June 1, 2009
Volume XXVI, Issue 8
Online Video Fastest Growing Medium in History
Excerpted by Online Media Daily Report by Gavin O'Malley
Having gone from zero to mass market globally in three short years, online video is the fastest-growing media platform in history, according to a new report from social media research consultancy Trendstream and research firm Lightspeed.
In one week in January, 97 million Americans viewed a streaming clip online - as many as are tuning into any major broadcast network - according to a recent survey of 1,000 active US web users aged 16-65. What's more, with 72% of US web users watching clips online, web video outstrips both blogging and social networking, and is now the leading "social media platform."
The "broadcast mode is dead," said Tom Smith, Managing Director of Trendstream. "Now is the time for co-creation, user distribution, and a true democratization of video content." The report also notes the power of interactivity that online video affords. In January 2009, 39% of respondents shared a clip online, and a further 31.5% contributed to the mass of online media by uploading a clip themselves.
Homemade content is by far the most popular content to upload, with 27% of those who uploaded a clip contributing material from this genre. Content from digital cameras is most likely to make it onto the Net, as 48% of contributors used this medium to create their content. At 26% and 22%, respectively, home PCs and mobiles are the next-most popular choices for creating content.
A full 82% of 16-17 year-olds watched video online, compared with 65% of those aged 55-64. 52% of 16-17 year-olds shared video clips online, compared with 29% of 55-64-year-olds, and a further 46% and 21% respectively uploaded a video.
With users from across the age-spectrum watching, creating, and distributing video content online, the so-called "digital divide" is not as wide as might be expected, according to Trendstream. It is also clear that the online video audience is far more sophisticated and influential than was previously supposed with the heaviest viewers in the 25-34 age bracket.
With 49 million active web users - 32% - uploading content in January 2009, users of all ages now generate far more content than traditional broadcasters and collectively contribute the majority of video content to the web.
According to Trendstream, broadcasters who wish to engage with this highly influential and affluent group need to develop highly compelling, multi-platform content that can be accessed through multiple gateways including e-mail, music sites, news sites, film sites, blogs, and social networks.
How People Share Online Video
Excerpted from eMarketer Report
In a world of continuous technological change, the concept of "new" can get old. Take online video, for example. A few short years ago, the term "online video" was wishful thinking. Clips could only be slowly downloaded. They had to be viewed in tiny windows on the computer screen. Sound and graphics were primitive. Video was hardly a killer app.
But then, in a rush came - sometime between 2005 and 2006 - YouTube in the US, Dailymotion in Europe, and Tudou in China, video-sharing sites that all had three basic elements in common: 1) Flash Player technology that enabled instant viewing in the browser without downloading; 2) upload-ability that made file sharing with friends (as well as viewers around the world) quick-and-easy; and 3) embedding code that allowed users to post video clips on web-pages and blogs.
Suddenly video was an open, consumer-driven platform, with virtually no cost of entry. As a result, online video moved from niche to mass-market, and in the process became the fastest-growing media platform in history.
According to The Global Web Index, early this year 72% of US Internet users watched video clips monthly - making video bigger than blogging or social networking. Nielsen Online pegged the number of US online video viewers in April at nearly 117 million.
That scale of usage would mean online video in the US is now as big as network TV. "This research shows that in just three years we've reached a watershed in the way that consumers expect to watch, contribute, and share video content," said Tom Smith of Trendstream. "Web users want to participate at every stage, including the creation and sharing of material."
The age of online video viewers trends younger: 82% of teens (16-17 year-olds) and young adults (18-24) streamed video, compared with 73% of Generation X (25-34) and 65% of older boomers (55-64) who said they watched.
One-half of all respondents shared videos via e-mail to friends and family. 23% sent video out to friends on social networks, 21% by instant messenger (IM), and 14% to their friends on video-sharing sites. The most widely used platform for discovering and viewing video online was YouTube, followed by e-mail, music sites, Yahoo, and news sites. Sharing appears to happen mainly among close friends, as 72% of video-sharers sent to just one, two, or three people.
"Those who access video are completely engaged in the content that they choose to watch," concluded Mr. Smith. "It's an impactful universe." Please click here for more information about eMarketer's Total Access.
ShowRSS Automates TV Show Downloads
Excerpted from Lifehacker Report by Jason Fitzpatrick
If you're missing the now defunct FeedMyTorrents and its awesome duplicate-free RSS-based automation, ShowRSS offers the same functionality and integration with RSS-enabled BitTorrent clients.
Founded by a refugee from FeedMyTorrents, ShowRSS collects torrents from a variety of sources and weeds out the duplicates. You pick from shows you want to keep an eye on and ShowRSS adds them to your personal RSS feed.
From there you can load the feed into a feed reader and manually select links to shows as they appear - or you can plug it into a BitTorrent client with RSS support like uTorrent to automate the process.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
Monetization of unlicensed music file-sharing traffic should not be viewed as an end, but rather as a pragmatic - and interim - means to commercially advancing the still nascent digital music distribution marketplace.
Indeed, the introduction of a recurring monthly fee to compensate music rights-holders for unlicensed music tracks that are shared among users of open file-sharing programs should be undertaken as a preliminary step in a more comprehensive program.
Otherwise, neither the music industry nor the technology sector should be expected to support this, because of its inherent limitations as a standalone approach to the full economic potential of both creative works and distribution technologies.
This overall initiative has to have more advanced goals than merely generating revenue from an activity that has to date proven insusceptible to enforcement efforts aimed at curtailing it, and that most industry observers believe will persist and continue to grow despite such efforts.
And it must have more carefully defined strategies and tactical components that are proven workable and attractive to labels, artists, publishers, and composers on the one hand, and software investors, distributors, developers, and marketers on the other.
This is not to say that this new revenue stream will not be important. It alone can easily generate five billion dollars per year - the music industry's share of the twenty-five billion dollars the entertainment industry claims is now lost in total annually to infringement.
However, this would be an unacceptable step to take if it represented a ceiling for the maximum revenue that can be generated from online music distribution in myriad formats and models, including those that capitalize on live P2P streaming and download P2P technologies to minimize cost and maximize quality and reliability.
