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TV-Links, F.A.C.T., Piracy and 'The Interwebs'

LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
It seems to me that the legal system, the principals that the legal system are supposed to uphold, the rights of consumers, and technology never seem to be in synchronisation with each other.

TV-links is a web site that manages databases of sites streaming video files, or at least it was up until recently. There was zero copyrighted material hosted on TV-links without license (Legal Disclaimer taken straight from the site). In the same way that I can use google to find material which I am unlicensed to access, I could use TV-links to access material I am unlicensed to access, hell, same way I could use a peice of paper to photocopy text without license to do so (a widely encouraged activity by my university staff - anecdote lol).

The Guardian Reports -
One of the world's most-used pirate film websites has been closed after providing links to illegal versions of major Hollywood hits and TV shows.

The first closure of a major UK-based pirate site was also accompanied by raids and an arrest, the anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said today.

A 26-year-old man from Cheltenham was arrested on Thursday in connection with offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the internet, Fact said.

The arrest and the closure of the site - www.tv-links.co.uk - came during an operation by officers from Gloucestershire County Council trading standards in conjunction with investigators from Fact and Gloucestershire Police.

Fact claims that tv-links.co.uk was providing links to illegal film content that had been camcorder recorded from cinemas and then uploaded to the internet. The site also provided links to TV shows that were being illegally distributed.

Visitors to the site could get access to major feature films, sometimes within days of their initial cinema release. Recent links took users to illegal versions of the Disney/Pixar animation sensation Ratatouille as well as to most of this summer's blockbusters.

"Sites such as TV Links contribute to and profit from copyright infringement by identifying, posting, organising, and indexing links to infringing content found on the internet that users can then view on demand by visiting these illegal sites," said a spokesman for Fact.

The group's director general Kieron Sharp said TV Links was the first major target in a campaign to crackdown on web piracy.

"The theft and distribution of films harms the livelihoods of those working in the UK film industry and in ancillary industries, as well as damaging the economy," he said.

Roger Marles, from Trading Standards said sites such as TV Links allowed people to break UK copyright law.

"The 'users' are potentially evading licence fees, subscription fees to digital services or the cost of purchase or admittance to cinemas to view the films," he added.

The British Video Association estimates that at least £459m was lost to the video, film and TV industries due to piracy in 2006.

I found it ironic that The Guardian links to an (albeit currently down) 'pirate site', the very crime which TV-links is being accused of.

The figure of £459m seems pretty ludicrous to me though, I mean on anecdotal evidence, I know of lots of people who missed the star of Lost, caught up by streaming it illegally, and then buying the DVD box set or watching it on licensed comercial TV. I highly doubt these kind of sales figures are taken into account. I also assume that the number is based on assuming that if somebody watches a film for free illegally, where the ability to do so removed, they would instantly pay full price retail instead. I know that I listen to lots of free music (Deezer.com, free releases from other bands like Smashing Pumkins, Radiohead, Harvey Danger, The Crimea) If these became suddenly unavailable for free, I would certainly not rush to the record store to buy them/equivalent media.


Furthur revalations -
F.A.C.T. (Federation Against Copyright Theft, AKA the 'You wouldn't steal a car guys) made a statement on their website.
A man aged 26 from Cheltenham was arrested on Thursday (18th October) in connection with offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the Internet. The arrest came during an operation by officers from Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards Service working with investigators from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’) and Gloucestershire Police. The man has been released pending further enquiries.

The site, TV Links (www.tv-links.co.uk), was providing links to illegal film content that has been camcorded from within a cinema and then uploaded to the Internet. The site additionally provided links to TV shows that were also being illegally distributed.

Sites such as TV Links contribute to and profit from copyright infringement by identifying, posting, organising, and indexing links to infringing content found on the Internet that users can then view on demand by visiting these illegal sites.

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said: “We at FACT have stated very clearly that we intended to pursue those who are openly exploiting and facilitating the distribution of illegal film and TV content and this was the first major target.
The theft and distribution of films harms the livelihoods of those working in the UK film industry and in ancillary industries, as well as damaging the economy.
In addition, those visiting sites hosting illegal content run the risk of downloading Trojans or viruses that can infect their computers.”

