Netflix, YouTube gobble up half of Internet traffic

Netflix is still the Goliath, and YouTube is only getting bigger.

In general, video and audio streaming continues to eat up the greatest traffic of any category on virtually every network reviewed by Sandvine, which runs fixed and mobile data networks worldwide and reports on what is taking place on them.

In North America, Netflix and YouTube are the main traffic culprits, according to its twice yearly Global Internet Phenomena Report. Combined, they account for 50.31 percent of the downstream traffic during the peak part of the day.

By comparison, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu garnered just 1.61 … Read more

Lyft launches in Indianapolis, St. Paul, Atlanta

Lyft is now in 10 cities in the US with simultaneous launches in Indianapolis, St. Paul, Minn., and Atlanta on Thursday.

It's the first time the quirky car-sharing company has launched in three cities at once, which may indicate that it's ramping up its expansion.

Lyft's more luxurious competitor UberX, a branch of the Uber black-car service, is in 10 cities across the US and overseas. Overall, Uber's services are in more than 40 cities internationally, and began testing this week in Bangalore, India, Cape Town, South Africa, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Illegal music downloads dropped in 2012, says report

Fewer people are illegally downloading and sharing music, NPD Group said in a report today.

Among those surveyed for NPD's "Annual Music Study 2012," 40 percent who illegally downloaded music via peer-to-peer services in 2011 said they had stopped or decreased their illegal downloads in 2012.

Overall, the number of illegally downloaded songs from P2P services dropped by 26 percent in 2012 from 2011.

Part of that was due to an overall decline in the use of P2P services. At the 2005 peek of P2P file sharing networks, 33 million people used them. For 2012, that number … Read more

Bitcoin-based credit card reportedly due in two months

Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer currency that's been gaining in popularity, appears to be getting ready to take the leap from the digital world to the real world.

Exchange service BitInstant is creating a Bitcoin-funded card that would function as a standard debit/credit card and would be honored where ever MasterCard is accepted, according to the transcript of an interview allegedly conducted wth BitInstant co-founder Charlie Shrem. During the interview, published by Coding in My Sleep, Shrem says the card might launch within the next six to eight weeks.

The cards would be issued by a "major international bank&… Read more

110,000 PC-strong Kelihos botnet sidelined

A new version of the Kelihos spamming botnet has been sidelined by using the peer-to-peer distribution mechanism to basically hijack it, researchers announced today.

The botnet, which was used mostly to distribute spam for Canadian pharmaceutical firms but also stole bitcoin wallets containing virtual currency, was about three times larger than an earlier variant, according to CrowdStrike, the security firm that worked with Kaspersky, Dell SecureWorks, and Honeynet Project to shut down the botnet.

The researchers reverse-engineered the malware code and wrote their own software that rerouted infected computers to communicate with servers controlled by researchers and law enforcement rather … Read more

Zaarly finally announces funding

When I first talked with Zaarly CEO Bo Fishback (see Zaarly: Not nearly as crazy as it appears), he told me he had $1 million in "announced" funding, wink wink. "There's more?" I asked? Yes, he said, he had millions of dollars "waiting at the door" for his peer-to-peer commerce startup. But he was keeping it a secret. Even from his employees.

Fishback is a big personality. He's a passionate, aggressive guy. This could have been just bluster. Certainly I've heard this kind of BS from entrepreneurs before, sometimes just weeks … Read more

Exclusive: Top ISPs poised to adopt graduated response to piracy

Some of the country's largest Internet service providers are poised to leap into the antipiracy fight in a significant way.

After years of negotiations, a group of bandwidth providers that includes AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are closer than ever to striking a deal with media and entertainment companies that would call for them to establish new and tougher punishments for customers who refuse to stop using their networks to pirate films, music and other intellectual property, multiple sources told CNET.

The sources cautioned that a final agreement has yet to be signed and that the partnership could … Read more

RIAA, Lime Wire close to settling copyright suit

Lime Wire, the company that helped people obtain perhaps billions of songs illegally, is close to forking over a "significant" amount of money to settle a copyright suit filed against it by the Recording Industry Association of America, sources close to the discussions told CNET.

The two sides were still negotiating this morning, but a deal could be finalized as soon as today, the sources said. They didn't specify the exact settlement figure and cautioned that the talks could still break down.

Should a deal be finalized, it would put an end to a 5-year-old copyright case and close the book on Lime Wire, the company behind the peer-to-peer system of the same name that the big four record companies alleged cost them billions of dollars and thousands of employees their jobs.

After a U.S. District Judge found Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton personally liable for copyright infringement and ordered the company to cease operations, the case then moved to assessing damages. Over the past two weeks, a jury in Manhattan was hearing evidence in the case as they determined what amount Lime Wire and Gorton would have to pay. If they found he deserved to pay the maximum under the law, Gorton could be required to pay as much as $1.4 billion.

Ethan Smith at The Wall Street Journal reported that the sides have held three settlement meetings without securing a deal. The talks began in earnest yesterday, said the sources who spoke with CNET.

Gorton was in a precarious legal position.The jury tasked with assessing damages was often reminded by Glenn Pomerantz, the RIAA's lead attorney, that Gorton had already been found liable of willful copyright infringement by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. … Read more

W3C to develop peer-to-peer browser standards

The World Wide Web Consortium is to develop standards to enable direct peer-to-peer communications between browsers, without the need to go through centralized servers.

The standards could make it more difficult for repressive government action against Web communications, according to members of the W3C working group assigned to develop the standards. The group aims to define APIs that will let browsers communicate using audio, video, and "supplementary" real-time communications, the W3C said yesterday.

"W3C today launched a new Web Real-Time Communications Working Group to define client-side APIs to enable real-time communications in Web browsers," the W3C … Read more

'Hurt Locker' lawyers launch nationwide copyright fight

After several setbacks, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, the law firm that last year filed thousands of copyright suits against accused illegal file sharers on behalf of independent filmmakers, has made good on promises to push on with the cases.

Dunlap has begun to refile lawsuits across the country against people accused last year of pirating movies via peer-to-peer networks. To do that, Dunlap established a network of lawyers who are licensed to operate in different federal districts.

The firm, which also works under the name U.S. Copyright Group, made headlines last year by suing thousands in a federal court … Read more