What else is needed?
More than anything, a new system that responds to the reality that, thanks to the Internet, there are exponentially more potentially viable and qualified music distributors than in any previous era.
Arguably, the most important aspect of such a program should be the "licensing migration path" for new digital distribution platforms from their early developmental phases through technology and market trials to launch and commercial release.
We call upon the growing number of companies that provide technologically enhanced and automated rights management solutions to work with us and the companies that provide the tracking and accounting software that will be used to track downloads (and eventually individual plays) of music tracks in order to allocate the correct portion of proceeds from the monthly fees to rights-holders.
The basic idea would be to make it possible for literally thousands of independent developers and small distribution technology firms to obtain acceptance swiftly, efficiently, and equitably; and to migrate from their pre-licensed state to fully authorized status relatively early in their life-cycles.
The needed new solution will have these basic characteristics: it will enable file-sharing and similar digital music distribution platforms to obtain necessary licensing through an online registration and payment system while they are still small - which means the upfront payments should be affordable - and before the issue of music-industry-demanded restitution for being associated with a large volume of infringing music transfers complicates matters.
This automated licensing solution must offer terms-and-conditions to cover promotional, ad-supported, sponsor-bundled, subscription, paid download, as well as new, original, and innovative business models. It needs to enable the software distributors to make projections and arrange for periodic payments and account reconciliation. It also has to provide the opportunity for rights holders to stipulate qualifications (such as the use of filters for pre-release and geographically banned content, for example).
It should also reflect volume discounts based on consumer adoption and the ability to opt into customized non-automated licensing arrangements over time as growth warrants.
It also needs to interface with the tracking and accounting systems that will essentially perform an automated auditing function to validate payments and provide reporting to music rights-holders for the allocation of funds based on transactions from these distributors.
It also should give rights-holders flexible options for how hands-on they would like to be in approvals, with the goal of making online distribution licensing practical and desirable for all parties on an unprecedented scale.
We believe the necessary building blocks for this envisioned solution already exist, but must be assembled, integrated, and tested.
Initially, this would bolster monthly fees with additional revenue and, more importantly, in the fullness of time, help show the way to the most viable online music distribution models, substantially overtaking the monthly fees line with much higher levels of profitable revenue generation.
If enough vendors, music rights-holders, and software developers show interest, the DCIA will facilitate either a sub-group of our active P3P Working Group (P3PWG) or a new working group totally focused on this project. Please call me at +1-410-476-7965 or e-mail me simply by replying to this DCINFO newsletter mailing. Share wisely, and take care.
Spotify + The Echo Nest = Genius, Only Much Better
Excerpted from Digital Music News Report by Paul Resnikoff
The Echo Nest is being tapped by Spotify for recommendation functionality, but what will the integration look like?
At a pre-release demonstration Monday at SanFran MusicTech, Echo Nest Director of Developer Community Paul Lamere revealed a first-stage implementation that builds playlists around selected tracks. Using the song "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple, Lamere instantly generated a batch of similar-sounding, guitar-heavy songs by 70s groups.
Simple and clean, the experience actually resembles Genius, a dynamic playlist generation service found within iTunes. But although Genius does pull recommendations from the iTunes Store, it primarily accesses contents from the user library. And therein lies the difference: At Spotify, an on-demand catalog of millions of songs, the recommendations are much tighter - and the Echo Nest dynamically generates lists on a dime.
That solves a problem for Spotify, a company seeking to spruce its elegant interface with discovery and affinity. Playlisting seems like a good place to start that expansion, though Lamere promised more action ahead. "This is only the tip of the iceberg," Lamere stated.
And when does this go live? Release dates are yet to be announced, though a seamless demonstration revealed serious development work. "We're just dusting off the code," Lamere told Digital Music News.
Octoshape Powers Interactive Functionality for NASCAR
Octoshape this week announced that its Infinite Edge P2P technology has been selected to power the pause, replay, and synchronization functionality of the Emmy Award-nominated TrackPass RaceView application available exclusively on NASCAR.COM.
TrackPass RaceView is a subscription product that creates a 3D rendering of all 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars through live streaming GPS telemetry that tracks the position of the drivers. NASCAR.COM is operated by Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System.
"This is yet another exciting extension of Octoshape's P2P technology that enables new and innovative viewing experiences delivered live. This puts Octoshape in the pole position for interactive sports coverage." said Scott Brown, CEO of Octoshape USA. "Octoshape Infinite Edge has proven to always deliver on all three components needed for rich media experiences; high quality, huge scale, and unbeatable performance; you could say that we are firing on all cylinders."
Octoshape's Infinite Edge enables race fans to reverse back in time to replay exciting segments or to view missed action through the innovative Digital Video Recorder (DVR) feature by synchronizing live in-car audio with real-time race telemetry. The DVR puts immediate playback control in the hands of the user and greatly enhances the viewing experience through real-time interaction.
Race fans can view the rich interactive media provided by TrackPass RaceView here.
Skype Ponders Pricing for Enterprise P2P VoIP
Excerpted from TelecomWeb Report
The use of P2P voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) by enterprise users has begun to snowball, potentially leaving traditional long distance carriers facing rapidly declining revenues, but at the same time causing the P2P industry to scratch its collective head over what tariffs it can charge for its services.
Despite the opinions of a large number of World Wide Web users, the Internet isn't "free," and P2P telephony isn't either - the issue simply is who foots which part of the bill.
The P2P community wants to make sure enterprises that use its services get that message. Put another way, eBay paid $1.43 billion to buy Skype, commonly accepted by most in the industry as the world's leading P2P VoIP service.
That money wasn't charity - it expects a return on its investment (ROI). It's also no secret eBay hasn't been getting the return from the consumer side of the Internet.
Thus, as widely reported, Skype finally is in beta with a major thrust into the enterprise. TelecomWeb spoke with London-based Ian Robin, Head of Marketing for "Skype for Business," for his take on where the world's P2P VoIP leader sees P2P going when it comes to the enterprise.
