Scripting News for 5/16/2007

Today’s links 

Excerpt from last night’s Republican debate cited below.

Larry King doesn’t use the Internet, and doesn’t want to learn how to.

Nik Cubrilovic: “The stats for torrent downloads are staggering.”

I wish I had seen the Republican debate 

I had a dinner in NY last night, so I missed the Republican debate.

The Nation summarizes an exchange with frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and Texas Congressperson Ron Paul, who said: “Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.”

Here’s the actual video.

Giuliani has no basis for running on his ability to defend the country against terrorism, other than an impression that he made some people feel better when he appeared on TV after the 9-11 attacks. I didn’t have a TV then, so I remain perhaps the only American who doesn’t have fond memories of Giuliani, who I remember as a brash district attorney, definitely not Presidential material. New York politics, even though NY is our biggest city, is a very small little world.

I’d like to see the current NY mayor, a Republican, get into the race. Unlike Giuliani, he comes from the city, not its political system, and is a genuinely smart man, who uses his brain, and his heart.

And I like the effect Ron Paul is having on the Republicans. He may be their Howard Dean, four years later, and perhaps without the self-destructiveness. They need, we need, someone to connect that component of our policial system in reality, and he’s doing that quite well.

I don’t usually watch Larry King 

A few weeks ago they had the entire cast of Heroes on Larry King, I’m a big fan of the show, so I watched. It was worth it, if only to hear the story of Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan Petrelli on the show, who is married to Natalie Maines, a Dixie Chick.

When she tours, in Japan for example, she can’t get the show on broadcast or cable, so she downloads it from the Internet. No one remarked that this was illegal, or could get her a big fine or jail time. Larry King didn’t say a word, nor did any of his fellow cast members. No lawyer served him with a subpoena. It went unnoticed.

Did a little reality leak in? On one hand, artists want their work to be seen. And the Internet reaches everywhere, including places that broadcast and cable don’t. And it’s the perfect time-shifter. Why shouldn’t I be able to watch the Republican debate even if I happen to be in NY and eating dinner with a business associate at the time it was broadcast?

Isn’t it time for the entertainment industry to deal with reality, instead of making obvious deals with Alberto Gonzalez to impose insults to the Constitution and the people, in order to support their denial of technology that serves people so incredibly well.

Maybe they should star in their own reality show, you could call it Network Execs in Denial. Put them on an island with a bunch of real people and Internet connectivity and watch them pull their hair out trying to explain to them why what they’re doing is wrong.

PS: Yaacov suggests that she was watching on this website. Interesting. Does it work in Japan??

13 responses to this post.

  1. Are you sure she wasn’t talking about watching it at ?


  2. Yaacov, works fine if you are in the US but when I go to that URL (I’m in the UK) I get…

    “We’re sorry, but the clip you selected isn’t available from your location. Please select another clip.”

    I wonder what you get if you are in Japan?


  3. Posted by Mauricio on May 16, 2007 at 5:59 am

    Here in Japan, thru my cable ISP’s network I also get “We’re sorry, but the clip you selected isn’t available from your location. Please select another clip”.

    However, I bet if I go to my office, I can see it… the IP addresses at work look like U.S. addresses.


  4. Be carefull Mauricio at your office you might be circumventing DRM, which is not allowed under the DMCA. 🙂


  5. Posted by Henri on May 16, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Here in Lebanon I get the same “not available from your location”.
    So basically it’s only for the US market, where most people who wanted to watch it will have tivo’ed it anyway.

    Once again, it’s one of those “Let’s not give the consumer anything that we could sell instead. We have to squeeze every last penny out of him”.

    That’s why bittorrent is so successful.


  6. Posted by john on May 16, 2007 at 8:00 am

    > so I remain perhaps the only American who doesn’t have fond memories of Giuliani…

    I remember the fine moment when Arizona crushed the Yankees in the World Series denying Giuliani the moment to bring up whatever. I was so happy that the celebration was going to be about baseball and nothing else.


  7. All the streams at both and are US-only, so aggressively so (IP filtering) that sometimes they don’t even work from US IP addresses.

    When I am in Australia I use torrents, and I can say for certain that somebody from Japan was either viewing via a torrent or via one of the many flash-based online viewers and aggregators such as:

    The stats for torrent downloads are staggering, I don’t doubt (from looking at the number of seeders 24h after a show has aired) that there are more people watching via BT and these online sites than are watching live on TV. You get a good idea as to which shows are popular just by sorting them by the number of leechers the torrent has (and Heroes, Greys Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, 24, etc. always come up with 100k+ leechers at any one time, from any one torrent)


  8. Btw, I got my first take-down notice last week from HBO for downloading an episode of Entourage, my IP provider forwarded it to me with a message saying

    ‘just move it :p’



  9. Here’s where I leave comments on Scripting news! See this post: Larry King admits he doesn’t understand how the internet works.


  10. Posted by Kevin Newman on May 16, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t doubt Nik’s assertion that there are hundreds of thousands of people downloading episodes via bittorrent, but the Neilsen ratings show more than 20 million viewers for the top shows. I don’t think that bittorrent viewers have surpassed broadcast viewers quite yet.


  11. Posted by Chris on May 16, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    I live in Japan, and yes, my IP is blocked for that NBC feed.

    Although I give Bittorrent a try every six months or so, it’s just too much of a hassle for normal folks, especially if you work at home and need your internet connection to be responsive. And, especially with music, such a large percentage of the downloads are vandalized that it’s not worth the trouble.

    Nik, if the IP filtering is incorrect, just sent them a note: they’ll fix it. It takes a lot of work to maintain those tables, and they get it wrong sometimes.


  12. Wow, thank you for that clip of Ron Paul. I think that if they just let those candidates continue the conversation for 8 hours and follow each topic without feeling rushed we could get somewhere. I think this will be that last pres campaign that will have these styles of debates. 2012 is so far away. If Ron Paul is the Howard Dean, he will be taken out far sooner than Dean was. But I will support him as long as possible, he has been my choice since 2002.


  13. Here is Ron Paul on CNN explaining himself and what he was trying to say, it gets better.


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