|22-04-21, 06:33 AM||#1|
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Peer-To-Peer News - The Week In Review - April 24th, ’21
April 24th, 2021
South Korea Proposes Law To Restrict Internet File-Sharing With North Korea
South Korea said that it had proposed a law to require its citizens to get official permission before using the internet to exchange material with North Korea.
South Korea’s government, the Republic of Korea (ROK), on April 19 said that it had proposed a law to require its citizens to get official permission before using the internet to exchange digital material, such as movies, music, scanned books, or artwork, with anyone in North Korea. While speaking at a news briefing, Lee Jong-joo, a spokeswoman for South Korea's unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said that the law already regulated physical goods sent into or out of North Korea. But now the proposed changes would add digital content as well.
Lee said, “While in the past the main target (of the law) was the movement of goods, gradually there have been cases of transferred or received scanned files or software via the internet becoming a focus”.
When asked whether ROK was considering restricting radio broadcasts, Lee said that such broadcasts are not categorised as a transfer of digital materials. Now, if approved by the parliament, the latest measure would be the first major amendment to South Korea’s Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act in three decades. It will also be a part of its recent efforts to improve relations with North Korea.
Seoul’s measures ‘may infringe freedom of expression’
The measure comes after the South in December banned the launching of propaganda leaflets into the North. It is worth noting that the measure announced in December had drawn criticism of right activists, who have for decades sent anti-North Korean leaflets over the border using balloons or bottles in the sea. The measure had also attracted negative attention from some politicians in the US, which is South Korea’s biggest ally.
Last week, the Human Rights Commission of the US House of Representatives raised concerns that some measures taken by Seoul may infringe on freedom of expression. The proposed law will affect the defectors in South Korea, who often try to remain in touch with family members through calls or the internet, and campaigners as well, who have also sent food, medicine, money, mini radios and USB sticks containing South Korean news and dramas. North Korea, on the other hand, have long denounced the practice and has also stepped up its condemnation of it, to the alarm of the South Korean government intent on improving ties on the divided peninsula.
FTP is 50 Years Old
The 16th of April 1971 is not only the date when the Rolling Stone first released Brown Sugar, it is also marked with the publication of RFC 114 marking the birthday of FTP.
Back in those days, the Vietnam war is at the forefront of the news, TCP/IP didn’t exist yet, Jimi Hendrix died 6 months ago, telnet was the new cool kid and some of the most influential rock n roll artists were about to release masterpieces while FTP was using a network protocol called NCP.
Over the years, the FTP protocol got refined with 16 different revisions(*1) adding support with TCP/IP, a secure extension also known as FTPS which is leveraging the same tech as HTTPS and more recent addition like IPv6 support.
Fifty years after its inception, FTP is still going very strong with millions of FTP server still being exposed on the internet which is fairly amazing considering the bad press it gets from so many people and companies like Dropbox writing on how bad FTP is conflating the protocol to a full-fledge product. Not to mention the closest thing they got to the FTP protocol is their far less shinny proprietary API that is only usable if Dropbox is kind enough to grant you a key.
In 2021, what seems to be acknowledged as progress take the form of proprietary protocols made behind closed doors and without any RFC whatsoever. Instead, vendors wanting to create competing servers are left reverse engineering SDKs as how Minio did with S3.
Also, how could we touch the topic of FTP without pointing at the most infamous comment on hacker news which has been a major inspiration source when creating Filestash. Indeed, I believe it shouldn’t matter which protocol the tool my mum uses my mum’s tool is using, as soon as this tool is easy to use, she can transfer those photos she wants to share, open up videos and do all the other things that shouldn’t require her to know about a protocol as our job as engineers is to abstract away all those complicated stuff so that by the magics of abstraction, someone accessing their bank account from the comfort of their browser isn’t expected to pick a cipher when negotiating SSL.