To some extent, Skype is the new kid on the block regarding P2P VoIP for business but, at the same time, it's a veteran, Robin explains. That's because his team, the first targeted at enterprises, only dates back a few months.
Please click here for the full report.
Oprah Goes Techie on All Skype Show
Excerpted from All Headline News Report by Anthony Jones
Oprah Winfrey is having no problem keeping up with the times. In recent months, she's featured episodes on the Twitter and Facebook phenomena (earning a million Twitter followers in just a month), as well as endorsing Amazon's Kindle to the point of a complete sell-out before the holiday shopping season. This week, on Thursday's show, Oprah asked, "Where the Skype Are You?"
On the show, which was taped earlier in the month, Winfrey video-chats with guests from strange locations all using Skype, the P2P communications service. She chats with someone near the North Pole, on a submarine, and even with a passenger on a Virgin Atlantic flight that was then in the air.
She also chats with Skype President Josh Silverman from his London office. Skype has over 400 million registered users and the Wall Street Journal reports that the P2P VoIP service already sponsors Winfrey's show. She uses the software to video-in remote guests.
"The idea originated from our producers who wanted to see what extreme places they could Skype into," said a Harpo spokeswoman. "And also how they could use this far-reaching technology to surprise viewers."
Joost Boldly Goes Where Hulu Wouldn't
Excerpted from NewTeeVee Report by Liz Gannes
Independent developer Paul Yanez, who seems to make a game of adding functionality to web video platforms whether they like it or not, has built an Adobe AIR app for Joost called the Joost Media Player.
This is delightfully ironic for a number of reasons. Back when Joost was a traditional P2PTV application, Yanez built a proof-of-concept of a web version of the video portal. Later, Joost went all-web, dropping its error-prone software, and making it more competitive with the ease of web-based Hulu.
Yanez had built a similar AIR app for Hulu (since it's web-only) called MyMediaPlayer2, which Hulu blocked six times, the latest time in March. Where Hulu blocked Yanez, the Joost creative and engineering teams actually collaborated with him on the Joost Media Player. Yanez says Joost will also be promoting the player on its own site.
The new app is far less painful than using the original Joost software ever was. But in a twist away from Joost's recent social strategy, Joost Media Player doesn't even include the user accounts and newsfeed-oriented social viewing system that Joost has emphasized on the web; rather, it solely gives users the option of tying into their Twitter feeds to report to friends what they're watching.
Yanez's app also has remote-control viewing enabled.
Ignite Technologies Selects SPA for Testing
Software Performance Assurance (SPA), a specialist provider of software testing services, this week announced that Ignite Technologies, the leading provider of secure and scalable enterprise content delivery solutions to publish, manage, and deliver digital assets, selected SPA for software performance testing services including benchmarking, load, and stress; and scalability testing services for its flagship Enterprise Content Delivery solution.
"As we continue to grow our customer base and support hundreds of thousands of global enterprise customers and new corporate-approved portable devices, it is critical that we maintain our high standard of superior quality," said Jim Janicki, President & CEO of Ignite Technologies. "SPA quickly came up-to-speed on our application and performance testing requirements, resulting in an extremely efficient and cost effective solution. SPA utilized our test bed at night enabling Ignite to continue normal functional testing during the day," added Janicki.
SPA is a turn-key software testing partner, offering an end-to-end suite of services and solutions to help clients ensure that they are delivering high-quality systems that consistently meet customer and market requirements, at reduced costs and with reduced levels of risk. SPA leverages patented technology and state-of-the-art processes, methodologies, and tools in the course of its business practices.
"Ignite's decision to leverage SPA provides an important validation of the value we can add as an independent software testing specialist," said Ram Garg, CEO at SPA. "Software companies are continually increasing their focus on new and better ways to maintain software quality. Our award-winning and innovation-driven productivity improvements infrastructure helps software companies consistently reduce cost and improve time to market."
Freetel Chooses CloudShield to Improve Billing System
Excerpted from TMCnet Report by Anil Sharma
CloudShield Technologies, a provider of service management and infrastructure security solutions, and its system integration partner, NGEN, have successfully migrated Korea Telecom Freetel (KTF) to a new billing system, utilizing CloudShield's CS-2000 as the underlying platform. KTF started commercial nationwide PCS services in October 1997.
"In order to provide new services to its rapidly growing subscriber base, KTF needed to upgrade its billing solution," said Peder Jungck, Founder & CTO of CloudShield.
Jungck said that the CS-2000 has the ability to look at granular traffic levels, which allows providers to improve a wide range of services, including billing. Utilizing this technology, NGEN wrote the new application to give KTF a scalable model that will be able to accurately manage session-based billing.
Thanks to the new system, KTF will now be able to efficiently collect subscriber data and analyze protocols in order to properly manage its session-based billing and provide the best customer experience possible.
CloudShield officials claimed that with the solution in place, KTF can improve the functionality of its Account Charging System (ACS), Call Flow, One Day Pass for Pre-Paid Subscribers, and Free Visitor Portal.
"There are many non-standardized requirements for customers in Korea that cannot be fulfilled by off-the shelf products. Meeting these requirements was the major reason behind the development of the KTF ACS billing system," said Myeongkuk Son, Director of the Research & Development Center at NGEN.
Son said that the flexibility of the CS-2000 enabled the company to address these issues and offer a billing system that was a major improvement upon KTF's legacy solution.
"Helping the world's leading information, communications, entertainment, and transaction (ICET) provider enhance its billing capabilities in order to meet new subscriber services offerings is a solutions success engagement for CloudShield," said Matt Jones, CEO of CloudShield.
Jones added that this is a great example of how CloudShield's flexible software development environment allows world class partners like NGEN to rapidly develop applications that address large telecommunications customer requirements and drive a compelling ROI.
Muzak Partners with RightsFlow for Licensing Services
Muzak, one of the world's leading providers of music and media services for businesses, and RightsFlow, a provider of bulk licensing and royalty solutions for music services, announced a strategic licensing partnership this week.