Roger Marles, Head of Trading Standards, said: "This practice allows people to view any one of a large number of films and television programmes directly via the website. This is illegal under UK copyright law. The 'users' are potentially evading licence fees, subscription fees to digital services or the cost of purchase or admittance to cinemas to view the films.
No physical product changes hands but the effect is the same - anyone has the opportunity to view an illegal copy of a copyrighted work. This is all done without the permission of the owners of the copyright or trade mark protection in the works being distributed.
As no control is exerted over who can visit the site and access the service, there is no regard for the age of the viewer and therefore no control of the content of what is viewed."

The operation was conducted with the assistance of BREIN, the Dutch anti-piracy body, who have served notice on the TV Links hosting provider, Leaseweb, to allow the website servers to be removed. Leaseweb is based in the Netherlands.

F.A.C.T. clearly states here, on it's own website, that the crime which TV-Links is being accused of is "providing links to illegal film content". They also cite protecting users (or criminals, depending on the context apparently) from "downloading Trojans or viruses", I certainly don't this is part of F.A.C.T.s duristriction.


Generally rational tech-news site "The Register" dug a little deeper.
Gloucestershire police have confirmed that a 26-year-old Cheltenham man at the centre of an investigation into the website TV-Links was arrested under section 92 of the Trade Mark Act, on suspicion of supplying property with a registered trademark, without permission.

The man was taken into custody on Thursday last week after an investigation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the local trading standards office. Initial reports from FACT said he had been arrested for "offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the Internet".

TV-links, by all accounts, was (it is no more) a place where users could post links to content from TV shows, movies and so on, so that other web users could view them. The site didn't host the material directly, but did, according to reports, embed some video clips.

The man has not been charged with any offence, and has been released pending further investigation.

According to legal experts, the revelation that the 26 year-old was arrested under trademark law adds further uncertainty to an already cutting edge legal situation.

"I've never heard of using trademarks law for anything like this,"said Struan Robertson, legal eagle at Pinsent Masons, and editor of Out-Law.com.

"There are criminal provisions in the Trade Marks Act, but they are intended to catch the sale of counterfeit goods, not the supply of a service. I'd be surprised if the provision of links was found to be a criminal offence under the Trade Marks Act."

Indeed, section 92 is very clear that:

"A person does not commit an offence under this section unless- (a) the goods are goods in respect of which the trade mark is registered, or (b) the trade mark has a reputation in the United Kingdom and the use of the sign takes or would take unfair advantage of, or is or would be detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of the trade mark."


There has been no suggestion (so far) that TV-Links was involved in anything other than providing access, via web links, to copyrighted material.


Robertson speculated that they'd have a better chance of bringing a case for copyright offenses, but even that would be on new legal ground.

"They'd have to show that he was distributing or communicating copyrighted works. And that is a legal argument to be had between the prosecution and defence. It sounds like they are trying to crow-bar activity that looks wrong into laws that aren't really designed to deal with it," he told us.


We contacted the Federation Against Copyright Theft, but the organisation offered no further comment on what it describes as an ongoing investigation. ®

Interesting stuff.

Leftie blog "The New Freedom has some opinionated stuff on the topic, but I don't think it's 100% required reading, it's here if you want to see it. It is very opinionated, but they interestingly seem to have somebody 'high up' at TV-links emailing them. This thread is allready dangerously TLDR for alot of people I imagine.

So, what is the big story here?

This is, as I said at the start of this post an example of the legal system, the principals that the legal system are supposed to uphold, the rights of consumers, and technology have no synchronisation.

Copyright holders want to sue anyone not doing what they want with their content - they want the best of both worlds with regards to selling a physical product and a license. You are not encouraged or supported to back up your own media (and often content providers spend alot of money preventing you from doing so) but streaming video you do not have a license for is also illegal.

The law is way behind the technology. One set of principals is applied to photocopiers, audio cassettes and VHS cassettes, and another is applied to ones and zeros on the interwebs.

Consumers want free content. Whether onle an example (just a little sample) to determine if they want to buy the new series of 24 on DVD (they do) or as a replacement for paying a TV license or subscription fee and seeing advertising.

Everything is fucked.


Additional linking:
Petition to free owner of TV-links, and have it rehosted
F.A.C.T. Wikipedia entry
TV-Links Wikipedia entry
Youtube, a website with tones of copyright material hosted on it.
Google, a search engine that can easilly allow users to access copyrighted material illegally

*Note: My personal opinions are italicised, just to clarify what is my opinion, and what is from other sources.

