Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Mega Conspiracy

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Peter Graham,

    Universal sued Sony in 1983 for making Betamax recorders because they're mostly used for copyright infringement.

    And lost. How ironic. #can'tstopthesignal

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Gigaom has graphs 'n' numbers on the effect on internet traffic of the Mega sites closing down. Interesting!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17939 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    I literally had no idea that MegaUpload even had pirate content on it until a couple of weeks ago when someone showed me IceFilms... It's astonishing, a massive collection of links. Was possible to find all manner of films and episodes...

    Worked very well - I'd happily have paid for the service (something like NetFlix I guess, but I wouldn't really know).

    The content industry (of which I am a part) really needs to get ahead of this stuff. Unfortunately a massive number of complex rights management systems they've built up over years stand in the way and push people toward less-than-legal options...

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 191 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    The content industry (of which I am a part) really needs to get ahead of this stuff. Unfortunately a massive number of complex rights management systems they've built up over years stand in the way and push people toward less-than-legal options...

    Yup. On this we totally agree ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    For films and music it should be relatively easy (not sure why we don't have more options in that area in NZ). For Television it's a nightmare and I can't see a way it will ever be resolved, it's simply not possible for companies to provide direct, legal, immediate access to their TV content.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 191 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    For Television it's a nightmare and I can't see a way it will ever be resolved, it's simply not possible for companies to provide direct, legal, immediate access to their TV content.

    they seem to manage it in the US market

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15715 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    it’s simply not possible for companies to provide direct, legal, immediate access to their TV content.

    The BBC do a good job with the iPlayer - I know they've geoblocked the tv content, but the radio is pretty good.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Roger,

    Just out of interest… to what extent does a New Zealand court have to consider access to a ‘fair’ trial in the destination country when considering an extradition request (witness the UK court that denied extratition to Jordan (?) of an alleged islamic extremist on these grounds).

    It is certainly a matter to be considered.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    For films and music it should be relatively easy (not sure why we don’t have more options in that area in NZ).

    Territorial licensing and distribution agreements are a pain -- but remain entirely logical with respect to physical product.

    I'd have to say that for all it gets pilloried, the music industry is much further through the change than the screen industries. Indie labels especially are learning to harness the reach of the network.

    Independent Music NZ signed a licensing agreement with Spotify several years ago, and a prominent person in that part of the industry told me once that an effective and reasonably monetised file-sharing system for music was "our dream". Even the majors are starting to get it -- at least as far as grasping the promotional power of Hype Machine et al. On the other hand, eMusic -- which was specially named as a service to be encouraged in RIANZ's Copyright Amendment Bill submission -- still doesn't have a NZ license, and iTunes still isn't network-priced.

    For Television it’s a nightmare and I can’t see a way it will ever be resolved, it’s simply not possible for companies to provide direct, legal, immediate access to their TV content.

    It would all have been easier if internet advertising worked better. YouTube has signed revenue-share agreements with several rights agencies and has begun to commission TV works, but there's just not enough revenue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17939 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Pete Sime,

    The BBC do a good job with the iPlayer – I know they’ve geoblocked the tv content, but the radio is pretty good.

    If you're using Firefox, you might be able to run the Anonymox extension.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    it'll be standard for all media in the future dylan, I believe

    its the distribution channels that are changing not peoples desire to enjoy content... its for the content owners to find a way to generate revenue...

    megaupload showed one way... allegedly with illegal content... replace that with sanctioned content and a revenue stream back to the owners/creators holders of the copyright and the publics desires can actually be catered to (as market forces surely dictate?)

    no income vs potential income via one means is our current bottleneck

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Sacha,

    The difficulty is that the US is the primary market. The shows are produced on contract for broadcasters, they then make on-demand (and download) rights available through one or more of a few services to a select geographic area.

    Here, we are a secondary market. Shows here are sold to broadcasters, who typically buy all the rights (hence iSky, TVNZ On Demand and TV3 Catchup or whatever). In this region no-one (NetFlix, iTunes, Hulu) can offer that content as they don't have the rights.

    Even if the broadcasters didn't buy the online rights, they will be sold subject to broadcast rights. So if NetFlix could buy rights for NZ to Doctor Who, for example, they still couldn't make it available until after the primary exclusive broadcast rights had been exercised (or expired).

    The only slight hope of changing this is for the primary market to become online - so a company like NetFlix can commission original content for it's online market, make it available through it's service worldwide and sell broadcast rights as a secondary license.

    In terms of getting shows on air here quicker - it's a goal but is made difficult by a few things. One it technical - it's hard to get the content here quick enough. Most HD shows are STILL shipped on tape. Files are very large and HD satellite transmissions are still highly contended and often aren't cost-effective to distribution to broadcasters. The second issue is one of practicalities, the US TV season is often interrupted with mid-season breaks of two to four weeks. Something that wouldn't work for an NZ audience. So shows usually have to start at least far enough behind the US to absorb this break.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 191 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    On a very brief one minute reading of the Extradition Act, where there is no extradition treaty, and the requesting country is not part of the Commonwealth, the Minister of Justice may make the decision. Such a decision would be subject to judicial review - which would include a consideration of the rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Pete Sime,

    The BBC do a good job with the iPlayer – I know they’ve geoblocked the tv content, but the radio is pretty good.

