February 20, 2006
Volume 12, Issue 5
Welcome Media Global Intertainment
Please warmly welcome Media Global Intertainment LLC (MGI) to 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.
Consumers are increasingly seeking – and willing to pay for – content they can download to their PCs, laptops, iPods, mobile phones, and other networked devices. This trend is even more pronounced with increasing digital convergence as the entertainment industry seeks to leverage the Internet as a major platform for content distribution across multiple channels.
MGI offers an end-to-end, turnkey solution, enabling virtually any party – from content owner to branded distribution partner to advertiser to marketing agency – to quickly and easily harness the power of the digital media trend to reach new and existing customers directly. With MGI, any website, blog, promotional e-mail, or other channel can be instantly transformed into a one-stop-shop for branded digital entertainment content – without the help of a third-party affiliate.
MGI's technology platform can be simply and easily deployed with minimal installation and maintenance costs, and works transparently to enable encoding, content management, delivery, billing, and payment processing, as well as tracking and real-time reporting.
The entire solution exists behind-the-scenes, and remains fully transparent to the consumer on the front-end to strengthen brand recognition and customer loyalty for MGI's clients. MGI offers a complete solution to monetize and deliver any type of digital content to consumers for sale or promotional purposes, simultaneously via multiple distribution channels.
The market for online content is exploding. According to a recent report by Jupiter Research, paid content spending will reach $8.9 billion by 2010. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) noted that growth in paid-content consumers is rapidly outpacing growth in US Internet users, and even surpassing average consumer spending.
MGI's solution has been tested and proven in the market, and its client base is rapidly growing. For example, the company completed a very successful music promotion with Chandon Wines in December, and recently entered into an agreement with StreamCast Networks, the developer and distributor of peer-to-peer (P2P) software program Morpheus, to support revenue-generating downloads through MGI's content management and payment processing platform.
P2POD – P2P HDTV Media Player
Excerpted from 14U USA Report
AHT International will demonstrate at CeBIT 2006 its new "P2POD" – a P2P media streaming box.
The P2POD box uses software technology developed by the Delft University of Technology. Its P2P-based solution allows not only content distribution, but also live video streaming over P2P networks.
Because of this technology, with every added P2POD (or P2POD software client) the quality and speed of the services increases further. Users of the P2POD not only receive video and audio content from premium and free content sources, but also can distribute their own videos to other P2POD users.
The P2POD features a maximum video resolution of 1920x1080 (full HDTV) and features a HDMI port. It supports Microsoft Windows Media DRM. The P2POD is to cost less than $150 and is scheduled for release in Q3 2006. More details are available on the P2POD site.
We reported about the Lamabox, which is running P2P software, like eDonkey, BitTorrent, Kazaa, Gnutella, and Overnet, a while ago.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
Progress has been made in recruiting participants and defining the mission and objectives for the P2P Digital Watermark Working Group (PDWG), and we are grateful to all who are investing their time and energy to contribute to this effort.
As noted previously, consumers are looking to the P2P industry and the content community to provide the leadership and vision that will make it possible for them to access media content where, when, and how they like without fear of copyright infringement lawsuits.
DCIA Members have clearly demonstrated that digital media products can be effectively managed, for profit, in the P2P environment. Embracing P2P does not necessitate a wholesale change in fundamental business models in order to harness its efficiencies and reach. A path to help make that possible on an industry-wide scale is now before us if we can work together to define the system and requirements that leverage available technology.
According to its current preliminary draft mission statement, the proposed mission of the PDWG will be to work jointly and cooperatively with leading content and technology companies to provide leadership in establishing common practices for the use of digital watermarking to secure and facilitate the legitimate consumption of licensed content through the P2P distribution channel.
P2P software providers are increasingly supportive of business practices and technological processes which will help ensure that licensed versions of copyrighted works, rather than unlicensed versions, are being redistributed in ways that generate revenue for rights holders and channel participants, and are in favor of forensics-supporting implementation of digital watermarking as an important step in realizing this transformation.
As the content community has already begun adoption and experienced success with digital watermarking technology for other purposes, the extension of their current uses of the technology into P2P environments should be a win-win proposition.
Recommended PDWG objectives comprise enabling and leveraging the power and efficiencies of P2P file sharing, and expanded file-sharing channels, by offering consumers licensed content; providing P2P software providers with the ability to help rights holders effectively identify infringing copyrighted content so that appropriate action can be taken; and establishing P2P distribution models and technology implementations that are transparent to the end-user and easy for consumer use.
