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Forget Napster & Gnutella: Enter Mojo Nation 227

burris writes "Salon's Damien Cave writes "Forget Napster and Gnutella. Jim McCoy's Mojo Nation is the coolest file trading service on the net." This OpenSource distributed filesystem uses digital cash technology to create a barter economy for idle disk space, bandwidth, and CPU. Now you can get paid for sharing your computer."
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Forget Napster & Gnutella: Enter Mojo Nation

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  • Copyright law simply doesn't guarantee that Douglas Adams gets paid for every copy of his work that comes into existence;

    I did not mean to imply that DA is guaranteed by law to get paid, but he does have the right to place restrictions on who is allowed to copy his work and in the case of most professional authors one requirement is that the copier pays the author some money.

    The GPL is an example where copyright holds but does not require payment.

    Lack of payment does not negate copyright, as it says in Title 17 section 107 paragraph 1 (the exclusive right to make or allow copies - no mention of selling or giving away the copy: a copy is a copy) and in para 3 (phonorecords) it specifically states "by sale or other transfer of ownership" of copies.

    The flaw in your argument is that you are suggesting that copyright law has nothing to do with copying and is instead about selling. I know that there are some differences in the US copyright law compared to the UK but I doubt that they are as fundimental as that.

  • Anyone remember that spoof of the Matrix that we all loved?

    Well the site had to move a few times because it could't handle the traffic. The creator also ended up getting ripped off by a banner ad company that didn't belive the traffic was real.

    Wben something becomes succesfull online these days, it almost always collapses under it's own weight unless lots of $$$ come in to prop it up.

    Mojo nation (and other distributed system) are hopefully going to ensure that people can afford to publish rich (bandwidth eating) content and are going to get compensated for the effort.

    I really hope this takes off.

    When it absolutely, positively, has to be there...

  • Actually, it's not even a content-trading system --- it's a resource-trading system. It deals in market infrastructure resources: money and market stalls where things can be traded. It does not deal in the content that individual traders happen to put on those stalls --- that's up to the individuals concerned, which as always will comprise both saints and devils. Such is the world we live in.

    That makes the AC poster's comment doubly irrelevant. If he prefers the Napster model rather than give and take then he's precisely the kind of freeloader that the system is designed to marginalize. And if he's only interested in content restrictions then he'd do better talking to the people that provide that content, not to the banks and subcontractors that supply the medium of exchange and the poles and planks. I hope he's good at missionary work; reforming the world will be an uphill struggle.
  • What piracy? You don't know what's in those files on your drive, and nor does anyone else, so they can't say that they're pirated. They're not identifiable by you. You'd need the decryption keys for a whole pile of dinodes to be able to identify them, and you don't have 'em.

    You certainly can't be accused of pirating an unknown thing.

    In any event, why are you concentrating on pirated goods? Mojo Nation (and more advanced systems which will be even more heavily distributed) have the potential of becoming a far better repository for all information on the planet than anything currently in existence. Only a tiny fraction of all this material is contentious.
  • I can't recall the number of times I see someone getting something interesting from me, but when I try to check their list, they are sharing nothing (this continues to be true even after Napster recent fixes).

    It's easy if you are using a Napster clone such as Gnapster [] I just set my upload directory to some non-existant directory, and boom, no more sharing.
  • Bite me.

    I steal files all the time. I'd certainly never buy the stuff. I didn't before, so what sales, exactly are being lost? The stuff I actually WOULD buy, I do anyway. (Not that it ever does the artist much good the way the business world is currently organized.)

    And what's with the example you picked? Salon magazine? Canada's leading magazine for the professional beauty industry? News Flash, asshole; Salon doesn't make a thin dime from their actual paper sales. It's all advertising, baby! In fact, in the magazine biz, if they experience a 20% sell-through on the news stands, it's considered a bonanza. The rest, thousands upon thousands of copies made from prime Canadian rain forest, get hauled to the dumpster. (To the recycle bin? Hmph. All that hot press, clayed, glossy paper doesn't do too well in the recycle vats, kipper-my-man.)

    So fuck Salon. They're ad whores. Plus, who the hell cares about beauty secrets, anyway? The whole beauty biz is pretty much totally evil. I like my girls sans make-up, thank you kindly.

    Typical of people like you to choose a stupid, evil example to uphold a stupid, evil world view.

    -Fantastic Lad, The Most Caustic Lad of Them All!

  • So 1 mojo is worth X CPU cycles (as the market will bear).

    Eventually this might be related to dollars:
    Y dollars = 1 mojo = X CPU cycles.

    But avaliable CPU cycles are getting cheaper very rapidly (Moore's Law). So the value of 1 mojo should be decreasing very rapidly right?

    A digial currecny that is constantly deflating in value (compared to dollars) seems like it's headed for problems.

  • Tipping isn't the answer. It cannot support an industry. Advertising/sponsorship is the wave to surf on...
    DigitalContent PAC []
  • You don't have to run their proxy; it just lets you access style URLs. If you want to, you could set up your apache/junkbuster/whatever proxy to do the mapping instead. Access the conf/broker/intropage.html file with your browser if you don't want to use the proxy. You just lose the ability to access other peoples' hyperlinked references to mojo content.
  • by Jim McCoy ( 3961 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:35AM (#720382) Homepage
    ...who own printing presses. In Mojo Nation there is no "big iron and bandwidth to host this stuff", that is all provided by the Mojo Nation infrastructure. In other words everyone contributed a part of this big iron and bandwidth and gets "paid" for the percentage they are throwing in to answering a request.

    How about this for a possibility: what if the cost of pulication was next to nothing (but not zero or else it is too easy to flood the network) and the cost of distribution was paid for by the user who actually download the data. In other words almost no cost to publish to the net. In return for the faustian bargain I will allow users to be fair (by leaving a tip) which is about the only thing we have come up with yet for artist compensation, but if others have better ideas please let us know

  • Although it would generally benefit everyone, what exactly is the incentive for publishing data? It costs you 'Mojo', and you get nothing back for it because people download it from other users. Am I missing something here?
  • The reason that you have to "pay" for items you download, is the same reason that some anonymous FTP sites have ratios. They are trying to enforce quality. By publishing items, or relaying requests, you enhancing the network and furthering the development. Or idea would be great, except you get the problem that gnutella has, that is it won't scale.

  • and it wants me to use it's software as my http proxy. Does anyone else smell something off? They can monitor what I upload and also see what porn^H^H^H^H political activist sites I visit.

    I don't see a privacy policy on the site either.


  • Filter out the 56k/128 users. 9/10 downloads work fine for me on a Cable modem...
    DigitalContent PAC []
  • Forget about author compensation: they aren't on the Mojo Nation network. What about the people who DO publish data. Are they going to publish good stuff if they is little chance of even breaking even!?!? The only reason Napster worked is because by default everyone published, and published for free (well, kinda). This system will probably die from starvation of data, as no one will publish.
  • Think out of the box, Jafac.

    Mindshare is important for a business selling an image, lifestyle, and name. As for the file-sharing dilution problem, all it takes is for 'interface' gateways that translate one network to another. So that a search on Gnutella gets routed to random machines that, automagically, happen to speak Gnutella and Freenet and Napster, etc, protocols. If, for example, you had a translator for Mojonation to search Gnutella, Freenet, or Napster, it would just look like the entire Gnutella, Freenet, or Napster network is just another user with a large number of files to offer.

    Same from the other end.

    As for the 'totdc' thing, it just means Mojonation won't allow Gnutella, Napster, etc, to plunder the Mojo network without some function of uploads as well.

    The nick is a joke! Really!
  • I was under the impression from the docs that it actually COSTS Mojo to upload. Ways to GET Mojo basically revolved around donating hardware resources (storage, cpu, bandwidth). You can't actually get Mojo for sending your own data, you have to send data that the system has stored on your drive.
    That being said, where the vision will fall flat is nobody's going to pay to publish the porn and warez and MP3's that make up 90% of the Napster/Gnutella traffic when you can still get it through Napster/Gnutella for free.
  • Ok wtf, how do these types of comments get "+4 informative"? First of all, it's a damn FAQ, anyone can point to it. Second, you don't frigging need to post the whole thing, JUST LINK TO IT. You mod's are just begging to get it up the ass in metamoderation.

    It's pretty easy to figure out, especially if you bother to read the first sentence of his post. The writer specifically says "Yo, things are really slow on this site, close to being totally slashdotted, so I'm posting this here."

    By linking to the FAQ, he would've only contributed to the site's being slashdotted that much faster, for that much longer. By posting the relevant info there, it saves all sorts of "what-the-hell-is-this-thing?" clicks.

    I agree that in most cases it's redundant and annoying for people to do nothing other than quote from the source, but in this instance (considering the weight that file-sharing technologies have around here) I think it was justified. Hopefully the meta-mods will be able to see that too.

    -The Reverend (I am not a Nazi nor a Troll)
  • I have one main problem with Mojo Nation, or any other bandwidth-sharing system: my university imposes a flat maximum of 500MB per day. After that, my port is shut down and can't be re-enabled until I talk with our security folks (which is a real pleasure). If Mojo Nation had a feature to limit total bandwidth used per day, or even better, throttle bandwidth (perhaps even dynamic throttling as a certain maximum is reached), it would be far more preferable to people in my situation!
  • let 'em do something useful for a change, instead of chasing balls of yarn around.
  • DA has no such right to place restrictions on what I do with his works. Congress has placed some restrictions on what I do with his work, and that is it. Any restrictions on me can't simply be declared by the author, they must come about from an agreement between myself and him, just like any other contract. Why do think they invented the EULA, if they could just place arbitrary restrictions ? (The invalidity of EULA's is another flame war altogether.) Also, the GPL is a license; books don't come with licenses (yet anyway), you just buy them.