Discuss, I guess...

Edit:
Monoxide wrote: »
Attention morons, talk about this as a news item. Not "Damnit I knew something was wrong when I tried to watch [copyrighted material] earlier because [shaky reasoning]." This isn't productive and is just as against the rules as if you talked about which files you're currently downloading via bittorrent.

Yeah, this.

LewieP on
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Posts

  • UnicronUnicron Registered User
    edited October 2007
    What really annoys me about this, is that in a (I presume anyway, correct me if I'm wrong) civil case, they somehow get the police to go and arrest him. Add to that the fact that, even though this might not be the case this time, these people often just sue you till you run out of money. No conviction required and you're stuffed.

    Unicron on
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  • ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    TV-Links embeds video. That puts them on pretty shaky ground; they're not directly hosting the files, but they're right there on the site.

    Æthelred on
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  • Rigor MortisRigor Mortis Registered User
    edited October 2007
    And if anyone boycotts the industry because of these strong-arm tactics, the corresponding fall in revenue will be blamed on piracy.

    Rigor Mortis on
  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well that explains that. I was wondering why the site was down. I had an itch to watch some Sliders episodes.

    Axen on
    A Capellan's favorite sheath for any blade is your back.
  • nervenerve Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Ahh no wonder. I went there earlier today to watch heroes and prison break since they were only showing the news here last night(san diego fires). Luckily thats not the only site to watch tv shows on.

    nerve on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited October 2007
    Axen wrote: »
    Well that explains that. I was wondering why the site was down. I had an itch to watch some Sliders episodes.

    Sliders is win, the arrest is bullshit and these industry tactics of "sue you till you run out of money" need to stop.

    Moe Fwacky on
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  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2007
    Attention morons, talk about this as a news item. Not "Damnit I knew something was wrong when I tried to watch [copyrighted material] earlier because [shaky reasoning]." This isn't productive and is just as against the rules as if you talked about which files you're currently downloading via bittorrent.
    Æthelred wrote: »
    TV-Links embeds video. That puts them on pretty shaky ground; they're not directly hosting the files, but they're right there on the site.

    Not exactly true. Users upload the videos to other sites, which TV-links contained the links to. FACT could have used this to send hundreds (thousands?) of DMCA notices to YouTube, MegaVideo, Veoh, and the other half a dozen video content providers that regularly stream illegal content. If these companies were required to spend enough time and money reading DMCA notices and taking down content, they might introduce a screening method or something that would actually prevent this from happening.

    Instead, they decided to go for a criminal arrest. The only possible connection between TV-Links and the copyrighted material is the fact that, for some video hosts, they were posted on a TV-Links hosted page using the (for example: Youtube) embed script instead of a link that takes you off-site. Is this the line between a criminal offense of facilitation of copyright and a legal collection of URLs to illegal content? Is BREIN and FACT going to try to skew this and say that TV-Links was obstructing their ability to find the hosts of the content, when in reality the links were right there?

    In related news, OiNK, a popular bittorrent tracker specializing in music, went down yesterday. It's servers have been confiscated, and it's owner arrested. This is now two criminal arrests in less than a week for something that, until now, had been a mostly civil matter. There have been raids and confiscation of bittorrent trackers servers in the past, but nothing that resulted in their owners being shoved in prison. If this holds up in court, and that is a pretty big if, they're setting a potentially very dangerous precedent.

    Not only are they making it illegal to spread information about potentially illegal activity, information which could be used for any purpose mind you, including the removal of illegal files, but with the OiNK shutdown, they're further criminalizing BitTorrent as a protocol. What does it say to a court of lawmakers if someone makes an argument against Comcast's bittorrent throttling while trying to fight for Net Neutrality? They'll remember BitTorrent as a protocol that was at the center of the arrest of a man who one media outlet called the head of an "International Crime Syndicate." Would you vote to protect a crime syndicate? Not if you're a wealthy old legislator who wants to keep his job, that's for sure.

    Monoxide on
  • AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    As I mentioned in D&D, all this will do is further popularize TV piracy because some nub will read about this in the news and learn that, indeed, you can use computers to watch any TV show you want, with no commercials, on one of the thousands of other sites that do exactly the same thing TV-links used to do.

    The Web and Flash video are going to do to television what Napster and MP3s did to music, and no quantity of litigation is going to prevent that. If TV networks and studios don't adapt quick, they are fucked.