The partnership allows Muzak to supplement its in-house resources and further manage its publishing licensing and accounting through RightsFlow's proprietary mechanical licensing 'FLOW' system. FLOW will drive efficiencies in Muzak's efforts to license, account for, and pay publisher and songwriter royalties for US music distribution reaching over 100 million listeners daily.
"I am pleased that we have such a strong partner in RightsFlow and to continue our relationship in this expanded capacity," said Stephen Villa, CEO of Muzak. "Compliance has been and continues to be the foundation of Muzak's licensing success. This partnership ensures that such a foundation is as strong as ever and, at the same time, further provides opportunities to efficiently supplement and expand content acquisition."
"During this important time in Muzak's history, we are continuing to invest in partnerships and ventures that enhance the productivity of our business. We are confident that we are taking the right steps to position Muzak for success and to achieve improved returns over the long-term," he added.
"RightsFlow is extremely proud to further expand our long-term relationship with Muzak," said Patrick Sullivan, CEO of RightsFlow. "We are excited to continue Muzak's proud history and its ongoing goal of having industry leading solutions to handle its customers' publishing licensing, accounting, and royalty needs."
LimeWire X 5.20 Beta for Mac OS X
Excerpted from Softpedia Report by Filip Truta
Apple-using LimeWire fans have a new beta version of the software to download and try out, according to the people at Gnutella Network.
According to the release notes for LimeWire X 5.2.0 Beta, the developers have updated the download tray, introduced advanced filters, and reintroduced Browse Host in Uploads, while throwing in the option to lift limits off the number of downloads for friends. The change-log also reveals that support for moving completed torrents to the Completed Files directory has been added in the latest LimeWire X beta, along with the addition of new file extensions to Documents, moving hyperlinks to the translation page from the options page, and adding file size to the View File Info box.
Gnutella Network also claims to have performed a "general code clean up" on LimeWire X, by removing unused imports, adding Override annotation, and better exceptions. The new version of the P2P file-sharing client also includes updated translations, although the change-log doesn't mention any specific languages.
LimeWire X is a free P2P file-sharing client for Mac OS X. It uses the Java platform to locate files, as well as share files, and is one of the few P2P file-sharing solutions of its kind for the Mac. LimeWire X is compatible with all major platforms and runs over the Gnutella Network. The app is touted as the fastest, easiest, and most advanced file-sharing solution of its kind.
To use LimeWire X, Mac users will need to run at least OS X version 10.4 (Tiger), pack a minimum 256 MB of RAM, have a live connection to the Internet, and Java 1.5 or later installed. Use the following to download LimeWire X for free, or to grab the Pro version: Download LimeWire X.
Panama's Cable Onda Picks PeerApp for Video Caching
Cable Onda, the largest cable TV operator and only triple-play provider in Panama, this week announced that it has selected and deployed the UltraBand 1000 product offering of PeerApp to provide video caching services to its subscribers. By deploying Intelligent Media Caching from PeerApp, Cable Onda reports a four-time improvement in the delivery of streaming video and file downloads while saving a significant portion of its transit budget.
Cable Onda is a rapidly growing cable TV operator that also provides Internet broadband services to more than 50% of its video subscribers. Those broadband subscribers are now receiving the best Internet Video experience possible, through the implementation of PeerApp media caching and content acceleration technology. As one of the fastest growing broadband network operators in Central America, delivering the best possible quality video experience for their Internet users is a key element of their growth strategy.
"Providing a high quality Internet video experience is a key element to growing our subscriber base. As video becomes a dominant Internet application, media caching from PeerApp is allowing us to increase our competitive edge, grow our subscriber base faster, and keep our customer satisfaction high. In addition to improving user satisfaction, the UltraBand system paid for itself in less than 12 months, simply by saving transit bandwidth," said Cable Onda's Technology Director, Diego Eleta.
"Cable Onda is a visionary in the area of service delivery for its subscribers. The company has chosen to be proactive and recognize Internet video as a business opportunity rather than a threat; deploying UltraBand is an important part of its strategy," said PeerApp Chairman & CEO Robert Mayer. "With the UltraBand system, network operators no longer have to make trade-offs between service quality and profit margins. Our solution benefits everyone in the distribution chain: Cable Onda, its subscribers, and content providers."
Napster Slashes Rates, Offers Unlimited Streaming
Excerpted from TG Daily Report by Aharon Etengoff
Napster has attempted to resurrect itself with a reduced monthly fee of $5. The company is currently also offering users five "unrestricted" MP3 downloads per month along with unlimited access to Napster's on-demand music streaming service.
"There's no need to settle for 30-second clips to decide if you want to buy a song," spun Napster CEO Chris Gorog. "For five bucks now you can have access to our entire music catalog and get five MP3s to add to your permanent collection."
According to Gorog, Napster users can now: listen to any track in CD quality from a catalog of more than seven million songs; choose from more than 60 commercial-free radio stations and more than 1,400 playlists; enjoy top hits from more than 50 years of Billboard charts; and play MP3s on any MP3 player, including iPod, iPhone, and music-enabled MP3 mobile phones.
Napster, originally defined as a P2P music file-sharing service, was developed by university student Shawn Fanning in June 1999. However, the music industry eventually accused Napster of massive copyright violations, which led to a court-ordered injunction and subsequent shut down in 2001.
Napster was relaunched as a licensed music subscription service by Roxio in 2003. The service was purchased by Best Buy in September 2008 for $121 million.
SETI@home Celebrates 10th Anniversary
The world's largest and longest-running volunteer computing project, SETI@home, celebrated its tenth anniversary this month with 140,000 participants and 235,000 computers powering the search for intelligent signals from space.
The project held a day-long symposium at the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory May 21st to celebrate the birthday and discuss the future of a project that still excites the public and has spurred the development of dozens of similar volunteer distributed computing projects.
Launched in May 1999, SETI@home uses home computers to sift through radio data acquired from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in search of patterns that might indicate an intelligent source.
The at-home Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) quickly attracted a worldwide following: three months after its debut, 1 million people had signed up in 223 countries, running the screensaver software on home and work computers and in grade-school classrooms, universities, and even government offices.