(*1) FTP over the years:
• RFC 114 (April 1971)
• RFC 697 (July 1975): CWD Command
• RFC 765 (June 1980): TCP/IP
• RFC 959 (October 1985): File Transfer Protocol
• RFC 1579 (February 1994): Firewall-Friendly FTP
• RFC 1635 (May 1994): How to Use Anonymous FTP
• RFC 1639 (June 1994): FTP Operation Over Big Address Records
• RFC 1738 (December 1994): Uniform Resource Locators
• RFC 2228 (October 1997): FTP Security Extensions
• RFC 2389 (August 1998): Feature negotiation mechanism for the File Transfer Protocol
• RFC 2428 (September 1998): Extensions for IPv6, NAT, and Extended passive mode
• RFC 2577 (May 1999): FTP Security Considerations
• RFC 2640 (July 1999): Internationalization of the File Transfer Protocol
• RFC 3659 (March 2007): Extensions to FTP
• RFC 5797 (March 2010): FTP Command and Extension Registry
• RFC 7151 (March 2014): File Transfer Protocol HOST Command for Virtual Hosts
HBO Max Gains 3 Million Subscribers in Q1, AT&T Beats Wall Street Forecasts
UPDATED: HBO Max continued on its growth curve in the first quarter of 2021, powered in part by big-budget films like “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” that streamed onto the service during the quarter.
HBO Max gained about 3 million total subscribers sequentially, AT&T said — a number the company should be pleased with, after concerns HBO Max might have trouble retaining subs after a big lift from “Wonder Woman 1984” in December.
As of the end of March, HBO Max/HBO combined had 44.2 million domestic customers, up 2.7 million from 41.5 million at the end of 2020. Losses on the legacy HBO side were offset by growth for HBO Max retail and wholesale segments.
“HBO Max continued to deliver strong subscriber and revenue growth in advance of our international and AVOD launches planned for June,” AT&T CEO John Stankey said in announcing the results.
Overall, AT&T beat Wall Street financial expectations, reporting $43.9 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings per share of 86 cents — with the telco touting the strongest first quarter for wireless postpaid phone net adds in more than a decade. Analysts had expected AT&T to post Q1 revenue of $42.7 billion and adjusted earnings of 78 cents per share.
WarnerMedia revenue for the first quarter of 2021 was $8.5 billion, up 9.8% versus the year-ago quarter, driven by higher subscription, advertising and content revenue. That reflected “the partial recovery from prior-year impacts of COVID-19,” the company said. Direct-to-consumer subscription revenue for Q1 was $1.8 billion versus $1.3 billion in the year-ago quarter, up about 35% year over year. Direct costs for WarnerMedia’s DTC business were $1.7 billion in the first quarter of 2021, versus $911 million a year earlier.
AT&T did not disclose the number of HBO Max “activations” (the number of users eligible for the SVOD service who accessed it) for the period, as it did previously. WarnerMedia had broken that out to shed light on HBO Max’s early traction but now believes it’s not a relevant metric.
In Q1, HBO Max had 9.69 million retail subscribers, up 2.8 million from 6.88 million in Q4. Wholesale HBO Max/HBO customers (e.g. through Comcast and other distributors) ticked up 150,000, to 30.94 million. Legacy HBO subs, including those through hotels and other commercial distributors, declined 308,000 sequentially.
HBO Max isn’t turning in the kind of eye-popping subscriber growth that Disney Plus, which now tops 100 million worldwide users, has reported. But AT&T noted that domestic HBO Max and HBO revenue per subscriber for Q1 was $11.72 per month — by comparison, Disney Plus reported ARPU of $4.03 per month for the year-end 2020 quarter.
This June, WarnerMedia plans to bow a cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max, which will exclude the day-and-date Warner Bros. movie releases but otherwise provide the same content as the regular full-freight $15/month package. It hasn’t announced pricing for that tier, which will not include advertising in HBO original series.
