Network-based Communities: Pawns of Promotion

I love the term organic (think bucolic images of server farms), especially when it’s applied to gui-meta-electro-datapackets getting drank into and blasted out of internet trunks and whatnot. I still don’t know what elephants have to do with any off this, but we certainly can put off any rigorous investigations of implementation technicalities until another day.

This is going to be ad hoc, so roll with me as best as you can. Holmes was pissing and moaning last night about some of his favorite Black Sabbath videos seemingly being yanked from youtube. That place is actually fancied by some to be a community. These pawns are essentially at the mercy of whoever or whatever it is that administers community guidelines. Some might say fair enough. Others prefer to say fuck you, and maybe strike out on their own.

CMM… I like it. Just about covers the entire waterfront of bling-friendly self-promotional yet vaguely clubby aesthetics.

Back to my mainline of thought, or rather my first major tangent. There are other places where monkeys who shoot videos can post them and apparently actually get paid if enough people view said videos. One such place is metacafe.com; according to their Producer Rewards® program, “We pay $2 for every 1,000 views a video accepted into the program receives in the United States. Your video will be evaluated for acceptance into the program after it receives 20,000 worldwide views. *** In addition, your video must be suitable for a mainstream audience – no adult, erotic, violent or hateful content.”

Anyone else notice that a lot of the Top Producers seem to be primarily purveyors of videos of girls running around in their underwear? I got nothing against that. In my book, one monkey’s erotic is another’s gapping maw of ambiguity. And just when Miss How to Make a Sexy Outfit from an Old Mustard-Stained Shirt starts getting comfortable with her stream of income, will the erotic net begin to be cast more broadly? I mightily suspect that these sorts of on-the-edge-of-the-guidelines groundfloor-ish early-ish adopters are permitted to flourish much for the same reasons that alleged copyright infringers existed largely unchecked for so long at places like youtube. Once the volume of traffic is sufficiently great, then the rough and tumble early days of substantially guideline free operation come to a close. Then again, maybe it takes a lawsuit.

Organizations including Viacom and the English Premier League have issued lawsuits against YouTube, claiming that it has done too little to prevent the uploading of copyrighted material. Viacom, demanding US$1 billion in damages, said that it had found more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of its material on YouTube that had been viewed “an astounding 1.5 billion times”. YouTube responded by stating that it “goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works”. Since Viacom issued its lawsuit, YouTube has introduced a system called Video ID, which checks uploaded videos against a database of copyrighted content with the aim of reducing violations.

Okay, so this is probably what is going on with the de-posting of your favorite youtube videos. I don’t care what is and is not fair use. Leave that to the legal eagles. The point is that youtube now purports to have a system in place to scrub away video posts that appear to include copyrighted material. But there does seem to be a (glimmer of a) due process mechanism available for those inclined to pursue it.

In August 2008, a U.S. court ruled that copyright holders cannot order the removal of an online file without first determining whether the posting reflected fair use of the material. The case involved Stephanie Lenz from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, who had made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” and posted the 29-second video on YouTube.

So what are we left with? A landscape predominated by larger internet communities and content posting players who have attracted too much attention (i.e., lawsuits) to remain entirely lawless and relatively unknown websites flying below the radar.

But let’s not fool ourselves. While systems such as Video ID are cumbersome, they are merely a cost of doing business. So are the lawsuits. The desirability of providing a fun lawless milieu, which geometrically or otherwise grows traffic, is weighed against the financial cost of defending against lawsuits and then eventually taking burdensome measures to attempt to mitigate the chance of having Toni Iommi come after you. Believe me. You don’t want that to happen.

34 Replies to “Network-based Communities: Pawns of Promotion”

  1. BunnBunn-

    Excellent “thought piece” you wacky wabbit. As one of my faves–Hazel Henderson–has been saying for decades, we need to move beyond “economics” as a way of organizing our society. We have worshipped the Golden Calf by trying to monetize everything in life (air, water, land) and the indicators are suggesting what a false religion it is.

  2. Thanks, EE… and good point about “trying to monetize everything in life”. That really does, in some ways, cut to the heart of the matter.

