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December 26, 2011
Volume XXXVII, Issue 10

Two-Week Countdown to CES

Once again, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will cover the consumer-electronics spectrum, showcasing everything from connected TVs and home audio to CE gadgets - including, of course, tablets, in-vehicle electronics, health, and fitness electronics, smart-phones and the latest technology advances.

Now just two weeks away, the 2012 event will be nothing to shy away from, with more than 2,700 exhibitors lined up to greet attendees. The event is expected to attract more than 140,000 show-goers as well.

Back for its third year, the iLounge Pavilion at the 2012 International CES will be the largest in show history, spanning 75,000 square feet. Experiencing 50% growth over its 2011 CES footprint, iLounge has tripled in size since its CES debut in 2010. Among the other places you won't want to miss at the 2012 event will be the topic-specific TechZones, which are designed to help attendees navigate the show according to their interests. The planned keynote sessions will once again feature an all-star cast, with addresses set to be delivered by CEA's Gary Shapiro, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, Qualcomm's Paul Jacobs, Intel's Paul Otellini, Mercedes-Benz's Dieter Zetsche, Ericsson's Hans Vestberg, Xerox's Ursula Burns, Ford's Alan Mulally, and Verizon's Lowell McAdam, to name a few.

Now in its second year as a Conference within CES, CONTENT IN THE CLOUD, produced by the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), will take attendees on an insider's tour of the many ways cloud computing is revolutionizing entertainment delivery, and enable delegates to come away with a deeper understanding of the impact of this technology on all parties involved in content distribution.

Also coming back for the second time this year, the Entertainment Matters at CES program is designed for Hollywood's film, television, and digital communities and features exhibits, events and conference programs for entertainment professionals interested in the convergence of content and technology. This year, Robert Kyncl, vice president of global content partnerships at YouTube, will deliver the Entertainment Matters keynote address.

Register for the event. Reserve a hotel room. See who will deliver a keynote address. Navigate through floor plans. Get a preview of the Conference Program. Get the skinny on the 2012 CES TechZones. Access the Exhibitor Directory. Get the Follow Me application for your mobile device. What will be The Last Gadget Standing? Find out who will be handing out CE awards. Get more information about MashBash.

If CEA SmartBrief is not arriving in your inbox daily, sign-up for this timely e-newsletter from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). CEA SmartBrief delivers the stories making news in the CE industry directly to your inbox - free.

How Cloud Computing is Changing the Movie Industry

Excerpted from Virtualization Report

Lionsgate Entertainment is a giant force in the film industry, managing the production and release of thousands of titles.

As a production company, Lionsgate is known for making cutting-edge horror and pushing the limits of audience immersion and technology.

One technology Lionsgate is utilizing to manage the release of its films can be found in the cloud.

Distributing productions through services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and others is one way this company is adapting to a new era in media consumption.

In addition, a great deal of Lionsgate's infrastructure is managed in the cloud, saving the company the major headaches having to manage its own data centers and bandwidth allocation.

The Future of TV - IPTV Leads to AppTV

Excerpted from B2C Community Report by Daniel Burrus

In terms of TV, Xbox is doing something that Apple TV has been doing for years, but Xbox is taking it to a new level. With Apple TV you have Hulu, Netflix, and Access. You can play games, watch TV, and read your e-mails. But the thing that the Xbox is bringing to users is their Kinect system, which includes a 3D video camera combined with voice recognition to allow users to control the screen with their hand and body movements. No mouse and no remote control - just hand and body movements.

This is taking the Xbox on a predictable path. In the late 1980s I predicted that Internet protocol television (IPTV) was where we were going. Now here we are. And in the future, IPTV will continue to grow.

Looking at the hard trends around us, it's clear to me that the real future of television is apps. Have you ever wondered why you can have 500+ cable channels and nothing to watch? It's because you don't have AppTV.

To understand how AppTV would work, let's look at the iPhone. Two people can have an iPhone and have the same service provider. But those two phones would be completely different from each other. Why? Because when you have an iPhone, you customize it for your needs by picking the apps that are significant to you. You turn an iPhone into a MyPhone.

In that same way, with AppTV your TV will be customized for you. Think of it as an iPad big enough to be in your living room. Here's how it will work: We will be using apps on the TV so that when you sit down to watch, you'll have a customized viewing experience rather than hundreds of stations you don't want to watch.

Not only that, but there will be a camera on those TVs, just like the tablets and smart phones have today, and it will use facial recognition. So when you walk in the living room, it will know you are there and will self-configure the right apps for you. If the entire family is in the room, you'll use your voice to let it know which apps you want to have available.

