FOX producer gets a taste of his own medicine.

This was too delicious not to share. It seems a producer for Bill “Douchebag” O’Reilly’s show The O’Reilly Factor attempted to do some ambush journalism on Bill Moyers at the National Conference for Media Reform. Moyer’s handles the situation very well indeed and then when the producer, Porter Barry, attempts to leave several of the other journalists start their own ambush interview of Barry:

It’s always nice to see the schoolyard bullies get a little of what they give out.

Update: Here’s all that Bill “Douchebag” O’Reilly bothered to use on his show from that confrontation:

Compare that to what was recorded above and you’ll see Douchebaggery at its finest taking place. And what the fuck is this bullshit about a Body Language Expert on O’Reilly’s show to analyze the clip? How is that in any way relevant to what was actually fucking said? It’s not, but it’s typical for what O’Reilly tries to pass off as journalism.

 

One more reason to buy a PS3: PlayTV recordings can be copied anywhere.

Sony’s DVR add-on for the PS3, PlayTV, isn’t available in the States yet, but I can hardly wait for it to get here. Why? Well according to this Gizmodo item PlayTV recordings can be copied to wherever you’d like as there’s no DRM:

But can Sony do such things legally? According to their producer Mark Bunting, it’s fair game:

    We’ve talked to our legal department about it. All we’re doing is moving it out of PlayTV and to the cross-media bar as if it was any other recording. So hopefully users won’t do stuff they shouldn’t do with it…If I’m prohibited from getting the recording off and storing it somewhere else because some other dude is making money out of selling it, then I’d rather they brought the law in to catch those people,

Hallelujah! Someone ring a bell so Sony gets its wings.

I swear my PS3 is going to be more of a media hub than a game machine at this rate.

PS3 to gain ability to download Blu-ray movies to PSP.

Sony just made the PSP a must buy item for me:

Sony demonstrated how you could put a Blu-ray Disc movie into a Playstation 3 and copy the film to a Playstation Portable or a Memory Stick. “This way, you can have a portable copy you can take with you,” explains David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“There was always the promise of greater interactivity. You’ll see that coming in the new year,” Bishop added. In addition to the PSP copying example, Sony also demonstrated how you could download ring tones and new content to a BD Live player, using Men in Black as the example.

BD Live is proving to be a big catchphrase at the show: Panasonic announced its BD Live player yesterday, Fox showcased an early version of its Alien vs. Predator multiplayer game at the Blu-ray Disc Association’s booth, and Sony showed its interactive Men in Black trivia game. The game was being played by two people in two locations on a Playstation 3.

Being able to do Remote Play of games and videos on the PS3 through your PSP over the internet was already pretty damn cool, but this just doubles the value of having a PSP as a portable media device. Which can’t hurt as it’s traditionally been somewhat of a pain in the ass to get media onto the PSP.

Blogger Davis Freeberg’s tale of DRM woe.

Davis Freeberg is a braver man than I am. He’s actually attempting to use his PC to watch HD content that he has purchased legitimately which means it’s all secured by DRM. Not only does he purchase videos from Amazon’s Unbox service, but he also watches streaming video from Netflix. All of that was working fine up until the point that he decided to purchase an High Definition monitor for his computer and then all hell broke loose:

Even though I’m an HDTV fanatic, it wasn’t until this past weekend, that I finally made the jump to an HD monitor. While I don’t have HDTV tuners on my Media Center, I do have an HD camcorder and it was important for me to be able to edit my high resolution videos.

After doing a little bit of research, I decided to pick up a SyncMasterTM 226BW from Samsung. Between the new monitor and my ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT video card, the resolution looks absolutely stunning. Even my home movies look fantastic in HDTV. I really couldn’t have been happier with the upgrade.

Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t quite as thrilled about my new HD Media Dream Machine and they’ve decided to punish me by revoking my Watch Now privileges from Netflix.

The addition of the new monitor brought into play DRM in his system that was previously dormant and suddenly Netflix’s streaming media service was saying it needed to reset his licenses in order for him to use the service. Problem is it wouldn’t reset just the Netflix licenses, but all DRM licenses on all media on his system potentially making the Amazon Unbox videos he purchased worthless. The trouble was all due to that shiny new monitor he had purchased:

Netflix’s software allows them to look at the video card, cables and the monitor that you are using and when they checked mine out, it was apparently a little too high def to pass their DRM filters.

Because my computer allows me to send an unrestricted HDTV feed to my monitor, Hollywood has decided to revoke my ability to stream 480 resolution video files from Netflix. In order to fix my problem, Netflix recommended that I downgrade to a lower res VGA setup.

Did you catch that? Netflix’s official solution to the problem is either A) allow us to reset all the DRM licenses on your machine potentially making videos you bought from other places unwatchable or B) downgrade your equipment if you want to watch our stuff. This is the reward you get for trying to play by the rules and buying DRM crippled hardware and media.

As part of their agreement with Hollywood, Netflix uses a program called COPP (Certified Output Protection Protocal). COPP is made by Microsoft and the protocol restricts how you are able to transfer digital files off of your PC. When I ran COPP to identify the error on my machine, it gave me an ominous warning that “the exclusive semaphere is owned by another process.”

My Netflix technician told me that he had never heard of this particular error and thought that it was unique to my setup. When I consulted Microsoft, they suggested that I consult the creator of the program. Since Microsoft wrote the COPP software, I wasn’t sure who to turn to after that.

In the end, Davis recites the same mantra I’ve been chanting for awhile now:

The irony in all of this, is that the DRM that Hollywood is so much in love with, is really only harming their paying customers. When you do a DRM reset, it’s not your pirated files that get revoked, it’s the ones that you already paid for that are at risk. I’m not allowed to watch low res Netflix files, even though I have the capability to download high def torrents? How does this even make sense? It’s as if the studios want their digital strategies to fail.

While I understand the need for the studios to protect their content, I believe that these measures go too far. It makes little sense to block my ability to copy low res internet movies, when I can always rip the DVD straight from my Netflix discs instead. By blocking access to my Netflix membership, Hollywood is once again punishing their customers by pushing defective DRM.

Which is why I won’t be bothering to try and run HD content on my PC that doesn’t already have the DRM ripped out of it. While I have gotten a couple of Blu-Ray movies to play in my PS3, I won’t be bothering to pick up a Blu-Ray drive for my PC anytime soon. Nor am I particularly worried about getting an HDMI compliant video card and flat panel monitor. For now my Blu-Ray movies will be relegated strictly to playback on my PS3. By the time I get around to going HD on my PC perhaps the studios will have abandoned all the DRM nonsense, but it’s no big loss to me if they take awhile to get there.

PS3 2.10 firmware adds DivX/XviD playback support.

Sony released the latest firmware for the PS3 yesterday which adds, among other things, support for the DivX codec making the PS3 a DivX Certified device. (That means game developers can use it in games unlike the Xbox 360 where only file playback is supported.) I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile because when new episodes of Doctor Who, Torchwood and other British shows are aired in England I tend to grab the XviD encoded files uploaded to the net so I can keep up until the DVDs are released here in the States. My purchase of the PS3 has been worthwhile in part for its ability to stream media from my PC to the TV set over my wireless network, but until yesterday I had to have my PC convert the files over to MPG4 on the fly and not only does that slow things down a bit, but it reduces the video quality considerably.

According to some reports on the net there seems to be a couple of quirks to the PS3’s playback in that if you’re using Windows Media Player 11 as your media server then DivX files will stream just fine, but XviD won’t (the two are more or less the same codec, just one is open source). Or at least that’s what some folks are reporting. I managed to stream a couple of XviD encoded files last night using nothing more than WMP11 on Vista without any issue at all and the picture quality was fabulous. If you use an alternative server such as TVersity then both file types will stream just fine or you can just copy the XviD file to your PS3’s hard drive or a memory stick and it’ll work fine that way as well. So if you’re trying it out and not having complete success there’s some work arounds you can test out.

I couldn’t be happier, though, as this saves me having to burn DVDs every time I want to watch shows on the big TV and requires a lot less setup than having to transcribe the files on the fly as I was doing previously. There’s a couple of restrictions in that the file size is limited to 2GB and you can’t play files encoded with older versions of DivX, but those shouldn’t impact my usage of the feature much. Other additions in this firmware include a voice changer feature for use with voice and video chat (not sure what for, but it might be fun to play games sounding like one of the Chipmunks) and the ability to use Remote Play to play PS1 games you’ve loaded onto your PS3 (either as a download or with a disc in the drive) on your PSP over the Internet, which is pretty nifty.

“Suck it, Jesus! This award is my God now!” - Kathy Griffin

If you watch the broadcast of the Emmy Awards on E! Entertainment this Saturday you won’t be hearing Kathy Griffin say that during her acceptance speech even though she did say it:

In her speech, Griffin said that “a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.”

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, “This award is my god now!”

The folks at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences felt Kathy was a tad bit over the line, ya see, so they’re going to censor her:

“Kathy Griffin’s offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast on Saturday night,” the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said in a statement Monday.

According to the TV academy and E!, when the four hour-plus ceremony is edited into a two-hour program, Griffin’s remarks will be shown in “an abbreviated version” in which some language may be bleeped.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue wasn’t happy either. He released a statement saying:

“Mel Gibson. Michael Richards. Isaiah Washington. Imus. Jerry Lewis. Every time a celebrity offends a segment of the population, he pays a price, in one way or another. The question now is whether Kathy Griffin will pay a similar price for her outburst. And as we have learned, her verbal assault was calculated.

