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Sony Frees Entire Music Catalog on PlayLouder ISP

Postby SlyckTom » Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:38 pm

There are plenty of "legal" P2P networks, or pseudo networks abound. You have MashBoxx, which sells DRM tracks while connecting to various P2P networks. You have iMesh, which also connects to various P2P networks and sells DRM tracks. Of course you have PeerImpact, which allows the uploading and downloading of DRM tracks on their closed P2P network.

But have any of these networks truly caught on? Are people flocking to AltNet to grab the latest Jessica Simpson track? Has the P2P community broken down the gates of iMesh demanding to engage in "legal" file-sharing? The jury remains divided on that issue.

If someone is truly afraid of the RIAA or simply wishes to avoid walking the legal tight ropes attached to P2P, iTunes has undoubtedly become the service of choice for millions. With more than a half billion downloads and a 70%-plus market share, iTunes is the standard of authorized downloading.

However the P2P community continues to prosper and proliferate. RIAA and MPAA enforcement actions have little effect on the people's desire to participate on these free networks, especially for music files. Although movie files are much easier to distribute today, music files continue to be the undisputed file of choice as 74.4% of all files (by number) are music files.

So where does this leave the big four music labels? There's an old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

And barring no unexpected surprises, it appears Sony Music may be gearing up for such a venture. Before jumping for joy, here are the details...

Sony Music has teamed up with a British ISP named "PlayLouder MSP." PlayLouder has dubbed itself "the first music ISP", and claims to have optimized their broadband network for file distribution.

Here's where it gets interesting. For £26.99 a month, customers of PLayLouder can share Sony Music's entire catalog. Want to share Ogg Vorbis files? Unprotected MP3s? AACs? Apparently, this is absolutely no problem; share them as much as you wish.

"PLMSP offers its subscribers a true and undiluted P2P experience, unlike recently announced services such as Mashboxx, iMesh and Peer Impact, which simply provide a download shop attached to a P2P network."

Sounds like fighting words. How does PlayLouder offer a "true and undiluted P2P experience"? According to PlayLouder's <a href=http://www.playloudermsp.com/factsheet_aug05.html target=_blank>fact sheet</a>, the individual can share on ANY P2P network he or she wishes. Want to share on LimeWire? No problem. Upload some tracks to FastTrack? Go ahead.

For a cost that is identical to BT's broadband service, one can upload or download as much music from the Sony catalog as desired, in any unprotected file format, with no fear of retribution. Sounds almost too good to be true...

Yes, there is a catch. You can only transfer files within the PlayLouder's ISP network.

"Only an ISP is licensable in this way because only an ISP can control the network itself to prevent P2P traffic from escaping into the internet and only the ISP can monitor the network to ensure that all P2P downloads are accounted for, even those going direct from one user to another."

With this tight control over music distribution, PlayLouder can easily pay royalties to Sony Music. If such controls didn't exist, it would be nearly impossible to control the finances of the network.

"Rights owners receive a pro rata share of these payments to rights owners. In other words, if 40% of all downloads within the PLMSP network are Sony BMG artists then Sony BMG will receive 40% of the pool of money paid to rights owners."

While on the surface this new agreement seems like a tremendous step forward, the fine print does reveal something a bit different. However, if additional ISPs reach agreements with the major labels, the P2P world could see an interesting chain of events unfold. If a majority of ISPs sign on with the major labels, interconnecting agreements could be made so that file transfers could go outside of an ISP's network yet still pay royalties to the major labels.

But then who would be in control of P2P networking?
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Re: Sony Frees Entire Music Catalog on PlayLouder ISP

Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:00 pm

SlyckTom wrote:Yes, there is a catch. You can only transfer files within the PlayLouder's ISP network.


I was wondering exactly how that's possible so I followed the link in this story.

The technology behind the PLMSP service is provided by US-based technology company, Audible Magic.

