What's a Nazi to do?
We're condemned when
we ban free speech,
and condemned if we don't
Video-sharing website YouTube has been condemned for showing video clips showing Nazi troops. The scenes, accompanied by militaristic music, have drawn millions of hits.
YouTube, which hosts film clips from the public, has 2,880 items on the Waffen SS, the most fanatical of Hitler's soldiers who were indicted for war crimes throughout WW2.
The entries have a string of Sieg Heil comments and praise for the fighting prowess of the Waffen SS, recruited for their unswerving loyalty to Nazism.
The videos, some from Nazi propaganda news reels, have angered Jewish organisations who have called for YouTube to remove the hugely offensive postings, including one that features the headline Hitler Was Right directly below the YouTube
Senior Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer was shocked by the content and the amount of SS video on YouTube.
Glorifying the Waffen SS or Hitler in any way is sickening, she said: YouTube must understand its responsibilities. They should be hunting this type of material down if they want to maintain any credibility.
She added that YouTube has grown from fringe influence to mainstream source of content and that many young people view it alone where extremist views cannot be challenged by parents and teachers.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it continues to be very concerned about the level of racist and anti-Semitic content on the internet.
In recent months, long-time users of video-sharing website YouTube have noticed that the Google-owned site's definition of acceptable
content has narrowed considerably.
In addition to its longstanding campaign to crack down on illegally copied material, in September the site outlawed videos depicting drug abuse and last week tightened its guidelines further to restrict profanity and sexually suggestive content.
In other words, before the money wagons roll in, some law and order needs to be imposed.
A video sharing website user who re-posted somebody else's video of a man apparently swinging a baby around has had his house raided by
an armed Australian police anti-paedophile squad.
The user Biggles9 has been charged with accessing child abuse material, downloading child abuse material and uploading child abuse material with the intent to distribute . He is out on bail and is due to appear in court 18 December. He posted the
clip, which he found on MetaCafe, to LiveLeak, a UK-based citizen journalism site.
The Queensland-based Task Force Argos allegedly acted on information supplied by British police. They arrested him and seized computer equipment. They questioned Biggles9 for about seven hours.
According to LiveLeak founder Hayden Hewitt, who has been in regular contact with the long-time member since he was charged, Biggles9 did not ask for a lawyer to be present because he did not believe there was any case to answer. Hewitt said he had been
told that the clip Biggles9 uploaded to LiveLeak was the only data of interest that the police's digital forensic search found.
According to Hewitt, Biggles9 found the clip on YouTube, via MetaCafe, which aggregates video sites. It was also available on several other video sharing sites. LiveLeak and YouTube have removed the footage, but it is still accessible elsewhere on the
It shows a man described as being of eastern European appearance in what appears to be a living room with a sofa and TV, and a baby in a nappy. The man picks up the baby and begins swinging it around very fast, at first by its two arms and then by one.
Later, he turns the baby through somersaults. At the end of the performance he holds the baby normally and approaches the camera. The baby smiles.
It's currently unclear what prompted the raid on Biggles9's home by armed police. A few days after the clip was posted, Hewitt was contacted by a child protection group based in the US, which asked if he had any information about the source of the video.
Hewitt didn't, but added an appeal on the page hosting it for anyone with information to get in touch. Soon after, Gloucestershire police asked him to remove it on grounds that people might copy what they saw. LiveLeak declined to remove the clip.
About a month later, Task Force Argos raided Biggles9. He contacted Hewitt and requested the clip be taken down on the advice of his lawyers, which LiveLeak did.
In his post-arrest blog, Biggles9 wrote: I'm just trying to warn all the uploaders and moderators to be very careful of what is posted and approved when it comes to children; no one needs to go through this crap over something that is so petty. H e added he is confident
sanity will prevail.
Google implemented a technique that would prevent access to videos that clearly violated Turkish law, but only in Turkey.
