Announcing “The 9pm Minor Party Policy Filibuster”

All set up for the live policy reading.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my latest stupid podcast idea. A livestreamed reading of minor party election policies, while drinking. It’ll be like The 9pm One Nation Policy Reading in 2016, as shown in the photo.

It’s happening this Saturday 4 May, starting at 1900 AEST and running for four hours.

It’s all about the polices of the minor parties having a go for the forthcoming federal election. Everyone but Liberal, National, Labor, and The Greens. Yeah, the loopy ones.

It’ll also be raising a little money for charity.

Listen live at or on Spreaker apps, and read on for more details, including how to make a contribution.

Continue reading “Announcing “The 9pm Minor Party Policy Filibuster””

Talking journalism and iPhone 5 on ABC Media Report

Yes, Apple released a new iPhone 5 this week. I wrote about it for Crikey. And I spoke about it on ABC Radio National’s Media Report yesterday, in the context of using smartphones for journalism.

Will the new iPhone improve citizen journalism? More broadly, can we use modern Android phones to produce quality journalism?


The tools I mentioned were:

  • CoveritLive for liveblogging.
  • WordPress for blogging more generally, though of course there are others.
  • Any number of tools for posting photos and other images, but I mentioned Flickr and Twitpic.
  • YouTube is the gorilla in the room for posting video, but there’s also services for live video streaming such as Ustream and Livestream. The latter even works as a video switching service in the cloud.

“You’re going to get phone calls after this, Richard, from plenty of people who say ‘No, no, no, use something else. You can get into kind of religious wars about this sort of thing, and it’ll all be out of date by November,” I said. Which is true, but I still might write an article talking about this in more detail some time.

The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and over at their website you can listen to the entire episode.

Livestream’s depressing obsession with celebrity

Hey Livestream, your This Week On Livestream email depresses me. Every time it arrives it looks like you still reckon the most worthy thing to aspire to is being an old-fashioned broadcast TV network. Stars, celebrities, musicians, TV chefs, sportspeople, American Idol contestants, and this week — yay! — a royal wedding.

In other words, you’re promoting Livestream as being a wonderful new source of video, so very different from TV, by pointing to the exactly the kinds of people and things we can already see on TV. Gosh, there’s a unique selling proposition!

Now I get that you need to attract the attention of the great unwashed masses. Even though the royal wedding will probably be available on free-to-air and pay TV everywhere on the goddam planet, you still feel the need to wrap your lips around that revenue tit just like every other media business. You can’t help yourself. It’s in your blood.

But how about each week you highlight one, just one, innovative use of online video that simply wouldn’t have been possible before we had services like Livestream? Something made by and featuring no-one we’ve ever heard of before. Something that might only have an audience of a hundred people, maybe even only ten.


Just one.


Because that might demonstrate how the ability for simply anyone to stream live video to a global audience will radically transform the media and, as a result, society itself. I’m assuming you do actually get that, right? And it’ll show people how Livestream can be a part of that.

Oh, and a few more things that aren’t white middle-class Americans speaking English wouldn’t go astray either. President Obama doesn’t count: see “celebrity”, above.

Livestream does “guilt by accusation”

Streaming video service Livestream emailed their customers today about their zero tolerance on piracy policy. It’s yet another instance of Big Media being able to implement guilt by accusation.

I’ve just asked Livestream a few question:

Some questions about your “zero tolerance on piracy” policy. This is a media enquiry so please consider your response “on record”.

My questions concern due process.

I notice that you give “trusted rights holders” a tool to automatically shut down channels at their own instigation. I also notice that your example trusted rights holders are “Fox, Disney, NBA, MLB, NFL, UEFA, International Olympic Committee, WWE, UFC, Warner Bros, English Premiere League and British Sky Broadcasting”, i.e. the big end of the commercial media industry.

Most importantly, I notice that anyone who believes that the shutdown was in error must appeal the case afterwards.

Surely this process is “guilt by allegation” and puts the burden of proof onto a channel holder who is likely to have fewer legal resources than a big media player? Yet in most copyright regimes a channel holder may have legitimate “fair dealing” rights to rebroadcast material, such as for academic purposes, news reporting, review, or even satire.

When developing your policy, what input did you seek from people outside Big Media?

What processes do you have in place to perform follow-up “spot checks” of channel shutdowns? Do you actively contact channel holders for their side of the story? Do you inform channel holders of their legitimate “fair dealing” rights?

How long on average does it take you to process an appeal against a shutdown? What has been the longest time it has taken, and what was that case?

What assurances must “trusted rights holders” give to earn that trust? What training or other direction are they given in the legitimate rights of channel holders? What penalties do you impose on “trusted rights holders” who misuse the automatic shutdown tool?

Since it was introduced, how many times has the automatic shutdown tool been used? How many times have channel holders appealed against the shutdown? How many times has the shutdown been determined to have been in error? How many times have penalties been imposed on “trusted rights holders”?

You say:

Livestream’s mission is to provide the premiere interactive live streaming platform for every event owner, broadcaster and premium rights holder in the music, movie, newspaper, radio and television industries.

But what about the rest of your customers, those who are not “premium” rights holders? What assurances can you give them that their legitimate rights will be upheld?

I’ll let you know when Livestream responds.