May 4, 2009
Volume XXVI, Issue 4
Isle of Man at Digital
Conference Luncheon Speaker at Monday's P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA, the DCIA's flagship conference within Digital
Hollywood Spring, will be the Isle of
Man's (IOM) e-Commerce Advisor, Ron Berry, who will personally update
attendees on the IOM P2P
In addition, Ron
will also chair an open meeting at 10:00 AM on Wednesday at Loews
Santa Monica Beach Hotel for all who want to learn more about this effort
and offer their input. To sign-up, please call +1-410-476-7964 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
the public announcement at MIDEM of IOM's plans to create, in the words of TAG Strategic's Ted Cohen, a unique and
very valuable "digital sandbox" for the music industry, Ron Berry has
been on a whirlwind tour of meetings with music and technology industry
representatives, including P2P companies and Internet service providers (ISPs),
on many levels in multiple counties.
twelve short weeks, IOM's initial approach has evolved with input from
stakeholders representing all sectors. In particular, the plan now responds
fully to issues voiced by Universal Music Group (UMG) chief executive Lucien
Grainge at the recent Digital Britain Summit.
attendees will be the first to hear next week reflects a program that has
quickly come a long way in addressing concerns of all constituencies - to the
point that it's now an unprecedented and truly history-making initiative.
Attend P2PMSLA from
Anywhere in the World
you can attend the entire P2P
MEDIA SUMMIT LA on Monday live from the comfort of your nearest networked
device. And participate by asking questions of our keynotes and panelists.
Abacast is producing the live interactive webcast of the DCIA's flagship day-long
conference. To sign-up, please call +1-410-476-7964 or e-mail email@example.com.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
Here's an in-depth look at what you can
expect Monday at our fourth annual P2P
MEDIA SUMMIT LA, the DCIA's flagship conference within Digital Hollywood Spring. This promises to be a very
valuable experience for all who can attend.
Opening keynote Jim Kott, Co-President, Abacast,
will highlight how, in the growing P2P content delivery marketplace, Abacast is
making the business of streaming better. He will focus on online video trends
from the perspectives of users and content owners.
The Usage Data panel will examine P2P utilization trends and
address the key question, what information has value to key constituencies?
Who are the
key constituencies that have interest in P2P usage statistics? Which types of
information should be gathered and analyzed for each group? What are the
concerns associated with developing and exploiting this data, and how can they
be mitigated? Which figures have the highest potential to be monetized and why?
What can be learned from prior and parallel experience?
Panelists will include Ted Cohen, Managing Director, TAG Strategic; Jonathan
Feinstein, Partner, Krasilovsky & Gross;
Steve Masur, Managing Partner, MasurLaw; and Cory Mitchell,
Consultant, Motion Picture Industry.
Kevin Kuzas, former VP & General Counsel, Comcast Interactive Media, will
address privacy, data collection, and behavior targeting - a legal update.
Mitchell Edwards, General Counsel & CFO, BitTorrent will discuss the seismic evolution in content delivery and BitTorrent's developing role in
organizing the world's Internet bandwidth.
The Analytical Tools panel will explore technological
solutions, and address the question, what P2P measurement products and services are
demographics, tracking, and other offerings are now available to commercially
optimize P2P for the benefit of all participants in the distribution chain? How
is P2P usage data being exploited and by whom to benefit the success of the
channel? What else is in the works and what more is needed, analytically, to
fully realize the potential of the enormous consumer traffic generated by P2P?
Panelists will include Rick Buonincontri, CEO, Solid State Networks; David
Klein, Executive Vice President, Centris; Daniel Leon, SVP,
Business Development, DigiMeld; Steve Lerner, Founder
& CEO, P2P Cleaner; Alex Limberis,
Technology; and Benjamin Masse, Founder & CEO, AdSong.
Eric Garland, CEO, BigChampagne, will offer his
leading P2P media measurement firm's latest perspectives on online media
consumption and its analytic tools for measuring the impact of marketing
impressions online and off.