For a time, her solution seemed to satisfy the Turkish judges, who restored YouTube access. But last June, as part of a campaign against threats to symbols of Turkish secularism, a Turkish prosecutor made a sweeping demand: that Google block access to
the offending videos throughout the world, to protect the rights and sensitivities of Turks living outside the country.
Google refused, arguing that one nation's government shouldn't be able to set the limits of speech for Internet users worldwide. Unmoved, the Turkish government today continues to block access to YouTube in Turkey.
Our goal is to help ensure that you're viewing content that's relevant to you, and not inadvertently coming across content that isn't. Here
are a few things we came up with:
Stricter standard for mature content - While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they're flagged, we're tightening the standard for what is considered sexually suggestive. Videos with sexually
suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they'll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older.
Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity - Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our Most Viewed, Top Favourited, and other browse pages. The classification of
these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we've found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or
explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.
Improved thumbnails - To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically.
More accurate video information - Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited folks from attempting to game view counts by entering misleading information in video descriptions, tags, titles, and other metadata. We remain serious about enforcing
these rules. Remember, violations of these guidelines could result in removal of your video and repeated violations will lead to termination of your account.
The Council of Europe (CoE) is a larger body than the EU with 47 rather than 27 member states.
It intends to extend the scope of a convention that affects the regulation of TV broadcasting to include video on-demand services and some online video. The changes will match those already made by the European Union.
The most important change to the rules will relate to their coverage. The regulations will no longer apply simply to television content, but to video on demand services.
The Convention does not include home-made audio visual material, such as that which someone would post to a sharing site such as YouTube. It only includes commercial material.
The Convention also governs the retransmission of services and orders states to allow material which complies with the rules in the Convention to be re-transmitted into their country, with exceptions for material which breaks the rules of the
Convention or broadcasting rules in the country of first broadcast.
On the subject of content restriction it proposes:
television broadcasts do not, include programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, in particular those that involve pornography or gratuitous violence7. This provision shall
be extended to other television programmes which are likely to impair the physical mental or moral development of minors, except where it is ensured, by selecting the time of the broadcast or by any technical means, that minors in the area of
transmission will not normally hear or see such broadcasts.
on-demand services which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors are only made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see such on-demand services.
The Government has asked for responses to the initial consultation by 31st October, and the CoE has said that a more formal consultation will take place at the end of the year.
The BBC is to solve the online watershed conundrum by launching a children's version of the iPlayer.
The kids interface is expected to launch before Christmas and will allow users to access only a limited range of programmes, sidestepping the problem of children potentially accessing post-watershed content.
Presently, users tick a box to confirm they are old enough to watch certain content irrespective of the time of day.
A senior BBC source told Broadcast: [The kids iPlayer] creates a walled garden of content that's appropriate for children. This will also enable us to promote it on the children's TV channels and websites, which we haven't been able to do
The corporation is thrashing out the detail of the new service, including whether it will offer all pre-watershed content, just children's and family shows, or just those made specifically for the CBeebies and CBBC channels.
A proposed catch-up TV service from BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 has been referred to the Competition Commission.
The on-demand service, provisionally called Kangaroo, was expected to launch this autumn with thousands of hours of TV.
But the Office of Fair Trading said it had referred the venture to the commission to investigate concerns that it could give BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 too much muscle over prices for their own content.
The BBC is preparing to launch a new iPlayer version that will include both radio and television content and a personalised recommendation feature.
BBC's head of digital media technology Anthony Rose said: In a few weeks time, we are going live with an all new iPlayer that has radio and TV all in the same interface.
Work is also underway on a number of personalised facilities including a recommendation feature that will introduce new content to viewers based on their past choices. The recommendations will be based on genre clusters or "virtual channels"
that the BBC is identifying by studying usage patterns.
Rose said that different personalisation techniques will be tested over the next two to three months and will then "have a shoot-out" to decide which are adopted.
Individual users on shared computers will be able to protect and build on their own profile with a personal log in, possibly by selecting an avatar.