“In an interview with Houston’s gay magazine, OutSmart, Griffin described herself as a ‘complete militant atheist.’ Unfortunately, her kind of vulgar in-your-face brand of hate speech found a receptive audience on Saturday: The Hollywood Reporter says her foul remark ‘drew laughs.’

“It is incumbent upon Dick Askin, chairman and chief executive officer of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, to denounce Griffin’s obscene and blasphemous comment; a statement should also be read on Sunday. After all, it is his organization that is responsible for the Creative Arts Emmy event. Moreover, given the way the Hollywood crowd received Griffin’s remark, it falls to Askin to distance the Academy from this outrageous incident. We are contacting Griffin’s agent as well.

“It is sure bet that if Griffin had said, ‘Suck it, Muhammad,’ there would have been a very different reaction from the crowd and from the media who covered this event. To say nothing of the Muslim reaction.”

So I guess what he’s really saying here is that if Muslims can pitch a fit every time someone says something they don’t like then, by golly, us Catholics can do it too! What next? Is he going to unleash rampaging nuns on Hollywood?

News of the Academy’s decision to bleep Kathy’s remarks seems to have appeased the Great Catholic Terror for the moment, but he’s still not entirely pleased:

“The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences reacted responsibly to our criticism of Kathy Griffin’s verbal assault on 85 percent of the U.S. population. The ball is now in Griffin’s court. The self-described ‘complete militant atheist’ needs to make a swift and unequivocal apology to Christians. If she does, she will get this issue behind her. If she does not, she will be remembered as a foul-mouthed bigot for the rest of her life.”

Bigot? For saying “suck it, Jesus?” You’ve got to be kidding me. I could possibly see the claim that she’s a bigot had she said something like, “all Catholics are inbred pedophiles that should be rounded up and shot like rabid dogs” but she didn’t say anything like that. She told Jesus to suck it and if anyone should be pissed it’s Jesus and I’m sure she’d love to discuss it with him over coffee should he bother to actually show up and demand an apology.

First an apology would require that she actually, you know, felt sorry about her comments. I don’t know how many of Kathy’s shows Bill has seen, but she doesn’t seem like the sort to regret saying what she said. Secondly, she has a point about stars getting up and thanking Jesus repeatedly for winning a stupid Emmy as though suggesting that Jesus would give a shit either way. There’s a certain breed of Christian out there that’s not unique to any one denomination that seems to think they have to attribute any positive thing that happens to them, no matter how trivial it happens to be, to the efforts of Jesus as opposed to anything they themselves might have done and all Kathy is doing is poking a little fun at them. If these people really believe that their success is because of Jesus’ and not themselves then they should get the hell off the stage and let Jesus go up there and accept the award. After all he did all the hard work according to them.

In the meantime I suppose Catholic League President Bill Donohue has to do something to ensure that the Muslims don’t get to hog the lucrative Overblown Outrage spotlight all to themselves for fear that Catholics will otherwise become completely irrelevant.

NBC dumps Apple’s iTunes and moves to Amazon’s Unbox for video downloads.

NBC hasn’t been happy with Apple for awhile now in part because Apple refuses to deviate from its one-price-fits-all policy for downloads. So NBC decided to take its ball and go play with Amazon’s new Unbox download service. The other reason for the switch? Amazon’s Unbox allows for more restrictive DRM on downloads:

“This further expands our longstanding relationship to bring a robust content offering to the marketplace in a variety of ways that will benefit the consumer and, at the same time, protects our content,” said NBC Universal’s president of digital distribution, Jean-Briac Perrette, in a statement.

“Protecting content” is a tip of the hat to NBC’s concerns over DRM. Amazon and Apple both use DRM for video, but Apple’s DRM policies are considered to be “too lax” by many players in the TV and movie business. Apple’s terms allow for authorized for playback on as many as five different devices. Furthermore, Apple-approved devices can be authorized to play content purchased from five different accounts.

Compare Unbox: Shows bought from Unbox can be kept on two computers max and can be stored on up to two different (approved) media players. Users cannot “mix” accounts, meaning that a PC cannot have authorized content purchased from two different accounts accessible at the same time. As you can see, Unbox is more restrictive.

This is a bit of a gamble for the folks at NBC as Amazon’s Unbox files won’t work on Apple or Linux PCs nor on the ever popular video iPods, the latter being the most significant as it’s still the dominate portable media player. Again given the fact that all of the shows NBC is worried about protecting with more restrictive DRM are available for free on BitTorrent you have to wonder just who and what NBC thinks it’s protecting its content from. Once again they opt to punish the legitimate consumers in hopes of squeezing a few more pennies out of them.

Viacom demonstrates the meaning of the word “hypocrisy.”

