Olympian Pirates: The Digital Athletes
I don’t know about you, but I am psyched for the Olympics to start this Friday. So many events in such little time. And the best part is that this year the action will literally be at our fingertips– on our laptops, smart phones and tablets.
According to Charlie Warzel of Adweek, “the London games are being billed as the first-ever truly digital Olympics, as NBC will stream an unprecedented amount of content: 3,500 hours of HD digital content in the U.S. alone.”
Now that’s a lot of video.
The problem with such a large volume is that it creates vast openings for digital piracy. All material released by NBC is copyrighted, meaning that content cannot legally be captured and re-streamed. Why would people do this in the first place? The basis behind piracy is simple: Make available to all material which is exclusively owned.
Ever tried looking for SNL clips on YouTube? You know the frustrations. For the past four years, NBC has been working on more efficient methods to fight piracy.
But at the same time, who can blame them? Being able to stream months-worth of video is something we take for granted, but it is an enormous endeavor for NBC. It makes perfect sense that the network would want to protect their work. If a thousand people view an NBC video on YouTube instead of NBC.com, then that is a thousand people who didn’t see the ad on NBC’s site. It is also a thousand people who no longer acknowledge the credit that NBC deserves for airing the content in the first place. If this form of piracy would be allowed at such a foundational level as YouTube, what is from stopping other networks like ESPN or ABC from showing NBC material without recognizing NBC?
NBC isn’t trying to make the Olympic games unwatchable– they just don’t want you to watch them on YouTube. With online access becoming more prevalent each the year, the network is trying to crack-down on digital piracy now more than ever. If people are viewing pirated Olympic videos on other sites, who knows if NBC will provide such incredible coverage during the next games.
So, instead of getting disgruntled when the men’s 400-meter individual medley has clearly been recorded off a cellphone, take a minute to try your luck over at NBC.com. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
My question is, with NBC broadcasting every event live online, who will watch the events during prime-time broadcasts?
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