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(Ars Technica)   Sense. These copyright laws make none   (arstechnica.com) divider line 16
    More: Obvious, antennas, Cablevision, law of demand, performing rights, Copyright Act, United Artists, business analyst  
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9759 clicks; posted to Business » on 31 Aug 2012 at 12:07 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-31 05:04:08 AM
Fascinating read, thanks subby.

I guess the world really is run by Larry, Moe and Curly.
 
2012-08-31 12:33:16 PM
Although that was an interesting parsing of the history of Cablevision, i should note that the tangled system the good professor is discussing is part and parcel of the common law. Much like how evolution does not have an end goal in mind and thus each new feature of an organism will be based on a previously existing one - leading to strange features and sometimes illogical designs (I'm looking at you larynx), common law tends to meander around based on the facts of various cases and the arguments of the parties. Sometimes a court will foreclose an area of law, leading to weird "evolutionary" solutions to problems that arise in the future. For example, the Slaughterhouse cases' foreclosure of the Privileges and Immunities Clause is more than likely responsible for the very tangled history of "substantive due process." Would it be easier to just wipe away a set of ~150 year old cases and start from logical scratch? yes. But then we would be French and frankly that's just not gonna happen.
 
2012-08-31 01:43:00 PM
Is it too soon to mention Apple patent trolling...?
 
2012-08-31 02:40:30 PM
First, each time a user recorded a program, the RS-DVR made a separate copy of it for her, storing it on her own dedicated hard drive space. Second, each time she played back a program, it came from her own stored copy.

Just curious - are there generally accepted guidelines about referencing an unknown third party as "her/she"? Is it more PC than using "him/he"? Or are they implying a woman can utilize a piece of consumer electronics without the help of a man?
 
2012-08-31 02:43:16 PM

opiumpoopy: Is it too soon to mention Apple patent trolling...?


Given that this is about copyright - yes
 
2012-08-31 02:45:28 PM

valkore: First, each time a user recorded a program, the RS-DVR made a separate copy of it for her, storing it on her own dedicated hard drive space. Second, each time she played back a program, it came from her own stored copy.

Just curious - are there generally accepted guidelines about referencing an unknown third party as "her/she"? Is it more PC than using "him/he"? Or are they implying a woman can utilize a piece of consumer electronics without the help of a man?


I'm in favor of anything that avoids "he or she," "she or he" or - avoid fricking all - the dreaded "s/he"
 
2012-08-31 03:01:11 PM

Teiritzamna: opiumpoopy: Is it too soon to mention Apple patent trolling...?

Given that this is about copyright - yes


Hmm. All Fark threads are either about Apple, or about guns.

/ guess this one's about guns.
 
2012-08-31 03:09:03 PM
Ok, so here comes the fun part. Obviously, the shortcut around all of these legal and technical absurdities is for copyright owners to sell/license their products directly to consumers. If I want to watch a particular episode of the Giraldo Rivera Show from 1994, then the most logical way for me to get that episode would be from the copyright holder, right? I pay them a nickel to stream a copy of it to my TV, and then I can see if that guy everyone talks about at the office really was on an episode of Giraldo.

Now, why aren't any content companies actually doing this, you ask? While there might be some barriers to entry for a streaming service, the real answer lies in anti-trust law. Bringing a product all the way from raw materials to the customer is vertical integration. In cases like U.S. v. Paramount Pictures way back in the dark ages, the Supreme Court held that content companies could not also own distribution companies when it was unfairly used to exclude other content from distribution.

There have already been rumblings of this sort of issue arising with things like Amazon's self-publishing tools combined with the Kindle, or with the arrangements Apple made for distributing books to the iPad. But the real problems will come in the future, if somebody like Netflix, who is producing and distributing its own content now, becomes successful enough at it that all other distribution channels are squeezed out. Adding additional legal and technical hurdles to the business will only make the barriers to entry even higher, however, which makes a reoccurrence of a vertical integration monopoly even more likely.
 
2012-08-31 04:03:45 PM

phyrkrakr: Ok, so here comes the fun part. Obviously, the shortcut around all of these legal and technical absurdities is for copyright owners to sell/license their products directly to consumers. If I want to watch a particular episode of the Giraldo Rivera Show from 1994, then the most logical way for me to get that episode would be from the copyright holder, right? I pay them a nickel to stream a copy of it to my TV, and then I can see if that guy everyone talks about at the office really was on an episode of Giraldo.

Now, why aren't any content companies actually doing this, you ask? While there might be some barriers to entry for a streaming service, the real answer lies in anti-trust law. Bringing a product all the way from raw materials to the customer is vertical integration. In cases like U.S. v. Paramount Pictures way back in the dark ages, the Supreme Court held that content companies could not also own distribution companies when it was unfairly used to exclude other content from distribution.

There have already been rumblings of this sort of issue arising with things like Amazon's self-publishing tools combined with the Kindle, or with the arrangements Apple made for distributing books to the iPad. But the real problems will come in the future, if somebody like Netflix, who is producing and distributing its own content now, becomes successful enough at it that all other distribution channels are squeezed out. Adding additional legal and technical hurdles to the business will only make the barriers to entry even higher, however, which makes a reoccurrence of a vertical integration monopoly even more likely.


I don't think that US v. Paramount has anything to do with this. It might apply if Comcast (who owns NBC) decided that they would only carry NBC networks or (more likely) if they said you could ONLY get NBC networks through Comcast cable. That could be a violation of anti-trust law. Individual production companies or networks selling their content individually isn't a violation. It's their content, they can do with it as they please. Otherwise, CBS would be suing Hulu (owned by NBC, Fox, and Disney-ABC) for not distributing its content.