    As for your reference to Title 17 section 107 paragraphs 1 and 3, you really mean section 106 don't you ? There is no such phrase in section 107. Another nitpick: in legelese don't say "negate copyright", because that means something else. Say "infringe copyright." I think "negating a copyright" means that the copyright holder looses everything he was given -- for example if he infringed on someone else's copyright by putting their stuff in his work. It is obvious that if I make a photocopy of DA's work his copyright to it does not vanish.

    And finally, why are you wrong ? Because of the modifier clause where it says "Subject to sections 107 through 121." Those are the sections that outline "fair use".

    The whole of Section 106:

    Subject to sections 107 through 121, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
    (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
    (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
    (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
    (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
    (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
    (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

    Finally, if you go to look at the Sections 107 through 121 that this is subject to, the first thing you see is:

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature . . .

    There's more to it, I won't quote the whole thing here; it is kind of vague, but you have a lot more work to do to make an argument that uncompensated copying doesn't fall under fair use.

    If you want to see an actual court rulling, in which someone made thousands of copies of Word and other commercial software and was ruled to not be in infringement of copyrights because they didn't receive money for it, look at US vs. LaMachia. [] Search for the phrase "what LaMacchia is alleged to have done is not criminal conduct."

    Do you happen to know where I could get a copy of British copyright law online ?

  • Repost...

    Slashdot - Napster Clone With Pay Per Download [July 30, 2000] []

    But I guess it's good to dig up topics from time to time in case anybody missed them last time 'round.

    They've gotten a lot of press [] in the last four months, mostly good.

  • Jim, can one choose not to store any sharemaps on one's own machine, but instead to buy that storage and/or reassembly service from another site in exchange for Mojo?

    I ask because some people will want to be able to state categorically that it is impossible for them to know anything at all about even a single block on the basis of information held on their own machinery. Possession of a sharemap may undermine that. Without that guarantee, your client base will not grow as quickly as it might otherwise.
  • It's all good having these multiple technologies, but being able to be caught is always risky. Lets face it, at some stage some script kiddies will be sharing their c00L war3z d00d, and it's all goind to go to crap - and especially so if there's even a hint of a financial transaction.

    The chaps at iMesh ( []) are trying to do something a bit more distributed. I don't think it's quite there yet, but it's a start. I guess it means that iMesh themselves aren't going to have to purchase a bulk order of KY in the near future, but their luzers might.

    Winblows clients only, unfortunately, so I'd also recommend a trip to [] for the latest InnoculatePE.
  • Thius was my thought exactly... There is no incentive to publish content. Perhaps if it were to include some form of content rating system (eg : "you downloaded this file. Please help us by rating it"), and mojo is added or taken away from the posters' account depending on the quality of what they post? Or perhaps content servers could have a tiered file-storing cost according to your rating? That way at least people who consistantly post useful content are rewarded for having to pay less to publish their content. Only problem then is that, since the files' source must be stored somewhere, there goes your privacy once you've published something... UNLESS you make it so hard to decode who published the items that it isn't worth anyone's time finding out.
  • I did mean 106. I was looking at 107 when I typed the paragraph.

    DA has the right to prevent you copying his work. That is granted to him by Congress.

    Books do come with a licence: its printed on the page with the copyright notice (this book is sold under the condition...). The bookseller is bound by this and the conditions of ownership normally include a price to the bookseller. S/he may then give away the book, but s/he can't copy it and sell or give the copies away.

    As regards 107, the exceptions listed are for portions of a work, the bigger the portion the less "fair" it is. The bit about "commercial nature" is actually saying that the judge should be more generous on the interpretation of fair use if it is not for commercial use, which is in line with para 4 which says that the more you affect the value of the work the more likely you are to fall foul of the law. But saying that non-commercial use gets you off the hook completly is too much to hope for in court. Which is where the discussion started.

    Read that section again and think about what it would mean under your system - can it really be saying that quoting small parts of a work is less "fair use" than larger parts or the entire work? It doesn't make sense.

    It says that these are factors to be considered, not that these factors are ones which can be used only by the defense.

    In short, it is fair use to quote portions, to use a text for education or to make other uses which do not, in the judge's opinion, affect the value of, or market for, the work. Giving the work away for free is definately going to affect both of those. but, again, the judge can be lenient if the effect is small, if s/he chooses.

    LaMacchia was charged with the wrong crime and, under the Wire Fraud Statute, found not-guilty. The decision specifically states that it is not a copyright decision, only a fraud one. Indeed, it is hard to see how giving things away can be any sort of fraud.

    I can't find UK copyright law on line, with a quick search on Google, but I'll have another look tonight.


  • MojoNations claims to be a strictly distributed peed to peer network, and form what I've understood, this is true for the technical resources as bandwidth, storage and CPU but not for the electronic currency involved, which is (correct me if I'm wrong here) managed by a central authority at which not only keeps all mojo accounts but is also able to "print" new mojo in arbitrary amounts.

    This has some serious consequences which IMHO partially defy the purpose of mojonet as a fair, decentralized, anonymous and censorship proof way of file-sharing:

    • fairness: The value of the mojo currecy is not only determined be the market but also by the total ammount of mojo available, which is controlled by a single company. Should e.g. decide to double the amount of mojo tokens for some marketing campaign, this alone would halve the value of your mojo account.
    • centralisation: All efforts to decentralize technical ressources, while improving scalability, don't make the system itself any more robust than more centralized approaches (like e.g. napster) as the bookkeeping server still remains a single point of failure for the whole system. And for the case that goes out of bussiness, besides from not being able to use the service anymore, users would also suffer material losses as their accounts are nullified over night.
    • anonymity: Any user will regularily have to contact the central bookkeeping server. Monitoring the activity of this server allows to identify the IPs of all users and the amount of their activity.
    • censorship: A central server also means that there is someone to sue, for whatever reason, legimate or not. Considering the fact that is based in the US, it is only a matter of time until they are forced to implement restrictions or shut down their service. This is especially unfair to non-US users who are put at the mercy of a foreign legislation which has a notorious track record when it comes to intellectual property. (Remember that, unlike a "stateless" system like e.g. napster, with MojoNation, users are forced to pay (money or recources) in advance befor they have a chance to get anything back, so it is legitimate to expect some reliability.)
    An obvoius solution for the above problem would be to not only decentralize the resources but also the mojo itself i.e. to allow multiple currencies: anybody who thinks that he is trustworthy enough to other users can issue his own mojo-brand and set up a standardized bookkeeping server.

    Users can then decide which "currencies" they accept and besides the other 4 services they can run on their brokers, can also offer to change currencies for other users at rates they define for themselves. This way, you can use market mechanisms to sort out untrustworty currencies and give the users the choice to decide for themselves where to put their virtual cash.

  • I still don't get it. What happens when no longer exists? How does one connect to other users without using the site? For example, mojonation is sued and ordered to take offline. As far as I can tell, the system depends on the existence of the domain name.
  • You are still wrong. I will send a more detailed reply via email this weekend.

    But here is the summary: DA doesn't have the right to prevent me from doing anything. He has the right to recover from me in explicit ways for explicit acts. If congress wanted to say simply "unauthorized reproduction is prohibited", they could have said so in those four words. But they didn't. They spent the majority of the effort on the bill building an admittedly vague exception. I believe that under some circumstances photocopying a book might run afoul of the law, even if you didn't get money for that; but the tendency of the legislature is to spell out what you can't do explicitly and leave everything else vague; so the fact it doesn't explicitly prevent me from making copies is in my favor.

    I'm not interested in excerpt or partial reproduction at all. Let's leave that out to keep it simple.

    What I will send you this weekend, provided I can find them, will be a court case citation in which someone photocopied a book and was let off for it. I won't use the LaMachia case, but the rulling does explicitly state that that his actions didn't run afoul of the copyright statutes; the Judge was observing that the prosecution was seaking to make their case with the Wire Fraud exactly because they couldn't make their case under copyright.
  • Wikki - Your just plain wrong. The reason this idea is far superior to Napster and especially Gnutella is the fact that Mojo Nation has built-in incentive to share. The tragedy that is the Gnutella Commons, is that less than 1% of the people using it account for over 50% of the files shared. That means that most of the people are leaching off the system. With Mojo Nation, the more you share the more you get in return. Such a system will encourage a tremedous growth of the commons and is sure to see a massive proliferation of high quality material in no time.
  • OK, so Napster isn't great, in terms of it allowing prirating of music, but it isn't too bad if people keep buying the CD's they like. It's a pitty they decided to make money off the scheme, otherwise they would have a better case in court. But Mojo is blatently allowing people to "sell" stuff that they have no rights to eg. warez, mp3. If this ever becomes popular, the warez scene will just get even bigger.
  • by rlowe69 ( 74867 ) <ryanlowe_AThotmailDOTcom> on Monday October 09, 2000 @10:44AM (#720404) Homepage
    Hi guys.

    I just thought I'd interject with a few facts about Mojonation.

    1. You do not need content to get Mojo. You can let people use your computer's resources.
    2. You can exchange mojo for cash and vice versa (ie. if you don't like to trade files, sell your resources instead - this may be a great way for companies to use idle computers)
    3. Mojonation is built to scale. It won't choke like Gnutella.

    Please folks, read the damn article before you post. You just come off like idiots otherwise.


