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iMesh Raises BearShare from the Dead and Takes it ‘Legit’

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersNew Business ModelsSettlements

Back on May 9 I reported that the Free Peers had settled with the RIAA for $30M, shut down its BearShare P2P service and sold the BearShare assets to iMesh owner Musiclab. As it turns out, like Kazza before it, iMesh is re-introducing a new version of Bearshare (version 6 – currently in beta). BearShare 6 includes a “ToGo” portable music subscription, compatible with Windows Plays for Sure portable music players, as well as social networking features. The service will not be compatible with iTunes, iPods or the forthcoming Zune service from Microsoft. Subscribers will have access to 15 million songs, including 2.5 million from major labels. It will start with a free 30-day beta trial and eventually start charging a monthly fee.

Sources: MP3.com | TechWeb | Business Wire | ZD Net | Reuters | iTnews Australia | P2P Weblog | BetaNews

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Bearshare Settles with RIAA for $30M and Shuts Down

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersSettlements

Under the proposed judgment, which still must be approved by the court, the operators of once-popular Bearshare, Free Peers, has entered into a $30 million settlement with the RIAA to settle copyright violation charges against and down. BearShare’s assets, including the domain name and list of BearShare users, were sold to iMesh.

Sources: ZDNet | BBC | Red Herring | L.A. Times (AP) | MP3.com | BetaNews | Canada.com | Billboard Radio Monitor | Wall St. Journal | DVD-Recordable.com | afterdawn.com | P2PNet

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StreamCast Loses District Court P2P File Sharing Case

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDecisions

Text of Decision
In attempting to apply the Supreme Court's new "inducement" doctrine from MGM v. Grokster, District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, the same judge that in an earlier ruling had cleared StreamCast of infringement charges, found "…evidence of StreamCast's unlawful intent … overwhelming", held StreamCast liable for inducing Morpheus users to infringe on copyright and granted the plaintiffs summary judgment. Subject to any successful appeal, StreamCast is liable for up to $150,000 for each copyrighted song or movie shared with Morpheus which, of course, trends towards a damages value of $infinity! :)

The rather unclear Supreme Court doctrine of inducement requires a "clear expression or other affirmative steps" beyond mere distribution of P2P software to find infringement. Judge Wilson held that the test was met because: (i) Internal e-mails by StreamCast executives showed their awareness of users' infringements, they were eager to insure the supply of copyrighted content on the network, (iii) they implemented features that made it easier to infringe, and (iv) they failed to implement technology that could have deterred some infringements.

After MGM v. Grokster, Sharman Networks (Kazaa), Grokster, iMesh (Bearshare), eDonkey, Qtrax, Mashboxx and others settled. StreamCast was one of the few that decided to fight on. A StreamCast spokesperson said the company may appeal. LimeWire remains the only other large P2P Player still fighting on.

Sources: Ars Technica | EFF | New York Law Journal | Kathy Kirkman | L.A. Times | Chron.com (AP) | Daily Tech | MP3.com | Internet News | The Register | Slyck | Reuters | P2PNet | techdirt | Wired (AP) | cbc.ca | RIAA Press Release | DRM Watch

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eDonkey Settles for $30M and Shuts Down after Adverse Ruling

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDecisionsSettlements

After a judge in New York's southern district ruled that eDonkey facilitated illegal activity by allowing users to swap copyrighted material over the eDonkey2000 network, MetaMachine Inc., the firm behind eDonkey, Overnet and their P2P variants, has agreed to cease distribution of their P2P software and to pay the RIAA $30 million to avoid a copyright infringement suit. The company also agreed to take measures to curtail file sharing by existing eDonkey and Overnet users. Despite the shutdown and settlement, existing users of eDonkey, and an open source version called eMule, will likely go on sharing files unabated. While BearShare, Kazza, Grokster and others have settled with the RIAA, Warez P2P, Limewire and Soulseek are examples of major P2P services that have not settled. The judge must approve the final terms of the eDonkey settlement.