Encouraged by HBO Max’s early results, WarnerMedia has dramatically raised its growth targets for the direct-to-consumer streamer. At AT&T’s analyst day last month, the company said it now expects 120 million-150 million HBO Max and HBO subscribers by the end of 2025, up from the 75 million-90 million it previously projected. With the upward revision, AT&T expects HBO’s revenue to more than double over the next five years. In 2020, WarnerMedia’s HBO segment had $6.8 billion in operating revenue.
This year, WarnerMedia expects to launch HBO Max in 60 markets outside the U.S. in 2021, including in 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean in late June and 21 territories in Europe in the second half of 2021.
In 2022, WarnerMedia expects to resume releasing tentpole Warner Bros. movies with an exclusive first-run window in theaters, on the assumption that cinema chains will be fully back open for business.
Netflix Needs a Next Big Thing
Netflix shares drop after subscribers miss
Netflix is synonymous with streaming, but its competitors have a distinct advantage that threatens the streaming leader's position at the top.
The streaming service reported Tuesday it now has 208 million subscribers globally, after adding 4 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021. But that number missed expectations and the forecasts for its next quarter were also pretty weak.
The company's stock dropped as much as 8% on Wednesday, leading some to wonder what the future of the streamer looks like if competition continues to gain strength, people start heading outdoors and if, most importantly, its growth slows.
"If you hit a wall with [subscriptions] then you pretty much don't have a super growth strategy anymore in your most developed markets," Michael Nathanson, a media analyst and founding partner at MoffettNathanson, told CNN Business. "What can they do to take even more revenue out of the market, above and beyond streaming revenues?"
Or put another way, the company's lackluster user growth last quarter is a signal that it wouldn't hurt if Netflix — a company that's lived and died with its subscriber numbers — started thinking about other ways to make money.
"It's a judgment call... It's a belief we can build a better business, a more valuable business [without advertising]," Hastings told Variety in September. "You know, advertising looks easy until you get in it. Then you realize you have to rip that revenue away from other places because the total ad market isn't growing, and in fact right now it's shrinking. It's hand-to-hand combat to get people to spend less on, you know, ABC and to spend more on Netflix."
So if Netflix is looking for other forms of near-term revenue to help support its hefty content budget ($17 billion in 2021 alone) then what can it do? There is one place that could be a revenue driver for Netflix, but if you're borrowing your mother's account you won't like it.
"Basically you're going to clean up some subscribers that are free riders," Nathanson said. "That's going to help them get to a higher level of penetration, definitely, but not in long-term."
Missing projections is never good, but it's hardly the end of the world for Netflix. The company remains the market leader and most competitors are still far from taking the company on. And while Netflix's first-quarter subscriber growth wasn't great, and its forecasts for the next quarter alarmed investors, it was just one quarter.
Netflix has had subscriber misses before and it's still the most dominant name in all of streaming, and even lackluster growth is still growth. It's not as if people are canceling Netflix in droves.
"I'll bet we end with one hopefully gigantic, hopefully defensible profit pool, and continue to improve the service for our members," he said. "I wouldn't look for any large secondary pool of profits. There will be a bunch of supporting pools, like consumer products, that can be both profitable and can support the title brands."
Apple Must Face Lawsuit for Telling Consumers They Can "Buy" Movies, TV Shows
Rejecting a motion to dismiss, a federal judge says it is plausible that consumers don't know that access to purchased content can be revoked.
If possession is nine-tenths of the law, what happens when possession gets slippery?
That's a question for a federal courtroom in Sacramento, California, where Apple is facing a putative class action over the way consumers can "buy" or "rent" movies, TV shows and other content in the iTunes Store. David Andino, the lead plaintiff in this case, argues the distinction is deceptive. He alleges Apple reserves the right to terminate access to what consumers have "purchased," and in fact, has done so on numerous occasions.
This week, U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez made clear he isn't ready to buy into Apple's view of consumer expectations in the digital marketplace.
