[LINK] Dear Rupert Murdoch: Let's Talk Piracy & "The Simpsons"
tomk at unwired.com.au
Tue Jan 24 20:03:34 EST 2012
Dear Rupert Murdoch: Let's Talk Piracy & "The Simpsons"
by DANNY SULLIVAN on JANUARY 22, 2012
Rupert, my son had a simple request. "Daddy, can we watch last week's
episode of The Simpsons?" No, son, we can't. You can blame Rupert
Murdoch for that.
Rupert, I know you're all upset about all those SOPA & PIPA protests
last week. Why, without them, how will you keep all your shows from
being accessible to people who just want to pirate them for free through
things like Google TV.
Here's the thing. Go look in a mirror. See that guy looking back at you?
Put a big dose of the blame on him. Because he makes people like me, who
are already paying you three times to watch The Simpsons, to end up
thinking maybe you just really want us to watch pirated content instead.
Pay You Three Times, Shame On Me
That's right. I pay you three times for The Simpsons. First, I get it
broadcast over the air. That's me paying you for it, because the
airwaves are mine - not yours. You're simply allowed to lease them from
the public. You're getting a piece of that spectrum from me. In return,
I expect you to deliver me valuable content through it. Well done with
But you know, it's easy to miss things broadcast live over the air.
Also, my signal is pretty bad. So I pay a second time, to DirecTV, to
get exactly the same content you send over the air to me through
satellite TV. I get a better picture. I get the ability to DVR episodes
to watch later. And I pay something like $125 per month for my
subscription, some of which goes into your pocket.
That brings me to my third way of paying: Hulu Plus. I don't DVR
everything. Somehow, I missed The Simpsons when it started up again this
fall. But Hulu Plus has turned into a lifesaver in these cases. It has
let me catch-up on programs. It's been well worth the $7 per month I pay
for it, some of which, again, goes directly into your pocket.
The Simpsons: Web Only?
And now to tonight. My son fired up Hulu Plus, so we could watch The
Simpsons, as we have in the past. But no luck - he got a "web only"
message. Turns out, I discovered after doing a little searching with
your least favorite search engine, last year you started limited
Whatever you did, it's clearly gotten worse. Apparently, I can't watch
it on Hulu at all through my TV:
Despite paying for Hulu Plus, I cannot watch The Simpson on any device
like my Roku player that is designed to play The Simpsons direct to my
I gather this is because you don't want me to buy Hulu Plus and stop
paying for DirecTV, right? I get that. But it's not like I have the same
option to watch archived episodes on DirecTV, If they're offered on
demand, they are impossible to find.
I can't even authorize my Hulu account to know that I'm paying DirecTV
already, as I apparently could if I had a Dish account. Why not? Who
knows. You or DirecTV or Hulu are all probably fighting with each other
over rights issues.
But hey, it's not like I can get HBO GO on my Hulu, either. Despite
paying for HBO through DirecTV, they don't let me enable my Roku with
Lesson? Search For TV On The Web
Now what have you taught my 13 year old, who wants to watch last week's
episode? That he should fire up his computer, because if he does that -
and sits through the 2 minute load time for The Simpsons web site,
you'll give him the episode for free.
Why would you do this? Think. What's a teenager like him likely to do,
if they're looking for The Simpsons, if you don't offer it through easy,
safe, direct-to-TV options like my Roku? He'll search for it through
things like Google and perhaps find it, in this case. But if you don't
offer it, since you've driven him and other kids to think they should
search, maybe they'll keep searching until they find some place that
does offer it.
Now, if I really wanted to watch last week's episode, on my TV and
without firing up my laptop and digging out the HDMI cable, I could buy
it from Amazon or Apple iTunes. But don't you think paying four times
for the same content is a bit much?
Blocking TV Devices Promotes The Piracy You Hate
Let me end with Google TV. Remember at CES? How upset you were to learn
(you're just learning this?), that if someone searches for video content
on Google TV, they might reach pirated content?
Hey, I've used Google TV from the beginning, from before you and the
other networks blocked it. Before you did this, the Google TV search
results sent me directly to your web site, where I could watch your
content directly from you, exactly as I could if I wanted to hook-up my
computer to my TV. That's because, after all, Google TV is really just a
really small computer.
Thanks to your blocking, they don't even bother to list your site,
because why do it? It's not like it works for those who use it. Instead,
it pretty much searches the web - which lists things you might not like.
It's not right, Rupert. Finding the TV content I want shouldn't be this
complicated, especially for someone who is actually paying you. Fix it.
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