an image of an eye glowing green...

0wn yourself


google stands up to viacom

google is being sued over youtube, which they bought to go along with their google video project.

viacom is blaming google for all of the copyrighted material that's made it onto youtube (not to mention pretty much every other media sharing site on the internet).

google says they can't be held responsible for the actions of their users without taking away all of the good, legitimate uses of the youtube service as well. they also are pointing out the differences between this situation and the filesharing case that got shot down by the supreme court (saying that it's different because the file sharing services were encouraging users to disseminate copyrighted materials, while youtube offers 'substantial non-infringing use'.

this case is both interesting and important for a number of reasons.

it's interesting because viacom's going after the biggest dog first. if they win this case, you can bet that it'll be open season on all of the other video distribution services.

the new media distribution outlets the internet provides people with an unprecedented capacity to share information and communicate. the resulting side effect of this is that media distribution industries (yes, entire industries) are basically no longer necessary (or even desired, depending on where you're standing).

media channels have pretty much always been out of the hands of mortals. new technologies are either prohibitively expensive or they're locked down by big business or the law as soon as they pop up.

new media tech scares the bejeezus out of those in control of current media outlets--printing presses, radio, tv, cd's, dvd's--they've all been held tightly under the control of a few major powers (at least at first).

and as new developments occur, those in power (seeing a possible end to that power) have responded to defend themselves. they've had an amazing amount of legal pull over the years, as well.

the internet supersedes all the previous forms of media transmission all at once. print, audio, and video can be combined in powerful new ways, and then transmitted across the globe very rapidly, and to more than one end point.

all without the help from any 'distribution industry'--except the internet infrastructure itself.

even looking specifically at this case--youtube is not really the issue, here. take the youtube infrastructure out of the equation--all they are really doing is making it easier to distribute media by giving you one centralized location to upload stuff and find stuff. that doesn't change the fact that the internet inherently has this ability.

without sites like youtube, one can still broadcast pretty much any information they have available to just about anywhere else on the internet. this just isn't going to go away.

if viacom does win this case (and even if they go after every other utube-style video sharing service out there, this still doesn't change the fact that the internet still has the built-in ability to move information from any point on the net to any (other number of) point(s) rapidly and efficiently.

the bittorrent protocol can more or less replace the distribution infrastructure that google's video service provides (by using the bandwidth of those participating in the downloads (and incidentally adds a kind of natural moderation--it's easier and faster to get the more popular files in a bittorrent swarm), and as far as providing a centralized place to find all the torrents in the first place, we've only to look at existing tracker sites--frequently, they are hosted in countries where the laws don't protect copyrights (or, as an alternative, could be hosted through privacy obfuscation filter services--i.e. tor/privoxy or things like project freenet).

i hope it doesn't ever come to this, but if it does, the internet is ready.

as far as i can tell, the only way to combat these forms of obfuscation would be to look at a large enough section of the internet (all at once) to see where things go in, and where those things come back out--you can't track info as it makes all the hops.

god, this situation is a mess.

this whole free speech/fair use/intellectual property thing is about to explode. people have realized that large portions of the media industry are basically no longer needed. they're essentially middlemen, which the internet very effectively replaces.

the trouble is that these industries (or rather the few people running them) can see this predicament as well, and they don't want to fade into extinction. thus, they're going to do whatever it takes to ensure their survival.

the trouble with _that_ is twofold--they don't seem to care _how_ their survival is maintained, just so long as it is, and they also seem to be very good at getting laws passed. laws which benefit them, not the citizens.

so, i'm not necessarily sure what the best solution is, but i can see all this coming on the horizon and it scares me. at a time when technology puts us in touch with people and information which has never before been possible, when technology should be making our lives easier (making way for more time to explore and tinker with these vast amounts of information and meet these diverse people), a time that should be the beginning of the new renaissance, we're too busy working our asses off to 'make a living'.

i'm sure i'll continue this as time goes by, but i need to stop before i get further off on my tangent here. in the mean time, google, we'll be with you, and to you media bullies, we'll still be here, ready for whatever happens.

in the words of jello biafra--become the media....


0wn yourself

No comments: