy" from copyright monopolists, in response to the advent of more efficient distribution methods, have been met with new licensing initiatives to create an expanded marketplace, rather than an undeserved bludgeoning of the citizenry for adopting them.

These new legislative proposals have not been subject to the normal procedural safeguards of comprehensive and balanced committee hearings. Congress is inexplicably enacting Hollywood 's legislative wish list with no questions asked.

Rather than divert federal law enforcement resources away from terrorism and organized crime to prosecute average citizens for what has become an accepted widespread activity, engaged in for no commercial gain, Congress should define how best to preserve copyright's purpose of fostering progress - in the digital age.

HR 4077 was introduced 3/31, marked-up, and reported from the IP Subcommittee the same day. No hearing was ever held.

ISPs should be concerned that this bill would erode safe-harbor protections established in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It would undo procedural protections against unjust and privacy-intrusive litigation that current law affords to subscribers, as recently affirmed in the DC Court of Appeals' unanimous decision in RIAA vs. Verizon.

The bill's proposed Internet Use Education Program raises questions as to whether it would be proper for government, and the DOJ specifically, to fund a program warning consumers about online infringement, and why it should not also educate them regarding their legal rights to use copyrighted works.

HR 4077's lengthy "Sense of Congress" provision consists of an unbalanced and exaggerated indictment of P2P technology, raising the additional question of whether Congress should memorialize inaccurate Hollywood diatribes as statute.

This bill would create the first criminal penalty ever for copyright infringement that is not willful criminal conduct. Its loosely defined negligence standard would create tremendous uncertainty and risk to the liberty of consumers using networked devices containing copyrighted works. Even where a consumer has acquired all such works lawfully and the ability of third parties to access them is unintentional, criminal liability could result.

A consumer could face prison simply for owning a device with iTunes software, a Wi-Fi modem, and 1,000 or more tracks stored on it, regardless of whether or not any of these music files were ever transferred to anyone else.   

S 2237 was introduced 3/25, referred to the Senate Judiciary, and reported 4/29. No hearing was ever held on this measure.

This bill would authorize the Attorney General to commence civil rather than criminal actions against alleged online infringers, seeking fines and restitution to copyright owners. The bringing of such lawsuits by DOJ would not bar subsequent suits by copyright owners.

It would require pilot and training programs to ensure that this new civil enforcement authority is used against the population, and designate personnel from at least four US attorneys' offices to implement it.

It would order an annual report from DOJ to Congress documenting the number of investigations and lawsuits brought under this new authority.

One rationalization for S 2237 is to relieve law enforcement agencies of the burden of proof now required to prosecute criminal copyright actions against citizens. The other is to allay the fears of vast numbers of otherwise law-abiding teenagers and college students that they face the prospect of jail and being branded with the lifelong stigma of a felony criminal conviction.     

Although HR 4077 and S 2237 are presented by their sponsors as alternative routes to addressing online infringement, they are linked both politically and legally. It should be presumed that these bills are intended to proceed through the legislative process to be enacted in tandem, establishing the groundwork for a police state beyond even George Orwell's imagination.

Please contact me at 888-864-3242 or marty@dcia.info to learn more and to participate in the Public Knowledge led coalition to oppose these draconian measures. The needed solution, whether voluntary or legislated, is for the entertainment industries to license their content for legitimized P2P distribution, and serve consumers using a technology already adopted en masse.

BlueMaze Entertainment's SOUL MANSION

On Thursday, May 6th, DCIA Member BlueMaze Entertainment will inaugurate its SOUL MANSION Summer Music Series, live from Crash Mansion in NYC.

The SOUL MANSION series will also mark the beginning of a new era of digital music and media distribution through P2P on the Internet, as the evening's co-sponsor DCIA Member INTENT MediaWorks gets behind the next wave of artists and provides the tools, infrastructure, and exposure needed to "super-distribute" new sounds and styles.

The hottest emerging progressive-urban artists will be showcased and promotional CDs featuring the series' performers will be distributed. Industry networking will be encouraged prior to the performances with a one-hour open vodka bar sponsored by Svedka.

Back from a critically acclaimed tour in Japan, Slick & Rose, opens the night with their unique, southern soul and gritty, hypnotic melodies. The duo recently recorded and performed with Phife from Tribe Called Quest and opened for Kanye West.

The Real Live Show, brings live hip-hop grooves and vibrant hooks to the stage with their infectious rhymes. The group made their MTV debut this month with their innovative new video, Shop Rockin'.

Maya Azucena will serve hip hop-laced soul with her seductive performance, as heard on the Lady Enyce CD Series. Maya has literally woken up the nation, performing live on Good Morning America and opening for Arista recording artist, Anthony Hamilton.

World famous DJ Stretch Armstrong will keep the party moving as he spins hip hop and classics all night. The evening will be hosted by Poet Extraordinaire, Harlem 125, who has captivated audiences with his dynamic on-stage personality at the world famous Nuyorican Poet's Café.

Date: Thursday May 6th
Time: Doors Open 8:30 PM
Location: Crash Mansion NYC
199 Bowery @ Spring Street
Contact: Mitch Towbin / BlueMaze Entertainment
917-861-0307 / mitch@bluemaze.com

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