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NBC Still Down On P2P But Plans To Use It Themselves

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the what's-that-again dept.

Television 153

Cotton Eye Joe writes "Ars Technica has an interview with Rick Cotton, the general counsel for NBC Universal who is best known for saying that piracy is a more serious offence than robbery. Cotton still has some strong opinions on P2P, even though the network will be using it for distribution. 'He's convinced that the pirate problem is costing NBC Universal real revenue and that the scale of the problem is so vast as to discourage investment in the carrots, positive solutions like Hulu. "With all that pirated material available, it creates tremendous disincentives to content owners who need to invest in new content," Cotton says, "and that just hurts consumers over time."'"

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Bright Eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741046)

From Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love And Be Loved) [lyricwiki.org] :

Well ABC, NBC, CBS: Bullshit.
They give us fact or fiction? I guess an even split.
And each new act of war is tonight's entertainment.
We're still the pawns in their game.
As they take eye for an eye until no one can see,
we must stumble blindly forward, repeating history.

The summary... (2, Interesting)

Jax Omen (1248086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741054)

It says they're using P2P. What for? All I know of is them releasing clips on Youtube...

Re:The summary... (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741424)

It also uses the word "carrots". I don't get it.

Re:The summary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742060)

Carrots vs. Sticks It makes more sense if you read the whole article, but, you know....

Re:The summary... (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742086)

They are using p2p to distribute their TV shows which are supplied on their websites now through Pando Networks.

NBC will start using P2P technology from Pando Networks to distribute its shows through NBC Direct. Using P2P allows the company to save on the massive bandwidth bills it would otherwise incur from distributing HD-quality video.
I know it was 3 pages, but it's an interesting read if you have the time to spare.

Huh? (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741058)

piracy is a more serious offense than robbery.

Huh? And this guy makes how much money every year?

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741114)

Its more serious to them. They believe that a single stolen dvd set of Seinfeld will cost them less than one guy putting it up on bittorent.

Sort of like the old addage " Steal a fish from a man, he won't eat for a day. Tell the whole village how to steal his fish, and he'll never eat again."

robbery is a petty crime (1, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741240)

until someone points a gun at you.

Ever heard of that happening over a DVD? The man is an ass.

Re:Huh? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742512)

I saw someone's sig once that read "give a man a match and he'll stay warm for a day. Set him on fire and he'll stay warm for the rest of his life!"

Not entirely on the actual topic so I'm checking "no karma".

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741174)

For a minute there i read "privacy is a more serious offense than robbery."

Almost called MPAA saying someone was copying them.

A more obvious lie. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741202)

He claims P2P makes discourages investors but his company is spending money on P2P. If P2P is worth NBC's money, it's worth anyone's. Is this they guy who write's speeches that declare "best year ever" and "competitive pressures force us to fire all of you" in the same breath?

Re:A more obvious lie. (1)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741446)

He said that piracy discourages investors, not P2P.

Same Difference (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741508)

He claims "piracy" discourages investors but his company is spending money on P2P. If P2P is worth NBC's money, despite "piracy", it's worth anyone's.

Re:Same Difference (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742934)

Apparently you didn't get it the first time, so let's try again: P2P is not the same as piracy.

You can pirate over P2P, but then you can beat someone to death with a shovel, yet still people think digging is a great idea.

Re:Huh? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741654)

Is revenue loss due to piracy even quantifiable? Some stuff that I've pirated is stuff I would have never bought or rented.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742094)

Then why is it worth pirating?

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742372)

I usually end up realizing that it wasn't worth pirating as well.

Re:Huh? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742266)

not only that , but what if you pirate stuff you already own ( legally ) .
It can be a lot faster to just download it , then to go looking for some scratched cd stacked in a box somewhere , wich probably won't play anyway.

You payed for that , so why shoudn't you download it ?

Also , what would the price be ? A new song is a lot more expensive than a song played 20 years ago.

Re:Huh? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742408)

I have a friend who plays PC games and sometimes he pirates PC games that he has purchased, just so he can do things like not have to insert the disc to play.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22743012)

I have a friend who plays PC games and sometimes he pirates PC games that he has purchased, just so he can do things like not have to insert the disc to play.
He attacks ships just so he doesn't have to insert a disc? Has he not heard of "no cd" patches?

Re:Huh? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742472)

If you're simply 'downloading' content you've already purchased, no there really isn't a big problem.

The 'problem' is that if you're using bittorrent and haven't hacked the protocol to only leech or another 'sharing' app, then you're also uploading the file to people who perhaps haven't legally purchased the content. That makes it illegal.

File sharing is illegal when copyrighted works are involved, plain and simple. The laws are antiquated and the business models obsolete, but that doesn't mean we get to ignore the laws. Simply don't share copyrighted material until the laws and the content producers change their ways.

It may be hard, but continuing to suckle at the RIAA/MPAA nipples while complaining about their business model isn't a rational argument.


Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741694)

I think he meant "Stealing from me is a worse crime than stealing from someone else." Which is a philosophy I subscribe to.

Still.. what a douche.

Re:Huh? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742684)

Well, picking your pocket is a worse crime than picking mine, but I maintain that sticking a gun in your face and demanding your wallet is still a worse crime than picking my pocket.

But I'm weird like that.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742142)

Not replying to you so much as replying to the NBC exec....

Of course piracy is worse than robbery. Holding someone up at gunpoint or with a sword while in the middle of an ocean and threatening to kill them if they don't hand over all of their valuables is about as bad as you can get. I mean, what's to stop them from killing their victims just out of spite? There's certainly no possibility of law enforcement ever being able to catch them, practically speaking, as they're out in the absolute middle of nowhere, so it is basically a low-risk, high rewards way of leaching off of society.

Oh, wait... you are talking about copyright infringement? Worse than robbery?

*blinks*

*spews soda everywhere, then laughs hysterically*

That's a good one. You really had me going there. I thought you were serious for a minute. You're kidding me, right? Right? ... Right? ........... *blinks*

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742178)

Spoken like a man who has never been robbed at gunpoint.