# PLMSP employs specially configured routers and firewall technology using 'deep packet searches' to identify and re-route all file sharing traffic. This process ensures that file sharing can occur only between subscribers within the PLMSP "walled garden".

# Audio-fingerprinting technology is used within the PLMSP network to ensure that all licensed downloads within the network are tracked enabling accurate accounting back to music rights holders


So these files are DRM'ed.
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Postby SlyckTom » Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:10 pm

Audio-fingerprinting technology is used within the PLMSP network to ensure that all licensed downloads within the network are tracked enabling accurate accounting back to music rights holders


Drake Said:

So these files are DRM'ed.


Maybe...Are the Sony tracks licensed? I am not sure whether that portion of the Fact Sheet is specific to the Sony deal...

In any case, you could argue that all the Sony tracks are DeFacto DRM, since you cannot trade outside the network. But it seems you can take 1,000 Sony songs you downloading using BT's ISP and then share them PlayLouder
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Re: Sony Frees Entire Music Catalog on PlayLouder ISP

Postby BrandonC » Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:23 pm

Drake wrote:So these files are DRM'ed.

Nope....I believe that Audible Magic uses some kind of "sound recognition" tech to determine which song it is. Probably something to do with hashing the files and comparing the results with a known version of the song?

The songs themselves aren't DRM'ed to my knowledge....like they said, you can transfer any version of them.
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Postby AussieMatt » Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:52 pm

Cory Doctorow the European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation based in London blogged about Playlouder on Boing Boing yesterday.

The EFF has proposed a Voluntary Collective Licensing scheme in the past



Make sure you read the points in bold if your wondering about if the files are DRMed and if thier will be other labels involved


Monday, August 22, 2005
Customers of new UK ISP get to share all Sony music on P2P
PlayLouder MSP, an ISP in the UK, has secured a license from Sony that allows its customers to legally share any song in the Sony-BMG catalogue with any other PlayLouder MSP customer, and to download these tracks from any ISP customer in the entire world.

This is such stupendously good news that I frankly didn't believe it. This is what EFF has been calling for for years now, a Voluntary Collective Licensing Scheme will break the file-sharing deadlock and give the majority of Internet users who file-share today the chance to get legit while compensating rightsholders.

I spent the day going back and forth with the two principles from PlayLouder MSP, Paul Sanders and Paul Hitchman, and based on what they've told me, I'm prepared to say that this is the best thing to happen to the copyfight all year -- maybe all century.

Here's the deal. PlayLouder MSP DSL costs about the same as comparable DSL offerings in the UK (though right now, PlayLouder MSP's one-meg speeds don't compare to the high-end offerings from ISPs like Bulldog, who are offering 8-meg DSL). For their money, PlayLouder MSP customers get their regualr DSL lines, as well as:

* The right to share any song in the Sony-BMG catalog
* Even if it's out of print
* In any file-format
* Using any file-sharing software
* At any bitrate

PlayLouder MSP's customers' license includes Sony music sourced from P2P networks, ripped from CDs, or digitized from vinyl, cassettes, or radio broadcasts.

PlayLouder MSP is using audio-analysis software provided by Audible Magic to analyze the P2P traffic that it can detect on its network and count approximately how many times each track is traded, and will deliver that, along with a cut of its revenue, to Sony.

They're also filtering traffic to the Internet to prevent Sony music tracks that Audible Magic recognizes from leaving its network via recognized P2P protocols and going to ISPs whose customers have not paid a license fee. However, they will not be stopping any tracks that Audible Magic fails to recognize, nor will they be resticting traffic using unrecognized protocols.

PlayLouder MSP has deals with many indy labels as well as Sony, and those labels will also get a proportional cut of the money that PlayLouder MSP takes in based on their network monitoring. The ISP says that it is negotiating with other major labels and hopes they'll come into the fold soon.

They'd be crazy not to: this is free money, just for letting music fans go on doing what music fans have always done.

