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Licensed Media Distribution

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Akamai Technologies, Inc. Akamai Technologies' core intelligent mapping technology is known as EdgeAdvantage, an independently-controlled content distribution service (CCD) based on Peer-to-Peer technologies. The company was cofounded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (M.I.T. LCS) professor Tom Leighton, an expert in parallel algorithms, applied mathematics and fault tolerance in distributed networks. Akamai provides what is commonly known as content peering, the task of optimizing large and complex networks and keeping large sites up and serving content, applications and streaming media at usable rates. Akamai's FreeFlow service delivers content via its global network utilizing sophisticated algorithms developed by M.I.T. researchers. The service continuously monitors Internet conditions to discover the optimal "edge server" and delivery route for each request. Akamai's Digital Parcel Service (DPS) combines enhanced content delivery with digital rights management capabilities to form a licensed digital media content distribution system.
DigitalOwl, Inc. DigitalOwl, Inc. is the developer of KineticEdge end-to-end Digital Rights Management (DRM) software and services. The KineticEdge packaging tool is TitleFusion, a Windows application for embedding metadata information (such as royalty, brand, and price information) into a content file during encryption. It can also assign different rights to different parts of a document, known as "micropackaging". TitlePool is an Oracle 8i-based content repository, where additional metadata is added to enhance searching. TitleWave handles sales to consumers, including tracking licenses and storing customer profiles. Vision is Windows client software for viewing KineticEdge content. Supported file formats include XML, the Open EBook (OEB), PDF, JPEG and HTML. Catalyst is the name of the available support and consulting services. Clients can pick all or only specific KineticEdge components (except TitleFusion, which DigitalOwl must handle). Content is hosted on a distributed Peer-To-Peer network, which enables a variety of online intellectual property transaction usage models, including pay-per-use. KineticEdge uses Certicom encryption (which supports wireless devices) and relies on proprietary digital certificates rather than a third party certificate authority.
eLiberation eLiberation is a two-year-old Internet software company that uses its "relational micro-transaction technology" to offer streaming and downloadable file tracking, reporting and revenue allocation. Its Integrated Peer Commerce System (IPCS)provides digital content owners with a method of commercializing the distribution of their digital media within a peer-to-peer environment ("superdistribution"), that includes: high volume micro-payments, royalty tracking and revenue distribution, content distribution control, protection of intellectual property and copyrights, marketing control and back-end reporting. IPCS is made up of three smaller services/mechanisms: a Financial Transaction Management (FTM) tracking and reporting service, a Digital Rights Management (DRM) access control mechanism that allows publishers and artists to manage their own intellectual property rights and Rich Information Files (RIF) that enable new marketing opportunities to be provided at the point of sale by allowing value-added sales and marketing information to be included along with the digital content distribution.

eLiberation's first commercial implementation of its Financial Transaction Management model is ePilot.com, a cost-per-click search engine that pays its members to search for information using the company's patent-pending ePilot application. The ePilot site performs over 3 million micro-transcactions every day. eLiberation has also partnered with Groove Networks to provide a branded version of its FTM software to Groove's File Sharing users.
eMikolo Networks The "Demand Driven Access" (DDA) suite of appliances from eMikolo Networks is designed to create an "Intelligent Distribution Network" (IDN) by reducing the cost of content distribution and increasing network performance and scalability. The DDA suite achieves this through the use of various content and distribution management techniques enabling a network to scale to its maximum capacity. This product is not yet available for review.
Fairtunes Fairtunes is a free, voluntary, digital music payment system that allows music fans to voluntarily send money to, compensate or tip, any artist for their work. Fairtunes empowers any artist to receive money online in the form of a voluntary payment. Fairtunes' FreeAmp is a multi-platform music listening program used to access Fairtunes artist web pages. A FAQ is available for more information.
Flycode Flycode offers a web-based peer-to-peer secure file-sharing network for the automatic distribution and digital rights management of video and image files using Preview Systems Inc.ís ZipLock Technology. ZipLock provides content owners with a digital rights protection and management tool for: specifying payment requirements, placing limits on the length of time a file can be viewed, or limiting the number of users allowed to share a file. Flycode's secure network uses Microsoft's Windows Media Digital Rights Management technology, and its Windows-based Flycode Client Application requires Internet Explorer 4 or later.
iMesh Ltd. iMesh is a free program and service that helps users find their favorite content over the Internet. iMesh Ltd. is attempting to provide a perfectly legal distribution channel for its user base by entering into distribution agreements with copyright holders. This makes it easier for its users to locate and obtain their desired files (photos, source files, homework, or home made videos, etc.).

