[Side note: I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a soft spot for The Karate Kid. It’s a great, fun, nostalgic movie. I have no interest in Will Smith’s version releasing whenever. I’ll take Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita any day.]
We live in interesting times, in regards to the Internet. It’s changed our lives, and I think for the better. Yet so many people are trying to catch up with the changing dynamic. If you’re a media company, how do you protect your intellectual property? In the past, it’s been all about people downloading songs without paying for them, then later trading video online. It may not seem a big deal to us, but it’s a loss for the studios. For example, 20th Century Fox is likely to take a box-office hit because of the recently leaked Wolverine origins movie. Hulu is a joint project by Fox, NBC Universal, and many other studios and networks to publish movies and shows online for free, but the content owners would pull everything off if it was stolen or misused.
I don’t want media companies to lose money to counterfeiters and other folks, because if I was in their shoes, I’d probably be incensed. Maybe my bonus would be bigger, except for the unrealized losses due to my product being stolen and traded daily around the world. However, digital rights management (DRM) blows. I mean, I hate it. Stop the counterfeiters, but as the normal, average, every-day consumer, I should have the right to do whatever I want with the media. I should be allowed to export that movie on DVD easily to my iPod. I shouldn’t have to be restricted if I want to make a ringtone out of a song I already purchased and downloaded. I think if I wanted to share a couple of songs with a friend or family, it’s not a big deal. Slippery slope, me thinks.
Let me get to the point. Last month, I downloaded and installed a 14-day trial of the Play On media server software, which came highly recommended by friends. If you read, I was jazzed up by the possibilities — watching old-school and new-school tv shows and movies streamed to my TV. I let the trial period lapse, but knew I was hooked. Meanwhile, Hulu recently began using countermeasures against companies like Boxee and others “stealing” or misappropriating their content. Hulu benefits with all the content if they display the video from content owners on their website with minimal ads. If you just stream the content with no ads, is it stealing? Is it not?
I purchased the license key for Play On today, but lo and behold, Hulu is not working (“data is corrupted.”) It would appear that the encoding trick is working. Media Mall put out an advisory this week that there was an outage related to Hulu content, but they were working on a fix. I like the Netflix streaming, and the ability to watch YouTube on my TV, so losing Hulu is not entirely a deal-breaking. I think, for us, access to Hulu was a large chunk of the oooohs and aaaaahs.
I just got an email that the Hulu outage is over, due to a new fix they pushed out to users automatically. I haven’t checked it yet, and if it’s working, phew! However, I feel like this is going to be an on-and-off-again problem as companies fight to block access, and we consumers wait for workarounds.
That calls for an immediate 😐