Audio News for January 31, 2007

by | Jan 31, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

YouTube Threatens to Sue Host of Video Downloader – YouTube – in case you don’t know – is the top video-sharing website on the Internet. It lets users upload, view, and share video clips of all sorts. Although YouTube is set up as a streaming video site, there are a number of online tools available to download the videos to your computer: TechCrunch, Save YouTube, GooTube FLV Retriever, and KeepVid. YouTube’s attorneys have sent a Cease and Desist Notice to the owner of TechCrunch telling him that his tool constitutes an unfair business practice under California law and must be removed. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington says that such letters are often sent with no intention of follow-up legal action even if they are ignored. They are just a way to show you have made a good faith effort to protect your legal rights. YouTube has had to remove many video clips recently in response to infringement notices sent to them by copyright holders.

YouTube Ends 2006 Without Promised Copy Protection Scheme –  YouTube promised in September that by the end of 2006 they would have in place an “advanced content ID and royalty reporting system.” When Google purchased YouTube in October for $1.65 billion it was expected the new financial backing would make the anti-piracy measures possible – they were also to be part of a deal in which Google would distribute Warner Bros. music videos and artist interviews.  But so far nothing has happened with the system. YouTube tells their users simply that uploading content “shall be at your sole risk.”

Microsoft Builds Reinforced Pirate-Proofing Into Windows Vista – In developing Vista – the new version of the Windows operating system  – Microsoft bent over backwards to make sure the Hollywood studios were happy with the stringent copy-protection features which could allow, for example, streaming HD movies around the home. Though it goes much further than previous computer platforms toward addressing the piracy fears of content companies, both the movie studios and record labels didn’t get all the protections they had wanted in Vista. And the deep changes in the way certain entertainment content is handled may cause compatibility problems with some older TVs and Vista PCs, particularly when attempting to play HD videos. Plus other new consumer electronic devices will have to play by the same set of rules in order to play back content from the studios, say Microsoft executives.

This is worrisome to digital activist groups and some computer programmers. They fear that increasingly high security levels may block off programming innovation, or stop PC owners from accessing portions of their own computers – like walling off a room in a home. Vista keeps media players and plug-ins in a new “protected environment” – separate from the actual content data. If the content cannot be copy-protected over the link the customer is using, the computer could shut down video entirely. Alternately it could reduce the resolution of HD video to that of standard DVDs. A similar process will happen for copy-protected audio files, but Microsoft has not yet supported the new CDs, saying the technology isn’t yet mature, and other firms such as Apple need to be involved. 

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