The company's Legal Notice doesn't pull any punches about its software's complete lack of privacy protection or security features, going as far to suggest that users are placing themselves at an unusually high level of risk by using the software.
iNoize iNoize.com is a web-based application and music service that allows users to share music without infringing on the copyrights of music companies or their recording artists by "sharing" using a stream rather than actually creating a copy of the copyrighted material. The company has been collaborating intensely with the music industry on an e-commerce system that will benefit all parties involved by providing users with on-demand music, while providing music companies with a new venue for showcasing their music and offering an option to buy it.

Music on the iNoize network is organized in a three-tier streaming system (Artist - Album - Title) rather than the kinds of file-based systems used by other "sharing" networks. The music is streamed in real-time, using a secure, encrypted patent-pending framework which essentially eliminates the need or desire to copy by making the desired music selections accessible on demand. Playlists of favorite songs can be created using music from other iNoize.com members and users can creat playlists, share them with other users or even purchase their favorite CD's while on-line, if they choose. iNoize is available for download on the Windows 98, NT, 2000 (Version 1.10) and Linux (Intel)(Version 1.10). (A Macintosh version is on the way.) A tour of iNoize's service is also available.
Kalepa Networks, Inc Kalepa Networks is a "provider of Internet content delivery infrastructure". Individual investors included George Hoyem and Glenn Osaka of Redleaf Ventures, Rick Serafini of Serafini Capital, Chris Shipley, Executive Producer of the Demo Conferences, and executives at Excite@Home, Marimba, Robertson Stephens and Ziff Davis. The company is currently in "stealth mode".
MusicNet MusicNet is a new platform for digital music subscription services based on RealNetworks' Internet media delivery technology that claims to be the first digital music subscription platform to offer both downloadable and streamable music. MusicNet is a joint venture of RealNetworks, AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and EMI. (The ownership of MusicNet is approximately 40% Real, 20% AOLTW, 20% BMG and 20% EMI.) Rob Glaser, Chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, serves as its Chairman and interim CEO.

MusicNet will license its "private-label" platform to companies seeking to sell music subscription services under their own brands. RealNetworks and AOL are the first licensees of the MusicNet platform and expect to offer their own online music subscription services based on the platform this year. The specific details of offerings, such as price and number of downloads or streams per subscription, will be left to each MusicNet distribution partner to determine. See the FAQ for more details.
Napster Napster is on its way to becoming the world's largest secure file sharing network. Napster is paving the way for a new era of paid subscription services, courtesy of its new business partners: Bertelsmann AG, edel Music, TVT Records, America Online and Real Networks (MusicNet), its new technology partners: Loudeye, Gracenote, Relatable and its recently aquired Gigabeat. Napster's features include: a user-friendly interface, search capabilities, instant messaging, chat and Hot List User Bookmarks. You can still download the latest version of the Napster Client (Macintosh or Windows).

Napster claims to be taking the copyright issues it has brought so much attention to very seriously and has been ramping up on its technology over the last few months to that end. The company has been busy piecing together the technology required to enable an effective licensed media distribution network. Technology investments to date include several new acoustic fingerprinting technologies that will be used in conjunction with music databases to identify and track file usage on the Napster network. The Napster system is also now able to catch certain kinds of common filename variations that were traditionally able to circumvent its filtering processes in the past through the use of improved keyword filtering techniques. Napster has also implemented a new terms of use policy of discontinuing network access to anyone caught intentionally obscuring filenames. See the "Copyright Owners" section of its Copyright Policy for more details.
Ogg Vorbis Ogg Vorbis is a fully open, non-proprietary, patent-and-royalty-free, general purpose compressed audio format for high quality audio and music (44.1-48.0kHz, 16+ bit, polyphonic) at fixed and variable bitrates from 16 to 128 kbps/channel that also has the ability to stream. This places it in the same class as MP3 and MPEG-4 audio files. Contrary to popular belief, MP3 is not an open format. Fraunhofer (and other MPEG consortium members) claim that it is impossible to create an mp3 encoder without infringing on their patents. MPEG-4, destined to be the next generation of internet audio, might be even more tightly controlled, and recent alliances between MPEG and the RIAA (which seeks to control all distribution) provide yet another reason to consider promoting an open source alternative.

Check it out for yourself. A download page lists the available plug-in players, encoders and development kits by platform (all are available on most platforms). For Windows developers, a Oggdrop - Drag and drop GUI encoder and a Ogg Vorbis Win32 SDK are available, as well as the Winamp, FreeAMP and Sonique players. FAQ and Documentation are available for more information.

