Feeds

Guy Goma, YouTube and the BBC

How copyright has to leak

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Column Meejatarts, as my old friend Rupert calls us, will do almost anything for exposure. We're publicity whores. It's how we earn our daily crust.

If you understand this simple truth about the meeja it will help you follow an awful lot about digital rights management which otherwise would be utterly baffling. For example, it will explain why the BBC went to so much trouble to prevent YouTube from re-transmitting copyright material - and also why the BBC has now done a deal with YouTube.

Last Friday, when the BBC deal was released to the world, a Radio 4 news programme "PM" discussed the subject. I was tickled pink, because it turns out (according to the BBC executive being interviewed) that the most popular bit of BBC footage in the last year was an interview on News 24 featuring a nice IT graduate (Guy Goma) who was mistaken for me.

That incident is one the BBC did its best to pretend never happened, and is now exploiting for all it is worth. Why?

Publishing is a business which cannot flourish in secret. It's not a personality defect which forces publishers to expose themselves to public scrutiny. It's not the celeb thing, where people think the world loves to see them smile, and weeps when they are sad..it's simple book-keeping. If no one reads your stuff, you might as well not publish, because no one will pay you to shut up.

Well, that's not quite true. Time was when it was well worth paying people not to write - for your rival publishers, at any rate. If you were unaware of the phrase "exclusive contract" before, believe it now: there are writers who are given so much for words they write, and so much more for not writing for other publishers. There are film stars in the same position. And also musicians. And other creative workers in many spheres.

The BBC, quite simply, does deals which prevent BBC material from appearing on TV sets. That's obviously not the main purpose of the deals - the purpose is to sell the material - but only to people who will pay extra to prevent someone else from broadcasting it. For example, the South African Broadcasting Corporation will pay the BBC a fee to broadcast TV material - but an even bigger fee to prevent rival stations from having that material.

The internet, and YouTube and BitTorrent technology specifically, makes all that impossible.

Talk to anybody who actually understands the future of copyright and you'll discover an awareness that exclusivity is no longer legally enforceable. All you can hope for is to be first.

The dream of "copyright owners" is to have a nice, orderly market in which they call the shots. DVD regions, for example, were set up so that people could start off by releasing their movies in America, and then, when everything was getting nicely automated, they could move their marketing effort into Europe, and then when that was burning warmly, start the fire in Asia.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.