Re:Huh? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742824)

Or known anyone who was. Twenty years or so ago I had a friend who drove his cab to the Hay Homes here (since demolished) and a robber with a gun wanted his money. He only had fifty cents on him and the robber shot him through the heart.

The robber spent two years in prison. Kevin Mitnick [wikipedia.org] spent more time for whistling into a telephone.

Re:Huh? (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742466)

I'd equate his salary to robbery as well. :)

But seriously... I am so sick and tired of seeing these high-priced charlatans spouting how much money they are losing to "piracy"... and yet, the biggest counterfeiter in the universe is on our most-favored-trading partner status. Oh sure, they do some busts for the cameras, but the truth is, the college students and internet "pirates" aren't what's costing them money. If it were such a guaranteed revenue loss, write it off on your taxes.

I'm not so bloody sure these people aren't secretly _wanting_ "piracy" to continue, so that they have a giant boogey man to scapegoat when their insipid reality-TV nonsense doesn't get viewers to flock to their channel like lemmings over a cliff.

Copyright infringement is not theft. No matter how much these idiots want people to believe it. It's not stealing... it never has been. Journalists are complicit each time they post that lie. And it _is_ a lie, both in the eyes of the law and the eyes of the Founding Fathers... So NBC et al, can just shut up or they're going to get a boot in their short and curlies...

Re:Huh? (1)

cyberspectre (133794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742710)

'He's convinced that the pirate problem is costing NBC Universal real revenue and that the scale of the problem is so vast as to discourage investment in the carrots, positive solutions like Hulu.'

It seems that the carrots are less attractive than most of the alternatives.... As long as that condition persists, there will be a "pirate problem".

BSG anyone (2, Insightful)

T-Kir (597145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741094)

Isn't Battlestar Galactica one of the biggest traded shows on P2P? In that case he is probably getting the subject and Mediasentry-like buddies up and going for the new series premiere next month.

Just my first thought and £0.02

Re:BSG anyone (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741150)

I remember hearing that the new Battlestar Galactica would've never happened, had the pilot not been leaked onto P2P.

Re:BSG anyone (2, Informative)

Echo5ive (161910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741626)

And I hear that Global Frequency got axed and buried [wikipedia.org] precisely because the pilot got leaked and was incredibly popular on P2P networks.

The minds of movie execs move in mysterious ways.

Because it's only a bad thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741100)

when it's used in a way we don't like.

Re:Because it's only a bad thing... (5, Informative)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741190)

well you should be 100% behind them using p2p for legal means the right? as they are making the slashdot point, that p2p has legal uses. You can't be defensive about legal P2p, and against companies using it at the same time...

I see no problem with them being anti-piracy, pro-copyright, and pro-using p2p for legal means.

Re:Because it's only a bad thing... (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742056)

I'm all for him parading his legal use of p2p protocols, but he doesn't leave it at that. He desires ISPs to use filtering technology to weed out pirated files.

When we talk, Cotton makes clear that he's not "a technology guy" and that he doesn't much care how the filtering is accomplished. He fully grants the importance of privacy and fair use, and he's concerned about casting a net too widely. But something, anything, needs to be done.
He does however recognize that AT&T (and other ISPs who would use a similar tactic) is treading on unsafe ground if they start to police their networks. This man just confuses me about his lack of knowledge about how things work. He insists that something must be done to filter files at any cost, all while maintaining privacy, and without going out of the safe harbor that the DMCA offers to ISPs. He is living in some sort of dream world. Something may happen, but something will have to give, and I'm sadly expecting privacy (not piracy) to take the shaft.

Re:Because it's only a bad thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742424)

As long as they are also promoting DRM-free (Open!) formats it'd be great. Otherwise, I'll just take TPB over theirs.

Simple economics (4, Insightful)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741108)

I love it when spin doctors change the reality of the situation. From an economics standpoint, if there is no supply (e.g. meeting market demands with new product and services - how long have we been asking for newer methods to access and enjoy our entertainment ) then how on earth do you expect demand to come into play?

I have always wanted to buy cool things... I reward convenience with my cash. I reward innovation with my cash. I reward customer service with more cash than if I find a cheaper competing product or service.

If a company didn't respond to market changes in the past, it was called incompetence and the management was fired. These days it seems like the short term desire for quarterly profits blinds people to that.

As I said, you can spin the results any way you want. What makes the money is selling what people want.

The spin NBC is applying here: (1)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741472)

P2P is only OK if we can use it to make money and make our quarterlies.

Re:Simple economics (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741538)

I love it when spin doctors change the reality of the situation.
If you want spin doctoring, his comment about disincentives is hilarious.

Piracy is just another variable in the "will this be profitable" equation. The equation for DVDs and movies is stupid simple, but is a bit more complex for TV.

TV: Possible advertising sales - cost to produce - possible eyeballs (ad revenue) lost to piracy = X
If X > alternatives for that timeslot then you have a keeper

Does he really expect us to believe that "not making as big of a profit" is a disincentive?

Re:Simple economics (1)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742908)

If you want spin doctoring, his comment about disincentives is hilarious.
Seriously--

tremendous disincentives to content owners who need to invest in new content
NEED? Good god, what kind of monumental bullshit is that!? "I NEED the new season of Banal Sitcom #3421!!!" Sigh.

Re:Simple economics (1)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741996)

Yes, this guy commits economic fallacy after economic fallacy.

"With all that pirated material available, it creates tremendous disincentives to content owners who need to invest in new content," Cotton says, "and that just hurts consumers over time.
If NBC wasn't copying/pirating the ideas of others in the first place, they would have ZERO content. Whether they are copying/pirating English language words, whether they are copying/pirating television format genres such as a comedy or drama which fits into a 30 minute or 60 minute block of time, whether they are copying/pirating the behavior and mannerisms of people like doctors and police, whether they are copying/pirating the images of persons such as the hooker involved in the Eliot Spitzer scandal, whether they are copying/pirating the images of persons being charged with crimes on their nightly news, whether they are copying/pirating names of persons who had those names before NBC copied/pirated those names such as "Bob" or "Steve", whether they are copying/pirating the method of P2P delivery, whether they are copying/pirating the business model of delivery of content by P2P ... everyone wants to get in on the "piracy" bandwagon, even NBC.

