News: NBA announced a deal with YouTube to deliver basketball highlights on YouTube. Also, the NBA is holding a contest for people to send in their best basketball moves. See the video below. (Sorry, my best BBall moves would not make anyone’s highlight reel.) Even more exciting, on the NBA’s own site, users can apparently create their own mashups of NBA basketball highlights on NBA Highlight Mixer, through which you can synch in music from the NBA library. This is fantastic! I wonder what Mark Cuban has to say now.
News: In a few hours, BitTorrent will launch a new website, where you can rent movies, and buy TV shows, and video games. BitTorrent is famous for its peer-to-peer software (which does allow for illegal file sharing), but, after striking a deal with Hollywood studios, it is developing a a BitTorrent Entertainment Network on its site. The rub is, at least for the movies, you can only get a rented copy that expires in 30 days after purchase, or 24 hours after viewing. (More here)
“Somebody once said you have to embrace your enemy,” said Doug Lee, executive vice president of MGM’s new-media division. “We like the idea that they have millions of users worldwide. That is potentially fertile, legitimate ground for us.”
Analysis: Can’t wait to see the new site. Some question whether “renting” movies is inferior to being able to purchase them outright. My guess is that a significant number of people would be fine with renting a movie, just like Netflix. The difference here is that it takes 2 or 3 hours to download a movie over the Internet with a good broadband connection. That’s still pretty time consuming.
I’m at Villanova University, where I will be speaking on Saturday, 9 a.m., on a panel discussion about “Copyright Robin Hood’s or Ransackers: Will Future Legislation Find Media Distributors to be Merry Men or Merely Theives?”
That’s a pretty long title, but I’m basically talking about YouTube. Representatives from both RIAA and MPAA are speaking, too, so I’m really looking forward to the conference. You can watch the conference live on the Web on the Journal’s site.
News: After partnership deals with Viacom and then CBS broke down in the past week (with Viacom actually going to startup Joost to make a deal), CEO of Google Eric Schmidt announced yesterday that fighting copyright infringement is one of the company’s highest priorities.”We are definitely committed to (offering copyright protection technologies). It is one of the company’s highest priorities. We just reviewed that (issue) about an hour ago. [Anti-piracy filtering] is going to roll out very soon … It is not far away,” Schmidt said. Correcting earlier reports (or changing them) that YouTube would only offer filtering to partners, Schmidt said the filtering would be available to all. “We have to do that. But it takes a while to roll this stuff out.” (More here)
In a separate report, it was also announced that Google-YouTube will be adopting Audible Magic’s filtering, a popular digital fingerprint recognition system. According to the report, “[t]he system works by comparing the audio fingerprint of a video to a large database of copyrighted material. ” (More here)
Analysis: It looks like adult supervision is stepping in. Google CEO Eric Schmidt probably felt compelled to speak out publicly against copyright infringement because all of the bad press YouTube received in the past week, not to mention the two deals with Viacom and CBS that reportedly broke down. But no one should expect that Audible Magic will make unauthorized clips all miraculously disappear. Its filtering, first of all, is limited to audio fingerprinting (as I understand it), and, in any event, no system of filtering will come close to being 100% effective. But that’s not a bad thing. Copyright has always been “leaky,” going back to the founding of the U.S. in 1789. Copyright holders deserve a “fair return,” said the Supreme Court, but no more than that: “The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an ‘author’s’ creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good.” Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken, 422 U.S. 151, 156 (1975).
Sorry, I’ve been insanely busy this week and will be skipping my usual “Video of the Week” selection. In its place, I have my American Idol predictions.
This is a slight diversion from YouTube, but each year, I like to predict the winner of American Idol during the preliminary stage even before the 12 finalists are selected. Sometimes, I’ve picked the winner based on just the tryouts based on a standout performance in the very beginning. My record right now is 2-2. I correctly predicted the winners of Season 2 (Ruben) and 3 (Fantasia). I missed on Season 4 (Carrie Underwood) and 5 (Taylor Hicks) — although I did have them in my final 3 and my picks (Bo Bice and Katharine McPhee) did make it to the finals. (As far as Season 1, I wasn’t even watching then. Sorry, Kelly Clarkson.)
This year, I haven’t been following Idol that closely. I’ve seen everybody once, though. So here are my picks:
Top 3: Lakisha Jones, Blake Lewis, Stephanie Edwards.
Top 2: Lakisha Jones (bank teller), and Blake Lewis (beat box guy).
The Next American Idol: Lakisha Jones (bank teller). OK, I only saw Lakisha sing once, but she gave the only performance of the year of any Idol contestant that sent chills up my spine (video also available here). She reminds me of Taylor Hicks in energy and ability to leave a lasting impression. Even if she didn’t win, I will remember that one performance. Pretty mind blowingly amazing.
News: USAToday had an article yesterday describing Pizza Hut’s video contest, searching for a “VP of Pizza” who will earn $25,000 and 1 year free of pizza for serving that position for 3 months. Here’s the promotion video on YouTube, and the contest rules.
According to the article: “The promotion launches just as Disney and CareerBuilder.com wrap up a video contest to be a theme park ‘cast member’ — what Disney calls its park staff — for a day and get a four-day stay for four at Disneyland. CareerBuilder.com is a job-finding site jointly owned by Tribune, McClatchy and USA TODAY parent Gannett. Through Tuesday, consumers could submit video entries showing why they should get one of five park jobs, such as parade performer or pirate. In both cases, the companies will name finalists, then online consumer voting will pick the winners. Entries also will be posted on YouTube.”
JetBlue has adopted its own Passenger’s Bill of Rights, which includes free vouchers for delays and $1,000 for any involuntary denial of boarding due to overbooking.