Internet TV News


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20th December   

Bingeing on Censorship...

YouTube bans public information film
Link Here

A video filmed by Derbyshire health chiefs aimed at shocking young people into drinking less has been banned by YouTube.

The Bloody Mary video, which shows a teenage girl urinating in the street as she is jeered at, was removed from the internet site following complaints.

NHS officials said they realised some people may find the film controversial. They said it aimed to use dark humour to get across the dangers of excessive drinking at Christmas.

A YouTube spokesperson said: YouTube's rules prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence. If the content breaks our terms then we remove it and if a user repeatedly breaks the rules we disable their account.

The two-minute clip, which featured professional actors, was one of two filmed by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust in Chesterfield Market Place.

The second film, entitled Tequila Slammer , shows a drunken man in fancy dress being run over by a car.

Bloody Mary received 15,000 hits in the eight days in was on YouTube and was also distributed to local media as part of a £25,000 Cocktales campaign to highlight the dangers of drink to 18 to 24-year-olds.


18th December   

What Does TV Like Mean?...

Ofcom vaguely regulate Television on Demand
Link Here

TV-like video-on-demand services get regulated by Ofcom and the self-regulatory Association for Television On-Demand (ATVOD) starting 16th December.

This is the UK implementation of the European Commission's 2007 Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) directive, which extended regulation to television-like online services.

The new regs mean VOD shows must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality ; must provide appropriate protection for minors against harmful material and sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements .

But AVMS left TV-like wide open (certainly ITV (LSE: ITV) Player, for example, but what about YouTube and Bebo shows?) And Ofcom, too, is vague on which services must fall in line…

It commissioned Essential Research to ask viewers what they think TV-like means. In an 80-page report, they suggest it means professionally-produced shows with which they are familiar. But, buried in a separate 88-page report, Ofcom says it won't know which providers the new scope will cover until new government regulations are brought in March 2010.

Even at the point, the new framework looks half-cocked….Ofcom is leaving it to the services themselves to notify it on whether they should be regulated. —The services will have to pay a fee for the privilege. —Services that do so must keep VOD material for 42 days after it was last made available.


13th December   

Impaired Moral Judgement...

Vivienne Pattison whinges at the limited age verification on iPlayer
Link Here

Nutters of Mediawatch-UK are demanding stricter controls on broadcasters' websites which supposedly allow children to watch adult programmes containing sex, violence and bad language.

The group points to programmes available to watch via the internet which it claims are unsuitable for children, including the violent and sexually-explicit vampire drama True Blood and another drama series, Misfits, both on Channel 4; the BBC's Spooks and The Graham Norton Show ; and ITV's American drama Gossip Girl.

Although the shows are only broadcast on television after the 9pm watershed, they can be watched online at any time of day.

The main broadcasters' websites allow parents to set up a password which is need to watch adult content. However, Mediawatch says this opt-out system should be replaced with one where people have to actively opt in to see adult content, as the majority of parents never view the websites.

Vivienne Pattison, the new director of Mediawatch UK said this would be a simple change which would ensure children are properly protected.

Pattison accused broadcasters of paying lip-service to the need to protect children. She said: The technology has moved ahead of the regulation and that's the problem. Ofcom's most recent research found that fewer than a third of parents use parental controls or are confident about how to use them. And often it's children of parents who cannot or will not do something about it who are the ones you are most concerned about.

Standard practice on television websites is to include warnings about content, ask viewers to click a box saying they are over 16 or 18, and allow parents to set up a password which must be used to see adult programmes. The process takes seconds.

Pattison said programmes containing sex and violence should be restricted automatically, with all viewers having to set up a password to access them: This is a really obvious one, it would be simple to do and we hope to campaign on it big next year, she said.

Mediawatch UK has also questioned the legality of online television services in the light of a new law which comes into force this week. The Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Regulations 2009, which take effect on December 19, require that under-18s should not be able to normally see or hear material which might seriously impair [their] physical, mental or moral development . Pattison said: It very clearly says children should be protected from undesirable material, which currently I do not think they are.

Ofcom is preparing to announce what practical changes broadcasters will need to make to comply with the new rules, but a source at the regulator said the legislation was unlikely to make much difference to the main players .

Broadcasters are resistant to the idea of imposing an initial block on adult programmes, saying it would represent a commercial barrier and would be a nanny-state measure.


1st December   

Update: Shared Concerns...

Turkish internet users to challenge YouTube ban in the European Court
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Turkey's Internet Technologies Association, or INETD, has applied to the European Court of Human Rights seeking the annulment of a ban imposed on access to a popular video-sharing site.

Access to YouTube has been banned in Turkey since May 5, 2008, after complaints were made about video clips insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of modern Turkey.

INETD President Mustafa Akgl said the group's suit was filed in the name of the public and all those who have suffered as a result of the ban. Turkey is literally waging war on the Internet, said Akgl, adding that the ban on YouTube is in violation of the Constitution and various articles of the European Human Rights Convention.

INETD had exhausted the entire domestic appeal process without any result and was thus forced to apply to the European court last week, the group's president said.

The main aspect of the lawsuit is based on Article 10 of the European convention regarding freedom of expression. The association said that while it is possible to filter and block certain video clips on the Web site, a blanket ban on an international sharing platform is a disproportionate curtailment of freedom of expression.

The ban was issued without any trial and, instead of being a short-term ban, has been in force for more than a year now. There was no attempt to seek an explanation either, Akgl said, calling the ban a legal disaster.


14th November   

Comment: Ofcom to Censor Europe...

Noting the extended proscription powers in the EU's new broadcasting law
Link Here

In This clause seems to have gone under the radar in the EU's new Audio Visual Media law (AVMS).

Can I draw your attention to this part in particular:

Two-step safeguard for receiving countries (Article 3 (2) – (5))

- if a country objects to the content in a foreign television broadcast which is wholly or mostly directed to it, it can use a consultation procedure (cooperation procedure) to address the country of origin. The latter shall then issue a non-binding request for the broadcaster to comply with the stricter rules of the targeted country.