Additional proposed goals include creating an effective mechanism within the P2P environment to support e-commerce; as well as establishing and facilitating deployment of watermarking technology implementations to meet the above identified objectives in ways that can be sustained by all necessary participants.
A key issue before the PDWG will be how to reset the balance and establish a new equilibrium in the rapidly evolving and increasingly inter-related environment of decentralized file-sharing and swarming technologies.
For example, content rights holders could voluntarily and individually agree to embed, during the production phase, standardized digital watermarks to identify content, state, and/or specific allowable uses; and P2P software distributors, as part of being granted licenses for distribution rights to such content, could voluntarily and individually agree to adopt a standard detection codec made available by participating digital watermark firms.
For this to be viable, incorporating such readers into P2P clients should not adversely affect overall software performance, as such applets support recognition and respect of content provider rights, which in turn will help enable the new business models that rely on legitimately licensed content to flourish.
Our path to progress includes completion of recruitment of a critical mass of PDWG participants broadly representing affected parties, identifying agreed upon-goals and deliverables, and publishing the mission statement and objectives of the working group once ratified by participants.
The PDWG will then plan to identify sub-groups to work on specific aspects of the mission and objectives and to set timelines and task owners for its goals and deliverables.
Potential participants in the PDWG include DCIA Members and past-participants in other DCIA working groups, digital watermarking technology and solution providers, copyright owners, including representatives of the motion picture and music industries such as movie studios and record labels, copyright owners' trade organizations, and information technology companies involved in digital media platforms.
We encourage interested qualified parties to call 888-864-3242 or e-mail PDWG@dcia.info to sign-up or for more information. Share wisely, and take care.
Net Calling – Untied from the PC
Excerpted from LA Times Report by David Colker
The problem with free calls over the Internet is that you have to be at your computer to make them. You can't be cooking, driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing the thousands of other things we do while chatting on the phone.
But a new device called the VoSky Call Center allows you to make free Internet calls from any phone in your house – even your cell-phone.
It uses DCIA Member Skype's online service that became an international phenomenon – leading to its acquisition last year by eBay for $2.6 billion – because it provides free computer-based calls around the world.
The VoSky Call Center is one of several away-from-the-computer Skype devices that have recently arrived on the market. Another one is the Linksys CIT200, which is a cordless Skype phone.
Using these phones doesn't mean the end of your long-distance bills. The calls are free only if the person on the other end is using Skype too. Also, the quality of Internet audio connections is highly variable. And there are inconveniences – for example, you can't use the VoSky or Linksys phone unless your computer is turned on.
But if you regularly use Skype, these devices can free you from the computer. That's no small matter in this era of multi-tasking. And for international calls the cost savings can outweigh the hassles.
The innovative VoSky, from Actiontec Electronics, is especially intriguing because of its ability to transform regular phones into Skypers.
File Sharing as a Business Tool
Excerpted from The Age Report by Bill Bennett
P2P networks are well known as a way of getting free music and video files. A program gives access to files stored on a PC's hard drive to other computers that, in turn, allow file sharing as well.
The same technology that lets music enthusiasts swap songs is now used in Foldershare, which allows users to create private P2P networks to instantly share and synchronize files across two or more Internet-connected computers.
To use the network, you first download a small program to one PC. Once this is installed and running, you sign up for an account, with a user name and a password.
You then download another copy of the client to one or more machines. At this point you log on using the account details from before. From here you use your web browser to select files from the remote system for local download.
If you use one computer in your office and another at home, you can set up Foldershare giving each computer access to all the files stored on the other machine. If you collaborate with others, you can set up shared storage spaces.
Likewise, you can use Foldershare to swap home movies, photos, and other document files with your colleagues, friends, and family. It's a great tool for tasks such as proofreading complex documents.
Foldershare can also synchronize folders. This means an update to a file on one machine is automatically transferred to the others.
Late last year Microsoft acquired the company behind Foldershare: ByteTaxi. Apparently the software giant is planning to make the program part of its forthcoming Microsoft Live, online software service.
Kids Protected by New Software
New software holds promise for children and teenagers to be able to surf the web in a safer environment. Parents can install KIDZ CD SUITE on their computers and choose from three different age groups: six years or younger, seven to twelve, and thirteen years or older.
Once the software is downloaded and installed on a computer, children can surf the net in a dynamic, personalized, and secure environment. Sites are indexed and classified for maximum performance, and contents of each site are displayed according to their age group. And because the Internet is continually evolving, new sites are added on a daily basis.
