The wrong idea
I was a fan of the tv-links website, and I enjoyed watching the rerun shows that were posted there. In my opinion, these "Media Industry" people have the wrong idea. Instead of shutting down the site(s), they should collect money from the "sponsors" of the site, or a tv-movie-music studio should sponsor it themselves, inserting commercials when appropriate, just like a television network.
Take for example, the classic tv show M*A*S*H, provided by 20th Century Fox, shown on CBS back in the 70's, for free. All you needed was rabbit ears and electricity for your tv set. Today, anyone with cable television can see it several times a day on several networks, all for the cost of a monthly cable tv fee. But, for some reason, you are not allowed to watch it from a website, even though you pay a monthly internet fee. The reason is because FOX doesn't allow it, because FOX isn't being paid for it when you watch it online. So, the solution is, to have a sponsor pay for it, with commercials and website sponsors who pay the royalties, fees, etc, to FOX; just like television networks do, and collect a small percentage from broadband internet providers that allow access to that media server. Perhaps even better, is to have Fox themselves host the show on their media server, and sponsor the show themselves, with FOX movie trailers, links to events, shows, etc, as if it were a new tv-network. After all, what is the difference between a tv network and an internet data server? They do much the same thing: provide information and entertainment. In fact, this could the perfect time to go ahead, and have all the tv networks (or cable networks) provide access to the classic shows online, (WITH SPONSORS) so people can enjoy high quality classic tv shows WHEN THEY WANT TO. I do not mind watching commercials on the tv, why would I mind them on the computer screen? (as long as they dont hijack my browser and try to sell me levitra, or block 9/10ths of my screen with flashing noisemakers while I am trying to watch the show). TV Shows are segmented to include commercials anyhow, so PUT commercials IN THERE. If it's a Sitcom, like "Married with Children" then have Fox sponsor it with fox shows, movies, events, etc. Or, if it's a drama, like ER, then have NBC sponsor it, etc. My point is, it takes so MUCH to stop it, but so little to help it. They've done all the hard work: collecting the shows and server space and bandwidth. All you have to do is tell the proprietor that you must sponsor it for it to be legal, then you can feature your shows and events on HIS server with HIS bandwidth, and if he dont like it, buy the site, improve the content, and administer it yourselves. I do not see any reason why the big tv networks dont go ahead and start providing access to their shows over a broadband connection, with appropriate commercials as sponsors.
The movies are a different subject though. If a movie can be seen on tv, then it should be viewable on the internet with commercials between segments. but in the case of the cam-corder piratings, those are wrong and the people responsible for their creation and distribution should be busted. But they are usually from China so there isn't anything that can be done. For example, I was browsing the movies and I noticed Transformers. I know the dvd was not yet out, so I knew it was likely a pirated copy, and I did not watch it.
I DID however, watch Andromeda because I was never able to catch it when it was on (it was syndicated so I could never find it on at a decent hour). But, thanks to tv-links, I was able to catch it, from the first show, thru the first season, and I have become a fan of it. Now, if the show had been sponsored, that would have been fine. But it was not, so somehow it was considered illegal, even though, it's an old rerun show, that was only "legal" for me to watch at 2 am on some UHF channel from another town.
My point is, that the internet is a new "tv channel" and someone is going to get in on it and make a lot of money, and please MANY people with high-speed connections. The PC will become the new Tivo. PC's are getting faster and more flexible, it is only a matter of time. Stop thinking Old fashioned and make ready the NEW tv-channel, on your start menu.
You hear all this talk about the recording artists trying to crack down on people for having illegal copies. But isn't is true that if you buy the media, (song, tv-show, movie) you have access to it? How long do you have access to it? Until you sell it? What if you lost it? What if I have seen it already? Am I not allowed to remember seeing it without paying a fee? I am a big Aerosmith fan. I have bought several albums: many of which have the same songs on them. If I want to hear "walk this way", even though I have it on the "Aerosmith classics LIVE" cd, as well as "big ones", do I have to pay to put it on my computer, or to play the MP3? What if there is a compilation album, with say 2/3 of the songs are from albums I already own, does that mean I already own 2/3rds of that album? Shouldnt I be able to pay 1/3rd of the compilation album's cost to buy the songs I DO NOT own? Do I have to buy stuff I already have to get stuff I do not have? What if I go to a concert and hear the other 1/3rd of the songs on the aforementioned album, do I now get the ablbum free, because I own 2/3rds of the media already, and I have a concert ticket that granted me access to the other missing 1/3rd?
Now, what if I had went to a theater and saw Transformers? Once I bought the ticket, do I not have rights to view the intellectual property? Am I supposed to forget it once I leave? Sure, if I want to see it again, I have to buy another ticket, but that is to pay the movie theater for the service. (the seat, the screen, the speakers). I already have access to the intellectual property, because it was given to me when it was shown. I'm not allowed to duplicate it to make money, but I am allowed to remember it and mention it to my friends. Now, once I got home, since I had already SEEN the movie, do I not have the ability to see it online? What if I could prove I saw the movie already. Do I get to watch it online? Do I get a copy of the dvd for free, since I've already seen it? Or, do I get the dvd at a discount, just to cover the cost of producing the dvd disc, since I have already been granted access to the intellectual property when I bought a ticket? What if i bought the dvd? Could I THEN watch it online? Could I download it and watch it on someone elses computer, since I own the dvd? If not, whats the difference if I took MY dvd over to his house and let him watch it? I am curious how this works. If I am not trying to sell it or make money off its distribution, shouldn't I have unlimited access to it, once I buy the media?
It is a sad SAD world when you have unlimited access to sodomy, rape, incest, beastiality, pedophilia and murder, but you arent allowed to watch "I love lucy" without getting arrested... BUT, that's the bean counter for you. He doesn't care about you or your happiness, just your money, and he will spend every waking moment trying to nickle and dime you to death.
Windows 98 was the beginning of turning your computer into a media platform. That was 10 years ago. Why hasn't the entertainment industry caught up with Windows 98? WE NOW HAVE the hardware, and the bandwidth, it can happen. TV has to go digital in the USA in 2009 or 2010, so WHY NOT go ahead, and make it stream thru a PC? Why not have a tv-links? IMO, tv-links was before its time, and had to rely on poor quality choices. But, I am sure that there is a tv or cable network out there that is going to make this happen, and mark my words, it is coming. TV-links shouldn't be punished: it should be SUPPORTED AND IMPROVED AND MADE LEGAL WITH SPONSORED CONTENT.