Over the past decade, more than 5 million people have signed up, and today, despite more than 80 competing volunteer computing projects, SETI@home still has the largest core of dedicated users. A big draw is being able to participate in a search that conceivably could detect life elsewhere in the universe - and to get credit for helping find ETs.
"The number of members has ebbed and flowed," said Project Director David Anderson, "but we have more computing power than ever, thanks to the steadily increasing power of computer processors."
The challenge, according to Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer, is scanning all frequencies, all areas of the sky, and all possible signal patterns for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. During its ten years of operation, SETI@home has steadily improved the capture of radio signals from the Arecibo radio telescope and subsequent signal analyses. Today, more frequencies are covered and more points in the sky are scanned simultaneously, and, as of March, the SETI@home software also searches for one-time pulses in addition to repeating signals.
SETI@home was conceived in 1995 when David Gedye, a software engineer now at Microsoft Live Labs, first thought about harnessing the immense, unused computing power of desktop computers around the world.
He approached University of Washington astronomer Woody Sullivan, who suggested contacting Werthimer, whose SERENDIP project was already doing SETI at Arecibo. Gedye also called on the expertise of Anderson, a specialist in distributed computing. Together, the four developed a way to link desktop computers through the Internet into a virtual supercomputer able to perform complex signal analyses of Arecibo data.
Cloud Computing High on Obama Agenda
Excerpted from Accounting Web Report by Stuart Lauchlan
According to a White House document published as part of the administration's 2010 budget request, cloud computing is seen as a way of revitalizing moribund IT projects in the US public sector and delivering greater value for money for the hard-pressed US tax payer.
To that end, the Obama administration plans a series of pilot projects which will "utilize more fully and broadly departmental and agency architectures to identify enterprise-wide common services and solutions with a new emphasis on cloud computing."
The document says: "The federal technology environment requires a fundamental re-examination of investments in technology infrastructure. The Infrastructure Modernization Program will be taking on new challenges and responsibilities."
These pilots will test a variety of services and delivery modes. These projects should lead to significant savings, achieved through basic changes in future federal information infrastructure investment strategies and elimination of duplicative operations at the agency level.
Pilots supporting the implementation of a cloud computing strategy will include: end-user communications and computing - secure provisioning, support (help desk), and operation of end-user applications across a spectrum of devices along with addressing telework and a mobile workforce; secure virtualized data centers, with government-to-government, government-to-contractor, and contractor-to-contractor modes of service delivery.
They will also include portals, collaboration, and messaging - secure data dissemination, citizen and other stakeholder engagement, and workforce productivity; content, information, and records management - delivery of services to citizens and workforce productivity; workflow and case management-delivery of services to citizens and workforce productivity; data analytics, visualization, and reporting - transparency and management; and enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) - for example, in financial management.
The expectation is that a move to the cloud will reduce the financial burden of vast public sector IT programs. "Of the investments that will involve up-front costs to be recouped in out-year savings, cloud-computing is a prime case in point," notes the document. "The Federal Government will transform its IT infrastructure by virtualizing data centers, consolidating data centers and operations, and ultimately adopting a cloud computing business model. Expected savings in the out-years, as more agencies reduce their costs of hosting systems in their own data centers, should be many times the original investment in this area."
AT&T Set to Launch Cloud Computing Services
Excerpted from Software Journal Report
US-based telecom giant AT&T has announced that it is going to offer cloud-based services similar to other players in the market like IBM, Amazon, Symantec, and Iron Mountain.
It will be using products and services supplied by EMC for this launch. AT&T said that the service will initially be operated from its two data centers in the United States. It is also planning to expand to international markets in the future.
AT&T is hoping to become a major player in this segment which is growing at an impressive pace.
More and more companies are using cloud computing services to save money and time.
Researchers Aim to Develop Cloud Standard
Excerpted From NEWS Australia Report
Deakin University researchers are working on a framework for building infrastructure to provide technology services on demand with vastly enhanced capability.
The team, led by Andrzej Goscinski from the School of Information Technology, has started work on the project, intended to make cloud computing more accessible, reliable, and efficient.
Cloud computing involves providing high-performance computing services from the Internet to multiple clients.
Professor Goscinski said the project was expected to change the cloud computing marketplace and provide a basis for standardization in the field.
Businesses using cloud computing only pay for the services they use, he said, so business administrators can concentrate on managing their applications rather than spending money on buying, managing, and upgrading servers.
Small businesses could access world-class IT systems that might otherwise be unaffordable. Businesses could also make their computing resources available to other users during downtime.
Despite its potential, Professor Goscinski said, a number of issues need to be resolved, such as the lack of an easily accessible directory of cloud computing resources. There are also problems assessing the quality of the service being offered and how resources are managed, he said.
Cloud computing is still considered the domain of a few highly experienced specialists with expertise in distributed computing and operating systems. The Deakin team plans to develop a big-picture view of infrastructure for cloud computing with the aim of broadening its use.
The new project builds on Deakin's earlier work involving a Resources Via Web Instances (RVWI) framework.
"We are able to identify and state attributes or characteristics of a service and that could be a computation service or a storage service or an application service," Professor Goscinski said. "If that is made available and provided and stored in a registry, users can easily identify those that suit their purpose."
Researchers in the US and Europe and major companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM are involved in cloud computing, but there is currently no easy way to offer services, he said.
The team is also in discussions with two major vendors about its research.
Cloud Computing & Open Source: Barrier Breaker
Excerpted from Virtual Strategy Magazine Report by Mike Evans
The industry hype surrounding cloud computing continues to grow, with vendors rapidly moving to create new cloud solutions or to reposition existing solutions as being suitable for cloud deployments. The hype is helping to highlight the compelling benefits, as well as the barriers, to widespread adoption.
Added to this, there are many definitions of cloud computing, so there is plenty of scope for confusion. Two things at least are clear: First, cloud computing is a huge growth area because it combines modern technologies in a way that offer clear benefits to end users. Second, the underlying technology foundation of almost every cloud is virtualization.
