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Detecting (and Stopping) Robot PiratesPosted by Phil Davis ⋅ Jul 11, 2016 ⋅ 4 CommentsFiled Under piracy, Sci-Hub, Security Pirate SeasPirate Seas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)On the high seas, you can see a pirate approaching for miles. This gives the captain and crew time to prepare themselves against the onslaught, warn other ships, and call the naval authorities for help. On the Internet, pirates act with stealth. Often, you don’t even know that you’ve been boarded until the pirates have left

Source: Detecting (and Stopping) Robot Pirates | The Scholarly Kitchen

U.S. Republican congressional staff said in a report released Wednesday that previous efforts to regulate privacy technology were flawed and that lawmakers need to learn more about technology before trying to regulate it. The 25-page white paper is entitled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate and it does not provide any solution to the encryption fight. However, it is notable for its criticism of other lawmakers who have tried to legislate their way out of the encryption debate. It

Source: US Efforts To Regulate Encryption Have Been Flawed, Government Report Finds – Slashdot

Freedom Technologists: Digital Activism and Political Change in the 21st Century (working title), Chapter 2, Freedom Technologists

This is the twenty-fourth post in the freedom technologists series.
See also Directory of freedom technologists 

This selection of 30 key texts is drawn from a bibliography published here on 7 September 2015 — and subsequently updated — in which I brought together a large set of (mostly academic) references on a specific category of political actor that I am calling ‘freedom technologists’. By this term I refer to those tech-minded individuals, groups and organisations with a keen interest in the democratic and emancipatory potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Freedom technologists combine technological and political abilities to pursue greater Internet and democratic freedoms, which they regard as being inextricably entwined (Postill 2014). Far from being techno-utopians or deluded ‘slacktivists’ (Morozov, 2013, Skoric, 2012), I find that most freedom technologists are in fact techno-pragmatists, that is, people who take a very practical view of the limits and possibilities of new technologies for political change. This reading list is part of current research towards Chapter 2 of my forthcoming book Freedom Technologists: Digital Activism and Political Change in the 21st Century (working title).

 

24. Freedom technologists: a short reading list

BookwormBookworm is a simple and powerful way to visualize trends in repositories of digitized texts.

Source: Bookworm

An analysis on the role of hackers in the age of cyberwarfare, published in the special issue on business and technology of the Hungarian weekly HVG.
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On the 10th of August, for its 10th anniversary, The Pirate Bay (TPB) released a piece of software called the Piratebrowser, tagged with the headline: “No more censorship!”(Anon 2013b) It enables users who live in countries where access to TPB is blocked to circumvent national internet filters. It is a simplified version of a Tor network-based web-browser , which is used by many who want to stay anonymous and avoid the blocking and the surveillance of their online activities. The Tor network is used by: dissenters in oppressive countries with pervasive internet censorship; privacy-conscious users who wish to stay hidden from the surveillance machinery of spy agencies; leakers and whistleblowers; and users who wish to engage in various illegal activities from watching child pornography to buying drugs.

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Adobe has just given us a graphic demonstration of how not to handle security and privacy issues.A hacker acquaintance of mine has tipped me to a huge security and privacy violation on the part of Adobe. That anonymous acquaintance was examining Adobe’s DRm for educational purposes when they noticed that Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe’s Epub app, seemed to be sending an awful lot of data to Adobe’s servers.My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers. Adobe was contacted in advance of publication, but declined to respond. Edit: Adobe responded Tuesday night.And just to be clear, I have seen this happen, and I can also tell you that Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com, has also tested this at my request and saw it with his own eyes.

via Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries – The Digital Reader.

Snowden Used the Linux Distro Designed For Internet Anonymity – Slashdot.

 

“When Edward Snowden first emailed Glenn Greenwald, he insisted on using email encryption software called PGP for all communications. Now Klint Finley reports that Snowden also used The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) to keep his communications out of the NSA’s prying eyes. Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box using a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity that you install on a DVD or USB drive, boot your computer from and you’re pretty close to anonymous on the internet. ‘Snowden, Greenwald and their collaborator, documentary film maker Laura Poitras, used it because, by design, Tails doesn’t store any data locally,’ writes Finley. ‘This makes it virtually immune to malicious software, and prevents someone from performing effective forensics on the computer after the fact. That protects both the journalists, and often more importantly, their sources.’

The developers of Tails are, appropriately, anonymous. They’re protecting their identities, in part, to help protect the code from government interference. ‘The NSA has been pressuring free software projects and developers in various ways,’ the group says. But since we don’t know who wrote Tails, how do we know it isn’t some government plot designed to snare activists or criminals? A couple of ways, actually. One of the Snowden leaks show the NSA complaining about Tails in a Power Point Slide; if it’s bad for the NSA, it’s safe to say it’s good for privacy. And all of the Tails code is open source, so it can be inspected by anyone worried about foul play. ‘With Tails,’ say the distro developers, ‘we provide a tongue and a pen protected by state-of-the-art cryptography to guarantee basic human rights and allow journalists worldwide to work and communicate freely and without fear of reprisal.'”

The error message that launched this whole investigation.

Darrell Whitelaw / Twitter

For years now, Internet users have accepted the risk of files and content they share through various online services being subject to takedown requests based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and/or content-matching algorithms. But users have also gotten used to treating services like Dropbox as their own private, cloud-based file storage and sharing systems, facilitating direct person-to-person file transfer without having to worry.

This weekend, though, a small corner of the Internet exploded with concern that Dropbox was going too far, actually scanning users’ private and directly peer-shared files for potential copyright issues. What’s actually going on is a little more complicated than that, but it shows that sharing a file on Dropbox isn’t always the same as sharing that file directly from your hard drive over something like e-mail or instant messenger.

The whole kerfuffle started yesterday evening, when one Darrell Whitelaw tweeted a picture of an error he received when trying to share a link to a Dropbox file via IM. The Dropbox webpage warned him and his friend that "certain files in this folder can’t be shared due to a takedown request in accordance with the DMCA."

Whitelaw freely admits that the content he was sharing was a copyrighted video, but he still expressed surprise that Dropbox was apparently watching what he shared for copyright issues. "I treat [Dropbox] like my hard drive," he tweeted. "This shows it’s not private, nor mine, even though I pay for it."

In response to follow-up questions from Ars, Whitelaw said the link he sent to his friend via IM was technically a public link and theoretically could have been shared more widely than the simple IM between friends. That said, he noted that the DMCA notice appeared on the Dropbox webpage "immediately" after the link was generated, suggesting that Dropbox was automatically checking shared files somehow to see if they were copyrighted material rather than waiting for a specific DMCA takedown request.

Dropbox did confirm to Ars that it checks publicly shared file links against hashes of other files that have been previously subject to successful DMCA requests. "We sometimes receive DMCA notices to remove links on copyright grounds," the company said in a statement provided to Ars. "When we receive these, we process them according to the law and disable the identified link. We have an automated system that then prevents other users from sharing the identical material using another Dropbox link. This is done by comparing file hashes."

Dropbox added that this comparison happens when a public link to your file is created and that "we don’t look at the files in your private folders and are committed to keeping your stuff safe." The company wouldn’t comment publicly on whether the same content-matching algorithm was run on files shared directly with other Dropbox users via the service’s account-to-account sharing functions, but the wording of the statement suggests that this system only applies to publicly shared links.

We should be clear here that Dropbox hasn’t removed the file from Whitelaw’s account; they just closed off the option for him to share that file with others. In a tweeted response to Whitelaw, Dropbox Support said that "content removed under DMCA only affects share-links." Dropbox explains its copyright policy on a Help Center page that lays out the boilerplate: "you do not have the right to share files unless you own the copyright in them or have been given permission by the copyright owner to share them." The Help Center then directs users to its DMCA policy page.

Dropbox has also been making use of file hashing algorithms for a while now as a means of de-duplicating identical files stored across different users’ accounts. That means that if I try to upload an identical copy of a 20GB movie file that has already been stored in someone else’s Dropbox account, the service will simply give my account access to a version of that same file rather than allowing me to upload an identical version. This not only saves bandwidth on the user’s end but significant storage space on Dropbox’s end as well.

Some researchers have warned of security and privacy concerns based on these de-duplication efforts in the past, but the open source Dropship project attempted to bend the feature to users’ advantage. By making use of the file hashing system, Dropship effectively tried to trick Dropbox into granting access to files on Dropbox’s servers that the user didn’t actually have access to. Dropbox has taken pains to stop this kind of "fake" file sharing through its service.

