First transfer with new protocol requires only an email to unlock
File-sharing network BitTorrent has revealed a "direct-to-fan" collaboration with music label Ultra. Using a new protocol called the BitTorrent Bundle, an interaction by the downloader -- such as providing information or even paying for the content -- is required before unlocking restricted content. The mechanism for secure distribution is embedded within the protocol, and compatible with existing BitTorrent clients.
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
Files synced between devices
BitTorrent has announced plans to offer a new service that utilizes peer-to-peer technology to synchronize personal files between multiple devices. The project, which is still in its pre-Alpha testing stage, aims to directly synchronize content without relying on cloud caching, accordingto details posted by GigaOM.
Motion to suppress subpoenas filed, information not revealed
Internet provider Comcast historically complies with content owner's requests to name BitTorrent infringers when provided with sufficient data, but a legal skirmish in the Illinois district court is playing out differently. Comcast has asked the court to dismiss the subpoenas for subscriber's information issued in a battle with four adult video purveyors, saying the case is about coercing settlements out of the 264 potential infringers rather than pursuing legal action.
Leaked album piracy raised sales by 60 on average
A recent study has found that raised BitTorrent piracy may be related to higher album sales. North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond monitored prerelease albums being downloaded through BitTorrent and compared the numbers with actual album sales. The investigation is said to have uncovered a direct correlation between the two, albeit minor.
New system tracks and shuts down infringing torrents
Microsoft has joined with a Russian startup in an effort to crack down on online copyright infringement. The resulting partnership could prove a boon for Hollywood, which has long sought to curtail illegal filesharing on the Web. Pirate Pay, as the startup calls itself, may be the answer to copyright holders' prayers, as it targets torrents directly and takes them down.
John Wiley and Sons' request for 10 users info denied
Book publisher John Wiley and Sons has run into an unusual opponent in court -- an ISP. Verizonis refusing to comply with a subpoena ordering the company to disclose personal details of subscribers whose IP addresses have been logged pirating their popular "For Dummies" series of self-help guides. All of the subscribers allegedly acquired the copies of the books through BitTorrent-based websites.
New case started by Voltage Pictures in Florida
Voltage Pictures is back in a federal Florida court, last week naming at least 2,514 BitTorrent users in a new lawsuit. Last May, it sued about 10 times that number of alleged file sharers for the loss of income resulting from illegally sharing the studio's Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker blockbuster. Then, it listed nearly 25,000 alleged infringing users at once, the biggest such lawsuit in the US.
Book publisher seeks trial based on ip evidence
Book publisher John Wiley and Sons has named people accused of sharing books online and is calling for a trial with jury. If the trial goes ahead, this will be the first time a case based on evidence from BitTorrent will be tested in court.
Study says artificial movie release windows hurt
A joint research paper from the Departments of Economics at both Wellesley College (Brett Danaher) and the University of Minnesota (Joel Waldfogel) has suggested that BitTorrent movie rips and other Internet piracy wasn't hurting movies after they were exported to other countries. In instances where a US movie hadn't been pirated in advance of its international release, revenue from the movie was typically seven percent lower than it was when those abroad could bootleg the material. US sales also didn't necessarily go down with torrents in effect, the authors found.
uTorrent 3.1 alpha out with new device support
The latest 3.1 alpha build of uTorrent brings support for a number of new platforms, including the iPhone, iPad, PS3, Xbox 360, and Android. Users can simply sync content they've downloaded to the hardware by dragging and dropping the files. Files can also be converted into the respective formats, though this will be reportedly removed in the next update as it was a mistake.
Fox delay of Hulu TV shows results in more piracy
The decision of Fox to start an eight-day TV show delay online has been met with a spike in piracy, TorrentFreak reported. Last Monday, Fox began the eight-day delay on Hulu and its own Fox.com website. Fox hopes to have encouraged viewers to sign up and pay for its programming to watch the TV shows as they air.
