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NBC Still Down On P2P But Plans To Use It Themselves 153

Posted by Zonk
from the what's-that-again dept.
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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NBC Still Down On P2P But Plans To Use It Themselves

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  • The summary... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Jax Omen (1248086)
    It says they're using P2P. What for? All I know of is them releasing clips on Youtube...
    • Re:The summary... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:52PM (#22741424)
      It also uses the word "carrots". I don't get it.
    • by esocid (946821)
      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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:27PM (#22741058) Journal
    piracy is a more serious offense than robbery.

    Huh? And this guy makes how much money every year?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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."
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        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".
    • Is revenue loss due to piracy even quantifiable? Some stuff that I've pirated is stuff I would have never bought or rented.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Then why is it worth pirating?
        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

          by aplusjimages (939458) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @03:02PM (#22742372) Journal
          I usually end up realizing that it wasn't worth pirating as well.
        • by AdamTrace (255409)
          Let me expand on the question with a hypothetical (yes, really) situation:

          Let's say I pirate a movie. I don't really like the movie. I certainly wouldn't pay full price for it on DVD. But I don't feel like deleting it, either, for whatever reason. Maybe I'd buy it if it were $0.50 at a swap meet, but certainly not $15 at a video store.

          It's certainly true that I've gained something for nothing. But is it also true that I would never pay full price for it. Can it be said that the movie studio has lost m
        • by riceboy50 (631755)

          Then why is it worth pirating?
          I think it's obvious that some things are worth less than the asking price. In a more free market, prices would be driven down (or even up in some cases) by competition to appropriate levels for content. We have seen a little of this starting to happen with indie stuff; let's hope it continues to make inroads.
          • by fotbr (855184)
            If its worth less than the asking price, then the right thing to do is to just move on to something else. Not to pirate it and try to justify it saying "its only worth $5 to me, but you won't sell it to me for less than $10"

            I know its not popular to say so, but a buyer has no right to get everything they want at the price they want. They can ask, sure, but if the seller doesn't accept the offer, then too bad. Buyer's choices are to pay asking price, negotiate, or do without.
            • by riceboy50 (631755)
              Yep, I agree. However, as we all know, there will always be a contingent of people to whom nothing they could pirate is worth paying for. I think it's equally obvious that the media empires who have previously monopolized these markets have no interest in increased competition driving down their prices.
            • Buyer's choices are to pay asking price, negotiate, or do without
              Well-said.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228)
            They also seem to forget the gains they make,not only in advertising,but in new customers.I ended up buying the complete Joss Whedon collection because I caught a couple of Buffy season one episodes on P2P.They didn't show it here and I never would have gotten into it otherwise.They also seem to forget folks like to collect things.I could have downloaded the entire thing on P2P,but it looks a lot nicer on my bookshelf with a couple of Sideshow collectibles as bookends(which I'm sure they get a cut of in lic
          • If it's not worth buying, do without. That more than anything will spur change; if people keep 'pirating', the industry will keep saying, "WEll clearly it's worth getting, these little thieves just don't want to pay it." And in large part, they'll be right.
      • by kdemetter (965669)
        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.

        • 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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by GrayCalx (597428)
      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.
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        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? (Score:5, Funny)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @02:45PM (#22742142) Journal

      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*

      • There's certainly no possibility of law enforcement ever being able to catch them, practically speaking, ... so it is basically a low-risk, high rewards way of leaching off of society.
        Yeah, and then they come up with this "information wants to be free" crap and try to tell the people they're leaching off how to do their business.

        Wait, we are talking about the same pirates here, right?
    • 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
    • by richlv (778496)
      and maybe they should stop paying millions to actors. if your business model involves spending shitload of money to few people, maybe you are simply extremely idiotic at your attempts to cash in that, instead of limiting the insane expenses.
  • BSG anyone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T-Kir (597145) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:30PM (#22741094) Homepage
    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
  • Simple economics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elrick_the_brave (160509) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:31PM (#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.
    • P2P is only OK if we can use it to make money and make our quarterlies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      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?

      • 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.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      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 alwa
      • by timmarhy (659436)
        your missing the whole point.

        places like TPB thrive not because people won't pay for content (ok some never will, but most will), itunes is an example of how successful downloads can be. TPB thrives because people can download whatever they want, when they want and not wait for media outlets to get around to releasing it in their region.

        for example australia is months behind on most tv shows, but 1 hour after it's aired in the USA it can be downloaded in hidef 5.1 sound.

        I think the core problem is this

  • NBC's real problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:32PM (#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.
    • by flajann (658201) <flajann AT linuxbloke DOT com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:47PM (#22741338) Homepage Journal
      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.

      • 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 Teamf
        • by flajann (658201)
          "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 distrib
      • If it's got any commercials whatsoever I'm simply not paying for it.

        You can either have advertising sponsored TV or pay TV. Not both.

        See the old proverb regarding having cake and eating it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.
      • by peragrin (659227)
        So was the orginial knight rider TV show. heck any tv/movie where cars play a role becomes just one big car commercial.
    • by cashman73 (855518) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:48PM (#22741360) Journal
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spun (1352)
      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
      • by peragrin (659227)
        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.
    • by Bombula (670389)
      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

      • 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.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:34PM (#22741148) Journal
    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.
    • by vux984 (928602)
      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
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Apotsy (84148)

      Prove it was pirated! I dare you.
      Yeah dude, I'm sure there are 10 million people on ThePirateBay just sharing linux ISOs.
    • by Targon (17348)
      The ISPs have always been the ones paying for it. You have an ISP, you pay or come up with a deal with the other ISPs you connect to. This is the whole concept of peering. Business accounts are where the real money comes from for most ISPs, because the businesses pay to have their servers, and the traffic is what drives the revenue model.

      So, Google pays their hosting provider(s), and the hosting provider in turn has agreements with those that are connected directly to them, who in turn have agreements
  • by blcamp (211756) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:35PM (#22741162) Homepage

    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.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:36PM (#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?
    • by un1xl0ser (575642) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:50PM (#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.
    • by Technician (215283) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @02:14PM (#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
  • by johnny cashed (590023) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:40PM (#22741236) Homepage
    "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.
    • The reason that Congress set up copyrights was to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. And why would they want to promote that? Because that's good for the country as a whole. If there is more science and "useful arts", our lives are improved. If there were no copyrights or patents, then there would be less progress in the arts and science, because people wouldn't be rewarded for investing in them. And less art, for example, is bad for all of us, including "consumers".
  • "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 wan

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:50PM (#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.
    • by nevali (942731)
      Oh, for (Score:6, For some reason it's left to Slashdot commenters to state the blindingly obvious to media executives)

  • 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
  • by Dave21212 (256924) <dav@spamcop.net> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @01:54PM (#22741448) Homepage Journal

    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 ?

    • by esocid (946821)
      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 thes

      • by Dave21212 (256924)

        "I'm not quite sure if you actually RTFA"
        - um, this is Slashdot... of course I didn't read the article :)

        So, it seems that it's not like they are just dumping it out there... they have some freaky looking panda handing it around. You are right that it's still using OUR machines to distribute THEIR content for them... they should pay us :)

        Thanks for the reply, and for not yelling "you jacka$$" at me or anything :) (this is Slashdot after all)
  • 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.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Even if piracy was an absolute disincentive, meaning that no one would ever create content that they weren't willing to give away for free, I think that would be fine. There's already more content than a person could ever experience in their life, and making that content free makes much more content available to the average person than they could ever hope to afford now.
  • Do as we say, not as we do.
  • ...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.
  • 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 the
    • 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
    • my only complaint with NBC's web player is that ads break the view settings. That's purely a programming bug and somebody should have fixed it.

      As far as back episodes and such keeping only a little bit is reasonable. Of course I'd be happy if they still supported iTunes. 2/3 of the shows I bought from there are NBC related... but it wasn't making ENOUGH money. I could understand if they rotated stuff out to get you to buy DVDs and such later, or hit the video store. Let's face it, the REAL draw of iTun
  • 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)
  • 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!
  • 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 c
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by laird (2705)
      "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
  • He is right! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @02:46PM (#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.
  • 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.
  • 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 ow

  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @03:45PM (#22742798) Homepage
    "[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.
  • > 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.
  • 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
  • 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
    • by MorePower (581188)

      Agreed! I got a Hulu account and tried it out. When I looked around for something to watch, I found that Firefly show everyone here raves so much about. So I streamed the first couple episodes and I loved the show too. But the herky-jerky video (especially after each ad break) and waiting ridiculous amounts of time for ads to load (slowly displaying them a second or two at a time) along with no way to even buffer up material ahead of time by pausing pissed me off so much that I instead went over to iTunes a

  • Customers want access to all of the shows from any country with few if any commercials and they want to be able to play it on a tv with a variety of software.

    Studios
    want to protect their OTA, cable, and satellite business and advertising dollars
    want to protect their syndication money
    want to protect DVD sales

    The "standard" of one commercial per break for TV on the web is ok. I have no issue with watching tv shows this way compared to P2P commercial-free versions. The issue comes with when and what content is

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