In any case, it seems a similar hashing effort is in place to make it easier for Dropbox to proactively check files shared through its servers for similarity to content previously blocked by a DMCA request. In this it’s not too different from services like YouTube, which uses a robust ContentID system to automatically identify copyrighted material as soon as it’s uploaded.

In this, both Dropbox and YouTube are simply responding to the legal environment they find themselves in. The DMCA requires companies that run sharing services to take reasonable measures to make sure that re-posting of copyrighted content doesn’t occur after a legitimate DMCA notice has been issued. Whitelaw himself doesn’t blame the service for taking these proactive steps, in fact. "This isn’t a Dropbox problem," he told Ars via tweet. "They’re just following the laws laid out for them. Was just surprised to see it."

via Dropbox clarifies its policy on reviewing shared files for DMCA issues | Ars Technica.

How 4 Microsoft engineers proved that the “darknet” would defeat DRM | Ars Technica.How 4 Microsoft engineers proved that the “darknet” would defeat DRM | Ars Technica.

Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.

Fox sues Dish over ad-blocking feature; Dish fires back – latimes.com.

Fox Broadcasting Co. has sued Dish Network, becoming the first television network to fire a legal salvo over the satellite company’s controversial new ad-skipping device called AutoHop.

Dish, meanwhile, filed its own lawsuit, which asks a federal judge to declare that AutoHop violates no copyright laws. Dish sued not only Fox, but also CBS, Walt Disney-owned ABC, and Comcast Corp.controlled-NBC.

The television industry is grappling with new technologies that threaten to undercut the billions of dollars a year that the networks collect from advertisers to run 30- to 60-second television commercials. That advertising revenue underwrites the high cost of producing television shows.

Fox filed its copyright violation and breach-of-contract suit against Dish on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Dish filed its suit in U.S. District Court in New York.

“The suit asks for a declaratory judgment that the AutoHop feature does not infringe any copyrights that could be claimed by the major networks, and that Dish, while providing the AutoHop feature, remains in compliance with its agreements with the networks,” the Englewood, Colo., company said in a statement.

While consumers with digital video recorders can fast-forward through commercials of recorded shows, Dish’s AutoHop takes it a step further. The screen goes black when a commercial break appears. A few seconds later, the program returns. The service can’t be used on live programming, such as a sporting event, even after it has been recorded.

With more than 14 million subscribers, Dish Network Corp.’s new technology may threaten the networks’ ability to continue to charge premiums for their commercial time.

Dish Network’s new feature, launched earlier this month, comes at a particularly awkward time for broadcasters as they are beginning negotiations with advertisers over the sale of their commercial time for the 2012-2013 television season.

“We were given no choice but to file suit against one of our largest distributors, Dish Network, because of their surprising move to market a product with the clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem,” Fox said in a statement. “Their wrongheaded decision requires us to take swift action in order to aggressively defend the future of free, over-the-air television.”

Dish, for its part, said the new technology was simply making it easier for consumers to avoid commercials.

“Viewers have been skipping commercials since the advent of the remote control; we are giving them a feature they want and that gives them more control.”  David Shull, Dish senior vice president of programming, said in a statement. “We don’t believe AutoHop will substantially change established consumer behavior, but we do believe it makes the viewing experience better.”

Fox sues Dish over ad-blocking feature; Dish fires back – latimes.com.

The Russian based “Pirate Pay” startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent. Their first project, carried out in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads.

via Microsoft Funded Startup Aims to Kill BitTorrent Traffic | TorrentFreak.The Russian based “Pirate Pay” startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent. Their first project, carried out in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads.

via Microsoft Funded Startup Aims to Kill BitTorrent Traffic | TorrentFreak.

Analysis: Did the content industry lose the legal battle?

Do you remember back in 2001 when Napster shut down its servers? US courts found Napster Inc was likely to be liable for the copyright infringements of its users. Many of Napster’s successors were also shut down.

Aimster and its controversial CEO were forced into bankruptcy, the highest court in the US strongly suggested that those behind Grokster and Morpheus ought to be held liable for “inducing” their users to infringe, and Kazaa’s owners were held liable for authorisation by our own Federal Court. Countless others fled the market in the wake of these decisions with some, like the formerly defiant owners of Bearshare and eDonkey, paying big settlements on the way out.

By most measures, this sounds like an emphatic victory for content owners. But a funny thing happened in the wake of all of these injunctions, shutdowns and settlements: the number of P2P file sharing apps available in the market exploded.

By 2007, two years after the US Supreme Court decided Grokster, there were more individual P2P applications available than there had ever been before. The average number of users sharing files on file sharing networks at any one time was nudging ten million and it was estimated that P2P traffic had grown to comprise up to 90 percent of global internet traffic. At that point content owners tacitly admitted defeat, largely abandoning their long-time strategy of suing key P2P software providers and diverting enforcement resources to alternatives like graduated response or “three strikes” laws.

Why is it that, despite being ultimately successful in holding individual P2P software providers liable for their users’ infringement, content owners’ litigation strategy has failed to bring about any meaningful reduction in the amount of P2P development and infringement?

Physical vs digital

I would argue pre-P2P era law was based on a number of “physical world” assumptions. That makes sense, since it evolved almost exclusively with reference to physical world scenarios and technologies. However, as it turns out, there is often a gap between those assumptions and the realities of P2P software development.

Four such physical world assumptions are particularly notable in explaining this phenomenon.

The first is that everybody is bound by physical world rules. Assuming this rule had universal application, various secondary liability principles evolved to make knowledge and control pre-requisites to liability. But software has no such constraint. Programmers can write software that will do things that are simply not possible or feasible in the physical world. So once the Napster litigation made P2P programmers aware of the rules about knowledge and control, they simply coded Napster’s successors to eliminate them – something no provider of a physical world distribution technology ever managed to do.

Remember to sign up to our new Telecommunications bulletin to stay connected with a concise online wrap of Australiaís telecommunications and ISP industry.

In response, the US Supreme Court in Grokster created a brand new legal doctrine, called inducement, that did not rely on either knowledge or control. That rule was aimed at capturing “bad actors” – those P2P providers who aimed to profit from their users’ infringement and whose nefarious intent was demonstrated by “smoking guns” in their marketing and other communications. But the inducement law failed to appreciate some of the other differences that make the software world special and thus led directly to the explosion in the number of P2P technologies. In understanding why, three other physical world assumptions come into play.

One is that it is expensive to create distribution technologies that are capable of vast amounts of infringement. Of course in the physical world, the creation of such technologies, like printing presses, photocopiers, and VCRs required large investment. Research and development, mass-manufacturing, marketing and delivery all require massive amounts of cash. Thus, the law came to assume that the creation of such technologies was expensive.

That led directly to the next assumption – that distribution technologies are developed for profit. After all, nobody would be investing those massive sums without some prospect of a return.

Finally comes the fourth assumption: that rational developers of distribution technologies won’t share their secrets with consumers or competitors. Since they needed to recoup those massive investments, they had no interest at all in giving them away.

All of these assumptions certainly can hold up in the software development context. For example, those behind Kazaa spent a lot on its development, squeezed out the maximum possible profit and kept its source code a closely guarded secret. By creating a law that focused on profits, business models and marketing, the Supreme Court succeeded in shaking out Kazaa and its ilk from the market.

But the Court failed to appreciate that none of these things are actually necessary to the creation of P2P file sharing software. It can be so inexpensive to develop that some university programming courses actually require students to make an app as part of an assignment. When the software provider puts in such a small investment, there’s much less need to realise a profit. This, combined with widespread norms within the software development community encouraging sharing and collaboration, also leads to some individuals making the source code of their software publicly available for others to adapt and copy.

When the US Supreme Court created its new law holding P2P providers liable where they “fostered” third party infringement, as evidenced by such things as business models, marketing and internal communications, the result was an enormous number of programmers choosing to create new applications without any of those liability attracting elements. In the absence of any evidence that they had set out to foster infringement, they could not be liable for inducement, and having coded out of knowledge and control they could not be held liable under the pre-P2P law either.

The end result? The mismatch between the law’s physical world assumptions and the realities of the software world meant that the law created to respond to the challenges of P2P file sharing led to the opposite of the desired result: a massive increase in the availability of P2P file sharing software. The failure of the law to recognise the unique characteristics of software and software development meant the abandonment of the litigation campaign against P2P providers was only a matter of time.

Dr Rebecca Giblin is a member of Monash University’s law faculty in Melbourne. Her new book Code Wars tells the story of the decade-long struggle between content owners and P2P software providers, tracing the development of the fledgling technologies, the attempts to crush them through litigation and legislation, and the remarkable ways in which they evolved as their programmers sought ever more ingenious means to remain one step ahead of the law. The book explains why the litigation strategy against P2P providers was ultimately unsuccessful in bringing about any meaningful reduction in the amount of P2P development of infringement.