    Azio on
  • CronusCronus Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Azio wrote: »
    As I mentioned in D&D, all this will do is further popularize TV piracy because some nub will read about this in the news and learn that, indeed, you can use computers to watch any TV show you want, with no commercials, on one of the thousands of other sites that do exactly the same thing TV-links used to do.

    Exactly. That's pretty much what happened when Napster got sued. That hit the MSM and then every mom and pop watching fox found out that you could hop on limewire or some other p2p service of the day and get music for free.

    I must however say that this tactic of going after linking websites is much better for both the consumer and Hollywood than randomly suing IP ranges.

    Cronus on
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  • tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    nerve wrote: »
    Ahh no wonder. I went there earlier today to watch heroes and prison break since they were only showing the news here last night(san diego fires). Luckily thats not the only site to watch tv shows on.

    You can watch Heroes on NBC's website. You may be able to watch Prison Break on Fox's but I don't know if they stream that show.

    tofu on
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Also, if you visit the oink webpage they're trying to "investigate and identify" the users. Not that I suspect much will come from a database of 180,000+ but it still leads me to believe that the police really SHOULD have better things to do.

    The guy from the Oink bust is back at home now, it'll be interesting to see what happens to the poor sod.

    Mr_Grinch on
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  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    It's a very interesting question: "what of the following are illegal?"
    • Bob, telling a friend Bill, in the pub that "If you get the internet you can totally download content you aren't licensed to view"
    • Bob, telling his friend Bill in a pub, the names of places he could do that
    • Bob, telling his friend Bill in a pub the url's of places he could do that
    • Bob, telling his friend via email the above'
    • The above but on a forum.
    • The above but on a website.
    • All of the above but to more people. How many more?
    • Does it make a difference if it's just the name, or a non working link you have to paste yourself?
    • What if I imbed someone elses content on my page. The link becomes a window as it were.

    What about websites, surely if any of the above are illegal, then this ]BBC article is illegal too because it names sites and even links to them. Am I breaking the law for linking to that BBC article? Or is the BBC?

    Am I breaking the law by linking to this penny-arcade thread? What is the difference between TV-Links and that thread? Is Penny-arcade breaking the law? Or is the poster? Or is youtube? Or is the uploader? Or is no one? Incidentally am I breaking Penny-arcades own forum rules by linking to penny-arcade?

    If a man photocopies the latest comic and sticks it on a public wall (or his wall) am I breaking the law if I walk past randomly and read it.

    What if I go there with the intention to read it.

    What if a friend tells me where it is? What if the BBC does?

    The law, and IP in general is not developed enough to deal with this.

    Lave II on
  • MikeRyuMikeRyu Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I hope I'm not breaking the forum rules by saying that because of this site I ended up buying two box sets of a show that I would probably have never heard of before.

    MikeRyu on
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  • 12gauge12gauge Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    The lawfulness of this set aside, I really don't like the close ties of some of those private groups with law enforcement. In Germany there even where a few cases where members of such groups like FACT where present at house searches and seizing equipment.

    12gauge on
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  • Recoil42Recoil42 Registered User
    edited October 2007
    I found a great blog post on the guardian about this today:

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/10/20/tv_links_shut_down_for_linking_.html
    It's a pity the Gloucestershire Police started with such small fry. There are a couple of multibillionaires called Larry Page and Sergey Brin -- the founders of Google -- who provide vast numbers of links to content that is being illegally distributed. Indeed, as everyone knows, they actually host plenty of illegal content on their own video site, YouTube, which has a UK operation.

    Is the message that it's less criminal to host illegal content on YouTube than it is to to link to it from a site such as TV Links? Or is it just that FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) and the police won't tackle anybody with enough high-powered lawyers to fight back? Is The New Freedom blog correct in saying: "They just have so much money that they have become above the law."

    Of course, there is a difference between building a site around links to content that could be presumed to lack copyright clearance and linking unintentionally from a site set up for a different purpose. However, I'm not a lawyer so I don't know how significant this is. (Is shoplifting OK if you have a proper job but criminal if you're unemployed and starving?)

    It will be interesting to see who FACT picks on next. There are plenty of newspaper journalists who nowadays, as part of their proper jobs, link to YouTube videos and other internet content. It would be amazing if every single bit of material -- some of it "repurposed" -- had full and correct copyright clearance.