Hurt Locker producers to recoup claimed losses
The producers of the Academy Award winning motion picture The Hurt Locker are suing a record 24,583 BitTorrent downloaders. Voltage Pictures hopes to recoup millions of dollars it claims it has lost through illegal downloading activities. The company has hired a group of lawyers known as the US Copyright Group to undertake the action what is the biggest lawsuit of its kind to date.
Ongoing lawsuit centers around illegal downloads
US District Court judge Beryl Howell has ordered Time Warner to hand over identities of 250 subscribers accused of illegally downloading movies. The order appears to reject Time Warner's argument that the request is excessively time consuming and expensive. The subpoenas involve three cases from movie production companies Maverick, Donkeyball Movie, and Call of the Wild Movie.
Level 3 claims Comcast extorting fees for video
(Update: Comcast response) Level 3 today raised alarms with claims that Comcast was engaging in anti-competitive behavior with a new charge for online video. The Internet backbone provider said that Comcast had suddenly started charging extra for video to its customers and threatened to block video traffic from Level 3, which supplies streams for Netflix and other major providers. It agreed to pay the fee to avoid a disruption but accused Comcast of setting up a "toll booth" deliberately designed to prevent competition with both cable TV and its own Internet features.
BitTorrent to bring open source apps to client
BitTorrent on Thursday began rolling out its Release Candidate 7.1 client, which includes built-in apps. These will allow developers to create their own programs for the platform. The same software will be distributed to all 14 million BitTorrent Mainline users over the next month.
Court approves settlement in Comcast P2P lawsuit
The class-action lawsuit that dates back to 2007 against Comcast for throttling the Internet speeds of alleged peer-to-peer file sharers has reached its practical end through a settlement later on Thursday. Judge Legrome Davis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has given final approval to payments, giving any other parties interested in joining the class-action lawsuit until August 29 in order to claim a portion of the settlement.
Brite-View CinemaGo 5005HD upgrades media hub
Brite-View today revamped its core media hub in the form of a new model altogether, the CinemaGo BV-5005HD. It touts a friendlier design for expansion than the old CinemaTube with much faster eSATA and now USB on the front; Wi-Fi is now also included through a USB adapter. Software has been given a lift, too, as the CinemaGo can download and manage BitTorrents by itself and will play Muzee Internet radio stations.
Belkin spins media sharing features as apps
Belkin today tried to seize on the popularity of mobile apps today by launching a set of Wi-Fi routers that apply the app metaphor to features. The Play, Play Max, Share and Surf all have varying levels of apps that both handle previous router features as well as extend them beyond their normal limitations. The Play and Play Max are the most advanced and can control media streaming themselves: they can play music directly from a USB hard drive, label tracks, auto-coreate playlists and push music to UPnP devices like game consoles.
Verizon first major to disconnect for piracy
Verizon today admitted that it has disconnected some users whose connections have repeatedly been seen carrying pirated material. The provider's spokeswoman, Bobbi Henson, wouldn't say how many or after how many notices but said Verizon has "cut some people off" in small numbers. It had already been sending notices on a wider level since April and for the RIAA in particular since November.
CRTC issues net neutrality rules
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today set groundwork for net neutrality in the country through a ruling that discourages Internet providers from throttling traffic. The guidelines will encourage monetary practices first, such as bandwidth caps or metered Internet access, and will accept slowing down some or all service only when necessary. All providers will also have to clearly publicize any throttling practices and give customers at least 30 days' notice, or 60 days' notice for wholesalers dependent on another Internet provider's network.
QNAP TS-210 gets faster CPU, new look
QNAP today upgraded one of its most mainstream network-attached storage servers by launching the two-bay TS-210. A major replacement for the TS-209, it has both a more home-friendly, sleeker look but also jumps from a 500MHz processor to 800MHz. The extra speed better handles intense network traffic, particularly RAID 1 mirroring, without bogging down.
