Friday, February 12, 2010

The Web Doesn't Need More DRM, DMCA or ACTA Bad Cop Routine (updated - new link)

After some articles are put to bed at FilterBlogs they get a Posthumous Longtail Aperitif - links to related articles published after my original post. Towards a better user experience for you, the reader.

Longtail Aperitif: Roger Ebert rages against takedowns of his Siskel tribute
From Boing Boing By Cory Doctorow at 11:38 PM February 19, 2010

"That's where to go here in Toronto for boot legs of everything you can imagine, even $100 Million new releases - sometimes before they're in theatres - an underground economy probably run by the Triads or the Chinese mob; that's at Spadina and Dundas - anywhere along there."

Today a Tweet from The Electronic Frontiers Foundation (the good people setting precedents towards citizens internet rights) reminded me that I've been meaning to get angry about the increasing incidence of take downs of user generated content around the web.

Hem hem. So here goes...

I've added a Tag to this Blog: "TakeDowns".

It's Time to start recording the litany of carnage wrought by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - and it's international version, the up and coming Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) - to user generated content on the web. That list will be the FilterBlog tag "TakeDowns".

It's not as easy as it would seem. I want people to care enough about this content being destroyed, to do something about it; write their member of Parliament, their Congressman, bring pressure to bear that will stop the process - and then reverse it. But to point to something that is now gone that I might convince you it was worth having is a problem.

I was thinking therefore I will just tell you about the wonderful Chromalias Channel on Youtube which was 'disappeared' earlier this month. Chromalias had seven Channels, one for each season of "Star Trek Voyager" Series (the state of the art of the franchise in my opinion). Every episode tastefully edited and laid out according to their original air dates.

A better ad for Paramount Pictures there could not be. Now an equally bad campaign for Paramount, and a move that will cost a lot more to fix than sales lost due to people watching medium quality copies, whenever they felt like it, on their desktop PC.

A community formed around Chromalias Channel that Paramount Pictures has alienated.

Chromalias would respond to comments regularly; we all thought it was a really cool place. There's nothing sexier than a Alpha-Girl geek running a community on the internet. You felt good in there; and not too many jerks came by at all.

The videos were not in that new HD Youtube is pushing - they were just good enough for a desk top sized monitor.

I'm sure someone will replace Chromalias now that she's gone - and they'll put up episodes in super-high-definition, good enough for a wall sized flat screen TV - and good enough to sell in Chinatown.

(That's where to go here in Toronto for boot legs of everything you can imagine, even $100 Million new releases - sometimes before they're in theatres - an underground economy probably run by the Triads or the Chinese mob; that's at Spadina and Dundas - anywhere along there.)

With-in the DMCA and the coming ACTA laws it is the responsibility of the Internet Service Providers (ISP's) and the application owners to enforce copyright complaints. So when a Youtube user uploads a video of say, "Star Trek the Original Series" and Paramount's Sumner Redstone claims this is a copyright violation, his lawyers send a notice to the ISP - in my neighbourhood that's Rogers Communications Inc.. Rodgers lawyers then send a note to Youtube that says this or that URL has uploaded 'x' episode of Paramounts property with out written permission. After as much dithering as their lawyers say they can get away with, Youtube pulls the account and for example, "Chromalias's Channel" disappears - like this:

Law makers and legacy brands need to get with the Web 2.0 program. In the future (now) content production will be paid for through the box office and a small tax on ISP's.

Counterfeiters producing mass copies of first run movies can easily be shut down. There are only a few copy factories in the world, crack down on them, regulate them, whatever.

But stop terrorizing ipodsters listening to low quality mp3 versions of formula, industrially produced crap. Stop depressing geeks watching Star Trek and music lovers listening to low quality videos of their favourite bands.

This is just weird. As I posted earlier in a FilterBlogs post, "Youtube: Betcha George Orwell Didn't See This Metric Coming!" there is no reason for it. It is a pious self-hatred directed outwards, a fascism that starts innocently in a lawyers office and become an addiction to sadism, an inquisition, that eventually invokes a dark ages.

STOP IT! (and go to your room.)

Concentrate instead on selling high quality music with-in branding strategies that use social tools and networked communities. Accompany this with a re-newing the corporate vision through the investment in the high quality sound systems of the future and then buying into ISP's. This is the future, and it's really close.

Many majors are starting to embrace network marketing. A good example is John Battelle's "Federated Media". They're embracing the blogosphere and aggregating sellers to the blogs particular traffic in a subtle, creative way for all parties concerned. As the site says, "a three way partnership." The company employes a leading edge professional understanding of Web 2.0, quality people who have experience in both styles of marketing, and a measurable metric. In my reading at Federated Media I see a scalable process that can serve even the largest companies on a global scale as the web as platform evolves.

Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media said in the beginning of 2009 in a piece entitled Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On:

"When we started the Web 2.0 events, we stated that "the Web is a platform." Since then, thousands of businesses and millions of lives have been changed by the products and services built on that platform.

But 2009 marks a pivot point in the history of the Web. It’s time to leverage the true power of the platform we’ve built. The Web is no longer an industry unto itself – the Web is now the world."

The web as a tool to market directly in appropriate social spaces has developed more quickly than I had imagined when I read that last year. The recession in large part, has propelled ad dollars away from ebbing institutions and strategies at a time of flux - towards new and promising vistas which have been apparent for many years. As author William Gibson said loosely paraphrased, 'The future is here, we need now to spread it around'.

We don't need to hedge with a DRM, DMCA or ACTA bad cop routine - which is bad for brands and the political landscape as well - we do need is to embrace the future of the web.

Please all, let's lift our collective heads from the graves and see the sun coming up. :)

Gee, I just can't get angry about this stuff - it's just art. Everyone has some in them, even Sumner Redstone.

(And besides I can watch Voyager on about seven other channels in the web.)

This tag will continue to report on "TakeDowns" in social spaces. If you have any news in this regard, please drop me a line.

TechDirt post: "Google's Latest Music Blog Kerfuffle Highlights Problems With The DMCA:"

EFF Twitter post

Federated Media Icon re-purposed from an Image at


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