NBC is nothing but a dinosaur middleman delivering commoditized content while massively profiting 100% from the sale of consumer eyeballs. By definition the only thing of value for NBC being sold is commercials. Advertisers don't need to pay NBC one single cent; advertisers can just bypass NBC completely and pay viewers to watch commercials in cold hard cash (we see what they are willing to pony up on events like the Superbowl). Viewers, flush with cold hard cash (we are talking 100% of the billions of NBC profit) can do with that cold hard cash received from advertisers whatever they wish, including pooling their money into content projects. But not just commoditized content projects which need to fill a 24/7/365 schedule, but high quality content which better meshes with the relatively fewer hours per day most viewers have to watch television.

Here's a good economic experimental analysis to undertake. Add up all the money spent by advertiser subsidized content like television shows PLUS non-advertising-supplemented content such as movies without commercials per year and divide it by the number of hours the average consumer watches content. You'll still end up with a ridiculously large number of dollars which will voluntarily be devoted to content development even in the absence of any copyright protection. American Idol Actors work for free, because they are paid in fame.

But let's say advertisers spend about $0.01 per viewer per minute of advertising, and there are an average of 20 minutes of advertising per highest quality program, that means around $0.20 buys the episode, well near the sweet spot range people are willing to pay to download content from a trusted site whilst completely avoiding the hassles of quality questions and availability access.

Let's cut these fools and their commercials 100% out for the best quality content. The model already worked (and by that we mean cha-ching grand slam) for HBO's The Sopranos.

Re:Simple economics (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742772)

With all due respect, competition doesn't mean you're supposed to compete with criminals. The guy selling stolen goods out of his trunk can *always* undercut you because he didn't pay for it. That shady 3rd world company producing using child labor, slave contracts, no worker or environmental safety, substandard or dangerous components, illegal toxins and blatant ripoffs with no R&D and whatnot can *always* undercut you. The pirate DVD stamping machine in China will *always* undercut you.

The market always wants... I'd like a Ferrari for 5$, doesn't mean I'm going to get it. Whoever runs a business and doesn't make sure that he makes more money selling it than making it will get fired for incompetence. If delivering TV shows the way the pirates do loses money, it's not a good idea even if it's listening to your customers. Recently there was a lot of talk about how "much" money TPB was making. You realize that if you tried to pay for making everything that's on TPB, it'd cover maybe 1% right?

NBC's real problem (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741118)

is the lack of quality programming and the massive amounts of commercial breaks per 30 minute episode.

The last things on NBC I watched was Hero's and the Knight Rider Movie. Both of them felt very funny like i was watching 4 minutes of show and 4 minutes of commercials. by the time i got through 2 hours of the Knight Rider movie I was pissed off.

Watching NBC is like listening to Wil liam Shat ner speeeeaak. Ev ery thing is drawn out.

sorry I couldn't keep it up my brain kept fixing the errors.

Cut the ads down to less than 15 minutes per 30 minute episode and people might start watching again.

Re:NBC's real problem (4, Insightful)

flajann (658201) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741338)

All the networks, indeed all of cable, suffers from a lack of quality programming. Even "newcomers" such as the Discovery Network, the Sci-Fi Channel, and the Science channel started off great but sled down the slippery slopes to mediocrity.

Why should I spend $100 a month for lack of quality programming despite the vast array of "choices" of hundreds of channels

There was a time I had both Satellite and Cable TV; now I have neither. It is simply easier to BitTorrent the few things I like, and sans the rest. Then I can watch what I want at my leisure, on my schedule, free of commercials that rarely, if ever, promote anything I am interested in anyway.

If the network providers like NBC, CBS, etc. can't understand that, the to balls with them. I am more than happy to pay for quality, and that also means not being inundated with bazillions of commercials that take me out of the story anyway.

NBC is its own problem. They now have to compete with YouTube and MySpace and MMORPGs and everything else we can do online. That's the real thing that is killing them. They just can't compete, and they use P2P as a scapegoat to whine about their "losses".

Even the news outlets like MSNBC and CNN leave a lot to be desired, which is obviously more interested in the corporate bottom line and political correctness than reporting real news. I always find it amusing to read on the BBC website interesting news happening in my "backyard" here in the US without seeing any reference of the same on our own news outlets. Funny that.

Give Me Quality Content, and I will be more than happy to give you my eyes, and maybe a few bills as well.

Re:NBC's real problem (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741920)

It's not even that 99% of TV is crap, and that the few interesting shows are more easily downloaded via bittorrent. They are competing not only with all entertainment that currently is being developed, but with all entertainment that has EVER been created.

If I go to watch an edition of Shakespeare in the Park, I don't watch the latest American Idol. If I listen to the Brandenburger Concertos, I don't listen to Lindsey Lohan. If I watch Metropolis, I don't watch 10,000 BC. If I play Chess, I don't play Teamfortress II.

The content providers are in a massive quandary: their revenue stream is dependent on people watching newly created content, because that's what commands the biggest premium and causes people to actually buy stuff. When people start to turn to stuff that is either already sitting in their library or that's a reproduction of an existing work (i.e., where the heavy creative lifting has already been done), they are not willing to pay "new" prices for that content. In other words, content providers and distributors are competing against themselves even when they put out quality stuff. Even if they kill piracy completely, their best days are behind them. The only thing that can bring them the massive profit margins is if they manage to pass a law that requires pay-per-view on ALL creative material, regardless of age or ownership. It's no surprise they're working on such laws on a continuous basis.

Re:NBC's real problem (2, Insightful)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741356)

The last things on NBC I watched was Hero's and the Knight Rider Movie. Both of them felt very funny like i was watching 4 minutes of show and 4 minutes of commercials.
Wow, you got more out of it than I did. The whole time I was watching that Knight Rider "movie" I kept thinking that the entire thing was just one big car commercial.

