On media broadcasting and Aereo

Capitalism has its strength, but American capitalism should be aptly named ‘corporatism’. The governments serves the interest of big corporations, and they alone. They prioritise media before the rest of society. We have seen absurd cases like NASA’s mars landing video get taken down by a local station that reported the news because f-ing news itself “violates” that  station’s copyright. And Youtube is not at fault because it took down that video. The local station requested that, and they may have done that on an automated basis, abusing their rights and impose their greed on every video that even remotely resembles their content. And the local station didn’t even get fined for disrupting millions of viewers!

My favorite internet radio service, Pandora is struggling financially even though it did its job fantastically: It allows user to listen to music they like most, categorizing music and expanding our knowledge. But they have to pay 50% royalty on their revenue while terrestrial radio stations pay only 15% simply because they are… old technology, limited to a local area and belongs to bigger media corporation. What sort of retarded environment that penalizes innovation, adaptation and quality of service?

In today’s news Aereo, startup focused on bringing terrestrial over-the-air programming to internet users won a lawsuit because Fox news want them to pay for making their program more accessible to viewers. Specifically, Fox news want Aereo to pay for rebroadcasting free content. Actually Fox got what they wanted before, arguing that every video streaming service is a public performance (sorry, what?) and thus have to pay royalty. Aereo work around this stupid law in a roundabout, but efficient way to circumvent this stupidity:

Here, briefly, is how Aereo works: You pay $8-ish a month, and get assigned a mini-antenna, roughly the size of a dime, that is located in a warehouse in Brooklyn. Aereo has thousands of these antennas, each of which is assigned to a single user and connected to a single DVR-like device. When you want to watch, let’s say, “The Voice,” Aereo’s app pulls the show from your antenna, streams it to your device, and makes a copy that is only viewable by you. If 40,000 other Aereo users are watching “The Voice” at the same time, there will be 40,000 dime-sized antennas streaming 40,000 identical copies of the show onto 40,000 devices and into 40,000 DVRs.

If that sounds absurd, it’s because Aereo’s entire business model is based on a legal head-fake. Under copyright law, 40,000 people with their own antennas can watch TV at home for free, but if you want to have one giant antenna that picks up TV shows and distributes them to an audience of 40,000 people, the law calls that a “public performance,” and you have to pay a copyright fee to do it. Aereo didn’t want to pay those fees, so it figured out a way to make what is essentially a simultaneous mass broadcast look like lots of little broadcasts.

Or that’s what they say. This may be entirely fictitious and the explanation is just there to please lawyers. Yep, there you have it, free content with ads is not free, and you have to pay to see it. Also, you have no choices because every f-ing media company operates on the same model: Trying to attract more viewers by limiting access to some viewers and make people pay for free-by-law content. What kind of logic is this?

Change has come to America

Possibly largest inauguration festival ever in America. It’s not just about the well-planned celebrations, it’s a about the new attitude. It’d be hard for Bush to stand between an open crowd like that (neither in a small crowd). One could say it’s courageous, the highest target for those who don’t like America stand between a sea of people. But the ceremony went through smoothly. Well, looks like the terrorists like the democrats 😛

I haven’t seen any change for the ongoing conflicts just yet, but I’ve seen changes on the white house’s web site. Really diligent webmaster. Last time I checked (around 11 am EST), it’s still Bush’s. I was expecting only a name change, but the new design surprised me. I like the new color and layout, the feeds and the jqueries. The professional online presence from the presidental campaign was carried over. If this were a Vietnamese site, it’d took one or two month to make the same change :))

The political Google bomb from 2004 was also taken care of. I tried to access the old target and got redirected to the new biography, while search engines are redirected to Bush’s. Well done! I like the new administration already!

Also, from the new biography more goodies is now accessible. (Say, you want to know about the first pets?)