Litigation Shuttering Peer to Peer Networks

Peer to Peer Update

Since we last discussed peer-to-peer services on the Internet that include video sharing capabilities (Videomaker, September 2002, p.15), a large number of peer-to-peer networks have been shut down as the result of litigation, primarily from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The argument is that the most frequent use of peer-to-peer networks is the illegal trading of copyrighted materials, commonly in the form of MP3-encoded music files.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has also put a lot of legal pressure on the peer-to-peer networks, citing the trading of copyrighted movies and television programs. However, they have not stopped there-the launch of the ReplayTV 4000 and 5000 digital video recorders (which featured broadband program sharing and automatic commercial skipping) caused SonicBlue to be litigated into Chapter 11 by a number of motion picture and television studios. ReplayTV lives on as a subsidiary of D&M Holdings, Inc., parent company of Denon and Marantz audio equipment. The new ReplayTV 5500 digital video recorder omits the controversial features.

The few remaining peer-to-peer services (Kazaa, Grokster, etc.) are still popular, but are increasingly being patrolled by the RIAA, which has begun initiating litigation against a number of peer-to-peer users.

Despite the many controversial uses for peer-to-peer services, one legitimate use is distributing your own video projects (for which you hold the copyrights). In light of the dwindling number of peer-to-peer services available, however, it might be a good time to reconsider traditional Web hosting and Web video distribution venues. The time when we have to return to using them instead of peer-to-peer services may be drawing near.

Get Your Video Online with ShowVox

ShowVox has launched their new online video sharing community at The service allows authors of Web logs (bloggers) to link to their videos from their blogs. The service is free to access. Become a member at the $20/year introductory offer and utilize unlimited storage capacity and bandwidth, password-protected private areas, and be considered in ShowVox’s Online Video Contest for a chance to win cash and have your video showcased on the front page.

A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. – Samuel Goldwyn

Entry Deadlines

The 2004 Cinequest Film Festival, held in San Jose, California, is accepting short film entries through October 10 and feature entries through October 31. Categories include the Maverick Competition, Emerging Mavericks and New Visions, DXD (digital acqusition and digital presentation), Global Landscapes and student shorts. The entry fee is $35, with a $5 discount for submitting via Screening takes place from March 3-14, 2004. For more information, call (408) 995-5033, or visit

The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center presents The 16th Annual United States Super 8mm Film & Digital Video Festival, which is accepting entries through January 23, 2004. The main screening will be February 20-22, and a touring exhibit will be screened at venues worldwide. The festival encourages submissions from any genre, but submissions must originate primarily on Super8 film, an 8mm-family video format, or a DV-family video format. The entry fee is $35. For more information, call (732) 932-8482, or visit


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Your Tips
Submitted by Videomaker readers

Tripod Voodoo

As I prefer not to use stabilizers, here are a couple of tripod techniques I use to provide a steadier shot.

Tripods are typically thought of as floor-standing type creations, but if you fold the legs inward, and adjust them to an appropriate and comfortable height (to lift and carry the tripod around), a tripod becomes a quick replacement for Steadicam-type equipment. The tripod’s weight, combined with one hand operating the cam as normal, and the other hand about midway on the tripod legs, allows you to achieve some very smooth shots when you’re on the move. I use a simple $100 tripod for this, because it offers the best weight for my needs.

With some practice and the right tripod, this may become as standard for you as it has become for me.

Another technique is particularly for palmcorders. With the camera mounted on the tripod, completely collapse the tripod as if you were folding it up to put it away. Now adjust the tripod head (swing the legs upward so to say) so the legs run parallel with the camera. The legs then rest on your shoulder as a brace (the tripod lying horizontally on your shoulder). An inexpensive lightweight tripod is probably your best bet for this technique, as the tripod merely serves for balance.

Clients are always impressed when they see you improvise with your equipment, too. It gives them an extra sense of confidence.

Chris Arble


Powerful PowerPoint
I would like to share a tip with your readers who may be interested in using slides produced in Microsoft PowerPoint for instructional, promotional or motivational video programs. I formerly thought the only way to do this was to video the actual presentation on an LCD or projected display or to use a PC to TV converter and record the output.

However, I found that PowerPoint provides the option of saving individual slides as .JPG and other formats that can easily be imported as still images into a video editing application. That way I can preserve the slide background and graphics of PowerPoint presentations. The quality of text can be improved if the text of the original slide is deleted prior to saving and added back in with a titling program. PowerPoint transitions can be reproduced with video transitions.

I hope this tip will be helpful to other readers like me who produce motivational and instructional video programs.

Tom Thacher


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