    In future, do I risk being thrown in the slammer for linking directly to a YouTube video? What if I just say "go to Google and search for

    Recoil42 on
  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited October 2007
    Consumers want free content

    THEN THEY MUST HAVE IT

    FREE THINGS FOR ALL

    FAIRY TALES AND RAINBOWS

    Tube on
    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    Consumers want free content

    THEN THEY MUST HAVE IT

    FREE THINGS FOR ALL

    FAIRY TALES AND RAINBOWS

    Well, as I said in a previous thread. This site, for all it "illegal" aspects shows there are massive demands for crappy quality streamed versions of their show. T

    The correct response from the media companies is to put their shows on the web, streamed, without download clients and drm, in one place, and full of advertising. People will watch that rather than dodgy copies. Unfortuantly the media corps response is to get it shut down, whilst putting their fingers in their ears and shouting la, la, la and hoping a massive market demand "goes away."

    Then you have free content, and money for the producers. Hell if they did it through youtube/stage6 they wouldn't even have to pay hosting costs.

    As this is about a UK site I'm talking about free to air "freeview" channels. Sky etc, have larger issues with their subscription model.

    Lave II on
  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited October 2007
    But then other sites will rip the free content and show it without ads, and people will go there instead. people want something for nothing, and industry cannot support a something for nothing business model.

    Tube on
    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    But then other sites will rip the free content and show it without ads, and people will go there instead. people want something for nothing, and industry cannot support a something for nothing business model.

    Percentage of people who want something for nothing: 100%
    Percentage of people who are lazy: ~100%
    Percentage of people who are technically literate enough to keep up with piracy: <<100%
    Percentage of people who would put up with reasonable levels of advertising for convience, quality, and no broken links: <100%

    Which implies a viable audience for ad supported web streaming content.

    Lots of dicks run ad-block, but yet ad supported websites (like this) are viable. How so?

    Lave II on
  • MikeRyuMikeRyu Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    But then other sites will rip the free content and show it without ads, and people will go there instead. people want something for nothing, and industry cannot support a something for nothing business model.

    I suppose the answer to that would be to shut down those sites as they have done this time. The difference with that though would be that the broadcasters have already provided a quality alternative. If that kind of service was easily available I know I wouldn't have a problem putting up with some adverts to use it.

    MikeRyu on
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  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Just put product placement in the show then no matter where it is shown, or who rips it and hosts it for free, or however many torrent sites leak it, you still get advertising revenue.


    Gee, I wonder what Sylar is going to do this week? Oh that's right, he'll probably obey his thirst.

    The_Scarab on
    scarab you have mental problems
  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    But then other sites will rip the free content and show it without ads, and people will go there instead. people want something for nothing, and industry cannot support a something for nothing business model.

    Then why do NBC, ABC, and FOX all have streaming versions of most of their TV shows on their websites? In some cases with extra content (like the Heroes commentaries) not available through broadcast television. With (at best) only 2-3 minutes of commercials per episode. And why, if this isn't a profitable way to handle their properties, has it lasted for a whole year now?


    Basically, why isn't what you're saying happening when companies actually do what people want?

    Death of Rats on
    No I don't.
  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    But then other sites will rip the free content and show it without ads, and people will go there instead. people want something for nothing, and industry cannot support a something for nothing business model.

    Then why do NBC, ABC, and FOX all have streaming versions of most of their TV shows on their websites? In some cases with extra content (like the Heroes commentaries) not available through broadcast television. With (at best) only 2-3 minutes of commercials per episode. And why, if this isn't a profitable way to handle their properties, has it lasted for a whole year now?


    Basically, why isn't what you're saying happening when companies actually do what people want?

    Because people do want something for free. And companies can handle that. As long as 200 million + other people want something for money.

    The percentage of people who watch the live web streams is small compared to the people who watch it on TV.

    The_Scarab on
    scarab you have mental problems
  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Just put product placement in the show then no matter where it is shown, or who rips it and hosts it for free, or however many torrent sites leak it, you still get advertising revenue.


    Gee, I wonder what Sylar is going to do this week? Oh that's right, he'll probably obey his thirst.

    I think you'll find it's watch Hiro drive in his product placed car they obliged to force into the plot and mention about 6 times a show (which also sponsers the comic).

