January 4, 2008
PRC's New Rules on Posting Video Content on Websites
The People's Republic of China has moved to regulate more closely the posting of video content on websites. It will now require videos to be posted on government owned websites, and prohibit the uploading of video that contains government secrets or "questionable content." Questionable content includes pornography, damage to reputation or political and social stability. "Those who provide Internet audio and video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism... and abide by the moral code of socialism," according to the government. Why the new rules, which go into effect January 31st? Some speculate that they might be fallout from a recent quarrel between two married tv anchors, whose domestic dispute hit the airwaves, and then the websites, embarrassing the Chinese government. Seems a little thin for such a high volume reaction, though. Perhaps it was the proverbial stick that broke the camel's back. Read more here in an Agence-France Press story. Here is an English language version of the rules.
January 2, 2008
Happy New Year...and Counting
The Writers Guild strike has now cost its members over $151 million in salary and benefits, or the entire Los Angeles area economy more than $450 million. The Hollywood Reporter suggests that it all depends on how you swallow the spin. Meanwhile, the late night shows are returning to the air, even as WGA members plan to picket.
WGA Blog: Unitedhollywood.com
Judge Orders Santa Barbara News-Press Employees Be Reinstated
A federal administrative law judge has ruled in favor of employees and against the Santa Barbara News-Press in a long running labor matter. The employees and the NLRB had filed the case after eight employees had begun to agitate for a union, and been fired by the paper's management. Administrative law judge William G. Kocol issued his 75 page decision on December 26, ordering that the employees, with one exception, be reinstated with back pay. [A hypertext-linked table of contents is available at the end of the decision.] Read more here from the AP. Here's more from the Los Angeles Times.
Real Time Blogging and Real Time Events
Real time blogging at sports events isn't just a matter of debate here in the U.S. The Guardian's Jemima Kiss gives us her opinion of the pros and cons of blogging onsite from sports events and conferences here. In part, says Ms. Kiss,
Readers should have the ultimate say, and they like live blogs because they are efficient, easy to follow and versatile. If the NCAA is concerned about losing advertising audience for its broadcasts, it would do well to understand the popularity of the live blogs in the first place; they may well have the TV or radio on too, but want the backchannel that a blog allows so they can discuss what is happening.
If it's about rights - then those rights need to fit about the sports fans and not the other way around. That said, real-time text coverage is a relatively new format so no doubt it will be a decade before the rights framework catches up.
December 31, 2007
Gunfight at the RIAA Corral? Another Fight Over Student Privacy and Music Piracy
When the University of Oregon received a subpoena from the RIAA a few months ago, it politely declined to provide the information requested. Instead, a legal team led by the state's Attorney General fired back, on the basis of the right to privacy and with questions about the methods used to acquire information about the students the plaintiffs insisted had violated copyright laws. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, defendants, whether or not they have violated the law, frightened off by the huge amounts of money demanded, settle out of court. In this one, they seem to be spoiling for a fight, backed by a university and the resources of a state government. Read the R.I.A.A.'s response, the University's reply, and the industry's reply. Check out commentary from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
December 30, 2007
"Letterman" Writers Ink Interim Deal
David Letterman returns to late night television after signing a special deal with his writers. They will come back to work both for Mr. Letterman and for Craig Ferguson, the host of the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Other late night shows are back on the air, but their writers have not returned with them, since the WGA strike continues. Read more here.