More, this is a chance for the labels to extract themselves from the unsustainable quicksand they've sunk up to their necks in: suing their customers by the thousands in the hopes that some day, with enough lawsuits, the music-buying public will finally see the light and go back to the malls.

PlayLouder MSP is live at the end of September if their schedule holds. I'm subscribing. Link (Thanks, James and Chris!)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 08:40:33 AM

http://www.boingboing.net/2005/08/22/cu ... ew_uk_.htm

Last edited by AussieMatt on Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SlyckTom » Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:58 pm

Yes, but what it boils down to is just another way to control P2P.
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Postby AussieMatt » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:10 pm

It has to be better than the monitoring and packet shaping that already goes in in the filesharing networks.
If you get caught sharing a significant amount of infringing material you could receive a potential Lawsuit ..
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Postby kael » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:17 pm

That can still occur using this model, if people share other content not protected.
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Re: Sony Frees Entire Music Catalog on PlayLouder ISP

Postby ejonesss » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:17 pm

easy way around that just zip the files twice.

files.zip.zip

the first zipping is so if the sound reader tries to read the file it is corrupt to the reader.

the second zipping is so if the reader employs a zip archive catalogger it will only see a second zip file.



BrandonC wrote:
Drake wrote:So these files are DRM'ed.

Nope....I believe that Audible Magic uses some kind of "sound recognition" tech to determine which song it is. Probably something to do with hashing the files and comparing the results with a known version of the song?

The songs themselves aren't DRM'ed to my knowledge....like they said, you can transfer any version of them.
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Postby AussieMatt » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:19 pm

Audible Magic also cant detect encrypted files .
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Postby mariusagricola » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:36 pm

This one is interesting enough to watch. I figured it would just be a matter of time before record labels began creating their own ISPs (well, commandeering in this case). But I think this might indeed be a noticeable step forward, especially if the files are not DRM-laden. I wouldn't care so much about trading outside my ISP's network if I could find everything I wanted from within it. This just seems like one of the smartest things I've heard of concerning the music industry.

Wonder when Time Warner will be on board?
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Postby webe3 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:13 pm

"Wonder when Time Warner will be on board?"


Well I think it is only a matter of time before the other 3 major labels will join in this...IF and I say IF...it is deemed successful. The jury is still out on how successful it will be, but it seems to be legit and if this goes, it will bury itunes.

I have to join the others on this board and say that this is probably the smartest move the industry has made in a VERY LONG TIME!

But will it work? Only time will tell.


Too bad the MPAA could not come up with a solution like this, but I guess first run movies are a bit different. Still, it would be cool if they came up with something similar to this for first run movies.
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Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:39 pm

SlyckTom wrote:Maybe...Are the Sony tracks licensed? I am not sure whether that portion of the Fact Sheet is specific to the Sony deal...

In any case, you could argue that all the Sony tracks are DeFacto DRM, since you cannot trade outside the network. But it seems you can take 1,000 Sony songs you downloading using BT's ISP and then share them PlayLouder


I haven't had time to check out all the details so maybe I'm wrong. The thing is that they say you can share these on regular p2p networks like FastTrack and Gnutella. So, is the reason why you can't share these particular files with people who use another ISP strictly because the ISP is running audible magic and can detect these files? I'm assuming that's the case.

If this is the case, the DRM is being applied from the ISP itself via audible magic and this is even worse than DRM'ing the music files themselves.

Then again, maybe audible magic is only able to detect low quality 128kbps songs and this won't effect people who are sharing higher quality songs.

I'm only speculating so I may be way off but from what I've read so far, this is how it appears to work.
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Postby AussieMatt » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:50 pm

I haven't had time to check out all the details so maybe I'm wrong. The thing is that they say you can share these on regular p2p networks like FastTrack and Gnutella. So, is the reason why you can't share these particular files with people who use another ISP strictly because the ISP is running audible magic and can detect these files? I'm assuming that's the case.

