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The Internet Media Music

Mercora - New Radio P2P Network 113

jtids writes "The maker of P2P Client, Shareaza, is working on a new Radio P2P project called Mercora. This network gives users the ability legally webcast music to other users on the network. Users can also share images, send instant messages, and join groups where they can participate in forums and chatrooms. Although the program itself is still in beta, the project looks promising."
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Mercora - New Radio P2P Network

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  • To Trade (Score:5, Informative)

    by thebra ( 707939 ) * on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:04AM (#9356413) Homepage Journal
    Mercora, a derivation of a Latin word meaning "to trade" and is run by Chief Executive Srivats Sampath, former CEO of

    Wired ran an article on this last year here [].
    • Re:To Trade (Score:3, Funny)

      by sjwt ( 161428 )
      But the real question is how dose one trade p0rn with this??

      I meen are we goign to be limited to p0rn sound tracks on this new p2p?


      And how long before the record industry trys to kill it off becase it can be used to send out copyrighted songs.

      • Re:To Trade (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If ever I saw a reply that ought to have been posted anonymously...
      • Actually, they also have an image client of some sort

        Share pictures with friends and family using Mercora P2P Pictures

        * Create albums and pictures on your local computer for friends to see
        * Decide which of your friends gets to see your various albums using privacy settings for each album

        sounds like it could share your precious pr0n to me.
        from their about page []

  • No linux client (Score:5, Informative)

    by barcodez ( 580516 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:04AM (#9356422)
    If you are running linux, bsd, mac or anything but windows you're out of luck there is only a windows client. I don't care enough to get this working under wine.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Most *nix users can't configure ALSA correctly
  • legally? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fozzmeister ( 160968 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:04AM (#9356423) Homepage
    doesn't that depend on what you broadcast?
    • Re:legally? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Frequanaut ( 135988 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:13AM (#9356493)
      Not only on *what* you broadcast, but also *when* you broadcast.
      From the legal disclaimer: [] You may not "Webcast specific sound recordings within one hour of the request by a listener or at a time designated by the listener"
    • Re:legally? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by challahc ( 745267 )
      Yeah it says it's ok to broadcast music ripped from cds, and downloaded legally from places like iTunes.

      Does anyone use this yet? I was wondering if you have the ability to mix songs and use a microphone to talk, or if its just like a playlist. I'm guessing it's the second option here, in which case this idea isn't really new. I remember using this [] to do the same type of thing with winamp.
      • Re:legally? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:22AM (#9356578)
        What they say and what is true are two entirely different things.

        The rules of ownership (I have this, I can do what I want with it, and give it to my friends as fair use in a limited domain) are completely different from the rules of broadcast (I have this thing, and I'm going to do what I want with it and give it to anyone that is even remotely interested).
    • Broadcast rights have been reserved by the record companies since when they well, just made records (of the round black variety).

      That said, historically the record companies have as often been complicit in illicit broadcasting as they have been desparate to shut it down; in the UK for instance to get around the quota system for live vs. recorded music, pop records were beamed over from Luxembourg [] and even 'pirate ships' in the North Sea []. More recently, much "urban" music owes its intital sucess to un
  • by roche ( 135922 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:06AM (#9356440) Homepage
    I thought it was ruled a year or so back that all webcasts have to pay royalties to the artists if they boradcast the music over the net. How can this be legal if that is still the case?
    • It looks like they do pay royalties to a certain group that represents many artists: Or so they say here []

      We'll know if it's right by the RIAA factor, being how fast they can get a subpeona out to these guys.
    • by eSims ( 723865 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9356621) Homepage
      From the FAQ []:

      Is broadcasting music on the Mercora network legal? Yes. Mercora has obtained the necessary licenses so that you can broadcast music on the Mercora Network legally.

      Specifically, Mercora enables the webcasting of music according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 114 (required Adobe Acrobat to read). Mercora has obtained the statutory license for the non-interactive streaming of sound recordings from Sound Exchange, the organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to collect and distribute statutory royalties to sound recording copyright owners and featured and non featured artists. Mercora has also taken care of all U.S. musical composition performance royalties through its licenses with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Most song writers are represented by these agencies but there are some who are not affiliated with them, and you will need to obtain their permission before you can webcast their music. Mercora also ensures that any broadcast using the Mercora client adheres to the sound recording performance complement as specified in the DMCA. Read more about broadcasting on the Mercora Network.

      • Presumably, Mercora will pay some sort of royalties on the Webcasts. Even if they get a free ride somehow, they will still have to administer the network (there *does* seem to be some form of central admin for the system) and pay for bandwidth and hosting. What's their business model for supporting the project? I see no visible source of revenue there. If there is no business model, will it all be run from a residential DSL account somewhere, with attendant performance and scaling problems?
        • What's their business model for supporting the project?

