The project formerly known as The Venice Project has now turned into Joost. It’s the latest venture from the guys behind Skype and in a nutshell it hopes to do to television what Skype did to telephones. As they put it: ‘taking the best of TV and mixing it with the best of the Internet’. It’s all based on peer-to-peer technologies (don’t forget these are also the same guys who developed Kazaa – one of the best early p2p applications). I don’t have any idea how they’re hoping to deal with copyright issues, but I’m sure they do…
It’s in ‘invite only’ beta phase. I’m in the beta testing program, but it’s PC only at the moment. So I’ve not really had a chance to play with it.
Obviously, given the group that produced the film, it’s coming at the argument from a certain direction. But there are some interesting bits in there.
I was surprised at the power that Hollywood has over the US government, and subsequently the lengths that they went to in order to ‘persuade’ the Swedish government to act against Pirate Bay. The backlash that this has generated in Sweden was also interesting, it would appear that many people are enraged by the US interfering and overturning domestic policy (which ultimately has led to the Pirate Party getting massive exposure and a sizable following).
I think the argument that’s put forward in the film that was most interesting talks about the fact that historically musicians were against recorded music, and the film industry was against VCRs. Both groups eventually turned these threats into revenue streams.
One commentator in the film recounts a Chinese proverb along the lines of:
When the wind rises, some people build walls. Others build windmills.
The ancient Chinese didn’t mention the fact that millions of others rush around looting stuff for free in all the confusion, but I guess that’s a much more modern predicament.
When I finished watching the film I didn’t end up feeling like my mind had been moved in either direction. It just made it clear that there really is a war going on, and there’s 2 groups of people who are determined to do things their way until they have to stop… But I did feel that one group was perhaps slightly more innovative and responsive than the other, no prizes for guessing which one.