The Center for Social Media at American University has a video and related report, Code of Best Practicies in Fair Use for Online Video. In spite of the "tv-ist" title, it all applies to audio also, of course. Also check out the video, Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend. --Dennis
I've written here before about how, increasingly, remote controls need to be considered media platforms in their own right rather than mere appendages to other devices. The wonderfully intuitive TiVo remote is one example and Nintendo's Wii remote is another (the Comcast DVR remote is IMHO a frustrating counter-example).
Pictured to the right is the Freespace™ from Hillcrest Labs. The Washington Post Thursday carried a story about how Hillcrest had filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission and a suit against Nintendo in U.S. District Court for patent infringement. The gadget blog, Gizmodo, had more details, and earlier had a very positive review about Hillcrest's loop-shaped remote control which characterized it as better than the Wii.
I don't know anything about the merits of this complaint, but think there's a bunch of room for innovation in this space. Now, if they can just get Comcast to license them. --Dennis
The Communications Act requires broadcasters to serve "public interest, convenience, and necessity." But a campaign by a Christian media group to defeat Federal Communications Commission proposals to encourage more locally-oriented radio reveals the extent to which some Christian broadcasters see their mission in sectarian terms. ¶ "The FCC is considering a proposal that would force every radio station to take programming advice from community advisory boards broadly representative of an area’s population," a statement distributed by Save Christian Radio (SCR) darkly warns. "That means that Christian broadcast stations could be forced to take programming advice from people whose values are at odds with the Gospel!"
In The Decline of Localist Broadcasting Policies, Ed Felton then comments on this development and also the debut of Pandora for the iPhone:
... Many people are like the Pandora or Christian radio listeners, in wanting to hear content aimed at their interests rather than just their location. Public policy ought to recognize this and give broadcasters more latitude to find their own communities rather than defining communities only by geography. ¶ Now I’m not saying that their shouldn’t be local programming, or that people shouldn’t care what is happening in their neighborhood. Most people care a lot about local issues and want some local programming. The local community is one of their communities of interest, but it’s not the only one. Let some stations serve local communities while others serve non-local communities. As long as there is demand for local programming — as there surely will be — the market will provide it, and new technologies will help people get it. ...
Adam Thierer provides some comments on this in The Progress & Freedom Foundation blog and expands on this theme in Our Continued Wishful Thinking about "Media Localism" where he points to a debate on this in Editor & Publisher:
There’s an interesting discussion going on over at Editor & Publisher in which E&P columnist Steve Outing and Mark Potts of the now-defunct Backfence.com are debating media localism and recent efforts to give dying newspapers a new lease on life by focusing on the “hyper-local” coverage and community services. Potts obviously didn’t take too kindly to Outling saying of Backfence that: “We know from its experience that relying too heavily on non-paid citizen contributors isn’t a winning strategy.” And that the: “content is often of low quality and boring, and dull just doesn’t fly in the hyper-competitive Web environment. In response, Potts suggests that other factors were responsible for the site’s demise and that hyper-localism and user-generated local content is the future of the industry...
You better not pout, Better not cry, Better be good, I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town!
He's making a list, Checking it twice, Gonna find out who's naughty or nice. Santa Clause is coming to town!
He knows when you've been sleeping, He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been good or bad, So be good for goodness sake!
[Chris Isaak: "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"]
Back in February of 2006 I wrote a short essay here called The "new Hoover" and attention metadata about privacy concerns relating to our ability to collect metadata about our Web browsing. Usually, these metdata enhance our Web experiences as in the case of a site like Amazon which gets smarter about our preferences as we revisit the site. But this technology has also been used for government snooping. Again, I'm sure most of us don't mind when that's used against child porn distributors or real terrorists, but on the principle that "if it can be done, it will be done," it doesn't take too great a dose of paranoia to imagine less beneficial uses.
Now comes Bobby White of the Wall Street Journal with a distrubing story about companies (NebuAd, FrontPorch and Phorm are mentioned) that are supplying technology to Internet Service Providers to monitor your surfing and target ads to you based on the metadata it collects. Since your ISPs already have your name, address, phone number and payment information, it's a small step to associating you with the metadata. White writes:
... This technique -- called behavioral targeting -- is far more
customized than the current method of selling ads online. Today, it's an
imperfect process: companies such as Revenue Science Inc. and Tacoda Inc., which
was recently bought by Time Warner Inc., contract
with Web sites to monitor which consumers visit them, attaching "cookies," or
small pieces of tracking data, to visitors' hard drives so they are recognized
when they return. The targeting firms feed the data to Web site owners, who use
it to charge premium rates for customized ads. But the information is limited,
since the tracking companies can't monitor all of the sites an individual
visits. ¶ The newer form of behavioral targeting involves placing gear
called "deep-packet inspection boxes" inside an Internet provider's network of
pipes and wires. Instead of observing only a select number of Web sites, these
boxes can track all of the sites a consumer visits, and deliver far more
detailed information to potential advertisers. ...