- if the broadcaster circumvents these national rules, the objecting country can also - with the Commission's prior approval – take binding measures (circumvention procedure).

So folks, it would seem Ms Reding's work is done. Ofcom's quite illegal and rights abusing Code will now apply to any Euro-based broadcaster with a majority of UK viewers/subscribers. Ofcom's jurisdiction now reaches the parts even Parliament, nay, even the High Court cannot reach.

Oh, and don't forget, the AVMS applies to web-based TV-style On Demand services too, which likely means Ofcom will be disconnecting the UK from any website that feeds R18-type material into UK homes.

Whatever its reach, we have a situation where a completely unelected body with powers no self-serving dictatorship would be complete without, enforcing a potentially unlawful code right across Europe.

Moreover, if you have chosen to subscribe to a foreign adult service specifically BECAUSE you cannot view what you want under Ofcom's rules, Ofcom will now be able to cut you off or, indeed, force that channel only to supply what Ofcom alone have dictated can be viewed in the UK.

I believe it is NOW of paramount importance to force a Judicial Review of Ofcom's Code.


4th November   

Update: TV-Like Magazine Websites?...

Magazine publishers ask for exemption from Video on Demand regulation
Link Here

Magazine publishers represented by the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) have urged the government against inadvertently widening the scope of new video on demand regulations to include content streamed through the websites of magazine publishers.

The UK government is scheduled to implement a European directive on audiovisual content by 19 December 2009.

The directive aims to regulate TV-like VOD. Not the audio-visual material which is used to complement text and graphical material usually found on magazine publishers' and business media companies' websites.

Guidance on the scope of the VOD services covered by the new law is due to be published. But PPA is concerned that the lack of clarity in the proposed guidance may unintentionally impact its members.

PPA Legal Director David Hyams said: Video streamed through our members' websites is already subject to the Committee of Advertising Practice Code and editorial content on their websites is covered by the Press Complaints Commission code. Both of which go further than the proposed regulations.

Under the new rules, the Advertising Standards Authority will continue to regulate streamed video advertising, although the directive requires that regulations will now be enforced against the media owner rather than the advertiser.

Hyams added: This has serious cost, compliance and contractual issue for PPA members.


24th October   

Top Dollar for Top Gear...

BBC boss pitches at 10 dollars to watch a BBC TV show from abroad
Link Here

BBC Worldwide is planning a paid for international version of the iPlayer, which would allow it to break ranks with iTunes and raise charges for its premium content.

The global iPlayer would host premium catalogue material from the UK, such as Doctor Who , Torchwood and Top Gear , historical material from the BBC's deep archives and catch-up material from overseas channels.

BBCW has been working on the plans for more than six months but has yet to make a formal submission about the service to the BBC Trust.

Executive vice president Luke Bradley Jones, who heads BBCW's digital operations in the US and is managing director of, told PaidContent that the global iPlayer would enable the business to raise its prices.

Millions of people love Torchwood and would probably pay 10 bucks an episode rather than two bucks, he said, referring to the price-ceiling imposed by iTunes. He did not indicate whether BBCW would continue to partner with iTunes.


18th October   


Channel 4 programmes to be made available on YouTube in the UK
Link Here

Fans of C4 shows will be able to access some of their favourite programmes on YouTube for the first time after it sealed a deal with Channel 4.

The video site will add shows in full and free of charge shortly after broadcast on C4, via its 4oD (4 on Demand) catch-up service. 4oD will remain available on C4's website.

The companies said in a statement that the strategic partnership marks the first time that a broadcaster anywhere in the world has made a comprehensive catch-up schedule available on YouTube . C4 will benefit from a boost to ad revenues and its reach.

The content, which will also include 3,000 hours of shows from the C4 archive including The Inbetweeners, Brass Eye and Teachers , will start appearing in the next few months, before being fully available early next year.

The programmes will only be available in the UK and the tie-up will run for three years initially.


11th October   

Update: iController...

BBC Trust mandate iPlayer parental controls already in place
Link Here
Full story: Catch Up TV...Catch up of TV for a month after broadcast

The BBC Trust has said that stringent parental controls should always be included on BBC iPlayer to ensure children do not watch inappropriate content. The BBC's governing body expressed concern yesterday that there is no direct equivalent of the watershed online .

According to the Trust's latest review of BBC Editorial Guidelines, clearer labelling must be placed on the catch-up service to flag up strong or challenging content . When we make audio or visual content available on demand on BBC platforms, and where appropriate, we must provide information to enable users to understand its context and to make informed choices about its suitability, both for themselves and for children, before they access, the organisation said.

The new editorial standards stipulate that any post-watershed programming should be flagged with a G For Guidance rating to highlight its potential unsuitability for younger audiences, with a system of content labels indicating the relative strength.

More stringent parental controls must also be included on BBC iPlayer, involving a lock function for challenging content which can then only be accessed by inputting a password.

Both these functions are already in place on the catch-up service, but this is the first time that the editorial guidelines have factored in their provision.

The Trust is now holding a public consultation on the proposed guidelines, with licence fee payers able to have their say until December 24. When approved, the new editorial standards will come into force in summer 2010.


1st October   

Update: Adverts on Demand...

Clearcast offer their advert vetting services to VOD providers
Link Here

Clearcast, the body responsible for the pre-transmission clearance of TV ads, is to offer compliance advice to video-on-demand providers who run advertising.

Ofcom plans to introduce new rules from 19 December that will mean VoD services are formally regulated for the first time.

The current shareholders of Clearcast asked it to establish a service to offer voluntary compliance advice on VoD ads before they are screened.


30th September   

A New Chapter...

BBC Radio working on providing chapters for online radio programmes
Link Here

A couple of weeks ago we at BBC Radio took a first tentative step on what will hopefully be a significant journey. We started to identify chapters within programmes. Chapters is the term we're using to describe sections of a programme, rather like the chapters of a DVD.

