Hard News by Russell Brown

Evil Telecom tries to shut down critics

This just in: Telecom has contacted YouTube and demanded the removal of all instances of the ‘Telecon’ mash-up. Clicking on the links brings up a message saying: “This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Telecom because its content was used without permission.”

Well, using the content without permission was rather the point, wasn’t it? Perhaps this was inevitable, but it’s also a pretty stupid move, and a demonstration of the ease with which America’s copyright law can be used to suppress criticism.

So the headline that I said on Monday Telecom would not want to risk ('Evil Telecom tries to shut down critics') now stands at the top of this post ...

The people who uploaded the clip have received standard emails from YouTube warning them that:

Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid future strikes against your account, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube's copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.

Oddly enough, the mash-up is still appearing in searches, which reveal that it passed 35,000 views on YouTube alone.

You may wish to rush over to Google Video and grab your downloadable version while you can.

I do look forward to seeing what happens next.

No Right Turn has a lovely fake letter from Rodney Hide to his constituents, explaining his frequent absences from Parliament (“However, great news! I have made it through the third round of Dancing With the Stars!”). The only thing funnier is the party stalwarts commenting below it, gamely insisting that his TV publicity stunt is “constructive”.

Nearly as daft as the fake letter is Rodney’s actual press release:

This Thursday, ACT leader and competitor in TV One's current hit show, "Dancing with the Stars", Rodney Hide and his dance partner Krystal Stuart, arrive in Christchurch to drum up support for viewer votes.

Some may debate his dancing ability but you've got to give the former Cantabrian credit for his efforts in campaigning for votes or is there a hidden agenda in the timing of the Canterbury visit?

Rodney confesses he's a Crusaders supporter through and through, and is looking forward to catching up with some of the players after training on Thursday as the red and blacks prepare for this weekends final in Super 14.

Well, how lovely for him. But given that you and I are paying his salary, shouldn’t Rodney spend a little more time doing something that looks like his job? Especially given that he is a party leader and his only other MP is off on soldiering duty? And doesn't the above verge on taking the piss?

Perhaps I just don’t get it. I freely confess, Dancing with the Stars means nothing to me. For that matter, I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code, or seen the movie, and I can’t understand why I should actually want to. I also thought the Toyota Rav 4 ad was tawdry and unfunny and it would actively make me not want to buy a Toyota Rav 4, even if I did happen to be in the market for a wankermobile. So perhaps I’m not the best judge of these things.

BTW, as Mirage Media pointed out, when Paul Holmes and Leighton Smith blathered about the nanny state after 19 complaints about the Rav 4 ad were upheld by the Advertising Standards Complaints Board, they’d have been better off complaining to their own employer, which, via the Radio Broadcasters Association (which is a member of the Advertising Standards Authority) helps shape and apply advertising standards. Yes, the ASA is a self-governing industry body. Nothing to do with the government. And the ad was in clear breach of the industry’s own standards – it wasn’t even close. But if windy radio hosts and Wayne Mapp want the standards changed to allow prime-time advertising to depict people trying to kill and injure each other in easily-emulated ways, they know who to lobby.

Anyway, I certainly can’t complain about my hotel room. It has broadband, four comfortable chairs and nearly enough power points. And it has a balcony with a view of the harbour. I’m here in Wellington for Webstock, where I’m making the 8.30am speech on Friday and chairing a panel at the other end of the day. And, consequently, I’ll be in this room working pretty much all day today.

Why? Many years ago, I had a crack at stand-up comedy. I went quite well the first time, not so well the second. It genuinely hadn’t occurred to me that what you needed to do was work up a routine and stick to it (I didn’t know about “heckle lines “ either). I had the idea that you wrote a whole new thing every time you got up on stage.

I kind of still do. I’d accept a lot more talking business if I could get a routine and stick to it. But it’s just not me. I think that’s one reason I’ve never warmed to PowerPoint. It makes you say the same thing the same way every time. So I’m still working out what the content guy should spend an hour saying to a web standards crowd. Bonus, though: the organisers are taking us out to dinner tonight and I’m having the muttonbird.

Anyway, I’d best carry on with that. Meanwhile, I do quite like that Dixie Chicks song, which they played on Letterman.