  3. OK, alright, property.

    So what you are saying is, enjoy my Pixie vids now, its probably a just temporary thing. Nothing is free, or at least not for very long, I guess.

  4. As always, the pirates are the victims here. Yeah, Count 1 would read something like… youtube was unjustly enriched by permitting copyrighted materials to be posted, thereby increasing their traffic and therefore their advertising revenues. Just like the subprime victims. Jeesus Christ, this has class action lawsuit written all over it. Where in the love of Bunn is the friggin’ ACLU when you really need them, and Al Sharpton, and Ken Kesey… and the ghost of Monica Lewinsky, and Dick Cavit and and the guy from Steeler’s Wheel who sounds like Bob Dylan? They’re all pieces of the puzzle. How could they not be?

    Think I’ll make my posting of articles a once a week thing. So tune in every Sunday, if you are interested. That’s my day. It only makes sense. Adieu.

  5. sorry about that chief. guess i gave myself away as not that big a Sabbath fan.

    btw, i agree that Clapton’s music suffered after Derek & the Dominos. i was a big fan of his from the Cream, Blind Faith days. i was just glad he was able to make it back from a serious herion addiction, so we at least had him playing music again, if not the best. Delaney & Bonnie helped him, as i recall. i have the Eric Clapton album he made with them. it was sort of a celebration and welcome back party recording. “Let It Rain” with Leon Russel on piano was one of my favs.

  6. Doom, the guy who feeds me saw EC at the L.A. Forum a few years back. Closed the show strong with some Cream numbers. That boy can sure play guitar… JR, maybe he IS better than ever AS A PLAYER. In any case, feel free to chime in with any noteworthy EC compositional examples of recent vintage (post-1978) that you are aware of. If I’ve overlooked something awesome, I wants to be edgumacated back to a fully socialized state where I will once again be welcomed at Club Delos. I can see the tab, can’t the rest of you?!?

  7. The EC songs are practically all remakes of others’ work, bunn, so you are correct, he lives on as a player, just like the Rolling Stones and many others past their prime. Hell, I must be past my prime, whenever that was.

    We’ve heard him in Honolulu a couple of times, usually on his way to New Zealand. A great player, lesser singer, and now, sadly, a basic non-composer, songwriter.

  8. Thats how it goes I think. The Dead played some great shows from the late 70s into the late 80s. Their best in my opinion. But largely it was masterfully delivering a body of work layed down by them a decade earlier. By the late 70s they were creating nothing “new”. From then on they were just “players” as you say. And wow could they play. That was good enough.

    Some of these people are around too long though. I swear, I didn’t think Billy Joel would EVER stop putting out albums. Pure torture. [shudders]

  9. CORRECTION: Les Paul IS the greatest guitar player of all time. At 93, he’s exactly 3 months older than my mum.

  10. anyhoo, isn’t the music industry, at least in the form we’ve known it for the last 50 or so years, dieing, like all the other dinosaurs around us? fighting the inevitable seems to be universal, as it should be.

  11. i hope to make my living in the future as a traveling minstral. i fugure that i can survive on rotten vegtables that get thrown in my direction.

  12. Great piece, bunnbunn. I personally think we are being drowned in marketing. It drives me crazy. Especialy the ads on the internet for dating sites. You used to just see them on the sports pages, but now they are popping up on the front page of Slate, Huffington Post, the NYT for chrissakes.

    If I want pornography I know where to get it, but if I’m trying to get some work done or concentrate on the “news,” I really don’t need a picture of some chicky with her junk popping out all over the place to distract me.

    Here’s an article I ran across, kind of a hybrid book review, I guess, I don’t really get either guy’s point, or I don’t know if they make any case and the piece definitely isn’t as interesting as yours, but maybe it will be of value to someone. Or not.

    The New New Media:
    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=3cb8eb63-e509-461f-8c62-46c996248638

  13. bunnbunn,

    I wonder if Holmes is going to experience “peak patent law” soon? Peak copyright seems to be upon us, if not in the rearview mirror. I am atavistic and admit I see no way out of our world view (property) into something else…

    dave,

    When you visit a town for a while as a performer, would your visit be a minstrel period?