We're excited about chapters for several reasons.

Firstly, they allow listeners or viewers to navigate back and forth through programmes e.g. jumping to the start of an interview, or replaying an item you found interesting. We think this will be useful for existing fans of programmes.

Secondly, chapters will help people to find items of interest from across the BBC - including items from programmes they might never have watched or listened to before.

In the future you might be able to download those chapters, or embed them in a blog, or sign up to get a podcast of all items on a particular subject... but we're only just starting to think about these possibilities.

5live were the first to experiment, and they're adding chapters to several of their programmes. You can find links to them on the 5live homepage (look out for pink links) and the Simon Mayo show is a great example (visit any episode, or click on the Chapters link).

We're starting slowly, with a limited selection of programmes, as we learn about what does and doesn't work. A couple of factors that may influence the selection are whether there are people available to do the extra work, whether we are able to add chapters from a rights perspective, and whether we think it's editorially appropriate and valuable to add chapters. The intention is to grow the number of programmes over time, but in a controlled and measured way.


21st September   

Electorially Correct...

Election Commission won't be scanning YouTube for political spoofery during next general election
Link Here

The UK Electoral Commission has said it will not be able to police the expected explosion in spoof internet videos at the next general election.

Some experts believe unattributed videos on YouTube and e-mails could be used to spread false information.

Election leaflets must include a named individual to prevent foul play - but there are no such laws on the internet. The elections watchdog has told the BBC it does not have the resources to scour the internet for malicious videos.

The Electoral Commission says candidates' websites should include details of who published the material as a matter of good practice but they are not required by law to do so.

In 2003, it said spoof websites were an acceptable part of the democratic debate as long as they were clearly identifiable as such and did not seek to deceive the voters. But the advent of video sharing sites such as YouTube has led to a massive increase in political material on the internet - and it is expected to play a crucial role at the general election, which must take place before June.

An Electoral Commission spokesman said it had no plans to police internet material during the general election campaign: There is nothing in electoral legislation that would cover that kind of stuff. Our job is to provide guidance for those people taking part in an election and to help them stay within the law.

But he makes clear that complaints about potentially defamatory material, under electoral laws, remain a matter for the police and that cases will be investigated.


15th September   

Censorship on Demand...

Ofcom consult over VOD regulation and censorship
Link Here

Ofcom have published a consultation on the future regulation and cenorship of Video on Demand (VOD) services.

Under revised European law, content on VOD services such as BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player, SkyPlayer and Demand Five will be regulated from 19 December 2009. Such services are available through Virgin Media, Sky and BT Vision as well as through the internet.

Regulation of these services is a requirement of the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive and covers all VOD services which are, according to the Directive, TV-like. The Government plans to give the overall duty to regulate these services to Ofcom.

Electronic versions of newspapers, private websites and unmoderated user generated material (hosted on services such as YouTube) will not be regulated.

Industry Bodies ATVOD and ASA

Ofcom is consulting on its proposal that two bodies carry out most aspects of the regulation on its behalf: Ofcom proposes that VOD services are regulated by the industry body, the Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD), and that advertising included in those services, is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

But VOD programming would not be subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, which broadcast services currently licensed in the UK have to observe

Under the proposed co-regulation, Ofcom will have back-stop powers to intervene if the new co-regulatory system does not work effectively and Ofcom will also retain the power to impose sanctions against service providers.

Content Censorship

Under the proposals for consultation ATVOD would regulate VOD services and would be required to ensure that programming on VOD services adheres to a number of minimum standards from the Directive which will be set out in UK legislation. Programmes, for example:

  • must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality
  • must not provide material which might seriously impair the physical, mental, or moral development of minors unless it is made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see such content
  • sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements.


Since 2004 the ASA has regulated TV and radio advertising in the UK under a co-regulatory agreement with Ofcom. Under the proposals for consultation the ASA would regulate the advertising on VOD services.

The new legislation requires that advertising on VOD services must also comply with a number of minimum standards. For example:

  • advertising must be readily recognisable and cannot contain any surreptitious advertising or use subliminal advertising techniques
  • advertising must not encourage behaviour that is prejudicial to the health or safety of people
  • tobacco products, prescription-only medicines or medical treatments cannot be advertised.

Viewer complaints

Under Ofcom's proposals any complaints that viewers have about video material that they feel has breached these rules will be assessed by ATVOD or the ASA.


BBC content is jointly regulated by the BBC Trust and Ofcom.

Content on the BBC iPlayer will be subject to these new regulations but as with other BBC content will be regulated by the Trust and Ofcom and not under the proposed co-regulatory arrangements.


Our consultation closes on 26th October 2009. See further details here


11th September   

Mass Censorer...

AIDS is a mass murderer ad pulled from YouTube
Link Here

A controversial ad that uses Hitler to scare viewers away from unsafe sex was pulled from YouTube, according to news reports.

The Regenbogen (Rainbow) Association ad features a steamy sex scene in which the face of Hitler, heretofore a disguised lover, suddenly leers at the viewer, followed by the message AIDS is a mass murderer. It is due to air later in September on German TV.

The association's web site also shows poster designs featuring Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin, each with a naked woman, under the same slogan.

YouTube citied possible violations of terms of use for pulling the ad. Earlier, Regenbogen director Heiko Schoessling said the shock ad was needed to bring home the message that AIDS cases are on the rise.

But Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the French news agency AFP that while the ad might gain attention for an important issue, it was an insult to the victims of the Nazi era, among them gays and lesbians who were sent to concentration camps in the thousands.


10th September   

Update: Swinging too Far towards a Vindictive Nanny State...

All charges dropped against baby swinging video uploader
Link Here
Full story: Swinging Baby...Circus family video clip causes police hassle

A Queensland man plans to sue police who arrested and charged him for child abuse offences after he uploaded a video of a man apparently recklessly swinging a baby to a video website.