Visit codewarsbook.com where you can read the first chapter in full. Physical copies can be ordered online from stores like Amazon and Book Depository, and electronic copies are available via Google books at a heavily discounted price.

via How litigation only spurred on P2P file sharing – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au.

Torrent Stream Magic Player is a brand new add-on that allows users to stream video and music torrents directly in their browser. The Magic Player works with Chrome, Firefox, Opera and supports dozens of popular torrent sites including The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, BTjunkie and EZTV. It’s one of the first solutions to create a true video-on-demand experience directly in the browser.

via Stream Torrents in Your Web Browser With Magic Player | TorrentFreak.

How it works:

– You install our add-on into your browser

– If ever Demoniod.com is seized by ICE or the upcoming COICO legislation it won’t matter.

– You simply type Demoniod.com into your browser as usual, the browser sends the address to the add-on, the add-on checks if Demoniod.com is on the list of sites to be redirected and immediately redirects you to the mirror site.

This happens in microseconds and completely transparent to you (the user).

via MAFIAAFire.com.

Adobe Labs – Stratus

dobe® Stratus 2 enables peer assisted networking using the Real Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP) within the Adobe Flash® Platform. RTMFP is the evolution of media delivery and real time communication over the Internet enabling peers on the network to assist in delivery. Stratus was first introduced in 2008 as a rendezvous-only service that allowed clients to send data from client to client without passing through a server. Adobe Flash Player 10, which debuted peer assisted networking, has been adopted today by over 90% of all internet connected PCs.

The Pirate Bay – The world’s most resilient bittorrent site

Worlds most resiliant tracking

You might have noticed all the new magnet icons everywhere?

These are “magnet links”, a link that lets you download a torrent directly in your BitTorrent client, instead of your browser. Most clients supports this (uTorrent, Vuze, rtorrent, whatever) and will get the relevant torrent data over the DHT network.

And DHT? It’s a de-centralized peer to peer network that all modern clients join by default, even if they are currently not downloading any torrents. DHT can help you find peers and metadata when you choose to start a torrent download.

(If you want to learn more about DHT this Torrentfreak article might be a good place to start)

You might also have noticed that the tracker has been down lately? And that the upload page don’t recommend trackers anymore! The development of DHT has reached a stage where a tracker is no longer needed to use a torrent. DHT (combined with PEX) is highly effective in finding peers without the need for a centralized service. If you run uTorrent you might have noticed in the tracker tab of your torrents that the [Peer Exchange] (PEX) row is often reporting a lot more peers than the trackers you might have for that torrent. These peers all came to you without the use of a central tracker service! This is what we consider to be the future. Faster and more stability for the users because there is no central point to rely upon.

Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It’s the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well.

By moving to a more decentralized system of handling tracking (DHT+PEX) and distributions of torrent files (Magnet Links), BitTorrent will become less vulnerable to downtime and outages:

* With decentralized peer acquisition, there is no central tracker that can be down.
* With decentralized fetching of metadata (torrents) we don’t need to rely on a single server that stores and distributes torrent files.

(Before you tech geeks out there start complaining about the info_hash in the magnet links being in HEX (“isn’t it supposed to be in base32?”) – No! According to the BitTorrent specification it should be in HEX but the client may choose to also support the old base32 encoding. If your client doesn’t support the HEX encoding, please upgrade to the latest version of you client! If it still doesn’t work, send an email to the developers of your client and ask them to add support for it.)

This is the future. And the present.

Broadband | News | PC Pro

The temporary closure of the Pirate Bay had the unforeseen side effect of forcing torrent sharers underground and causing a 300% increase in sites providing access to copyright files, according to McAfee.

In August, Swedish courts ordered that all traffic be blocked from Pirate Bay, but any hope of scotching the piracy of music, software and films over the web vanished as copycat sites sprung up and the content took on a life of its own.

“This was a true ‘cloud computing’ effort,” the company said in its Threats Report for the third quarter. “The masses stepped up to make this database of torrents available to others.”

“Pirate Bay is just a redirect site to lead people to sources where they can get media and other files,” McAfee security analyst Greg Day told PC Pro. “Once it was temporarily shut down, those people still wanted the torrents so they went elsewhere, and that meant lots of other sites popped up to take advantage – we saw a 300% increase in sites hosting and distributing movies and software.”

According to Day, in the days prior to the shutdown, treasure-hunters used anonymising software to gain access and copy the indexes that Pirate Bay used to redirect users to other computers hosting torrents.

Once the indexed data was in the public domain, open-source code was available to anyone who wanted to help with redistribution of torrents. While the Pirate Bay was offline there were four times as many sites offering access to the torrents.

“The Pirate Bay example shows how difficult it is to ‘stop’ data once it is on the web,” the report says. “A website can be shut down, but anyone who has accessed the content may still be able to redistribute it.”

CNN.com

Muziic, created by teen developer David Nelson, has built an iTunes-like interface on top of YouTube. The service enables users to stream YouTube’s music to their PCs without fiddling with videos. Users can build playlists and organize songs in a way similar to iTunes.

CNET blogger Matt Rosoff first wrote about the service and gave it a favorable review. “Any song that’s been uploaded to YouTube is available in Muziic,” Rosoff wrote. “This includes music unavailable on most commercial services, like the full Pink Floyd performance at Live 8 and Led Zeppelin’s one-off performance in 2007.”

OneSwarm

Although widely used, currently popular peer-to-peer (P2P) applications are limited by a lack of user privacy. By design, services like BitTorrent and Gnutella share data with anyone that asks for it, allowing a third-party to systematically monitor user behavior. As a result, P2P networks can only be safely used by those comfortable with wholly public knowledge of their activity.

OneSwarm is a new P2P data sharing application we’re building to provide users with explicit control over their privacy by enabling fine-grained control over how data is shared. Instead of sharing data indiscriminately, data shared with OneSwarm can be made public, it can be shared with friends, shared with some friends but not others, and so forth. We call this friend-to-friend (F2F) data sharing.

paidContent:UK

One of the UK’s top ISPs is preparing to launch an unlimited music service that would see it pay record labels for songs illegally downloaded by its customers, paidContent:UK can reveal.

Playlouder MSP (music service provider), which first tried the model for itself back in 2003, said it will facilitate the service for the broadband operator, starting early next year. Co-founder Paul Sanders would not name the ISP, but a source last month told paidContent:UK Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) was holding some kind of talks with the vendor.

For more on the digital music industry, attend our EconMusic conference on Sep. 23 at the Natural History Museum in London. Early bird ticket sales are now open…

More after the jump…

Now that the biggest six ISPs have pledged to reduce illegal downloading on their networks, they need commercial alternatives that will prove similarly enticing – and subscriptions offering tunes-on-tap are emerging as the front runner for consumers already plucking free music from the “celestial jukebox”.

Playlouder’s service lets users legitimately download from channels like Gnutella, BitTorrent and more – the list goes on – because the “deep packet inspection” technology, installed on the broadband infrastructure, recognises every song downloaded over the ISP network, no matter which protocol, and reimburses rightsholders accordingly. Subscribers to the music package will even be allowed to share tunes amongst themselves because every transfer is anonymously tracked using Audible (NSDQ: ADBL) Magic, but proliferation to non-subscribers will be blocked.

The effective legitimisation of P2P channels many consider “illegal” could be a watershed – but depends on whether the ISPs can convince customers to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access they’re already getting gratis. The thousands of warning letters they’ve pledged to send may help shepherd freeloaders away from free, creating new markets. Recent research showed 95 percent of UK consumers copy music and last week’s study showing the scale of Radiohead BitTorrents suggested many listeners are loathe to use official legal channels, so a framework that extracts money from P2P, without weening users off their favourite habit, could be a winner.

“We are confident that we will have something quite good to announce in the next couple of months,” Sanders said. “We’ve just done another round of (seed) finance from senior figures in the financial community and the music community, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if we didn’t think there was good news coming down the pipe. We’re starting the process of principal finance, we’re looking for about £4 million; it takes us through to profitability because it will essentially finance this first large ISP deal.”

For Sanders, what is Playlouder’s first ever client in five whole years of operating comes better late than never. Formed out of the early music webzine of the same name, Playlouder in 2003 debuted MSP, its own attempt at an £18-a-month ISP service with bundled music package. Three years in, and squeezed out by the ISP big boys, however, the outfit had signed only a handful of subscribers and was mothballed to a mere R&D project while Playlouder switched to focus on selling the service to the bigger providers.

