Will TV Succumb to the Internet?
The Internet has transformed the music industry. Sales of CDs in retail music stores have been steadily declining while sales of songs downloaded through the Internet iPods and other portable music players are skyrocketing. Moreover, the music industry is still contending with millions of people illegally downloading songs for free. Will the television industry have a similar fate? Widespread use of high-speed Internet access, powerful PCs with high-resolution display screens, iPhones and other mobile handhelds, and leading-edge file-sharing services have made downloading of video content from movies and television shows faster and easier than ever. Free and often illegal downloads of some TV shows are abundant. But the Internet is also providing new ways for television studios to distribute and sell their content, and they are trying to take advantage of that opportunity. YouTube, which started up in February 2005, quickly became the most popular video-sharing Web site in the world. Even though YouTube’s original mission was to provide an outlet for amateur filmmakers, clips of copyrighted Hollywood movies and television shows soon proliferated on the YouTube Web site. It is difficult to gauge how much proprietary content from TV shows winds up on YouTube without the studios’ permission. Viacom claimed in a 2008 lawsuit that over 150,000 unauthorized clips of its copyrighted television programs had appeared on YouTube. YouTube tries to discourage its users from posting illegal clips by limiting the length of videos to 10 minutes each and by removing videos when requested by their copyright owner. YouTube has also implemented Video ID filtering and digital fingerprinting technology that allows copyright owners to compare the digital fingerprints of their videos with material on YouTube and then flag infringing material. Using this technology, it is able to filter may unauthorized videos before they appear on the YouTube web site....
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