Australian prosecutors have dropped all charges against Chris Illingworth opening the door to a compensation claim.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to proceed with the case. The decision follows soon after censors responded to a separate complaint about the clip by giving it the equivalent of a 15 rating.

This prosecution was discontinued yesterday after the matter was reviewed... taking into account all of the circumstances involved including the classification given to the material by the Classification Board, prosecutors said.


5th September   

Update: Menace of Overly Cautious Do Gooders...

Australian police continue to persecute uploader for widely available video rated MA15+
Link Here
Full story: Swinging Baby...Circus family video clip causes police hassle

Queensland Police want to send a man to jail for up to 20 years on child-abuse charges over a video the Federal Government's own censors have classified as MA15+.

Chris Illingworth was charged late last year with accessing and uploading child-abuse material after he published, on a video-sharing site, a video of a man swinging a baby around like a rag doll.

Despite having no involvement in the creation of the three-minute clip, he was committed to a trial by jury in the District Court on July 8. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment for each of the two charges.

Illingworth's solicitor, Chelsea Emery has said that, if the case goes ahead, every Australian who surfs the net could be vulnerable to police prosecution.

But the Australian Communications and Media Authority, responding to a complaint about the video on July 9, sent the clip to the Classification Board, which classified the content MA15+.

Under the Classification Board's guidelines, the impact of MA15+ material should be no higher than strong and violence and strong themes should be justified by context. MA15+ material is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age.

As a result of the Classification Board's decision, the content is not prohibited under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, read a letter from ACMA, seen by this website.

Queensland Police has said any Australians who simply view the clip could face a maximum of 10 years in jail but today it refused to comment on the apparent disparity between its and the Classification Board's definition of child-abuse material.

The information on the Classification Board's classification decision has been passed on to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. A spokesman said Illingworth's case would be reviewed.

It is not suggested that the Classification Board's decision to give the content a relatively minor MA15+ rating will have any bearing on Illingworth's trial, but the case has caused much controversy because the clip has already been shown on numerous Australian and US TV news shows and can still be found online today.

The video was just one of hundreds that Illingworth has uploaded to the Liveleak video sharing website as an administrator of the site.

This decision by the Classification Board shows either that the criminal definitions [of child abuse material] are too broad, or that the police and the public prosecutors are overly enthusiastic in bringing criminal charges under those provisions, Nic Suzor, spokesman for the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said.

In the Queensland Police brief of evidence, Susan Cadzow, specialist pediatrician at Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital, said she thought the clip represented child abuse: The child's demeanour at the end of the video would seemingly suggest that no significant injury has occurred. However, it does not exclude the presence of a [hidden] injury, Cadzow said in her statement.


4th September   

Update: Sing a Song of Sixpence...

You Tube cough up for the rights to host music videos for the UK
Link Here
Full story: YouTube and Copyrightt...YouTube eject UK music over licensing fee stand off

Music videos featuring the world's leading artists will return to YouTube after the website settled a royalty dispute that left British users unable to access tens of thousands of videos for six months.

Google, owner of the video-sharing website, has signed a deal with PRS for Music, which collects royalties for songwriters and composers for music played in Britain.

Although PRS had offered the website a choice between paying 0.22p per song played or 8 per cent of its UK music turnover, it is understood that the new deal is a one-off lump sum. Neither party would reveal the figure, but it is thought to run to tens of millions of pounds.

YouTube is still in a dispute with Warner Music, which has resulted in videos by artists such as Madonna and Kid Rock being pulled from the site.

The company is also planning to offer new films to rent. YouTube is said to be in talks with major film studios including Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony and Warner Bros about putting full-length films on the site. It is thought that titles would become available on the same day that they come out on DVD.


20th August   

Living with the Infidels...

Muslim group whinges about online sitcom
Link Here

An online sitcom about a group of suicide bombers living in Bradford could be damaging, a Muslim group claims.

Dr Abdul Bary Malik, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Bradford, said the series Living With the Infidels would upset some young Muslims.

Producers of the series, which is made in London, say they have the backing of the Muslim Council of Britain.

During the five-part series the five main characters set out to become suicide bombers but find that they like some western ways of life. They are seen making a suicide video and visiting an internet dating site.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association is a religious community with more than 80 local branches and thousands of members. Malik said: My concern is that there will be some young Muslims who will definitely get very angry and upset about this. It may damage relations once again. He also said that the level of indecency and filthy language was not representative of young Muslims.

The series begins on 20 August.


8th August   

Update: Video Privacy...

YouTube expand their posting guidelines
Link Here

YouTube have increased the range of activities that are barred to include, amongst other things, invasions of privacy.

If a video you've recorded features people who are readily identifiable and who haven't consented to being filmed, there's a chance they'll file a privacy complaint seeking its removal, say its new guidelines: Don't post other people's personal information, including phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and government IDs. We're serious about keeping our users safe and suspend accounts that violate people's privacy.

It also said that material designed to harass people was not welcome. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't say it on YouTube, say the new guidelines: And if you're looking to attack, harass, demean, or impersonate others, go elsewhere.

The new guidelines also seek to govern the behaviour of people reacting to videos: Users shouldn't feel threatened when they're on YouTube. Don't leave threatening comments on other people's videos.


2nd August   

Real Issues...

YouTube consider ban on Real IRA and Continuity IRA videos
Link Here

YouTube has confirmed to the Observer this weekend that it is investigating the presence of films praising the dissident republican terror groups on its worldwide video-sharing network.

A number of propaganda videos for the two groups are thrown up when the words "Real IRA" or "Continuity IRA" are typed into the YouTube search engine.

In the latest video to be posted on YouTube a masked man in a green combat jacket carrying an AK-47 rifle is seen at a riot in Armagh City on 13 July this year. Continuity IRA supporters have posted a video recorded at Easter of two masked men in combat fatigues addressing a crowd at a bar in Armagh. During their speech they threaten Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and brand him a traitor.