Re:NBC's real problem (4, Interesting)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741360)

Well, I watched the last three episodes of Heroes on NBC's own site online, and watched Knight Rider via bittorrent from TPB; both are legally available on NBC's website online via streaming. While I'm all for NBC being able to put advertisements in their videos so that they can make a buck and the writers and actors can get paid, the issues I have with the NBC "legal" streams are (a) not really "full screen" (it's close, but it's still 'boxed-in' enough that it shrinks the size of the show enough to be annoying) and (b) the advertisements show, while still shorter than what you get over the air, is the SAME FREAKIN' AD OVER AND OVER AGAIN! Let's have a little variety at least,... So if NBC can fix these two issues, that would be excellent! And these are definitely totally "fixable" issues within their control! I actually WANT to give them the advertising dollars that they deserve, especially since I can't get NBC over-the-air due to the location of the building I live in combined with Pittsburgh's ridiculously variable terrain. Not to mention I don't want to give those thieves at Comcrap any money, either.

On another note, I've noticed that they've put the original Battlestar Galactica series on NBC.com in the past month or two. Let's hope they put the new shows online when they come out in another month, too,... ;-)

Re:NBC's real problem (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741484)

I think you exaggerate. I use a DVR to skip commercials. I notice how long half hour network shows actually run. It's about 22 minutes of show and 8 minutes of ads, same as always. What the networks seem to be doing is making more frequent, shorter ad breaks, and putting them in odd places. There may be six minutes of show, one minute of ads, then four minutes of show and three minutes of ads. I think they are trying to confound and confuse DVR users into giving up on using the 'thirty second skip' feature and just fast forwarding through the ads, so at least they see something.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that shows do not seem to stop and start on time at all anymore, and certain shows seem to go over time while others are under. I think they may be sticking extra commercials into popular shows, and reducing the number of commercials in less popular shows, so The Simpsons might run thirty-five minutes including an extra five minutes of commercials, while the next show runs twenty-five minutes with five fewer minutes of commercials. This has the added advantage of screwing over people who record on schedules.

Re:NBC's real problem (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741992)

Try an experiment use the DVR to time episodes of popular shows the first time they are aired. While most syndicated stuff is still 22 minutes. Things like the Knight Rider movie, and American Gladitors will be less.

I know Sci-fi channel does a lot of 22,8 setups. And it is to those that i am comparing.

Re:NBC's real problem (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741842)

Ads really are the driver of this market, and therefore the crux of its problems in adapting to new technologies like P2P. Advertising is largely what pays for these networks and the shows they bankroll. Youtube and Tivo are ad killers, so it it does present a genuine problem to the revenue stream of the traditional broadcast media business model.

While there may be no one obvious solution, if you're a TV network there are definitely some things to NOT do.

1. DO NOT put MORE ads in your programs - you'll just drive more people to use alternative services like P2P.

2. SHORTEN the ads you do have, and charge companies more for them. This model works for VOD pretty well. But exercise caution here: 30 seconds at the beginning of a clip is about the maximum I'll put up with, and I'm no ADHD case.

3. LOWER the prices of DVDs for older content, and release new content onto DVD more quickly - make this supplementary revenue stream work better (it may turn into your primary revenue stream).

4. Stop whining and start adapting, or your lunch will continue to get eaten by Google and the Pirate Bay.

5. Stop listening to your geriatric network execs and start listening to your customers: give the people what they want, or you're toast.

Re:NBC's real problem (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743246)

Ads really are the driver of this market, and therefore the crux of its problems in adapting to new technologies like P2P. Advertising is largely what pays for these networks and the shows they bankroll. Youtube and Tivo are ad killers, so it it does present a genuine problem to the revenue stream of the traditional broadcast media business model.

While there may be no one obvious solution, if you're a TV network there are definitely some things to NOT do.

1. DO NOT put MORE ads in your programs - you'll just drive more people to use alternative services like P2P.

2. SHORTEN the ads you do have, and charge companies more for them. This model works for VOD pretty well. But exercise caution here: 30 seconds at the beginning of a clip is about the maximum I'll put up with, and I'm no ADHD case.

3. LOWER the prices of DVDs for older content, and release new content onto DVD more quickly - make this supplementary revenue stream work better (it may turn into your primary revenue stream).

4. Stop whining and start adapting, or your lunch will continue to get eaten by Google and the Pirate Bay.

5. Stop listening to your geriatric network execs and start listening to your customers: give the people what they want, or you're toast.

6. Sell high quality, DRM-free downloads within a week of the episode airing.

If #6 happened, I would cancel my satellite subscription and just download the few shows I watch. I don't want to wait a year for a DVD release. I don't want a DRM-crippled iTunes or Amazon Unbox download. I just want to pay for it and watch it on any device I choose.

Re:NBC's real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741870)

Cut the ads down to less than 15 minutes per 30 minute episode and people might start watching again.
Exaggeration must be an art form. Listen if you are going to bitch about the studios altering the truth, then don't do it yourself. The simply fact of the matter is that your average 30-minute TV show has about 8-minutes of commercial and your typical 1-hr program about 16-minutes or so.

Re:NBC's real problem (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742110)

You are 100% correct, however the very few events that actually compell viewers to watch are not typical. Heros and the Knight Rider movie do/did have more commercials that your typical show. Was it 50%? No. but it wasn't 16m per hour either. The sad thing is than the only thing compelling about the Knight Rider movie was how much of a train wreck it really was. That's the great thing about those movies for the networks. No matter how bad, people watch. The real sin will be when they look at the numbers it brought in and decide to make it a series. They'll invest all that money and then wonder why it only lasts 2 episodes. Nostalgia only holds a brief audience.

Re:NBC's real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742714)

In the course of downloading stuff I have noticed the following:

shows from the early 80's were about 54 minutes long
by the late 80's they were 52 minutes long

shows from the early 90's were about 50 minutes long
by the end of the 90's they were 48 minutes long

shows from the early 2000's are 45 minutes long
shows today average about 42 minutes

So current shows have 12 more commercial minutes than they
did about 25 years ago and almost 33% of a 1 hour program
is commercials.

Nothing to see here... move along (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741148)

You can (IMO) ignore this guy as uninformed, or more dangerously, misinforming the legislative processes.