What's holding back an a la carte system is that the current model does three things really well that it doesn't, at least not yet.
1) The current model distributes the risk in an incredibly risky industry among four or five different groups (creators, producers, networks, cable companies, and advertisers). This is incredibly important because more than half of all broadcast network shows will not see a second season.
2) Because the current model is good at diminishing risk, it encourages production.
3) The current model significantly lowers the marginal cost of investing in a new show. If I want to watch a new show on broadcast television it literally costs me nothing more than my time. If I already have cable, the same thing goes for any new cable show.

Ultimately, what you have is a model that encourages the production of a lot of shows and makes it really easy and cheap for people to start watching, something that an a la carte model doesn't do.
 
2012-08-31 05:00:04 PM

Teiritzamna: Much like how evolution does not have an end goal in mind and thus each new feature of an organism will be based on a previously existing one - leading to strange features and sometimes illogical designs (I'm looking at you larynx),


If you're looking at your larynx, that is indeed a strange feature.
 
2012-08-31 05:42:40 PM

rugman11: I don't think that US v. Paramount has anything to do with this. It might apply if Comcast (who owns NBC) decided that they would only carry NBC networks or (more likely) if they said you could ONLY get NBC networks through Comcast cable. That could be a violation of anti-trust law. Individual production companies or networks selling their content individually isn't a violation. It's their content, they can do with it as they please. Otherwise, CBS would be suing Hulu (owned by NBC, Fox, and Disney-ABC) for not distributing its content.

What's holding back an a la carte system is that the current model does three things really well that it doesn't, at least not yet.
1) The current model distributes the risk in an incredibly risky industry among four or five different groups (creators, producers, networks, cable companies, and advertisers). This is incredibly important because more than half of all broadcast network shows will not see a second season.
2) Because the current model is good at diminishing risk, it encourages production.
3) The current model significantly lowers the marginal cost of investing in a new show. If I want to watch a new show on broadcast television it literally costs me nothing more than my time. If I already have cable, the same thing goes for any new cable show.

Ultimately, what you have is a model that encourages the production of a lot of shows and makes it really easy and cheap for people to start watching, something that an a la carte model doesn't do.


Well, I didn't explain U.S. v. Paramount very well, I guess. You do have a point that vertical integration, in and of itself, isn't inherently anti-competition. What I was pointing out is that vertical integration can lead to running afoul of anti-trust laws. Right now, the barrier to entry as far as setting up a streaming video service is ridiculously low. If the barrier to entry were raised, through more screwed up copyright law, and the biggest content creators then started distributing their content in a locked-down format, you'd run into a Paramount situation. Sadly, that's the way I think this is heading. Look at the recent enforcement mechanisms that were proposed in ACTA and SOPA/PIPA. If the content creators could harass the hell out of any sort of streaming site while they set up their own streaming site, doesn't that seem like an unfair restraint of trade?

As far as the pros and cons of the current model, I agree with the points you've made. Distributing the risk, especially in something as risky as TV or movies, makes a lot of sense. But again, the industry and the law hasn't kept up with the changing technology. Just look at how far the barriers to entry have fallen when guys are making feature films with $2500 cameras and a copy of Avid or Final Cut Pro. Somebody is going to make a killing when they can bring in a series of a TV show for next to nothing and stream the whole thing on the internet direct to a customer base that will pay for the privilege.
 
2012-08-31 09:24:20 PM
I like how the Brits handle their TV shows - they set one up and do 6 episodes, if they're lucky they do another 7 for a second season. Then they call them quits and do other things. Spaced and the Office come to mind as shows that got me liking smaller seasons, but even something as successful and long-running as Doctor Who only does 12 episodes a year and then powers-down until next time.

I get the massive risk it takes to make a TV show today, but whenever I look at the US I think it's got to have something to do with initially slamming 24-episodes seasons and running out of steam. In order to keep it fresh you'd need more talent (writing etc) and the costs starts spiralling out of control.

Smaller seasons should mean tighter shows with less risk. I want the a la carte model and I've felt that this is the way to get there.
 
2012-08-31 10:18:05 PM
valkore: Just curious - are there generally accepted guidelines about referencing an unknown third party as "her/she"? Is it more PC than using "him/he"? Or are they implying a woman can utilize a piece of consumer electronics without the help of a man?

Probably because the number of men who would care if it said "she" is a sliver of the number of womyn would care if it said "he"

And now I have a question for you.

upload.wikimedia.org

This is the symbol for feminism.

What is the fist being stuffed into?
 
2012-09-01 12:42:31 PM

lordargent: This is the symbol for feminism.

What is the fist being stuffed into?


That's the "way of shutting the whole thing down" that Akin guy was talking about.
 
2012-09-02 08:48:20 AM

lordargent: valkore: Just curious - are there generally accepted guidelines about referencing an unknown third party as "her/she"? Is it more PC than using "him/he"? Or are they implying a woman can utilize a piece of consumer electronics without the help of a man?

Probably because the number of men who would care if it said "she" is a sliver of the number of womyn would care if it said "he"

And now I have a question for you.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 100x140]

This is the symbol for feminism.

What is the fist being stuffed into?


reason? critical thought? history? science?
 
2012-09-04 08:57:35 AM

phyrkrakr: Somebody is going to make a killing when they can bring in a series of a TV show for next to nothing and stream the whole thing on the internet direct to a customer base that will pay for the privilege.


I wonder how much it would cost to rework Steam into a "locked" video player service with an extremely user friendly video and audio setup. You would stream the video to the user within a program, and then delete it when the user finished watching it, or canceled it, whichever came first.

You know, basically a different UI for Netflix.
 
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