The 9pm End of the World, Probably

Donald Trump before he was President of the United States (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

This is the first episode of this podcast for nearly three months, and what I foretold has come to pass.

“‘President Trump’, get used to saying it,” I first warned you on 5 November 2015, a full year before the US elections.

Told you so.

It’s not really a matter of careful what you wish for, because I wasn’t wishing for this. I just foresaw this new era in human history. I can indeed see through time, and you people really do need to start recognising this simple fact.

Continue reading “The 9pm End of the World, Probably”

Talking the Optus TV Now appeal on ABC Local Radio

In February the Federal Court ruled that Optus TV Now, which recorded free-to-air TV on behalf of customers for more convenient playback later, was legitimate personal timeshifting as allowed under section 111 of the Copyright Act 1968. Yesterday the Full Federal Court overturned that decision.

This case has interesting implications. Originally, Justice Steve Rares said, effectively, that someone using a recorder-in-the cloud was still making a personal copy for domestic purposes. The fact that they’re using a recording device that’s provided as a service rather than sitting on the shelf under their television is irrelevant. The Full Court is saying, effectively, that the cloud provider is complicity in the action, which means it’s no longer personal, and in some cases may even be the sole actor.

This interpretation could have massive implications for providers of other cloud services. Could they be found to be copying data that they’re not entitled to? I’m no lawyer, so don’t ask me. But I can at least see that the law is having to deal with situations that are very different from the circumstances imagined when it was written.

Paragraph 100 of the Full Court’s decisions does say:

We should emphasise that our concerns here have been limited to the particular service provider-subscriber relationship of Optus and its subscribers to the TV Now Service and to the nature and operation of the particular technology used to provide the service in question. We accept that different relationships and differing technologies may well yield different conclusions to the “who makes the copy” question.

Will this decision be appealed? You bet.

Last night I spoke about the decision and its implications with Dom Knight on ABC Local Radio nationally — well, except for the analog transmitters that were broadcasting the cricket. I also spoke about the material I presented yesterday at DigitalMe in Perth.

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[Update: I just noticed that there’s a couple of little audio gaps. I was recording off the stream, y’see. I’ll fix them later.]

Personally, I stand by what I said in the opinion piece I wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald in February: Sport has to think outside the box.

If you’re in Perth today, the DigitalFamily event starts at 1000 local time at Northbridge Piazza. It’s free.

The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but as usual I’m posting it here as an archive.

Talking copyright vs the internet on ABC Local Radio

Last night I took part in a nice long chat about copyright and the internet on ABC Local Radio across Australia — the program being Tony Delroy’s Nightlife.

Also on the program was Fiona Phillips, acting CEO of the Australian Copyright Council, so we had me as the technologist and her as the lawyer.

I think Mr Delroy was surprised to find that we were in broad agreement on most issues. We covered quite a bit of territory, including SOPA, Optus versus sport, new business models and the inevitable mention of Nine Inch Nails.

Here’s the recording of the whole thing, including the talkback calls.

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I’d also like to thank everyone on Twitter who suggested other creatives who were successfully bypassing the middlemen and publishing straight to their audiences: musicians Radiohead, Amanda Hocking, Amanda Palmer, Jonathan Coulton and OK Go; writers Stephen King and Cory Doctorow; comedian Louis CK; and even the movie Red State by Kevin Smith. Have I missed any?

The audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The program is also available as an MP3 from the ABC website.

Talking major sports’ future on ABC 702 Sydney

If you’d asked me last week what I thought I’d be doing this week, the answer would not have included “writing and talking about the future of the major sporting codes as televisions events”. But I wrote this thing in the newspaper…

Last week federal court judge Justice Steven Rares ruled that Optus’ TV Now service, which allows customers to record free-to-air TV and have it streamed back to their smartphone, tablet or computer at a more convenient time, was a legal form of time-shifting under section 111 of the Copyright Act 1968.

Even if competing telco Telstra had a supposedly-exclusive deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) to stream live video coverage of matches to smartphones. Even if the delay between an Optus customer starting to record a game and playing it back was just two minutes.

Telstra is paying the AFL $153 million over five years for this now-not-so-exclusive streaming right. Optus pays the AFL nothing, because they’re just providing a technical service through which individual customers make their own “solely for private and domestic use” recordings.

Josh Taylor covered it for ZDNet Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald commissioned me to write an opinion piece that was published this morning, Sport has to think outside the box. Do please read it. It seem to have struck a chord, because I’ve received a lot of compliments.

Then the ABC’s Linda Mottram asked me to chat about the issues on 702 Sydney. And here’s the audio, along with her subsequent chat with a talkback caller on the same topic.

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The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But these program items usually aren’t archived on their website so here it is. And I will of course suggest that you listen to Linda Mottram’s morning program regularly.

I’m thinking of writing up some of my thoughts on how future sporting coverage could be done technically. Meanwhile, do you feel as I do that the days of cashed-up major sporting codes are about to end?

[Update 8 February 2012, 1015: The Sydney Morning Herald has published a follow-up piece this morning by rugby legend Roy Masters. Court has gambled with codes’ futures. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to draw me a diagram of what the fuck he’s talking about.]