    Lave II on
  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2007
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Just put product placement in the show then no matter where it is shown, or who rips it and hosts it for free, or however many torrent sites leak it, you still get advertising revenue.


    Gee, I wonder what Sylar is going to do this week? Oh that's right, he'll probably obey his thirst.

    Actually I'd be willing to bet he's driving a Nissan Rogue up through mexico on his way to buy Dell computers before he stops at home to play Heavenly Sword.

    Product placement is already alive and well in broadcast television. It's not enough. The biggest problem with streaming content is that when you watch Heroes on your computer, you are no longer a Nielsen household. They're still getting their ad revenue, but ratings are still important, and the networks are losing out on them with every viewer who switches to legal (or illegal) online broadcasts.

    Monoxide on
  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Also, last year NBC hosted all of the Heroes episodes for most (if not all) of the season. This cut down in their need to waste airtime repeating episodes after long breaks. Anyone who wanted to catch up or a refresher could go online and watch the episodes legally, and with very little hassle (it takes longer to download a whole episode and you don't have to click through 10 different sections like you would if it were on youtube). Which allowed NBC to show different shows in that timeslot. Ones that might bring in more viewers than a repeat of an older episode.

    More viewers means more ad revenue. Less repeats means more viewers. Streaming video means less need for repeats.

    Do you see another reason why this whole thing works well for TV shows?

    Death of Rats on
    No I don't.
  • MikeRyuMikeRyu Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Monoxide wrote: »
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Just put product placement in the show then no matter where it is shown, or who rips it and hosts it for free, or however many torrent sites leak it, you still get advertising revenue.


    Gee, I wonder what Sylar is going to do this week? Oh that's right, he'll probably obey his thirst.

    Actually I'd be willing to bet he's driving a Nissan Rogue up through mexico on his way to buy Dell computers before he stops at home to play Heavenly Sword.

    Product placement is already alive and well in broadcast television. It's not enough. The biggest problem with streaming content is that when you watch Heroes on your computer, you are no longer a Nielsen household. They're still getting their ad revenue, but ratings are still important, and the networks are losing out on them with every viewer who switches to legal (or illegal) online broadcasts.

    Shouldn't the networks start looking towards site hits instead of ratings in the future?

    MikeRyu on
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  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    But then other sites will rip the free content and show it without ads, and people will go there instead. people want something for nothing, and industry cannot support a something for nothing business model.

    Then why do NBC, ABC, and FOX all have streaming versions of most of their TV shows on their websites? In some cases with extra content (like the Heroes commentaries) not available through broadcast television. With (at best) only 2-3 minutes of commercials per episode. And why, if this isn't a profitable way to handle their properties, has it lasted for a whole year now?


    Basically, why isn't what you're saying happening when companies actually do what people want?

    Because people do want something for free. And companies can handle that. As long as 200 million + other people want something for money.

    The percentage of people who watch the live web streams is small compared to the people who watch it on TV.

    In the UK, all channels bar the BBC (and channel 4) on freeview, are entirely ad supported. There is no reason, they can't transmit the same content online as over the airwaves, with the same adverts and still be profitable.

    If your product can't survive in the modern computer age, then watching your company die is to be expected.

    Lets all go and cry about the Loom taking all them jobs from hand stichers, or the death of sheet music.

    I'm fine with media firms adapting to the internet age whilst shutting down pirate sites. But to demand a legal help to maintain the past worth of your company is as ridiculous as sheet music sellers demanding that the goverment ban phonographs and the radio because their cutting into their profits and turning them into a niche.

    Lave II on
  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited October 2007
    A company that's really good about this is the BBC. There are a ton of shows you can watch online, or at least big, high quality clips. I watch Question Time online for instance. As far as I know, they don't refuse service to foreigners like NBC either.

    I just think it's silly that people can't understand why companies object to this.

    Tube on
    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Monoxide wrote: »
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Just put product placement in the show then no matter where it is shown, or who rips it and hosts it for free, or however many torrent sites leak it, you still get advertising revenue.


    Gee, I wonder what Sylar is going to do this week? Oh that's right, he'll probably obey his thirst.

    Actually I'd be willing to bet he's driving a Nissan Rogue up through mexico on his way to buy Dell computers before he stops at home to play Heavenly Sword.

