Justice Department to abolish anti-trust laws from the 1940’s

With the new release of Apple Tv + and Disney + the world has entered the streaming age. More and more movies and shows are turning to streaming platforms today and leaving the old ways of movie theaters behind. The cinematic landscape is changing and old antitrust laws over movie distribution are becoming obsolete and now hurting the industry they were designed to protect. In 1949 Congress passed the Paramount act that limited the eight largest movie studios from buying and owning movie theaters which stops them from controlling the entire movie distribution system. The Paramount act also made it illegal for studios to limit the number of theaters in one area that could play a movie. The Act also made it illegal for theaters to use “block booking” which was a practice that movie studios used. “Block booking” was when movie studios forced theaters to show their bad movies before they showed the good movies. 

These laws were very important during the time when cities and towns had one theater with one screen and showing one bad movie would waste everyone’s time and money all so the movie studios would not lose any money. Today however most cities and towns have multiple movie theaters and those theaters now have multiple screens which show many movies at the same time. With the changing landscape in today’s film industry and increases in technology these antitrust laws are now becoming obsolete mostly because now there are 3 movie theater companies who control more than half of all screens in the US. 

Removing the Paramount Act would not hurt these giant companies because they are too big now. Smaller, independent, theaters are the ones that are going to be hurt by the removal of this act. If movie distributors are allowed to block book again movie theaters would be crowded with just movies that would bring in a crowd. By removing this Act you are hurting not just small indie movie theaters but also the entire film industry by giving these companies the ability to control the distribution.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/business/media/movie-distribution-rules.html


Facebook to limit ads in 2020

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Facebook has recently announced that in 2020 they will start to limit the amount of advertisements a page can release on their site. A crazy idea that Facebook would turn down potential ad revenue and limit advertisers may not seem like such a crazy idea. Coming with the announcement Facebook said that only a small percent of advertisers and companies will be affected by this change. But when asked about why they are starting to limit the amount of ads they are allowing on their site they responded with “quality”.

Facebook plans to increase the quality of the advertisements by limiting the amount of ads a company can run. When a company can run as many ads as they want they produce low quality, potentially dangerous ads that do not serve the public’s best interest. And more importantly running too many ads leads to overall worse “ad performance”. Flooding the market with low quality ads takes away from the high quality ads and tarnishes Facebook’s ads results. When Facebook’s ad results get tarnished it lowers the price per ads and hurts Facebook in the long run. 

One of the latest ways Facebook has joined the movement to rid the platform of fake news. More and more media companies like Facebook and Twitter are starting to take a look at how their platforms are starting to affect the world outside of their platforms. Twitter not running political ads and Facebook limiting ads are ways these companies can keep a check on outside influence and interference with the American People.

Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-will-implement-limits-on-how-many-ads-a-page-can-run-in-2020/566605/

Netflix at 2 times speed?

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Netflix is the golden standard for streaming content. The relationships they have with their audiences and the actors and talent that works for them, there has never really been a divide. Fast forwarding may be that issue. Netflix has confirmed that they are starting to test out a feature that lets you play content at faster or slower speeds. This feature that has already existed on DVD players for years and more recently sites like Youtube, seems to be drawing a dividing line among creators and audiences. 

Audiences have recently started using the fast forward feature for content like podcasts and videos online but not the streaming giant Netflix. Media creators like Aaron Paul and Judd Apatow have been very direct in opposing adding fast forward controls. Giving those controls to the audience would allow them to alter how we see the content and how the directors and creators wanted us to see the content. Creators take a lot time to put together their work and take great pride in showing their work or story their way. Taking this away by giving controls that let you change the pace cold see many content creators that are Netflix staples move their content elsewhere.

Even with content creators calling for Netflix to scrap this idea, Netflix has confirmed that they are moving forward with testing on mobile devices. This trial period could be more than just testing out new software but also testing out those relationships that could go somewhere else if this feature reaches the global Netflix platform.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/style/netflix-speed-playback-video.html

Your Privacy does not matter when you Stream

Recent deals involving Roku and other companies have expanded the surveillance infrastructure that operates in the background of streaming services.

Welcome to the 21st century, where soon there will be more than just Netflix or Hulu streaming content to us. Coming very soon many different corporations and media tech companies will be unveiling their “new” streaming service, Disney+, Apple TV Plus, and Peacock just to name a few. What is creating all these streaming services is not the desire to share their content with you on their platform, it’s to make money, and the main way these companies do that is through advertising and data collection but the methods used to get the ad to you is coming from a dangerous place. 