"Apple contends that '[n]o reasonable consumer would believe' that purchased content would remain on the iTunes platform indefinitely," writes Mendez. "But in common usage, the term 'buy' means to acquire possession over something. It seems plausible, at least at the motion to dismiss stage, that reasonable consumers would expect their access couldn’t be revoked."
Apple tried other ways to slip away from claims of false advertising and unfair competition. For example, it tried the time-tested approach of challenging Andino's "injury" to knock his potential standing as a plaintiff.
"Apple argues that Plaintiff’s alleged injury — which it describes as the possibility that the purchased content may one day disappear — is not concrete but rather speculative," sums Mendez, responding, "[T]he injury Plaintiff alleges is not, as Apple contends, that he may someday lose access to his purchased content. Rather, the injury is that at the time of purchase, he paid either too much for the product or spent money he would not have but for the misrepresentation. This economic injury is concrete and actual, not speculative as Apple contends, satisfying the injury in fact requirement of Article III."
The lawsuit does lose its unjust enrichment claim, but Mendez does leave open the possibility of injunctive relief that could force Apple to change the way it sells content. We'll see if the suit really gets there or is settled. Meanwhile, Amazon is facing a similar lawsuit over Prime Video purchases.
China’s Dystopian “New IP” Plan Shows Need for Renewed US Commitment to Internet Governance
Mark Montgomery and Theo Lebryk
China released its 14th Five-Year plan for economic development last month, including its intended next steps in technology. The blueprint makes clear that, even before the ink is dry on many 5G contracts for broadband telecommunications, China and its networking giant Huawei are gearing up to ensure their vision of the internet goes global.
But Huawei’s plans for 6G and beyond make U.S. concerns over 5G look paltry: Huawei is proposing a fundamental internet redesign, which it calls “New IP,” designed to build “intrinsic security” into the web. Intrinsic security means that individuals must register to use the internet, and authorities can shut off an individual user’s internet access at any time. In short, Huawei is looking to integrate China’s “social credit,” surveillance, and censorship regimes into the internet’s architecture.
The New IP proposal itself rests on a flawed technical foundation that threatens to fragment the internet into a mess of less interoperable, less stable, and even less secure networks. To avoid scrutiny of New IP’s shortcomings, Huawei has circumvented international standards bodies where experts might challenge the technical shortcomings of the proposal. Instead, Huawei has worked through the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU), where Beijing holds more political sway.
The appropriate place for a review of the New IP concept would be the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IETF and other standards bodies are examining most of the technical changes to internet infrastructure that make up the New IP proposal, and these bodies have said it is premature to make a dramatic change without more information and consensus. Huawei’s plan to rebuild the internet from the top-down based on speculative-use cases – uses of the internet that might one day exist as opposed to an established use that current users or businesses are already clamoring for – bucks the logic of internet governance, which postulates that change should be incremental and based on established needs.
Huawei’s and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) turn to the ITU is no surprise, even though the ITU’s jurisdiction does not include internet architecture. When it comes to internet governance, the CCP and other authoritarian regimes have long favored multilateral international institutions like the ITU over multistakeholder international institutions such as the IETF or the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Multistakeholder institutions are governed by a diverse array of representatives from industry, civil society, and government; multilateral institutions only provide voting power to national governments. In multistakeholder fora, civil society and industry representatives tend to favor a free and open internet, which dilutes the influence of national governments, many of whom are likely to favor a tightly regulated, censorable internet.
Authoritarian governments can marginalize private industry and citizens’ groups by working through multilateral fora such as the ITU, meaning the U.N. and the ITU will naturally be more receptive to proposals like New IP that grant national governments more control over the internet. In 2019, China and Russia leveraged a similar authoritarian bloc within the U.N. to pass a censorship-friendly cybercrime resolution. A comparable coalition of likeminded countries could help China push through the New IP proposal, shortcomings and all. Circumventing conventional internet-governance institutions in favor of the ITU also sets a precedent for future internet governance-related proposals to go through the ITU instead of more-balanced multistakeholder institutions.