According to the article, NebuAd says it "doesn't track traffic to sites related to sex, health or politics." Sure. How does it know you're headed there unless it's tracking some aspect of that? [See clarification from NebuAd CEO in Comments section below. It does sound like that company is making a good faith effort to protect privacy, but I feel that the following paragraph is still generally valid. --Dennis]
All this stuff is subject to subpoena and press scrutiny. Or, perhaps under the Patriot Act that's not even necessary. Ask a librarian. All this is extremely troubling and goes to the core of the value of information exchange to us all. These ISPs and technology companies want us to trust that they're not abusing this (the article notes that some ISPs are permitting consumers to opt out). OK, but we've gone far enough down the road of constitutional erosion in this country that it's not them I'm worried about. --Dennis
At last Tuesday's FCC meeting, the Commission adopted a controversial order, over the objection of two Commissioners, that could limit the processing of some applications for improvements by some full power FM stations, and would restrict translator applications, all in the name of encouraging Low Power FM (LPFM) stations to provide outlets for expression by groups that cannot get access to full-power radio stations (see our summary of that action here). In recent weeks, two ideas have received some publicity providing an alternative outlet for these prospective local broadcasters - and both provide a simple solution (one more immediate and ad hoc than that other), but both leading to the same result - why not just extend the FM band by using TV channel 6? ...
Link: Broadcast Law Blog. No matter how much sense this makes -- and I think it does -- I don't think it has much of a chance. But I'm concerned that politics is out-pacing science here and that Congress will never adequately fund the FCC to take on the regulatory mess that LPFM brings along for the ride.
Also see his, FCC Meeting Adopts Rules Favoring LPFM, Restricting Translator Applications, and Possibly Impeding Full Service FM Station Upgrades. Link: Broadcast Law Blog.
Broadcasters (MSTV, et al.) have been fighting the introduction of unlicensed broadband devices in the spectrum they occupy citing interference concerns. Both sides have been conducting tests. The New America Foundation's Wireless Future Program has been an advocate for this more permissive use of the TV spectrum and it has issued a new policy brief by Sascha D. Meinrath and Michael Calabrese, The Feasibility of Unlicensed Broadband Devices to Operate on TV Band 'White Space' Withoug Causing Harmful Interference: Myths & Facts. Link: New America Foundation (see attached pdf). --Dennis
... After an 11-hour delay to the start of its monthly meeting, the FCC voted 5-0
at about 10 p.m. to require cable systems to distribute local TV stations that
demand carriage in both analog and digital formats for a three-year period
starting Feb. 18, 2009. That’s the day after all 1,756 full-power TV stations
must turn off their analog signals and rely exclusively on their digital feeds.
Cable systems that are all-digital are exempt from the FCC’s dual carriage
mandate. ¶ [Chairman] Martin’s [original] plan called for dual must carry without the 2012 sunset, which the
FCC did reserve the right to extend. Lobbying pressure from the National Cable
& Telecommunications Association forced Martin to yield not only on
perpetual dual carriage but also on a second priority: Requiring cable systems
to transmit “all content bits” in a digital TV signal, thereby eliminating the
use of signal compression and statistical multiplexing that husband
For only a week this October, the FCC is opening up its first window for filing new noncommercial FM stations in several year, leading to a flurry of activity for many licensees (including my own organization) looking to protect FM translator frequencies or provide new services. Davis Wright Tremaine has a good overview. Link: Broadcast Law Blog.
Also see More Information onOctober Filing Window for New Noncommerical FM Radio Stations. Link: Broadcast Law Blog. --Dennis
... Not surprisingly, MSOs and cable programmers continue to cry foul over
broadcast digital must-carry and the possibility of multicast carriage.
They well should. (See Cable's All-Upset Over All-Digital.) ¶ But what the cable industry has failed to articulate is an alternative
plan for the use of the spectrum that would be wasted under digital
must-carry requirements. ¶ Here's a suggestion. If the FCC deep-sixes digital must-carry,
MSOs pledge to use the spectrum to rollout 100-Mbit/s Internet access
nationwide. Move the argument into the marketplace, and empower
consumers to pressure politicians still under the spell of broadcast
Link: Cable Digital News. I'm not advocating a position here, but we broadcasters might think about whether having a 100 mbps pipe to consumers might be better for our business model in the long run than trying to monetize more linear channels on already over-stuffed cable systems. --Dennis