So what are the benefits of cloud computing? Following are operational benefits: the ability to quickly deploy applications and services; scale up and down on demand; improve service to internal developers and business users; and redeploy resources instantly to support the business. And here are the cost benefits: eliminate the need to procure and manage hardware; only pay for what is consumed; and achieve greater CapEx and OpEx efficiencies through a shared infrastructure.
IT leaders are well aware of the capabilities of virtualization, but it is worth pointing out that many of the benefits of cloud computing, including those listed above, rely upon virtualization technology.
Meanwhile, IT managers who wish to use cloud computing as part of their infrastructure also have a number of other high-level issues to contend with, beyond virtualization. Perhaps most important is the realization that a compute cloud is most attractive, and most challenging, when it is outsourced. The instant availability, scalability, and pay-as-you-go pricing model are perfect for today's business environment. On the other hand, placing one's critical applications and data into the hands of a third party is clearly not for the faint-hearted.
So, for many, an internal cloud deployment built using existing virtualization skills provides a logical first step for critical applications, even at the cost of some benefits. External clouds can then be used for low-priority applications or, if practical, for absorbing peak loads, until the attributes that are required for wider usage, for example security and interoperability, are met.
Eventually, as experience with internal and external clouds grows, IT managers will look to use both types interchangeably. Delivering solutions that support this "spillover" model, where virtual systems and applications can be seamlessly moved between in-house and hosted environments, is the challenge that vendors have to meet if cloud computing is going to truly succeed across enterprises of all sizes.
To make such flexibility possible, cloud vendors will have to adopt common, open standards pervasively. Standards must cover multiple technologies, including virtualization, security, management, provisioning, messaging, scheduling, data formats, application development, etc.
Looking at these challenges, and looking at existing successful cloud deployments, it becomes clear that the open source model is the only practical way to deliver the necessary cloud infrastructure software and standards in a vendor-neutral manner. Ensuring that there are no hidden APIs and vendors cannot lock-in end customers, transparency and visibility for all is clearly the way to enable wider adoption.
Consumers May Not Benefit from Privacy Regulation
Excerpted from Online Media Daily Report by Wendy Davis
A new study by the think tank Technology Policy Institute (TPI) concludes that new online privacy measures won't help consumers and could hinder web companies.
"Regulation should be undertaken only if a market is not functioning properly and if the benefits of new measures outweigh their costs," says the 56-page report In Defense of Data. "Our analysis suggests that proposals to restrict the amount of information available would not yield net benefits for consumers."
To a large extent, the paper reiterates arguments that online ad companies first made a decade ago: targeted ads are more relevant to consumers, subsidize free content, and pose no threat to privacy because they are anonymous.
"More privacy implies less information available for producing benefits to consumers," state the writers, economists Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin. Lenard has previously worked in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The report comes as policymakers are calling for increased privacy protections online. Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman of the House Communications, Technology, and Internet Subcommittee, recently vowed to introduce new legislation. In addition, FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz has said the industry should do a better job of notifying web users about online ad targeting and allowing them to opt out. In one recent interview, Leibowitz went even further and urged companies to obtain users' explicit opt-in consent.
Mike Zaneis, Vice President for Public Policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), praises the report for highlighting the value of online advertising. "It's good to have experts and think tanks identify the fact that you can't take information out of the information economy without harming the ecosystem," he says.
But Zaneis adds that web companies can institute privacy measures without hurting their bottom line. "It's absolutely in our interest to meet consumers' privacy expectations," he says.
Alissa Cooper, Chief Computer Scientist at the digital rights group Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), points out that the paper doesn't differentiate between collection of sensitive data and other types of information, but rather, "lumps all data collection into a single bucket."
The FTC, in its recent guidelines for behavioral advertising, said that companies should obtain users' explicit consent before collecting sensitive data such as financial or health information.
Five Countries on Copyright Infringement Watch List
Excerpted from AFP Report
Infringement of copyrighted movies, music, videogames, and other entertainment has reached "alarming levels" in Canada, China, Mexico, Russia, and Spain, members of the US Congress warned on Wednesday.
The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, made up of more than 70 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, placed the five countries at the top of their "2009 International Piracy Watch List."
"Infringement has reached alarming levels" in these countries, it added, and is "largely the result of a lack of political will to confront the problem."
The caucus, citing industry estimates, said global infringement costs US firms over 25 billion dollars in lost sales annually.
Counterfeit copies of movies, music, and other works remains a problem, the caucus said, but it was "particularly concerned with the mounting challenges of protecting copyrighted works in the online environment."
It said the Chinese government "has permitted infringement to fully contaminate the online marketplace via an array of websites, file-storage sites, and user-generated content (UGC) sites."
It said Russia had made "some progress" in respecting intellectual property (IP) rights over the past few years, but "much work remains before we can support Russia's accession to the rules-based World Trade Organization (WTO)."
"We remain deeply concerned that Canada has failed to update its copyright laws to provide for online enforcement, making it a safe haven for Internet infringers," the caucus said. "Canada's enforcement record falls short of what should be expected of our neighbor and largest trading partner."
"Online infringement in Spain is widely perceived as an acceptable cultural phenomenon, and the situation is exacerbated by a government policy that has essentially made unauthorized file sharing lawful."
Copyright infringement also remains a severe problem in Mexico with only a handful of state governments interested in fighting unauthorized trade, the caucus said, and an absence of penalties to deter copyright infringers.
Dan Glickman, Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), pointed to digital infringement as a threat to his industry. "The US motion picture industry is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to deliver creative content to consumers, particular over the Internet," he said. "It is extremely important that US trading partners have effective legislative frameworks for protecting creative content online."
Zattoo Needs Additional Rights for Movies
Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger
Film studios NBC Universal and Warner Bros. have won a preliminary injunction from a German court against Zattoo, a Switzerland-based licensed P2PTV portal that inserts buffer ads at the head of streams of television programming, including movies, that air on free German TV channels, which it is authorized to retransmit via Zattoo TV, its P2P service, Variety reported.
The studios successfully argued that Zattoo, which counts over 4.2 million registered users, does not have all the necessary rights to insert commercials into the online TV rebroadcasts.
