Friday, July 25, 2008

The War Against Free Speech

Now that independent bloggers have become a viable and influential source of political news and commentary it appears that the mainstream media has declared all out war.

Frequent visitors to the blogosphere are familiar with the fact that news agency, The Associated Press (AP) sent DMCA notices to the Drudge Report, citing that DR's use of excerpts from AP articles infringes on their copyrights.

You're also probably familiar with Viacom's lawsuit against Google over Youtube's use of their content. A federal judge is now ordering YouTube to turn over information on its users' viewing history.

And the latest salvo has targeted Redlasso, the video search and clipping service that many bloggers have come to rely upon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

NBC Universal and Fox filed suit Wednesday against RedLasso Inc., saying the video provider copies and distributes the companies' content without authorization.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, NBC Universal, Fox News Channel and Fox Television Stations Group said RedLasso had been engaging in the "wholly unauthorized" copying and distribution of its content. It isn't clear how much in damages the companies are seeking from RedLasso.

Informal talks had been going on between RedLasso and NBC, Fox and other networks since the companies sent a cease and desist order in May. It wasn't immediately clear why the other companies, which included CBS Corp. and Allbritton Communications Co., did not join in the lawsuit.

Is anyone surprised that FOX is involved in this?

Redlasso executives issued the following press release this afternoon:


King of Prussia, PA – July 25, 2008 – In light of recent legal actions by two networks, Redlasso( announced today that it has no alternative but to suspend blogger access to its video search and clipping Beta site for the immediate future. The company will continue to operate and provide services to its business and Radio To Web clients such as Greater Media and XMSatellite Radio.

The now-suspended Beta site provides bloggers with online broadcast content tools that enables them to exercise their first amendment rights to comment on newsworthy events, by searching blogger-selected TV and radio segments and creating limited duration clips for usage in blog posts.

In addition to the Beta site, Redlasso also offers two other services which will continue.

The first is
a solution for businesses that allows them to track and clip content for internal use. The second service, Radio To Web, is an on-line platform that allows each radio station client to search, clip, and upload its content to its own web site and share that content online.

“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 Web,” said Ken Hayward, CEO of Redlasso.

“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.”
What is really at the heart of these legal actions?

Could it be that the political power brokers are realizing that if Americans aren't limited to getting their news from mainstream media sources that they won't be as easily lead?

The following videos address just how powerful the blogosphere has become and why forces like the Rupert Murdochs and the Washington insiders might want to see it stifled. View them while you can.

In the following video Sherine Tadros of AlJazeeraEnglish reports on how internet technology has changed the face of politics and political coverage.

In this video, TheRealNews interviews Joe Trippi, author of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" about the social shift from TV to the Internet will affect politics.

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