    Product placement is already alive and well in broadcast television. It's not enough. The biggest problem with streaming content is that when you watch Heroes on your computer, you are no longer a Nielsen household. They're still getting their ad revenue, but ratings are still important, and the networks are losing out on them with every viewer who switches to legal (or illegal) online broadcasts.

    I would bet a me eating my cock that every time someone watches one of the streaming shows that view gets recorded. It's a whole lot more accurately than the Nielsen rating scheme. And seeing how boxsets can bring back series from the dead, is it really a large leap for networks to go "hey, this show gets a hell of a lot of viewers online, and only sub-par ratings. If most of the people who watch this show on one medium or another buy the DVDs, it'll be more than worth it to keep in production"?

    Also, last year NBC didn't host The Office or My Name is Earl on their site. Last year both shows were already considered huge hits, so they didn't add them this year to see if it would help spread exposure for the shows. I think the online system is working for them, or else they wouldn't add in shows that already have a large following. Correct me if my logic is faulty here.

    Death of Rats on
    No I don't.
  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited October 2007
    Lave II wrote: »
    In the UK, all channels bar the BBC (and channel 4) on freeview, are entirely ad supported. There is no reason, they can't transmit the same content online as over the airwaves, with the same adverts and still be profitable.

    Except that it costs more to broadcast online. Plus, that's all very well for freeview, I can watch that for free anyway. What about cable channels? Why is anyone going to pay for HBO when they can watch The Sopranos and Dexter (or whatever, I don't get the commie US stations here) for free?

    Tube on
    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    A company that's really good about this is the BBC. There are a ton of shows you can watch online, or at least big, high quality clips. I watch Question Time online for instance. As far as I know, they don't refuse service to foreigners like NBC either.

    I just think it's silly that people can't understand why companies object to this.

    I object to global warming, but that doesn't stop it happening.

    Adapt or die.

    And I can't think of anything easier to turn into money than streaming content.

    Lave II on
  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited October 2007
    The "adapt or die" bullshit is incredibly tired. The vast majority of people don't give a shit about streamed shows. TV isn't suddenly going to roll over and die in favour of the internet, don't be facile. The vast, vast majority of people still watch tv.

    Tube on
    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Lave II wrote: »
    What about cable channels? Why is anyone going to pay for HBO when they can watch The Sopranos and Dexter (or whatever, I don't get the commie US stations here) for free?

    This is very true. But there are numerous factors working against subscription based channels besides just pirating.

    Why would I subscribe to HBO or Showtime when I can just use Netflix? It works for both the movies they show (which are generally already out on DVD) and their original shows. It's also cheaper, and I'm not limited to whatever rotation of movies they're playing that week.

    The popularity of Boxsets and internet based DVD rentals has done a lot to hurt cable channels. They are going to have to adapt to the new way people look at their entertainment. Both on their TVs and on their computers.
    The "adapt or die" bullshit is incredibly tired. The vast majority of people don't give a shit about streamed shows. TV isn't suddenly going to roll over and die in favour of the internet, don't be facile. The vast, vast majority of people still watch tv.

    This is just the beginning of this trend. It may die out, or it may catch on. If it does catch on, the companies that are trying to adapt now are going to have a much easier time in the future.

    Death of Rats on
    No I don't.
  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    Lave II wrote: »
    What about cable channels? Why is anyone going to pay for HBO when they can watch The Sopranos and Dexter (or whatever, I don't get the commie US stations here) for free?

    This is very true. .
    Regardless, I didn't say it.

    Lave II on
  • Lave IILave II Registered User
    edited October 2007
    The "adapt or die" bullshit is incredibly tired. The vast majority of people don't give a shit about streamed shows. TV isn't suddenly going to roll over and die in favour of the internet, don't be facile. The vast, vast majority of people still watch tv.

    Tired because of the element of truth in it yes.

    Oh come on. Did I say that? Of course it isn't. All I'm saying is the concept of show being broadcast at a specific time was only developed due to the technical limitations of the TV format. There is no reason, what so ever, to assume that that model is applicable for the Television of the future.

    They can either get on board now whilst streaming a show to your PC is a tiny market, co-op it, and make it pay, as the concept grows and TV's and PC's become more and more similar or they can stick fingers in their ears and let piracy overwhelm them.

    The BBC is doing this. It knows that to keep it's license fee in ten years time, it needs to be more than just a service that streams to TV's.

