Tag Archives: streaming services

Netflix First, BitTorrent After

Netflix First, BitTorrent AfterA recent statement from Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos reveals that legal alternatives for movie enthusiasts are the best way to fight against online piracy. Why? Let’s see…

In an interview with Stuff, the man who’s been the head (for 13 years) of Netflix’s content acquisition department said that:

“I think people do want a great experience and they want access – people are mostly honest. The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options.”

“One of the things is we get ISPs to publicise their connection speeds – and when we launch in a territory the Bittorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows,” Sarandos continued.

However, it’s already common knowledge that not all of BitTorrent’s activity is about piracy; Netflix’s growth in traffic doesn’t necessarily mean that people stopped from downloading their favorite movies or TV shows, but at least a healthy percent chose legal services over illegal ones.

“The key thing is that BitTorrent is a Internet protocol, like HTTP. It moves data better than any other protocol. It’s an award winning technology used by Facebook, twitter, Wikipedia, Blizzard, genetic researchers and the scientists that are working on the Large Haldron Collider. Any company moving large data sets uses BitTorrent,” Christian Averill (Director of Communications at BitTorrent) told Josh Wolford of the WebProNews.

While people are free to download and upload both legal and illegal content via peer-to-peer, it becomes more and more obvious that Netflix and services alike make a valid point: give people what they want, when they want it (and this is probably the most important aspect of it), and everyone will be happier, including rightsholders.

Take the example of the HBO-produced TV series “Game of Thrones”. For two years in a row, the show had broken several records on BitTorrent’s networks, not because people were looking for illegal copies of it in particular, but because the different timelines of availability or the lack of it altogether. But this may change, as requests from thousands of people made the pearl of all premium cable services consider launching a movie streaming service without the strings of having cable subscription.

“One of the side effects of growth of content is an expectation to have access to it. You can’t use the internet as a marketing vehicle and then not as a delivery vehicle,” Sarandos concluded.

Maybe if content owners, creators, and all those anti-piracy activists would understand that, things would be easier and this unnecessary war against online piracy would finally come to an end or at least to a common ground.

Streaming Services Could Be Facing A New (Il)Legal Era

Streaming Services Could Be Facing A New (Il)Legal EraAfter failing to monopolize the internet with absurd legislations such as SOPA, the US Congress is back in business. This week, politicians were presented with another option – that of turning online streaming of copyrighted content into a full pledged felony. Will it work?

As we all know, the music industry is not the only one interested in seeing BitTorrent down on its knees. It goes just the same for movie and TV studios, both of which who have been fighting against peer-to-peer for nearly a decade. Crackdowns happened, thousands (if not hundreds thousands) of internet users found themselves plunged into copyright lawsuits, but online sharing kept on thriving, against all odds.

The US Government found itself in a difficult position, especially after “the internet” proved to be a living organism that has its own will, an organism that has zero tolerance for manipulation and censorship. To balance things out, the “six-strikes” legislation kicked in, a program meant to “educate” US citizens about copyright and copyright infringement.

While people are being taught that downloading and/or sharing copyrighted content on the internet is illegal, streaming services come into play. Their number is increasing by the day, so this is a huge problem. How can one be charged with copyright infringement if he or she hasn’t downloaded or uploaded anything illegal?

This is where the U.S. Register of Copyrights comes to explain, through Maria Pallante, that there must be a way to deal with this problem.

“There is a gap in the law,” she told the Congress at a Wednesday hearing.

“Law enforcement can go after the reproduction or the distribution [of copyright material], and they can go after them in a meaningful way because they are felonies, not misdemeanors. Streaming, whether it’s a football game or music, is a misdemeanor.”

“If there is illegal streaming happening, especially in an egregious, willful, profit-driven kind of way, how do you get at that activity if the best that you can do is go after them for a misdemeanor?” Pallante added.

Henrik Pontén of the Rights Alliance (Rättighetsalliansen) – a Swedish anti-piracy group that tried to banish TPB out of Sweden – said that:

“Streaming is a growing problem.”

“From the creators’ point of view, it’s irrelevant what technology is used, they lose sales and legislators have to deal with that.”

Although streaming services have nothing to worry about right now, a storm is coming, and hell could be in its company.

Stay tuned!

Alleged Operator Of Sport Streaming Websites Fined With $13,000

Following February’s takedowns of some major sport-streaming portals, U.S. authorities apprehended Yonjo Quiroa – a man suspected of operating several websites that offered links to illegal sports streams. Now, the alleged admin is to pay $13,000 in damages to five important sports leagues – NBA, NFL, NHL, WWE and TNA.

It all started at the beginning of this year, when the Department of Justice, in collaboration with ICE, seized a couple of domains offering sport streaming services for fans around the world. At the time, the authorities also arrested a 28-year-old man – Yonjo Quiroa of Comstock Park, Michigan – who was suspected of running nine of these domains.

Among the websites in question, we name hq-streams.tv, sportswwe.com and sports95.com. Although none of them hosted any infringing materials, they did offer links to third-party services.