For example, if your family consists of five people - two adults and three kids - and the dad and one child are in the room, the system will have the apps for those two individuals available for them. The two people can then decide which of those shows they want to watch.

So IPTV and apps is the future of television. And what the XBox is doing today is part of that progression. As the technology progresses, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, as well as other manufacturers, will continually fine tune it, making the future of TV happen today.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe DCIA is pleased to report judicial as well as legislative victories as the year comes to a close, in addition to the continuing acceleration of commercial advancement in cloud computing.

All attendees at our CONTENT IN THE CLOUD Conference within CES will receive a copy of the complete DCIA Annual Report; and we believe there's no better way to help prepare for 2012 than by attending this exceptional event.

On the global stage, year-end court victories from Spain to Japan to the US validated the DCIA's position that innovative - and neutral - distributed computing technologies should be supported with the adoption of new business models rather than condemned for their disruptiveness to old ways of delivering data. 

While our charter is to serve as a "peace table" - advancing technological and commercial solutions when affected parties seek an alternative to litigation - in this case, we departed from our usual stance by actively participating with expert witness testimony, and we're glad it succeeded so well.

On the lawmaking front, we were pleased that neither the woefully misguided and ill-conceived PIPA in the US Senate nor the even more harmful SOPA in the US House of Representatives, both of which were  sponsored by industry opponents, were passed by Congress in 2011.

Beyond that, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Senator Ron Widen (D-OR) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) for proposing an alternative legislative measure that we can support, the OPEN Act.

But we are most excited about the growing momentum of cloud computing, and invite you to join us at the CONTENT IN THE CLOUD Conference at CES. If you still haven't registered for the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), please click here to sign-up now.

Then look for the "Add to Cart" button as you browse the 2012 Conference Program to find the CONTENT IN THE CLOUD Conference at CES and other sessions or tracks you want to attend this January. When you're ready to check out, the system will tabulate the best purchase option based on your choices.

The DCIA's CONTENT IN THE CLOUD will take place as a conference within CES on Wednesday January 11th in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Our opening keynote will be "A Vision for Content in the Cloud" by Mike West, Founder & CTO, GenosTV. This presentation will set the stage for the entire conference program that follows, which will delve into the many ways that cloud computing is transforming content delivery.

Our first panel will explore "The Impact on Consumers of Implementing Cloud Computing for Media Storage." What does cloud storage mean to users in terms of accessing entertainment content and owning copies of movies, music, TV shows, and games? Panelists will include Sean Barger, CEO, Equilibrium; Jim Cady, CEO, Slacker; Ian Donahue, Co-Founder, RedThorne Media; Keith Friedenberg, Head of Research & Consumer Insights, WME; Ed Haslam, SVP, Marketing, YuMe; Gigi Johnson, Executive Director, Maremel Institute; Jostein Svendsen, CEO, WeVideo; and Dave Toole, CEO, MEDIAmobz.

Our second keynote will be "Consumer Benefits of Cloud-Delivered Content: Ubiquity, Cost, Portability Improvements" by Shahi Ghanem, EVP, Strategy, BitTorrent. Cloud-based solutions are being applied to popular entertainment properties. What are the advantages to users versus older methods of online distribution?

Our third keynote will be "Consumer Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: Privacy, Reliability, Security Issues" by Jim Burger, Member, Dow Lohnes. Cloud security is raising serious questions: What experiences have other industries had with inadvertent leaks or intentional hacking of confidential data? What can users do to mitigate not having access to their applications or accidentally losing their data when they go offline? What happens if a cloud provider goes out of business?

Our next panel will discuss "The Impact on Telecommunications Industries of Cloud Computing." How will cloud computing affect the way broadband network providers manage their intellectual property, utilize network resources, and provision new services? Tom Mulally, Principal Analyst, Numagic Consulting, will moderate panelists Sean Jennings, VP, Solutions Architecture, Virtustream; Wayne Josel, Counsel, Media & Entertainment, Hughes Hubbard & Reed; Bill Kallman, President & CEO, Scayl; Monica Ricci, Director of Product Marketing, CSG Systems; Nick Strauss, Director of Sales, Verizon Digital Media Services, Mark Taylor, VP, Media and IP Services, Level 3; and Richard Yang, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Yale University.