On both counts, the service was way ahead of its time, conceived when labels were still advocating DRM. Speaking to me in Playlouder’s reclaimed Hoxton warehouse that is every inch the 90s trendy dot.com HQ, a weary Sanders bares many battle scars from half a decade mediating between those in the often mutually incomprenhesible ISP and music worlds, all in pursuit of the subscription dream. It’s been an uphill struggle that has taken its toll financially, too – asked if the business is supporting itself, Sanders admitted: “No, we have almost no revenue.”

But now the industry’s growing interest in the subscription music model (Sky, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Orange et al all launching one) could finally mean real business for Playlouder, and Sanders is in the unique position of having learned more than perhaps anyone in the UK about the emerging consumer model that promises to restore to the music business much of the revenue it’s lost to piracy.

“Patience is a virtue,” he said. “This is a very slow business, I can tell you. But I haven’t been working on this for five years to decide not to prove the model at the last minute – this is new territory for ISPs and the music industry.” Perhaps hinting at the upcoming ISP deal: “If some things that we know are happening come to fruition, then we should see a breakthrough early next year. It’s not rocket science – give ‘em what they want, ask them to pay for it.” Sanders said subscriptions would bring a “huge amount more” money to music because customers buy only 2.4 albums a year (approx (£24) but would pay £5 per month (£60 annually) for unlimited access.

Playlouder is licensed to use music from EMI, SonyBMG, several indies and one more big label is on the way, Sanders revealed. So confident is he in what could finally be the realisation of his original goal, however, Sanders has ruled out selling equity to any ISP – despite approaches from both broadband and music providers – hoping instead to sell the service to “as many of them as possible”. The Playlouder system will work on any ISP’s network, Sanders said.

Internet Evolution –

In this test, we configured 13 different P2P clients using a total of 10 different P2P protocols to verify detection accuracy. For each of the major P2P protocols – BitTorrent, eDonkey, and Gnutella – we used two different clients. Client implementations of the same protocol may differ slightly, so we wanted to verify whether the devices could detect all implementations of a P2P protocol and distinguish between different clients.

Other Internet applications like Web sessions, video streams, file transfer, and email were sent alongside the P2P traffic in order to reproduce a typical mix of Internet traffic. The challenge was to detect the P2P protocol traffic volume accurately – not allowing any sessions to escape the device’s attention.

NewTeeVee

NBC’s delayed Olympics coverage and sports’ fans quest to find pirated livestreams online has officially become the media story of the games. Even the New York Times has chimed in, noting what it referred to as the “game of digital whack-a-mole” between pirates and NBC that took place during the opening ceremony. The network’s fight against unauthorized streams on sites like Ustream.tv and Justin.tv continued all weekend, with streams going down quicker that you can say Dick Ebersol.

The network may win a fight or two, but the battle is far from over. I’m watching a broadcast of the Cuba vs. the Netherlands beach volleyball game — which NBC’s cable channel USA Network won’t show for another two hours and won’t air online at all — live on my laptop as I’m writing this article, courtesy of some folks in France that relay a live TV signal from heaven knows where. To be fair, there are some occasional hiccups with the video, but the overall quality is actually pretty good. Good enough to keep me engaged, and definitely good enough to question the whole idea of NBC-like restrictions in the age of global online video.

NBC is not alone in its fight against the Olympics pirates. The state-owned Chinese TV network CCTV sued the Google-backed P2P startup Xunlei last week, alleging it had broadcast parts of the torch relay earlier this year without getting a license from CCTV. The lawsuit was a clear warning shot against the dozen or so P2P TV platforms that have popped up in China in recent years, most of whom responded by putting IP number-based geolocation restrictions on CCTV streams or filtering them outright.

Sopcast, for example, has blocked access to its CCTV streams, making them inaccessible from within the client’s program guide. But the software also allows users to transmit their own streams, and a number of them use this feature to relay TV broadcasts from all around the world. I gave it a shot this weekend, and quickly found satellite TV feeds from Malaysia in surprisingly high video quality, video feeds from Poland and even a Portuguese video stream that someone apparently was filming off his TV in real time. A little tough on the eyes, but pretty amusing nonetheless.

Granted, watching pirated TV feeds via P2P TV isn’t always easy. A few other clients left me empty-handed. PPLive, for example, is an official licensing partner of CCTV. The company told us last week that it was going to block access to all CCTV stations for viewers from outside of China, and it has kept its word. Sina Live is a web plug-in that only works with Internet Explorer. The CCTV channels are embedded into Sina’s web site and seemed to be blocked for overseas users as well. At least I think that’s what happened; the language barrier didn’t help. Peercast.org, one of the oldest P2P streaming solutions, featured one Olympics channel, but I couldn’t get it to play on my machine.

So I decided to stick with Sopcast, and was rewarded with lots and lots of live coverage. Pretty much all the competitions were available in real time. To be fair, a lot of the minor events were also broadcast live on NBCOlympics.com, and in a few some cases the official streams had a much better quality (I’m talking to you, anonymous Portuguese pirate!). Overall, save for the occasional bandwidth hiccup, the quality of the pirated streams was surprisingly good. At least I got to watch the games in full screen, complete with live commentary, and let me tell you: Those sportscasters in Malaysia speak English with less of an accent than half of my neighborhood, me (obviously) included.

The downside of watching pirated P2P TV streams is that you have to install software from companies that you’re probably going to trust less than NBC, and rightly so. Sopcast for instance, comes bundled with an adware app, but users are reporting online that it can be erased without affecting the performance of the client. I bet many sports fans are willing to take that chance.

The Register

Thousands – or to be more precise, six thousands – of lucky alleged infringers a week are to be informed of the error of their ways, according to the terms of the deal struck this week between the British government and six major ISPs. They will in the first instance be “informed when their accounts are being used unlawfully to share copyright material and pointed towards legal alternatives.”

And in the second instance? That is yet to be determined, and the ISPs and rights holders signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the government have been sent off for four months to figure out the ‘or what?’ bit of the deal.

In the meantime those letters will be cranking out. The targets will be identified by “music rights holders” who will pass the data on to the ISPs, who will then run the system as a trial for three months. So that’s about 70,000 letters in total, the number of suspects being dependent on whether they’re going to bombard the same people with information regarding the unlawful nature of some of their account’s activities, or whether they go for a ‘one per deviant’ rule.

The evidence of this trial period will be analysed, and depending on what that tells them they’ll agree with Offcom an escalation in numbers, a widening of content coverage (presumably to video), and “a process for agreeing a cap.” That is, not a cap in itself, but a process for agreeing one. This (we speculate) might take into account factors such as cost of stamps to ISPs, level of music business profitability, percentage of deviants in total user base, ratio of ridicule experienced by music industry to ridicule experienced by ISPs, and the price of sardines. Or something.

The two aspects of the letter – drawing the user’s attention to the infringement and pointing them at legal alternatives – are likely to be important in determining the success of the trial. Some users – possibly, as Feargal Sharkey thinks, most – are likely to be scared off when they learn that somebody’s watching them, but adequate legal alternatives (which the ISPs say they’re going to set up) will have to exist in order for the customers to be directed to them, and to carry on using them.

It seems doubtful that this will be the case in four months time, when the working group is due to report back back with proposals to deal with the hard cases. Despite fevered reporting in some newspapers, ‘three strikes’ doesn’t figure in this and the measures being considered are light on savagery. “The group will… look at solutions including technical measures such as traffic management or filtering, and marking of content to facilitate its identification. In addition, rights holders will consider prosecuting particularly serious infringers in appropriate cases.”

The ISPs already do traffic management, so that could just mean more of the same. Content marking would have to be done by the rights holders and would simplify filtering, if they decided they were going to do filtering, while rights holders busting serious infringers is pretty much what rights holders do already.

Fevered press coverage of a ‘crackdown on filesharers’ seems to derive in the main from the government’s “alternative regulatory options”. These are effectively various things the Nasty Party might do if the preferred option of voluntary measures and a little light rule-making enforced by Offcom doesn’t pan out. One of these light rules will ensure “that all ISPs are required to undertake an appropriate level of action to achieve the desired result.” So the ISPs signing the MOU won’t be disadvantaged by users fleeing to refusenik ISPs, because there will be no refusenik ISPs -“ISPs who choose not to engage in the self-regulatory arrangement would remain bound by the underlying requirement to have an effective policy on unlawful P2P file- sharing.”

Currently four tougher alternatives to this regime are being floated, and they still don’t include ‘three strikes’. Option A1 proposes legislation making it possible for rights holders to get personal data of infringement suspects on request, rather than having to apply for a court order. This would make it cheaper to sue infringers than it currently is, and could possibly mean an increase in prosecutions, but this only seems possible if the rights holders decided all deals were off, threw their toys out of the pram and went nuclear. Or they might just want to add everybody to their mailing lists, but we doubt that.