"You have to start with the first proposition," Cotton says, "which is: should we collectively be concerned about the fact that 50 to 75 percent of the total bandwidth of broadband ISPs is today taken up by P2P traffic which is in fact overwhelmingly pirated? I have to tell you, I think the answer to that is yes."
Lets see some facts and resources here? Prove it was pirated! I dare you.

He goes further; P2P protocols themselves disrupt the Internet by passing bandwidth costs from content owners onto ISPs. Cotton told the FCC in a recent filing, "P2P applications shift the costs of centralized storage and distribution to end users and their broadband network providers."
Obviously, he thinks that we, the end users, have not paid for the use of the bandwidth? WTF? Perhaps he believes that Google should pay for ALL OF THE INTERNET since they index it? Or maybe Facebook should pay for their 15% of the Internet in North America? This is just double speak so they can end up double-dipping. If they are able to establish clear end to end connections for content distribution then it will clearly be easier to determine who they want to litigate against for illegal content and bandwidth usage. They WANT the Internet to be a series of trucks running through tubes they build and control all the way to your eyesockets.

Re:Nothing to see here... move along (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741528)

Lets see some facts and resources here?

How do you propose they legally do that? Are you willing to let them investigate p2p traffic and take a look?

Prove it was pirated! I dare you.

Be careful what you wish for. What if he's right? How does that affect your arugment? For the record I'm willing to bet most p2p traffic *is* transferring copyprotected works to people who don't have any license of any sort to the work at all.

Yes P2P has legitimate uses, and yes, those uses are significant, but you think they are dominant? I'm pretty skeptical.

Obviously, he thinks that we, the end users, have not paid for the use of the bandwidth?

He's right. We haven't. For the most part our 'web & email only' neighbors have. But that's not his problem. That's between us and the ISP, and they'll start charging us for the bandwidth we use as soon the 'overselling it massively underpriced to a lot of people who won't use it all anyway' model (ie the current model) finally completely breaks down as unsustainable. At least that's what should happen... double dipping greed isn't out of the question if they can get away with it.

They WANT the Internet to be a series of trucks running through tubes they build and control all the way to your eyesockets.

And their welcome to build one. If its useful I might even use it too from time to time. But I'm not willing to give up the internet I've got, they can build their own separate one.

Re:Nothing to see here... move along (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741750)

they can build their own separate one.
*cough* video on demand *cough*

Re:Nothing to see here... move along (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742128)

*cough* video on demand *cough*

Exactly. And I even use it from time to time.

Re:Nothing to see here... move along (2, Funny)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741850)

Prove it was pirated! I dare you.
Yeah dude, I'm sure there are 10 million people on ThePirateBay just sharing linux ISOs.

The Real Robbery/Piracy... (2, Interesting)

blcamp (211756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741162)


Happens when the network's "content", which turns out to be nothing other than more disappointing dreck, wastes my time, energy and other resources. That's piracy against me.

Trust me, NBC/Universal, none of your nonsense flows through any of the copper in my house.

Same goes for the other traditional "TV networks" in these United States.

Re:The Real Robbery/Piracy... (1)

Tenebrarum (887979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742726)

Happens when the network's "content", which turns out to be nothing other than more disappointing dreck, wastes my time, energy and other resources. That's piracy against me.

Amen. The terminology used really says volumes about how much they value their programming.

Piracy also hurts corn growers (4, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741184)

Rick Cotton is also the one who claimed that Piracy hurts Corn growers [techdirt.com] because -- without piracy -- theaters would sell more tickets and thus more popcorn. Don't you see what you're doing all you P2P users?!! You're hurting the poor popcorn farmer. And his family. Won't someone think of the popcorn farmer's children?

Re:Piracy also hurts corn growers (3, Insightful)

un1xl0ser (575642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741388)

I don't think that any corn growers are wondering what to do with their product these days, what with ethanol production ramping up everywhere and driving the price up.

Re:Piracy also hurts corn growers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741646)

I just drove AAALLL the way across the US. When I entered the states that mandate a minimum level of ethanol in gasoline, the price per gallon I saw at the pump went up by about $0.30/gallon. And as oil prices go up, this will just get worse. Ethanol from corn takes more energy in the form of oil to produce than it provides when burned.

Re:Piracy also hurts corn growers (4, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741702)

You're hurting the poor popcorn farmer.

Almost right.

Let's try again. Monsanto owns the copyright on popcorn seeds. Only Monsanto can grow popcorn. Some farmers in China managed to copy a couple of seeds and are growing their own popcorn.

Someone else drives a harvester through Monsanto's field and steals their popcorn crop.

Which is theft and which is a copyright violation? Get it right. In one case Monsanto still has a field of popcorn. In another, it has been stolen.

It boils down to protecting a single popcorn growers monopoly on the popcorn market. This isn't about theft. It's about copies of a product.

If you can only buy popcorn at Regal Cinemas at $8.00 a tub, that is a monopoly. Fortunately I can legally buy popcorn seed to grow my own, or buy bulk seed and pop my own.

http://www.popcornpopperdirect.com/popcornsupplies.html [popcornpopperdirect.com]
50 lbs of seed (4 ea 12.5 lb sacks) for under $40.

You can plant it if you wish. This is enough for about 4 acres of land.
http://www.wildlifetrends.com/deer.cfm [wildlifetrends.com]

I used the Monsanto company as an example as they are into genetic engineering and are suing the neighborhood farmers who happen to be the unlucky recipients of cross pollination from the designer varieties. They are trying to litigate the competition out of business. The above "We own the copyright on popcorn is becoming reality.

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/MonsantovsFarmers.php [i-sis.org.uk]
    Monsanto VS Farmers

Re:Piracy also hurts corn growers (1)

MttJocy (873799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743488)

The funny part here is the movie industries have not had as much of a decline in cinema sales than in other things because the cinema offers something a pirate copy never can, a trip to the cinema is a night out, an experience in a way that is more than watching at home even with massive TV screens and fully dolby surround in your living room in fact a study actually found that such households with that sort of high tech equipment tends to visit the cinema more than households without it possibly due to a higher disposable income though, or that people who like films are more inclined to invest in expensive equipment to watch stuff at home.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts (3, Insightful)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741236)

"and that just hurts consumers over time."