A different video posted by a group called the Free Derry Media , entitled The War Goes On , is accompanied by a song denouncing the Provisional IRA. The lyrics include a verse telling the British to stick your decommissioning up your ass . The imagery in the video includes masked gunmen firing a final salute over the coffin of Real IRA activist Joseph O'Connor who was shot dead by the Provisional IRA in west Belfast 10 years ago.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson described the films as a form of cyber-terrorism. The junior minister at Stormont said: It's entirely wrong that terrorist organisations can engage in blatant propaganda and cyber-terrorism without any apparent sanction. Democratic governments need legislation to limit the capacity of these groups to spread their propaganda. At present, in effect, YouTube are broadcasting hardcore terrorism, unfiltered.

Donaldson pointed to the example of Facebook, which he petitioned to remove a pro-Real IRA network from last month, as an example of confronting terrorists on the web. His own Facebook group Stop Terrorism has 40,000 members, many of whom wrote to Facebook calling for the pro-Real IRA group to be taken down, he said.

The video-sharing network is understood to be replicating its decision in England and Wales to remove any material that involves people using or glorifying weapons like knifes and guns. The company moved to ban this material last year in response to the national outcry over knife crime.

YouTube's policy on the broadcasting of weapons in videos varies from country to country. There is no ban in the United States because weapons are legal. It is understood that the company is moving towards removing the Real and Continuity IRA films because both organisations are illegal under British and Irish law.


2nd July   

Update: Joost Too Few Customers...

Joost backs off from providing internet TV service
Link Here
Full story: Joost TV...Interbet TV offering struggles to find a niche

Online video platform Joost will cease to be a consumer-facing website as part of a strategy rethink that will also see Mike Volpi stand down as chief executive.

It will now focus on selling white label web video platforms to third parties such as broadcasters, cable and satellite providers and video aggregators. Joost will restructure the business and scale back its international operations.

In these tough economic times, it's been increasingly challenging to operate as an independent, ad-supported online video platform, Volpi said.

Volpi did not confirm the number of job losses resulting from the new strategy, which effectively ends Joost's position as a competitor to the likes of YouTube and US broadcasters' video-on-demand platform Hulu.

Update: Liquidated

17th October 2009. See article from

Joost, the web telly firm founded by the blokes behind Skype, has liquidated its UK subsidiary.

As reported by The FT and TechCrunch Europe, Joost UK was put into liquidation earlier this month, yet another step in the slow decline of the Netherlands-based outfit.

Joost retains operations in the Netherlands and New York, but on October 2, the company called for an end to its UK arm. Liquidators tell The FT that Joost retains a skeleton staff. But TechCrunch says the company's furniture is already in the hands of another startup


25th June   

Update: Bullying Google...

Trial of Google execs over bullying YouTube video delayed
Link Here
Full story: Google on Trial...Google sued for YouTube bullying video

An Italian court has delayed a case against search giant Google, which could have major ramifications for content providers around the globe.

At the heart of the case is a debate about how much responsibility providers have for the content on their sites.

It centres around a video, posted on Google Italy, which showed a teenager with Down's Syndrome being bullied.

The case was delayed because an interpreter was ill and will now be resumed in September.

Four Google executives are accused of defamation and violating privacy, under Italian law, for allowing the video to be posted online.

Prosecutors argue that Google did not have adequate content filters or enough staff to monitor content.


10th June   

Available 4 Archive...

Channel 4 first to make archive programmes available free on demand
Link Here

Channel 4 is to become the first UK broadcaster to make its back catalogue of programmes available to watch for free on its website.

Classic drama, comedy and entertainment shows such as Father Ted, Drop the Dead Donkey, Shameless and Queer As Folk will all be put on the 4oD section of the site from July.

In total, nearly 4,000 hours of the broadcaster's archived material, representing around 10,000 programmes, will be on offer.

Imported US shows, which have been a mainstay of Channel 4 programming over the past decade, are not included because of rights issues, meaning fans of shows like Friends , ER and Desperate Housewives will still have to go out and buy the DVD boxed sets.

The relaunched 4oD service means Channel 4 is the only UK broadcaster to make its archive available free to view online on a streamed basis.


3rd June   

BBC a World Player...

BBC may open up iPlayer to international viewers
Link Here

BBC and Google are in talks to launch international iPlayer site. This step would mean BBC shows could be seen globally in their entirety on the iPlayer platform supported by YouTube.

Sources close to the negotiations say that Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, is leading talks with Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive and chairman about rolling out an international version of the BBC iPlayer, supported in some way by Google-owned video sharing site YouTube.

However the process has been mired by the need for international rights clearance for the BBC programmes currently shown on the iPlayer in the UK. The BBC iPlayer allows viewers to watch popular BBC programmes for up to seven days after they were first broadcast.

Although no details about the business structure have emerged, it is though internet users would be able to access the content for free.

A BBC spokesperson said: There are a significant number of obstacles to extending this commercially to other countries, including international rights clearance. These obstacles present significant difficulties and for this reason there are no firm plans for a specific international BBC iPlayer, but audiences can watch BBC content outside the UK through numerous BBC Worldwide content deals with online partners such as iTunes.


31st May   

Premier League Games Console...

Microsoft choose Sky for internet TV on its Xbox console
Link Here

Microsoft and Sky announced that from the autumn, UK owners of the Xbox 360 video game console will be able to watch selected Sky TV programmes, including Premier League football, via their game consoles.

Precise details on pricing and content will be released later, but the package is likely to be offered as an extension to Sky’s existing viewer choices. For non-Sky customers, the service is likely to operate on a pay-per-view basis as part of the Xbox Live download and rental service, in a similar way to Sky’s existing internet viewing service.

The deal is the first of its kind anywhere in the world between a major commercial broadcaster and a games console manufacturer.

For Microsoft, the move plugs a perceived gap in the UK: the Xbox 360 is the only one of the three main games consoles that does not offer access to the BBC’s iPlayer service.


28th May   

Update: Charming YouTube...

New cheaper rates for streaming music in the UK
Link Here
Full story: YouTube and Copyrightt...YouTube eject UK music over licensing fee stand off

The music royalties collection body for the UK has sharply cut its prices for internet music tracks, paving the way for more online streaming services.

Under the new pricing plan from PRS for Music, which represents composers and lyricists, digital music sites will have to pay 0.085p for each track streamed, down from the previous rate of 0.22p.

PRS, which negotiates song and lyrics licence fees for the public performance of music, has agreements with radio stations, television broadcasters and online music channels in the UK. It said that the new plan would enable the digital market to grow.

The cut may entice YouTube and popular internet radio service Pandora back to the UK market.

YouTube blocked thousands of music videos by the biggest names in rock and pop for British users after failing to reach agreement with the PRS.

YouTube said in a statement: We welcome any efforts to make licensing costs more realistic, but as we're still in discussions with the PRS to agree licence terms for YouTube we're unable to comment further.


15th May   

Redemption TV...

Redemption Films available for VOD
Link Here

Redemption Films are very pleased be able to announce that our internet based TV 'theatre' is now live and ready for viewing. Basically you can now view our films online as well as on DVD so should you fancy a bit of Brigitte Lahaie in the afternoon and there isn't a DVD player around all you have to do is log on to: select your film and you're immediately watching Brigitte or whoever has taken your fancy in action!

Available to view right now are titles like Jean Rollin's and Lips of Blood, The Nude Vampire, Satanic Sluts and Saint Francis starring the amazing Dita Von Teese.


12th March   

Internet TV Censor...

Burnham will create co-regulatory censor for Video on Demand services
Link Here

Culture secretary Andy Burnham has confirmed he will create a co-regulatory body, led and funded by the industry, to take on responsibility for regulating programme content on video-on-demand services. Under the new rules, all UK providers of VOD services will need to notify the co-regulator that they are providing a service, Burnham's department for culture, media and sport said.

Burnham's announcement signals the UK government's acceptance of most of the provisions in the European Commission's new Audiovisual Media Services directive (AVMS), drafted in 2007 to replace its 20-year-old Television Without Frontiers rules. AVMS, which is being implemented by EU member states, makes the first regulatory distinction between linear and on-demand media, which was designated to get only light-touch regulation.

Burnham's implementation through co-regulation will throw the spotlight on the existing Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD), which has operated since 2003 to self-regulate the sector.

Burnham said: Video-on-demand services only come within the scope of the AVMS directive if they are mass media services whose principal purpose is to provide TV programmes to the public on demand.

But technology is changing rapidly and the interpretation already appears out-dated. Not only is YouTube already available on TV sets through Apple TV, Nintendo Wii etc, and not only do services like Joost absolutely want to provide TV shows on-demand… most web-based VOD services ultimately also want carriage to the TV, too. In appealing to those such services, BBC's Project Canvas, for example, is aiming to make internet VOD mass media , just as Burnham defined.


10th March   

YouTube Goes Silent...

Music videos removed from YouTube in the UK over fees dispute
Link Here
Full story: YouTube and Copyrightt...YouTube eject UK music over licensing fee stand off

YouTube is blocking all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Right Society (PRS).

Patrick Walker, YouTube's director of video partnerships, told BBC News that the move was regrettable.

Steve Porter, head of the PRS, said he was outraged... shocked and disappointed by YouTube's decision. The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider its decision as a matter of urgency.

This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties. The body, which represents music publishers, added: Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing. This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties.

Walker told BBC News the PRS was seeking a rise in fees many, many factors higher than the previous agreement: We feel we are so far apart that we have to remove content while we continue to negotiate with the PRS. We are making the message public because it will be noticeable to users on the site.


1st March   

Update: Project Canvas...

iPlayer on a set top box
Link Here
Full story: Catch Up TV...Catch up of TV for a month after broadcast

A new generation of internet-enabled set-top boxes that will deliver catchup services such as the BBC iPlayer to the television screen could be on sale as early as the beginning of next year, after the BBC formally asked its governing body for permission to develop the new technology.

The proposal, known as Project Canvas, is a joint bid between the BBC, ITV, and BT to develop a shared set of parameters by which catchup and on-demand services such as the iPlayer and ITV Player would be delivered via Freeview and Freesat.

The new set-top boxes, which the BBC forecasts will cost between £100 and £200, could create a service in which viewers would be able to browse the iPlayer in the same way as they flick between television channels.

The three parties believe that the service could be achieved with a broadband connection of 1.6 Mbps. Although BT is the only internet service provider on board at the moment, others will be invited to join, and are likely to create special Canvas tariffs for consumers to sign up to, with guarantees that they will get a connection that will allow a good service.

The broadcasters are adamant that, other than a broadband subscription and the initial outlay for a set-top box, there will be no subscription fees for features such as the iPlayer. However, other content providers, such as Love-Film, the DVD rental company, could be invited to stream their service via the set-top box, rather than posting out DVDs.

The BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, yesterday opened a consultation on the proposals, and will make a decision on the project by the end of July.


6th February   

Update: Prosecution Bullies...

Italian case threatens the fundamentals of YouTube
Link Here
Full story: Google on Trial...Google sued for YouTube bullying video

The Privacy Trial of the Century is already waving jail time at three current Google execs and its former chief financial officer. And now there's an added complaint against the company itself.

In September 2006, someone posted a three-minute cell-phone video to Google's Italian website in which four Turin teenagers make fun of a classmate with Down's Syndrome. And in July, after two years of investigation, Italian authorities filed criminal charges against four Google execs. The four are charged with defamation and failure to exercise control over personal data.

The trial of the Google execs was set to begin this week in Milan, but after a short hearing the judge delayed proceeding until February 18. During the hearing, the City of Milan filed a complaint against Google itself. An Italian legal mind tells the IAPP that local law allows public entities to file for compensation when a claim involves someone with disabilities.