Option A2 seems similarly BPI-friendly. “Typically, under the terms of the contract between an ISP and an Internet service subscriber, the subscriber is not allowed to use the account for illegal purposes. Obliging ISPs to take action to enforce this contractual term in some way, for example to warn, suspend or terminate the Internet accounts of file-sharers, or to use other technical options would avoid lengthy, costly legal action.”

Getting the ISPs to “implement their own terms and conditions” is one of the BPI’s refrains, and if they were to do this in accordance with the BPI’s wishes, then they’d be warning people, suspending them, kicking them off… Which could indeed end up looking and feeling like three strikes, but these are alternative options, remember – they are not currently on the table.

Option A3 is basically Option A2, but sitting in between the rights holders and the ISPs would be a third party regulatory body which would assess the evidence, direct the ISP to take appropriate action and hear appeals and complaints. This would be costly and complex – and the government seems not to like it much.

Finally, Option A4 (there are no B options, or if there are they’re secret) covers filtering equipment. The government seems quite taken with this, claiming:

“There are technologies available which can filter Internet traffic. These can identify particular types of file (eg music files), check whether the file is subject to copyright protection and then check whether the person offering the file for download has the right to do so. If no such permission is found, the filter can block the download. These technologies vary in their effectiveness and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy given the lack of conformity between different computer and software technologies.”

And: “If the download is in breach of copyright the filter can block the download before it has been completed. No breach therefore occurs.”

Which is cool, if true. The rights holder doesn’t lose revenue because there’s no infringement, the ISP doesn’t need to do any threatening or booting, and it “may not require costly regulatory processes to be established or require issues of data protection to be addressed.” It could indeed be the government’s preferred magic bullet if all of that turned out to be true.

Unfortunately: “Opinion seems to be divided between stakeholders on whether filters could be an effective, long-term, cost-effective way of tackling not only P2P piracy but also other forms of copyright infringement. It might be valuable, in addition to moving forward on P2P, if rights holders and ISPs jointly investigated the technical, legal and cost issues around filters and assessed their utility in addressing unlawful online activity.”

Which is how the filtering bit got into the brief for the MOU group that’s reporting back in four months. Tune in then to see whether the ISPs and the BPI can save their marriage. ®

Gizmodo
While appearing to have double the collection of Apple TV or Vudu, what do you get in Netflix’s 10,000 movie collection? Basically, you get a lot of back catalog (classic movies) and a lot of TV shows (unheard of in rental situations!) right as they hit the market. But you don’t get the same blockbusters on day one release that you’d get from Apple TV or Vudu. That makes the Netflix box and disc system a great supplement to those systems, which seem to specialize in new releases. (Kudos to Saul from the NYTimes for discovering this initially.) The business model behind a flat rate unlimited streaming system is unheard of. Sure, they’re taking a lot of older content, which is inherently cheaper. But think of it this way: For a nine-dollar-a-month account, you can hold off on buying older DVDs or watching TV shows. A box set of Ghost in the Shell or 30 Rock costs over 50 bucks on DVD or by renting individual downloads, but you can stream many of these episodes for nine bucks a month. Buying the Karate Kid, an old movie not on many download services, costs a few bucks on DVD, but I can just watch it whenever I want as long as I’m a Netflix customer. (And consider that the number of great back catalog titles like that will probably outpace new releases you’d find on Vudu or Apple TV.) It’s basically the same as Netflix’s current model, but instead of being limited by the postal service, you’re limited by your spare time and interest in older titles. (And don’t forget Netflix’s disc-by-mail service, which still covers new titles.)

PC World

More and more Internet service providers are blocking or throttling traffic to the peer-to-peer file-sharing service. Find out whether you’ve been targeted, and learn how get around the restrictions.

mp3 newswire



Official Google Blog

Here at Google Book Search we love books. To share this love of books (and the tremendous amount of information we’ve accumulated about them), today we’ve released a new API that lets you link easily to any of our books. Web developers can use the Books Viewability API to quickly find out a book’s viewability on Google Book Search and, in an automated fashion, embed a link to that book in Google Book Search on their own sites.

Arstechnica

P2P startup AllPeers announced today that it would be closing its doors due to insufficient growth.

 | Digital Media Wire

Skyrider, a developer of monetization technology for peer-to-peer networks, has raised $5 million in new financing, from previous investors Sequoia Capital, Charles River Ventures and Velocity Interactive Group, VentureBeat reports.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Skyrider is developing technology that can be used to insert ads on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

The company has previously raised $8 million and $12 million financing rounds since its founding in 2006.

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Mashable!

or so they say. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nielsen has partnered with Digimarc to create something called the Digital Media Manager; a service offering media companies the ability to track copyrighted video content online.

How does Nielsen plan to tackle the tough task of tracking copyrighted video? Well, they’ve got the expertize on analyzing data, and they’ve already digitized about 95% of US TV programming for the purpose of their ratings service, which definitely helps. Still, many have tried – Audible Magic, for example – and haven’t exactly succeeded, mostly thanks to the fact that today you can effortlessly encrypt data which makes it impossible to analyze. We’ll have to wait and see what Nielsen and Digimarc have in stock. One thing is certain: this move will not make them the most popular company around.

WSJ claims that Nielsen has approached Google and News Corp with their service, which is nearly finished and might be officially announced as early as today.

Ars technica

A handful of consumer groups, including members of the Savetheinternet.com coalition, have asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop Comcast from interfering with BitTorrent and other P2P traffic. A new complaint (PDF) filed by Public Knowledge and Free Press accuses Comcast of “secretly degrading” P2P traffic, calling it a violation of network neutrality principles, and asks the FCC to enjoin Comcast from blocking P2P traffic in the future.

The complaint comes in the wake of revelations the Comcast is using Sandvine to actively interfere with and block some BitTorrent, Gnutella, and even Lotus Notes traffic. The ISP is using forged TCP reset packets, which tell both ends of a connection that the other party has reset the connection, to accomplish the task. Comcast admits to managing traffic on its network to ensure a “good Internet experience” for all of its customers. The company argues that its management techniques will occasionally “delay” traffic, but denies that it blocks or degrades traffic, despite evidence to the contrary.

Ars technica

Anirban Banerjee, Michalis Faloutsos, and Laxmi Bhuyan collected more than 100GB of TCP header information from P2P networks back in early 2006 using a specially-doctored client. The goal of the research was a simple one: to determine “how likely is it that a user will run into such a ‘fake user’ and thus run the risk of a lawsuit?” The results are outlined in a recent paper (PDF), “P2P: Is Big Brother Watching You?”

CNET News.com

An AT&T executive on Wednesday sought to defuse fears that forthcoming tools aimed at identifying pirates on its network will harm the average Net surfer’s online experience.

The planned tactic is “not about heavy-handed tactics that go after the vast majority of our customers that want to consume content legally,” AT&T assistant vice president of regulatory policy Brent Olson said at an antipiracy summit here hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s about making more content available to more people in more ways going forward.”

Zeropaid

Server operators start closing down operations there after courts rule can be held liable for $28,000 USD in damages for each song it facilitates the illegal sharing of.

Over the past two weeks, ED2K users have been noticing that their very-reliable German-based servers have been disappearing. First, about a dozen “Big Bang” servers started refusing connections. Shortly afterward, the half-dozen “DonkeyServer” servers stopped indexing the users’ files.

With no word from the operators as to why the servers are no longer functioning, network users worldwide have been speculating as to the reason.

Now it appears that the root cause of the server disruption has been linked to a recent judgment by a regional German court in Hamburg (Az. 308 O 273/07). The ruling clearly defined a monetary value for which to hold server operators liable for the illegal file-sharing of copyrighted music they facilitate.

Even though a server may not contain any actual portion of a copyrighted song, if the mere facilitation of the copyright infringement is found to have occurred the server operator can then be held liable for 20,000 Euro (about $28,000 USD) per song!

Ars Technica

A new peer-to-peer music service developed by a “team of enterprising college students” has a novel twist on the music sales business: give users a cut of the sales. Grooveshark is currently in beta and claims to have signed a number of independent labels up for its service. All the sales traffic will go over a P2P network, and users will be “rewarded” for sharing their music.

P2P-based music stores are nothing new. Indeed, a number of P2P networks have tried to go legit after running afoul of the RIAA, none with any notable success. The most recent example is LimeWire, which recently announced plans to begin selling MP3s encoded at 256Kbps. LimeWire has managed to sign on a couple of notable distributors, including Nettwerk Productions, home to Avril Lavigne, Sara McLachlan, and the Barenaked Ladies, among other acts.

