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"Foreign" Video Blocking


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#1 Northface22

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:29 AM

Not sure this is the correct thread to ask, but is there an easy way to view those online Yahoo videos which have recently been blocked with the message:
"the content you are trying to view is only available in certain areas"?

See: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mus...available.html as an explanation.

I was dismayed to discover recently that many websites now no longer allow anyone outside of a specified region to view their video content due to what is nebulously referred to as a "licensing agreement", no matter how benign the particular video content may be. Why this sudden turn of events?

For example, from here in Canada I used to enjoy watching Australian news video reports on: http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/video however, this is no longer possible. All one gets now when clicking on the desired video clip is the audio announcement, "the content you are trying to view...", etc.

If a website can make a legitimate case that it is in fact somehow losing revenue by allowing its video content to be seen by "foreigners", then they ought to remove all such videos from their site. End of story. But I find it incomprehensible that news videos would be blocked in this manner. I could understand North Korea or Iran using such hostile censorship tactics, but certainly not democratic nations! Are we to expect such denial of service to be the future trend of the internet? If so, I fear for what we have come to expect as "freedom of information"!

As far as I can determine, in my particular example the only way I might get around such blocking would be to use a service such as Proxyway and insert an Australian IP thus "spoofing" the site from knowing from where I am viewing it, but presumably, this would then require much time, trial and error to find a usable IP. Am I right or wrong?

The entire premise of such video blocking is, in my opinion, ridiculous to say the least. What if I was an expatriate wishing to view news videos originating from my home country? Am I now considered a "foreigner"? Besides, the content of those blocked videos can usually be read in the script section of the website anyway so there is no "secret information" to be "shielded" from an "outsider's" view.

And why is it that on the competing Australian government station ABC network their news videos are not blocked? See: http://www.abc.net.au/vod/default.htm

I have a suspicion that there is more going on here than what meets the eye--or doesn't in this case!

Any suggestions would be most welcome, thanks

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#2 frankp316

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 12:39 PM

The answer is yes and no. Some content owners block users from outside their home country and some don't. This has mostly to do with proprietary rights ownership and the fact that these companies launch major websites without figuring out how the content can be viewed globally. In other words, they don't understand that the internet is a global community and forcing geographical restrictions on viewing content on the internet is stupid and pisses people off. So lets say you're in Canada and you want to watch something on the NBC video channel Hulu. You can't because the rights to that program are owned by a Canadian network. But all the Canadian networks are behind the curve and none of them provide a similar service to Canadian viewers. Of course NBC lies by telling you that someday they hope to allow foreign viewership but the foreign networks won't relinquish thieir rights to the content for nothing. And the foreign networks don't offer as much content if any. Most copyright law regarding rights ownership is based on pre internet technology. Maybe you could use a proxy server. I can't be bothered. It's too complicated. If I really want to watch something, I will find it somewhere. If you're looking to watch news videos from netwootks worldwide, I suggest you take a look at Newscipper. I have used it occasionally when I need to embed a proprietary news video on my blog.


http://www.newsclipper.org/



Edit:I was able to watch news footage from Channel 7 by going to this link.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/#embedded-video-top

Edited by frankp316, 03 December 2008 - 12:47 PM.


#3 Northface22

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for the quick reply and the alternate news page link.

I find it very odd that Channel 7's video news clips are available on your referenced site but not on the one I have previously been using which has recently decided to block its news videos. Same station but different blocking policy! Make no sense.

Imagine one CNN website blocking its news videos but another of its CNN International pages not blocking them. Can you imagine the BBC blocking its news clips with the same excuse?

Frankly, I can see no logical reason for any media outlet blocking its news video clips. What exactly are they trying to "protect" from "foreign" viewers, anyway, and how would that possibly violate a so-called "licensing" agreement? News is news. It is reporting: not selling anything. Exactly whose paycheck would show a deduction if you or I in another country visited such a news site to view their clips? Sounds like censorship to me.

A news video clip has nothing to do with any "patent violation" or "copyright infringement". If that were true, then all televised news broadcasts would return to the old days of a "talking head" reading news items to us from a script--no on-the-scene cameras which might (gasp!) inadvertently reveal someone's shop, restaurant, or other business not affiliated with the camerman's station in some way or which might "unduly profit" from any viewer who might potentially wish or not wish to conduct business with those seen in the news story. How utterly ridiculous a notion!