The video in question showed a 17-year-old with Down's Syndrome as four other 17-year-olds hit him over the head with a box of tissues. It was uploaded on September 8, 2006, and almost a month later, Google received two takedown notices - one from an individual user and one from the Italian Ministry.

The search giant removed the video within a day of receiving the complaints. But Italian authorizes argue that company execs broke the law by allowing the posting in the first place.

Google declined to discuss the trial, but provided the following statement: As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. However, we feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It's akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What's more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.


6th February   

Update: Shared Repression...

Chinese video sharing sites delete thousands of videos
Link Here
Full story: Video Sharing in China...China bans most video sharing websites

Chinese censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) have shut down 131 unlicensed video Web sites and penalized a further nine for carrying supposedly pornographic videos as part of its continuing crackdown on Internet porn.

SARFT said that the crackdown, which began on Jan. 5 and will last until the end of February, has also resulted in the country's 307 licensed video Web sites deleting content from their platforms. Among these are Tencent, which has deleted 12,841 videos; Tudou, which has deleted 3,214 videos; PPLive, which has taken down 440 videos; PPStream, which has removed 85 videos;, which has deleted approximately 10,000 videos and posts;, which has deleted over 2,300 videos and 2,500 comments; and Funshion, which closed its forum and picture-posting areas.


6th February   

Monopoly on Demand...

Joint BBC/ITV/CH4 video on demand project halted
Link Here
Full story: Video Sharing in China...China bans most video sharing websites

Plans to revolutionise internet television in the UK dramatically collapsed as reguators pulled the plug on the venture proposed by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The video on demand (VOD) tie-up, codenamed Project Kangaroo, is now dead in the water, according to insiders.

All three broadcasters yesterday signalled they were unlikely to appeal in the wake of the shock ruling by the Competition Commission.

There was general disbelief at the decision to block the project, designed to provide a catalogue of thousands of hours of programming, largely for free.

The Commission said it had decided to block the proposed VOD joint venture. It feared the broadcasters were effectively creating a cartel that would squeeze out rivals in the online market because the BBC, through its commercial arm Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 control the majority of UK-originated television content.

The broadcasters released a joint statement expressing their disappointment: While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers.

The big beneficiaries of the decision, said one broadcast insider, were companies such as Sky, Virgin Media, Five and BT, who were likely to have lobbied the Commission against Kangaroo.


1st February   

Update: Low Demand for Video on Demand...

VOD take up frustrated by complexity of right and technologies
Link Here

A study into the state of Video-on-Demand (VOD) in the UK, from the perspective of the viewer, has revealed that fragmented delivery technologies, confusing rights restrictions and expensive download charges risk driving viewers away from legitimate VOD services. Many viewers are keeping their use of VOD to a minimum, while others are turning to illegal download sites. But the study: VOD State of Play , developed by Essential Research, found that there is strong consumer demand for a TV-based VOD service and that viewers are willing to accept advertising to help make this a reality.

The report, which combines qualitative and quantitative research from hundreds of VOD users, predicts that once barriers to VOD are resolved, a seismic shift in the way that TV is consumed will take place: Currently 80% of PC VOD users only use the services occasionally, however 24% of VOD users claim that they now watch more TV then they did before.

26% of PC VOD users admit to using peer-to-peer or torrents to download video content, with 42% of illegal VOD users saying that watching programmes that are not scheduled in the UK is a key driver. Price is also a factor with 75% of VOD users saying that on-demand services should cost less than the equivalent DVD.

Stuart Knapman, Partner at Essential Research and Director of the Study comments: There is a growing realisation among audiences that they can control what they watch and when they watch it and this has huge appeal. But most are not doing it regularly as they feel that the industry is not keeping up with their expectations. Viewers want a hassle-free, cinematic TV experience with the right content and the right commercial model. When this happens, TV is going to change forever. But for most people the current reality is a computer screen with confusing rights restrictions and lots of proprietary software.


30th January   

Censorship For All...

Government see broadband for all in its Digital Britain Interim Report
Link Here

The Government have published its Digital Britain Interim Report. In terms of technology the Governments sees broadband for all:

We will develop plans for a digital Universal Service Commitment to be effective by 2012, delivered by a mixture of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless means. Subject to further study of the costs and benefits, we will set out our plans for the level of service which we believe should be universal. We anticipate this consideration will include options up to 2Mb/s.

The report refers to some of the actions initiated as a result of the Byron Report but the main section for new thoughts on the subject of censorship and control is:

5.3 Online Safeguards

There are many reasons why people choose not to engage with digital technology, but lack of confidence is often a significant factor. As in the case of crime off-line, perceptions and fear of the prevalence of fraud, identity theft and other online crime often run ahead of their actual incidence. Many people lack the knowledge to be sure what to do when something unexpected happens to them online. We need to ensure that UK internet users can operate with security and confidence. The route to achieving this will be through ensuring a partnership approach to strengthening security against online crime and building user confidence. This is important to online business as well – we want to make the UK the safest place to do business online.

A globally connected universal broadband world will bring into sharper focus the balance to be struck between freedom of expression and protection against harmful, offensive and illegal content and information.

We see four tiers of content and information around which policy analysis can be developed:

  • material which is acceptable and enjoyed by everybody
  • material that may be offensive to some people or groups
  • material potentially harmful to vulnerable groups
  • especially children
  • material breaching the law.

The internet is by nature global and content originates from millions of different people and organisations. This content is not capable of being successfully regulated in the same way as traditional, national broadcasting. A world of universal broadband will require a new approach to online safeguards.

Such an approach should combine effective enforcement of the law of the land (e.g. as with the Internet Watch Foundation and the work of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre in eradicating the sexual abuse of children), constructive use of technology (e.g. blocking or filtering by software on the user’s PC) and self-regulation (e.g. where content aggregators label content in accordance with industry codes of practice). There should be a clearer role for trusted brands that provide a guarantee of the nature of the content that may be accessed through their product (e.g. the approach Apple has taken to making available applications that run on iPhone). This framework, combined with media literacy initiatives, will support the greater parental and personal responsibility essential to realise safely and effectively the full potential of the online world.

