Post-BitTorrent App?

Slashdot discusses what might be the next step in moving large files around the Internet: Decentralizing BittorrentExeem out of Suprnova

As one commenter puts it:

The point of Exeem (Score:5, Informative)

by bairy (755347) * on Thursday December 02, @04:01PM (#10978326)

(http://www.bairy.co.uk/)


is to basically become a Kazaa but using the bittorrent protocol. I was one of the beta testers and I can say it works well, it’s fast it’s efficient and because it doesn’t have to faff around with one tracker it starts transferring the second, *the second* you add the torrent.

Publishing a torrent is incredibly easy, drag the folder in, pick a category, click go. It hashes it and it starts seeding within seconds.

It still (obviously) needs some work doing to the app to make it more friendly but it’s shaping up well.

See related: BitTorrent Servers Under DDoS Attacks

What Is Journalism?

Eugene Volokh’s provocative You Can Blog, but You Can’t Hide

So the situation is a mess – and it’s getting messier. Because of the Internet, anyone can be a journalist. Some so-called Weblogs – Internet-based opinion columns published by ordinary people – have hundreds of thousands of readers. I run a blog with more than 10,000 daily readers. We often publish news tips from friends or readers, some of which come with a condition of confidentiality.

The First Amendment can’t give special rights to the established news media and not to upstart outlets like ours. Freedom of the press should apply to people equally, regardless of who they are, why they write or how popular they are.

Yet when everyone is a journalist, a broad journalist’s privilege becomes especially costly. The I.R.S. agent, for example, no longer needs to risk approaching many mainstream journalists, some of whom may turn him in. He can just ask a friend who has a blog and a political ax to grind. The friend can then post the leaked information and claim the journalist’s privilege to prevent the agent from being identified. If the privilege is upheld, the friend and the agent will be safe – but our privacy will be lost.

What’s the answer? […]

Note that this is not just a speculative piece — see this EFF effort in a related area — where will these lines get drawn? Libel Case Could Chill Speech Online

Last week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that could undermine a federal statute protecting the free speech of bloggers, Internet service providers, and other individuals who use the Internet to post content written by others. The case in question is a libel suit filed against women’s health advocate Illena Rosenthal after she posted a controversial opinion piece on a Usenet news group. The piece was written not by Rosenthal, but by Tim Bolen, a critic of plaintiff Terry Polevoy.

Mary Hodder: Online Vanguard

An odd angle for Wired News to take, but Mary’s impressive enough that she rates the ink anyway! Her So-Called Digital Life

In some ways, her so-called digital life has become more real to her than reality. She checks friends’ blogs, scans their comments, follows the same links, mulls the same information, shares her thoughts via discussion threads or by posting comments on napsterization.org — and it’s all hyperlinked, searchable and browseable, depending on the tools available. Although Hodder may be physically disconnected from her friends, they’re never really far away, represented by digital word sculptures they make together. “They create content, I read or point to it in my blog or modify it, and they do the same,” Hodder said.

She isn’t an aberration. On the contrary, she’s a trend. Most of her friends — many of them geeks and ├╝bergeeks — live this way, the internet at the center of their relationships. Hodder is one of a growing number of technophiles whose lives are one big Wikipedia (a web-based encyclopedia that anyone can edit). And the life she leads may foreshadow yours.

Drafting Legislation

I shudder to think how this legislation is drafted — outlawing IR transmitters? Where do matches fit into this? Lawmakers seek to curb traffic light devices [pdf]

Firefighters speeding down congested city streets these days can turn red traffic lights to green with the flick of a dashboard switch. But the same technology that gets emergency vehicles quickly through certain bottleneck intersections across the state may be falling into the hands of harried commuters who also want to breeze through traffic, lawmakers say.

[…] ”It concerned me that a device like this in a frustrated motorist’s hand could do a lot of damage,” said Representative Timothy J. Toomey, a Cambridge Democrat who filed legislation this week to outlaw the devices for everyone except public safety officials. ”There is no reason for any member of the public for having a device like this. They should only be available to public safety officials who are trained to use them.”