Fonera 2.0n now in US
Fon today formally rolled out its once-teased Fonera 2.0n router. The new update adds 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds but is better known for adding built-in clients for several services independently of computers. Owners can upload content to Facebook, Flickr, Megaupload, Picasa, RapidShare and YouTube when the relevant computer is turned off; it can also download BitTorrents and send Twitter updates to signal when a transfer has been completed or a guest connects to the public hotspot.
Pirate Bay sold for $7.8m
Swedish gaming company Global Gaming Factory X (GGF) on Tuesday announced it is in the process of acquiring The Pirate Bay for $7.8 million. With the process due to be concluded by August, it will see GGF introduce new business models to and make the site legal and keep its owners out of courts. The new owners will also sell shares of The Pirate Bay to investors. GGF will also buy Peerialism and introduce its P2P distribution technology on The Pirate Bay. At the same time, The Pirate Bay will stop hosting and tracking torrents and use a third-party tracker and torrent hosting service.
MvixUSA intros Ultio
MvixUSA on Thursday announced the upcoming release and specs of its 1080p-capable Ultio networked multimedia player. The device is compatible with UPnP-standard networks and can be ordered with a 1TB hard drive. Streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other similar sites is supported, and MvixUSA says the device supports a record amount of video file formats and codecs, including the relatively uncommon RMVB or FLAC.
Dubious app rejections
Apple has made a controversial rejection of two more iPhone apps, say parties involved. The first is Maza Digital's Drivetrain, a remote control program for the Transmission BitTorrent client. Initially met with an Apple message that the app would demand "unexpected additional time for review," Maza later received a notice saying that "this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store."
LaCie B Disk d2 Network
LaCie early today rolled out network-attached storage (NAS) versions of two of its most familiar external hard drives. The single-disk d2 Network and dual-disk Big Disk Network both get gigabit Ethernet connections that let them share their storage on a local network. They're officially compatible with Mac OS X Leopard's Time Machine backups and have built-in servers to work independently of computers, including their own BitTorrent managers, media streaming through DLNA- and UPnP-compatible devices, and iTunes hosting.
Pirate Bay founders guilty
A court in Stockholm, Sweden has ruled against the four founders of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay on Friday. Accused of "assisting in making copyright content available," Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were each sentenced to serve one year in jail and ordered to pay a fine equivalent to about $905,000 each for a total of some $3.62 million by the court. The sum was short of what the prosecution representing recording studios were seeking, though it remains unknown.
Myka Ships April 6
Myka today said it would start shipping its self-titled media hubs shortly after their initial batch is finished production on April 6th. Originally unveiled last year, the set-top box is designed as an open-source alternative to devices like the Apple TV and the VUDU Box that uses BitTorrent as its underlying framework. The feature lets users download commercial and unofficial content without being dependent on any one connection or service. Myka doesn't immediatly have content deals but claims to be in negotiations with "major" providers.
Cover Stream 2.5 ($15) is an iTunes controller that extends iTunes Cover Flow to the desktop. With the software a user can control their iTunes library without needing to open up the iTunes window. Users can set up key commands for controlling playback options and view all of their media in a customizable window that can be viewed as lists or Cover Flow. The new version eliminates the need to sync with iTunes, adds a track list sidebar, a new Core Animation fullscreen menu, and several other new features and bug fixes. [Download - 1.9MB]
Cox Throttling Traffic
Cable Internet provider Cox today said it would start trialing a new congestion management scheme on its network that it hopes will manage the network. The test, beginning for Arkansas and Kansas users on February 9th, will prioritize "time-sensitive" data such as games, streaming, VoIP and VPNs over less immediately critical traffic, including uploads, peer-to-peer file sharing and newsgroups. The system only kicks in when the local network is particularly congested and the more critical traffic is at risk of failing, Cox says.
Windows 7 beta leaked
A beta version of the Microsoft's next operating system, Windows 7, has been leaked online and is available for download, according to a Tuesday report. Labeled "Build 7000," a 32-bit version of Windows 7 is currently being distributed via BitTorrent networks, with available copies numbering in the thousands. Those who have downloaded the illegal software are said to believe the build is the genuine article.
uTorrent Mac Beta official
The long-awaited uTorrent beta for Macs is out as of Wednesday, offering users of Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or newer the same low-memory footprint Windows users have enjoyed to date. Compared to the Windows version, however, the newly-released version is missing certain features, including an RSS downloader. Rumors of a Mac uTorrent release first surfaced in June of 2007, with an alpha version leaked back in September.
Transmission, Media Rage
Ghost 1.1 (free) provides users with a simple way to create or view hidden files. By dragging and dropping files or folders into the applications window then selecting either hide or unhide. The update now prevents users from hiding their hard drives, which cannot simply be unhidden. The application now quits when the last window is closed and other various bugs have been addressed. [Download - 0.67MB]
Xohm Data Throttling
Users of Sprint's just-launched Xohm service are likely to face certain services being throttled from the outset, according to the WiMAX network's Acceptable Use Policy page. The carrier claims the right to use "various tools and techniques" to limit the speed available to any particularly data-heavy apps or entire protocol types, including file sharing suites. The restriction would be put in place to create a consistent experience for the user base, Sprint argues.
Comcast Priority Traffic
Comcast this morning obeyed FCC mandates today by publishing info regarding its replacement for its controversial BitTorrent throttling system. The cable Internet provider now says it will use a Quality of Service (QoS) system that adjusts the priority of data packets for the most frequent users: if a network is congested, a new filter will automatically lower the priority of their data packets until the congestion passes.
Download Station enhanced
QNAP has announced its QGet Utillity for Mac users. QGet offers enhancements to QNAP's Turbo NAS Download Station; the Download Station supports BitTorrent, FTP and HTTP downloading, and QGet allows Mac users to access and remotely manage tasks on QNAP NAS servers, over LAN connections or the Internet. QGet for Mac 1.0.0 works with Mac OS X 10.4 and above, and requires the QNAP Pro Turbo NAS TS-509.
Comcast Sues FCC
Cable Internet provider Comcast on Thursday sued the US Federal Communications Commission to try and block the government body's net neutrality order, which requires that the company avoid discriminating against particular types of Internet traffic when managing its network. Comcast executive VP David Cohen describes the suit as an attempt to challenge what he claims is an "absence of pre-existing legally enforceable standards" that would require Comcast to obey the FCC's ruling.
250GB Comcast cap in Oct.?
Cable Internet provider Comcast may be implementing a 250GB transfer cap as soon as October 1st, anonymous sources claim. The company has been moving towards more neutral bandwidth-limiting techniques, following an FCC ruling that sabotaging BitTorrent traffic violates net neutrality policies. Although BitTorrent seeds are frequently used to share pirated material, they are also used for legitimate peer-to-peer distribution, and the FCC has noted that blocking BitTorrent unnecessarily favors some forms of Internet traffic over others.
Comcast Time Throttling
Comcast's proposed software-independent throttling method will involve time-based slowdowns of Internet service, company senior VP Mitch Bowling says in an interview with Bloomberg. The new method will actively monitor subscribers' overall cable Internet connection use and slow it down for between 10 to 20 minutes if a user is creating a problem on the network, returning to slow it again if their particular habits continue to affect others in the area.
Switzerland ISP neutrality
Following closely on dissent towards Comcast and AT&T – two firms that supply internet service, but lack a stance of network data neutrality – the Electronic Frontier Foundation has unveiled Switzerland, a new ISP testing tool that detects blocked communications. Comcast is accused of blocking peer-to-peer networking software, such as BitTorrent, without citing the practice in its license agreement or making any other mention of it whatsoever. The action counters the neutral stance put forth by the FCC in its 2005 "Internet Policy Statement."