Our fourth keynote will be "Telecommunications Industry Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: New Opportunities vs. Infrastructure Challenges" by Joe Porus, VP, Merged Technology & Media, Phoenix Marketing International. What advantages do cloud-based solutions applied to popular entertainment properties bring to broadband network operators? How does the on-demand, always-accessible nature of cloud-based entertainment delivery challenge conventional distribution systems? Will older distribution methods disappear?

Our next panel will explore "The Impact on Entertainment Industries of Cloud Computing." How will cloud storage and distribution affect the ways in which content rights-holders manage their intellectual property (IP), realize new cost savings, and implement new business models? Panelists will include Kris Alexander, Chief Strategist, Connected Devices & Gaming, Akamai; Saul Berman, Partner & VP, IBM Global Business Services; Peter Csathy, CEO, Sorenson Media; Mark Friedlander, National Director, New Media, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ; Jonathan King, SVP, Business Development, Joyent; Ty Roberts, SVP & CTO, Gracenote; Ramki Sankaranarayanan, CEO, Prime Focus Technologies; and Robert Stevenson, EVP, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships, Gaikai.

Our fifth keynote will be "Entertainment Industry Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: Innovation and Flexibility vs. Disruption and Accountability Issues Keynote" by Scott Brown, US GM & VP Strategy Partnerships, Octoshape. What improvements does cloud computing offer the content distribution chain? What issues do rights-holders face in adapting their internal content management processes to cloud-based media storage?

Our final keynote will be "Consumer Electronics (CE) Manufacturer Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: Expanded Opportunities for Products with New Features at a Range of Costs; New Challenges Related to Interoperability and Data Security" by Lucia Gradinariu, Chief Market Strategist, Huawei. What unforeseen impacts, both positive and negative, do cloud-based solutions applied to popular entertainment properties bring to CE manufacturers?

Our closing panel will address "The Impact on CE Manufacturers of Cloud Computing Deployment." Remotely accessing applications and data affects everything that must be integrated into networked end-user devices. The same holds true for servers and other edge storage hardware products. What new hurdles must be overcome with these technological solutions? Robert Scoble, Startup Liaison Officer, Rackspace, will moderate panelists Stefan Bewley, Director, Altman Vilandrie & Company; Shane Dyer, President, Arrayent; David Frerichs, Strategic Consultant, Pioneer Corporation; Kshitij Kumar, SVP, Mobile Video, Concurrent; AJ McGowan, CTO, Unicorn Media; Michael Papish, Solutions Architecture Director, Rovi Corporation; Jordan Rohan, Managing Director, Stifel Nicolaus; and Chuck Stormon, CEO, Attend.

Please click here to register now for the 2012 International CES and then add CONTENT IN THE CLOUD. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas, NV in January. Share wisely, and take care.

Consumers Prefer Connected TV Over 3D

Excerpted from Marketing Daily Report by Aaron Baar

Despite all of the options available to get one's visual entertainment, television still is one of the most popular devices out there. According to new consumer research from Parks Associates, 20% of all US households with broadband intend to purchase a new flat-panel television by the end of the year.

Among those households intending to buy a new TV set, nearly three-quarters plan to buy a TV with advanced features like 3D or built-in Internet connectivity, but they're going much more for the latter than the former.

While the findings don't necessarily represent the death knell for 3DTV (which has had trouble catching on with consumers), they do show that consumer interests lie elsewhere. "It's definitely a reflection of consumer sentiment today that is much more highly geared to connectivity and its practical benefit; that is, greater access to content through services such as Netflix and others," Kurt Scherf, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Parks Associates, tells Marketing Daily. "We're actually seeing 3D and connected technologies built into a large number of televisions, so consumers are actually getting both capabilities. It's just that online access to content resonates more strongly with them today."

With prices coming down, more middle-class families are also getting into the game of buying these advanced TVs, Scherf says. According to the report, 20% of middle class households (those with annual incomes of $50,000 - $75,000) intend to purchase smart TVs this holiday season, compared with 12% of households with incomes about $75,000. Another factor: children. Families with children in the house were more likely to buy an advanced television than those without kids (17% vs. 10%).

But what's good news for the television makers could be bad news for the content providers, specifically the ones bringing programming into the house. According to the report, consumers who intend to purchase a smart TV this holiday season are also more likely to cancel or downgrade their pay-TV service packages within the next year.

"Through services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and ESPN 3, consumers can find a growing number of television content through online outlets," Scherf says. "As consumers consider their monthly expenditures and think about what content can be found via online channels, smart TVs and other connected consumer electronics present an ever-viable option for consumers to watch programming."