Joey Patuleia, Co-Founder, Brand Asset Digital,
will present P2Panalytics, BAD's new service that provides marketers with
exclusive access to consumption behavior statistics of users across P2P for the
branded content advertised through P2Pwords.
outlined above, our Conference Luncheon speaker will be the Isle of Man's (IOM) e-Commerce Advisor,
Ron Berry, who will update conference delegates on the unprecedented and truly
history-making IOM P2P
Immediately following the luncheon, keynoter
Rick Sizemore, CEO, MultiMedia Intelligence,
will discuss the market as MMI sees it, P2P networking by the numbers, P2P
facts for success, the problems with P2P networking, global average monthly P2P
forecast in petabytes, and more.
Adam Fisk, Founder & CEO, LittleShoot, will talk about
using this new P2P entrant's analytics to help bands access their fans, and how
this approach also applies to Hollywood. LittleShoot's analytics are very detailed thanks to its centralized
search and robust log-keeping.
The Relevant Trends panel will examine digital
convergence, and address the question, what can be learned from related
What has been
the experience of related digital distribution platforms with data measurement?
How can lessons from these areas be applied to P2P? Which business models that
involve a significant analytic component are showing the most promise? How can
comparable approaches be developed for P2P implementation? How should P2P
relate to other distribution channels?
Panelists include Jonathan Anderson, Founder & CEO, SelfBank Financial;
Larry Gerbrandt, Principal, Media Valuation; Mark
Isherwood, Director & Co-Founder, Rightscom;
Donald A. Jasko, Founder & CEO, Digital Economics;
Jeffrey Payne, Founder & CTO, GridNetworks;
and John Rudolph, Founder, Music Analytics.
Charlie Hellman, Product Manager, LimeWire
Store, will discuss connecting artists with fans in P2P. Learn how the rapidly
expanding LimeWire Store, launched in March 2008, is stimulating digital
commerce in P2P.
Clark Siegel, Partner, Hughes, Hubbard, and Reed will examine P2P and piracy - where have we been and where are going? Clark
will review relevant law and case histories and then explore current trends and
The Future Opportunities panel will explore transactional
accountability, and address the question, how can participants optimize the
What can the
industry do to ensure that appropriate analytics are married to the benefits of
P2P scale and efficiency for the distribution of copyrighted works? How can
participants at various levels of this channel gain support of rights holders?
Which identification techniques (e.g., watermarking and/or fingerprinting)
should be used to protect content and enhance the ecosystem? What new solutions
will impact P2P software developers and distributors to the greatest degree?
Panelists will include Larry Hadley, Partner, Hennigan
Bennett & Dorman; Daniel Harris, Founder & CEO, MediaPass Gigantic; Dana
Jones, CEO & Founder, Ultramercial; Colin
Sebastian, SVP, Equity Research, Lazard Capital Markets; Yangbin
Wang, CEO, Vobile; and Bo Yang, Founder &
Devon Copley, CTO, Noank Media, will discuss usage
metrics for blanket licensing and P2P. Noank Media proposes a fresh and
radically different approach for a commercial solution to the ongoing
conflict among copyright "police," copyright "anarchists," and "realists."
finally Travis Kalanick, Founder, Red Swoosh, will end the conference with a very stimulating and inspiring visionary presentation.
All attendees will receive Ignite
Technologies' brand new whitepaper "2009 Best Practices for Enterprise
To extend the reach of the P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA to those
unable to travel to Los Angeles, the DCIA is partnering with Abacast to produce a live interactive webcast of the event.
The P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA is being held at Loews
Santa Monica Beach Hotel in conjunction with Digital
P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA pre-registration rates include student
at $75, under-employed at $99, unfunded start-up at $250, VC funded start-up at
$349, academic/analyst at $375, and standard at $399.
Adding registration for Digital Hollywood Spring brings
the total fees for both events to just $150 for students, $204 for
under-employed, $385 for unfunded start-up, $649 for VC funded start-up, $799
for academic/analyst, and $825 for standard.