But it seems paranoia reigns supreme. Some idiot even recently suggested that photographers in a public place should ask for written permission before taking anyone's picture. And for heaven's sake don't dare take pictures of your kid in a schoolyard!

Despite my limited knowledge of the workings and fine print of such licensing agreements--which indeed may be legitimate in specific cases--I suspect that there is something else at play here which has yet to be revealed by industry insiders.

We shall see how all of this plays out when, hopefully, protests against such pettiness build up to a crescendo.

#4 frankp316

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:13 PM

Actually, the BBC does do that and so does Virgin Media. You have to live in England to view video clips at both. Look, all these companies are trying to do is protect their copyright and in most cases are simply doing what their legal department is telling them to do. The problem is that copyright laws haven't been updated to reflect the existance of the internet. So until the laws are updated, this is what you're going to get. I know what I would do if I was NBC or ABC and dealing with those dopes at Global. I would include language in the contract to allow them to post shows online for a limited timeframe and if they don't do it, they forfeit their rights. That would smarten them up.

#5 DnDer

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 10:44 AM

A news video clip has nothing to do with any "patent violation" or "copyright infringement". If that were true, then all televised news broadcasts would return to the old days of a "talking head" reading news items to us from a script--no on-the-scene cameras which might (gasp!) inadvertently reveal someone's shop, restaurant, or other business not affiliated with the camerman's station in some way or which might "unduly profit" from any viewer who might potentially wish or not wish to conduct business with those seen in the news story. How utterly ridiculous a notion!

But it seems paranoia reigns supreme. Some idiot even recently suggested that photographers in a public place should ask for written permission before taking anyone's picture. And for heaven's sake don't dare take pictures of your kid in a schoolyard!


I know nothing about licensing agreements, but I did originally get my BA in Journalism.

As I remember, each broadcast - including footage from the scene of a report - is actually a copyrighted broadcast. The station owns the right to that broadcast and its reproduction and distribution. Even if it's fact, the way it has been composed and shot is still the intellectual property of a person (or, in this case, a news corporation). It's why you see youtube sometimes having to pull off some of the most random videos. Someone actually owns that footage and has to grant permission for its use. But that's as far as my understanding of copyright goes.

As far as photojournalism, I was taught that you *should* ask people you catch in a photograph for their names and permission. Even if they have no expectation of privacy, it's just one of those common courtesy things that makes a journalist's job easier, and builds rapport with the public. The reality is that, in a public place, they (as I understand) have no expected right to the reproduction or rebroadcast of their likeness in any media. It just covers you legally in case anyone does later raise a fuss. And, as I said before, it's just good politics to get names or written permission.

As far as shooting pictures of schoolyards? Women could get away with it, but men couldn't. Double standard, I know. But no matter who you are, if someone challenges you about where you're shooting photos, especially near a school... You better be able to show some credentials, or expect a long talk with some authority types. Also, no matter who you are, carrying a telephoto lens around a playground is just creepy. :thumbsup:

#6 Northface22

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 03:42 PM

Aha...so it would seem that because lawyers have interjected themselves into this issue of video blocking, internet users--including news researchers-- will be denied access to specific news sources, based solely on where the internet user is geographically located. How utterly discriminatory!

I am truly aghast to learn that the BBC is participating in such blocking! Does this imply then that a news video accessible in England is blocked to anyone trying to log in from Scotland or Northern Ireland? Surely not.

What if I were a Glasgow student given an assignment to organize a video documentary on a news event in Bristol? Would I then be relegated to attempting to circumvent that BBC censorship by "IP spoofing" or given no other choice but to log onto the websites of Bristol newspapers to obtain the information which would be readily available to those who just happen to be living within the `right cyber sector`? Sounds like an "electronic Berlin Wall" to me. How ludicrous.

In fact, I wonder how students in China, for example--starved for honest and unbiased news reports--are reacting to this ridiculous state of affairs? They must surely be shaking their collective heads wondering if western society has decided to deny them access to research already discouraged by their own totalitarian government.

I would love to hear from someone reading this forum who has experienced a serious problem or difficulty due this unacceptible state of affairs.

And on the issue of photographing in public places: it would obviously be ridiculous for anyone with a camera to be required to walk along a beach and ask everyone within the lenses focus if it was alright to snap photos. Hell, why not simply ban beaches? Better yet, outlaw cameras. At least then all of the papparazzi would instantly be banned and potentially face jail time for their misdeeds. Where would it all end?