  • Jim, I really like where you are going with all this, and I wish you the best of luck in your development efforts. I wanted to add that if the value of Mojo is left to its own guises the decentralized market of users will determine what its worth - "Hey dude, I'll give you twenty bucks for those 35 mojo's you have."

    Given enough time Mojo will stabilize on a price the market is willing to bear - making it a true totally decentralized non-state issued currency. The potential of this is incredibly liberating, and I am totally exicited about it. This is great news folks!

  • 1) You get credit for content you publish so there is an incentive to publish lots of random crap. This is untrue. You do not get Mojo to posting content, you get Mojo for reselling blocks of data to others. In fact, in Mojo Nation there is a minor cost imposed for publication to prevent people from doing the sorts of stupid attacks which you mention. Mojo Nation is built assuming a society of dishonest, distrustful agents. Your agent doesn't get paid (by my agent) until you deliver the goods.

    Interesting. However, what's to prevent me from publishing to myself? There's a minimal cost to store the maps, and to publish the content description, but (using a custom agent) I simply keep the three gig on hand as a real file (And construct the blocks requested on the fly, to boot)

    Now we have a situation much like the fake gnutella links... a fast way to procure mojo.

    In fact, storing and offering from your own system (paying yourself to upload) is probably going to be required for things like freenapscourtella (.com) gateways.

    I don't know the underlying technology of mojo well enough yet to see if that's possible. (On freenet, it's possible, but the data migrates off your system rapidly based on the closeness of it's content hash)

    A system like this would make sure that an inappropriate document (Like, say, the Constitution and the first ten ammendments) dosn't accidentally get lost. One (or more) interested parties can always make sure they have it, likely at a higher price. "mirrors" can download "popular" data and offer it at a cheaper price.

    I didn't see a hardcore technical document on mojo's underlying topology, so I'm gonna go back to reading dox and source now.


  • i remember BlackNet. i especially remember people offering unlimited 'chits' for information about technologies like merkle sheaths, etc. i'm very happy that someone has rekindled that desire. i have one thought, however.

    do you really think anything as downright subversive as this has a snowball's chance in hell?

  • To build an effective network of people with obscure songs and fast connections, a service must first be popular. Too many people like Napster's close-to-leeching format to switch to a service like MojoNation. MojoNation is great for the geeks like us, but it doesn't seem like a system that will ever go mainstream. Which means that I can't get live radiohead mp3s from 100 different t1 users. :(
  • According to AcronymFinder [], MoJo is short for a mag called Mother Jones.

    Life is a disease, sexually transmitted and fatal.
  • Where have I seen this before?
    Oh wait, it was on Slashdot! [] Man, this site is always way behind compared to Slashdot!
  • Sign me up!

    The question is tho, can you make more money than it costs to purchase the hdd space?

    Or do you just do it for sheer fun of it?
  • Whenever I ask a businessman what his service cost and I get a lot of hee-hawing about how "it depends", red lights immediately start flashing.

    Ok, so you read the article. Why are you making points about a businessman when Jim McCoy is a programmer? A lot of this stuff is still up in the air because they are creating a new market and essentially just a big grey area. Sometimes things are just a little less cut and dry than what we'd like, but we still try them out ...

    People will flood the system with 3 gig files titled 'nakedgirl.mpg' in order to cash in.

    That might be true in the short term, but the people that upload crap are going to be labelled as users that upload crap (and when they open a new account they start with no mojo again). If your theory was correct, a web site (and business model) like eBay just plain wouldn't work at all. People would be too busy ripping other people off than having productive auctions - and this just isn't the case.

    Sometimes people just have to be trusted. Of course, a good system (like eBay's) helps, but ultimately it comes down to good people who want to use the system as intended.


  • Most likely not.. They'd just buy the hard drive space then. Point is, if you already have it and aren't using it....
  • "Windows is going the way of Phlogiston"

    So you admit that Phlogiston holds up almost 90% of th3e Celestial Sphere?

    Not all BBS's went away... they just aren't on the net (for the most part) and so they have low visibility.
  • In order for this sort of thing to ever become popular enough to be functional (hit the critical point) it will have to be easier to use. This program inolves way too many steps for the everyday napster user to bother going through (changing proxies, running DOS programs, etc).

    For this to be viable it needs to be available in a single windows executable package. Otherwise it'll be doomed, like so many other neat toys, to the hacker-nerd doldrums.
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @02:03PM (#720416) Homepage
    I guess I can argue against Mojonation in another way (really, I'm just trolling ;-),

    With Hotline, if you "share" your MP3 collection, yet collect banner revenue, it's illegal, because the sharing is not non-commercial, and therefore is not protected by "fair use".

    With Napster, sharing your MP3's with the world IS legal, because it's non-commercial - protected by "fair use".

    With Mojonation, you're in-effect, selling your MP3's that you share for Mojo. Which gives you the privilege to buy more MP3's. Which means Mojo is a form of currency (like Slashdot karma, ho ho ho!), I suppose enough ambiguity there to keep a whole BMW-dealership-full of lawyers in Armani socks for the next 5 years. Perhaps it's more of a commodity. Goodie, then the gummint can TAX it. (which is why I troll, because I'm afraid that if Gore's elected, I'll be paying the IRS for my high-karma next April).

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising Mojonation, I'm not trying to say it's a bad thing, it's just that, for a global (world-wide, earth-encompassing) search, fragmenting humanity's free-MP3 library under these various services will make certain rare bits harder to find, and, of course, there's that commercial ambiguity with Mojo.
    True, the "genetic variety" issue makes it more survivable, as a whole. . . I guess it's an inevitable stage of evolution. (with the final stage being no further legal inhibitions, and all systems being interoperable such that a single point can be searched for that Bathroom recording of Wierd Al's "Another one rides the bus".
  • by cduffy ( 652 ) <> on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:44AM (#720417)
    Since when was it an illegal filetrading scheme?

    Even if some people (mis)use it that way, it's a content-trading scheme and a Generally Cool Idea.

    That's why I care -- not because of how people will or won't use it, but because the way it works is based on a novel idea. It's called 'geek factor' and is an important concept 'round here. 'Twould be a good thing if you'd familiarize yourself with it.
  • First of all, I understand that Mojonation intends to back Mojo with real cash.

    Second, what 'voluntary' thing? I just grepped through the article and didn't see that word on any of the three pages. It most certainly _isn't_ voluntary -- when you download something, you pay everyone else involved in the transaction like-it-or-not. Maybe you've got the ability to choose to give people some additional Mojo, but you don't get anything free.
  • I think such a "what is the best music sharing tool?" discussion, meight end up in a holy war, because you have at least the Developers of Napster and Gnutella spporting their own tools.
    Napster has also an Advantage, they have many registered users using their Tool and Network.
    At last but not least there meight be problems with the Law. I think, that we don't know whether it is illegal to offer tools like Napster (even if they are "Free Software").
  • Is it appears that the system will go a long ways towards preventing broken transfers and the D/L of incomplete files - one of the primary problems plagueing Napster and Gnutella. Since it costs Mojo to publish, it's unlikely someone would bother to publish something incomplete, and since the file has to be fully uploaded before it's registered (AFAICT), no downloading unfinished uploads.
    That feature alone may be Mojo's salvation.
  • If congress wanted to say simply "unauthorized reproduction is prohibited", they could have said so in those four words. But they didn't.

    No, they used the words:

    the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
    • (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

    which is more than 4 but it means the same thing. The following section (107) then lists exceptions which I covered in the previous answer and revolve around a) educational use, and b) use which is not likely to reduce the market for the work.

    I believe that under some circumstances photocopying a book might run afoul of the law, even if you didn't get money for that;

    Every UK library has to have (by law) a notice posted above the photocopiers stating that copying >5% of a work (maps have a special section) is illegal. Have a look in your local library; perhaps US ones have a similar notice. In any case copying a whole work (which you do not own a copy of) for non-educational/research use seems very clearly against the combined statements of 106 and 107. If you copy a book from the library, say, you have reduced the market for that book by 1. This is not allowed.

    the fact it doesn't explicitly prevent me from making copies is in my favor.

    But 106 does specifically say you need the author's permission. Copying it without permission is the very first thing section 106 says you can't do. Therefore its up to you to show that you fall under one of the exceptions.

    ...because they couldn't make their case under copyright.

    Well, could be, but I suspect that in fact the reason was that they were unsure if copyright covered software (it didn't in the US until quite recently).

    I will send a more detailed reply via email this weekend.

    Okay, I look forward to it.


  • They've gotten a lot of press in the last four months, mostly good.

    How much bad press did you expect them to put up on their own page?


  • The currency centralization issue is really the last hurdle we will need to clear and you bring up several good points about how we could screw this up if we wanted to. I will first try to answer your last two objections (because I think you are making a few incorrect assumptions about what is happenind and these are not really problems) and then hit the first two, which are potential problems that need to be addressed.

    The anonymity/privacy of transactions are handled through two mechanisms, cryptography and credit. We use signed tokens as our "coins" and it takes a simple three line modification to the coin builder code to create blinded coins. This prevents us from watching our users' spending habits. The blinded coins are the crypto solution, but credit between peers makes observation difficult as well. Each agent actually establishes a line of credit with another agent and begins conducting transactions. A token exchange does not occur until the balance between two agents drifts outside the credit limit. This means that the bank sees only occasional bursts of activity. Determining what the coin exchange was for will be very, very difficult (and in fact it will probably be for lots of different services and transactions that occurred over a long period of time.)