Here are the details regarding the format's open source license: "Xiphophorus's Vorbis software libraries (libvorbis and vorbisfile) are distributed under a BSD-like license; these libraries may be used by any application, Open or proprietary, linked or incorporated in whole, so long as acknowldgement is made to Xiphophorus when using our codec source in whole or in derived works. See the file 'COPYING' in the source for all the details. All other portions of xiph.org's reference Vorbis software are distributed under the (GNU) General Public License (GPL)."
Project Pandango Inc. Project Pandango Inc. is a company formed by the i5 Digital LLC intellectual property development company to launch a search engine based upon their Pandango (taken from the Latin word "Pando," meaning to extend) Peer-To-Peer Web search technology. In addition, third party companies will be able to license a private label version of the search engine that employs personalization features to target a specific area, such as sports or finance. The XML-based Pandango mixes Peer-To-Peer technology with a distributed version of collaborative filtering (a technology used by the Google engine). Patterns of searches by other like-minded searchers are leveraged to arrive at what the company claims are newer and more relevant results. (Search companies using traditional methods disagree, and predict a downside of slower searches.)
RightsMarket Inc. RightsMarket Inc. provides software and services that facilitate the commercial superdistribution of digital content over distributed networks and the Web. The company's flagship product/service (available as both) is "RightsPublish", an end-to-end digital publishing and intellectual property rights management system designed to provide a secure and reliable platform for the distribution of intellectual property, usage tracking and billing.

The end result is a web-based digital intellectual property network where everyone participating is either a publisher, a consumer or both.
Songbird Songbird is a client-side application specifically designed to work within the existing Napster network. Songbird is the latest offering of Media Enforcer LLC. Songbird is freely-available for download and also offers several artist-related features, such as enabling an artist to receive a "snapshot" of a song's popularity on the network. A recent Wired News article felt that the most useful of the program's features was its ability to create an Excel file of user names and files (although IP addresses are not provided). The Songbird FAQ claims the program is able to work effectively with many common song title variations (such as Aimster's Pig Encoder, etc.).
Tuneprint Recordings that sound identical to humans actually have unique psychoacoustical differences. Geoffrey Schmidt, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) student, is one of the first to develop an audio fingerprinting algorithm taking advantage of this principle. The audio fingerprint does not change when the sound is compressed, changed to a different file format, broadcast over the radio, passed through an MP3 encoder, re-equalized or played at a different speed. The resulting Tuneprint technology is developing around the tuneprint.com site set up by Schmidt for incubation. Tuneprint utilizes a model of human hearing used to predict how audio will appear after it's been distorted by the human ear, and the parts of neural processing that are understood. This is some of the same information that led to MP3 encoders achieving exceptional audio compression. Characteristics that uniquely identify the track are then identified by picking out the most important, surprising, or significant features of the sound.

Possible distributed audio applications include building netplay popularity charts based on real time global live play, more capable music search engines, improvements in musical file sharing (sorting, categorizing, removing duplicates), digital rights, practical micropayment systems for artists and enabling record companies to tag a track as copyrighted in real time upon request.
Vitaminic Vitaminic is become a larger player in the european digital music rights license and distribution market and has recently announced the acquisition of its London-based rival Peoplesound.com in a 34 million-euro deal. Vitaminic runs 10 locally-managed sites, in 8 different languages and claims to have over 2 million unique users every month. Vitaminic hosts a catalogue from over 700 labels, from the largest of majors to the smallest independents. Artists are encouraged to register and start taking advantage of the promotional opportunities it is making freely available. The "Vitaminic network of music" extends beyond the Vitaminic website itself to include some of Europe's major Internet portals, ISPs and mobile operator and its catalog is syndicated out to several major music channels including: Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, MTV and Gay.com. Vitaminic works with the music industry on its own terms, paying both performance and mechanical royalties, even got its free promotional downloads. Vitaminic claims it offers what amounts to Europe's first music download subscription service: the Vitaminic Music Club. Its Backstage service provides other free promotional opportunities for bands, artists and musicians.

Vitaminic embraces all industry standards of encryption and is also set up for broadband and wireless technologies. Vitaminic is designed to integrate non-intrusively into an artist's other existing online activities. Managed promotional campaigns across the Vitaminic network are free for Vitaminic Labels and include comprehensive linking and fan e-mail services. Vitaminic works on a completely nonexclusive basis and with no fixed term. A collection of great resources on the website include a nice listing of MP3 Software organized by Operating System. A FAQ is also provided.

P2P Weblogs

Richard Koman Richard Koman's Weblog
Supreme Court Decides Unanimously Against Grokster
Updating as we go. Supremes have ruled 9-0 in favor of the studios in MGM v Grokster. But does the decision have wider import? Is it a death knell for tech? It's starting to look like the answer is no. (Jun 27, 2005)

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