The Video Revolution
On a weekly basis, I tend to find products or experiences that quickly become “the coolest thing ever”. It is a rarity that one such item or event holds on to that title for a substantial period of time (except baseball and chicken parmesan of course). So when I was introduced to apps allowing for live video captured from your phone to stream online awhile ago, I in no way thought that they would still be “the coolest thing ever”, but indeed they retain that crown.
There are several companies out there that offer these abilities. Qik, USTREAM, and Justin.TV are a few that come to mind. They all behave in essentially the same manner. Users are able to download an app after signing up for an account (which creates your specific URL). The app allows for live video to be recorded, which is then broadcasted to your applicable URL on the company’s site. Friends, family, and random people who enjoy watching random live videos can go to your URL to watch all the wonderful events of your life that you are recording, at the same time you are recording. Each of these companies has standard features, while others go above and beyond. Justin.TV is currently only available for Android and iPhone, while Qik and USTREAM allow for use from several different phone platforms.
The future of the Internet and mobile lies in video to some degree. I have thought this for some time now, way before FaceTime and Chatroulette surfaced. It is a logical progression from written based communication. I feel that the main social media players, Facebook and Twitter, will roll out more advanced video integration features somewhere down the line. I expect other video based technologies to also take front stage in the coming years.
Going back to our initial topic, it makes me wonder about the legal ramifications involved in live streaming from your phone. With the smart phones on the market these days, you can capture some pretty high resolution video. Say for instance, you are attending a concert. You would of course not be allowed to bring a video camera into the concert, but the venue staff can’t prevent you from bringing your phone. There is nothing stopping you from streaming the entire show in real-time from your phone online. Same goes for an athletic event, or even a movie premier. Every major league sport is very diligent about not allowing reproduction of their content, especially recording and broadcasting games live on your own.
Chances are, the average person attending the premier of Will Ferrell’s newest film isn’t going to sit there recording it on their phone the entire time so friends from home can watch online. Although, there are people that would. It’s a scary world out there.
Like any new technology, especially user-shared content, there will be legal questions that surface. I don’t necessarily think that live streaming will go the way of Napster, but it easily could if you think about it. No one is necessarily going to lose big revenue because a few people who couldn’t attend the show are watching it online. Although, it just takes one executive having a bad day to cry wolf. It’s important to keep in mind, if anything.
Now, there are many perfectly acceptable uses for live streaming that shouldn’t be dismissed. Dad can now be able to watch his son’s soccer game from his hotel room while he is on the other side of the world on business. Friends can designate whoever draws the short straw to go record the boring wedding ceremony, while the rest of your buddies watch from the bar. The bride has to assume you were at the ceremony if you know what songs were sung, remember the vows, and know where Grandma Shirley was sitting. No backlash there. Thank you live streaming video.