DVD delivery service Netflix is taking yet another step towards home ubiquity, by announcing another Blu-ray player/streaming integration deal, this time with Samsung. Owners of the two latest Samsung players, the BD-P2550 and BD-P2500, can upgrade their player at no cost (the boxes already have ethernet connectivity).
The bottom line is this: single function boxes are on their way out. In fact, only two boxes, the Slingbox and the Nintendo Wii, actually serve value as standalones due to their unique functionality. The new Tivos replace your cable box by using cable cards, the Playstation 3 is a game platform, a Blu-ray player and a streaming device. Oh, and hard drive equipped Wii’s are beginning to circulate as retail demonstration devices, and Sling/set top box integration is an inevitability given last year’s acquisition by The Dish Network.
The short end of the stick? That would go to second tier movie channels, such as Cinemax, Starz, The Movie Channel and Encore, who are seeing their value proposition to the consumer deteriorate rapidly. Whereas HBO and Showtime have high quality original programming (in HD), the only thing the others have going for them to warrant $5-$7 per month is the customer too busy or lazy to call their cable/satellite provider and cancel, especially with Starz and Encore streaming free on Netflix.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has come out in support of the McCain camp’s attempt to pressure YouTube to exempt campaign ads from takedown notices. The brunt of their complaint is two-fold: first, that they are limiting free speech on the internet, especially given that not all of the clips being taken down are in violation of copyright and may fall under fair use, and second, that even if the clips are restored to the site, it takes too long to do so.
Now, we’re all for free speech. Free speech is a wonderful, wonderful thing. But…
In some of the cases the McCain camp mentioned, they are not protected by “Fair Use”, and the McCain camp’s general counsel, Trevor Potter, needs to actually read the Fair Use guidelines. In his letter to YouTube (warning: .pdf link), Potter states “The uses at issue are the inclusion of fewer than ten seconds…”
That the amount of material used, in an absolute sense, is a common misconception of Fair Use. In fact, the Copyright Office states on their own website, “There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.” The other claim made by the McCain camp, is that the uses are “Non-commercial and transformative,” which would support its argument that the usage of the footage is fair use under the first criteria, which examines “the purpose and character of the use.”
At times, however, the uses have been transformative in a way that makes the usage exactly the opposite of fair use. Beyond the theory that the use is non-commercial, which, given that this is a campaign for the highest office in the land, is thoroughly debatable, the problem is, especially in the Couric example, that what is being transformed is the context and meaning of the clip. If a clip of Katie Couric was used that said, “The Obama campaign is launching sexist attacks against Sarah Palin”, then great, throw it in the ad, call it fair use, and run it. But, when the clip used intentionally misdirects the viewer into thinking that the above is true, even though the original segment does not, then the character of the use is flawed.
Finally, copyright holders need to be able to act first, ask questions later, when they believe their rights are being infringed, regardless of the fact that sometimes they are wrong, and sometimes they act in bad faith. The burden of proof should not be on the copyright holders, especially when there is a perfectly acceptable means of remedy if the claim is unfounded, because those most likely to suffer are the small content producers and artists who don’t have the financial or legal resources to support their rights in a content “democracy”.
It’s hard to describe the impact that Jonah Bokaer has had on the dance world over the last nine years. It’s not just the awards, the innovation, or the critical acclaim. As such, its harder to describe our joy at adding him to our growing list of content partners. We’re proud to announce that The Invention of Minus One, False Start, and Underscribble will be coming to TenduTV.
Here’s what some had to say about the works coming to TenduTV:
Also, those of you in Houston will be able to see the pieces performed live at DiverseWorks on November 7th 21st and 22nd. Mr. Bokaer will also be there for a week-long residence working with local dancers.
Not surprising. (Warning: link opens a .pdf)
Next Wednesday (October 22), the Metropolitan Opera will begin streaming performances online, on a pay per view and subscription basis.
Of course, we love the idea, and wish them nothing but success. We do see their approach as a mixed bag, however.
On the plus side, they’re using the Move Networks player. Regardless of the occasional glitch that will inevitably happen when live streaming an event, we have been undoubtedly impressed with Move’s solutions, and consider their player to be the best on the market. Hands down.
On the down side, we hate that they’re calling it HD. Just because something is 1920 X 1080, doesn’t mean its in HD. Sure, it might be plausably HD quality on a 13″ screen, but try porting it to a 40″ and watch the pixels magically appear. Let me reiterate: there is no true HD streaming.
More important will be the portability of the content. Will it be downloadable? Can a business traveler burn the performances to a disc or hard drive, and bring them on a plane? How good will the music quality be, really?
We’re hopeful for the Met’s success in this endeavor, yet cautious in our optimism.
The McCain campaign has petitioned YouTube for special treatment related to copyright infringement and videos the campaign posts on the web. Both the McCain and Obama camps frequently post copywritten material onto YouTube from other sources, such as newscasts and interviews. Just as frequently, the copyright holders have the material removed. Video sharing sites such as YouTube are obligated to remove content upon notification in order to ensure that they maintain safe harbor under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
Two questions arise. First, is the use of the material “fair use”? If it is, the McCain camp can petition to have the clip reinstated, but that can take several weeks. In some cases, the use of the clips could constitute fair use, because it could potentially be argued that they are being used for commentary or discourse, and that they are not damaging the ability of the copyright owner to monetize the work. However, given that the McCain camp previously used a Katie Couric segment from the primary season and made it seem as if it were current, the networks may have good cause to shoot first, ask questions later.
Second, will YouTube (or the actions of its users) unintentionally squash “fair use” in the future? The bottom line is that because YouTube has had, intended or no, so much infringing material on its site, that copyright owners have become very efficient at having potentially infringing content removed. 99% of the time, the takedown is fully warranted. But what about the times when the material posted does qualify as “fair use”? Understandably, neither CBS, nor any other rationally functioning media business, have any interest in allocating legal resources to listen to fair use arguments from YouTube users. Sure, maybe the networks are morally wrong to get in the way of fair use, but it is equally wrong of consumers to have an expectation that they can waste another company’s corporate resources.
Best solution? Networks make key clips available under a short-term public use license (not Creative Commons, for reasons too long to get into here), and pull them after the election.
One more way to watch TenduTV on your home television (as soon as we deliver our content to Sling, that is).
The highly-respected RAND Corporation recently released a document discussing how to stem the declines in consumer demand for the arts. Not to sound all Joe-Biden-Loving-and-Respecting-John-McCain, but RAND does have great thinkers on the payroll.
Unfortunately, in this case, the great thinking isn’t worth the time its taking to write this entry. Basically (cue violins), the conclusion is that in order to cultivate demand, we, as a society, must do more to fund more arts education. Yes, this makes sense, and we don’t dispute that education breeds familiarity, which in turn breeds liking. But, its more of what the study omits that makes us glad no trees were killed in order for us to read it.
In 150 pages, the word:
“digital” appears twice
“internet” appears five times
“online” appears thirteen times (five times in footnotes, and the rest in relation to surveys or courses)
“website” isn’t found at all
We’re in the midst of the biggest change in how people and organizations communicate with one another, and everything related to that change is completely ignored. Incredible.
The business model for arts and culture is changing in exciting and innovative ways. Arts and cultural organizations need to look forward, not back.