I see no mention of consumers in there. I didn't realize that patents and copyrights were to protect consumers. Please, explain this to me.

Explains why we don't watch TV anymore. (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741276)

"With all that pirated material available, it creates tremendous disincentives to content owners who need to invest in new content," Cotton says, "and that just hurts consumers over time."'"

This explains why I don't watch TV anymore. There is nothing on worth watching because someone just threw up their hands and said, "Oh well, it's just not worth producing anything of value anymore."

My contention is that if networks produced something worth watching or listening too in a media format the consumer wants, that they wouldn't be facing these issues. If you provide people with a business model that is cheap and easy they won't pirate.

Mod this as redundant because it's been said a thousand times on /. before, but it is an underlying truth which needs repeating.

OMG OMG OMG OMG (1)

GeneralPayne (1252500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741282)

P2P protocols themselves disrupt the Internet by passing bandwidth costs from content owners onto ISPs. Cotton told the FCC in a recent filing, "P2P applications shift the costs of centralized storage and distribution to end users and their broadband network providers." In addition, installing P2P apps "can slow down the processing speed of [consumers'] computers, open up the contents of their hard drives to third parties and expose them to potential copyright liability," the NBC filing noted. Worse, P2P protocols "exacerbate the congestion" that Comcast's RST packet solution attempts to solve.
OMG is this really true!?? OMG, OMG, OMG, I'm going have to uninstall all of those nasty P2P programs and quit visiting sites like Surf the Channel [surfthechannel.com] and QuicksilverScreen [quicksilverscreen.com] and Stage 66 [66stage.com] , OMFG, I've got to quit using VEOH TV, VUSE, MIRO. Damn now all I've got is the friggin telly. 125 channels of crap that I have to wait on their schedule to watch what I like. SHITE.

If it had no value.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741286)

If it had no value, people wouldn't be stealing it.

He was doing so well (1)

Esperi (782483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741292)

until he said

"I mean, normally, if we translate that to the physical world and we were sitting here observing as a neutral social phenomenon that huge numbers of people were walking into stores and taking product off the shelf..."


in the end, he is one more well paid lawyer that is being rewarded handsomely to cling to last centuries business model.

I don't mind product logos on my downloaded .avi (1)

javapada1 (1118053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741294)

Just place advertisments on the corners of a TV-series episode. I don't mind it there, I even enjoy US commercials that sometimes slip up. I'd rather have it there than wait a year for me to watch on local TV stations.

Re:I don't mind product logos on my downloaded .av (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742164)

Actually I completely agree with this idea.

As an advertiser, I'd would probably love the idea of not only getting my advertising on your show but having it permanently embossed in that episode and given out for free so that anyone interested can see my ad. It will sort of be like advertisers on early television and radio.

Can't say that I agree (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741302)

With all that pirated material available, it creates tremendous disincentives to content owners who need to invest in new content," Cotton says, "and that just hurts consumers over time

If the worst that happens is writter's strike level of "new content" then I am all for piracy.

P2P is the solution to NBC (5, Insightful)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741390)

and that just hurts consumers over time.


No, you dumbass... I think you don't understand that P2P was the answer to all the things you did to piss off consumers.

Forcing TiVo to eliminate the commercial skip pissed off consumers.
Using outdated ratings and canceling popular shows pissed off consumers.
Eliminating popular distribution methods (like ITMS) pissed off consumers.

When you alienate enough of them - they fix the problem themselves. P2P is the solution to the problems you created.

TV itself was a gamble when it first came to the public. NBC invested in it. Now they say they won't invest in new mediums because of pirates... give me a damn break. Quit your bitching and listen to your viewers - yes, even the pirates.

Pies in the Oven (1)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741398)

The media companies could greatly reduce current TV show piracy by offering them over the web, broadcasting at the same time as regular cable and over the air. Why pirate an hour later when you can watch it now, even with commercials? Of course the cable companies are blocking this since they control so much of the distribution and want their cut of the advertising. On top of that, the cable companies are actually making money off of piracy since so many pirates are spending their $60 a month for Comcast or their competitors. They don't want to see an increase in bandwidth and a drop in their share of advertising and regular cable subscribers. Net neutrality comes in because the cable companies say, "If you go to Internet broadcasting, we'll just destroy your connections; it's legal, haha, and we sure as hell won't let you use P2P to save bandwidth."

So this whole thing is about corporations trying to protect their slice of the pie or at least get as big a slice as possible of the next one out of the oven.

And do you know what I say? F them all.

Then stop whining invest in something else. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741402)

There are more rewarding and important things to make than another movie sequel, sitcom or boy band. Maybe the people who tackle the real issues can get rock star houses for a change. It shouldn't matter to the investors who creates their obscene return on investment.

If NBC uses P2P... aren't THEY the pirates ? (3, Interesting)

Dave21212 (256924) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741448)


I'm seen a ton of the usually P2P and "Piracy" comments... let's look at the other part of what they want to do...
Use a P2P network that they didn't build, didn't buy or contribute to, didn't ask permission to be on, all in order to promote their content and make money.

Who are the real "pirates" here ? NBC it seems. Why doesn't someone just build a filter that prevents NBC from placing content on the network ? Shouldn't NBC put money into BitTorrent, or be accused of stealing themselves ?

Re:If NBC uses P2P... aren't THEY the pirates ? (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742284)

As far as I know Bittorrent is an open protocol and isn't under some sort of proprietary control.

Use a P2P network that they didn't build, didn't buy or contribute to, didn't ask permission to be on, all in order to promote their content and make money.
I'm not quite sure if you actually RTFA but they will be using Pando [pando.com] , with whom they made a deal to supply their content. You are right they are just out to make money, and reducing the bandwidth that their servers consume since they won't be hosting all these HD videos on their servers, but rather distributing them through Pando.

Talking about disincentives... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741476)

DRM and other crackdowns on how we can obtain, and what we can do with, legitimate digital copies of programming are giving customers massive disincentives to seek these legitimate copies out. Even ignoring price, the best product currently available is the pirated one, so it's no wonder that customers are voting with their mice.

