Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sad news for Bloggers

Post Details:
• Redlasso suspends use of beta site
• My reaction
• The company’s reaction


An essential element to blogging is visuals. What’s better to discussing what you saw on TV last night than using a video and showing, rather than telling? But in order to link to that video someone has to put it on the Web. If a blogger does not have fancy technology to record and capture TV on his or her computer, or let alone capture the precise moment in question, it can be very difficult to find a video on the Web.

Redlasso changed this. The Web site, whose slogan is “find it! clip it! share it!”, was revolutionary in that beta users could search through 24 hours of footage on a vast selection of channels for the last week or two. Then, users could create a clip from the footage and embed the video on their personal Web sites or blogs.

I recently became a member of the site and enjoyed my experience.

Last week, however, Redlasso was forced to suspend its service to beta users “for the immediate future.” The site went dark on Friday (7/25). Here is the letter to its users:


To Our Loyal Users:
We would like to thank you for your continued support of Redlasso. You have been essential to making Redlasso a household name online. Unfortunately, due to the legal actions taken against Redlasso by two networks, we are left with no alternative but to suspend access to our video search and clipping Beta site FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE. The networks have provided a big blow to the blogger community’s right to exercise the first amendment and comment on newsworthy events. It is anti-Web. During this service suspension, we will continue our conversations with content providers, with the goal of establishing formal partnerships that will quickly help us restore access to the Beta site.

For our business and Radio To Web clients, Redlasso will continue to operate and provide those services to you without interruption.

Again, thank you.
REDLASSO


Thus, it has been a sad weekend for bloggers.

For now, media companies have gotten their way – their copyrighted content is secured and contained. YouTube survived the battle, while Redlasso’s future does not look so bright.

As it said in the letter, the action is “anti-Web.” These companies are trying to protect their brand, but I argue that sites such as Redlasso help spread their brand – though admittedly, it is hard to control exactly what type of content is captured.

Media companies and networks – such as NBC Universal and Fox, which filed a lawsuit last week – should embrace new media sites and work with them, instead of against.

“Clip usage by bloggers is an exercise of first amendment rights to provide social commentary on newsworthy events,” Redlasso said in a press release.

Here is reaction from Ken Hayward, CEO of Redlasso:

We are very disappointed in the actions of select networks. We believe we have always acted within the law and have been respectful of the networks’ rights. Unfortunately, they have forced our hand and are denying the blogging community access to the Redlasso platform that beneficially tracks the usage of newsworthy clips across the Wed.

Redlasso’s goal is to develop a platform that provides content owners and bloggers a viable solution to tracking and monetizing content online, not to engage in lawsuits. In the eight months the Beta site has been in operation, we have built wide brand awareness and equity amongst the blogger and media communities. The wide spread use of our tools and platform demonstrates that the Redlasso model is a simple and elegant solution for all content owners to track and monetize content usage on the Web; content that would otherwise be untraceably spread across the Internet and used for free.


I only hope we can find solutions to these ongoing new media questions. And fast. At least for Redlasso’s sake.

Good news in the mean time: it appears that previously created clips using Redlasso still work.

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