The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are facing opposition to their plan to launch a joint online television service, codenamed Kangaroo, from media groups concerned about its potential to stifle competition.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has asked for views on whether Kangaroo could damage competition in the nascent video on-demand market.
It will then decide whether to refer the proposed service to the Competition Commission or demand safeguards to ensure it does not damage competitors.
BSkyB and Virgin Media, who have their own on-demand platforms, have told OFT that the merger "raises concerns".
BSkyB wants to ensure that all the content carried on Kangaroo is also available to its video on-demand service. Graham McWilliam, group corporate affairs director at BSkyB, said: The shareholders of Kangaroo must not be allowed to leverage their
unique position in television, built on public subsidy, into the on-demand space.
The fiercest criticism has come from Joost, the London-based web TV site founded by the entrepreneurs who made millions selling their internet phone service, Skype, to eBay. Chief executive Mike Volpi said the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 had so far failed to
supply programmes to his service: We have asked many times. In the case of the commercial players negotiations have broken down over price. In the case of the BBC it's just been a flat-out no.
Volpi said: When you have a situation where so much good content ends up being potentially exclusive through a single distribution channel, it makes it very difficult for any player outside of those three to be competitive in the UK market.
s widely recognised and trusted classification system is moving to the world of downloadable films, programmes and video games. The BBFC has worked closely with the home entertainment industry to develop this voluntary regulatory scheme that will bring
the benefits of the DVD classification system to the world of downloads and the internet. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox have signed up and other key industry players, who have been involved in the
development of BBFC.online, are poised to join the scheme.
Launched today, BBFC.online – as the new service is called – has been designed to give consumers the assurance they seek when choosing new media content. The scheme will see the BBFC'
s famous ‘black card'
, category symbols and Consumer Advice appearing on a wide range of ‘new media'
content, including video-on-demand and streamed video which is offered to the public through websites, set-top boxes and portable media devices.
There is currently little independent classification of downloadable or streaming video content, either on the internet or delivered by video-on-demand services and via set-top-boxes. This is in spite of independent research that indicates that 63% of
adults (74% of parents) are concerned about downloading video material which does not come with independent content advice and labelling. In addition, 84% of adults (91% of parents) want to see BBFC film and DVD classification on downloadable/streaming
films and other digital audiovisual content.
BBFC.online has been developed over the last 18 months, in close partnership with the video and new media industries and the British Video Association. There are already some 700 videos with ‘online certificates'
and this is likely to rise to about 1000 by the end of the month.
The major studios as well as e-tailers and VoD suppliers, are keen to ensure that online content is accompanied by clear and independent content information and age-restrictions using a system trusted by consumers.
The scheme will also require e-tailers and VoD services to have age verification or gate-keeping systems in place for parents to monitor and control underage viewing, and the effectiveness of these protocols will be monitored by the BBFC. Major e-tailers
and VoD services are poised to join as soon as their services have been updated in accordance with the requirements of the scheme.
Speaking at the launch, David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:
We are extremely pleased to have been able to work with the video industry to develop a scheme that will give online consumers the same assurance that our symbols and content information provide for cinema films, DVDs and video
games. I am particularly pleased by the support and commitment from the industry for this voluntary scheme. Consumers considering buying into the world of downloads will be able to rely on our familiar symbols and advice, to decide which films or video
games are suitable for them and their children. They will also be assured that the film makers and download services in the scheme are keen to ensure their customers get genuine independent information about the digital films or games on offer.
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said:
The introduction of the BBFC system for online film downloads will provide some welcome clarity for consumers, to help them gain greater confidence that their purchases are appropriate before they commit themselves. I hope to see
more studios sign up to the scheme.
Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association said:
“The online world is still an ‘open frontier'
and the industry is determined to get its own house in order with this new type of business. Our involvement and input into the development of BBFC.online has shown how seriously we take this. We chose to work with the BBFC because of the universal
recognition of their system across the UK, and their commitment to supporting both consumers and the industry in making the most of the online world in a safe and recognisable environment.”
