Stupid, Antiquated German Regulations Mean Germans Couldn't Watch Our Google Hangout With Rob Reid Yesterday

from the stupid-regulations dept

Yesterday we did our live streaming interview with Rob Reid about his book, Year Zero, which was a lot of fun. During the course of the video, we discovered (via some tweets) that people in Germany were blocked from watching. As I said in the video, I assumed that this was part of the dispute in Germany between YouTube & GEMA, the German collection society that is demanding huge fees for any music that is played on YouTube. Because — unlike every other major collection society — GEMA had refused to come to the table to negotiate a license, YouTube ended up pulling basically all music videos in Germany. I thought perhaps something related to that was why Google Hangouts weren’t allowed. Though, I couldn’t figure out how that made sense, since we weren’t playing any music (Rob’s offer to sing, notwithstanding).

However, as pointed out by Ruquay K Calloway, the actual story may be more bizarre. While YouTube has been rightfully proud of launching Hangouts On Air (the feature we used to broadcast live) worldwide, Germany is actually missing from the big list.

It turns out that it may be a different ridiculous regulation, however. There’s an old “broadcasting law” in Germany that was put on the books decades ago to stop pirate TV stations. And it says you can’t broadcast to more than 500 people without a special license. And, because that’s impossible for every one-off person seeking to use a tool like Hangouts on Air, it appears that Hangouts On Air is just off-limits in Germany. So, I’m sorry for all the Germans who wanted to watch the video live, but perhaps an effort should be made to wipe that silly rule off the books already.

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Comments on “Stupid, Antiquated German Regulations Mean Germans Couldn't Watch Our Google Hangout With Rob Reid Yesterday”

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Digger says:

It's not broadcasting on the internet... not by a long shot

Besides, on the internet, it’s not broadcasting – that requires radiowaves. Each and every viewer has their own pipeline to receive the message. Each and every viewer is receiving that message directly, not addressed to anyone else.

The Germans would not be violating the law because each and every person viewing is getting their own private channel – so for all intents and purposes, every viewer is getting a privately customized show. (look at the packets, each with different originating headers, session numbers, destinations, etc – every packet is unique for each viewer)…

Rather silly that no one else has come up with this technical exception…

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