How Google Entered the Cloud

Excerpted from ZDNet Report

At the GigaOm Net:Work conference in San Francisco, CA, Google's Rajen Sheth talked about how the product development of Gmail inspired Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt to embrace cloud computing.

The three at first "soundly rejected the idea" of Gmail because he was pitching it as packaged software, Sheth said. A few months later, he came back with the concept of putting Gmail in the cloud.

Please click here for this video interview.

MP2P Wins Historic Court Ruling in Spain

MP2P Technologies won a decisive court victory in Spain (Case No. 00244/2011 Madrid Commercial Court No. 4) validating the neutrality and legitimacy of its implementation of distributed computing technology for content distribution over the Internet.

After years of litigation, the final ruling was issued in favor of Pablo Soto, the young entrepreneur who developed and distributed innovative file-sharing programs on the Internet, against the world's "big-four" record companies and their trade organization Promusicae which had sued him.

Considered one of the "fathers of P2P," along with Justin Frankel (Gnutella) and Shawn Fanning (Napster), Soto is one of the most influential Spanish software developers in the Internet space, as described by El Mundo, and has received several national and international awards along with other recognition for his work.

The suit sought to make Soto responsible for instances of possible copyright infringement by users who downloaded and exchanged music files using MP2P's applications.

The ruling, by the Madrid Commercial Court No. 4, entirely rejected the accusation of the plaintiffs and demanded financial compensation to the defendant.

"We are extremely grateful to the court for finding not only in our favor, but in favor of justice, innovation, and in equal access to digital distribution," said Soto, Founder & CEO of MP2P Technologies. "The music copyright conglomerates would like to stifle innovation, but today's significant ruling against this tactic echoes around the globe."

In July 2008, the major record companies and Promusicae, which joined their suit soon after it was filed, sued developer Soto and his companies. The trial was held in Madrid in 2009 and the final ruling this week totally vindicated the young software developer.

The defense of Soto and his companies was conducted by attorneys at law Jose Ignacio Aguilar, David Bravo, and Javier de la Cueva, who also took part in other cases against record companies and related cases such as the Sharemula case, which won a favorable resolution to a web linking to P2P networks, and the indice-web.com case, the first linking website to obtain a firm and favorable civil ruling

The lawsuit, which labeled Internet-based software as a "weapon of mass destruction" and Soto as "the great betrayer" included nine exhibits against the defendant.

However, after a fifteen-hour court trial and several years of proceedings, the final court ruling completely supported the legal position held by the defendant that a technology, which can be used by individuals for sharing music, among other uses, is not in and of itself an intellectual property (IP) violation.

The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), which had awarded MP2P its DCIA Pioneer's Award in 2008, provided expert witness testimony on behalf of MP2P during the trial.

Despite the claims made by the plaintiffs, the court considered Soto's activities and his companies to be absolutely transparent. It further stated that, since the defendant's software did not itself offer or store music files, "under no circumstances was it a violation merely to provide a means that could be used for sharing music."

The Soto case holds international relevance, as it is part of an overall litigation strategy instigated by international record companies against small independent software developers deemed threatening to their pre-Internet business models.

The proceedings were followed closely by industry observers and scholars from around the world, and exemplified the legal tension between innovative technology creators and large multinational companies that control copyrighted entertainment and claim to have monopolistic control over all distribution channels.

Mobile Cloud Computing Market to Grow to $45 Billion by 2016

Visiongain's latest management research Mobile Cloud Computing Industry Outlook Report: 2011-2016 examines the market and how the ecosystem players are leveraging mobile cloud solutions to enable their strategies and business models.

The mobile cloud computing market is just beginning to evolve in 2011; by 2016, the market will enter into a rapid growth stage. Interested market players need to formulate emergent strategies now to enjoy the early mover's advantage. Our research projects the total cloud market to be worth $240 billion by 2016, up from $77 billion in 2011.

To thrive in the cloud market, stakeholders must establish and solidify their positions as value-adding players, or else lose to new entrants who may then reap the greatest benefits. For operators to win in the cloud marketplace, they must determine where in this new ecosystem they can play most successfully.

Robust partner agreements are win-win for all entities in the cloud ecosystem. Visiongain believes that given the early days of Mobile cloud computing, there are opportunities for significant partnerships in this arena.

Visiongain believes that mobile cloud service revenues will reach $45 billion in 2016 at a compounded annual rate of growth (CARG) of 55.18% from 2011. The greatest mobile cloud revenue contributions will come from mobile cloud applications. This is primarily due to increasing smart-phone penetration, growth of 3G network coverage across the globe and deployment of LTE services.