    Shutting down the token server will be harder than it first seems. For starters, you are incorrect in assuming that we are a US corporation. Autonomous Zone Industries is a Cayman exempt company, this choice was made a while ago because it made following the PGP/NAI crypto export route (publish a book and scan it in over in Europe) easier when US crypto laws were a problem. It is also quite simple for us to distribute the token servers. While a denial of service attack is not trivial we have tried to make the system less brittle than it first appears, for example the microcredit system that is running the show is lenient about the token server disappearing for a while, it will just up the credit limits a little and see if things keep working.

    The fairness problem is an issue of trust. We plan on having third-party auditing of our procedures and simple issued vs. redeemed checks should prevent insider problems (a bigger cause for worry in terms of what happens in the real world.) We have bigger plans for this than something as simple as just another Napster clone, but for the moment we are asking people to trust us that we are not going to burn any credibility we have for a quick cash-out. If you crunch the numbers you will eventually see that there is not really much money in being the token server, but the marketplace which is created by the existence of a single token server can have all sorts of useful properties. I want to enable Intel to buy CPU cycles from you and everyone else in Mojo Nation on an as-needed basis and purchase a support contract for this service from yours truly...burning the consumer market is the last thing I want to do.

    If AZI goes out of business then people would be able to create thier own coin systems, slot them in to existing code, and pick up the dropped baton.

    Multiple currencies will be supported as a licensing option, but after giving this way too much thought over the past decade or so I am not so certain that people really want to make the "do I trust this currency choice." Our original plan during the design phase of the marketplace was that _everyone_ would act as a token mint, creating reputation-backed coins that others would exchange and redeem for services. This turns out to be a general nightmare in terms of system complexity. Trying to figure out a solution to this is what led to the insight that what was really needed was micro-credit between the peers. This peer to peer credit is reputation-based and uses the digital coins for settlement; what is happening in the background is that agents are trying to make these same sorts of trust and reputation decisions that you are talking about in a multiple-currency world but by using a credit system the agent only needs to deal with the currencies of agents with whom it actually conducts transactions. By tweaking the business logic you could create the sorts of trust distinctions you desire without breaking interoperability with the rest of the marketplace.

    If you wanted to create your own little world of Mojo agents that traded their own currency nothing would prevent this. We are only creating a currency for use in the public market and are not trying dictate all of the possible uses for this system.

  • If Mojo Nation had a feature to limit total bandwidth used per day, or even better, throttle bandwidth (perhaps even dynamic throttling as a certain maximum is reached), it would be far more preferable to people in my situation!

    We hear you. The first two bandwidth throttling features which will appear will be a flat "cut the line after X many bits in and out" and will soon be followed by the much nicer "just raise prices as we get closer and closer to the X bits/hour|day|week limit." One advantage of having a market behind things is that we can use pricing to signal resource availability. We will probably not have this in our .920 release for this week but it will be in the release following (e.g. it is on someone's to do list but the code is not done/checked-in yet so it won't be fully tested for our release later this week.)

  • What the hell is the difference between an "amature pirate" and a "professional pirate" ?

    While your observation that the compensation aspect of this makes a big difference, you shouldn't imply that uncompensated file copying is in anyway illegal. The big copyright holding interests out there would certainly like to spread that idea, but let them spread their lies on their dollar, don't help them out for free.
  • Mojo Nation will not monitor [] your browsing. It simply mirrors the web site on your local box.
    ( \
    XPlay Tetris On Drugs []!
  • by Jim McCoy ( 3961 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:59AM (#720440) Homepage
    You are correct that there are problems with the fast and shallow analysis that you seem to present, so here are the fast answers to why these problems will not be the major problem that you claim:

    1) You get credit for content you publish so there is an incentive to publish lots of random crap.

    This is untrue. You do not get Mojo to posting content, you get Mojo for reselling blocks of data to others. In fact, in Mojo Nation there is a minor cost imposed for publication to prevent people from doing the sorts of stupid attacks which you mention. Mojo Nation is built assuming a society of dishonest, distrustful agents. Your agent doesn't get paid (by my agent) until you deliver the goods.

    We are also working on a simple collaberative filtering system to allow users to filter out the bad metadata in the system. If someone publishes 3 gb of random noise it will get a few hits and the users will be able to pass back to the content tracker a complaint that the description did not match the content, as a few of these pile up the content description gets fewer hits on search requests and eventually the blocks fade away because no one will buy them.

    2) What is the "price" of Mojo.

    The reason I tried to avoid that question is that the answer is a little too complex to distill into a sound bite. A unit of Mojo represents a slice of the current capabilities of the system as a whole. If you perform work for me now I give you credits, in the future when the network is larger those credits will represent a slice of a much larger pie and so have increased in value when you spend them. If the network collapses (as you predict) then the only value of those credits are that the company running Mojo Nation will redeem them for storage/message passing service on our own systems.

    The problem with quoting a "price" is that everyone will dig it up later and call you a liar for not being able to successfully predict the future product of several different unknown variables in this equation (how large is the network vs. total tokens in circulation, what is the raw replacement cost of the resources, what sort of discount are users willing to make on these resources to attract customers, what is the current demand for each resource in our basket [is bandwidth scare this hour, perhaps disk space?])

    Mojo is a mechanism for keeping score in peer to peer systems. The real-dollar value depends on the demand for the services and the supply in the pool. Please don't claim that I am an idiot just because I have a basic understanding of which claims one can and cannot make regarding a future market condition.

  • by romco ( 61131 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @10:49AM (#720443) Homepage
    looks like the site is about to be ./ed (it was dead slow for me and I am on a T1) So here's the FAQ's

    1. What is Mojo Nation?

    Mojo Nation is a worldwide system that enables us to publish and share any kind of data, like
    text, sounds, moving and still pictures, and other binary files.

    1.1 What makes Mojo Nation different from other file-sharing systems?

    Other file-sharing systems are plagued by "the tragedy of the commons," in which rational folks
    using a shared resource eat the resources to death. Most often, the "Tragedy of the Commons"
    refers to farmers and pasture, but technology journalists are writing about users who download
    and download but never contribute to the system. In Mojo Nation, every transaction costs some
    Mojo, and as one's Mojo credit limit is reached, one must contribute *something* -- whether
    resources or cash -- to the community.

    1.2 Is Mojo Nation rated G, PG-13, R, or XXX?

    We have no idea. Each file published to Mojo Nation is broken into several small pieces, and
    then each of those pieces is broken into eight more pieces and encrypted so securely that finding
    the key to the code is as difficult as finding an atom in the sun. The result is that one cannot learn
    whether a file is on Mojo Nation or not except by trying to download that specific file.

    2. Why isn't the Mojo Nation software working for me?

    The three most common reasons we have encountered are:

    * The user hasn't started his Broker before launching the gateway page on his web browser.

    Under Windows, double-click "Start Mojo Broker" on the desktop. Under Linux, run Broker in
    the command shell.

    * The Windows software didn't install because Internet Explorer for Windows stripped the .exe
    extension from the installation program.

    Right-click on the label under the mojonation-beta-0_90-win98 icon and rename the file

    * The user hasn't set the web proxy.

    Internet Explorer 4.0: Go to the View menu, pull down "Internet Options...", then click on the
    "Connection" tab. Select the "Access the Internet using a proxy server" checkbox, and enter
    "localhost" into the "Address:" field and "8000" into the "Port" field. (Users running a later version
    of Explorer also have to click "LAN Settings".)

    Netscape Communicator 4.7: Go to the Edit menu, and pull down "Preferences". In the Category
    window, select "Advanced". The "Advanced" tree will open, then select "Proxies". The Proxies
    configuration window opens, then select the "Manual proxy configuration" radio button, and click
    the "View" button.

    2.1 What does the web proxy do?

    If the web proxy is enabled, your browser -- instead of connecting to the host specified in a URL -- connects to the proxy. It is then the proxy's task to make the
    connection and return the requested resource. This will be invisible to Mojo Nation users.

    2.11 Does using the web proxy reveal my browsing activity to

    No. The proxy runs on your local machine, and it does not log any of your activities nor does it
    ever contact for any reason.

    When you view a normal web page like "", the proxy is
    transparent -- it doesn't do anything but pass the web page through to your browser, exactly like
    normal web surfing. When you view a Mojo Nation page, like "" or
    ""[XXXX Zooko: insert cool mojonation id here--Zooko
    2000-09-28], the proxy intercepts your request and satisfies it without ever contacting

    2.2 What if I don't want to use the web proxy?

    In Linux, with your Broker running, open the intropage in ~/.mojonation/broker/intropage.html. In
    Windows, with your Broker running, open the intropage in C:\Program Files\Mojo

    2.3 Why do I get a symbol not found error from Windows when I try and run the

    One error we have seen (most often on Windows NT) is due to older versions of
    MSVCRT.DLL being on the system elsewhere and in use by another application (check in
    C:\Windows\System\). Our install program does not currently handle this properly. You need to
    manually replace the old MSVCRT.DLL file with the new one from the mojonation directory.

    3. What is Mojo?

    Mojo is Mojo Nation's "digital currency". In the Mojo Nation distributed computing environment,
    in which all the computers are joined by a common software, users may choose to contribute
    disk space, bandwidth, and processing cycles to the network in exchange for Mojo. Users are
    enabled to set their own prices for these online resources.

    3.1 How many Mojo are in one dollar?

    There is no fixed Mojo-to-dollar ratio. Mojo is exchanged for unused disk space, bandwidth,
    and processing cycles, and Mojo is transferred from user to user with tokens -- when we move
    past beta, users will be able to buy and sell the tokens for what the market will bear.