They are also seeking unspecified additional license fees from Zattoo.
Lessons from The Pirate Bay Trial
Excerpted from The Chicago Reader Report by Miles Raymer
The Pirate Bay (TPB) folks have never denied that their users are distributing an ungodly amount of unauthorized intellectual property (IP); a big part of their defense was to claim that they couldn't be held responsible for how their service is used. And to be fair, it's perfectly possible to patronize TPB without sharing anything but material that has passed into the public domain, or that was released under a Creative Commons license, or that never had any rights protection at all.
A few other considerations, looked at in isolation, can also make TPB and its kin seem relatively benign. BitTorrent technology helps give new life to rare old albums, which are generally still covered by copyright but not commercially available - plenty of file sharers figure that stuff is fair game, since the rights holders aren't doing anything with their rights.
And sites like TPB also offer artists who don't object to free trading of their works a great method of global distribution - people who weren't going to pay for a download of "In Rainbows" anyway probably saved Radiohead a nice chunk of bandwidth costs by using BitTorrent sites instead.
But honestly, from what I've seen, works in all those categories add up to a tiny percentage of the total - and such apologetics on TPB's behalf are missing the point anyway. It's possible to stand with them without disingenuously pretending that the positive side-effects of their operation are the whole deal. They're infringers. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has every right to sue them. It just shouldn't.
A new study by Will Page of non-profit licensing agency PRS for Music and Eric Garland of Internet research firm BigChampagne, the leading collector of file-sharing data, challenges the long-tail model of the digital marketplace - the notion that, say, 20% of volume might come from the most popular 5% of music, while the remaining 80% comes from the "long tail," aka the other 95%. The study's observations of the file-sharing market show that 80% of the volume happens in that most popular 5% - a distribution similar to that in the licensed market, where the number can climb to 90%.
This suggests it's possible to monetize P2P networks, and there's other evidence pointing in the same direction. In a poll earlier this year by Swedish rights organization STIM, 86% of respondents said they'd pay for a licensed P2P service. In a 2008 survey by British Music Rights (now UK Music), 74% of respondents said they wanted authorized P2P, and that number rose to 80% among regular downloaders.
There is no way to kill digital infringement. Eliminate TPB and it's still simple for people to find torrents on Google. Record labels ought to consider entities like TPB legitimate conduits, capable of stoking consumer interest, and legitimate competition - the kind you confront in the market, not in the courts.
The music industry has been terrible at technological adaptation. When it saw digital infringement coming back in the 90s, it lobbied Congress to get the awful Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 passed, instead of trying to co-opt or compete with the infringers. When Napster exploded, labels learned how many people were willing to ignore the law to trade files, but they made no effort to meet that demand themselves.
The majors had to be dragged into the digital marketplace, and some execs seem only slightly less mistrustful of the iTunes Music Store than they are of TPB. They're still trying to control the price of their product, rather than letting demand determine the going rate. They recently talked Apple into a tiered iTunes pricing system, and according to Glenn Peoples' analysis for Billboard, it's helped profits but hurt sales.
When the price options for an album are basically $10 or nothing, lots of people will choose the freebie, even though they might be willing to pay $6, or subscribe to an all-you-can-download service for $20 per month. Many downloaders have misgivings about the ethics of what they're doing and would welcome a way to assuage that guilt - but a company that can't sell licensed P2P to them doesn't deserve to stay in business.
According to Page and Garland's study, Lady Gaga's "The Fame" racked up 388,000 full-album downloads in the last week of April through TPB alone. Coincidentally that was also the week it peaked in stateside sales - at 56,000. Maybe what the majors need to do to get their own file-sharing services off the ground is market them as underdogs. Everyone loves an underdog.
Who's Who in the Soto Case
Excerpted from Soitu Report by Delia Rodriguez
The court case of file-sharing program developer Pablo Soto, who is being sued by record companies for 13 million euros based on a charge of unfair competition, was heard this week in Madrid, Spain. This case will be vital for the future of downloading in Spain. The judge is San Miguel Maria Rodriguez Vicente, Titular Judge of Mercantile Court No. 4 in Madrid, and a veteran of the profession originally from Navarro. In the first part of the trial, he showed common sense and good humor, joking about the extensive media coverage the case has gleaned.
The defendant is Pablo Soto, a 29 year-old, blue-eyed blond Madrilenian, self-taught to become one of the world's leading experts in P2P technology, who has received several awards for programs developed at MP2P Technologies, the company he founded. He is sympathetic and refuses to be known as the "heroe de las descargas." The media support him almost unanimously and, personally, he is a music lover.
The three defense attorneys include David Bravo, a native of Seville, and the favorite lawyer of the Internet since the publication of his book "Copia Este Libro," which advocates non-traditional positions on intellectual property (IP) for the Internet. Javier de la Cueva is a software developer as well as a lawyer: a Linux user and avowed "hacktivista." He created the "procedimentos libres," which have won several cases. Jose Ignacio Aguilar, from Seville, serves as the "refuerzos" for Bravo and Cueva with deep experience in classic civil law.
The plaintiffs include Antonio Guisasola, President of Promusicae, an institution hated by Spanish media for its belligerent stance in defense of its member record companies. Arrogant and a lover of good clothes, Guisasola fronts for his members in the most vehement way possible. Emiliano Figueroa (Sony), Jose Luis Sanchez Alvarez (Universal), Alicia Rapeti (Warner), and Olga Diaz (EMI) are the representatives for the record companies.
Plaintiff attorneys include Javier Torres, a partner of the firm Bercovitz, which often represents record companies. With 15 years of industry experience, Torres seems younger than he is in reality. On the first day of trial, his voice trembled questioning the expert witness. Alfonso Gonzalez, the second lawyer for the prosecution, has been with Bercovitz since 2004 and also specializes in IP.
The technical experts include Teodoro Mayo, David Price, and Juan Carlos Garcia Cuartango. Mayo works in R&D and has dedicated his career to opposing the development of P2P. Price, brought from London, is head of piracy intelligence at Envisional. Cuartango is a leading telecommunications engineer in computer security.
The exclusive expert witness is Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), an international trade organization focused on commercial advancement of P2P. The DCIA honored MP2P with its 2008 Pioneer's Award for developing the Omemo P2P virtual storage solution. The defense did their work well: Lafferty outlined the development of both MP2P Technologies and the P2P industry, citing progress that has been made by licensed P2P services in ad-supported, subscription, and paid download entertainment as well live P2P streaming, VoIP, P2PTV, and enterprise P2P deployments. He said that Spain should be proud to be home of MP2P and a software developer as talented as Soto.
New Jammie Thomas Lawyers Vow to Put RIAA on Trial
Excerpted from Wired News Report by David Kravets
A new team of lawyers representing accused music uploader Jammie Thomas said Wednesday they would defeat the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on its own turf. Stay tuned for the upcoming do-over of the nation's only music file-sharing case to go to a jury.
"We are going for a jury verdict of zero," said Kiwi Camara, one of three Texas lawyers who replaced Minnesota litigator Brian Toder. "We are going to convince a jury that the RIAA should not bring these cases."
Jammie Thomas, a married mother of three in Brainerd, MN, famously lost her first trial in 2007, resulting in a $222,000 judgment. But months after the four-day trial was over, US District Judge Michael Davis declared a mistrial, saying he'd incorrectly instructed the jury that merely making copyrighted works available on a file-sharing program constituted infringement, regardless of whether anybody downloaded the content.
Thomas' lawyer from that trial bowed out this week, citing unpaid legal fees - more than $130,000 worth. Now three former Harvard University classmates (Camara, Joe Sibley, and former Netscape engineer Tim Nyberg) are stepping up to the plate for free. All three were students of Harvard scholar Charles Nesson, the founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Nesson is currently defending a former Boston University student the RIAA has accused of file sharing.
The retrial is set to begin on June 15th in Duluth, MN. The lawyers indicated they don't plan to seek a delay. The young attorneys think the key to victory is to attack the RIAA's litigation strategy, which has spawned 30,000 lawsuits over five years, most of which have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars.
"We think the jury is going to reject this strategy," Camara said. "The RIAA strategy here is not to try any of these cases." The retrial, he added, "will be a little more exciting" than the first round.
The RIAA announced last year it was discontinuing its 5-year-old litigation campaign. But the organization continues suing or negotiating settlements from people spotted sharing music during or before August of last year.
Under its new campaign against file sharing, the RIAA is lobbying Internet service providers (ISPs) to discontinue service to repeat copyright scofflaws.
Thomas' former lawyer wished her luck on Wednesday. "I hope we are remembered, not for withdrawing, but for the considerable time and expense we provided before we could no longer afford to stay in Jammie's fight," said Toder. "Her interests are now well served, and we wish her well."
Harvard Prof Tells Judge that File Sharing is Fair Use
Excerpted from Ars Technica Report by Nate Anderson
Wholesale copying of music on P2P networks is fair use. Statutory damages can't be applied to P2P users. File-swapping results in no provable harm to rights-holders.
These are just some of the assertions that Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson made last week in his defense of accused file-swapper Joel Tenenbaum.
In court filings, Nesson spelled out his defense strategy, which doesn't appear to involve claims that his client "didn't do it." Instead, Nesson argues that it doesn't matter if Tenenbaum copied music; such non-commercial uses are presumptively "fair" and anyone seeking to squeeze file-swappers for statutory damages is entitled to precisely zero dollars.
The strategy certainly doesn't lack for boldness. In making the case that statutory damages only apply to commercial infringers, Nesson says that his reading of the law is "constitutionally compelled." His most interesting argument is that the law offers rights-holders the chance to seek either statutory or actual damages, but that the two are meant to be equivalent.
"It would be a bizarre statute indeed that offered two completely unrelated remedies," he writes, "one which granted actual damages and lost profits, and the other of which granted plaintiffs the right to drive a flock of sheep across federal property on the third day of each month."
If the two remedies are equivalent, and if "individual non-commercial copying results in no provable actual harm to the copyright holder," then actual damages would be zero-and so would statutory damages. In this context, it would be unreasonable to consider the $150,000 per infringement authorized by law as an appropriate substitute for the zero actual damages."
In any event, all of this statutory damages talk doesn't matter, because Nesson claims that Tenenbaum's use of the songs at issue here was "fair use" and thus not an infringement at all.
It's a gutsy move to claim that wholesale downloads of complete copyrighted works for no purpose higher than mere enjoyment of music somehow satisfies the famous "four factor test" for fair use claims, but Nesson believes he can win over a jury.
"Defendant Tenenbaum expects and plans to offer the jury evidence relating to each one of these four factors," Nesson wrote in his court filing, "just as they are articulated in the statute, with the jury to decide their meaning as they apply to the facts of his particular case."
Nesson has been floating this idea to his supporters for some time, but the reception has been frosty. Lawyers like Lawrence Lessig, a huge fan of "free culture," remixing, mash-ups, and reduced copyright protections, wrote in an e-mail to Nesson that "Of course, Tenenbaum's conduct was against the law, and you do the law too much kindness by trying to pretend or stretch 'fair use' to excuse what he did. It doesn't."
Coming Events of Interest
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.
Digital Media Conference - June 25th in Tysons Corner, VA. With 500+ participants, DMC at the Ritz-Carlton attracts the best and brightest from the Washington, DC region and beyond for a packed day of in-depth discussions and networking focused on the the business issues impacting digital media companies.
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.
PopKomm - September 16th-18th in Berlin, Germany. With more than 843 exhibitors from 52 countries, PopKomm is one of the leading international conferences and expos for the music and entertainment businesses worldwide.
New York Games Conference - September 30th in New York, NY. Join games industry leaders - including leading video game publishers and developers, carriers, portals, technology companies, advertising execs, venture capitalists, lawyers, analysts, and many more.
Digital Hollywood Fall - October 19th-22nd in Santa Monica, CA. With many new sessions and feature events, DHF has become the premiere digital entertainment conference and exposition. DCIA Member companies will exhibit and speak on a number of panels.