Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Evolution of Illegal Television Online

In this age of digital media, many media texts made their transition from their traditional formats to the Internet. First, it was newspaper and magazine articles, and, after a great increase in the speed capabilities of the Internet, television and movies followed. This first transition could have had a great effect on advertisers for television shows. The price of ad space on live TV would be forced to decrease if more people were going online to watch their favorite shows. However, the most easily accessible outlets online used to be and each broadcast network’s web page. Those websites were able to require viewers to watch advertisements of various lengths. Early on this benefited the broadcast networks, because they were now able to receive advertising funds from their live television programming and from online programming.

This would all change with the advent of sites such as, (which has now been seized by the United States Government),, and various other video hosting websites. Although these websites host videos that would clearly violate copyright law, they act as a safe harbor. The distinction of a safe harbor implies that the website is not liable for its content if it is removed soon after a copyright notice is sent by the copyright holder. Many of the TV shows would be removed after a certain period of time, but would continue to pop up. However, this has become even more difficult for the broadcast networks with the emergence of websites that host links to shows on other websites, further complicating the process for broadcast networks, attempting to remove their content from the Internet.

What I would really like to take a look at is how this phenomenon will change the television industry. Many of these shows are uploaded illegally online within an hour after they are broadcasted, and the structure and complexity of those websites is becoming seemingly too difficult for the broadcast networks to police. It is going to be very interesting to see what kind of steps the networks take, because it is going down a road similar to the music industry, where it wants to sell (money or advertising) you the programming but there are various ways that you could get it for free.

1 comment:

  1. Brett, this is a great topic! I agree with you that the television networks are going through a similar situation as the music industry. But I do not think TV piracy is going to harm the industry that much. I believe television shows are targeted to two major audiences, tweens and families. In other words, people that actually have time to watch TV shows when they air. Our society will always have these audience members and I do not think that parents would have there children sitting in front of computer screen because it is "free" (what values would they be teaching them?). I feel that they will go wit the more traditional route with family TV time. With that being said, It would be interesting study and explore the average target audience of the TV industry. and if they are gaining revenue from the main target audience. If so, is it enough revenue to get through this rough patch of TV piracy?