    3.2 What do the "Mojo coming in" and "Mojo going out" numbers on my Stash page

    The Mojo Nation barter system revolves around credit one user's Broker extends to another.
    The Mojo doesn't move until one Broker owes another 10,000 Mojo -- because every
    conversation between Brokers on Mojo Nation involves some cost in Mojo, it would be too
    burdensome to make a digital token payment each time. So, the "Mojo coming in" total is the
    sum of all the Mojo promised to you in an IOU but not yet delivered. The "Mojo going out" total
    is the amount of Mojo promised by you.

    3.21 I thought beta users were granted one million Mojo to start! Why do I have fewer
    than one million Mojo? Auuuugh!

    When you first use your account, it takes a little while for your Mojo to gather. Eventually, your
    Stash page will report that cool million, give or take that couple of Mojo you earn or spend while
    you're on the network. Also, if you halt your Broker while that million is still being credited to
    your account, that won't stop the accumulation.

    3.3 On my Stash page, I have more Mojo going out than coming in. Why?

    The two main reasons are:

    It costs Mojo to publish something to the system. When you publish a file, your Broker has to
    pay block servers to store the pieces. Further, too much supply, not enough demand. The system
    hasn't yet attracted enough users whose Brokers will pay for downloads.

    If you're using a relay server, you're paying for it steadily. Mojo Nation users behind a firewall
    need to employ a relay server outside the firewall that will hold messages for them until their
    Broker goes out to pick them up. However, each time the Broker asks the relay server if there
    are any messages there for it, the Broker has to pay the relay server a bit of Mojo.

    3.4 How do I earn Mojo?

    By running services for other users. Clicking "configure" at the main menu enables you to run
    block servers, content trackers, publication trackers, and relay servers, and to set prices for each
    of those services.

    3.5 If I accumulate enough Mojo, can I buy beer/friends/France?

    Eventually. The best-known distributed computing project -- SETI@Home -- accumulated
    about 300,000 years of computing time in its first year of operation. If they shared that time with
    Mojo Nation for a year, and ran every service while charging default prices, they'd certainly earn
    enough to buy beer.

    3.6 Can I earn Mojo in Mojo Nation while writing The Great American Novel in my
    word processor?

    Yes. You don't have to be using the Mojo Nation gateway in order to earn Mojo, as long as
    your Broker is running in the command shell (Linux) or MS-DOS window (Windows). Some of
    us leave our Brokers on all day, running in the background while we perform other tasks.

    4. What is a relay server?

    A relay server works like a mailbox for users who are behind a firewall. When the firewalls block
    incoming messages from reaching the Brokers -- the agents which run the whole show -- the
    relay servers sit outside the firewall and hold messages for the Brokers. The Brokers can go
    outside the firewall and retrieve the messages, then bring them back in for processing.

    4.1 Why should I choose to run a relay server?

    Users who elect to operate a relay server (by clicking "on" for "Relay Server" on the Configure
    page) earn gobs of Mojo because the Brokers who work behind the relay server (that is, those
    folks behind the firewalls) are continually asking it if there are any messages there for it and are
    therefore paying a steady toll in Mojo.

    4.2 I'm behind a firewall, but the Mojo Nation software didn't detect it, so my Broker
    isn't getting any replies to the messages it sends out. How can I make sure I use a relay

    There is an option on the configure page called "Behind A Firewall" that you should change to
    "On", save the config, and restart your Broker software.

    Alternatively: edit your Broker configuration file (in Unix systems, it's
    ~/.mojonation/broker/broker.conf, or in Windows, the default path is C:\Program
    Files\mojonation\config\broker\broker.conf) and change the "SERVE_USING_A_RELAY"
    setting under "YES_NO" to "yes".

    4.21 Editing my Broker configuration file seems to be hazardous, since it determines
    how my Broker interacts with the system.

    Yes, so keep a backup copy, and keep in mind that the tabbing is vital.

    4.3 I'm behind a firewall, but don't want to pay a relay server. How can I punch holes in
    my firewall?

    Consult your firewall documentation.

    4.4 Which TCP/UDP ports should I open for Mojo Nation?

    Once you've started your Broker, look in its output or log file for a line containing
    "TCPCommsHandler: successfully bound to port NNNN" to find out the port number you are

    If you wish to use a specific port number, edit your config file and change these settings:


    This is the port you are actually listening on locally.


    If true, this means "barf if I can't get the listen port listed above." Otherwise it'll keep trying other
    port numbers until it finds one that works.

    People setting things up behind firewalls with tunnels through them may also need to change


    You are announcing to the rest of the world that this is the port on which you are running. If you
    have a tunnel through a masquerading/nat firewall, you want to set this to the appropriate port on
    the masquerating/nat firewall.


    This is the IP address that your Broker announces to others. If you have a tunnel through a
    masquerading/nat firewall, you want to set this to the IP address of the masquerating/nat firewall.

    5. Where's the Macintosh version of Mojo Nation?

    Ask again after OS X is released. It will be easier to port Mojo Nation to Macintosh under
    Macintosh OS X because it is derived from BSD Unix, and the engineers around here are all
    Unix nerds.

    6. May I publish content to Mojo Nation that no one else can see?

    Yes. In the Publish window, click "Browse" to publish a single file, or type a directory path into
    the "Select File or Path" field to publish a group of files. Then pull down "None" from the "Select
    Content Type" menu, after which this message will appear:

    Warning: Content published under the type "None" is afforded absolute privacy because it will be
    invisible to searches and content trackers. That also means that the file cannot be found through
    normal means should the file's Dinode be forgotten.

    If content is published without a content description, the trackers on Mojo Nation are not notified
    of its presence and neither can they find it later. However, if you lose the Dinode URL to the file,
    you won't be able to find it again, either.

    6.1 What's a Dinode?

    When your Broker submits a file to Mojo Nation, it first breaks up the file into several small
    pieces, then the pieces into smaller blocks which are encrypted for privacy and duplicated for
    reliability. The Broker draws a "sharemap" to the location of the blocks, and for further security,
    tears up and encrypts the map, too. The list of the blocks which makes up the sharemap is the
    "Dinode". Nothing on Mojo Nation can be retrieved without the Dinode. References to Dinodes
    in the Mojo Nation web interface are almost always presented in MojoID form, a
    human-readable URL.
  • (a bit of history)

    Way back in the day, Tim May (cypherpunks)
    created a distributed communications prototype
    called 'BlackNet', communicating through anonymous
    remailers and doing file service, etc. It was
    lacking in a viable anonymous payment mechanism,
    but was a totally adequate proof of concept for
    a totally secure filestore and info-market. uk/ users/rja14/eternity/eternity.html []

    Ross Anderson, a professor at Cambridge University
    (and member of the SERPENT AES-candidate team),
    worked on specifications for a system which
    provided a "global filestore" capable of storing
    popular or unpopular content in a distributed,
    censorship-resistant fashion, based on electronic
    payment, network communication, etc.

    Adam Back then implemented "Eternity USENET",
    using USENET as a backing store, with a special
    web proxy to enter/retreive files.

    Napster, Gnutella, Freenet seem to have come from
    a completely different direction (particularly
    Napster), rather than from the Eternity/BlackNet/etc. tree. Napster is
    certainly the least general, but has had the
    most commercial/userbase success, which may
    be linked. It's certainly a lot easier to understand "Napster is sharing mp3s" than
    "mojonation provides distributed file sharing
    backed by electronic cash and a system of reputations and agents and brokers and ..." Time
    will tell.

    Publius is probably most directly inspired by
    Anderson's Eternity Service, but I didn't check

    Mojo Nation is from the same intellectual heritage
    as BlackNet/Eternity/etc., but I believe the
    foundations were laid at about the same time as
    the others, with implementation waiting quite
    a while for resources to be available. It looks
    like the first viable opportunity to get
    electronic cash widely deployed on the Internet...
    I think that aspect of Mojo Nation (the mojo part)
    is by far more important than the file-sharing
    aspect, but it's a bootstrapping problem.
  • Sounds to me like the non-commercial sharing defense used by Napster won't work here when Da Man comes after it.

    H. Rosen: So users buy and sell content using Mojo Nation, right?

    Developer: No, ummmm, well, they don't buy content, they buy, ummm, the right to download content!

    Judge: Piracy! AHRA does not apply! Shut it down! SO ORDERED.

    Tell me how this won't happen.

  • Yes, he still has exclusive ownership of the rights, sure. That's the only thing he owned in the first place, and he owns it no less now.
  • And what happens if five of those parts happen to be on computers that are currently switched off? *oops* :)

    Never underestimate the power of stupidity
  • Very true. In fact, there is a lot more that could be discussed on the whole "economic" side of sharing bandwidth like this, but I don't want to get into it here and now.
  • by Jim McCoy ( 3961 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:12AM (#720470) Homepage
    When content is published in Mojo Nation it goes through three steps before it becomes a small block of data which might be published on your host.

    1) The file will be encrypted with the hash of the file. (feature in release 0.920 which will be out this week)

    2) The encrypted file is broken into fixed-length segments.

    3) These segments are pushed through an error-correction code, expanding the N bits into 8 N/4 length segments. (any 4 of the 8 shares are sufficient to reconstruct the orginal block)

    These resulting block fragments are then published and are passed through the system. Each block fragment is only identified by its SHA1 hash, to reconstruct a piece of data you need a sharemap which tells you that if you collect a certain set of blocks and reverse the publication process using the instructions contained in the map you get the original file.

    If you are holding blocks you have no idea what they are, it is effectively random noise on your system. If you have a map which contains a reference to block that you are holding locally you can figure out that small part of the puzzle, but looking at what is stored locally and knowing what you have is more than just searching for a needle in a haystack...