What’s more, China has held the top position in the ITU for the last seven years. During his tenure as secretary-general of the ITU, Houlin Zhao of China has encouraged the expansion of the ITU’s mandate from just a telecommunications agency to a “technology agency” by working on technology unrelated to telecommunications such as internet architecture, the internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).
Organizing the U.S. Government for Success
Because of limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITU’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-20), where New IP will be formally debated, has been delayed until February 2022. Therefore, Washington has time to prepare for, and confront, the first major referendum on New IP, even if it is in a less-desirable standards forum.
In its March 2020 report, the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) highlighted another issue, the disparity between how the U.S. government engages at international fora like the ITU and the effort China is willing to make. In fact, New IP resulted in part from a previous U.S. abdication of presence and leadership, as the initial inquiry into the need for this new technology emerged out of a Huawei-dominated ITU focus group that lacked American input. This asymmetry in representation extends beyond that particular focus group. In the runup to the WTSA-20, China nominated representatives for management positions in virtually every ITU study group. Even when Chinese firms do not win leadership positions, China sends droves of meticulously prepared, synchronized delegations to push standards beneficial to Beijing and its national champions. By contrast, U.S. representatives appear to be prepared in an ad-hoc manner. The United States is officially competing for one-fourth the number of chairmanships or vice chairmanships as China at WTSA-20.
In past meetings, the United States has endeavored to keep the ITU focused on its appropriate areas of expertise (telecommunications) and stay away from intervening on other issues (the internet, artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc.) better suited to other standards bodies. The United States is correct to oppose ITU mission creep on principle. However, simply voicing principled opposition by itself is not enough to contain Chinese efforts to push ITU mission creep.
The CSC recommended that the United States make a concerted effort to compete with China on internet governance, and articulated that this effort will require (1) getting the U.S. government organized for success, (2) building effective public and private buy-in, and (3) working with like-minded international allies and partners.
Organized to Compete in International Fora
The first step is to get the U.S. government organized and resourced to compete with China in these fora. This requires the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce, as well as the State Department and sector-specific agencies to work together to develop a strategic approach to dealing with issues like New IP at international fora. This will require increased funding for NIST. The establishment of a State Department Bureau for Cyberspace Policy, as laid out in the Cyber Diplomacy Act of 2021, would provide much of the organizational reform required. However, the State Department will require increased funding and focus to coordinate action and address the challenge of declining U.S. influence in internet governance and international digital standards.
A good first objective should be electing an ITU secretary-general who will respect the limitations of the ITU’s mandate and who is less amenable to government control over the internet. A U.S. representative, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, is running for the position in 2022. Even if Bogdan-Martin does not win the election, the United States should work to ensure the eventual winner will discontinue Zhao’s policy of ITU mission creep into areas such as New IP.
The worst-case scenario would be for Russia’s candidate, Rashid Ismailov, to win the secretary-generalship. Ismailov leads a delegation that routinely attempts to enhance the ITU’s power over internet governance at the expense of multistakeholder institutions. Ismailov is personally on record advocating for “providing governments and non-profit organizations with an opportunity to control activities” of ICANN, one of the most important multistakeholder bodies in internet governance. Ensuring Ismailov or a like-minded candidate does not win should be a top priority for the United States.
The second step toward ensuring the United States can compete effectively with China on internet governance is determining the optimal mix of incentives and prodding to get American firms to more actively represent U.S. interests. Historically, when the United States leaves engagement in international fora up to its private enterprises alone, American firms’ main incentive for participating becomes direct self-interest.
U.S. firms see limited incentives to make long-term commitments to slower-moving international fora such as the ITU’s standardization arm, the ITU-T. To put it another way, no firm wants to waste its resources playing defense against abstract, long-term threats such as Huawei’s plan to reinvent the internet. By contrast, Chinese firms receive financial incentives from the government to craft international standards and are publicly pressured into acting as a united front in these bodies.