    At a Great Blend some time ago, we had the BBC's Ashley Highfield as a guest. He asked the audience who would pay an annual license fee to get BBC content directly. At least two thirds of the people in the room put up their hands.

    I'm told by senior TV execs that the sums just don't add up for content producers to have a direct relationship with NZ audiences, rather than than licensing for lump sums to broadcasters in each territory. But I suspect there's a degree of self-interest in that.

    A major obstacle to any kind of experimental market is that conventional broadcasters generally buy internet as well as TV rights to programmes. And Sky has most of the rights locked up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17939 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    bookmakers and digesting turfs...

    Territorial licensing and distribution agreements are a pain – but remain entirely logical with respect to physical product.

    Is this what is stopping iBooks being available for sale in New Zealand?
    (ie: a digital remnant of the publishers' division of global territories)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4199 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    YouTube has signed revenue-share agreements with several rights agencies and has begun to commission TV works, but there’s just not enough revenue.

    Here's more on where that may be heading :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1353 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to bob daktari,

    it’ll be standard for all media in the future dylan, I believe

    its the distribution channels that are changing not peoples desire to enjoy content… its for the content owners to find a way to generate revenue…

    megaupload showed one way… allegedly with illegal content… replace that with sanctioned content and a revenue stream back to the owners/creators holders of the copyright and the publics desires can actually be catered to (as market forces surely dictate?)

    no income vs potential income via one means is our current bottleneck

    The problem is that most of the content is created for TV broadcast. Say what you want about the end of linear TV, it's still the driving force of video creation (TV production eclipses film and everything else). While TV channels are the source of this content the model isn't going to change drastically. Until the returns on direct sales (through streaming or downloads) for a show in a region like NZ can exceed the licensing revenue of the same show by a broadcaster the broadcaster will be the primary distribution channel and will dictate the timing and ultimate availability of other channels.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 191 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    TV channels are the source of this content the model isn’t going to change drastically

    Mostly with you. Dylan, but it already has changed a great deal. And we'll see more change. NZ more-or-less missed the cable boom, but that fragmented markets in the US and Europe.
    Lots of 'shopping channels'... but also HBO making direct to cable shows- including some of the best TV drama ever produced- that have never been broadcast free-to-air in the US.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1353 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Pete Sime,

    On a very brief one minute reading of the Extradition Act, where there is no extradition treaty, and the requesting country is not part of the Commonwealth, the Minister of Justice may make the decision.

    We have an extradition treaty with the United States.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    It's also not simple for writers copyright, because that is a 3-layer - and sometimes 4 & more layer- shitpile.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Until the returns on direct sales (through streaming or downloads) for a show in a region like NZ can exceed the licensing revenue of the same show by a broadcaster the broadcaster will be the primary distribution channel and will dictate the timing and ultimate availability of other channels.

    Unless a government with balls regulates otherwise.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15715 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A major obstacle to any kind of experimental market is that conventional broadcasters generally buy internet as well as TV rights to programmes. And Sky has most of the rights locked up.

    And it’ll get worse before it gets better. SKY is becoming the Ma Bell of NZ TV. Can anyone dig dirt on its political ties, and more importantly, its role in the Skynet Act (which was largely overlooked, if not spun into oblivion)? And someone needs to rat to the Commerce Commission about Igloo.

    Already, Netflix has openly stated it’s bypassing NZ because of what it says is sub-par Internet. As long as the Internet in NZ remains in its current state, it won’t pose a threat to SKY anytime soon.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Is this what is stopping iBooks being available for sale in New Zealand?
    (ie: a digital remnant of the publishers’ division of global territories)

    Pretty much, yes.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to DeepRed,

    The thing about Sky (and the other entities we tend to regard as ratbags in this area) is that they don't have to behave corruptly to get the job done. They pay people to liaise with the government officials and ministers and that may be their entire job. Simply by being always available to talk on these matters makes them the authoritative voice, as far as the government is concerned. We 'amateurs', who work on this stuff in-between the day job, raising families, protesting against motorways, looking after aged relatives etc, can only front up when there's something worth the effort, like a Select Committee review of legislation. The 'trusted advisors' make themselves available to help craft the legislation.

    Not sure what you mean about Igloo. Care to elucidate?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DeepRed,

    Already, Netflix has openly stated it’s bypassing NZ because of what it says is sub-par Internet. As long as the Internet in NZ remains in its current state, it won’t pose a threat to SKY anytime soon.

    Netflix did also cite the licensing situation. Sky's lock on content is a massive block to any new entrants. I think its rights acquisition policy is aimed less at generating revenue per se than at preventing any competition.

    The parallels with Telecom in the 1990s are inescapable. I expect that at some point we'll have to go through a protracted and painful period of re-regulation under a different government. Meanwhile, we'll look like a bunch of wallies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17939 posts Report Reply

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