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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Aug 10th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Just how many people were watching the video, by the way? I watched, and there were only a few questions, so is that indicative of the audience size? Was it less than 500?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 9:43pm

      Re:

      Probably about as many viewers as there were commenters on the article. Mike isn't exactly CwF with his book club and Step Two related programs.
      Unless its the latest conspiracy theory, report of the sky falling or manufactured outrage- Techdirtbag Nation seems manifestly unengaged.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Aug 13th, 2012 @ 12:27am

      Re:

      It's possible that it doesn't matter how many viewers there actually were. There's always the *potential* for more than 500 viewers with any such online broadcast, so maybe it's blocked by default rather than suddenly becoming illegal when the 501st viewer logs in.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    ricebowl (profile), Aug 10th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Well, wow...

    perhaps an effort should be made to wipe that silly rule off the books already.
    Man, the homework for this show is insane..! @.@

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Aug 13th, 2012 @ 5:11am

      Re: Well, wow...

      Wiping an outdated, ridiculous law from a notebook must be harder than removing my grandma's spaghetti sauce from your t-shirt. And that's a feat mind you.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ruben, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Overwhelm them(zerg rush)

    Every German citizen on G+ should go to the offices of those granting these 'broadcast licenses' and flood them with applications. Maybe then, they'll see the silliness of all of this.

    Maybe, but probably not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 10th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

      Re: Overwhelm them(zerg rush)

      Not if the license costs money and their budget comes from this money. If that's the case, they'll be happy to give you a license, and ask you to come again.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 9:46pm

      Re: Overwhelm them(zerg rush)

      I doubt that either of the Germans who were interested in watching could be bothered with that.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Aug 10th, 2012 @ 2:25pm

    Logical

    Because fuck the Internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Surely anything like this applies only to over-the-air transmissions and is designed to avoid high-power unlicensed broadcasts swamping others' signals? If so, it wouldn't be applicable to Internet "broadcasts" (or cable, for that matter).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Is it me, or could governments actually be scared of the internet and what MAY represent?

    Unless im missing obvious information here, seems like they're shitting their pants, if so, even more reason to support it and what it MAY represent

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 10th, 2012 @ 3:08pm

      Re:

      Of course governments are afraid of the Internet because the Internet educates the masses. Governments really fear educated masses because they will realise just how much they are being taken for a ride by their elected representatives.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Proxy server anyone?

    Perhaps you should post a link to a proxy server that people in internet-unfriendly states could use to view these videos?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Digger, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    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...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Digger, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 11:10am

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

      Unlike radio / television or even cable delivery of the "broadcasts" where the signal is the same for all viewers.

      Nuff said...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Bergman (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 3:14pm

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

      Exactly. A video stream is more like a telephone line in function than a radio or TV broadcast.

      Is hold music illegal in Germany? Is it against German law to make a telephone call? The way that broadcast law is being applied, the answer would appear to be YES!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Lennart Regebro, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Yeah, Germany needs to get onto the train on these issues. The third part of my video on open source, patents and copyrights ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TruoKK5ssms ) Got blocked in Germany for the first reason mentioned above.

    Does that matter? Of course not, I just put it up on Piratebay instead and told Germans to go there...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ion, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 8:03am

    Stupid German laws imposed on a global community site

    ... Because Germans are stupid! Is this really news for anybody in AD2012?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This