This hands-off approach to public-private collaboration on the part of the United States is insufficient when it comes to international standard setting and is in part what allowed Huawei to assert influence in the standards bodies such as the ITU-T and 3GPP in recent years. U.S. government and industry must work together on the vast majority of issues where the two can agree and thus counter Chinese efforts.
Third, the United States needs to build coalitions of likeminded countries in internet-governance institutions. Strengthening ties and coordinating action with traditional allies is critical but insufficient. The United States also needs to find common ground with non-traditional partners that may not share U.S. values of an open internet but are also skeptical of a Chinese-led order. The 2019 Sino-Russian cybercrime resolution, which initiated the drafting process for a treaty that would enable governments to clamp down on free speech on the internet, passed in part because 34 countries abstained. Convincing countries like Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines to oppose China’s power plays will be key to preventing initiatives like New IP from taking hold.
The United States cannot afford a similar failure to compete, as was the case in international fora associated with 5G development and international cybercrime. Chinese dominance in standardization will cost American firms market share and can open the door for more Chinese backdoors around the globe. Huawei dominance on New IP and 6G would not only create a less free, less interoperable internet, it would pave the way for authoritarian governments to gain expanded say over future changes to the internet for years to come.
The Chinese New IP proposal can be successfully contested, but only if the United States rallies its private-industry partners and like-minded international democratic governments to the cause. They must all work together to collectively rein in the threat of authoritarian governments using multilateral institutions such as the ITU to export their vision of the internet worldwide before it is too late.
Songwriters Are Getting Drastically Short-Changed in the Music-Streaming Economy, Study Shows
Ever since the music industry began its streaming-fueled recovery around five years ago, the songwriting and publishing communities have been protesting not only the uneven payment structure of streaming — which sees recorded-music rights holders being paid three times what publishing is paid — but also the imbalanced power and payment structures of the music industry. This situation has been thrown into dramatic relief in recent weeks by the formation of the songwriters’ group the Pact and its calls for artists to stop demanding credit and publishing income for songs they did not write — but the organization’s founders also say that it is just the first step in a music economy that has tilted against the people who create the very foundation of that economy: songs.
To summarize that quickly, the music industry saw its total value cut in half by illegal downloading and other forms of piracy in the first years of the 21 st century; the drastic drop in CD sales meant that the once-substantial income derived by artists, labels, publishers from those sales had plummeted precipitously. But as streaming rose and the industry adapted, artists came to accept that their recorded music — which garnered a fraction of the income in the streaming world that it had in the CD era — had essentially become the way to bring people to the place where they really made money: concerts, where fans not only buy tickets but merchandise as well as CDs and albums.
Needless to say, songwriters saw little income from that business model — which has been completely up-ended by the pandemic. Now, with most areas of the business looking at streaming as a if not the primary generator of income, the songwriter’s plight is more dire than ever, according to “Rebalancing the Song Economy,” an authoritative new report by industry analysts Mark Mulligan and Keith Jopling of Midia Research(with an introduction by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus).
The 35-page report, which is available here for free, lays out both the history of this dilemma and some (admittedly difficult) proposed solutions, but what may be unprecedented is the way that it lays out how skewed against songwriters the new music economy is. A handful of the many statistics from the study follow:
• The global music industry revenues (recordings, publishing, live, merchandise, sponsorship) fell by 30% in 2020 due to the combined impact of COVID-19 and a recession
• Streaming has created a song economy, making the song more important than ever, yet music publisher royalties are more than three times smaller than record label royalties
• Streaming will bring further strong industry growth, reaching 697 million subscribers and $456 billion in retail revenues, but the royalty imbalance means that label streaming revenue will grow by 3.3 times more than publisher streaming revenue
• The current royalty system assumes all songs are worth the same – they are not – and rewards poor behavior that dilutes artist and songwriter royalties
• Music subscribers believe in the value of the song: twice as many (60%) state that the song matters more than the artist, than think the artist matters more (29%)
• They also believe that songwriters should be remunerated properly: 71% of music subscribers consider it important that streaming services pay songwriters fairly
In a section titled “The Songwriter’s Paradox,” it lays out the ways that the song has become more important than ever, but, paradoxically, the songwriter has less income and influence
• Big record labels have weaponized songwriting: In order to try to minimize risks, bigger record labels are turning to an ever more elite group of songwriters to create hits.