[…] As official use has grown, however, Internet sites have cropped up that appear to market the devices to traffic-weary commuters, offering the promise of an ability to change traffic lights without being detected.

”No visible light is emitted!” exclaims one site that calls its light changer an undetectable fix to traffic problems. ”You will completely blend in with all other traffic, yet be able to safely control intersections!”

Selling for as little as $300, the transmitters being touted on the Internet have begun to alarm fire officials like LaFond.

See Guerilla TV Tech

From last week: Kahle v Ashcroft

Court nixes lawsuit fighting copyright law

Kahle and his allies contended that Congress’ lengthening of copyright-protection terms–even when an author’s work didn’t request further protection–had radically transformed traditional copyright law. They asked the courts to rule that much of this recent copyright law change was illegal, which potentially could have opened up large amounts of books, movies and music created in the 1960s and 1970s to public domain use.

In a decision made available Wednesday, federal Judge Maxine Chesney concluded that Congress did have substantial flexibility in expanding copyright protections without court interference.

[…] Kahle said Wednesday that the decision would be appealed, and that they had always planned to fight the primary battle in the appellate courts. The court had not directly addressed what he said was the primary thrust of the case–a change in laws to automatically renew copyrights, instead of requiring copyright holders to reregister, he said.

Slashdot: Internet Archive Loses Copyright Fight

Stanford’s site on the case

In case you forgot that MP3 is lossy

Sound of music

Compression usually involves a loss in sound quality, but the popularity of MP3 music players shows that most people simply don’t care any more. What music lovers want today more than anything else is music – and lots of it.

The manufacturers of digital music players – Apple, Creative, iRiver and others – have been quick to grasp this. The main difference between a cheap and an expensive MP3 player is simply the amount of storage space it has.

It’s not just sound quality that’s lost its importance – the same applies to videos too. DVDs offer great quality picture reproduction, but many of the latest generation of DVD players can also play DivX files.

[…] The great irony for the entertainment electronics industry is that now that very high quality sound and video reproduction is possible and quite affordable thanks to CDs and DVDs, many consumers no longer see quality as a very high priority.

Education in the UK

Speaking of following in the footsteps of the US copyright industries: Pupils to get anti-piracy lessons

Lessons on music piracy and copyright issues are to be taught to secondary school pupils in the UK.

The lessons, aimed at 11 to 14-year-olds, will introduce them to copyright infringement – including downloading from the internet and the illegal copying of CDs – and its role in protecting creativity.

[…] British Music Rights (BMR) – which was formed to represent the interests of songwriters and composers against the threat posed by the internet – worked with education experts to put together a learning pack.

Seems to be tied with the European Music Copyright Alliance, which doesn’t quiet seem to be up and running yet.

Hmm – so maybe lawsuits aren’t a cure-all?

Music sharing continues to thrive

The number of people illegally sharing music on the internet has remained steady – despite the success of legal download services, say analysts.

[…] Simon Dyson, author of the report, told BBC News 2004 had been an “important” year for the digital music sector.

But he warned that converting illegal peer-to-peer file sharers was central to the industry’s long-term success.

He added that legal action being taken by record companies against illegal downloaders had so far failed to make an impact.

Apple Sticks To Its Guns

Apple iTunes adds Band Aid 20 – for 79p (see Why Squeeze the Retailer?)

Apple has posted Band Aid 20’s single, Do They Know it’s Christmas? on its UK iTunes Music Store (ITMS).

But it has managed to secure the track at its standard price of 79p, and not the £1.49 that the song’s owner, charity the Band Aid Trust, wanted the company to sell it for – and the price at which all the online music store’s competitors are charging.

And there’s the amusing Band Aid Dilemma (Do They Know It’s Awful?) site. It only seems appropriate, after watching Geldof on the BBC last week saying that P2P filesharers were taking food from the mouths of the starving and wresting medical materials from the hands of their doctors — the man seemed unhinged, frankly. On the other hand, he was able to get the UK to give up the VAT, so he’s actually getting somewhere. Here’s the BBC’s Q&A on the money flow.