To obtain one of the specially discounted rates, please
call +1-410-476-7964 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign-up at the
standard pre-registration rate, please click here.
Share wisely, and take care.
US Online Sales Up
In dark days, e-commerce shines. Most US economic indicators were down in Q1 2009, but online sales were
According to a survey by Forrester Research and Shop, US online retail sales rose
an average of 11% in the first three months of 2009.
Of the 80 companies studied, 58% saw online sales
increases compared with the same quarter last year.
Looking further into the findings, 44% of the e-tailers
reported increases of over 10%, 14% showed increases up to 10%, and 13% reported
In the survey, about 70% of both consumer brand
manufacturers and multichannel retailers reported online sales increases.
However, web-only merchants had a different situation. About six-in-ten reported web sales declines.
"It seems that consumer confidence is getting better,"
Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester analyst, told Bloomberg News, "Hopefully the
worst is behind us."
Looking ahead, Citi
Investment Research projects that US retail e-commerce sales will grow 4.4%
in 2009 to $141 billion - and jump to 16.5% growth in 2010.
Velocix Powers Televeo's
Service in Spain
from IPTV Watch Report by Jan Harris
Distributed computing industry leader Velocix has secured a deal to provide its digital delivery services to Televeo, which
aims to become the leading provider of "Spanish Television over the
Using the H.264 codec and Velocix's global network,
Televeo will provide high quality video content from National Geographic, Fox,
and other leading publishers.
Velocix enables high quality streamed video to be played
uninterrupted from start to finish and file downloads to be completed without
failure in a fraction of the time of competing alternatives.
Jose Antonio Ruiz, CTO for Televeo said, "We conducted a
rigorous selection process and Velocix proved to be head and shoulders above
the competition, not only for their solution and technical expertise, but also
their excellent customer service,"
QTRAX Challenges iTunes: Ads to Ring up
Excerpted from Internet Retailer Report
Where others have already tried
and failed, QTRAX has launched a free P2P
music service in a bid to take market share from Apple's iTunes.
QTRAX allows users to legally
download for free millions of tracks onto most Microsoft Windows-enabled
devices. It has licensing agreements with all four major labels: Warner Music
Group and Warner Music International; EMI Music North America, and EMI
Publishing; Sony BMG Music Entertainment; and Universal Music Group North
America and International. In addition, it is working on a licensing agreement
with Apple to enable downloads of music to iPods.
QTRAX is the latest in a string
of companies offering free music to consumers. Internet radio station Pandora
and streaming music service Last.fm are two, but they don't allow users to
download music onto their PCs or other devices.
QTRAX also plans to make money
from displaying advertising while users search for and play music. The company
will share ad revenue with labels and artists. Consumers also will be able to
create playlists and share them with friends, as well as purchase music,
tickets, and related items on the site. The company plans to launch in 10
countries over the next month, followed by a phased global rollout.
Wixi - The P2P Virtual Desktop
Excerpted from Zeropaid Report
Wixi is an
interesting new "Online Media Center" that allows you to store and stream audio
and video files from anywhere, including the living room TV and iPhone.
It has a simple, easy-to-use desktop-like interface to
which you upload content, and from which you then share access with family or
friends. It offers unlimited storage space so one could theoretically upload a
good-sized movie or music collection and then browse on-the-go or enjoy it from the
comfort of the living-room sofa.
The social networking aspect is particularly cool because
you can stream a movie or song recommended by a friend, or simply check out a
stack of pics they've recently taken. And "Friends Activity Report" is how you
keep up with those you add to your trusted network.
An additional feature worth mentioning is that it has an XBMC plugin so you can use your
Wixi page on a game console of your choosing.
It's a subscription service with packages ranging from $7.95 per month to
Akamai: We're a Cloud Provider, Not a CDN
Excerpted from Contentinople Report by Ryan Lawler
During its first-quarter earnings call, Akamai
Technologies CEO Paul Sagan might have signaled a shift in describing the
company as a cloud computing provider, moving away from the dreaded term content
delivery network (CDN).