By 2014, technology enhancements such as BONDI, OneAPI, and HTML5 will further encourage the development of cloud based mobile applications. Visiongain believes that open standards will make it easier for developers to build cloud based applications that can be used across a variety of smart-phones.

Issues with mobile cloud security, privacy, feasibility and accessibility remain a major concern for both the customers and the enterprises. However with complex and secure products now available on the market, many enterprises are jumping into the mobile cloud bandwagon.

We summarize all the latest developments in mobile cloud computing market and provide a detailed vendor analysis. We discuss key mobile cloud scenarios, subtle differences between hosting and cloud business models; discuss the cloud value chain, life cycle analysis, cloud partnerships, and offer recommendations to the key stakeholders in the market. Our aim is provide our customers with up-to-date statistics and forecasts that can be used to devise emergent cloud strategies.

File-Sharing App Creator Innocent of Copyright Infringement in Japan

Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report

After a legal process lasting more than seven years, the creator of Japan's most popular P2P file-sharing application has finally been cleared by the country's Supreme Court. After his initial arrest in 2004 on copyright infringement charges, the former university researcher has been on a roller-coaster ride of convictions, fines, and appeals. Now, barring a dispute on rare technical grounds, his ordeal is over.

In 2003, former University of Tokyo and Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute researcher Isamu Kaneko released a new piece of software online.

Inspired by the principles behind the Freenet network, the Winny application attempted to make its users anonymous and, although this was largely achieved, flaws were later exploited by police and copyright holders.

Kaneko always insisted that his software was not designed with copyright infringement in mind, but that did not stop him being targeted by the police. During May 2004, Kaneko was arrested by the High-tech Crime Taskforce of the Kyoto Prefectural Police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.

After being released on bail the next month, the case against him started in September 2004 at the Kyoto District Court. During December 2006 he was found guilty of assisting in the copyright violations of Winny users and sentenced to pay a fine equivalent to $19,200.

Kaneko went on to appeal the decision and in October 2009 the Osaka High Court overturned the decision on the basis that Kaneko had never promoted Winny for unlawful uses. This time the prosecution lodged an appeal, which took the case to the highest court in the land.

This week, Japan's Supreme Court delivered its ruling on the case. The decision of the Osaka High Court was upheld and after seven long years Kaneko was finally cleared of all charges.

Although there was one dissenting voice, the majority of a panel of five judges agreed that it could not be proven that Kaneko, now 41, had ever intended to promote violations of copyright law by the use of Winny. The decision on whether to break the law lay with users of the software, the judges noted.

Under current law, prosecutors can still appeal the decision on technical grounds but assessments in the Japanese media suggest the ruling will stand.

The case has been closely watched by technology advocates who feared that a decision against Kaneko could have resulted in a chilling effect on software innovation. Such was the concern, a domain set up by the development community days after Kaneko's 2004 arrest received a million hits and raised $100,000 for his defense in just 24 hours.

In the end, the Supreme Court's ruling was in tune with similar decisions around the world. As long as products aren't marketed for infringing uses, their creators stay within the law.

5 Ways the Cloud Will Change in 2012 

Excerpted from Fortune Magazine Report by Mathew Lodge

In 2011, cloud computing demonstrated that it was a major driver of change in the information technology (IT) industry. Organizations of all types and sizes began using the hybrid cloud - a combination of public and private cloud computing - in earnest. What can we look forward to in 2012?

Many early cloud projects were the result of developers frustrated by slow IT provisioning times. They took advantage of the ability to get rapid access to raw computing power from public cloud providers using little more than a corporate credit card. This lead pundits to posit that IT's function had failed and that the public cloud was the One True Way. Thus the private cloud, a dedicated on-demand IT infrastructure within the four walls of an organization, was somehow not "true cloud," and public cloud providers argued that private cloud should not exist because it wasn't flexible or cheap. I call this the "holier than thou" argument.

There are two problems with this idea. The first is an inherent contradiction: one cannot castigate IT departments for being inflexible when they are using private cloud to deliver a flexible, on-demand computing environment for their businesses. The second is that there are plenty of pragmatic business reasons why organizations find it easier and cheaper to deploy within existing data centers. Established, regulator-approved security and data privacy controls and processes are one example.

In theory it shouldn't matter where computing is done, but in practice it matters a lot. As one Wall Street CIO put it at a roundtable I attended: "Of course risk is the issue. If I can run the application on a private cloud and pass audit, why run it elsewhere?"

