Judiciary Committee To Quiz Justin.tv About Live Streaming, Piracy And Sporting Events
from the this-won't-end-well dept
A year ago, we noted that the rise of Justin.tv and other “live streaming” services was going to put some pressure on things like exclusive “broadcasting” deals for sporting events. Already, some sports leagues have threatened live streaming sites. For the most part, rather than looking for ways to use this to their advantage and to recognize that fans are helping promote these events, the sports leagues have been freaking out, because all they see is that multi-million dollar exclusive broadcasting rights contracts may be harder to come by.
And, when big entertainment operations feel threatened, who do they turn to? Congress of course. The House Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing about “piracy” of live sporting events, and have asked the CEO of Justin.tv to come defend himself. This will not end well. These sorts of hearings are not about actually hearing all sides of an issue to better understand them. They’re usually for show, so that some politicians can scold some company they don’t like, and then push legislation forward that favors their campaign supporters.
Justin.tv should have a clear DMCA defense here — and that’s what the company appears to be planning to express. But, my guess is that Congress won’t care very much. Rather than differentiate between users and platforms or technologies, they’ll claim that this is “A Problem” that needs to be “Solved.”
But is it really? The ability to “live stream” is something that’s almost entirely brand new, and it really does change the way people can interact. But, live streaming will almost always create some sort of “copyright infringement” or “piracy,” which suggests the real problem isn’t with live streaming, but with copyright laws. The sports leagues and entertainment companies are freaked out for the same reason they’re always freaked out. This new technology, which allows many wonderful things, also takes away their control, and it’s that control that they use to set up artificial barriers, which is what they use to claim monopoly rents. Basically, their markets are being changed by new technologies, and rather than realizing there are ways to embrace that, they instead are running to Congress to try to break the technology.