Hollywood Collectively Loses Its Mind About Latest Set Of Livestreaming Apps

from the get-a-grip dept

If you (lucky you!) don't pay attention to the latest craze among the internet media, you may have missed the mid-to-late-March hype cycle around two livestreaming apps that are available via Twitter. The initial darling was Meerkat, which became this year's annual darling-for-a-week at SXSW. Soon after, it was eclipsed by Periscope, a startup that Twitter bought, just about the same time it pulled Meerkat's ability to push notifications out to users. Both offer the same basic idea: enabling Twitter users to easily livestream video to their followers. Of course, livestreaming is not a new concept. It's been around for ages, and things like Ustream and JustinTV are well-known. Even BitTorrent has tried to get into the livestreaming game. Not surprisingly, livestreaming technology has been particularly useful for newsworthy situations -- and have been used extensively in violent clashes around the globe or at protests like in Ferguson, Missouri last summer.

But, of course, Hollywood absolutely hates such things. For years, they've argued that Ustream and JustinTV were destroying their businesses because some people would turn on a television and set up their phone or computer to livestream whatever they were seeing. So it should come as little shock that right after the media hype cycle around Periscope and Meerkat, a whole series of silly articles started appearing about the copyright consequences of livestreaming. The Guardian warned that these new livestreaming apps "could cost unwary brands dear." Billboard warned that these two new apps created a "legal minefield" because a song playing in the background might (*gasp*) infringe on someone's copyrights. The Atlantic warned that these apps were enabling "a new kind of internet pirate." And, CBS really went the distance with a fearmongering headline about how Periscope and Meerkat "threatened" the "multi-billion dollar sports broadcast copyrights," even though they do no such thing (and, in fact, that article speaks to no actual sports officials, whereas when Major League baseball was asked, it noted that it sees no real threat).

And, rather than admit that (1) livestreaming has been around for ages and hasn't really been a serious drag on revenue, and (2) it's not a particularly good user experience for watching broadcast content anyway, various folks in Hollywood lost their minds about these two new services. The main culprit? HBO. After there were a few scattered reports of various Game of Thrones fans using Periscope to broadcast the latest episode of the popular show, HBO decided that it's all Twitter's fault, and who cares about DMCA safe harbors, something must be done, and Twitter has to do it:
"We are aware of Periscope and have sent takedown notices," an HBO spokeswoman said in a statement. "In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications."
There are two issues there. First are the takedowns -- which is a part of the DMCA. But the second part is asking for Twitter to go Beyond the DMCA and to start proactively reviewing and policing the content that is streaming over Periscope. This is a bad idea for a whole variety of reasons that both Twitter and HBO should already understand. First, such efforts inevitably lead to takedowns that block important, legitimate, non-infringing speech. Considering how Periscope and Meerkat are designed for livestreaming events right now, blocking those could lead to important content never seeing the light of day at all. The chilling effects could be massive.

On top of that, there is little to no evidence that unauthorized streams of Game of Thrones are doing any harm whatsoever. In fact, Game of Thrones is often the prime example of how unauthorized streams have helped certain content get more attention and more long-term committed fans. Both a director on the show and Time Warner's CEO (who owns HBO) have admitted as much. So why the collective freakout about these new apps?

It seems, as is the tradition among some in Hollywood, any new technology that might possibly be used for some amount of infringement must be loudly condemned and shamed. Despite the fact that this policy never works, and tends to just lead to widespread ridicule, it is the only gameplan that the old guard in Hollywood have. They could embrace these things. HBO execs -- especially with the launch of HBO's new streaming services -- could be highlighting how much better the official streaming experience is than the crappy Periscope/Meerkat experience. But, what fun is that? That, apparently, takes work.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, livestreaming, takedowns
Companies: hbo, meerkat, periscope, time warner, twitter


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  • identicon
    Michael, 16 Apr 2015 @ 10:53am

    I think they are concerned about live streaming the Boston Strangler or something like that.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      Hollywood are against anything that people might turn to for entertainment where they do not get all the profit, and which people may flock to instead of their products.

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

      • identicon
        PRMan, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re:

        This is exactly it. Notice they didn't care that much about Kim Dotcom's cyberlockers until he started getting celebrities to talk about bypassing the MAFIAA and releasing their music on his service instead.

        All of a sudden, he was raided by the FBI, I mean New Zealand.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 10:57am

    I wonder why they're not freaking out about telephones with their ability to pickup background music and illegally perform it to the receiver's ear.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:00am

      Re:

      If someone set their phone down near a radio playing music and then called a friend and the friend put it on speakerphone, then everyone around them would be able to hear the music.
      It would be an illegal public performance and the world as we know it would come to an end as fire and brimstone rained from the heavens and the rivers ran red with blood.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:01am

    I told a friend of mine who lives in another town that if there was a sporting event that was blacked out for him but not for me (he's a sports fan, not I), I would set up a webcam for him and place it in front of my TV. :)

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:02am

    1. The Atlantic is a New Hampshire publication, not Hollywood.
    2. The Guardian is a UK publication, not Hollywood.
    3. You're a fucking idiot.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      1. The Atlantic doesn't limit itself to talking about New Hampshire.
      2. The Guardian doesn't limit itself to talking about the UK.
      3. You, too, are an effing idiot.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:18am

      Re:

      I guess you didn't read the whole article where it talks about Hollywood.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2015 @ 12:22am

        Re: Re:

        Read the article? Only far enough to find some weak ammunition to launch a toddler tantrum.