The BBFC also note:
The BBFC.online scheme includes console-style games which are supplied to the customer via download.
The research referred to is available on www.bbfc.co.uk entitled Downloading Classification Study February 2007 and was carried out by TNS.
s legal advice is that works supplied by ‘non-physical'
means (eg by streaming or download) are not covered by the Video Recordings Act 1984.
Membership of the Scheme is voluntary and by subscription and there is no cost to consumers.
BBFC.online is ‘Platform Neutral'
– it is designed to cover all forms of digital content delivery (eg web, set top boxes, hand-held devices and mobile phones).
BBFC.online complies with the self regulatory model advocated by ATVOD.
BSkyB has launched an enhanced version of its Sky Anytime PC on-demand service, now known as Sky Player.
The relaunch incorporates live channels, including Sky Sports, Sky News and third party channels The History Channel and National Geographic. Sky director of on-demand Griff Parry described the new-look service as "Sky TV online".
Sky will promote its pay-TV service to non-Sky customers by offering them the chance to buy episodes of shows like Lost and highlights from Sky Sports. Existing customers get paid-for and free content on Sky Player, depending on which Sky package they
have. The new service also offers free shows that can be watched as they download.
James Murdoch, BSkyB chairman, has accused the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, of an abrogation of responsibility in backing the launch of a service now making inroads into pay TV.
He claimed the BBC was using its market power to squeeze competition in the broadband TV market with its iPlayer service. He described the service as a big step and pre-emptive intervention that was squashing a lot of competitors. I'm
not saying it's a bad product but I am saying it does crowd out competition and innovation.
The BBC itself has been surprised by the success of a new service that enables viewers to download BBC programmes screened over the previous seven days. Last month, iPlayer handled 17.5m requests for downloads.
TV executives say pay TV channels are already suffering because viewers are using the download service to see what they missed on BBC. Another download service, Kangaroo, to be launched later this year, will offer BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and add to the
pressure on the pay TV channels, they feel.
The BBC Trust rejected Mr Murdoch's criticism of the iPlayer and said that it had been subject to a rigorous pubic value test that included a market impact assessment carried out by Ofcom
Thanks to a content platform developed by BT, ITV will now broadcast their on demand service to viewers located around the world.
The platform will be using the BT Mosaic service; this will allow ITV to share their content with various networks and different devices. This service will also give ITV the option of allowing other broadcasters to opportunity to access the archive.
It is believed that other broadcasters would be able to censor programmes so that they fit into and fall well within the regions laws and customs which is said to be an important factor.
There are already over twenty thousand programmes that have digitised and ready for distribution to consumers.
Joost, the online television service launched with a fanfare last year by the founders of internet telephony firm Skype, is preparing for a major retrenchment after failing to attract enough users and top-flight broadcasting rights.
The company is expected to rein in its global ambitions to focus solely on the US market.
Joost has been overshadowed by the success of the BBC's iPlayer, and in America, Hulu, a collaboration between NBC and News Corporation.
It has struggled to convince media and sports companies to sell it global rights, which are normally parcelled out to broadcasters country by country.
The BBC iPlayer, which provides a free seven-day window for viewers to watch shows they missed the first time round, is recording up to 500,000 programme downloads a day.
In the summer, it will be joined by Kangaroo, a portal shared by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, to show older content, which will be funded by advertising.
Constrained by the technical limitations of its satellite television service, DirecTV has watched from the sidelines as cable operators and phone companies' high-end TV services have rolled out increasingly popular video-on-demand features.
The company is now preparing to launch its own VOD service this spring.
Called DirecTV On Demand, the service, now offered in beta, is designed to deliver VOD content to customers in two ways: via automatic transmission of selected movie titles, which will be stored on subscribers' digital video recorders and then ordered up
for viewing whenever the subscriber wants; and via Internet downloads of additional content, including TV shows, streamed to the subscriber's set-top box.