    Lave II on
  • UnicronUnicron Registered User
    edited October 2007
    A company that's really good about this is the BBC. There are a ton of shows you can watch online, or at least big, high quality clips. I watch Question Time online for instance. As far as I know, they don't refuse service to foreigners like NBC either.

    I just think it's silly that people can't understand why companies object to this.

    Wrong. And I'll tell you what's even worse. I live in Belgium but am a British national. Like the other 98% of the Belgian population I have cable, cause otherwise you only get crappy state channels. Normally the Beeb won't sell their BBC1 and BBC2 broadcasts to other countries, as that is what BBC Prime and BBC World and stuff are for. For some reason, because the most Western part of Belgium can pick up the BBC broadcasts OTA, the cable companies made a deal with the BBC to re-broadcast BBC1 and BBC2. Of course, this isn't free, so I'm effectively paying a license fee.

    Yet I still get treated like any other johnny foreigner on their site, not being able to use their nice TV streaming service etc.

    I think I'm arguing against my point rather than for it though, as I think this just shows why TV networks don't like doing this stuff too much, the audience breakdowns get much harder.

    I really, really disagree with the idea though that if the networks had their own stream sites, that people would still go to youtube or whatever to watch it instead cus of the ads. Like Lave said, people would be too lazy or ignorant to know they had an option and even if they knew, why go the knock-off if the original is just as free? TV-Links had banner ads and stuff as well no one seemed to mind.

    Unicron on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • SniperGuySniperGuy SniperGuyGaming Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Lave II wrote: »
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Just put product placement in the show then no matter where it is shown, or who rips it and hosts it for free, or however many torrent sites leak it, you still get advertising revenue.


    Gee, I wonder what Sylar is going to do this week? Oh that's right, he'll probably obey his thirst.

    I think you'll find it's watch Hiro drive in his product placed car they obliged to force into the plot and mention about 6 times a show (which also sponsers the comic).

    Also, my GOD that woman's phone had a huge sprint logo on it.

    SniperGuy on
    Twitch Streaming basically all week
    SniperGuyGaming on PSN / SniperGuy710 on Xbone Live
  • LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Consumers want free content

    THEN THEY MUST HAVE IT

    FREE THINGS FOR ALL

    FAIRY TALES AND RAINBOWS
    I didn't mean to imply they deserve it, but there is pretty much no technical or legal way of preventing consumers for seeking out free content. Not without spending billions on internet thought police, and at the cost of freedom of speach.
    Lave II wrote: »
    Lots of dicks run ad-block, but yet ad supported websites (like this) are viable. How so?

    Woah! hold on a second there.

    I am a dick because I use adblock?
    What if I listen to a comercial radio station, and change the channel when ads come on? what if I record a TV program and fast forwards through the Ads? What if I rip a legally purchased DVD so I can skip being accused of being a theif and other ads? What if I walk past a billboard and ignor it?

    How I browse is no one elses business. I rock a bunch of extensions to protect my privacy (my personal favourite is TrackMeNot)

    Just because people who run websties want a business model to work doesn't mean it has too. Back when I was on 56K I blocked ads because they slowed down the internet so much. Now I do it because they harm my browsing experiance. The majority of web sites with Ads have them so obtrusive and glaring that it makes it harder to navigate the site.

    Hell, my blog has Ads (relatively unobtrusive ones at that) and I earn money from them (about $30 so far, not much but it ads up) and I tell vistors how to install Adblock if they don't like them.

    Check this article for more, I have similar opinions to the author, but am possibly less coherant.

    Except that it costs more to broadcast online.

    This is flat out incorrect. Stage6 will host any video you want at DVD quality, for absolutely free, they just need the copyright holders permission.

    LewieP on
  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    A company that's really good about this is the BBC. There are a ton of shows you can watch online, or at least big, high quality clips. I watch Question Time online for instance. As far as I know, they don't refuse service to foreigners like NBC either.

    I just think it's silly that people can't understand why companies object to this.

    The BBC is a complete anomaly because Im paying for the ability for you to watch their shows for free, just like 60 million other British nationals who all have to pay a TV license fee every year.

    that said, you are right. The BBC doesnt live off of the license fees alone, it lives off of quality programs and dvd/rerun sales.

    I mean shit, Planet earth was one of the best selling dvds for a long time.

    The_Scarab on
    scarab you have mental problems
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