          According to the Wired News article [] linked to above, they're going to sell DRM-encoded songs but ship them from end-users' hard drives rather than from a central server.

          Looking at the Mercora web site, they seem far more p2p-oriented. I'm guessing that, like Kazaa, they plan on making extra money by installing a metric ton of spyware on your PC.

          • by Illissius ( 694708 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @02:23PM (#9358315)
            ...seeing as this is from the same guys who made Shareaza, which is the very likely the best P2P app out there right now. It's the first one where I didn't have to fight the program to get it to do what I wanted, it's rather user friendly, has undetectable amounts of bloat (by me, anyways), and installs a total of 0 third party programs (= spyware). And now version 2.0 is open source.
            So I'd be inclined to expect good things from them :).
  • Free webcast? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Hobo ( 783784 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:06AM (#9356443)
    I thought free internet died with the proverbial dot com fallout.. it will be interesting to see the sustainability of this project. This might also hurt online radio like shoutcast.
  • Legal ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:09AM (#9356455)

    legality is based on country of origin and content broadcasted, not the technology

  • In other words... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spacefight ( 577141 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:10AM (#9356475)
    Let your friends stream all their sound to you, rip it from the source, tear it apart and create a legal song archive. No, no profit here ;)
    • Let your friends stream all their sound to you, rip it from the source, tear it apart and create a legal song archive. No, no profit here ;)

      If they are my friend why not give them a special ftp account or web access to do so. Or why not burn them to cd or dvd and give them that. Seems to much easier and they get the songs they want
      • by John Hurliman ( 152784 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:02PM (#9356930) Homepage
        More interesting would be tuning in to a station (or a category of stations), lets say classic rock and using a plugin that rips the streams to disk and checks for duplicates. Run it for a few days and you have a nice [category here] collection. This has already been done with Shoutcast, so we might as well adapt to new technology! The RIAA doesn't really care about this happening with FM radio, because the quality is sub-par, but if a web station is streaming at 160kpbs or greater...
  • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 ( 718736 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:11AM (#9356480)
    How could a single user broadcast a radio with a typical cable/dsl connection?

    Would this basically suck up all of the upstream bandwidth, so that basically the quality would suck, or you have an audience of 4.

    • by Anonymous Coward
    • by Anonymous Coward
      its p2p idiot
    • It would suck your upstream bandwith. You'd have to have a super fast conection to really stream just like any other streaming service.
      • Hm? It's p2p which most probably means that the stream gets forwarded/multiplied by nodes within the network itself.
        • by Otto ( 17870 )
          So what? If you're the original source, and you're wanting to send out 128kbits/sec, then you have to have 128 kbits/sec of bandwidth to send it out, at least. You may not need to support multiple users with this, but you'll still need to be able to stream at a good chunk of speed. Most cable modem/DSL users don't have that much upstream. So unless this thing reencodes at a lower rate, online streaming radio from these people will still suck.
          • Granted, the webcasts won't be CD quality, (or 128 kbits/sec [which is still feasible]), but it wouldn't be horrible quality, like FM or anything. You underestimate the power of broadband.
            • Granted, the webcasts won't be CD quality, (or 128 kbits/sec [which is still feasible]), but it wouldn't be horrible quality, like FM or anything. You underestimate the power of broadband.

              No, you overestimate it. Okay, so 96k isn't bad.. a lot like a radio quality. Especially in newer formats like AAC and using good encoders.

              But if everybody and their dog is trying to stream up 96k streams to elsewhere, the network will totally choke on it. Every pipe is oversold. That's how the network works.

              There's pe
          • you have to have 128 kbits/sec of bandwidth to send it out, at least. You may not need to support multiple users with this, but you'll still need to be able to stream at a good chunk of speed. Most cable modem/DSL users don't have that much upstream.

            Yes, most of them do, however I assume you're talking about cable modem/DSL users in the USA?
            If that's the case maybe you need to change or lobby your provider to increase upstream bandwidth.
            • Yes, most of them do, however I assume you're talking about cable modem/DSL users in the USA?
              If that's the case maybe you need to change or lobby your provider to increase upstream bandwidth.

              I personally have many times that in upstream bandwidth, however, not everybody has my cable company. I've seen faster, I've seen slower. Very frequently I've seen slower, as if you only use the network for surfing and playing games and such, 768k down and 64k-128k up is perfectly fine for most people's current needs.
            • I doubt any broadband provider (broadband in this case meaning satellite, cable, or DSL) in the USA provides less than 128kbps peak upstream. Comcast's default deal is now 3 or 4Mbps downstream (depending on where you live) and 384kbps upstream. Some areas may not have been moved to these caps. I'm not aware of anyone providing less than 128kbps upstream on DSL or cable.