In Other Words (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741532)

Do as we say, not as we do.

I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741612)

He's convinced that the pirate problem is costing NBC Universal real revenue and that the scale of the problem is so vast as to discourage investment in the carrots, positive solutions like Hulu. "With all that pirated material available, it creates tremendous disincentives to content owners who need to invest in new content," Cotton says

But for piracy, "positive solutions" would be few and far between, and we'd pay through the nose for them. It took the initial fear of VHS piracy to drive video sales and rentals.

The biggest question is why did they wait until the Internet got to the point of enabling casual piracy of video content to begin to address consumer demand for online movies? I bitched about this with books the other day, but the video and music publishers have the same problem -- they're so "concerned about piracy" that they're wasting time, opportunity and money on an unsolvable problem and, because they're allowing much of their massive back catalogs of material to go unpublished, they're losing cash to libraries, the used markets and piracy.

They're making some headway with offerings like Hulu and On Demand, which I think are early versions of the way we'll receive all our video content in the future. But they need to stop worrying about piracy and start to worry about how to make available and deliver all that content they're sitting on to people who want it. They need to stop using copyright and DRM as a cudgel and start to figure out their own cross-industry copyright issues, so that we can get access to things like full-length Saturday Night Live episodes without having musical performances cut out of them. Because whatever they can't or choose not to deliver, I suspect piracy will continue to.

And raping of my sister (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741734)

...is a worse crime than serial murdering half a town in another country.

Who cares about crimes that don't affect me? We should spend more taxpayers money on crimes that reduces the sales of my goods.

The Truth about Piracy/P2P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22741794)

Let's assume "Vantage Point" is downloaded 10,000 times using BT, do you assume 10,000 would go to the cinema to watch it? No.

The point is, BT exposes the true value of movies, music and tv shows: some aren't worth the value asked for.

I live in Switzerland, I pay 18-22 CHF (apprx. USD 15-18) for watching a movie, and have to watch 10-12 Minutes advertising (not for movies) ahead. LOTR were the last movies I watch in the cinema, and it was worth it I would say, big screen, good story.

"There will be blood" was close to be worth going to cinema . . . but I didn't.

TV shows? Give me a break - serialized boredome or stretching a story into so little chunks that I just loose interest. I wait 3-6 months, and DL an entire season and watch it in 2-3 days . . . as an extended XL movie . . .

Cheers.

Comedy Central Model (1)

javakah (932230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741810)

They should learn from Comedy Central and The Daily Show.

Some of the main points:
1. Other than a Flash player, you shouldn't need to download anything to watch shows (which NBC actually has done fine). Some DRM isn't necessarily a deal breaker, as long as I never notice it.

2. Whatever distributions means you use, it has to deliver the video reasonable without too many problems (which in my experience has been an issue with shows on the NBC website)

3. Put ALL the episodes of a show online, and don't take them down. If you remove them after 4 episodes, then I will be far more likely to turn to alternate methods of getting the shows, to ensure that I can watch whatever episode I want whenever I want to. (NBC currently fails this). If they're worried about DVD sales, just add in some extras and make sure the quality is very good (added value).

4. Some commercials are okay, but if you start approaching live TV levels of commercials, alternate methods of getting the shows (without commercials) look more and more attractive (NBC is okay at this so far)

If they just take care of the four issues, then there is no advantage to piracy (only danger of getting caught, and also a slightly guilty feeling). The reason piracy exists is just because it is more convenient in these 4 issues.

Re:Comedy Central Model (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742578)

I have to say, one of the best companies to adapt to digital distribution so far has been ABC [go.com]

They stream the entire current season of their episodes via their own web page, with a 1 minute commercial at regular commercial breaks.

For many of their shows, such as Lost, their entire back catalogue is available via iTunes, to watch on your PC, TV (if you have AppleTV) or portable device (if you have an iPod).

It's not perfect, but compared to the other broadcasters they've really shown some initiative. I don't feel the need to hoard shows en masse; I just want a way to access them whenever I want quickly under reasonable terms. $1.99 an episode or 1 minute commercials is (compared to NBC) INSANELY reasonable.

Whatever else you can say about the moral objections to the design of these systems, the bottom line is it works. That, above all else, is what should matter.

You down on P2P (Yeah you know me) (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741878)

Who's down on P2P (Every last lady)
You down on P2P (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down on P2P (All the ladies)

Of Course Not! (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741910)

Apparently, media moguls do not breakfast on a diet of puppies and children
Obviously, puppies and children are more of an after dinner snack, for enjoyment with a snifter of brandy while they sit in front of a blazing fire in their library, contemplating new evil schemes!

Commercial P2P should be banned by consumers. (1)

Erez.Hadad (1131843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22741934)

Economically, it simply does not make sense. Why should customers of a commercial P2P distribution service not only pay for content, but also provide extra bandwidth to help other customers download content? In the simple client-server case, the distributor alone pays for delivery quality by maintaining server farms with large bandwidth. However, in the P2P case (depending on the overlay design), it is very likely that some customers, who pay only the distributor, end up downloading the content from other customers, who do not get rewarded in any way. Bottom line: unless distributors come up with a financial model that is more suitable for P2P (e.g. that rewards participating clients), don't use commercial P2P - you'll be paying for more than the content!

Re:Commercial P2P should be banned by consumers. (2, Interesting)

laird (2705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742332)

"Why should customers of a commercial P2P distribution service not only pay for content, but also provide extra bandwidth to help other customers download content?"

So far the answer is that if you're willing to contribute resources to the p2p network you can get access to content that you can't otherwise get, or to get it at a higher quality than you can get without p2p. For an example of the latter, if a video publisher can afford to spend $X per delivery, that revenue number limits what they can afford to spend on delivering the programming. They can allow users to "opt out" and get a low quality download by straight HTTP, where the file is small enough that the cost is acceptable, or "opt in" to p2p and get much higher quality video (which has lower cost due to p2p). So in return for being willing to contribute unused uplink bandwidth, the customer gets access to better content.

