Forget, Mayweather v. Pacquaio: The Big Fight Was Apparently Hollywood v. Periscope Streaming

from the oh-make-it-stop dept

Remember, just last week, when HBO and Showtime were flipping out about a couple of streaming sites promising to broadcast live streams of the big Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight? Apparently, they had the wrong target.

Just a few weeks earlier, we had noted that Hollywood seemed to be losing its mind over the latest round of livestreaming apps. Never mind that livestreaming apps have been around for ages, but because there were two new shiny ones (Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, and Meerkat), suddenly it was a "big deal" again. Especially when it came to sporting events. We'd already discussed the NHL's silly ban on reporters, saying they couldn't use Periscope. All of that came together this weekend in a collective mess.

First, many of the big pay TV providers experienced outages, meaning that people who paid $100 to see just this one fight found themselves completely locked out. Looking for a solution, they turned to Periscope. And they apparently found what they were looking for.
And, it probably didn't help that Twitter (again, owner of Periscope) CEO Dick Costolo tweeted the following, claiming "the winner is... Periscope."
Of course, as some pointed out, he may have really been talking about the fact that HBO itself used Periscope to show inside Pacquiao's dressing room before the fight -- which seems like a pretty good way to use the technology. However, if this ever leads to a lawsuit, expect that tweet to be an exhibit of an out-of-context claim by HBO/Showtime that Twitter was somehow "inducing" infringement on its platform.

Either way, given how popular the bogus storyline is that there's some sort of existential struggle between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, the resulting news story practically writes itself. Once again, we hear of big bad technology completely tearing down pure hearted big copyright holders, and how "something must be done!"
It will be absurd for Twitter to mount the defense that it complies with any takedown notices filed over copyright-infringing content. Because by the time the compliance occurs the livestream is already over, the company is going to need to figure out a better way to combat piracy on the fly. Periscope may require something like Google’s Content ID system, technology capable of identifying forbidden streams in an instant, and maybe even converting them to transactional opportunities for legal alternatives to the content in question.
Wait, it would be absurd for Twitter to say, "Look, we comply with the law, what else do you want us to do?" Why? Why is it Twitter's responsibility here? Why not the promoters of the show to make sure that their partners supplying the paid streams actually have technology infrastructure in place that works? Or why not Showtime and HBO for creating additional reasons for people to sign up for its service, rather than signing on to one of the Periscope streams?

Why, again, does Hollywood always seem to (1) blame the tech industry for its own failures and (2) then demand that the tech industry magically stop what is unstoppable? Why not, instead, recognize that the technology is really useful, that people like it, and look for ways to take advantage of that? Why not offer an official Periscope stream or partner with others who are Periscoping on their own to offer different/better commentary? There are many things that they could do to embrace things rather than complain about it (or threaten to sue).

Technology keeps advancing. Pretending that you can stop that technology is not a productive path towards the future. Hollywood keeps having to relearn this lesson with every new major technological advancement. It tried to stop the radio, the television, cable TV, the photocopier, the VCR, the MP3 player, the DVR, YouTube and more. One day, you'd think they'd learn that this is a bad strategy.

Filed Under: copyright, dick costolo, floyd mayweather, livestreaming, manny pacquaio, streaming, takedowns
Companies: hbo, periscope, showtime, twitter


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 6:28am

    "the company is going to need to figure out a better way to combat piracy on the fly"

    ...because that's easier than identifying the actual causes of piracy and combating them instead of the platforms that some pirates use (right up until they move to the next one we're not attacking at that moment.

    It's the same old story, and it seems to have the same answers. For example, I notice that the screenshot says "Global" as a heading. So, where were the people actually situated? I'm going to guess not all in the US, although the usual morons will claim they were. Were there any local options at all, since this varies wildly from region to region? Were they actually accessible to everyone (and not, say, on an option only available to a small percentage of the population at a fortnight's salary?. Were there any technical or other issues that caused people who *had* paid legally to see it to seek out other avenues?

    Of course, it's easier to say "they must do something" rather than find the root cause. But that will only last until the next technology. Because if demand is not served by those who control access, others will find a way. It's been like this since before Napster, but I'm going to guess we'll have to endure the same lies and attacks until something is done to address the existing supply issues.

    "Periscope may require something like Google’s Content ID system"

    ContentID, the system that continually attacks not only legal uses of content, but takes down artists' own streams based on false positives? The one where the people who actually own the content have to jump through hoops to stream their own work if it wasn't sold to a corporation, which often takes weeks or months with no guarantees of it not happening again once it's unblocked?

    That sounds about right for them - "it's too hard to police our content, so we'll make someone else do it at the expense of every media type we don't own".

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