The day the broadcast died

Summary:Today is the day that TV and radio broadcasters around the world (and digital video recorder makers like TiVo) dreaded would come.  It's the day that someone married the RSS subscription protocol to Bittorrent in a way that turns the Internet into one big giant and free TiVo machine.

Today is the day that TV and radio broadcasters around the world (and digital video recorder makers like TiVo) dreaded would come.  It's the day that someone married the RSS subscription protocol to Bittorrent in a way that turns the Internet into one big giant and free TiVo machine.  Wrote Steve Rubel of the development, "Someone has figured out a way to subscribe to TV shows on Bit Torrent and pull them down as an RSS feed."  In other words, once a TV show is digitized and loaded into Bittorrent, not only are the broadcasters completely disintermediated from the distribution of their content, so too is their adverstising business model.  Just like with TiVo, we can just fast foward through the commercials.  And better than satellite television, the "architecture" paves the way to receive content from anywhere in the world.

Internet-based distribution of television programming was inevitable.  The problem is that this isn't exactly the way the people who planned to be in charge of media Darwinism wanted such evolution to go down.  People like Verizon with their fiber-optic based IPTV services that require a middleman.  People like the entertainment cartel (what Bob Frankston calls Tellywood) with a business model to protect . They had different plans.  Ones where they controlled the horizontal and the vertical (Rod Serling anyone?).  But, true to the outer limits design of the Internet (where where it's the edge points that should really be in control), that control is slipping through their fingers like sand.

So, is it the triumph for the Internet that it appears to be?

Maybe not.  Man likes to interfere with evolution and this situation is apparently no different.  Tellywood is not about to let a silly little thing like the Internet force it to evolve as well.  In their commitment to extinction, Tellywood isn't just looking to intefere with such innovation on its own, its powerful lobbies have managed to mate with two other dinosaurs for help: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress.  Fortunately, there's still time to act.  In addition to boycotting content and technologies that  promote the adoption of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology (as I proposed here), here's what you can do about it (and do about it now because there's a December 1, 2005 deadline).

Topics: Browser

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.