  • What is my liability if someone else stores stolen credit card numbers, kiddie porn or (gasp!) DeCSS source code on my drive?

    Just speculating here, but if the blocks are encrypted before they're stored on your disk, then you can't be expected to know what's in them. You don't have the key (the system does), and even if you did, you can't encrypt your blocks without the IV from the previous blocks (assuming CBC mode or similar encryption) -- which are stored on someone else's computer.

  • by Crag ( 18776 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @10:58AM (#720474) []

    Yes, critical mass will be important, but security is one of the primary reasons for its existance. Worried about someone using up your disk space? Don't worry because if they do, they have to pay for it (it costs the sender money to publish a file). Worried about someone using up all your CPU? Don't worry, because if they do, you're compensated (virtually). Worried about someone running something on your machine that you don't approve of? Can't happen as the system is currently designed, because noone (currently) provides an open-ended cpu service. You can only do searches, and you are compensated when someone uses your machine to search the network.

    The major goals of mojonation are security, privacy, scalability and decentralization. Everything within the network is distributed, including trust. I may be mistaken, but I believe even the compensation medium (mojo) is going to be decentralized. There will be no federal mojo reserve or official Mojo Authority.

    A lot of the goals are still unimplemented, but some of the features exist now. The best example of where this is headed is how files are published: When you publish a file it is broken up into eight blocks, any four of which can be combined to re-create the original file. Those blocks are sent out to different servers without indication of their contents.

    It's not done yet, but it's also not a bad start.

  • Please folks, read the damn article before you post. You just come off like idiots otherwise.

    I read the damn article, and he sounds like a bullshitter to me.

    Whenever I ask a businessman what his service cost and I get a lot of hee-hawing about how "it depends", red lights immediately start flashing.

    So you get credit for content that you put online. Seriously people, how much content do I have that I created myself that anyone would want to see? Want some cool jpgs of my summer beach vacation? No, you want the lastest Quake demo. Guess what, Id has that online. If I want it, I'll go there to get it. The little game this guy is playing with "Mojo" was tried with the old BBS. People immediately slam the board with trash in order to get points to download the good stuff. This will be no different. People will flood the system with 3 gig files titled 'nakedgirl.mpg' in order to cash in. The people who download the file will be upset, but the perpetrators will be out cashing in their Mojo (remember the system doesn't know that 'nakedgirls.mpg' is an encrypted core dump, and you have to pay for what you download regardless).

    And of course there is no incentive to put new content into the system. "Heh, people are nice and they'll pay me for my work, just because people are nice." Sounds like a road to the poor house for anyone that actually wants to make a living creating content.

    No. This 'utopian vision' will fall flat on its face.

  • Requests to are intercepted by the Mojo Proxy and are handled by your Broker; the requests don't actually go to Mojo Nation does not depend on that machine's existance at all.


  • Charging would be illegal if what it was pointing to was a copyrighted work. Because then it would be shared for commercial purposes, not noncommercial purposes. But I guess that opens up an industrial-sized barrel of worms.
  • You're still missing the point.

    If you have a stereo that's been identified as stolen, ignorance is no excuse because the object of the crime has been identified. It's there before your very eyes, and it's provably a stolen stereo.

    But what if you have only an amorphous blob in your possession, with nothing to indicate what it is? It may be one block of the free recipes FAQ, or part of one of a billion other innocuous items, but neither you nor anyone else can say whether it is or it isn't. Furthermore, whatever it is, it's only a fragment, one among countless others, not a complete object at all.

    So there's no point talking about the stereo. What stereo? Not only can no such thing be identified. It's not actually there, and it's not there by design.
  • I don't think this makes sense. Are banks legally responsible for the contents of safe-deposit boxes? Are junk yards resonsible for stolen cars dumped in them? Are ISP's responsible for the data they transfer?
    The answer is "no" to all three. I am sure banks are aware that odds are some of their boxes hold coke, weapons, stolen property. They are renting boxes, not going into business with the people that rent them. The law doesn't require them to run drug dogs through the vaults to make sure. This is the same thing.
    The stuff on mojonation seems to be as impossible to decypher as anything out there.
    Shit, data is ones and zero's. The contents of every kiddie porn, weapons plans, whatever could be pulled from anyones hard disk if you know the pattern. It's freaking ones and zeros.
    The question is, do you knowingly store, copy, transfer anything illegal? No. I couldn't find out what I am transferring/storing/copying if I wanted to.
    I thought we all went through this argument about freenet/napster/gnutella before.
  • by Jim McCoy ( 3961 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @10:58AM (#720503) Homepage
    Mojo Nation does not try to open security holes. The service is actually as content-blind as we can make it. That means that it does not know if it is downloading a image, a text file, or a trojan; we expect users to take appropriate steps in watching the content. We do intend on adding additional features which will make "bad data" less of a problem, the first of which is reputation filtering for content descriptions -- does this search result point to data that other people have given a thumbs-up to. The current reputation system is internal and used for performing activities like selecting who to buy from and whether it is worth it to pay additional credits to download that block from someone who has low-latency delivery, but we are working on scaling it up to let users make the basic reputation/filtering decisions. We provide the infrastructure, it is up to the users to provide and manage the content.

    For preventing problems like eating up all of your CPU time or a rogue agent running rampant through your filesystem, we are trying very hard to do the right thing (for starters by not even trying to execute distirbuted code, CPU cycle costs are included in the costs of reselling or delivering a message.) We have used strong crypto where appropriate and we are aware that all control and trust boundaries are local so we are trying to create the basic infrastructure which takes advantage of this fact.

    The market was chosen as our model for resource allocation and trust management because it seems to work. No one trusts other agents in the game, everyone is (usually) trying to selfishly maximize the utility of the system for their own needs, and successful cheating can carry great reward so risk management is built into the basic assumptions about how things work. Still this distributed system ticks right along without Alan Greenspan needing to keep track of where each dollar is spent or the local shoe factory needing to know exactly who is going to be buying the shoes it is creating.

    In Mojo Nation you don't trust anyone, your agents are very paranoid about what is outside of their direct control, and choices about trust, performance, and privacy/anonymity can become economic choices on the part of the user.

  • by abe ferlman ( 205607 ) <.bgtrio. .at.> on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:20AM (#720507) Homepage Journal
    Think about it. ISP's are able to offer unlimited internet access to their customers because at any given time, most of their connections are idle- just like a bank need only have some percentage of its customer's deposits available, ISP's can not provide advertised bandwidth to all of their customers simultaneously. If customers begin bartering their bandwidth on a scale comparable to, say, Napster, ISP's are going to be dealing with some serious botlenecks since they don't actually have the bandwidth to satisfy all their customers at once, and the current business model for these companies will be threatened. How can this be avoided? Does this mean that if MojoNation catches on, prices for internet connections in the US will rise or ISP's will try to ban bartering away their bandwidth?

  • I'm worried about the security of this

    I agree. What is my liability if someone else stores stolen credit card numbers, kiddie porn or (gasp!) DeCSS source code on my drive?

    J, Internetist

  • Jini is a proprietary system for networking between embedded computer systems. Mojonation is a Free system for remunerated music sharing. Where's the similarity?
  • IDRTFA(I didn't read the freaking article) but from the summary above, they said a barter system.

    Not real cash, but "digital cash". Sort of a "I'm letting you store my files here and then you'll let me download the files on your hard drive." or something.

    Anyway, like I stated above, I didn't read the article, so don't mod me as informative.
  • Mojo Nation always trys to act on local information (it is all that you can really trust) and if there is an economic incentive for a better strategy or new service then market pressure will favor anyone who creates it. For example, right now the network is rather flat and gnutella-like. Obviously this is a bad thing. The saving grace here is that as the network gets larger and there is an actual need to make smarter message distribution and cache choices these services will be possible.

    Right now it does not make sense for the market to try to select the closest source unless it has a significant impact on performance. Making choices based on network topology, selecting what price lists you will present to a agent depending on its identity (e.g. being able to locally subsidize a worthwhile project or effort), these sorts of things are basic business logic decisions. We have created a skeleton set of these little rules, but as the market matures it will support whatever clever rules people can think up.


  • by Colin Winters ( 24529 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @10:34AM (#720523)
    I think that this could work fairly well if it reached critical mass, but I'm worried about the security of this. Renting out your bandwith or computing power is cool, but doing so leaves huge openings for script kiddies to get in your system and root it. Hopefully some sort of extremely good security will be implemented, otherwise most of the techies who would like to use this program won't due to its security issues.

    Colin Winters
  • by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @03:08PM (#720525)
    Your proposal sounds rather interesting, but I have a few questions that haven't been raised/answered elsewhere...

    1) If someone does a complete reinstall on their computer, won't that result in the loss of the content? (I assume that you have some redundancy of data, but the more duplication, the greater the cost in mojo... - Perhaps offer redundancy for a greater cost, but the default be non redundant...)

    2) You offer 1 Million mojo for beta testers, what is to stop someone from creating numerous false beta testing accounts (say a skript kiddie installing the mojonation on rooted boxen...), and then transferring all of the mojo to his account.

    3) It would appear that your company would be in a similar position to the Federal Reserve - capable of 'printing' additional mojo, causing price inflation. What types of safety mechanisms are in place to keep you (or a clever hacker) from openning up their own 'mojo printing press'?

    4) Givin that Mojo transfers have 'float' - that is, payment is not made until a certain level of Mojo is 'owed'. Could not an individual make transfers that were only to just below the threshold, and then no longer use the services of that individual? Thus one could 'owe' 9999 to ten thousand entities, and yet only have a total of 10,000 mojo.. Or create multiple anonymous accounts that each only use 9,999 credits.