• The emergence of the song economy: The audience has shift its focus from albums to songs.
• Writing and production are fusing: As music production technologies have become more central to both the songwriting process and to the formation of the final recorded work, there has been a growing fusion of the role of production with writing. This has led to a growing body of superstar writer-producers.
• The industrialization of songwriting: Record labels are reshaping songwriting by pulling together teams of songwriters to create “machine tooled” hits – finely crafted songs that are “optimized for streaming.” While the upside for songwriters is more work, the downside is sharing an already-small streaming royalties pot with a larger team of creators and co-writers.
• Decline of traditional formats: Songwriters have long relied upon performance royalties from broadcast TV and radio. However, as the audiences on these platforms migrate towards on-demand alternatives, performance royalties face a long-term decline. Similarly, the continued fall in sales means fewer mechanical royalties for songwriters.
• Streaming royalties: The song is the first in line culturally but it is last in line for streaming royalties. Of total royalties paid by streaming services to rights holders, between a fifth and a quarter is paid for publishing rights to the song. Labels are paid more than three times higher than publishers on streaming. An independent label artist could earn more than three thousand dollars for a million subscriber streams, whereas a songwriter could expect to earn between $1,200 and $1,400, and even then, only if they are the sole songwriter on the track. On average, songwriters will therefore earn between a third and a half of what artists do.
The report then proposes a series of solutions that are far too complex to summarize fully here, but in short:
• The song economy requires an interconnected set of solutions across three areas: songwriter remuneration and share, streaming pricing and culture and consumption, with rights holders and streaming services working together
• Streaming royalties will better serve creators if they recognize that different types of behavior (e.g. lean forward, lean back listening) represent different royalty values and that not all songs are worth the same
• Fan-centric licensing is a simple concept that may be complex to implement but will bring a crucial foundation of fairness into the song economy
• Streaming pricing needs a rethink, including ensuring price increases benefit creators, a reduction in the discounting of subscriptions and even metered access to music catalogs, to protect against the current situation of royalty deflation
• Songwriter careers need to be reshaped, with an opportunity for labels and publishers to work more closely together, including secondments for young songwriters into artist projects, providing predictable income and accelerating their development.
The report concludes with a very British statement: “What is clear is that today’s’ song economy is not working as it should and that everyone across the value chain will benefit from a coordinated programme of change.”
In last week’s Variety article on the Pact, hit songwriter Justin Tranter expressed a similar sentiment in far more direct terms: “The business is definitely still broken and songwriters are definitely the least respected people in our industry, no matter how big of a songwriter you become.”
Dish Stock Jumps after Company Announces Amazon Cloud Deal for 5G Buildout
• Dish said it will start running a cloud-based 5G network in Las Vegas later this year, drawing on Amazon's cloud infrastructure.
• Dish's stock traded during Wednesday's session at prices not seen since mid-2019.
Shares of Dish Network closed up nearly 11% on Wednesday, reaching prices not seen since mid-2019, after the satellite TV company announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services to deploy a 5G network on the cloud provider's infrastructure.
Dish, in addition to distributing video, is attempting to become the fourth national wireless player, behind T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. The deal with Amazon is an essential piece of Dish's plan to develop a network from scratch that can more efficiently deliver more reliable 5G speeds than its legacy competition.
It's also key for Dish to begin offering service by the middle of 2023. That's when Dish risks losing its wireless spectrum licenses if it still hasn't developed an operational wireless network.
