Why suing TV-kaista is a really bad idea

Unsurprisingly, the media corporations have hit one of the most awesome services in Finland, TV-kaista with a lawsuit. They are using copyright law as their strawman argument ("you can't make money on the stuff that we produce"), but it's a bad argument because you can use the exact same argument against the guy who sold you a television or the digibox or the PVR.

Now, TV-kaista is essentially a PVR on the web, which is what makes it so awesome. They store all the TV programs for the past two weeks, meaning that if you miss something, you can always go back and watch it. I can even do that from my cell phone. This is perfect for consumers, and really changes the way you watch TV. They are lighting the way to media consumption for the future, and steer us away from using dodgy Bittorrent services. The use of my own PVR has been reduced to pretty much recording content from pay channels, which aren't yet on the service.

Interestingly, because of the way our ancient copyright legislation works, TV-kaista has no choice but to give everyone a personal PVR in their datacentre. So all the data and processing power is duplicated for every single user, leading an enormous waste and strain on the environment in duplicated electricity and electronics cost. If they were allowed to store the TV streams just once, they could essentially allow us to get rid of our digiboxes who sit idly most of the day and night and leech electricity.

Not only that, who would ever bother to innovate around content in Finland anymore, now that they know they will always be subject to short-sighted lawsuits?

Short-sighted? Yes, you see - TV-kaista is essentially an aggregator of multiple video streams. The media houses don't like that - they want you to go to their own websites for the online content. And because they cannot aggregate their competitor's streams, their service can never be as good as an aggregator's one could be. So their only recourse is to sue the superior competition out of existence. And in doing so, they're essentially condemning consumers to crappy services forever. "Only we can decree how you can best consumer our content." Where's the competition and consumer choice in that?

Moore's law says that we will get more. I can already access my PVR from the internet, if I want to. If services like tvkaista.fi are not allowed to prosper, the void will be filled by PVRs which actually can store eight or sixteen channels ALL THE TIME. And then we get those aggregation services anyway, but again to more cost to the environment, with the media companies having far less control over what can happen then. Or someone establishes a similar service in Estonia, or somewhere else. It is impossible to control a public access signal anyway.

You see, they could instead agree with tvkaista.fi how to best share advertising revenue. They could even start selling it through their own agencies, who are really good at it. TV-kaista isn't. It would be a very good match.

In this particular case, enforcing strict copyright legislation is directly reducing consumer choice, damaging the environment, damaging Finland's ability to innovate, driving people to piracy, and preventing new online services to emerge. I mean, come on: Did anybody learn anything from the Napster lawsuit and success of the iTunes Music Store? Music companies had their own ideas about music consumption, and they were all wrong, and it was left for innovative companies outside of their business to build the future models. This is no different.

So fuck off, will you MTV Media, Sanoma Television, Yleisradio, Kopiosto, Teosto, Tuotos and ÄKT, and let innovative companies make the world a better place? You'll get your money anyway, 'cos you control the source.


Yes, exactly!

I had about the same thoughts about the whole fiasco. For once, we have a way of watching television which is considerably better for the viewers. Of course it had to some agency other than the tv companies themselves - while the watcher doesn't really care which channel some program is on, the companies apparently believe it matters (well, it matters of course to the advertisers). The companies had the chance to provide a common interface to the tv programs, but probably didn't even consider it and implemented their own, not very well working ones instead.

(I don't have tv currently, not even TV-Kaista. Might get one when I have to pay for it anyway.)

--Pare, 24-Dec-2009

not sure about TV-K having one (even, virtual) PVR per customer in their data center (yes, their own commercials might brag about that) if there would be one/PVR, it needs to record all the channels at the same time = fail :-)

anyway, most likely they have one PVR per channel, dumping everything on some NAS, from where the virtual PVR/GUI reads the channel/program the user is interested in. too bad they're not stripping the ads at the same time, LOL

--Life Tester, 25-Dec-2009

Actually, since Finland only has three DVB streams at any time (the streams are multiplexed four channels in one stream), it's quite possible they only have a single PVR per person (just with three tuner cards). The demuxing can be done offline from the stream as necessary.

--JanneJalkanen, 25-Dec-2009

I would hate to see this end or restrict the TVkaista service, or force them to raise their fees.. It's a fantastic service, especially for Finns living abroad; easy access to Finnish children's programmes (for language reasons), no need to go cold turkey when leaving Finland, if you're addicted to Finnish soaps (or B&B, lol..), and so on.

--Stello, 03-Jan-2010

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"Main_blogentry_231209_1" last changed on 23-Dec-2009 13:51:49 EET by JanneJalkanen.
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