We need a clear set of public policy principles supported by a set of supporting guidelines. The public need to know what they can reasonably expect and have confidence that it will be delivered. Our draft core principles and supporting guidelines are:


• protection for children;
• empowerment for parents; and
• informed consent for adults.

Supporting Guidelines

  •  safer online experience for children and families on which the UK Council on Child Internet Safety is leading
  • effective removal of illegal content
  • clear information on how personal data is collected, how it is used and where it is shared
  • clear and effective labelling to help people avoid material likely to be harmful or offensive
  • effective and readily available filters and other software that consumers can use easily to protect themselves and their families.

We will do further work, in conjunction with industry and others, to develop these principles and guidelines in ways proportionate to the challenge, and we will set out the conclusions of this work in the final Digital Britain Report later this year.


26th January   

Update: Crazy Ideas...

Ed Richards of Ofcom talks about internet censorship
Link Here

Online broadcast content cannot be regulated in the same way as public service or satellite broadcasting, Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, has said, at the Oxford Media Convention 2009.

Planting the offline broadcast regulation model onto the internet would be 'crazy', he told delegates at the Oxford Media Convention.

The industry body is set to review its remit regarding online broadcasting regulation, Richards said, adding that a tiered approach reflecting different media is needed.

We need to get close to users and browsers and understand what they expect of different environments. People understand that from public service broadcasters they're getting a certain type of content and regulation, as with satellite and online.

The territory we're in, is understanding what those tiers are and how to enhance them.

Self-regulation by online broadcasters, in particular to protect children, will also play a significant role in future plans, he added.


18th January   

Update: Government by Proxy...

Turkish PM uses proxy to beat his own government censorship
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Two months ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, stunned the public by admitting that he has joined hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens in doing something that the country’s courts say is forbidden: watch clips on the internet video portal YouTube.

Commenting on an unrelated political issue, Erdogan told reporters that they should get on YouTube. When a reporter remarked that access to YouTube is blocked in Turkey,  Erdogan replied: I get in, you can do so as well.

Access to YouTube in Turkey was blocked in May, following a decision of a court in Ankara that reacted to a clip allegedly insulting Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Comments like the one by Mr Erdogan show that the ban is very unpopular and widely ignored, but observers say the blockage is unlikely to be lifted as long as the law behind it is still on the books.

The law was a mistake and the implementation is flawed, said Ibrahim Sarioglu, general secretary of the All Internet Association, or TID, an internet lobby group that has several leading telecommunications companies among its members.

Sarioglu said the law, officially known as the Law Concerning the Regulation of Internet Broadcasts and the Fight against Crimes Committed via these Broadcasts, which came into effect in late 2007, has put Turkey on the list of countries that practise censorship.

YouTube is not the only popular website that has been a victim of a ban in Turkey: Wordpress, Geocities and the Turkish Google Groups were also hit with temporary bans in the past, triggering fears Turkey’s image abroad may be damaged.

I do not want to see Turkey among those countries in the world that ban YouTube, Abdullah Gul, the president, said in a recent television interview.

Sarioglu said the internet law made it difficult to get rid of bans as courts in Turkey can without a hearing close down access to a website if the website or it content is deemed to cause offence. To get access re-established, the owner of the website or a Turkish citizen who argues that the ban causes him harm can apply to the judiciary. In the case of YouTube, no one has filed a case yet to get access cleared, Sarioglu said. This is Turkey. People are afraid of the state.

The TID has applied to the Danistay, the top administrative court in Turkey, to get the law revoked. The Danistay could also decide to ask the constitutional court to declare the law null and void, Sarioglu said. But the legal battle will take time. It may take two years or even longer for the Danistay to reach a decision in the TID’s case.

The transport minister, Binali Yildirim, whose responsibilities include telecommunications, admitted last month the application of the law was causing trouble. “There are mistakes stemming from the interpretation of the law, Yildirim said, referring to the frequent court decisions to ban websites: Unfortunately, the YouTube matter has reached a point beyond the original aim of the ban.

Erdogan’s comments, however, showed that many Turks have found ways to get around the bans. Following the prime minister’s advice to the reporters on board his plane to India, several Turkish media provided tips on how to beat the YouTube ban. The website is believed to be the 9th most popular in Turkey and the television news channel CNN-Turk estimated last year that about 1.5 million access it every day.


12th January   

Audio Down the U Tube...

YouTube removing audio of videos suspected of breach of copyright
Link Here

It seems that YouTube are now censoring music videos by removing the audio if they think there's been a breach of copyright.

All well and good but they've even been censoring things like top ten countdowns from old episodes of The Chart Show just because it showed 3s of a particular music video (in this case, the user had already removed all the full length music videos from the countdown as it had been taken down once before following objections)

One person compiled a video to look like the intro to US show Cops but using clips taken from UK police shows. But because it used the original theme music from Inner Circle, they censored the audio for alleged copyright infringement.

Yet, the original music video, the original intro and other homages continue to pop-up elsewhere on their site.


1st January   

Inappropriate Offensive...

Israeli propaganda on YouTube flagged as inappropriate
Link Here

The Israeli Defense Force has launched its own YouTube channel to bolster its case for the air assault against Hamas. It includes footage of Hamas terrorists loading rockets into a truck in a residential neighborhood. There are also clips of attacks on Hamas weapons sites and tunnels used for smuggling.

But some videos were removed after Hamas sympathizers flagged them as inappropriate.

While some clips were later reinstated, the IDF said in a statement on its YouTube page: We are saddened that YouTube has taken down some of our exclusive footage... it is imperative that we in the IDF show the world the inhumanity directed against us and our efforts to stop it.

Meanwhile, Israel is developing an independent blog where the videos can be viewed without any issues.


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