An ICE officer’s statement explains that the aforementioned links offered access to unauthorized streams of NBA, NHL and WWE events. The complaint also notes that between 2010 and 2011 Mr. Quiroa cashed $13,000 through ads.

Meanwhile, the alleged operator was kept in custody, with no right to bail. Six months after his arrest (August 2012), Mr. Quiroa pleaded guilty for copyright misdemeanour.

After nine months, District Court Judge Robert Ellis decided that the 28-year-old man served his time and should be deported, but not before paying $25 in criminal penalties and $2,600 for each sport league involved in this trial.

It’s the first time when a sports streaming website operator gets convicted in the US, thus setting the path for other cases.

For example, Brian McCarthy – owner of the Channelsurfing.net, which is also a sports streaming service – was arrested in March 2011. And as far as extradition is concerned, Richard O’Dwyer may share the fate of Mr. Quiroa for his involvement in TVShack.

Streaming On Smartphones And Tablets With SopCast

Some insiders say that tablets, alongside with smartphones will be the feature of mobile technology, making laptops and notebooks obsolete. A theory supported by the ever growing Android market, which started to take things seriously and developed some useful pieces of software. One of it is SopCast.

SopCast allows you to watch sports, news, movies, and so on from your tablet or smartphone. After you download and sign in (you can also choose “as anonymous”), pick a default server and browse the “Channel List” to find something that suits your liking. Furthermore, to make things easy, the “Channel List” is divided into several categories: Sports, News & Education, and Entertainment Channels.

Select a channel and SopCast will enter the player view, buffer for a while, and then play the content when the buffer level reaches 50. In addition, if you want to view only high quality video streams you have a filter feature – click Menu>Sort By to sort channels according to your viewing preferences.
SopCast comes with a range of features, and here are some of the most important:

- Powered by latest SopCast P2P engine, supports all SopCast P2P channel types.
– As a general player, supports most types of local audio and video files.
– Supports URL-based live stream.
– Low CPU usage.
– Memory buffering, no harm to your storage.
– Supports android smart phone, pad, set-top-box and other devices with Android 2.2+.

SopCast also integrates a media player to play local media files in case you haven’t any installed on your tablet or smartphone. For the moment SopCast has not entered Google’s Play marketplace, but can be downloaded and installed manually by accessing this link.

Spotify Adopts Peer-To-Peer Technology

A problem for many music streaming services is speed; and since the demand is exponentially growing, Spotify offers a solution as they’ve found a way to stream faster by using the “stigmatized” technology of peer-to-peer.

John Pavley, who’s VP of engineering for Spotify, said:

“We’re set up so that we can deliver the music with a meantime average of 285 milliseconds. Which is, like, super-fast.”

“The human perception of instant — if you hit a button that’s tangible in the world — is something like 250 milliseconds. By bringing the time to play on our service down to about 285 milliseconds, the perception is that you already have the file on your computer — that it’s instant,” added Charlie Hellman, director of product development for Spotify.

The service is present in Europe for over three years and was allowed to run in the US this August.

The difference between Spotify and other music streaming services is highlighted by Eliot Van Buskirk – a connoisseur of the music technology who writes for Wired.

“To an extent, Spotify is basically like other services we’ve had.”

“But the difference is, it has, I think, reduced the friction for people trying this stuff out. And that was one of the first things I noticed: it’s just impossibly fast,” he added.

With such recommendations Spotify aims to gather an impressive user-database and then to offer them monthly paid services for phones and mobile devices. Its main target is the p2p community around the world, who’s already downloading music for free using BitTorrent networks; an interesting and bold objective which may help the music industry.

“The problem with the environment when Spotify launched the service over three years ago is that the illegal alternatives were better, simply better than the legal ones,” says Ken Parks, head of Spotify’s New York office.

Mr. Parks underlines the fact that Spotify is now running a service that complies with both creators’ and users’ needs.
“With a streaming service like Spotify that gives you access to everything in the world instantaneously, those distinctions between ownership and access tend to disappear,” he added.

So why did Spotify choose to embed peer-to-peer into his core application? The answer is quite simple; rather than downloading a single song file from its own server to the user, Spotify instead searches for copies of the song in any place it can be found, including the personal computers of other Spotify users, thus increasing the speed.

“Behind the scenes while the music is playing, we’re grabbing it from wherever we can,” says Pavley.

“You can’t interact with the P2P network, it’s just a little facility that we use to move things along very quickly.”

We should mention that Pavley was VP of engineering for LimeWire before working for Spotify; on the same note, Spotify also signed licensing deals with major record labels and is planning (in September) to shake hands with Facebook.

“It gets closer and closer to that original Napster feeling,” Van Buskirk said.

“‘What do my friends have? Can I have that?’ And now it’s like, ‘Yes, you can.’ And there’s a whole mechanism for finding out what they have that you’re already using anyway.”

Having a user-base of over 2 million people worldwide Spotify has to significantly increase that number if it wants to make a profit out of those deals (which didn’t come cheap) with the labels, said Van Buskirk.