DirecTV also can track customer activity on its Internet-connected set-top boxes, the Journal report noted, and use the data to help it sell targeted ads.
DirecTV is expected to offer about 3,000 shows and movies, most of which will be delivered over the Net; the company will use the automatic transmission for exceptionally popular programs and movies.
Broadband firms are restricting customers’ usage because of the unprecedented success of the BBC’s iPlayer, the online viewing service.
The news will raise fears that Britain’s broadband network is struggling to cope with the growing demand for TV programmes that can be viewed online after they have aired.
Thousands of broadband users face breaching their usage limits as a result and will have to fork out more for superior packages.
The iPlayer – which was launched in December and allows you to watch your favourite programmes on your computer – has attracted 17m people in its first three months. However, it has increased internet traffic by 66%, say some broadband providers.
They have a limited “bandwidth” so, with more people using high-speed services, are having to impose restrictions on speeds, and use download limits and “fair usage policies” to control traffic.
iPlayer programmes tend to be around 300 megabytes (MB) in size though longer one-hour shows like David Attenborough’s Life in Cold Blood can take up 600MB.
However, many low-end broadband packages have monthly download limits of one gigabyte (GB) – equal to about 1,000MB. Downloading just two iPlayer shows a month could therefore mean you use up your limit and have to pay extra for additional downloads.
Sorry, sane adult
thinking not allowed until 9pm
...and I knock off at 5
The continuous promotion by the BBC of its iPlayer over recent weeks, and Channel 4's On-Demand service, has given rise to questions about how this ingenious facility is to be regulated so that the predominantly young people, at whom it is aimed, may be
protected from offensive and harmful content, as the Broadcasting Code requires.
Ofcom, in its Draft Annual Plan for 2008/09, has drawn attention to the gap in regulation of downloading and says: These developments are exposing differences in the regulatory frameworks because many of the rules applicable to content
delivered by traditional broadcasters do not apply to very similar or identical content delivered over the internet.
Ofcom says: We will encourage all content providers to promote and make available information about potentially harmful or offensive content in a form that is easy to understand. At the same time we will encourage the promotion of internet filters,
firewalls and PIN access to television services that are easy to use and are effective in helping people manage their access to the media.
In the letter to Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham MP John Beyer said:
Our concern is with regulation. I have recently been in correspondence with Ofcom who tell me that the Communications Act 2003 excluded downloaded material from its regulatory oversight. Given that this Act requires Ofcom to have special regard for
the protection of under-18s from offensive and harmful material we wonder whether the Government has any plans to remove the exclusion so that Ofcom does have regulatory oversight of material downloaded from the websites of broadcasters who are normally
subject to their regulation.
You will not need me to point out that the ability to download programmes anytime makes the "watershed" completely redundant. We are aware that Broadcasters continue to defend offensive and harmful material shown after 9.00pm because of the
watershed. This is also one of the reasons for Ofcom failing to intervene on content when many people feel it is necessary.
We would certainly value your advice on how children and young people are to be protected from harmful and offensive material in the downloading environment especially as neither Film nor Broadcasting was included in the brief given to Dr Tanya Byron.
Beyer is calling for an immediate review of the regulatory oversight of Ofcom and is recommending that it be extended to include programming that is downloaded from broadcasters who are normally subject to its jurisdiction.
Google and Yahoo! have endorsed a set of British guidelines designed to protect children from adult content.
Drafted by Broadband Stakeholder Group, the British government's advisory on broadband access, the agreement calls for content providers to label material that may be unsuitable for children and young people or which some members of the public
may find offensive."
The Good Practice Principles on Audiovisual Content Information apply to commercially produced or acquired content, but not to online advertising or user-generated content on websites such as YouTube.
The BBC, AOL, Channel Four, Bebo, Micrsosoft and Virgin Media are among the other companies officially listed on the labeling initiative. While the document has no legally binding effect on any of its signatories, it shows the major corporations
coming forward to focus on the issue.