Usually I don't mention technical stuff on this blog, mostly because such things cause my brain to freeze. Seriously, I can barely operate a manual can opener without crying.
Anyway, our pals over at the Unofficial Apple Weblog and Endgadget have been covering the All Things Digital conference, and one of their reports caught my eye: the new Apple TV will include an option to watch YouTube video right on your TV screen.
I don't watch game shows, except for Jeopardy. I actually consider Jeopardy more of a quiz show because it requires some actual intelligence in order to win. That's not to say guessing the price of a bag of sponges or calling out one of the letters of the alphabet doesn't require a certain level of intelligence. I'm sure Wheel of Fortune has to weed out a lot of unqualified candidates:
M.C.: Okay, Steve, pick a letter.
Steve: Abraham Lincoln!
The Football Association Premier League is threatening legal action, as is the country of Thailand.
The Premiere League is ticked off at YouTube for the usual copyright infringing stuff. They say the video-sharing site is violating the league's distribution rights of soccer matches, and have set up a website to encourage other copyright holders to join their suit against YouTube's parent company Google.
As for Thailand, they're upset about video clips that made fun of the country's king. Thailand banned access to YouTube, and the site eventually agreed to block pages with the offensive videos from Thai users. While it seemed like that would be the end of the story, a Thai official now says the country plans to file a suit against Google.
Maybe this wasn't the best time for Google to start paying independent video producers. They might need to save the money.
And Google agreed. Not only did the company remove the videos from YouTube, but it sent copyright infringement letters to the users who had uploaded the clips.
Thing is, actual representatives of ABC say they had no problem with users uploading the videos.
[via Google Blogoscoped]
The Boston Phoenix makes an interesting suggestion on one of their blogs: maybe NBC should give the Late Night slot to Demetri Martin in 2009 when Conan O'Brien takes over for Jay Leno. Hmmm...
In this Daily Show clip, Martin explains the whole copyright controversy involving Viacom, Google, and YouTube. It's a great clip, with Martin asking at one point if viewers are watching him right now on YouTube (yes, it's a YouTube clip). He even freezes his body and says "buffering." Funny stuff. Both videos after the jump (YouTube version and Comedy Central's, just in case...)
Right, so now, about a week later, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has turned around and sued Viacom, claiming that one of the videos in question was actually a parody of The Colbert Report, and protected under fair use. The video, produced by MoveOn parodies both Stephen Colbert's schtick, and MoveOn's strategy of using online petitions to effect social change.
I'd embed the video, but as I've pointed out, it's no longer up on YouTube. You can, however, still check it out at Falsiness.org.
Now Viacom is seeking $1 billion from Google for unauthorized use of Viacom content. Viacom claims that nearly 160,000 of its copyrighted cliips have been uploaded to YouTube and viewed over 1.5 billion times.
In a press release, Viacom says the decision to sue Google follows a series of "unproductive negotiation." Viacom also accuses YouTube of building "a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works."
Two thirds of frequent YouTube viewers say they're sacrificing some other activity to watch videos, which shouldn't be surprising because it's hard to watch a video while you're reading a book. The number one activity folks say they give up to spend time on YouTube is visiting other websites, with television ranking second on the sacrificed activity list.
I suppose my penchant for thrift store t-shirts with odd logos puts me out of the Izod target market. Maybe that's why I got all the way through this commercial having no idea what it was advertising. I actually thought it was going to be a Nike ad, what with the golfer, and the Tiger-esque red.
It was a pretty slick ad with some gorgeous photography, but suffers from only working for people already familiar with the brand. Some kind of a tag line at the end. "Izod, sportswear for men" or some such, would have gone a long way. You can't expect everyone watching to go google your company to find out what it is you do.
In addition, VCast will also have mini-episodes of the telenovela featured on Ugly Betty, called Vidas de Fuego.
Despite the caliber of the stars, there really isn't anything shocking or too weird in the pilot, but I did delight in watching the Liza scenes. She seems to be a genuine sweetheart-- crossing the street to sign autographs, snuggling a stranger's dog in her car, and talking her godson into doing his impression of her. I found Liza to be surprisingly unaffected by her fame and, quite frankly, I adored her. She's very old Hollywood. Plus, she shares some great moments with the late Luther Vandross and Ray Charles.
Then there's David Gest... who is weird in a Howard Hughes sort-of way. He lives in Liza's shadow. This line pretty much sums him up, while shopping at a furniture store, he says, "I just bought the elephant man's bones from Michael Jackson and I need an incubator."
Was it good? Not really. But it is worth watching, just to get a glimpse of Liza.
The pilot is in three parts on YouTube and Google Video.
The interesting aspect of this deal is that Google Video, while not at the level of YouTube, was still a widely-used product. Is this going to get tossed in favor of YT, or will both embedded video systems continue on parallel tracks? The article doesn't say. Either way, Google seems to be following the Microsoft model of competition: if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.
Other CBS series currently available for viewing on Google Video are The Class, The New Adventures of Old Christine, NCIS and all sorts of CSI.
[Via TV Guide.com]
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