Google Vs Viacom

This is one story which has not been getting nearly enough publicity. Which is suprising, it seems to have been going on for a while.
Cut a long story short: Viacom tried to sue Youtube owners’ Google for $1 billion due to copywrite issues.

What happens, is that on youtube, as most know, people upload videos of things they like. So that would mean South Park snippets and clips from The Hills, would be shared by kids, and Viacom would take them down. Simples you would think, right? Wrong!

Who Are They?

Viacom are a huge corporation, which owns many brands, such as Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Spike TV, Paramount Pictures, Nikelodeon, Neopets, and many more well know brands.

Google is primarily a search engine, which is the most used search engine on the Web. Google also provides an online office suite called Google.docs, and owns, video sharing site, Youtube,

What Happened?

Well, as said above Viacom accused Youtube of knowingly uploading copywrited material, and then profiting from it. Youtube says this did not happen, as there was no way they could moniter ALLLLL the content that gets uploaded. This all happened in 2007, when Viacom said that 16, 000 videos had infringed their copywrite and were deleted. It has since been said that:

1) only 3,000 videos included copywrite infringement, as it is stated by US law

2)almost 120,000 videos were infact removed by Viacom.

Anyways in 2007 Viacom started procedures to sue Google for $1,000,000,000, because of the damage this infringement had.

And now?

There is no love lost at all between Google and Viacom. In 2008, MTV.com posted almost every music video ever made onto its site, an obvious attempt to get Googles back up. This kind of failed, as to date, Youtube is still the most popular way to watch music videos.

So other than music videos, what else is Youtube reknown for? Viral videos. You know, the videos that you revieve in emails, and are posted on every site under the sun. The one that has about 22 million views? Yep, that one. These viral videos are (as in still happening) stolen from youtube, and magically appear on Spike.com. Spike is another video sharing site, which also shows premium content such as UFC events, but this site is owned by Viacom. Well, the videos appear on Spike as being embed, which is when you can post the whole video on a site. Now, Youtube has no issue with this, in fact it promotes sharing videos in this way. The only rules are, that you cannot edit the HTML code, because the video MUST link back to Youtube (fair enough). Well when the Youtube video appears on Spike, it DOES NOT link back to youtube. These are popular actual youtube videos just embed onto Spike, and there are no link backs at all, or any credit to the original video’s maker. So therefore, this breaks Youtubes T&Cs, and the original author is NEVER notified.

Note: in Spike.com T&Cs they say EVERY VIDEO is checked before it is posted.
So how can Viacom cry about Copywrite, when they dismiss others’ rights so willingly?

And, this does go into somewhat murkier waters. There is proof from various Youtube users, saying that there are fake Youtube channels set up, where they post things such as South Park clips. They then block their own clips. Why? To show that Youtube is allowing copywrited material onto their site. It is a very mean trick. And basically attempting to use dirty tricks, to sink Youtube and Google.

But that’s not all, now other ‘powers-that-be’ from the internet, have sided with Google in this battle. Yep, usually they may not be best of friends, but Facebook, Yahoo, ebay and IAC (InterActiveCorp) have all sided with Google. Basically saying that if Viacom are successful in sueing Google, it will effect the freedom of the internet. This has to be a good side, as I do believe that this will hopefully stop this war.

Digital Economy Act- bad times.

Soooo…as you may have gathered from my last blog, if I have no college info to report, I am posting my random finds from the interwebs. I suppose the reason I am starting that, is because I spend a lot of time looking for news stories which I find of interest. So for every blog, I don’t have any college things to report, I will post some news, something which I value as important, so it will either be comic books, music or technology. đŸ˜›

A big SERIOUS news story is the UK government passing the Digital Economy Act, where it deals with ‘copywrite issues in a modern society’. The main points of this Act is that if there are repeated infringements on copywrite, after warnings from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) people can be cut off from the interwebs. This is a serious issues as if you get accusations, and your connection gets stopped, will it stop you from getting access with another provider? This could end up like some sort of quality check, and I can see ISPs profiteering on people with a poor history, where they have been banned by a provider.

This is a very serious concern, as there has already been numerous cases where innocent people have been threatened with court orders, after a company accuses them of illegal file sharing. Now, my stance is, if the method of ‘catching’ people is not efficient, how can a bill be passed to give the people who use these methods more power? It just doesn’t make sense. People are becoming nervous. Broadband  connections ARE NOT 100% hack-proof. Even with a password protected connection, people can still find a way to gain access. Now if these people, using your connection unauthorised, do something illegal and get caught. Its you as the account holder who will get penalised. Security needs to improve on routers, and detection methods need to be more solid, for this act to be a success.

Now the big thing that bothered me with this Act was Clause 43, which was for Photography, and that if the author of a particular image could not be contacted, then the image can be used anyway. This raised fears that someone would find a picture on Google, and simply say ‘I couldn’t find the author’ and they could use the image. This was dropped last-minute out of the bill, and will presumably get put through Parliament again once normality has resumed after the 6th May election.

It is very concerning that this bill was pushed through, just before parliament was dissolved for the election.  It is a bill which affects every person in the UK with an internet connection, and yet the majority of MPs were not present to vote on whether the bill should pass into law. This sneaked through, as if it was forced. And the media is making more fuss over Google, Microsoft and Facebook. This act was not publicised, because there would be an almighty backlash about it. Most of the MPs were working on how to start their campaigns for the General Election, rather than supporting something which could affect even themselves.

Without a foolproof method of detecting the law breakers, this act should NEVER have seen the light of day.

So, a rather serious blog, but I feel that everyone who has an issue with this Act needs to raise their concerns. We live in a democracy, where people can no longer be bothered to fight for their rights. This act should have been postponed till AFTER the election, it should not have been rushed through, like it was.

Read more about the Digital Economy Act 2010-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/apr/08/digital-economy-bill-passes-third-reading

O2’s reaction http://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk/news/20100412-o2-speaks-out-against-luddite-digital-economy-bill

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/09/digital-economy-bill-backlash

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8603285.stm

I know this act was passed last week, but when candidates come knocking on your door ask why they allowed this to go through. Ask them why they didn’t vote. I have already contacted my MP Willie Rennie about this, and will say if he decides to reply. I am not holding my breath.