#7 frankp316

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 07:59 PM

There are usually ways around these restrictions and most of these companies don't get that. If I want to find something, I will find it somewhere. I'll give you an example I came across yesterday. I post a song of the day on my blog with a video. I was looking for a video yesterday and the only site that had it was MTV Music. But I couldn't watch the video because I live outside the US. So I needed to find it somewhere else. I thought I had found it on the Spike TV website (MTV & Spike are both owned by Viacom). It worked the first time but when I went back to get the embed code, the video didn't play. This video isn't on Youtube or any other viral video site. Dead end, right? But there are plenty of "video leech" sites that have a catalog of thousands of music videos with no restrictions. They get videos from everywhere. So I did a Google search and found the video and embed code at a leech site called PC Planets and I posted it on my blog. That took about two minutes. So what did MTV accomplish? They lost some free advertising on my blog. See how stupid those restrictions are. Trust me when I tell you that record companies are equally stupid. Ottawa lawyer Michael Geist is the leading authority on copyright and the internet. I usually read his weekly column in the Toronto Star. Here's a link to his website. He's on our side.




http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

#8 Northface22

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:54 AM

Very interesting. We shall see how this all plays out. Hopefully this will all be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Yes, I am well aware of the various alternative sources for specific video and audio files.

One wonders how Youtube has managed to remain in business what with all of the real copyright violations which occur on their site. They must have a full-time staff checking and removing material which is in bad taste alone.

The fact that Youtube's videos are generally of poor quality with lousy resolution, no one should really be concerned of such videos denying their original owners any substantial revenue. I'm sure Britney or Madonna could care less if their latest music video is being shown there. In fact, the publicity undoubtedly helps generate interest to purchase the original anyway.

News, however, should be totally exempt from blocking. The public is the public no matter where they are located.

Even judges who have the authority to place a news blackout on a specific court case's proceedings have only a limited jurisdiction. Thus, U.S. news reporters were subject to no such restriction during the Canadian Paul Bernardo/Paula Homolka mass murder case years ago, and it was clearly easy for anyone to visit a U.S. website or read a foreign newspaper to learn the details.

Internet "censors" need a reality check.

#9 frankp316

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:58 AM

Youtube is owned by Google. They do have ads on the site but probably need to find other ways to monetize. And they've been improving video quality and now support HD. They have other issues like the idiotic ten minute rule and allowing users to opt out of embedding. And they do delete a lot of videos for copyright violations especially when they have a deal with the copyright owner. I can't remember the name but there's a site that catalogs videos deleted from Youtube and you can see who is aggressively deleting videos.

#10 DnDer

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:14 PM

Quick google turns up "delutube" and "shadowscope" as high-ranking searches for deleted youtube videos.

#11 Northface22

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 05:39 PM

Quick google turns up "delutube" and "shadowscope" as high-ranking searches for deleted youtube videos.


Delutube seems to have shut down, and Shadowscope resembles TheSmokingGun.com: a crime-oriented info site.

Regarding sites that have shut down or are otherwise moribund: I often come across such sites while searching through Google, etc.

How about somebody starting up a cleanup service which can remove these dead and outdated sites from the internet, or at least get on the owners' case to take them off? One can only wonder at some of these worthless pages consisting of ancient, long-irrelevant forums, hostile subject matter, bait-and-switch promos, dead-end topics, and so on.

Torrentfactor and btmon come to mind. In these sites searchbars you can type in legitimate files or even absolute gibberish and they will pretend to search for you. What a farce! The gullible will soon discover they have become dupes. Sites like these ought to be considered fraudulent and removed in my opinion. All these sites do is try to inject spyware and/or collect email addresses to spam.

Cyberspace is fast becoming like the sloppy packrat neighbour-next-door with his ever-present, rusty hulk of an automobile up on blocks, never to hit the road again, along with other annoying trash which becomes a public eyesore.

I can only assume that the owners of these discarded websites are either irresponsible, brain-dead, or in prison? :thumbsup:

#12 watchtower

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:04 PM

I was googling a while and found this post: http://nordsee.blog.co.uk/2011/11/05/rte-player-from-abroad-12122439/
using this example with a friend of mine I was able to access content in his country which was normally blocked for me.
It is all a bit tricky but if you get it to work you have a good bandwidth because the connection is only shared between two parties and does not run over a public (or paid) proxy.




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