Public cloud usage has driven a revolution in computing, especially for hard-to-forecast customer-facing applications. Private clouds are essential to organizations dealing with regulators, standards and other non-technical issues that are crucial to running business applications. The choice is driven by the needs of the business and the application, ensuring that hybrid clouds, making use of both public and private clouds as appropriate, will continue to be the pragmatic decision for most organizations.

Developer-centric cloud infrastructure (IaaS) services have grown rapidly by providing high productivity environments for rapid application development and deployment. But platform-as-a-service (PaaS) represents a quantum leap in productivity and flexibility for application developers by further simplifying the development process. It does this by abstracting away virtual machines, operating systems and other extraneous details that are not germane to application development. For application transformation or brand new applications, PaaS is simply a more productive environment for developers. And that means less business for IaaS clouds targeting developers.

Amazon's well-publicized 2011 outages were a wake-up call for many who had erroneously assumed that there was any kind of performance or uptime guarantee for a cloud service. The good news: there are hundreds of cloud providers who offer actual service level guarantees and who have engineered their cloud offerings so they're inherently more reliable.

This shatters the notion that cloud computing is a commodity like electricity. It isn't - the details matter, and what you don't know can hurt your cloud application. There are qualities of a cloud service like high availability that are delivered through investment in infrastructure, people and processes - and that's what differentiates providers. Clouds engineered with little or no investment in high availability may be superficially cheap, but you'll have to pay to devise, code and operate your own availability systems from scratch.

Those familiar with Harry Potter know that the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is magically protected against those who would do its inhabitants ill. The same cannot be said for your organization's own four walls, but this seems to be the fundamental assumption applied to private clouds: the top objection to any kind of off-premises cloud is security.

All that matters are the actual security controls in place, and the processes to audit and verify that those controls are in fact there and functioning correctly. This is universally true, regardless of whether you own the walls, lease them, or they belong to a third party provider. Owning or leasing the walls doesn't gain you magical protection. Fundamentally, this is an irrational belief that mere facts cannot challenge, which is why it will persist until there is more widespread experience, comfort and acceptance of off-premises providers.

Appeals Court Upholds Ruling in Favor of Veoh and Against UMG

Excerpted from Washington Post Report

A California appeals court has upheld a ruling that says user-generated video site Veoh is entitled to safe harbor from monetary damages in a copyright infringement case brought by Universal Music Group (UMG).

Judge Raymond Fisher said in a decision filed Tuesday that UMG could not put the burden of finding and deleting copyright-infringing material on Veoh.

The website's actions to take down infringing material once it was notified protected it under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the court said.

"This is a great result for conscientious operators of user-generated content sites like us who strictly follow DMCA rules to protect content holders," said Jon Goldman, Chief Executive of Qlipso Media Networks, a social media start-up that bought Veoh last year.

UMG, a unit of Vivendi, sued Veoh in 2007, saying that it was not doing enough to stop users from uploading videos containing the work of its artists.

The court did not award lawyers' fees to Veoh, but said it might be able to recoup some other costs after it offered to settle the case three years ago for $100,000, but UMG refused.

A UMG spokesman did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Rapid Adoption by SMBs of Cloud and Virtualization Technologies 

Excerpted from Formtek Blog Report by Dick Weisinger

For small and medium sized businesses (SMB), the world of cloud computing has arrived. Now more than half of SMBs are using the cloud for some part of their computing environment, and even a higher percentage (61 percent) of SMBs have adopted virtualization for use in their on-premise computing infrastructure.

That's the result of a new study by SpiceWorks, the Voice of IT, a market research company focused on technology in the SMB marketplace.

Jay Hallberg, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing for Spiceworks, said that "despite market fluctuations, 2011 proved to be a great year for disruptive technologies as SMBs increasingly adopted tablet computers, cloud services, and virtualization technology."

SMB adoption rate of cloud technology is currently tracking at a rate nearly double of what large organizations are doing. SMBs are able to do it because they are less risk-adverse, they're smaller and more agile.

In many cases, because SMBs are signing on to enterprise technologies that they never had before, they don't face the issues of needing to migrate from legacy systems that confront larger organizations.

From an affordability standpoint, enterprise software that may have been out of reach to them previously, is now available at a cost where they need pay for only what they use. The cloud enables SMBs to have easy and affordable access to enterprise-grade software, data storage, and security.