        But, hey, let's keep this in mind next time he whines on an article about somewhere other than the US. I have a feeling that his physical location won't matter when he lies about those people.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 5:28pm

      Re:

      very antidirt
      much rage
      wow

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

    • identicon
      Ruben, 17 Apr 2015 @ 7:44am

      Re:

      Nonsensical tripe and ad-hom.

      The true mark of someone who knows they're on the losing side with no cogent points to raise.

      oldmanyellsatcloud.jpg

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

  • identicon
    Doug, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:10am

    Even if they were right about its harm on their products (which is pretty dubious), I'd STILL choose a world where technology like this can exist freely even if it meant killing off incentives to create the typical big budget media and broadcasting events they're afraid that it's infringing upon.

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:13am

    Loses?

    Mind?

    I wonder if we can see this "collective mind loss" live streamed.

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

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:20am

    "How come they don't have to play by the same rules we do?"

    Big media companies hate it when us normal people do what they do without having to get permission, make licensing deals, or pass everything through their legal department.

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

  • icon
    bureau13 (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:26am

    Never heard of Periscope or Meerkat, but I sure as hell will download them now, and maybe even stream some copyrighted content, just because. Thanks, Barb!

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

  • icon
    WDS (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:43am

    The future

    I wonder how long it will be before these apps are turning out to make Hollywood a bunch of money. That seems to be what usually happens with new technology that they go bonkers over.

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

  • identicon
    CharlieBrown, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:49am

    The Problem

    The problem I have with HBO in this case is that they demand "developers" to use pro-active blocking, not just Twitter. In this case, I think HBO are the Twits!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:54am

    The broadcast industry and the movie industry (Hollywood) are markedly different (many similarities, but also many significant differences...and especially distribution channels), so it is not fully understood why a comment by a company within a sector of the broadcast industry is particularly relevant to the movie industry.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 12:24pm

      Re:

      You're confused. Mike Masnick hates actors and musicians. They're all in Hollywood. Evil, evil Hollywood!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Just ones who want everyone else to do their fucking job...you know, the lazy ones.

        Why coders need to give a flying fuck about HBO is beyond me. Do your own fucking work, or pay me to do your job, if you're incapable.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2015 @ 12:25am

        Re: Re:

        I'd invest in another bale, that strawman is getting rather tattered.

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      HBO (the primary company being discussed here) is a bit of a fence case. They make their own, braodcast content, but remain a major purvayor of Hollywood content as well. THat said, it was an improper title. Gets a bit too click baity.

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

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:04pm

    In general

    "In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications."


    In general, we developers feel that it is inappropriate to offload your own business expenses onto us.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:22pm

      Re: In general

      Also, the problem is impossible to solve, and blaming someone else for not solving it obscures this fact.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: In general

        Absolutely true, but even if it were possible, my point would still hold.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: In general

          I did start with also. :)
          Further is it offloading a business expense, or a tactic to try andbankrupt any possible competition?

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

      • identicon
        Ruben, 17 Apr 2015 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: In general

        Precisely. Eliminating infringement is a fool's errand. Just like eliminating terrorism.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 17 Apr 2015 @ 2:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: In general

          Slight suggested change:

          Attacking either head on is a fool's errand. You want to eliminate them, go after the root causes(under-served customers and desperate and/or angry people respectively). Solve those(or at least do your best to), and the problems will drastically shrink.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 1:42pm

    omg new tech kill it with fire!

    Once again we will just continue doing our thing and as always we don't care what you think media companies.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 2:05pm

    or the could allow all devices, and areas and not just apple user in the US to use "HBO now\go"

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 2:33pm

    PR speak to English

    PR speak
    "In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications."

    English(if forced to be honest)
    "In general, we feel developers should go above and beyond what the law actually says that they are required to do, and proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps, without of course being paid to do so, and despite the fact that they have no possible way to know what is and is not infringing without the actual owners of the copyrights sending the notifications required by the law.

    We acknowledge that this will undoubtedly result in a massive number of false positives, as developers will take down a great many legal and legitimate posts on their services in order to play it safe, and will cause a massive drag on any service or site that offers to host user submitted content, heavily burdening them and both running a number of them out of business, as well as stopping many new ones from ever coming into being, but we can confidently say that this is a risk we are willing to take."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 5:37pm

    "In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications."

    If you want developers to have those tools, then supply them.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2015 @ 12:23am

    "For years, they've argued that Ustream and JustinTV were destroying their businesses because some people would turn on a television and set up their phone or computer to livestream whatever they were seeing."

    ...but of course, they won't ask why people are watching a low quality stream of someone else's TV rather than turning on their own TV directly. That would open up discussion of exactly how their own business model is losing them a lot of potential revenue, and they can't have that...

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

  • identicon
    Robert Rigsby, 17 Apr 2015 @ 12:25am

    Here we go again!!

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 17 Apr 2015 @ 7:52am

    A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
    However, I'm not convinced Hollywood/**AAs lost their minds over this. I haven't seen any proof they actually have one.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2015 @ 6:06pm

    I picture Hollywood as an organization of pimps and old farts.

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


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