weblog by Urs Gehrig

A weblog about libre software, law, technology, politics and the like.

23. November 2005

p2p - tiny code on mobiles to share anywhere
@ 00:16:10

I recently read about the Nokia N91 [1]. The mobile phone has a 4 GB hard disk, which takes - if you like music - up to 3'000 songs. The disc has nearly the capacity of a single sided, single layer DVD-5 (4.7 GB). Lucky us it is not that big, otherwise we could eventually do the unforeseen and copy a DRM protected movie on the phone.

But the N91 is also a computer based on Symbian OS [2] and capable of running Python. You can e.g. run a webserver written in Python on the phone. But there are also p2p applications implemented in Python. One of them is written by Pascal Felber of the Université de Neuchâtel and takes not more than 6 lines of code [3]. Some more usability offers Symella [4], written by two students of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Let us consider some extrapolation. Everyone with such a mobile phone of such a configuration will basically be able to share files. According to Wikipedia in 2003 over 500 Mio. mobile phones have been sold. If just 10% of these new phones use p2p and share each day 5 files of 1 MB each, about 90'000 terabytes would be shared a year. Only over mobile phones. If file sharing becomes a custom, a habit, how do we handle the copyright issues? With Digital Restriction Management the way we know it? I have my doubts. I will come back to that issue in another post.


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15. November 2005

Post-Grokster world with a closed P2P eDonkey
@ 22:12:37

Sam Yagan, President of MetaMachine, Inc., explains his companies "capitulation" to the RIAA and the conversion of eDonkey to a "closed" P2P system [1,2]. Regarding the creation of software, that can be used for legal and illegal purposes Sam Yagan says:
Because the Grokster standard requires divining a company's "intent," the decision was essentially a call to litigate. This is critical because most startup companies just don't have very much money. Whereas I could have managed to pay for a summary judgment hearing under Betamax, I simply couldn't afford the protracted litigation needed to prove my case in court under Grokster. Without that financial ability, exiting the business was our only option despite my confidence that we never induced infringement and that we would have prevailed under the Grokster standard.
Later in the testimonial he states:
Imagine if for the last ten years we had been able to convert just 1% of the estimated tens of billions of shared files into paid downloads. There is a market solution to be found - it may well be one that fits in to the business model of the incumbent entertainment industry, but it also may not.
If all those P2P software companies die, there will be not less file-shareing but less control by the record industry. As experianced earlier, users will simply turn to other services with similar offerings. What might help is to turn this P2P software to be used for something "good". Therefore some random thoughts:
  • What about a P2P network that only accepts open content licensed files?
  • And what about heading towards that 1% conversion, if the price per song - if we take music as an example - is considerably lower than e.g. in the iTunes Music Store?
  • What if the price is not fixed but depending on supply and demand?
  • What if some start an Open Music Stock Exchange to produce appropriate revenue?
I appreciate your response!


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30. September 2005

Limewire is working on CC integration
@ 18:01:09

Limewire coders seem to implement a mechanism to check for licenses on shared files in Limewire. If there is no appropriate license, the file will not be shared [1,2].


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