But, it's not only the cloud where SMBs are aggressively adopting new technologies. The SpiceWorks report found that more than 50 percent of SMBs have deployed iPads within their organizations. And SMB IT budgets are growing. In the second half of 2011, SMB IT budgets grew at a rate of 9 percent, and nearly a third of SMB IT shops are planning to hire new IT staff members.

No House Judiciary Committee Vote on SOPA

Largely because of the work of many rank-and-file Internet users organized by Demand Progress, the potentially very destructive "Stop Online Piracy Act's" (SOPA) lead sponsor in the US House of Representatives acknowledged that their concerns are legitimate, and adjourned the committee without holding a vote.

Here's Wired's take on what took place: "The House Judiciary Committee considering whether to send the SOPA to the House floor abruptly adjourned Friday with no new vote date set - a surprise given that the bill looked certain to pass out of committee today."

After Friday's adjournment, an additional attempt to reconvene on Wednesday was then canceled on Tuesday, ending possible action on SOPA for 2011.

Politicians are, for the first time, having to contend with the Internet as a political force.

Of course, there's always more to be done. Please click here to e-mail US Senator Harry Reid to tell him to stop pushing the just-as-damaging Senate version of the bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). He's threatening to call a vote in January.

Click here to let your Senators know that they need to stop pushing this woefully misguided and ill-conceived legislation. It's an election year. Pushing hard now could get them to back down altogether.

If you're already on Facebook, click here to share with your friends. If you're already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the campaign.

Demand Progress' small, dedicated staff relies exclusively on the generosity of individual members to support its work. Click here to chip in $5 or $10. Or you can become a Demand Progress monthly sustainer by clicking here.

What You Need to Know About SOPA in 2012

Excerpted from Huffington Post Report by Alexander Howard

A colleague asked me today for a crash course on the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA). I sent him my feature at the O'Reilly Radar, where I wrote about how Congress is considering anti-piracy bills that could cripple Internet industries and harm digital innovation. The thing is, that post is about 6,000 words long and is now a month out of date. So here's the briefing I sent back.

First, you should know the major players in the House of Representatives: Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of House Judiciary Committee. His staffers had a major hand in drafting it. He supports it. So do Congressmen Goodlatte and Berman. Mel Watts is the Congressman whose remarks about not understanding helped to fuel headlines like "Dear Congress, It's No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works" and "Dear Internet: It's No Longer OK to Not Know How Congress Works," by Clay Johnson.

Who else supports SOPA? The RIAA, MPAA, big Hollywood, and big labor. Ergo, there's bipartisan coalition of 39 co-sponsors that supports it in the House or Representatives. Why? As always, follow the money. Oh, and all of these companies support SOPA,too.

Who's against SOPA? Congresspersons Darrell Issa (R-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Jared Polis (D-CO) and most of the Internet industry. These four representatives introduced dozens of amendments during the markup of the SOPA that would have addressed the most damaging, controversial, vague, or problematic aspects of the bill, post-manager's amendment. There's a lot of those.

By raising them, they catalyzed two days' worth of debate during the markup, effectively filibustering SOPA's progress during the waning days of the legislative calendar. They essentially ran out the clock on the year at a time when the rest of the House was focused on other issues.

Congresswomen Michele Bachmann is the only GOP candidate I've heard talk about it, which is notable. I think there should have been a debate question about it and the Internet - but those aren't up to me.

Key counterproposal: An "OPEN" bill from Congressman Issa and other opponents of SOPA. You can learn more about it keepthewebopen.com. There's a lot that's interesting about that site, including the text of both SOPA and OPEN enabled with public markup. The site hosted an embedded livestream of the markup hearings that drew hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Prospects for SOPA: mixed. On the one hand, it's looking likely that it will pass out of committee. Most of the proposed amendments were voted down 2-1 in HJC when the manager's amendment was marked up. Unless something changes, expect SOPA to pass through the committee and emerge largely unamended, particularly with respect to the provisions that relate to search engines and the use of the domain name system for enforcement, the most controversial aspects of the bill for the tech community.

On the other hand, there have been significant cybersecurity concerns raised about the bills because of what it would do to DNSSEC, including by DHS officials. The committee might take a classified briefing so that the government's own geeks from Sandia Labs, the Department of Homeland Security and other "Three Letter Agencies" could explain to the legislators) who somehow neglected to bring in any technical experts before the committee to testify) why SOPA won't work and why it's a terrible idea to try to DNS for enforcement. If that happens before markup, it could change the bill that heads to the House floor -- and House leadership might want to address security concerns before bringing it to a full vote.