    5) Can large content easily be broken down into smaller pieces? I realize that a user could break the content apart before uploading it, but it would be nice if I could download partial content of a movie in smaller parts so that my payments are over a longer period of time.

    6) If I download content, can I then advertise that I have it available so that I can recoup some of the cost of me downloading the content?

    7) Is a method in place to 'stream' the content, if multiple users are willing to wait to download the content at the same time to reduce the cost per user and reduce the resources used by the sender?


    Tom M.
  • Content varies widely in its need for safeguarding. Obvious examples of content that needs much greater levels of redundant protection are expressions of political dissent, information about corruption in high places, key algorithms that corporations try to hide away to retain their monopolies, and content that RIAA/MPAA-type organizations want to control utterly in perpetuity.

    Yet, such items would have the same degree of protection against loss in Mojo Nation as (say) a free recipes FAQ. Surely that can't be right?

    Will there be any means of increasing the redundancy on the basis of content type in future versions? It would seem to be needed.
  • IANAL, ofcourse...

    Since there is (suppsoedly at least) the potential of cash payment, anyone breaking copyrights goes from being an amature pirate to a professional one.

    You can be liable for up to 3 times the amount you collect in damages to anyone whose works you illegally make available.

    I personally don't think this is a bad thing, but you might want to be careful of others' Copyrights when using this service.
  • In the UK if you can't both;
    • decrypt the files for the authorities, and
    • convince them you don't have the key(s)
    You go to jail. Directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not bend over to pickup the soap.

    Technophobic law makers everywhere will shut this system down, or make the population nervous enough to effectively shut it down themselves. Unless the revenue model will survive just with ISPs signing up their spare space and bandwidth you're looking at a short future with a messy end.

    That said, when cable modems appear where I'm at, and if the service agreement lets me run a "server" I might be interested in something like this if I thought the micropayments would even cover the electricity of leaving my PC on all the time. I would even consider it for work, since we have about 50 PCs with an average of 2Gig spare on their drives, but again only if the micropayments would compensate for the bandwidth (A$0.17 per MB).

  • ?/english/hse/faq.html#q18 []

    I strongly doubt they would notice... for a while. As soon as cash is involved I think the whole system may break down.

    Another thought which occurred to me is that it would be easy to greatly reduce the value of the service by an over-population of servers. If (for example) AOL puts up a gazillion server farms, you or I with our 1Mbps connections and K7-1GHz CPUs won't be able to earn anything from this, and all the information we retrieve will send micropayments to AOL. Getting paid for system resources should ideally offset the cost of the information we request.

    On the other hand, success may kill the service, but it would be cool watching it get there. I guess this whole thought could be slain by placing a stipulation in the protocol that no one body can posess more than a certain percentage of the network (or recieve a certain percentage of mojo...).

  • by Splork ( 13498 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:05AM (#720541) Homepage
    The primary resource making the market is bandwidth. Disk space comes in second. Modules for reselling CPU time for specific tasks will spring up later but are not the immediate focus of the system (seti@home, for mojo anyone?)

    Also, for any newcomers to the software, we are expecting a major new release soon that should improve the download speed from mojo nation drastically. The current sucky speed issues are completely client side due to inefficiencies in the way its current downloading code is written. We are rewriting that. :)

    Happy Mojoing!

    Greg - mojo programmer
  • by g_mcbay ( 201099 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:23AM (#720543)
    From the interview:

    Does the person who originally uploads a file to the network get paid?


    Then how do content creators get paid -- what's the incentive for them?

    You can earn revenue by publishing through a feature we haven't added yet, which is basically tipping. When you publish you can say, Here's a digital signature on this map: I published this file; this is who to give the tip to.


    Great! Another system in which the publisher (the people with the money and the big iron and bandwidth to host this stuff) rakes in the profits while content creators have to live on whatever scraps get thrown their way.

  • Back to playing Monopoly with Monopoly money

    did you miss these paragraphs?

    How does Mojo Nation and Autonomous Zone Industries make money through this process?

    As the bank, we earn a small percentage of Mojo-to-dollar transactions or dollar-to-Mojo transactions. We act as a market maker: There are some people who will end up with a surplus of Mojo -- they will contribute more than they download. There are lot of people who will end up with a deficit of Mojo. We will put the two parties together and basically let them buy and sell on our Mojo market, and we'll take a small percentage.

    At the moment it's 2 percent. It's only for dollar-to-Mojo transactions. If you put $10 of Mojo into the system and keep using it and using it, you never pay the fee.

    Looks like real money to me. Of course, I haven't seen money in a while - so you never know.


  • Ryan knows this stuff, but for those in the audience who have not been hanging out in crypto and cypherpunk circles for the last ten years:

    > Mojo Nation is from the same intellectual heritage
    > as BlackNet/Eternity/etc., but I believe the
    > foundations were laid at about the same time as
    > the others, with implementation waiting quite
    > a while for resources to be available.

    The original genesis was the "Internet is a Brown Paper Bag" system created by myself, Doug Barnes, and Jerry Porter back in Austin and presented at the HoHoCon '94 conference. Things sat around for a while because we were waiting for two things: digital cash and a raison d'etre. At the time we did this early work connectivity and storage costs were expensive and there was no digital content to speak of. The growth of broadband and flood of digital content(music, video, images, etc.) made this arena more interesting several years ago so that is why we starting talking to lawyers to see if it would be possible to actually implement some of the wacky ideas we used to have.

    A digital cash system was the sticking point. All great cypherpunk projects seem to begin with the line "when we have digital cash, we will be able to do X..." Our insight was in realizing that for a distributed system like what we really needed was a method for fairly allocating resources. We combined a cool idea to base a form of currency on payment in kind with a reputation-backed microcredit system to cut down on token clearing overhead and thus was born Mojo Nation.

    One insight that Ryan has made which I hope others pick up on is that Mojo Nation is about more than just swapping music or pushing data. We are trying to create a basic infrastructure for any kind of peer to peer transaction, we just happen to think that trust management and resource allocation are the two important problems that need to be dealt with in this space and have targetted our micropayment system in this direction.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @10:35AM (#720552) Homepage
    The more of these file-sharing systems we get, the less likely it is that they'll be shut down by "da man".
    Unfortunately, when we splinter the "file-sharing community" like this, we get divergent standards, content, and we start to lose the appeal that a system like Napster had, where EVERYBODY was on it, and nothing else, therefore, if you were looking for something in particular, a search of Napster was always your best bet. Now if you were looking for something, chances are, if it's not on Napster, it's on Gnutella, or Freenet, or . . . etc.

    Same thing happens with Online auctions. People were afraid to go to other auction houses, because Ebay had THE name. Therefore, they retain most of the business. Mindshare. It's all about mindshare.
  • Ah, yes there is a minor problem in that when you publish (do a good thing for the network as a whole) you get punished by being charged Mojo for the cost of publication. This is necessary to prevent the flooding attacks that could otherwise result from open/free publication.

    The trick we are going to use in the short-term is that when you publish blocks you first publish them to your own agent to try to get the first resale hits from the blocks. If your agent has a reputation for posting blocks which tend to get resold then it is likely that this publish-to-self option will continue to work and your agent profits from the act of putting valuable data into the system. If you agent has no reputation or a bad reputation as a publisher then this will not work and you will have to front the cost of publication yourself.

    One should also keep in mind that while we are tossing around numbers like 10,000 mojo for a publish or download these are intended to be very, very small numbers. We are hoping that publishing or downloading costs pennies per Gb as more participants join the network and competition drives down prices.

  • I guess the point is, if bandwidth becomes more valuable (as a mojo commodity), it's going to therefore become more expensive. ISP's who use their spare bandwidth will benefit, but my concern is for consumers as they relate to ISP's. You point out that ISP's will pass their costs on to users- that's exactly my fear. I'd rather not have my DSL line (which I can barely afford) triple in price.

    Then again, if there was serious demand for bandwidth, maybe it would force the physical network to grow again. But the rising costs! Ack!
  • Finally- a filesharing system that stresses the cooperative element required. However, it only provides a framework for sharing files- you have to think about where these files come from.

    Something like OpenCulture [] backed up by a file distribution system like this would be the answer everyone's looking for.
  • Will there be any means of increasing the redundancy on the basis of content type in future versions?

    Yes. As you have noticed, the filesystem is market-based so that which is most popular is the most widely replicated data. An agent in progress(the "eternity agent") will let you give it a bit of Mojo and it will run around making sure that your blocks are still available and if it finds any of of the shares are missing it will reconstruct and republish the missing shares.

    There is also a _lot_ of idle space out there. Back of the envelope predictions seem to indicate that once we pass the ignition point where the whole range of this SHA1 address space is covered in depth there will be enough spare disk blocks out there that any data which is even mildly interesting will stick around. One market opportunity for users who are sitting on lots of disk space but small connections to the net is to collect a narrow range of the filesystem but to great depth, then just charge a higher price for access to the less popular blocks.

    Oh yeah, you can also increase the number of shares for each block to whatever you want, so that downloading a particular block is a "get 32 out of 64" operation for example. The particular error correciton code we are using means that 50% is still the target for number of pieces, but by making more pieces you spread the data across more of the SHA1 address space and increase the probability that someone is online who has the share you need.