Dish will start operating "the first standalone, cloud-based 5G Open Radio Access Network in the United States, beginning with Las Vegas later this year," the company said in a statement Wednesday. The statement said Amazon and Dish will work together to see how organizations including Amazon and AWS use 5G or build their own networks. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Dave Brown, vice president of AWS' core Elastic Compute Cloud service, told CNBC's "TechCheck" on Wednesday that the collaboration with Dish will "absolutely" serve as a sort of case study Amazon can take to other telecommunications providers to show that 5G networks can run in clouds, rather than in data centers with special-purpose infrastructure.
That could help Amazon expand its own cloud business, a key source of income that grew revenue by almost 30% in 2020.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, the second-largest cloud infrastructure provider behind Amazon, also is keen to get carriers building 5G networks in its cloud. AT&T uses Microsoft's Azure cloud, and last year Microsoft acquired two companies targeting carriers.
AWS already works with Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless provider.
— CNBC's Alex Sherman contributed to this report.
One Step Closer to Getting 10 Gigabit at Home
Today, the fastest internet you can get at your home or small business is a gigabit per second (Gbps). Tomorrow, thanks to Comcast and Broadcom, you'll be able to get 10Gbps.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
I just upgraded my internet to 1Gbps this week using a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem. Believe it or not, I could use more. I do a lot with video-streaming, and I run virtual machines (VM) off clouds and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS). I'm not alone. With so many of us working from home now, even a 1Gbps feels confining. Now, thanks to Comcast and Broadcom, we're seeing the first tests of full-duplex (FDX) DOCSIS 4 system-on-chip (SoC) devices.
Comcast's tests, done between Philadelphia and Denver, show that FDX can work with DOCSIS 4. FDX enables cable internet providers to run a high-speed internet connection both upstream and downstream simultaneously. In other words, while you won't see symmetric speeds, you will someday see 10 Gbps downstream and 6 Gbps upstream over Comcast's hybrid-fiber coaxial (HFC) network.
Comcast has been working towards this for years. The company has been working to bring DOCSIS 4 FDX to market pretty much since CableLabs' set the specification in 2017.
There is another way to deliver DOCSIS 4 speeds: Extended Spectrum DOCSIS (ESD). This is easier to deploy since it "only" raises to 1.8Gbps while keeping downstream and upstream traffic separate as has been the case with previous DOCSIS versions. Comcast, though, is investing heavily in chasing the top price of 10Gbps. It's possible that a single chipset could support both FDX and ESD, but we're still years away from that silicon being forged.
Comcast has reasons for throwing its support behind a technology that's still years away from coming to your small office/home office. As the company explained, a key advantage of DOCSIS 4 FDX is that it will enable them to deliver multigigabit speeds over its existing networks to the existing customers without needing massive digging and construction projects. So, 10-times the speed without having to spend a ton to rebuild infrastructure. Yes, I'd like this deal too if I were an ISP.
In the tests, which use experimental Broadcom SoCs, in a simulated network environment, they hit speeds of over 4Gbps both up and downstream simultaneously. This was done using DOCSIS 4's echo cancellation and overlapping spectrum techniques. The businesses expect future optimization to push the throughput even faster.
We still don't know when these speeds will arrive in our small offices/home offices (SOHO). CableLabs doesn't even expect to test hardware for DOCSIS 4 certification until 2022. Nor, has Comcast announced any kind of deployment roadmap.
In a statement, Charlie Herrin, Comcast Cable's president of technology, product, and experience, said: "We are always pushing the envelope to stay ahead of our customers' growing needs. . . . "This milestone is particularly exciting because this technology is an important step forward toward unlocking multigigabit upload and download speeds for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, not just a select few."
Personally, I can't wait. I'm building a new office and I've already installed Cat 6 10Gbps cable in the walls. That was for my servers, but I'll be more than happy to use it to bring 10Gbps internet into my office as well.
Until next week,
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