There's going to be a month ahead before the companion bill to SOPA, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), is brought to a vote on the Senate floor. During that time, US Senators will be hearing about how unpopular these bills are. It's unclear if public option will turn enough against them if the broadcast and cable TV networks (which are all quietly for SOPA) don't cover it. FOX News did do a spot, featuring the Cato Institute's Jim Harper, so that may be changing.

If Mythbuster Adam Savage decided to do a show about how SOPA could destroy the Internet as we know it - as opposed to "just" writing about it on PopularMechanics.com, it also could change the dynamic.

Whether the broadcast networks choose to cover it or not will matter less next year than it would have even a decade ago. The Internet will drive awareness of these bills in 2012 in a way that simply wasn't possible before this moment in history. The reaction from tech companies and their leaders is in of itself news and it's much harder to miss the discussion around SOPA online now. Google, Facebook and Wikipedia still haven't changed their homepages to protest SOPA. While Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt and Jimmy Wales have expressed concerns about the bill, as written, Mark Zuckerberg has not written a "status update" himself like Brin about it yet himself. Those are 3 of the top 10 sites in the world and places that nearly 100 percent of online citizens hit daily. If Zuck or more Internet executives came out that publicly against SOPA, it would affect the debate in D.C.

Need to stay up to date on SOPA? The single most prolific blogger has been Mike Masnick at Techdirt, who has shifted much of his output to the issue over the past month. Masnick is ardently against the bill. I think Declan McCullagh at CNET and Gautham Nagesh at The Hill have produced some of the the best sourced coverage around right now and understand both the politics and the technology (a regrettably rare combination). If you want to keep up to date and can afford to pay to get the news earlier, Politico's tech policy team is all over it at Politico Pro (paid) and Morning Tech.

If you prefer your analysis free and in real-time, follow Julian Sanchez, who has been following SOPA closely for the Cato Institute, Nate Anderson at Ars Technica and Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing. The EFF and Center for Democracy and Technology have also been watching the progress and provisions of the bills on a daily basis, including livetweeting the hearings (@EFFLive).

What's the date of next markup? Unclear as of today. It might well be when the House comes back into session in 2012, in the third week of January. Expect Rep. @Darrell Issa to share it on Twitter. He's been breaking a lot of the news on SOPA there.

Other key date: Jan. 24. That's when the Protect IP Act (PIPA) is set to go before the Senate. Senator Reid has said he's going to bring it up on the first day the Senate is back in session. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who put a block on it, says he filibuster it. Key ratio, as with any bill there, is for/against in Senate. It will be interesting to see how other senators line up. That 60+ for or 40+ split is what to ask political analysts about -- I don't know that count as of today.

To learn more about where Senator Wyden stands on the Protect IP Act, watch my interview with him from this year's Web 2.0 Summit.

Coming Events of Interest

2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - January 10th-13th in Las Vegas, NV. With more than four decades of success, the International CES reaches across global markets, connects the industry and enables CE innovations to grow and thrive. This is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow. 

CONTENT IN THE CLOUD at CES - January 11th in Las Vegas, NV. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of cloud-delivered content on specific segments and industries, including consumers, telecom, media, and CE manufacturers.

State of the Net Conference - January 17th-18th in Washington, DC. Unparalleled opportunities to network and engage on key policy issues at the largest information technology (IT) policy conference in the US and the only tech policy conference routinely recognized for its balanced blend of academics, consumer groups, industry, and government. 

Cloud Connect - February 13th-16th in Santa Clara, CA. The premier technology event for cloud computing, features the latest technologies, platforms, strategies, and innovations within cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Imperative 2012 - March 12th-13th in Dubai, UAE. Strategies to implement IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and XaaS. Plan the shift of IT responsibilities, get fresh perspective on managing project budgets, build a strong ROI for cloud computing, understand the shift from managed services to the cloud, master the cloud infrastructure and see cloud security from a hacker's perspective.

2012 NAB Show - April 14th-19th in Las Vegas, NV. From Broadcasting to Broader-casting, the NAB Show has evolved over the last eight decades to continually lead this ever-changing industry. From creation to consumption, the NAB Show has proudly served as the incubator for excellence in helping to breathe life into content everywhere. 

CLOUD COMPUTING CONFERENCE at NAB - April 16th in Las Vegas, NV. Don't miss this full-day conference focusing on the impact of cloud computing solutions on all aspects of production, storage, and delivery of television programming and video.

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