If this is the case, the DRM is being applied from the ISP itself via audible magic and this is even worse than DRM'ing the music files themselves.

Then again, maybe audible magic is only able to detect low quality 128kbps songs and this won't effect people who are sharing higher quality songs.

I'm only speculating so I may be way off but from what I've read so far, this is how it appears to work.


According to Cory Doctorow from the EFF who has spoken to the 2 principals in London said this is what the service offers

* The right to share any song in the Sony-BMG catalog
* Even if it's out of print
* In any file-format
* Using any file-sharing software
* At any bitrate


Playlouder are offering a walled Garden approach on their network for 'recognised' p2p protocols .PI could do something similar I've been told .

PlayLouder MSP's customers' license includes Sony music sourced from P2P networks, ripped from CDs, or digitized from vinyl, cassettes, or radio broadcasts.

PlayLouder MSP is using audio-analysis software provided by Audible Magic to analyze the P2P traffic that it can detect on its network and count approximately how many times each track is traded, and will deliver that, along with a cut of its revenue, to Sony.

They're also filtering traffic to the Internet to prevent Sony music tracks that Audible Magic recognizes from leaving its network via recognized P2P protocols and going to ISPs whose customers have not paid a license fee. However, they will not be stopping any tracks that Audible Magic fails to recognize, nor will they be resticting traffic using unrecognized protocols.


Looks very much like the Volunatary Collective Licencing scheme we have disscussed in the past Drake.
Last edited by AussieMatt on Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:54 pm

I've read over the fact sheet. I wanted to check out the rest of their Website but there aren't any links on their main page. edit: Whoops...I missed the links at the top of the page. :)

Anyway, in and of itself, I'm really not against this "music service provider". Although I'd like to know what quality the files are and if people can share their high quality rips.

The big problem I see in this is that the recording industry will use this as an example and try to force new laws into place which will make it mandatory for all ISPs to incorporate audible magic, or a similar product. This way they can have complete control of the Internet...something they've always wanted.

I have to hand it to them though, they are doing a pretty good job blurring the line between P2P and pay services. I know a lot of people here don't agree with me, but this is another example of a service that has nothing to do with file sharing. It's file sharing amongst people who are paying for a service. To me, this is yet another pay service that's using a different twist. The fact sheet states:
file sharing can occur only between subscribers within the PLMSP "walled garden".


This is sort of similar to pay services which use p2p technology when it comes to the sharing aspect.

I'm also wondering if this provider will allow people to run apps such as Freenet or TOR. I don't think audible magic would be able to track file transfers on those networks.

edit: This service provider is actually pretty crap. This is taken from this url: http://www.playloudermsp.com/faq.html

# Will subscribers be able to share files with users who are not subscribers to the PlayLouder service?

PH: "We aim to prevent close to 100% of P2P traffic from going outside the MSP "walled garden"."


I had assumed they would just block content that audible magic detected. These guys want to block all P2P traffic from other ISPs. That's nuts! Why would any file sharer want to use this service?
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Postby SlyckTom » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:18 pm

Wow I over looked that. The more I read this, the more it becomes evident this is actually very anti-P2P. I would argue MashBoxx and iMesh are actually more P2P oriented...at least you can share what you want with who you want.
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Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:23 pm

SlyckTom wrote:Wow I over looked that. The more I read this, the more it becomes evident this is actually very anti-P2P. I would argue MashBoxx and iMesh are actually more P2P oriented...at least you can share what you want with who you want.