With KIDZ CD SUITE installed on a computer, updates are done automatically. Children are not able to access the Internet using traditional browsers without their parents' consent. Kidz Protection lets the parent or guardian decide.
The creators of KIDZ CD SUITE will let users try it for seven days free of charge.
Bloggers Love Firefox-P2P AllPeers
Excerpted from BetaDot Report
AllPeers.com's recent announcement of its AllPeers Firefox extension has stirred the blogosphere.
The self-proclaimed "best thing to happen to Firefox, since Firefox" plugin promises to offer BitTorrent-esque capabilities built right in to Firefox for bloggers and end-users to easily transfer massive amounts of data with no central server.
Many bloggers believe this will be the "killer app" that Firefox needs to push its market share forward. The plugin has the potential to begin a word-of-mouth promotional campaign for Firefox as users begin to adopt the platform as a way of sharing their files with friends and family.
"By using a peer network, Firefox will exploit the publicity surrounding this functionality which has the potential to multiply the number of people exposed to the Firefox application tremendously. This could be huge," writes another blogger.
While there is no doubt P2P technology has strong potential, one has to wonder whether a web-browser is the location where a P2P system should be implemented. P2P technologies such as Kazaa or LimeWire rely on the fact that a substantial number of users will "seed" their files after they are done with the software, usually by leaving the software running in the system tray.
A web-browser does not lend it self to this practice, as users usually run their web-browser until the download is complete, and then leave. Until upstream bandwidth becomes equal or greater than the downstream bandwidth, it is hard to see a proper balancing act, as required by P2P technology.
Casual Games Interview: Playfirst
Excerpted from Gamecloud Report
One of the newer publishers of casual games is DCIA Member Playfirst, and since its formation two years ago the company has grown with a number of games and recently received $5 million in financing.
Gamecloud had the chance to chat with Playfirst VP Kenny Dinkin to find out more about plans for the company. Please click here for the full interview.
Russia for File-Sharing Legalization
Excerpted from PC Pro Report by Simon Aughton
Russia's chief prosecutor has called for P2P file sharing to be legalized, saying that it would help to combat "piracy," according to a Russian news website.
"The threat to intellectual property rights in the Internet remains underestimated," Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov told the country's Parliament.
"Establishing legal websites could help decrease piracy on the Web," he added.
Yesterday an alliance of US copyright holders called for economic sanctions to be imposed on Russia for what it described as a failure to tackle "out of control piracy."
Unsurprisingly, the legalization of sharing was not one of its recommendations.
Evading China's Censors
Excerpted from MediaPost Report
It may be impossible to censor the Web after all. Reuters has a story about a Chinese man able to slip past Beijing's censors to spread news of widespread government corruption.
Lu Xinde is a one-man show who publishes entries on any one of 49 blogs he uses to stay ahead of Chinese censors. "They shut down one, so I move to the other," he said.
Investigative journalists like Li are creating a sizable demand among the Chinese public – particularly rural farmers – for more freedom. The Internet, Li said, is "like the Yellow River. You can guide its course, but you can't block it and you can't turn it back."
Despite the threat of jail time, Li moves forward, publishing posts from different Internet cafés in rural China. He understands international companies like Yahoo and Google when they comply with China's censors, "but morally it's wrong to sell people's freedom," he said.
Li's websites are often shut down for several months by nervous or intimidated operators, but by moving to the next blog "I can still spread news across the whole country in 10 minutes, while the propaganda officials are still wondering what to do."
Centale & FSBO Media Holdings Agreement
DCIA Member Centale and FSBO Media Holdings have entered into a joint marketing and agency agreement to promote Centale's Compliance Professional, COMPRO.
Juan Ferreira, Centale's President & COO said, "We believe that FSBO Web TV's Video-Spectus puts a face on our company and our revolutionary technology, COMPRO, which is designed to educate and inform investors through a commercial-like presentation that answers the questions most vital to investor inquiry and decision making tasks."
He also commented, "Communications will be available on a 24/7 basis direct to the end-user's desktop, assuring that all company information is delivered in the form the company desires without compromise by broker, PR firm, or middleman. COMPRO provides the public company total control of its communication effort while reducing the cost of market awareness and liquidity initiatives."
Please click here for a demonstration.
Macrovision Acquires eMeta
Macrovision, parent company of DCIA Member Trymedia Systems, announced that it has agreed to acquire eMeta Corporation, a leading provider of software solutions that enable companies to control and sell digital goods and services online.