He is right! (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742166)

He is right. Piracy, and thus by definition, P2P has STOLEN so much profit that there is no longer any incentive to create new work. NBC should immediately show us that they truly believe this and cease doing business in a money loosing market. In fact if they do not, the shareholders of NBC should immediately initiate a class action lawsuit, as the NBC executives are clearly harming the financial health of NBC by spending millions of dollars on the creation of new content where there is no incentive to do so.

Fine, stop making your shit then. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742242)

I don't watch it, so I don't care. Let your hideously obsolete business model die quietly and inoffensively, causing as little trouble to others as possible.

Network cost doublespeak (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742340)

A bone I have to pick with that NBC guy is the complaints he has about how P2P traffic is hogging network bandwidth and transferring costs onto customers.

He goes further; P2P protocols themselves disrupt the Internet by passing bandwidth costs from content owners onto ISPs. Cotton told the FCC in a recent filing, "P2P applications shift the costs of centralized storage and distribution to end users and their broadband network providers."
But then he goes on to say that their usage of it will reduce their own bandwidth costs.

"We generally think that peer-to-peer technologies are very useful for distributing large files, they can significantly reduce bandwidth costs, and generally they are technologies today without a business model. We think the distribution of legitimate content using that technology saves us a lot of costs and we're happy to share some of that savings."
Ok so I get it, it will cost you less so you can milk more money out of consumers, while still increasing the cost of ISP service to customers. Pot, meet kettle.

NBC using P2P (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742534)

Fab - oh wait - Comcast blocks that. Oh well - too bad. So sad.

Team (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742652)


Team, they are dinosaurs and just don't know. The next generation (you/us) know better, and are less afraid of merging technologies (I hope). When you are in his position, don't make his mistakes.

Well, who's fault is that? (3, Insightful)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742798)

"[The] problem is so vast as to discourage investment in the carrots, positive solutions like Hulu."

And who's fault is that, exactly? Who sat on their heels, clinging desperately to their sinking and outdated business model while new distribution systems were built? Who refused to license content to the new distribution systems? Who, after years of being thrashed by modern technology, finally tried to counter the problem by building DRM encumbered systems that gave the customer far less value than the "pirate" option, while charging much more?

Content owners have, in effect, "trained" the public to be pirates. If a DRM-free system for downloading TV shows and music had existed 10 years ago, most people would probably never have bothered with Napster, and this whole problem would have never existed. If 6 years ago, the content owners had responded to Napster and other P2P technologies with innovation instead of lawsuits, likely software like Napster would have remained a niche product, used by the technically competent (as opposed to, say, my mother). All this senseless talk of "ISP level filtering" only tells us that the content owners have not yet learned the lesson. They are doomed to failure.

Nice quote (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742814)

> Cotton says, "and that just hurts consumers over time."'"

Rubbish. What's hurting consumers over time is the absolute rubbish material that is being published.

Creaky Old Management (1)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742946)

I worked next door to NBC Headquarters (in Rockefeller Plaza) for five years, hung out with some of their staffers, and even attended their annual Christmas party in 2003. Through all this, I got a bit of a feel for the staff and management at the place. There's probably other /.'ers that can give a more accurate impression, but my feeling was that the rank and file were younger, high-energy folks who couldn't wait to stick their fingers into cool new things and ride the bear.

But the moves management made, and the way senior management was characterized, made them sound like a bunch of old-school power-hungry self-interested sharks who understood little of technology or the way the web was due to undermine their locked-down networks. I won't be sorry to see these dinosaurs eventually get their due. They clearly "don't get it", and likely never will. Hulu is a classic example.

Maybe they'll ditch Hulu! (1)

tmalone (534172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742998)

I hope they ditch Hulu in favor of P2P. I have a Hulu account but I'm often tempted to go through illicit channels to get shows that are on hulu because hulu sucks so badly. It has the jerkiest video I've ever seen. I think it's their lame attempt to inject ads into the video stream that causes the problems. You get different ads each time you try to watch something so I assume it pulls ads off of another server and injects them in. This seems to cause major problems with the video stream, often causing it to simply stop for 5 or 10 minutes. It's gotten to the point where I hope for certain advertisers because some seem to work better than others. I don't know if they pull the ads off of the advertiser's server or what, but for some reason, some days when Chevy is sponsoring the show I'm watching, I can't get through the episode, but if I reload it might be sponsored by Toyota now, and it will work fine.

I don't have Tivo but I do try to watch shows when they're on the air. Sometimes I miss an episode and I refuse to continue watching until I'm caught up. Networks need to realize that people who want to watch their shows should be encouraged to do so. Don't fight them, don't frustrate them. If P2P is easier than going through hulu, people will do it. TV, especially network TV is free. People are never going to consider it to be anything else. You might be able to convince the majority that downloading movies without paying is piracy, but not TV. Lost is broadcast over the airwaves every thursday night, why the hell shouldn't I be able to download it off the internet as well? Put it on the P2P networks with the ads intact, I bet most people will happily download that instead of seeking out an ad-free version. I know I'd be happy with the ads if it meant I could actually watch the damn show.

Auction Their Spectrum (1)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743228)

Make the *public* spectrum airwaves limited, renewable, at auctioned market rates. Let's see NBC bid $0 for the spectrum NBC is granted at public expense. Yes, these broadcasters have truly robbed the citizens of the USA by paying far under market rate for the public spectrum they broadcast through.

So every 5 years, the contract is up, just like say the NFL broadcast rights contract for NBC expires, and all companies are free to bid for NBC's spectrum at market rate. Do this to the telecommunications cell phone spectrum as well. No more free (as in millions of times less than true market value) pirated spectrum for the corporations.

If they want RIAA-style War, we should welcome it. And then show them the meaning of being crushed by competitive economic market forces.

And if NBC bids any positive amount greater than $0 for broadcast spectrum, they are nothing but lying hypocrites, proving by their market actions, that incentives to deliver content are alive and well.

So opening the NBC broadcast spectrum 5 year lease covering the period 2009-2013 for competitive bids. Do I hear $1?
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