I agree that this is worse than iMesh but don't they operate in a way similar to peer impact? If so, then they also restrict what you can share and with whom within their network.
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Postby SlyckTom » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:25 pm

Yes, they would be most similar to PeerImpact since both are on closed networks. PlayLouder simply didn't go through the trouble of developing their own client. Kinda clever actually.
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Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:30 pm

I'm sure a lot of people who sign up to this service will assume they'll still be able to download tv shows and other stuff. Will they stay with this provider once they realize they won't be able to use P2P the way they used to? I wonder if this service will try to lock people into 1 year contracts.
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Postby SlyckScratch » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:33 pm

Wouldn't it be great if all ISP's started doing something similar to this? :shock:
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Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:35 pm

SlyckScratch wrote:Wouldn't it be great if all ISP's started doing something similar to this? :shock:


I think that's their goal but I don't think it will happen. There are too many legitimate uses for P2P.
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Postby no_dammagE » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:41 pm

PH: "We aim to prevent close to 100% of P2P traffic from going outside the MSP "walled garden"."


They won't be able to block at least Freenet since its traffic looks just like SSL. Or do they want to kill online banking or java.sun.com licence agreement page? :twisted:
I think the same applies for I2P and TOR ...

They can't stop encrypted traffic if it is 100% encrypted. Why? Because there is no identification then - just encrypted garbage they can't identify. Then they either have to give their users traffic over a proxy whereby no one will choose this ISP or they have to leave it as is and block what they can - in the end nothing.

In this case although I don't like BearShare, it has a really nice feature: encrypted traffic. I don't know if only established traffic is encrypted, but if not, they can't prevent users to access the BS (interpret BS as you want ;) ) isle.

That's the point - if Sony and Son will succeed to make ISPs block the traffic, the applications will just evolve as it has been done times before-applications will just implement plain SSL (or other ways of encryption) where there is no man-in-the-middle being able to identify the traffic.

So in the end: we don't have to worry about that.
Gnutella(2) will discuss and implement a G-standard, eDonkey&eMule will do their own standard, Ares will take over their standard and FastTrack will stay the same shit as it was doing nothing :D DC++ will do encryption as an extension and 3rd-gen apps will do nothing since they don't need to do anything to prevent filtering. Lol.
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Postby Drake » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:47 pm

I missed the quote AussieMatt posted.

They're also filtering traffic to the Internet to prevent Sony music tracks that Audible Magic recognizes from leaving its network via recognized P2P protocols and going to ISPs whose customers have not paid a license fee. However, they will not be stopping any tracks that Audible Magic fails to recognize, nor will they be resticting traffic using unrecognized protocols.


Going by this they will only be preventing people from sharing files with people who use another ISP if the file is recognized by audible magic.

The way their FAQ is worded it appears that they will try to prevent all files from being shared outside their ISP. The problem is that since everything is going through a filter, odds are that everything is being logged. Unless someone is using Freenet, downloading copyrighted tv shows or other copyrighted stuff would be very risky on this ISP.
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Postby AussieMatt » Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:03 pm

From what I understand about Snocap and Audible Magic they only care about thier clients content .So they can either block the file ,switch the file to a lower bittrate protected file using Red Swoshes technology or as Drake says monitor the files path through the network .SLL tansactions wouldnt be able to be traced it seems.

Grwen from Ants has been Alpha testing a SLL network and Client mainly to bypass firewall restictions at his University filewalls .

Slyck Tom said this is like Peer Impact without a client .I suggested on the Peer Impact forums about 6 months ago they should look at a subscription model based on Voluntary Collective Licencing and the developers said it was possible but it would be up to the record Labels to adopt such a scheme.

Peer Impact is based on Furthernet the open source 'closed' p2p network that mainly shares authorised taped contnet and Peer Impacts original developers where Furthernets creators. .
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Postby Not Sure, But... » Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:31 pm

This has got to be one of the best ideas around.

Who cares if the file is drm'd? All they are doing is making sure that the artists get some of the money you are paying your isp. I did not see anywhere that they will limit what you play the file on (especially as you can rip your own cd's and share them, can't see how they could limit that).

This should make everyone happy, and like I said in the other topic on this, I can't wait until they start doing movies 8)

I would also think this has the potential to make things even cheeper.... Cut out the middle man of things like PI (sorry PI :wink: ) and the overhead gets even lower.
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