p2pnet.net news special:- Last year MyBloop went online more as an exploratory project, a prototype, than anything else.
Now it’s back, and it’s here to stay, say (left to right) Angel Leon, Eugene Kim, Yacine Benzine, Ethan Lu, Fitim Blaku, Cristian Radu and Francis Ho, the multi-national team behind it.
Users can upload, and share, an unlimited number of files, listen to music, create playlists, back up files —- and there’s nothing to download or install.
They have total control of personal data and can keep private information from prying eyes, promises the group.
p2pnet spoke with Leon, whom we already knew through his connection with the FrostWire team, members of the LimeWire open-source community who decided to go their own way with a free, non-profit and independent p2p application when LimeWire started filtering content on Gnutella.
p2pnet: Aren’t you afraid you’ll have the entertainment cartels breathing heavily down your necks, accusing you of facilitating illegal file sharing?
Leon: More and more Internet users are beginning to realize that they should be allowed to share their files however and whenever they choose to. The entertainment industry has been holding back innovation in file sharing for nearly a decade. People have always shared their files, but they’ve mainly been doing it the tedious way; through email or file transfers over IM. The more technologically inclined have relied on FTP or newsgroups, to name a few.
But really, there’s no central place on the Internet which gives these users all the storage and other tools they need to share and backup files easily. That’s where MyBloop.com comes in.
It’s important to mention that we abide by all international laws. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act gives us the right, by law, to run this website. Copyrighted content is taken out when get a DMCA takedown request from the copyright holder.
p2pnet: Why are you offering this service?
Leon: There’s no easy way to send a bunch of files to someone. Often, many of us wish we had access to our own files from any computer with an internet connection. MyBloop offers the platform, the service, the community and the features people have come to expect from a great file sharing website.
p2pnet: Where are you located?
Leon: We’re located in New York, but we’ve incorporated in New Jersey.
p2pnet: Do people simply upload files, and if they do, aren’t they inviting unwanted attention from the entertainment cartels? And what about downloading?
Leon: No one can “download” someone else’s music files through our site. Users can only download music they’ve uploaded themselves. This makes MyBloop a great way to backup files. Anyone can listen to another MyBloop user’s music through their web browser with MyBloop’s Flash Player.
Users can also make playlists with other users’ songs, but we prevent and are against the actual downloading of music, as was made famous by Napster. Moreover, any user can choose to make any or all of their files private. MyBloop encourages users to share their files, but we also fully respect people’s privacy.
p2pnet: Are you talking about any files, or purely independent files which aren’t tied down by copyright?
Leon: Users can upload any type of file and uploads as many files as they want. If someone wants to upload a new album by BeyoncÃ© they purchased online, or a song they ripped from a CD they bought, they just mark it as a “Private” file once it’s uploaded. This will ensure only the user who uploaded it can access the file. Then that user can decide whether or not to share the private link.
This ensures they’re never held liable for copyright violations, because they’ll be the only user with access to it.
p2pnet: If copyrighted files are involved, do you have agreements with any of the corporate entertainment companies?
Leon: We only have agreements with our users. It’s really their call on what they decide to share, though we do moderate the site. However we’re open to talking to entertainment companies if they want to freely distribute promotional material from their artists. We’re also interested in helping independent artists, and we always accept Creative Common-based playlists. Major labels and independent artists can create an account in MyBloop, make a playlist with promotional music, and talk to us to promote their playlist with links to buy the music on iTunes, MP3.com, etc.
p2pnet: Will you ultimately charge fees, or in some way bundle MyBloop with advertisements?
Leon: Our main service will always remain free. We’re really trying to provide a service that would normally cost users a lot of money if they went anywhere else. The site is driven solely by targeted advertising at this point. We have plans to eventually introduce premium accounts, but right now we’re focusing solely on perfecting the free service.
p2pnet: People have to sign up to use MyBloop, giving their ages, sex, home country and email address. How safe will this information be?
Leon: If you want to just listen to music and browse files, you don’t have to register at all. If you want to start sharing files, we ask you to create an account. We ask for an email address to make contact with you and in the event that you forget your password. We ask for the country you’re located in because we will be expanding to data centers in other countries, and when you download a file, MyBloop will serve the file from the location that’s closest to you. Age is used for filtering adult content from underage users. To prevent showing unrelated, annoying banner ads, the age and gender are also used for showing targeted ads in the future.
No personally identifiable information will ever be shared with, or sold to, a third party.
p2pnet: You say, “You are given complete control, enabling you to easily hide personal documents from public viewing.” How does that work?
Leon: After creating an account, you can access the My Files page and set any file as “Private”. The file will be removed from the search engine and all public listings (top files, new files, etc).
The only way someone else can access the file is if the file’s original owner gives them the URL.
p2pnet: I see you have a bunch of football files online right now. Are you targeting the sports videos in particular, or is this just coincidence?
Leon: Just a coincidence. We’ve got some sports enthusiasts who must have found out how easy it is to share their files on MyBloop.
Fitim Blaku started developing the first version of MyBloop, which only supported pictures, in 2006. He recruited friends of his to help develop and grow the service, which now supports music playlists, videos and every single type of file.
Ethan Lu worked with Fitim and Eugene Kim, re-vamping the core code and database architecture. His main project is developing a new file-browsing interface for the site: Bloop Explorer.
Eugene Kim is from Uzbekistan and has experience in client and server side programming in different programming languages. He linked up with the MyBloop team early on and currently leads the development of the flash uploader and classic uploader.
Angel Leon is a Venezuelan software engineer who, after working for LimeWire.com, moved over to Flycell.com, at the same time, starting the FrostWire development in his spare time for fun. He met Blaku and Lu at his day job and after sharing bite to eat on Broadway, decided their mutual interest in file sharing was worth taking several important steps further.
“I tried MyBloop.com and I wasn’t going to let the chance of being part of something so important go away,” he says. Currently designing and developing the MyBloop API and a top secret project with Francis and Fitim. He’s also a podcaster under the pseudonym of Gubatron and will try to make MyBloop.com a great tool for the podcasting community.
From Romania, Cristian Radu met Fitim and the rest of the group while he was working for New York advertising company. He, too, fell in love with the concept and started helping out on the development side. He’s urrently working on new version of the Bloop Player (Flash Music Player).
Yacine Benzine was born in Algeria and also has French citizenship. His family lived in Ethiopia full while before moving to New York city when he was 11. Benzine focuses on the business, marketing and financial and of MyBloop.
“After years of working on mind numbing web applications and treading the intricate mine fields of office politics, joining MyBloop’s development team was a great substitution for overdosing on Prozac,” says Francis Ho, only partially joking. He’s working on new features for the website and the MyBloop API, as well as heavily cloaked secret project also involving Leon and Blaku.
started filtering content – October 13, 2005
If your Net access is blocked by government restrictions, try Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Go here for the official download, and here for details. And if you’re Chinese and you’re looking for a way to access independent Internet news sources, try Freegate, the DIT program written to help Chinese citizens circumvent web site blocking outside of China. Download it here.
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Tired of being treated like a criminal? They depend on you, not the other way around. Don’t buy their ‘product’. Do bug your local politicians. Use emails, snail-mail, phone calls, faxes, IM, stop them in the street, blog. And if you’re into organizing, organize petitions, organize demonstrations and then turn up on your local political rep’s doorstep, making sure you’ve contacted your local tv/radio station/newspaper in advance. Don’t just complain. Do something!