  • Just about every modern computer in the world has masses of detritus on it, huge chunks of it unattributable to anything in particular. It accumulates all the time, with each new package installed or run on your system, typically dozens to thousands of random files per year, many of them utterly opaque. You don't know what they are, and with few highly techie exceptions, nor does anybody else. (One can guess of course, but that's not the same thing as being able to prove it.) If everyone had to be able to either show the content of every file or hand over a magic cookie to render it visible, virtually the entire population of computer users would be in jail.

    Mojo Nation and other similar system now being created at an accelerating rate just add to this background of unattributable noise. If anything, you're safeguarded by design when storing their content, since in general you simply cannot know what you're storing, and you definitely don't have the key to decrypt it even if you had all the pieces, which you don't. This makes it extremely easy to state convincingly that you don't have the key, since unless you've discovered a way of ensuring that you hold all the bits and have somehow subverted the dinode encryption, you definitely won't have it. By Design is a very powerful phrase.

    In any event, this is just the start of the distributed storage revolution. In future systems you might well be able to obtain the key if you desire it --- only to find that you hold one bit of information for each of one billion files spread across 1 million hosts. A fat lot of good that will do you, or the prosecution. Welcome to the new world.
  • Ok, it seems to me that most people here envision this system as solving all the bandwidth ills by creating a barter system all the while having perfectly legal applications. The problem with this is that people are trading bandwidth that they don't really have. The only way a user can make more than the cost of the connection, is if he's using an _excessive_ share of the bandwidth where they're using more than then ISPs allows (or presumes) him to use. What's more, most ISPs are significantly oversubscribed. They depend on most users not being geeks, using only a fraction of their supposed bandwidth, and still paying for it. If everyone were to attempt to use all the bandwidth available to them, it'd be well below their expectations.

    There really isn't such a thing as "wasted" bandwidth for most every end user. One might be able to sell "his" bandwidth, without negatively impacting the status quo for other users or his ISP, but only if he takes mojo in lieu of his normal personal bandwidth consumption. Anything beyond that necessarily implies that someone else is paying for it, either the rest of the users, the ISP, or the intellectual property owners.

    Which brings me to another point. If the user is participating in a legal transfer, how could the payment possibly exceed the cost? If the only service the customer is really providing is bandwidth and nominal storage, you'd pretty much have to expect the cost of bandwidth to be higher. What value does the customer add to the transaction that the ISP cannot do, and do better (i.e., faster and more economical connections)? The only reasonable answer is _illegal goods_ (i.e., pirated stuff). If the ISP cannot partake in facilitating piracy for legal reasons, then one might expect the customer to be "adding value", to speak, which the ISP cannot.

  • by cduffy ( 652 )
    All "content-blind" means is that the security features don't watch the content, but rather proper execution of the program itself. It's really a Good Thing for a program for moving data to be content-blind; after all, the more you look at and process the data, the more opportunities there are for buffer overruns and the like.

    The "security features" which would be non-content-blind would be things like a built-in virus scanner. I don't expect such features from my mailreader; I don't expect them here either.
  • "File sharing has occupied the high moral, if not legal, ground only because no money has been involved"

    Actually, if no money is involved, it is most definitely legal. It is precisely because there is no way to pay someone using napster or gnutella that it is protected.

    You can download Title 17 of the US code and read it yourself. [] is the site I used. I printed it out using star office and left it on my toilet for a while, and read more of it each time I took a shit. It's not as hard to read as, say, the C++ standard, or something.

    Anyway, it is legal to make copies of copyrighted works if you are not selling them or using them in a business. This applies to software also.

    There was a huge propaganda campaign against the fair use of software, which managed to subtlely imply that this type of copying was illegal. Remember the "Just Say No to Software Piracy" posters in school computer labs in the 80s and early 90s ? Remember the ads in magazines ?

    If you actually go and read about the cases which came to court, almost no one has ever been sued for non-compensated software copying. All the big cases that were won in court were against people selling software, or against businesses that were using copied software. (Ok, there were a few cases were they brought charges against someone running a distribution site, and then dropped them once they had run them out of money and closed the site -- any one remember that kid at MIT who set up a server on an athena machine in W20 ? His name began with an "M" I think ?)

    This effort was pretty successful. Most people today have some sneaky feeling of guilt when they copy commercial software, even if it is for a legitimate use. This type of "thought advertisement" through propaganda and the repeated use of newspeak catch phrases (like "software piracy") was incredibly profitable -- when you think of the amounts of unneeded software purchases this dwarfs Ponzi or Teapot Dome or the russian privitazation or any of those other great ripoffs.

    But the dangerous part is that it allows laws to be made, in effect, though TV commercials instead of through our government. The idea that the artificial priviledges provided by Title 17 and Title 35 constitute "property" instead of an entitlement like social security or welfare or crop subsidies is dangerous, but the fact that such attitudes can be manufactured in the populous is more threatening.

    So I just want to urge you to refrain from casually suggesting or implying that uncompensated file sharing can be illegal. When you do that you are being used as the tool of those who would enslave you.

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @11:28AM (#720575) Homepage Journal
    They've put a lot of thought into this system. A million years or so ago I was sysop of a BBS. You had to prevent people from doing nothing but leeching or they'd tie up your phone lines and prevent other people from positively affecting your board. So Ratios had to be in place. You had to give people a default number of credits or they'd never stick around long enough to contribute. However, if you gave too many away, people
    d just d/l your best stuff and disappear. You had to make things convienent for people who wanted to contribute, and inconcienent for those who wanted to leech. The concept of Mojo is a great step in that direction.

    You give a little, you get to take a little. You give a lot, you get to take a lot. Rinse. Repeat.

  • by Crag ( 18776 ) on Monday October 09, 2000 @01:14PM (#720576)
    Short answer: people who try to make money selling bandwidth will have to pay full price for it in the first place.

    As System Administrator and part owner of, I can say we will not wig out. It's true that part of our niche is over-selling or aggregating our resources: bandwidth, phone lines, modems, disk space. We operate in a similiar way to how banks do. Banks loan out about five times as much money as they have on hand. This ratio is maintained by the government. I think it's called the "prime lending rate" or something.

    ISPs sell about 10 times as many dialups as they have modems, and likewise with bandwidth. It's true that if all our nailed-up customers used all their bandwidth we'd be in trouble. However, that doesn't mean we're going to charge EVERYONE more.

    We buy bandwidth from our provider under a contract which provides us a minimum committed data rate, and if the lowest 95% of our traffic is over that, we are charged for our overage. We can burst our connection in San Jose at 100Mbps, but as long as 95% of our traffic is under 6Mbps, we won't have any surprises on our bill.

    If one of our co-location customers uses a consistantly high amount of bandwidth, we will pass our increased costs on to that customer. If they are doing it to gain Mojo, they will probably want to sell that mojo (maybe to us?). In other words, it's the micro-payments within MojoNation that make it viable. Whereas Napster just drags down a network, prompting private and public institutions to try to block it, an increase in MojoNation traffic is accompanied with an increase in Mojo, and therefore a means for compensating all parties effected.

    Most likely, as an ISP, we will be one of the early adoptors and pushers of MojoNation. It will allow us to sell bandwidth and disk space we haven't committed to our official customers yet, which will decrease waste within our company. If our MojoNation agents use too much CPU or disk space, we'll just increase our agent pricing.
  • Great. There's no possibility that those using this service are legally protected, because it adds a profit motive to its "information sharing". Now the RIAA will be going after YOU, not Shawn Fanning's uncle. Even if courts rule that Napster is legal, this service doesn't have a prayer.

  • If you can't know that it's stolen and thus have no reasonable cause to believe that it's stolen, good luck finding any jury which will demand anything more than return of the stolen property. Oh, wait. The owner still has it.

    [No, I don't mean to say that copyright violation is acceptable. I'm just saying that in the stolen-car thing, return of the property is all that would be required under the circumstances outlined above -- but that's hardly appropriate here. So maybe your analogy isn't quite appropriate].
  • The voluntary part is our (still hidden from the UI and non-operational in Beta) PayLars function. This will let a user send a tip to the registered publisher and/or digital rights holder for a particular piece of data. That publisher/creator then converts this Mojo to dollars (or euros or cowrie shells depending on the local cost of a double espresso) or they can use it to make the cost of their next publication and content distribution cheap or even free.

    You always have to pay for the download. That is the cost of getting service. Once you have the data things are a little fuzzier. If Sony wants to distributed a bunch of files locked up using InterTrust boxes then we work just great for moving the data efficiently. If the content escapes into "the wild" we still offer a backup solution. We also offer a solution to those who are not big name artists and who can't necessarily get Akamai to return their phone calls and who aren't willing to sell the car to pay for an InterTrust distribution license.

    We know that this is not a final solution, but we are trying to keep future options open. If a good digital rights management solution is developed that people think is fair and just then we are ready. If nothing happens then we are still ready, albeit with a less optimal solution. If anyone else has a suggestion let us know and we will try to include it.

    The only
  • I already replied to this once, but slashdot seems to have eaten that post -- whatever.

    "In many countries there is a legal difference, a bit like the difference between a user who shares with friends and a pusher that sells on the street."

    In the United States, the difference is like the difference between stealing something and not stealing something. One is against the law, the other is not. If you don't charge money to copy files, or don't do it as part of a business, it is completely legal. You don't have to believe an unknown poster on slashdot; you can download Title 17 of the United States code and read it for yourself. It is available from the House of Representatives web site, amoung other places.

    ". . . no difference to the fact that you have a copy of Douglas Adams' work and he hasn't been paid for it."

    You are simply wrong here, and you have to go read the law for yourself and see. Copyright law simply doesn't guarantee that Douglas Adams gets paid for every copy of his work that comes into existence; it gives him other, more limited, and more enforceable, rights.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong