Douglas Crockford

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March 2007

Two Years

Conventional broadcasting in the US will stop in less than 2 years. For the past year the Congress, FCC, CEA, and NAB have been talking about the need for informing the public that analog broadcasting is about to be turned off and that all conventional TVs will see nothing but static unless they are connected to cable or satellite or a digital receiver with a digital antenna. There is lots of agreement that the Public must be informed. But somehow, all of this talk isn't getting to the Public. This matter is less important to Media than Britney Spears's haircut.

Even without this distruption, Broadcasters are already experiencing permanently declining audiences and revenues due to competition with the web and Cable. So some of the Broadcasters have started playing chicken with their Cable carriers. They are demanding that they get paid by Cable or they will not allow their signals to be carried. If they are successful, then they will have new revenue to augment their failing advertising stream. If Cable declines, then the Broadcasters are dead.

Sinclair has gotten some smaller Cable operators to cave. They are now going after Comcast. Will Comcast cave too? Or will Sinclair die a year early? Stay tuned while you can.

Viacom v Google

I have long been critical of DRM and in the erosion of Fair Use, but I do believe in Copyright Law, and I agree with the idea of giving authors the exclusive right to distribute their works for a limited time. When copyright issues come down to a conflict between the individual and the corporations that have locked up the content, I usually side with the individual. But when the conflict is between two corporations, I usually side with the copyright holder.

YouTube is attempting to develop an advertising market based on the distribution of user generated content, which is great, except that YouTube's best content is not user generated, it is ripped from TV shows and movies. So Viacom, a media giant, is suing Google, YouTube's owner, for a billion dollars. In this case, Viacom has an exclusive right to monetize the distribution of its content.