FCC Not to Fine Comcast
The Federal Communications Commission's recommendation to punish Comcast for its throttling of traffic won't involve fines, the Commission's chairman Kevin Martin quickly added on Friday. After initially sending out a blanket warning that the FCC would take action against the cable provider for arbitarily filtering BitTorrent and other traffic, Martin now says he would rather demand just that Comcast be forced to identify its throttling and disable it in place of paying a large sum to the government.
Cox also blocking torrents
Comcast is not the only company guilty of sabotaging BitTorrent traffic, the Associated Press reports. While that company has taken the brunt of criticism for potentially violating the FCC's net neutrality policy, the AP says it has obtained the results of a worldwide study of 8,175 Internet users, which found that only three companies were all but certainly blocking connections: Comcast, Singapore's StarHub, and Cox Communications. In the case of the last, 82 out of 151 subscribers had their transfers blocked.
Film studios v. Pirate Bay
Movie studios are the latest group to launch a legal assault on Swedish BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay, filings indicate. The Motion Picture Association, an international extension of the MPAA, has filed a 93kr million ($15.4 million) lawsuit against Pirate Bay, which it accuses of hosting illegal torrent trackers for movies such as The Pink Panther and Syriana, as well as 13 episodes of the TV show Prison Break. Damages are said to amount to between 222 and 261kr ($37 and $43) per movie, and 415kr ($68) for each Prison Break episode.
Planex DigiJuke 1TB
Japanese electronics maker Planex today launched a pair of networked hard drives it says streamline loading web video on portable players. The DigiJuke 500GB and 1TB both include facilities to download clips from YouTube or similar Flash videos directly to the drive and convert them into "universal" video. Although the conversion software is built for Windows, clips are saved in MPEG-4 and will play properly on video-capable iPods as well as the PSP, PS3, and the Wii.
Comcast DOCSIS 3 Access
Comcast today said it would be the first cable Internet provider in the US to offer Internet access based on the new DOCSIS 3.0 standard for cable Internet service. In its early form, the service will bond together multiple cable channels to offer download speeds of 50 megabits per second, or more than six times the 8Mbps ceiling previously set by the company's existing 8Mbps tier. This early implementation isn't set to have full support for the technology on uploads but will still offer 5Mbps upstream.
Comcast Eases Torrents
Comcast on Thursday made a surprise reversal of its past practices and said that it would halt its practice of blocking BitTorrent traffic on its cable Internet service. The provider revealed that it would instead work towards a management system on its network that will remain strictly neutral, preventing a bias towards or against any one distribution format. The move is publicly claimed as a recognition of the use of BitTorrent as a legitimate mechanism for business, which requires that it receives equal treatment along with other traffic, according to the company.
Myka Media Hub
Myka is offering a self-titled media hub it says is a viable alternative for those who want most of the features of the Apple TV but a less restricted environment. Rather than depend on a closed download system such as iTunes, the Myka depends chiefly on BitTorrent downloads to accomplish its download goals. The peer sharing format not only reduces dependence on any one server for content but also theoretically allows downloads of content beyond the typical music and videos, according to the company. The system is designed to simplify the experience and also includes web access so the owner can queue up content away from home.
Verizon today revealed that it has found a way to at once improve the speed of peer-to-peer Internet sharing services while simultaneously lightening the load on its own network. Nicknamed "P4P," the technique has the software look primarily for download sources from the user's own Internet provider rather than just performing a search. By prioritizing nearby connections, the optimization speeds up connections by about 60 percent; it also eliminates a major bottleneck for the provider itself. As Verizon or other companies can often keep this P2P traffic to its local network, it can avoid paying for the extra bandwidth needed to reach an Internet backbone.
FCC: Comcast deceptive
Comcast may have already undermined its position in an ongoing government investigation, according to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Kevin Martin addressed the question in a recent speech at Stanford University Law School, where the subject of Comcast's peer-to-peer sabotage was raised. Martin said he was disturbed that Comcast initially denied throttling peer-to-peer content, only to later claim the practice was standard and necessary.