According to the transcript of yesterday's call, you'll find only about 10 mentions of "delivery"
or "content delivery," some of which are tied to the description of
what other competitors have to offer. But do a search for "cloud" or
"cloud computing," and you'll see that Sagan mentioned those terms 14
More important than the number of times those terms were
used is how they were used. Over the call and in the question and answer
section, Sagan pointed to the opportunity that the company sees in offering
"As our clients evolve more and more to take
advantage of cloud computing, we're continuing to invest in even more advanced
solutions to help them realize the full potential of network computing over the
Internet," Sagan said.
While acknowledging that cloud computing "happens to
be the phrase of the day that everyone wants to use," Sagan went on to
justify how Akamai and its distributed architecture fit into the market for
"It's really about network and distributed computing,
and virtualizing infrastructure rather than dedicating a machine, or a license,
or a person for each instance of an application or each end-users use of
it," Sagan said.
It could be, in fact, that Akamai's always been a
"cloud computing" provider. But now that the marketing jargon has
become "hot," they are looking to take advantage of that.
In fact, Sagan suggested that Akamai was offering
"cloud computing" services long before they were hip. Referring to
cloud computing as "the idea of dynamic, adaptive computing
capabilities," Sagan said, "This is an idea that we've been talking
about at Akamai since we started more than 10 years ago."
Sagan went on to point to the company's edge computing and
application acceleration offerings as examples of cloud services."
"We're already delivering on much of the promise of
cloud computing with our edge computing offerings, which we introduced almost
six years ago," Sagan said. "This is where we host and deliver
applications from the Akamai cloud. The tens of thousands of servers we control
around the world and manage like one big resource on behalf of our clients.
"In addition, our Application Acceleration Solutions,
which we began rolling out in 2005, are designed to offer a cloud-based
solution to the majority of enterprises that want to maintain a centralized
computing infrastructure and make their applications available to a globally-distributed
While much of the broader CDN market is focused on more
commodotized bit delivery for media and entertainment customers, it will be
interesting to see if Akamai's new cloud messaging starts to catch on.
Babelgum Targets US Audience with Flash Player
Excerpted from Online Media Daily Report by Mark Walsh
in 2007 by Italian billionaire Silvio Scaglia, Babelgum was among the wave of Web video
start-ups that charged online to challenge YouTube's hegemony. Because of its
European pedigree and use of P2P technology, the company was often lumped in
with its better-known video rival - Joost.
a page more recently from Joost, the London-based company also launched a
browser-based player and is now focused on building a following among urban
hipsters here with an array of edgy niche content.
has also introduced a free iPhone app in the US and Europe and enlisted
Stolichnaya Vodka as its first sponsor since launching the Flash-based version
of its video service, which doesn't require users to download any software.
sure consumers could get to our video content in the easiest possible way while
still maintaining global rights management (of content) was something that was
very important to us," said Michael Rosen, Executive Vice President and
Chief Revenue Officer at Babelgum, which opened a sales and marketing office in
New York a year ago.
a cleaner, more user-friendly design and a lineup featuring independent
programming, Babelgum wants to claim the ground between viral video hubs and
network TV-focused sites such as Hulu. "We're trying to focus on the third
part of the ecosystem, which is professionally produced content around very
specific passions and created by experts in their fields," said Rosen.
an audience of less than 200,000 globally and 117,000 in the US as of March,
according to comScore, Babelgum will have to count on quality over quantity in
appealing to advertisers. "Sometimes you have to sacrifice reach to get
passion," said Rosen. He added that since the company switched to a
Flash-based video player at the end of March, its global traffic had already
swelled to 800,000.
so, it still has a long way to go to catch up with Joost's global audience of 2
million (1.2 million in the US). And compared to another "pro-tail"
video competitor such as Metacafe, with about 47 million visitors worldwide
earlier this year, Babelgum's audience looks like a blip.
Rosen said the company is hoping to entice upscale advertisers with integrated
ad programs that will align brands with site content. It can also offer offline
ad opportunities through events such as its Online Film Festival, chaired by
Spike Lee and culminating with an awards ceremony Monday night in connection
with the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
has also extended its brand of web TV to mobile screens via its iPhone app and
through devices from companies such as Nokia and wireless operators including
Vodafone. A promotional push via social media properties and search marketing
have led to the Babelgum app being downloaded 500,000 times to date, according
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
Excerpted from Best Syndication Report by Adam Singleton
The term "cloud hosting" has caught the attention of web developers
the world over. But while the underlying concepts of cloud technologies date
back to the 1960s, and even with the term first coming into commercial use in
the 1990s, there is still a great deal of uncertainty revolving around the
capabilities and benefits of cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting ("cloud" being a metaphor for the
Internet) is a computation or storage service that's supported by a pool of
distributed computing resources. But before attempting to grasp the concept of
cloud hosting, it first helps to know a bit about cloud computing. Cloud
computing is a form of computing where resources are provided as a service over
the Internet. It enables the on-demand allocation or de-allocation of the
central processing unit (CPU), as well as large-scale storage and network
Moreover, it can meet scalability requirements to cater to
user demands quickly; however, it does not require users to be experts on the
technology that supports them. Cloud computing entails three major elements:
software as a service (SaaS) - where applications are available on demand and
on a subscription basis; utility computing - where server capacity is accessed
across a grid as a variably priced and shared service; and virtualization -
where applications are separated from infrastructure.
Derived from the principles of cloud computing, cloud
hosting enables the sharing and management of large amounts of distributed
data, representing the ultimate in scalability for unpredictable demands. It
handles security, load balancing, and server resources virtually, so users are
not restricted to the limits of one physical piece of hardware or server.
Instead, online operations have access not only to a number of servers
distributed in real time, but to the heightened processing power that comes
So who uses such services, and could they be right for
you? Cloud hosting is
ideal for web developers who need a reliable platform for applications, but who
would rather not meddle in the technological aspect of the operations. Thus,
the service gives developers more room and flexibility to practice innovation,
rather than having to worry about web servers.
Indeed, there is much to take into consideration as to
whether cloud hosting might be right for you and your web development services.
Therefore, it is important that you understand as much as possible about such
services; that way you can help determine if cloud hosting could be of benefit
1.60 Beta 1 Released
Excerpted from Zeropaid Report
Transmission is one of several
popular Mac BitTorrent clients, which
includes XTorrent and BitRocket among others. Its
developers recently announced the release of version 1.60 Beta 1 for users to
test out in advance of a new stable update.
Some of the more popular new features are the choice of a
port randomization on start-up and prioritization of download transfers.
changes include the option to specify if transfers are included in the global
bandwidth limits, groups (moved to preferences) can be auto-assigned to
transfers when adding based on multiple criteria, groups can have a default
location when adding transfers, the speed limit scheduler can now be applied to
only specific days, Bonjour support for the web interface, file filter field in
the inspector, and the option to include beta releases when auto-updating.
note that 1.60b1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
LimeWire Assures Congress: Privacy Safeguards in Place
Excerpted from Wired News Report by Eliot Van Buskirk
P2P software company LimeWire is gently telling Congress to calm down, reassuring anxious lawmakers that the
company's software prevents users from putting the nation's top secrets or
their tax returns at risk, according to an advance copy of a letter obtained by
Earlier this month, Congress re-opened an investigation to
determine whether LimeWire added security safeguards, as it promised
legislators it would two years ago. That came in response to reports that
detailed information about President Barack Obama's "Marine One" helicopter
leaked over a P2P network, and that P2P users were still inadvertently
sharing hundreds of thousands of tax returns, medical records, credit reports
and other sensitive documents via mis-configured P2P software.
Wired obtained an advance copy of LimeWire
Chairman Mark Gorton's response to Congress, sent by LimeWire to the House
Committee Friday morning. In it, Gorton explains the extensive steps his
company has taken to eliminate the inadvertent sharing of documents, including
ignoring document-related file types in its default setting.
"LimeWire 5 by default does not share documents even if a
user purposely attempts to do so," writes Gorton. "LimeWire will not allow it.
In fact, LimeWire 5, released in December, goes so far as to automatically
un-share documents that a user may have shared using a 4.x version of
The House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform demanded his response with a stern letter issued to Gorton on
April 20th with specific questions about steps his company has taken to ensure
that people no longer inadvertently publish such documents to the world at
Congress views this not only as a matter of personal
privacy for citizens, but also of national security, because LimeWire is
installed on some government and/or defense-contractor computers. Detailed data
about Obama's helicopter was downloaded by an Iranian IP address, according to
WPXI. And Bob Boback of Tiversa (the company that discovered the leak in
February), pointed to IP addresses in China, Pakistan, Qatar, and Yemen as
having sought similar information via P2P.
However, the latest version of LimeWire appears to solve
the problem. Only older versions of the software put users at risk of sharing
their social security number, schematics for the President's helicopter, or
whatever other sensitive documents are stored on their hard drives.
The program ignores documents completely unless you blow
off several warnings and decide to share them anyway, and several other
safeguards are in place. For instance, the program no longer shares everything
in a particular folder, only specifically chosen files. If you set a folder to
be shared, then mistakenly drag a document into that folder, LimeWire will no
longer share that document.
"To understand first-hand the level of security we have
achieved I encourage any member of the Committee to do a default install of
LimeWire 5 or later on any computer and attempt to share a document type file,"
wrote Gorton. "LimeWire will not permit it."
After reading the full text of Gorton's responses, we're
satisfied that the latest version of LimeWire solves the problem. We should
soon find out whether Congress feels the same way.
LimeWire: P2P Software is Safe Now
from CNET News Report by Elinor Mills.
In response to the reopening of an investigation into
inadvertent file sharing with P2P software, an executive for LimeWire told Congress in a letter on
Friday that the new version of the program is "the most secure
file-sharing software available."
The main investigative committee in the US House of
Representatives reopened a probe of LimeWire and other P2P file-sharing
companies last week, citing data breaches blamed on the technology.
In February, a security firm alleged that information
about President Obama's helicopter was breached via P2P. There have also been
reports of inadvertent exposure of consumer financial data and medical records
over P2P, according to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In a letter sent Friday to the Committee and Congressional
members, Mark Gorton, the Chairman of LimeWire parent Lime Group, said LimeWire
5, released on December 8th, was designed to eliminate inadvertent file sharing
in response to privacy concerns.
LimeWire 5 by default does not share documents, it
automatically un-shares documents a user may have shared using an older version
of the software, and by default will not share documents regardless of whether
they exist in a folder that has been shared or whether a user shared the
document in an older version, said Gorton's letter, a copy of which was
obtained by CNET News.
"In short, there is absolutely no way to access a
LimeWire 5 user's documents unless that user affirmatively elects to make them
available," he wrote. "LimeWire 5 does not share any file of any type without explicit permission from the user."
The company has no specific information about
the reports of data breaches that the Committee had mentioned, Gorton said.
The Committee initially launched its probe into
inadvertent file sharing with P2P in mid-2007 and had called Gorton and others
Congressional Subcommittee is planning to hold a hearing on P2P technology. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on
Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday at
2:00 PM ET on the "Informed P2P User Act," introduced by
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), her office said.
Scheduled to testify at the hearing are the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Center
for Democracy & Technology (CDT), the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA),
the Distributed Computing
Industry Association (DCIA), the Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC), the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF),
Mike Masnick's Keynote at Digital Music Summit
Excerpted from Techdirt Report by Mike Masnick
In mid-March, I had the pleasure of giving the second day
keynote talk at the Leadership Music
Digital Summit. It was a lot of fun, and generated some really fascinating
There was a lot of demand to get the video online, and I wanted to
thank the team at Leadership Music (Kira and Abby) and Matt Houser who
volunteered to put together the video with my slides, which you can see on this media
If you've seen my earlier MidemNet
presentation, this is actually an extended and improved version of that, so
part of it will already be quite familiar to you. However, the final 10 minutes
of the presentation gives me an opportunity to respond to the biggest question
that came after the original presentation: how does this work for less well
So, I went through five different musicians, who each come
from different backgrounds and experiences, representing different
"success levels" in the industry, to show that this basic concept of
connecting with fans, giving them a reason to buy (and not freaking out about
infringement) works quite well.
At the beginning of the presentation, I note that the RIAA was a major sponsor
of the event, and there was a huge RIAA logo hanging over my head (not seen in
the video). The RIAA also sponsored the lunch following my keynote.
actually did end up talking to representatives from all four of the major
record labels while in Nashville (with very, very, very different reactions
from reps from each label, from outright frosty, to curious, to very interested
and engaging), no one from the RIAA itself actually said hello. Too bad.
Rewrite Proposal on Authorized File
Vancouver Sun Report by Michael Geist
In November 2007, the Songwriters Association of Canada
(SAC) shocked the music industry and many Canadians by proposing the full
authorization of music file sharing. The SAC proposal was based on the premise
that file sharing was not going away, that lawsuits against file sharers do
more harm than good, and that the continued emphasis on using digital locks to
control copying has been a complete failure.
In the view of thousands of Canadian songwriters, the
better way forward was to encourage sharing by monetizing it.
The SAC proposal envisioned a levy ($5 per month was
floated as a possibility) that would be used to compensate creators for the
In return, Canadians would be entitled to freely share
music for non-commercial purposes.
The reaction to the SAC proposal was generally critical.
The recording industry rejected it out-of-hand, arguing
that it violated international copyright law. Consumer groups were also
skeptical, noting that a mandatory universal levy would result in payments by
non-music-sharers, who would effectively subsidize those sharing music.
Notwithstanding the criticism, the SAC persisted. Last
week, it quietly unveiled a revised version of the proposal at a public forum
on copyright in Toronto.
The new version, which addresses many of these earlier
criticisms, is far more promising and there are indications that the SAC may be
joined by other creator organizations in pursuit of an authorization strategy.
The foundation of the proposal remains the same - the
creation of a new right of remuneration for music file sharing in return for
the consumer freedom to share an unlimited amount of music across all platforms
including P2P networks, mobile devices, instant messaging (IM), and even
e-mail. The SAC notes that downloading music for non-commercial purposes is
arguably already lawful in Canada due to the copying levy, but that its
proposal would cover more broadly all music file-sharing activities.
The most important change to the SAC proposal is that it
would now be voluntary for both creators and consumers. Artists could choose to
participate, thereby addressing international copyright law concerns about
mandated participation. The proposal also envisions providing consumers with
the right to opt-out of the plan if they do not share music files.
The voluntary approach - which resembles elements of a
plan the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) began promoting in 2003 - should
remove the consumer concerns associated with stiff monthly fees for non-music
sharers. While some artists may reject the plan, the SAC is betting that most
will participate given the opportunity to benefit from a new source of revenue.
The SAC has also made changes to the pricing model,
dropping the $5 monthly fee and instead leaving the issue in the hands of the
Copyright Board of Canada. The board would set the fee after input after full
While these changes may address many criticisms, some
issues remain, including fears that a music-only approach leaves open the
prospect of future demands for levies on other forms of content such as video.
If last week's copyright public forum is any indication,
other creator groups may be ready to join with the SAC in a broader proposal
that covers video works as well. ACTRA, which represents 21,000 Canadian
performers, indicated its willingness to pursue a similar plan. National Executive
Director Stephen Waddell told the audience that solutions based on locking down
content were failures and that it was time to explore other options such as
collective licensing that would fully legalize sharing activities in return for
As creator groups begin to line up behind these proposals,
the public may still need convincing. A recent public opinion survey from Angus
Reid Strategies found widespread Canadian opposition to new levy schemes,
suggesting that even the revised SAC approach will be a tough sell. With the
willingness to move toward voluntary plans, however, we are witnessing a
dramatic shift in attitude as groups abandon their reliance on outdated legislated
solutions in favor of innovative new alternatives.
How P2P Piracy Showed BTK the Way
Excerpted from Sofia Echo Report by Rene Beekman
April 27th the newly formed Intellectual Property Rights organization honored
Bulgaria's BTK for its intellectual property (IP) policy, which, according
to a self-congratulatory media statement, had led to "the formation of the
largest portal for the legal online downloading of music in Bulgaria."
Stanislava Armoutlieva, Executive Chair of the Board of the Bulgarian
Association of Music Producers (BAMP), was quoted as saying that "we
reward selected businesses in Bulgaria, which respect the rule of law, a
European spirit in relation to IP rights and their importance to society, and
assert the protection of these rights with good practice and a clear corporate
The service in question is BTK's 4fun.bg, the
first large-scale licensed pay-per-download portal in Bulgaria.
In itself, the portal offers nothing new. Apple and others have long shown that
the business model of pay-per-download is viable, especially when combined with
the sales of MP3 players and software.
The problem is that BTK is not in
the business of selling MP3 players or software for mobile devices.
So instead, it has picked a business model that proved highly successful for
many LAN-Internet providers in Bulgaria in the past decade; tying access to
music (or software or films) to Internet access.
About a decade ago, the norm in Bulgaria was dial-up Internet access, mostly
using pre-paid cards that were sold at newspaper stands. At that point,
Bulgaria had several so-called free-zones; parts of the national network that
were invisible outside the country and from where just about anything could be
Access to these free-zones was, more often than not, limited to one
or several LAN broadband Internet providers and used openly to push the sales
of broadband Internet access.
It was no surprise that in some cases the owners of the network provider and
the free-zone were alleged to be one and the same person or group of persons.
has liberally copied this business model by making its "licensed download
portal" 4fun.bg only accessible to its ADSL clients.
With all international licensed download portals telling Bulgarians they are
"unavailable in your country," BTK's offer is the only alternative.
But can it compete with the treasure troves of P2P networks?
The hard nut to
crack for Big Media still seems to be that in the digital world artificial
scarcity does not increase profit margins but instead leads to market loss.
It is high time IP associations, new and old, understand the urgency of IP
rights' reform that would lead to real increased income for artists, shorter,
not longer, copyright terms and wider and greater ease of availability of
Poll: Sweden's Pirate Party Will Win EU Parliament Seat
Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger
Pirate Party, formed in the wake of law enforcement actions against
file-sharing networks there, is expected to garner 5.1% of votes in the
upcoming European Union election, according to a poll conducted by a Swedish
newspaper, TorrentFreak reported.
the results of the poll are duplicated in the actual elections, the Pirate
Party would get a set in the EU Parliament. "This poll confirms our recent
phenomenal growth in support, and says there will be pirates in Brussels after
this election," Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge said.
Coming Events of Interest
P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA - May 4th in Santa Monica, CA. The fourth annual P2PMSLA, the DCIA's
flagship event, featuring keynotes from industry-leading P2P and social
network operators; panel
discussions covering P2P usage, analytical tools, relevant trends, and future opportunities;
valuable workshops; networking opportunities; and more.
Digital Hollywood Spring - May 5th-7th in Santa Monica, CA. With many new sessions and feature
events, DHS has become the premiere digital entertainment conference
and exposition. DCIA Member companies will exhibit and speak on a
number of panels.
Streaming Media East -
May 12th-13th in New York, NY. The number-one place to see, learn, and
discuss what is taking place with all forms of online video business
models and technology. Content owners, viral video creators, online
marketers, enterprise corporations, broadcast professionals, ad
agencies, and educators.
World Copyright Summit - June 9th-10th in Washington, DC. The international forum that brings
together all those directly involved in creative industries to openly
debate the future of copyright and the distribution of creative works
in the digital era. WCS is organized by CISAC, the International
Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers.
Structure 09 - June 25th in San
Francisco, CA. A world-class roster of speakers break down how to put cloud
computing to work. Cloud computing's movers and shakers go beyond theory to
discuss how they have leveraged cloud computing in their businesses.