Data collection is becoming the new currency for these streaming giants. They are able to collect data based on what shows you are watching, what device you are using to watch, your location, and so many other factors that create a pretty clear internet footprint of who you are and what interests you. These streaming companies collect all this data and use it to target you with widely specific advertisements. With streaming service becoming more and more popular, advertising companies now have a real-time data stream on their users that has never existed before with traditional television but with all this information being tracked and all the money the data is worth sometimes our privacy takes a back-seat for these companies so they can make some extra money. 

Advertisers are starting to shift spending from traditional television to streaming services by the tune of 3.8 billion dollars and many companies are trying to get on the money. With this rise in advertising within the streaming industry, many users of the streaming services are at risk of having their data taken without their knowledge. In recent years, tech giants such as Vizio TV and Samba TV has been accused of gathering and selling your data without your knowledge just by using your TV but even just knowing that these companies are doing this is not enough because this is such new ground, there are no laws or regulations in this data collection industry. Trackers and other software that collect our data on these platforms happen without us knowing and behind our backs only to target with super specific ads and without and rules data collection is only going to become more corrupt.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/business/media/streaming-data-collection-privacy.html

Twitter defends Trump

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Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/technology/trump-twitter-account.html

Seemingly the backbone to the political landscape we currently have, Twitter has to defend the president from democrats who look to have the president’s account removed from the platform. President Trump has been locking horns with democrats over the impending impeachment inquiry of Trump. He has not been kind when going to twitter to voice his opinion on the matter, claiming the impeachment was a “coup” intended to strip Americans of their rights. Democrats look to suspend his Twitter account on the basis that his tweets are “blatant threats” that violate Twitter’s policies. 

Twitter has since taken a stand in favor of President Trump saying that Twitter has a right to the people to bend the rules for world leaders. Twitter cites that it is for the best interest of the public to keep world leader’s Twitter accounts active even though they may appear to violate Twitter’s own policies. Twitter has said that they would only take action against Trump or any world leader if they, “used their account to threaten an indiviual, promote terrorism or self-harm, or post private information like a phone number.” Twitter then followed up their defence of the president with another statement, “The accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely, presently, direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”

This shows that Twitter is taking a stand not towards democrats or any political party but taking a stand protecting the public. We deserve and I think entitled to hear what the president is tweeting no matter what it is. It helps the public know what is going on, not only for the president, but the entire country. Protecting this kind of speech is dangerous but it serves the public by preserving those tweets for all of us.

Kids movie ‘Abominable’ removed from Vietnam

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The “nine-dash line” that caused Vietnam to remove Abominable from theaters

As we have recently seen, nothing is spared from Chinese international politics not even a cute animated movie. The Dreamworks animated film “Abominable” has recently been pulled from all Vietnam theaters for showing a chinese map that contains the “nine-dash line” The movie which follows a chinese girl who befriends a yeti has no intention of starting a political outrage but yet here we are. The nine-dash line in question is a hotly contested border created by the Chinese that includes a lot of territory that the governments of Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim they have. 

Since China has made the claim in 1940 and created the nine-dash line, they have defended the territory their extensively. They have created islands and added infrastructure on those island so people can live there. They also have their navy defend the waters from other governments.This comes during a very problematic time for China or more importantly human rights, with China erasing any content they deem insults the government. South Park released was completely erased from the Chinese internet after they insulted China’s censorship laws. China has a 8.87 billion dollar movie market and Hollywood and other companies want to get a piece of the market but are sacrificing their rights or at least bending to Chinese censorship. The inclusion of the nine-dash line in the movie was there to appease the Chinese government but failed to respect the other countries involved in this dispute. It is scary to see so many companies and corporations give up their rights to appease a foriegn government based solely on money but I do not think this is going to stop and moving forward I think China is going to start threatening more companies into this censorship. Hopefully more media companies like the creators of South Park take a stand against this kind of censorship because if movies like Abominable can not escape the limelight any movie or show is a target for censorship.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/world/asia/abominable-vietnam-china-map.html

China bans all mentions of ‘South Park’

Last week’s episode of “South Park,” titled “Band in China,” mocked Chinese censors and American businesses that bend over backwards to appease them.
Randy Marsh with Mickey mouse wearing an “I heart the president of China” shirt

This past episode of South Park titled “Band in China” has found itself at the heart of a huge Chinese censorship scandal. The episode released this week on Comedy Central poked fun at China’s extremely heavy censorship laws and how American Companies bend over backwards to meet China’s criteria so they can show their content to the multi-billion dollar market China has. 

The Chinese government has since removed all mentions of South Park from the Chinese internet. Search inquiries for South Park come back saying, “According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open.” These messages appear on all Chinese social media and video websites. South Park fired back at the censorship by releasing a fake apology mocking the Chinese President, calling him Winne the Pooh. The apology also calls out American companies for confirming to these strict laws to make more money. Which calls into question whether companies would be willing to give up their freedom of speech to show their work in China.  South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone call out Disney and the NBA for giving up their right to free speech just to make some extra money in the Chinese market. At one part of the episode we see the cast of South Park taking a plane to China with the Avengers and Star Wars characters as a way of saying DIsney gave in to Chinese censorship in exchange for their market. 