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Sources: ars technica | CNet | San Jose Mercury news (AP) | MP3.com | Slyck | CDfreaks.com | PC World | Mac World | Playfuls | PC Pro | BetaNews | The Register | Syndey Morning Herald | DRM Watch

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Music Industry Sues Limewire

Categories: BigMedia v P2P Providers

Text of Complaint
Text of LimeWire’s Counter Claim
Like Napster, Kazaa, Grokster, Streamcast, Bearshare and others before it, the music industry has set its legal sights on LimeWire, a leading P2P content distribution service. In a suit filed in Manhattan federal court, the record companies accuse LimeWire of profiting from illicit downloads of their music, saying “the scope of the infringement is massive”. In the complaint they are accused of contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, and, uniquely, common law copyright infringement. In September of 2005, Limewire and other P2P software providers were served with cease and desist letters. Since then BearShare, eDonkey and WinMX all ceased operations as a result of the letter. LimeWire continued.

Sources: CNet | Slyck | L.A. Times (AP) | DRM Watch | ZDNet | Silicon.com | Afterdawn | CD Freaks | Reuters

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Kazaa Settles for $100M+ and Goes ‘Legit’

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersSettlements

After many years of legal battles both in North America and Australia, Sharman Networks, the owners of the popular Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network, (owned by the founders of Skype) have settled with the international record labels (Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music) for in excess of $100 million U.S. Sharman will distribute music through licensing arrangements and has agreed to filter out non-licensed content. Sharman had lost an important decision in the Federal Court of Australia in September 2005, but on February 20, 2006 had said they were going to appeal that decision. Under the settlement agreement, major record companies will be entitled to 20% of proceeds of eventual music sales through the system.

Sources: New York Times | L.A. Times | ARIA Press Release | Red Herring | ars technica | BBC | Daily Telegraph (Aus) | Herald Sun (Aus) | Slyck | SiliconValley.com | Xinhaunet (China) | San Jose Mercury News | Toronto Star | Seattle Times (AP) | VNUNet | Washington Times | CNet | ZDNet | PC World (Aus) | USA Today | Bloomberg

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Warner Bros. and BitTorrent Partner to Download Movies

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressiVOD/iTV

Warner Bros. and BitTorrent announced a partnership that will make Warner movies and television shows available for rental or purchase using peer-to-peer technology. The move makes Warner the first major studio to embrace BitTorrent technology, which has long been associated with the illicit swapping of video content. More than 200 WB movies and TV shows will be available this summer. New content will be available the same day DVDs are made available in stores.

Sources: ars technica | New York Times | L.A. Times | Forbes | Times Online | Wired | Fox News (Reuters) | Red Herring | CBC Canada | MSNBC/Business Week | Houstin Chronicle (AP) | International Herold Tribute | Playfuls | Inquirer | CNN Money | Engadget | BBC | CNet | ZDNet | Hollywood Reporter | Wall St. Journal

Note 1: BitTorrent and the MPAA had previously reached an agreement on November 23, 2005 whereby BitTorrent agreed to remove torrents for unlicensed movies from it's site. On that day BitTorrent (the company) became legitimate in the eyes of Hollywood.

Note 2: Of note, this distribution will use still another proprietary DRM system. See related article.

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Music Industry Releases New Wave of Lawsuits

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersCases

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is launching nearly 2,000 new legal actions against individuals accused of sharing copyrighted music over P2P services, including FastTrack (Kazaa), Gnutella (BearShare), eDonkey, DirectConnect, BitTorrent, Limewire, WinMX, and SoulSeek. Here we go again.

Sources:
ars technica  |  Red Herring  |  CNet  |  ZDNet  |  BBC  |  silicon.com  |  The Register  |  PCWorld  |  Fox News  |  PC Pro  |  Reuters  |  PC Magazine  |  Top Tech News  |  ifpi press release
 
Dale’s Comment: Oh Goody! And we’ve seen how successful the RIAA’s suing thousands of its customers has worked over on this side of the pond now haven’t we?

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