Monday, October 22, 2007

TV talk: TV on the 'Net

TV-links is under arrest from the Internet police!

Read the whole story here: raided, Owner arrested.

As someone who used to frequent that site regularly, this is terrible, terrible news. They had the best and most updated links as well as the least eye-scarring layout to navigate. Sure, there may be other sites that catalogue links, but none do it as good as TV-Links did.

Old media is barely coping with the explosion of opportunities that new media has to offer. TV networks in the States have tried offering up a slice of the pie to users by putting up episodes on their site but the fact that their content is bounded by geography (only available to US) makes the offering rather ineffectual. Global digital copyrights management is sadly lacking and this case is a perfect example of the majority of problems:

1. TV-links did not host any of their material. They merely catalogued links that were hosted by Google, YouTube, and the like. If the authorities really wanted to attack the problem, why didn't they take down the hosts? Is it easier attacking the little people than the actual monoliths, like say, Google?

2. TV-Links may have been a UK hosted web site but the actual servers were from the Netherlands. Taking into account the fact that there is no single international Internet copyright law, who do you fault here? The Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent site, have chronicled some of their legal issues here. According to them, they are protected by the laws of Netherlands which are pretty relaxed about the digital revolution. Which leads me to my next point.

3. Geographical lines prohibits/inhibits the Internet from doing specific things. The Chasers War on Everything is free for download on ABC but only in Australia. As is The Office on NBC America. And promotional material for cable networks like Showtime or HBO. As great as the idea was, the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. It is much easier to download a show from any BitTorent site or watch it online because there is no geographical discrimination there.

4. The authorities will probably come up with some way to attack torrents in the near future, as they have Kazaa, Limewire and other downloading programs. With technology on the rise, there will always be some way to avert the Internet police. Uploading/sharing sites like Mega Upload that allows up to 500 MB of data to be shared will probably be the next frontier if torrents get taken down. What we need is a strict constitution that clearly states what is and isn't okay in terms of sharing information on the Internet. Next thing you know, some kid who posted a link on her blog about some music video from YouTube is going to get sued. Grrr-eat.

Anyone who has ever watched a clip of a show or program of YouTube should be concerned. Damn the man! Save the empire! Sign the
petition to free the owner of TV-Links!

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