Trey Parker and Matt Stone bring up a good point about not conforming to censorship in any part. Part of the charm and reason why South Park has lasted 23 seasons is because they do not change their work to make people happy. They use their platform as a way of bringing attention to bigger issues like Chinese censorship because they have every right to.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/arts/television/south-park-china.html

Twitch opening doors to more diverse content

Twitch.tv, a mostly video game streaming service, is opening up its platform for more than just gaming. The platform that saw over three months 2.7 billion hours of content being viewed by users is far and above the largest streaming platform right now for video games. At peak times more than a million people in just a single category but twitch is looking for how to create a more diverse platform than just gaming. 

At the annual twitch con, which is held in San Diego every year, it was announced that twitch would start creating more categories and avenues users can upload and explore other than gaming. Their new slogan “You’re already one of us.” exemplifies the new mindset of twitch that anyone even you can be apart of the community twitch has created. New talk-shows where users can share anything they want without having to play a game or using the platform to help inform people. This past year, the Great National Debate was released on twitch. Produced by the French government, they streamed for more than 10 hours of debates to reach the young audience of twitch in a way the audience would never find out about any other way. 

Twitch has even entered the sports market with partnerships with Major League Baseball and National Football League. Twitch users can stream the game hosted by streamers in their browser and have a direct chat with the broadcaster. Something non existent in sports broadcasting today. Users can ask questions, interact with each other, and interact with the broadcasters and creates a community while watching sports. This interactivity does not seem to be going anywhere with the advances in technology and could very well be the future of how we receive and interact with the content available to us.

Stairway to Heaven Back in Court

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Led Zeppelin in London in 1968

Back in 2014 Led Zeppelin made the news, when the trustee of the band Spirit tried to sue Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin for stealing the opening of the song Stairway to Heaven. The case made national headlines across the country and in 2016 Plant and Page beat the case and did not have to pay any money. Cases of copyright infringement like these always bring attention to how complex and grey these laws are and how hard it sometimes is for these musicians. Big names like Katy Perry and Robin Thicke have had to pay multiple millions of dollars after being accused of copyright infringement but these laws are not easy to interpret. 

When listening to both songs, you can hear some resemblances but just sounding similar is not enough for a lawsuit. When you strip both songs down to their bare bones of just notes and melodies that is when you can make a judgement on whether one song copied the other. Cases like this shine light on how hard it is to make a call whether someone “stole” someone else’s work or used it for inspiration for their song. 

Looking towards the future of music and copyright law it seems like the area between the two keep becoming more and more grey. Artist since the dawn of time have used others for inspiration or cord and melodies that have been around for so long any musician can use them. The band Axis of Awesome brought showed that the same four chords are used in mostly all popular songs of the last decade but is not copyright infringement because those cords have been used forever and no one can own them. Using this mentality there could never be a copyright claim because music is constantly building on the works of others. This makes even the blatant theft of songs and melodies even harder to sue someone for. With new technologies coming out today this makes spotting a theft even easier for these bands and hopefully can help bands get the recognition they deserve.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/22/business/media/stairway-to-heaven-copyright-appeal.html#

‘Original Reporting’ will be emphasized in Google Searches

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, discussing Google’s News project. The company said it changed its search algorithm to highlight original reporting.
Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive at Google, discussing how Google will change its algorithm to highlight original reporting.

Reporting today is a lot different than how it was before. Reporters may take weeks or months developing a story, break the story to the world, and then every other organization steals the content rephrases it and posts it on their site. These other sites get just as much traffic and make just as much money off of the article without any reporting at all from these impersonator sites. Google has said in a recent conference that they are starting to combat imitative websites by changing their algorithm. 

Google’s new Google News Project is going to change the way the show results for certain topics that put emphasis on original reporting or the first story that broke the news These changes do not remove all the impersonators but it gives an advantage to the original report. This is a good change for Google because everyone uses Google for everything. These new changes to the algorithm give news companies more of an incentive to create breaking stories because the credit for these stories will be given to who creates the story instead of all the other companies that would steal the work and post it on their site. 

With these guidelines and algorithms Google would also put more respectable outlets that have a history of honest reporting higher up in the search query. These are important changes because investigative journalism is extremely important and needed in society but if no one is going to get credit for the hundreds of hours they take to expose such stories why would anyone want to do all this work. By Google coming out and making these stories more accessible Google is gaining the trust of these news organizations and honestly just helping all of use or freedom of the press. Creating more ways for original reporting to be put on the top of searches helps everyone from the Google user, to the journalist writing these articles, to even Google itself.