There are a couple of significant differences between LimeWire and Grooveshark’s business models, however. First, LimeWire will start out as a direct-download site, with the P2P component coming later. Also, Grooveshark’s virtual tip jar feature appears to be unique among the P2P music stores.

Grooveshark is banking on users being attracted to the idea of getting a cut of the action when someone downloads a track from their PC. At 99¢ per non-DRMed MP3, the user’s cut isn’t going to be much more than a few cents after the artist, label, and Grooveshark take their share, but it may be enough to convince some music fans to sign up for the service and share some of their bandwidth.

ARS TECHNICA

The news for the motion picture and television industries is not so good. BitTorrent has become far more popular: “We’ve seen real, dramatic growth in BitTorrent usage,” notes Garland. That has resulted in a greater average population of seeders and leechers per torrent. In May 2006, the average torrent had 817,588 people participating. 12 months later, that figure had jumped to 1,357,318 seeders and leechers: a 66 percent year-over-year growth rate.

Reuters

Top online video service YouTube will soon test a new video identification technology with two of the world’s largest media companies, Time Warner Inc. The technology, developed by engineers at YouTube-owner Google Inc, will help content owners such as movie and TV studios identify videos uploaded to the site without the copyright owner’s permission, legal, marketing and strategy executives at YouTube told Reuters in an interview on Monday. The so-called video fingerprinting tools, which identify unique attributes in the video clips, will be available for testing in about a month, a YouTube executive said. “The technology was built with the Disney’s and Time Warner’s in mind,” Chris Maxcy, YouTube partner development director, said, adding that, since early this year, Google has been testing audio-fingerprinting tools with record labels. These tools will be used to identify copyrighted material, after which media companies can decide if they would like to remove the material or keep it up, as part of a revenue-sharing deal with YouTube, which can sell advertising alongside it. Once proven to work, the technology could be used to block the uploading of copyrighted clips, YouTube product manager David King said. It aims to make the tools widely available to any copyright owner later this year. YouTube has come under fire from several other traditional media companies, which say it has dragged its heels in offering reliable ways to identify video clips uploaded by regular users without permission. Unable to reach a distribution agreement, MTV Networks-owner Viacom Inc.  sued Google and YouTube for more than $1 billion in damages in March, charging the company with “massive intentional copyright infringement” after demanding the removal of clips of its popular shows “Colbert Report” and “Daily Show,” hosted by comedian Jon Stewart. Media companies have eyed the wildly popular video-sharing site as a mixture of opportunity and threat as they seek to reach consumers wherever they spend time. On one hand, they view YouTube as a powerful promotional medium to drive viewers back to television or their own sites. On the other, YouTube’s traffic has soared as users upload copyrighted shows globally onto the service. Nine months ago, YouTube said such tools would be made available to media companies for testing by the end of 2006. But the reliable identification of content has proved a complex task that required Google to develop its own technology tools. Maxcy said other media companies planned to test the technology, but he declined to name these other parties. “There are a couple,” he said, referring to Disney and Time-Warner. “There are more that we can’t talk about right now,” he said. YouTube officials said they have quietly been testing ways to help identify the audio tracks of video clips with major record labels using technology from privately held Audible Magic as early as the first two months of 2007. These tools will be made available to all content owners later this year depending on the results of the tests, YouTube executives said on Monday. “It’s typically not something we talk about,” Maxcy said, adding, however: “We wanted to clear the air.” Maxcy said that over time, Google planned to add additional layers of technology to better spot content on its service.

Los Angeles Times:

AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.

The San Antonio-based company started working last week with studios and record companies to develop anti-piracy technology that would target the most frequent offenders, said James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president.

The nation’s largest telephone and Internet service provider also operates the biggest cross-country system for handling Internet traffic for its customers and those of other providers.

Market capitalization
Cisco: 162.24B, Time Warner: 78.95B

2006 Gross Profit
Cisco:

18.747B, Time Warner:
17.811B

Cisco addresses legit P2P in Supervisor enhancement – CBRonline.com

Cisco Systems has unveiled both a product enhancement and a series of architectural templates to enable enterprise networks to address the challenge of legitimate peer-to-peer apps such as the Groove feature in Microsoft Office.

The product side of the announcement involves a deep packet inspection capability, delivered via a hardware upgrade to the Supervisor engine on its flagship 6500 switches, essentially introducing additional Cisco-designed ASICs to handle “DPI at multi-gigabit rates,” said Neil Walker, the company’s head of product marketing for core and foundation technologies in Europe.

There arises a need to be able to differentiate between good P2P and bad, which is where the Programmable Intelligent Services Accelerator (PISA) upgrade to Supe32 comes in. “It’s akin to what we’re doing on the carrier side with the P-Cube technology for broadband policy management,” said Walker.

“There the carrier can determine who you are, what you’re doing and the bandwidth you’re consuming to do it. In this case, we’re enabling enterprises to enable wanted P2P and block the unwanted,” he went on. “For instance, two employees might be allowed to exchange IM messages, but not if one of them has just accessed some sensitive data on an internal database.” PISA is not, however, in any way based on the P-Cube technology, but rather the result of internal development, he went on.

via zeroPaid

Qtrax, the upcoming first legal ad-supported P2P network due to launch this September, has announced today that it has added content from Sony BMG Music Entertainment to its offerings of free MP3s.

Through this agreement, Qtrax users will be able to access songs for a predefined number of times for free, most likely five when it comes to the most popular artists. Each time a user plays a track, the Qtrax player will also offer fans click-to-buy purchase options. Users will also have to view some sort of advertising before each song is played.

“We are pleased to announce that we have completed this agreement with Qtrax, and look forward to working with them as part of our ongoing campaign to build new opportunities for our artists within the digital marketplace,” commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business & U.S. Sales, Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Qtrax, which plans to debut in September, already has deals in place to offer content from Warner Music Group and EMI Group as well.

Michael Geist – The Unintended Consequences of Rogers’ Packet Shaping

For the past 18 months, it has been open secret that Rogers engages in packet shaping, conduct that limits the amount of available bandwidth for certain services such as peer-to-peer file sharing applications. Rogers denied the practice at first, but effectively acknowledged it in late 2005. Net neutrality advocates regularly point to traffic shaping as a concern since they fear that Rogers could limit bandwidth to competing content or services. In response to the packet shaping approach, many file sharing applications now employ encryption to make it difficult to detect the contents of data packets. This has led to a technical “cat and mouse” game, with Rogers now one of the only ISPs in the world to simply degrade encrypted traffic.

VPN networks, any SSL encoded traffic (including your mail service), and privacy are the victims. See the next post to put this news into context.

Kevin J. Delaney. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 17, 2007. pg. A.1

newtube-wsj.gif“It’s out there — you just have to hunt around for it a bit,” says the 28-year-old Mr. [Sam Martinez]. Like many similar sites, YouTVpc relies heavily on video-sharing sites outside the U.S., such as a French outfit called Dailymotion and Ouou.com in China. Mr. Martinez estimates that about 40% of the shows and films on the site — including episodes of “Desperate Housewives” and Fox’s “Prison Break” are provided by Ouou.com.

Last year Mr. Martinez’s childhood friend, Mr. [Billy Duran], built on the idea and created a site called “VTele” as an assignment for a computer-science class at Central New Mexico Community College. Through it, users could view TV shows and movies that he and Mr. Martinez copied from DVDs and uploaded to the school’s computer servers. The 23-year-old Mr. Duran says he got an “A” on the project. But within a month, the site attracted so many users that some of the school’s computer servers crashed. Administrators threatened Mr. Duran with expulsion.

Mr. Duran dropped out of Central New Mexico, and the two friends relaunched the site in September. At first it relied on volunteers to store video files on their own servers, until a user pointed Mr. Martinez to Dailymotion. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh — gold mine!'” recalls Mr. Martinez. “We had all 18 seasons of ‘The Simpsons’ in two hours.”

Read the rest of this entry »

ShareMonkey :: Find the file origin of p2p movies, mp3s, software and other fileshare downloads

What’s the route to market for the guy who downloaded a cinema cam of what becomes his favourite movie?

What about the graduate who now has money to pay for the music that helped her through university?
ShareMonkey Knows

We know the album origin of 500,000 of the most shared mp3s. We’ve matched more than 200,000 p2p movies; cams, rips, trailers and extras, to the DVDs they originally came from, and we’re matching more every day.

We can tell you what album, dvd, game, application or book your download came from – all you do is right click on a file in Windows and choose “Where is this file from?”.

p2pnet.net – the original daily p2p and digital media news site

WiPeer was developed to allow communication, “in a peer-to-peer manner, between mobile computers, when either there is no access point, or when the access point costs money, or when for privacy reasons, the users do not wish to utilise the access point,”

CNET News.com

Like other online publishers, Kink.com has had to puzzle out ways to deal with the perennial problem of copyright infringement on peer-to-peer networks and Usenet. Kink.com’s solution is live shows. In some ways, it’s is a throwback to a more analog era, back when the Grateful Dead encouraged taping and sharing of live concerts (while still charging admission). The band Phish follows the same model today by authorizing taping and Internet sharing for “non-commercial purposes.”

Earlier this month, Kink.com began streaming live 1080i high-definition video–at a time when mainstream sites such as CNN.com offer jerky, blurry pre-edited clips at roughly one-tenth the resolution of high-def.

At least this is what proprietary software people prefer…

Microsoft executive: Pirating software? Choose Microsoft!

At the Morgan Stanley Technology conference last week in San Francisco, Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes commented on the benefits of software counterfeiting. “If they’re going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else,” he said. “We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software.”

Copyright vow going down the YouTube | FT business | The Australian

YOUTUBE’S failure to complete a key piece of anti-piracy software as promised could represent a serious obstacle to efforts by Google, its new owner, to forge closer relations with the media and entertainment industry.

The video website, the internet sensation of 2006, promised in September the software would be ready by the end of the year. Known as a content identification system, the technology is meant to make it possible to track down copyrighted music or video on YouTube, making it the first line of defence against piracy on the wildly popular website.

YouTube’s offices were closed for the New Year holidays. While providing no further details about when the system would be made formally available, it said tests of the system had been under way with some media companies since October 2005 and the system remained on track.

Mike McGuire, a digital media analyst at Gartner, said there was likely to be little patience for missed deadlines.

“The technology industry really has to start living up to the media industry’s expectations,” Mr McGuire said.

Newswire / Press Release: GetByMail Releases New Remote Access and File Sharing Version GetByMail 1.5 – Software | NewswireToday:

Using GetByMail you can stay at home and have access to your office computer and vice versa simply through your e-mail account. You can get remote directory listings and tree view, download/upload files and directories, perform change dir, make dir, rename and delete operations, capture remote computer desktop screens, run remote applications, shutdown, reboot and logoff remote computer. During download/upload operations files and directories are automatically compressed and split into small pieces to assure reliable transmission. GetByMail gives you a unique ability to share files on your computer with other people simply through e-mail. It is an excellent solution if you want to share files with people who do not have access to FTP, P2P or are behind firewalls. With a help of GetByMail you can get through the firewall without any hassle. GetByMail only requires a unique e-mail address for every PC where the program is installed. No complex network configuration, no dedicated IP and no additional FTP software are required. Most popular Internet E-mail (POP3/IMAP/SMTP) and Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail configurations are supported.

p2pnet.net – the original daily p2p and digital media news site:

The “Tape it off the Internet” project is currently in the final stages of the closed Beta program. TIOTI might very well be a realistic representation of what the future of TV will look like. The TIOTI project approach to socialize and optimize your TV Download experience. TIOTI combines great design, TV-torrent tracking, favorites, recommendations, RSS feeds, tagging, groups, wiki’s, and a lot more ‘Web 2.0? stuff.

TVU networks corporation | About:

TVU networks is a new global live TV service that enables TV Broadcasters and private individuals to broadcast TV channels to a global audiences over the Internet. TVU uses a new application-level multicasting technology (similar to peer-to-peer file sharing) that allows broadcast costs to be exponentially lower than those of today’s streaming technology.

TVU offers a consumer service which aggregates these high-quality TV channels into a format similar to a cable service for the PC. This new service will premiere later this year. Consumers will be able to watch free live channels from around the globe as well as subscribe to pay channels and pay-per-view events. TVU networks is founded and led by a team of leading industry veterans coming from backgrounds in digital TV, Internet, software and TV programming.

p2pnet.net reports:

A San Francisco-based company figures it’s found a way for film fans to edit copyrighted movies —– without being sued.

How does it work?

Cutlists are “virtual edits separated from the content itself” and with them, “users can share their creations over the Internet,” says Cuts. “The cutlists then act like a virtual remote control, automatically skipping, stopping, muting or playing comments created by the ‘Cut-Maker.’

“Cutlists work with DVDs and multiple download video formats including Protected WMV files and even video purchased from iTunes.”

Slyck News – Snakes on a Torrent:

In order to share work with friends, family, or whoever, simply drop and drag the files you wish to share into a folder. Snakebit does the rest. No need to create .torrent files, upload .torrents or seed files.

Here I collect the texts I have written as part of the research:

The Club model of cultural consumption and distribution

When it comes to the market of digital goods, clubs –buyers teaming up to buy a single item and share it among themselves– seem to have little or no economic significance. Digital files are either perfectly controlled, thus the producer can appropriate all of the consumer surplus that could have arose by forming a club, or there is no way to control unauthorized copying thus there is no price at which it would be reasonable to sell a good on the market.
But if we include other, noneconomic aspects of clubs, notably their ability to negotiate and
enforce norms on how a given good is accessed and used, clubs can have a significant effect
on markets. So far we have seen that technological protection measures and copyright laws cannot effectively curb unauthorized uses of digital content. User communities around jambands can be an exception from this general trend as together with the artists they have created a normative environment that is able to police and enforce undesirable actions.

Is there a way to propagate the emergence of such communities through adequate
technologies designed to connect artists and fans? What can we do to help fans and artists to negotiate rules they are both are happy with?

Bodó Balázs- Gyenge Anikó: A könyvtári kölcsönzések után fizetendő jogdíj közgazdasági
szempontú elemzése

A nyilvános könyvtári kölcsönzések után a jogosultaknak fizetendő jogdíj (Public Lending
Right – a továbbiakban PLR) ötlete több sebből is vérzik.
Ha a PLR-re mint a nemzeti kulturális politikától független eszközre tekintünk, mely e jogot természetjogi érveléssel a tulajdonhoz való jogból vezeti le, minden esetben oda jutunk, hogy a jogosultak monopoljogát kiterjesztjük és az ezzel járó járadékot növeljük. Ennek következménye jelentős fogyasztói csoportok kulturális fogyasztásból való kiszorulása lehet, melyre eddig a legolcsóbb és hatékonyabb megoldás a könyvtári kölcsönzés szabadsága volt.

Ha a PLR nemzeti kultúrpolitikai eszköz, akkor viszont azt a megállapítást tehetjük, hogy a PLR a meglévő kultúratámogatási rendszerek mellett való üzemeltetése indokolatlanul
bonyolult, és költséges, és ha az állami döntéshozók úgy találják, hogy van a költségvetésben kultúratámogatásra fordítható tartalék, akkor azt érdemes a meglévő intézményrendszeren keresztül szétosztani.

Végül pedig a jogosultak, szerzők szemszögéből megvizsgálva a kérdést: nincs olyan szerző a földön, aki visszavonná egy megjelent művét a könyvtárakból csak azért mert azt vélelmezi, hogy a kölcsönzések miatt eladásoktól esik el. Ennek az egyetlen oka az, hogy a szerzők számára a könyvtárban való jelenlét haszna nagyobb, mint a könyvtári olvasók által okozott kiesett kereslet. Már csak emiatt sem érdemes a PLR bevezetése.

The Pirates of The Pirates of the Caribbean

This is the PowerPoint presentation of the talk I gave on the Chicago Kent Law School this March.

Robin Hood Digital – english

“File-sharing communities are also remembering communities. They direct attention and thus demand, they discuss and thus keep alive cultural goods. When something is posted as available for download, not only those fetch it have requested a particular item, but also those who were standing nearby. These individuals are reciting work long forgotten like those who in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 memorize books to be able to share them with others.”

Sobri Joska Digital – in hungarian

Megjelent a Café Babel 2006 decemberi, Hiány c. számában.

A Csendes Könyvtár és az összes többi hasonló szolgáltatás az úgynevezett közjavakra épülő internetes kooperációs hálózatokra (commons based peer production networks) példa. A piac által (kényszerűségből) szabadon hagyott résekben, marginális igények, érdekek körül a semmiből jönnek létre olyan közösségek, melyek a hálózat tagjai között elosztott különböző képességeket, erőforrásokat (időt, szkennert, karakterfelismerő programot, korrektúrázó képességet) képesek hatékonyan összehangolni egy olyan feladat érdekében, melynek gyümölcseit aztán mindenki szabadon és ingyenesen élvezheti.”

A szerzői jog gazdaságtana az online világban

Frissen elkészült könyvfejezet.