Viacom luvs them some Reality TV Programming because it tends to be cheap as hell to make in part because it’s often composed of work generated by someone else. A good example of this is their VH1 show Web Junk 2.0 which is composed entirely of viral video clips that have been making the rounds on the Internet. You’d think a company like Viacom that is often involved in copyright disputes would go out of its way to get permission for any of the material they use in their shows, but it appears they don’t bother as one gentleman by the name of Chris Knight can attest to:

Last fall, as part of my campaign for Rockingham County Board of Education, I produced three commercials that ran on local television. The first of them – which I simply dubbed “Christopher Knight for School Board TV Commercial #1” – was hosted on YouTube the same evening that the ad started running on WGSR in Reidsville. You can watch it at http://youtube.com/watch?v=nLi5B0Iefsk.

A month and a half ago some friends let me know that the cable network VH1 was spotlighting the commercial on their show Web Junk 2.0, in an edition titled “Animals & Other Crap”.

VH1 took the video that I had created and hosted on YouTube, and made it into a segment of Web Junk 2.0. Without my originally-created content to work with, VH1 would not have had this segment at all. They based this segment of Web Junk 2.0 entirely on the fruit of my own labor.

Chris thought that was pretty cool even though he was never contacted by the producers of Web Junk 2.0 or anyone else connected to Viacom about getting permission from him to use the clip. Chris thought the segment was pretty funny and wanted to share it with his blog readers so he snipped out the segment dealing with his video and posted it to YouTube so he could share it on his blog.

You know what happened next, right? Of course you do.

Viacom hit YouTube with a DMCA take down notice claiming that Chris Knight had violated their copyright by posting the video clip even though it consisted mostly of Chris’ original material which Viacom infringed upon themselves.

So Viacom took a video that I had made for non-profit purposes and without trying to acquire my permission, used it in a for-profit broadcast. And then when I made a YouTube clip of what they did with my material, they charged me with copyright infringement and had YouTube pull the clip.

Folks, this is, as we say down here in the south, “bass-ackwards”.

I have written to YouTube’s division of copyright enforcement, telling them that the VH1 clip is derived from my own work and that I should be entitled to use it as such. So far I haven’t heard anything back from them. After reading that last part of the initial e-mail that they sent me, I’m wondering how apt they might be to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to wipe out the accounts of anyone who even raises such a fuss about something like this, no matter how well-grounded it is.

What does this mean for independent producers of content, if material they create can be co-opted by a giant corporation without permission or apology or compensation? When in fact, said corporations can take punitive action against you for using material that you created on your own?

That’s what’s happening to me right now, folks. Viacom is penalizing me for using my own original material, which they used without permission to begin with.

It’s worth pointing out that Chris’ clip was only a small segment of the show and not the entirety of the show, that the clip was not being used in a commercial endeavor, and was being used as part of a commentary on the show itself (even if that commentary was simply “Look! I’m on TV!”) and as such qualifies as a prime example of Fair Use. Thanks to the DMCA though all Viacom has to do is send a nastygram to YouTube and they clip has to be yanked by law.

I would really like to fight this as hard as I can. Unfortunately at the moment I lack the time and resources to do this on my own. I am also, admittedly, not an attorney. There’s a good bit of knowledge of copyright law floating around in my gray matter, but it’s not nearly enough to mount the challenge that I would like to levy against Viacom for doing this.

I want to publicly declare this: that I am not out for any money. Not a single penny. All I want is for the clip to be restored to its original address on YouTube. And I want it to be established that other creators of content have a right under Fair Use to show how their works are being appreciated in the wider world. I just want the rest of us who aren’t affiliated with corporate media to have as much right to use our own work as “the big boys” enjoy for theirs.

Any inquiries or suggestions or anything else pertaining to the matter can be directed to me at .

Personally I think it would be great if Chris was able to sue the living shit out of Viacom for their infringement of his original work just to teach those bastards a bit of a lesson, but the resources that would take are probably well beyond his means. Instead the best we can hope for is to make sure our Congressmen get the message that the DMCA is bullshit that needs to be revoked due to abuses such as this one that we keep hearing about time and time again.

MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski refuses to read Paris Hilton news story.

With all the news networks short-stroking everything Paris related over the last couple of days — CNN actually covered Paris showing up at CNN to be on Larry King — it’s very refreshing to see that at least one journalist out there tried very hard not to lead with a story on Paris’ release from prison:

I still don’t understand why so many people give a flying fuck about Paris Hilton or what stupid thing she’s done lately. I certainly don’t understand why so many news agencies treat it as the most important story of the day when there’s so many other much more newsworthy things to be covering out there. She’s rich and she’s spoiled and the media can’t seem to let a day go by without lavishing attention on her as though her every move were of cosmic significance. I don’t begrudge her her money, I’d like to be rich myself, but I do begrudge her attention whoring as though anything she does has any real importance to anyone outside of herself.