The acquisition of eMeta extends Macrovision's reach from physical distribution into the fast-growing online digital distribution segment, a strategic priority for the company.
Publishers of products and content across multiple industries such as video, software, music, games, and printed information face a rapidly changing world of how their software and content is packaged, monetized, and delivered to customers.
With the acquisition of eMeta, Macrovision gains the ability to respond to its customers' changing needs with a more extensive set of digital content management solutions. The acquisition extends the breadth of Macrovision's portfolio to include a broad spectrum of access control, usage entitlement, e-commerce, and subscription management solutions, which will enable companies to monetize and deliver all forms of digital content to their customers whenever and wherever they want.
Switch Unwanted and Unused Discs
SwitchDiscs announced the release of its website, which enables members to trade their DVDs, CDs, and videogames with other members in return for "SwitchBucs" that then can be used to request DVDs, CDs, and videogames from other members within the Switch Community.
SwitchDiscs is a mix between eBay, Netflix, and Kazaa. The SwitchDiscs platform allows members to manage their collections of DVDs, CDs, and videogames while at the same time creating a "Wish List" for discs they want. By leveraging the inventory of its members and offering a fast and easy-to-use legal P2P trading platform, SwitchDiscs is revolutionizing the way people get their DVDs, CDs and videogames.
SwitchDiscs is currently available in both the United States and Canada and has future plans to make the network available worldwide.
Backing up CDs is Now Illegal
Excerpted from Bit-Tech Report by Brett Thomas
In recent court documents, the RIAA has stated that backups, particularly those involving format changes, should be considered illegal under the DMCA.
This stance directly contradicts its statement in the MGM v. Grokster case, where its attorney said that "the record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod."
Apparently, the rules have now changed. In its recent joint filing with the MPAA, the organization has done a 180, stating that "submissions of legal arguments to the Court provide no arguments or legal authority that making backup copies of CDs is a non-infringing use".
The document goes on to say, "Even if CDs become damaged, replacements are available for an affordable price and granting the requested exemption for backup copies would further weaken the industry's ability to protect its copyrights."
Coming Events of Interest
New Communications Forum 2006 – March 1st, Palo Alto, CA. NCF brings together the industry's leaders from around the globe to discuss the impact of participatory communications on media, marketing, PR, and advertising. This year the conference will examine how blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other emerging tools, technologies, and modes of communication are affecting organizations.
Social Marketing: Tapping Into The Power Of Connected Customers – March 7th in Toronto, Canada. More and more ad dollars are moving online, but smart companies are approaching social media with care. In a world of one-to-one conversations, how do you get real reach? Forget everything you know about traditional advertising - in social media, the rules of brand identity no longer apply. What advertising practices deliver results in social media? This event will cover how companies can use tools like blogs, RSS, and podcasting to connect with their customers.
Digital Media Revenue Strategies – March 27th at Digital Sandbox, New York, NY. Advancements in delivering and monetizing digital assets are happening at an extraordinary pace. Find out how leading edge B2B media companies have used digital technology to increase revenue, streamline operations, and open up new markets.
Omma West Conference and Expo-Hollywood – March 27th-28th in Los Angeles. The rash of technology innovations and content syndication deals over the past year, coupled with consumer adoption of broadband, DVRs, VOD, and an unwavering insistence on media control, are taking the shape of an infrastructure the media industry's most forward thinking prophets have long heralded. The Internet is now becoming what it was meant to be – the distribution channel for all media.
Digital Hollywood Spring – An expanded agenda of events will be featured during the 17th Annual Digital Hollywood Spring at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Los Angeles, CA March 27th-30th. Digital Hollywood is the leading gathering of entertainment, media and technology executives. Digital Hollywood Spring 2006 will have tracks and panels of special relevance to the DCIA. Plan now to attend.
MIPDOC and MIPTV – MIPDOC is the international showcase for documentary screenings April 1st–2nd at the Carlton Hotel, Cannes, France; and MIPTV featuring MILIA – is the world's largest audiovisual and digital content market for mobile, iTV, and broadband distribution April 3rd–7th at the Palais des Festivals also in Cannes, France.
First Annual DCIA Conference & Expo – June 22nd, Tysons Corner, McLean, VA. Panel tracks at this first-ever global "P2P Media Summit" will cover policy, marketing, and technology issues affecting commercial development of the emerging file-sharing industry. Exhibits and demonstrations will feature industry-leading products and services. Plan now to attend. For sponsor packages and speaker information, please contact Karen Kaplowitz at 888-890-4240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.