              Lobbying your provider to increase bandwidth is useless. The only thing you can do (where available) is change providers to someone who h

    • At one of the few Sonic Fan gaming communities [], we have a bi-yearly week long 'E3'-esque expo (S.A.G.E., not currently in operation) [], online only. Along with that, we do radio broadcasting during that week. Typically, we only have like 2 or 3 computers with DSL or Cable streaming out the cast including the computer doing the webcast. With enough distribution (say, on a P2P network) you could keep the quality high, and have more than 4 listeners on the webcast (At most, we usually had 20, pretty low-key oper
    • You could probably do something long the lines of what BitTorrent does. Use pieces from different clients on the network to aggregate your total bandwidth.
  • Howard Stern (Score:3, Insightful)

    by th1ckasabr1ck ( 752151 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:12AM (#9356482)
    Hopefull now everyone will be able to listen to Howard Stern again,
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by in7ane ( 678796 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:14AM (#9356504)
    It seems it's a legal loophole project which relies on the fact that you can broadcast (since they got the license) music that you legally own (so what happens when I transfer over my collection from Kazzaa? - who is liable?). There seems to be little useful technology as such. And it's not anonymous, so basically 1st (can't really do multiple sources for broadcasting of things you own and so ripped yourself, can you?) p2p with a an IM/etc. layer tagged on.

    And if it catches on there will likely be a patch so save the streams... bringing on a lawsuit or continuos updates/kracks.
    • Hardly a loophole. It's quite carefully and
      explicitly written into the law, after extensive
      lobbying, negotiating, and politicking by the
      representatives of the involved commercial

      I don't think (IANAL) that you would incur any
      added legal liability by broadcasting content
      obtained by copying a source which the copyright
      holder did not explicitly grant permission to you
      to copy. If you think you would, please post a

  • A quick question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:16AM (#9356516) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that webcasts/streaming MP3s are legal, when (as far as I know) none of the private "radio" stations listed on Shoutcast etc have licenses to broadcast? Are they (RIAA etc) banking on the client software to not allow stream ripping?

    I remember that webcast sites (in essence indexes to internet radio stations) were attacked by the BIG R sometime back...anybody have an update on that?

    It seems streaming MP3/RealAudio(lower quality ofcourse) would be the next way to share music, what with Kazaa etal becoming extinct. Ofcourse, Bittorrent, and these webcast stations have the same problem - they need to have an index page to publicize the tracker/links.

    • Just FYI, to be fully legit, Webcasters must pay fees to copyright holders BMI [], ASCAP [], and SESAC [], as well as to the RIAA [].
    • Re:A quick question (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      have you tried station ripper or streamripper?

      station ripper seems to miss many splits... streamripper was told to FOAD by
      For shoutcast, many/most places have fades between the end of the previous and next -- so the splits are messy, at best... you get (1) missed beginnings, (2) missed ends and (3) fade outs and talk overs at the begining and ending of songs

      On the other hand, if you don't care.. then you can get most of the stuff. For things like ambient, it doesn't matter... it seems to onl
    • ASCAP and BMI were wanting extra fees. The attack had nothing to do with BIG R. Clear Channel wanted to stream all of their stations, but now only stream Talk Radio and insert different ads over the local ads (THIS item is mostly a BIG R thing....local mom and pops did not want to pay the extra ad money to be streamed).
    • for $10 a month, I already prefer Rhapsody over Kazaa. It is MUCH faster, has more selection, and higher quality. It is streaming, but on demand. There are also stations that I occassionally listen to, but the on-demand is the deal.
  • P2P Webcasting? (Score:5, Informative)

    by lharmon ( 786097 ) <[rev_luke_harman] [at] []> on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:17AM (#9356524) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like Konspire2b [], but not open source, and only for windows.

    Besides, the guy who wrote konspire is also the guy who wrote MUTE [], so I think he knows a thing or two about P2P.
    • Er, the guy who wrote Mercora wrote Shareaza and designed the Gnutella2 protocol, so I'm pretty sure he knows a thing or two about P2P as well?
      • Actually, I wasn't sure if Mercora was actually written by the same guy who wrote Shareaza, despite what it says in the Slashdot summary. So I looked at the Company Info page and found this: "Mercora has been founded by an executive and technical team that previously was instrumental in building companies such as Netscape and, and developing innovative products using peer-to-peer protocols and web based security services." So supposedly they should know the P2P stuff as well :P
        • I think it is made by him. Heres a quote from the guy who made Shareaza on the forums, its from a post that explains the features from Shareaza 2:

          "I also put in a button which links to my new social / community / chat / P2P radio streaming project Mercora. Basically the entire "buddylist" concept which keeps coming up around here. I felt this deserved its own project rather than trying to put everything into Shareaza"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:20AM (#9356553)

    All rights reserved of the producer and of the owner of the recorded work reserved. Unautorised Copying, Public performance, Broadcasting, Hiring or rental of this recording is prohibited

    APublic. (noun)

    1. The community or the people as a whole.
    2. A group of people sharing a common interest: the reading public.
    3. Admirers or followers, especially of a famous person. See Usage Note at collective noun.

    now IANAL but it seems pretty clear to me its illegal

  • Excellent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thedillybar ( 677116 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:21AM (#9356562)
    I listen to music (usually with Shoutcast []) at work everyday. Some of the best stations I have found are often small and full during the day. I've always thought it would be nice if I could lend some extra bandwidth to keep the station going. The station itself should only stream to users who will re-broadcast the stream. And whoever will rebroadcast using the most bandwidth has the highest priority. If you can't rebroadcast, you simply end up somewhere farther down the food chain, but in the end more people get to listen.

    It seems like warez channels have been doing this forever. Once someone gets something, it spends a few days getting passed around all the high-bandwidth providers before it goes to the "public."

    I'm glad to see more legal, but free (as in beer) music available. But how long before someone writes a "MyTunes" (or something similar) that allows you to download music (illegally, I'd imagine), off of this service?

    • Re:Excellent (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Trigun ( 685027 )
      Then the MyTunes software is illegal, not the broadcasting software.
      • Oh, no doubt, but that doesn't stop people from getting pissed off and the RIAA going after the company that distributes the broadcasting software.

        We've seen this before. The threat of a lawsuit from the RIAA can often shutdown an organization like this long before it gets to court.

    • Sounds like BitTorrent
  • So transmitting an MP3 for this legal, but transmitting an MP3 for sharing purposes is not? Even thought the contents of the data stream are the same? I can't really see how this is going to work. BS
    • "I can't really see how this is going to work."
      Maybe it's because you are an idiot, or maybe you didn't RTFA.

      The reason this is legal is because they are licensing the music. For every song that plays, they pay. For example, ASCAP is one of the big licensing groups. To play 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) songs, of which 1/3 are theirs, only costs $40,200 if you use fee schedule C.

      The question remains, how do they plan on making money? Do they?
      • Two ways, from what I can gather.

        First is that they plan on selling songs at 99 cents a pop, ala Napster and iTunes. Only they plan on doing it using network capacity, rather than having a big huge expensive central server, meaning while they charge the same, their costs are much less.

        Second, they plan on selling non-personal network information (average user listening habits, popular songs, etc) to the labels (They're being payed royalties, and paying right back for info on what the royalties are for..
  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:26AM (#9356607)
    How do I share pictures on Mercora?
    You share pictures on Mercora right from your local directory on your computer. You "tell" the Mercora client about which pictures you want to share and with whom (people on your friends list, etc.) and those pictures can then be viewed by those people when you are both online on the Internet. People who have the permission to view your pictures will also have the ability to download those pictures.

    Hmmm...look--somene is sharing Harry_Potter_the_Everlasting_MoneyMill.jpg.

    This should be interesting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9356619)
    The website gives you the impression that you can webcast the files you have to your friends. However, the restrictions on this (to be legal) make it basically useless to how the majority of people would use this anyway. Read below for the restrictions:

    You are not allowed to do any of the following things:

    * Publish advance program guides or use other means to pre-announce when particular sound recordings will be streamed or the order in which they will be streamed (this is because we are a non-interactive webcasting service)
    * Webcast specific sound recordings within one hour of the request by a listener or at a time designated by the listener
    * Webcast audio content for which you do not have the legitimate legal rights for use (music you have ripped from CDs that you own or music you have downloaded from a legitimate online music store like Apple iTunes is considered legitimate, music downloaded using file-sharing programs like KaZaA are not legitimate)
    • But someone could do the following:

      1) Publish the fact that they possess a particular CD.
      2) Accept requests to stream this CD no sooner than 60 minutes after it's been requested.
      3) Declare that it's a CD they legitimately obtained.

      So this is just like Kazaa except guaranteeing you won't get your stuff sooner than an hour.

      Very little difference really.
    • You are not allowed to do any of the following things:
      * Webcast specific sound recordings within one hour of the request by a listener or at a time designated by the listener

      So at 14:00 I'll request, "Please play Song-A at any time ~except~ between 16:00 and 16:05. TIA" and I'm legal, right?

  • Like Peercast (Score:5, Informative)

    by iantri ( 687643 ) <(iantri) (at) (> on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9356622) Homepage
    This sounds something like PeerCast.. is that true?

    I've tried PeerCast before -- neat idea, but it simply isn't practical -- not many people have enough bandwidth to relay a 128kbps stream realiably, and every time I tried it I got nothing but stuttering and skipping.

  • by Kaimelar ( 121741 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:28AM (#9356627) Homepage
    The maker of P2P Client, Shareaza, is working on a new Radio P2P project called Mercora. This network gives users the ability legally webcast music to other users on the network.

    How is this different from PeerCast []? I glanced at the Web site, and didn't see anything that was revolutionary -- looks like PeerCast combined with IRC to me.

    Though, perhaps they have fixed the problems PeerCast seems to have with bandwidth -- I've used it off and on, but it seems to always suffer from lag. Perhaps that would go away if there were more users, or perhaps it's just inherent in the design of the network -- I've never bothered to look at the technical details.

    Anyway, I think the more exposure Webcasting has, the better. More variety, smaller players that can appeal to niche audiences, and lack of corporate interests playing to the lowest common denominator for the highest advertising profits are all advantages Webcasting has over traditional, ClearChannel-dominated radio. At the moment, at least. :-)

  • by Adolph_Hitler ( 713286 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:36AM (#9356679)

    The network is nice, I admit I use it myself but its not new technology. This also is not a new network because I've been using it for a while. I don't know why this site decides to post this to the top of the page when other P2P news far more important is not posted.

    Did you know MUTE developer Jason Rohrer will be speaking at the 5th International Free Software Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil?

    View some slides Slide1 []
    and notes Slide2 []

    Lets also not forget that Shareaza is open source now.
  • by Cpt_Kirks ( 37296 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:42AM (#9356737)
    Can you get pr0n off it?
  • by infofreako ( 194212 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:47AM (#9356796) Homepage
    At this point there is giant void between 'hobby' P2P webcasting solutions like this and PeerCast and P2P-Radio ( and the professional applications like Abacast, ChainCast and the others. The hobbyist applications fail to deliver the counting tools needed for us to report our listenership numbers appropriately to ASCAP, BMI and the others and still have some flaws in terms of functionality. The proprietary options have these tools available but they are currently not much of a savings compared to the traditional bandwidth options.

    What's needed is something like Shoutcast which provides a professional means of distribution, but built on a P2P architecture. To my knowledge that simply doesn't exist, but I have my fingers crossed. As a new webcaster who sees his listenership growing week after week, there may come a time when I can no longer afford to be popular without a REAL P2P webcast solution.

  • radio broadcast (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vmircea ( 730382 )
    This is definitely a promising idea, but it would get really complicated, I for one at home only have about 30kilobytes a second upload, which is barely enough to radio one song to one person, and would also severely lag me. This kind of thing would probably end up having the people with larger connections all serving the people with smaller pipes, and the people with smaller pipes not giving back (mostly because it is hard). And also, the media industries will probably jump on the legality of this because
  • Here are some Projects that may be of interest to readers.

    Streamer P2P Radio []
    AudioScrobbler []
    Last FM []
  • The edna project. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Koatdus ( 8206 )

    Edna is a py script that will stream MP3 files over a network or the internet. It has a nice web front end and if you scan the cover art and drop it into the directory it will display in the web page. The main difference though is that there is no easy way to find your edna server on the internet ... you have to know where it is.

    At home I have ripped almost all of my and my kids CD's and can listen to them on any PC in the house. Streaming 2 or 3 songs at once doesn
  • Are there provisions to prevent "microstations" from springing up? If I don't take requests, but people know they can listen to "Hey Ya" or some other dreck all the time, it's essentially peer-to-peer file sharing, right?

    For example, if the client is small enough, I may be able to run five instantiations of the server through different ports, playing five different songs over and over. Then, if someone could come up with an intermediary service to check what songs people are advertising that they have avai
  • It runs every time Winblows starts, and there's no turning it off short of uninstalling. That's a deal breaker for me. Now I need a reformat. *sigh*
    • If you can't stop a program starting up when you turn your windows box on, you don't deserve a computer (and how you've managed to type on slashdot without braining yourself on your keyboard or choking on your mouse is incredible).

      start -> run -> msconfig, or start -> run -> services.msc

      I know it hurts, but please try and use your brain.

Disks travel in packs.