“A szerzői jog közgazdasági elemzése során a szerzőknek biztosított monopoljog különös figyelmet vívott ki magának. Ennek az az oka, hogy a monopol helyzetben levő termelők maguk határozzák meg a piaci árat, és ez az ár jellemzően nagyobb, mint amennyi versenyhelyzetben lenne. Tökéletes verseny esetén a piaci ár megegyezik a termék határköltségével, azaz azzal az összeggel, amennyibe a legutolsó példány elkészítése kerül. A monopóliumok határköltségnél magasabb ára azzal jár, hogy a piaci kereslet egy
része nem tudja megfizetni a monopolista szabta árat.”

A szőnyeg alá söpört archívum
Megjelent a Manager Magazin 2006. Decemberi számában Tartalomraktárak címen.

“Ma Magyarországon az a kérdés, hogy a piacra várnunk-e, hogy ezeket az archívumokat kiépítsék, a nehézkesen működő és alulfinanszírozott közintézményekre lőcsöljük-e ezt a feladatot, vagy megteremtjük annak lehetőségét, hogy a magyar kulturális közösség fenntartsa önmagát. A Neumann-ház megrendelésére elkészített Nemzeti Digitális Adattár 2.0 vitaanyag a közösségi archiválás lehetőségének kiterjesztését tartalmazza, az első lépés tehát ezügyben megtörtént. Még egy lépés azonban hátra van. Dekriminalizálni kellene kirillt, scan_dalt, helpert és társaik. Hogy ne fordulhasson elő az, hogy ennek az örökségnek piaci, személyes érdekeket sértő részei esetleg nem maradnak fenn. Hogy ne legyen bűnöző az a soktízezres közösség, amelyik a magyar audiovizuális örökség archiválásán dolgozik – társadalmi munkában.”

A retardált archívum

Megjelent az Élet és Irodalom 2007. január 5-i számában.

“A közpénzből finanszírozott, közszolgálati archívum kapuit minél szélesebbre kell tárni. A hat havi elérhetőséget nem szűkíteni kell, hanem az archívum digitalizálásával bővíteni. Az archívumi anyagok lementését, felhasználását, adott esetben átalakítását nem megakadályozni kell hanem a megfelelő jogi konstrukció kidolgozásával megengedni , támogatni, bátorítani. Ezt követeli a finanszírozás módja. Ezt követeli a közszolgálatiság jelentése. Ezt követeli a piaci értékesítés igénye. Ezt követeli a józan ész.”
PhD 2-page research proposal in english

A short description of my research.

Régebbi cikkek/ older writings

A „mély link”
Internetes tartalomszolgáltatók vs. internet

Megjelent a Beszélő 2003 szeptemberi számában.

“Mély link valójában nincs. Link van, mely mutathat bárhová: egy portál címoldalára, a legutolsó, senki által nem olvasott cikkére, képre, linkgyűjteményre, bárhova. A mély linkelést nem lehet megtiltani, csupán azt lehet technológiai eszközökkel elérni, hogy egy adott gyűjteménybe csak egy, a hivatalos kapun keresztül lehessen bejutni. Ott pedig, ahol korábban szabad volt az átjárás, jogi vagy technológiai falak kezdenek épülni, melyek az internet mindent mindennel összekötő hipertextuális szövetéből kiragadnak, elérhetetlenné tesznek tartalmakat. Az intertextualitásból kiemelt, a többi szöveggel való kapcsolatától megfosztott valami pedig megszűnik szövegnek lenni.”

Bolyongás egy áldás nélküli térben
Graffiti és street art mint a társadalmi diskurzus eszköze

Megjelent a Café Babelben 2004-ben.

“Az egyre lezáródó fizikai, média- és kulturális terekben az autonómia megteremtése egyre költségesebb: magas a lebukás veszélye és nagy a várható büntetés, megfizethetetlenek a kártérítési és nem utolsó sorban jogi költségek. Nehéz felbecsülni, hogy az egyre szigorodó ellenőrzési technikák milyen mértékben gátolják üzenetek megjelenését, hiszen a leginkább kockázatvállalókat kivéve az alkotóknak nem áll érdekükben láthatóvá válni, nem szeretnék magukra felhívni a figyelmet. Ha mégis, akkor a szólás szabadságát keresők szükségszerűen mozognak a gyengébb ellenállás, tehát olyan médiumok felé, melyek könnyebben támadhatók, azaz ellenőrzésük architekturális okokból nehezebben megoldható”

Deathmatch!

The following statement was issued today by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®) President and CEO Gary Shapiro regarding a letter sent last week from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) concerning the RIAA’s refusal to participate in the Copy Protection Technical Working Group (CPTWG) to discuss efforts to prevent the mass, indiscriminate redistribution of copyrighted works over the Internet:

“We are pleased to see the RIAA letter finally confirmed, as we have long suspected, that no technical specification for an audio flag, or in fact anything else, exists and that the RIAA has stayed away from the Copy Protection Technical Working Group in part because it has nothing to propose. The letter also confirms that the RIAA’s interest lies solely in preserving its existing ways of business, with the hope that it can maximize profits by limiting innovation and undermining long-standing consumer rights. – CEA

Wrong. It is Nokia.

Nokia said it had sold more than 15 million music-enabled phones in April to June, roughly double the amount Apple’s iPod’s and making it the world’s largest manufacturer of digital music players, and it aims to sell more than 80 million music devices this year, adds The Washington Post. – p2pnet.net

The ASUS WL-700gE Wi-Fi Router:

  • has a 160-gig hard-drive.
  • it comes with a BitTorrent client!
  • has three USB 2.0 ports for connection of additional external hard drives

via p2pnet.net

CARFAC – the coalition of canadian artists with the question “if artists are not paid for what they create, why would anyone make art?” on their banner and Appropriation Art- a coalition of appropriation artists seem to have some issues among each other. From the letter of the latter in reply to the former:

The practice of appropriation is internationally recognized as a long standing, historic art practice. It includes works of collage, found footage and conceptual art. Works that use appropriation are collected and exhibited by major galleries and museums internationally, are written about in virtually every art history book and taught in universities and colleges throughout the world. Works that use appropriation are legitimate works of art. Period. Contemporary sources of appropriation are found in film, radio, television, advertising, text, character, situation, cast off material, found material, quoted material, borrowed material, …and on and on. Artists use this rich vein of source material because it is meaningful; because it holds and reflects popular, cultural or civic memory, because it conjures personal associations or connects us together in a profound way. These works question, push boundaries, advance technologies; they encourage experimentation and invention. They tell new stories. Contemporary culture should not be immune to critical commentary. Without this new work our cultural environment would be much the poorer. It is surprising that an organization that claims to speak for Canadian artists can be so out of touch with contemporary art practice.

What is on stake? Moral rights in the new canadian copyright law.

… high tech proprietary networks rise. Slyck News reports on the All-New Warez P2P – Version 3.0:

Warez are entering a tough market. Due to the stability of file sharing there simply is not a necessity to switch clients or try something new. It will take more than just the promise of BitTorrent speeds to switch people away from BitTorrent, which also has the advantage of being open source.

However, by bringing together the two phenomena of file sharing and social networking, this client may tap into great success. Add anonymity in the future and this will be a network to watch closely.

If the promise of networks being able to grant speed, variety and anonimity as protection for the everyday user whom will RIAA sue? All those poor souls who are not smart enough to choose a software offering the protection? Not the most “dangerous” but the lamest? We’ll see.

IPcentral drew my attention to Chris Castle’ article on net neutrality and copyright in which he argues, no, rants about net neutrality supporters who are defending illegal downloading by opposing people peeping into IP packet contents. As for myself, this is certainly a reason supporting net neutrality. Another one is that I dont want people like Chris policing my communications.

GUse this tool to find downloadable mp3s on Google.

This is just great. The right search term for google is:
intitle:index.of “mp3″ +”Artis Name” -htm -html -php -asp “Last Modified”

SiliconBeat reports:”Skyrider, a Mountain View start-up, is developing technology that will be able to search peer-to-peer traffic, in order to help media and other companies become more profitable. The two-year old company has raised $8 million from Silicon Valley’s top VC firm Sequoia Capital, along with Charles River Ventures. The company’s product will be announced in fall, the company told us last night. (Here is their release.) The company aims to “monetize” popular peer-to-peer networks, which have emerged to help circulate large files such as video. Since that’s where the information is, that’s where to do the best mining. And the company is working on a search platform that spans across P2P platforms.”

JavaScriptSearch News reports:”exaroom, inc. unveiled its new product beta for a file-sharing service, www.exaroom.com. The new exaroom service enables members to access files on their own computer and their friends’ shared files from their browser.”