  14. JR-
    OMFG!! How can anybody with the last name of “Zittrain” expect to be taken seriously??

    MOU-
    LOLOL… “Some Girls” to you!

  15. I don’t know. He was a “system operator” back in the 80s. That’s gotta count for something, right?

    Hey, did you know that if you put the names “Biden” and “Obama” together it spells Osama Bin Laden? It’s true.

  16. JR, thanks for posting Wu’s article. As compared to smaller industries, it’s obviously going to take a lot more figurative hammering, cutting, welding etc. to reconfigure the massively-scaled centralized vertically-integrated 20th Century systems… but what emerges/survives will most certainly include generative pockets, access to generative inputs, or some other means for rapidly fostering innovation. And alas, advertising will remain in your face until a market emerges for “ad free” versions of important websites, which will probably require some sort of premium charge. I thought the discussion of the early days of film and radio was interesting. I do share Wu’s opinion that the internet is a different animal, at least under current circumstances.

    dave, I agree that the music industry is kinda going through a dying or rebirth process — similar to what is going on with print media. I heard on the radio today that French newspapers are hurting in a bad way, shackled with all sorts of administrative and cost baggage attendant to socialist laws and other old ways that must be shed on their way to transforming into something that people actually want to read.

    MOU, I’ve been advised that some specialized areas in the legal profession now are entirely electronic and internet facilitated. Just 15 years ago, the same professions were entirely paper and fax dependent. Some industries are more nimble than others. My Plan B, as the great and cataclysmic battles between vertically-integrated and decentralized systems play out, is to become a platform-neutral internet messiah. Holmes, ehh… forget about him. He always has to learn things the hard way.

  17. Speaking of internet messiahs (and don’t let Doom know this), I just remembered the purpose of this site. Originally I just wanted a forum that I didn’t have to worry about being banned from, but as things progressed I realized it could be a school for future L. Ron Hubbards

  18. minstrel period? well i’m sure that robert plant gets a nose bleed every 28 days, or so. if that’s what you mean.

    if he’s too close to ec for too long, they start to get them in sinc, strangest thing.

  19. “My Plan B, as the great and cataclysmic battles between vertically-integrated and decentralized systems play out, is to become a platform-neutral internet messiah.” –BunnBunn

    Bunn-

    Had a long discussion yesterday with an old buddy of mine who seems to think that IBM is the company of the future and has circumvented both Macrosoft and Applesauce in the way it’s working Linux.

    Having been in publishing and on the periphery of advertising my entire career, I have never been comfortable with the so-called “business model” of advertising supporting publishing. You have built-in conflicts and no power parity. The model has been failing for the last 30 years. Something better will sprout up soon.

    MOU-

    Meant to post this above:

    Separated at Birth: Mick Jagger as Angelina Jolie

  20. “…it’s obviously going to take a lot more figurative hammering, cutting, welding etc. to reconfigure the massively-scaled centralized vertically-integrated 20th Century systems…” – BB

    Massive, complex, sophisticated… the stuff of luxury; and it works great if you have the resources to not only create the legal and regulatory framework but to enforce it; and, it hums even better if people perceive the benefit from their compliance and for the most part voluntarily adhere. Otherwise… god its going to be a confusing mess some day.

    So you say you want to sue somebody? Ha. Good luck. The judge is drunk, and the DA turned in his Florsheims to go raise chickens (possible code violation… hahahaha… zone THIS right here baby! I got a 12-gauge variance. You wanna see it?).

    No no no. We’re a few black swans from that so I shouldn’t say. There’s probably still plenty of time to get a few complaints filed, so… think before you click.

    I’m sure it will all get worked out. Time to put on my gilly suit and go pick through the scree at IOU-Tube.

  21. IOU Tube.

    Peak You Tube. The more we rush to get it, the more we run up the numbers, the more they will file suit regarding profits they perceive they are not getting, the quicker the whole enterprise goes belly up.

    Like a belly up curve, with all kinds of normally distributed standard deviants. Down side is a bitch. X^2? Who will intercept the slope?

  22. Nicholas, everyone suffers from cognitive dissonance. It’s ok. Tell us about Roland Burris, and the rule of law, from a Chicago perspective.

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