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Saturday, October 3

Daily Show archive blocked for UK: Channel Four display several layers of stupid

UK fans of America's leading satirical TV show got a shock today when they discovered they could no longer view the show on its website.

The website has forums where overseas fans of the show have been venting their rage at the block. Not just UK viewers but those from Ireland who can no longer watch the show on the UK licensee Channel Four's website yet also remain blocked from watching it on the show's website, apparently because C4 hasn't bothered to tell the Daily Show's channel, Comedy Central, that it's blocked the Irish. People in the rest of Europe have no such problems.

There's no statement from either Channel Four or the show about this out-of-the-blue block but it appears from past Daily Show statements on their forum that they only do the blocking on the request of a country's license holder. Incidentally, I was able to leave a comment on their website and I see that the show's producers do respond to comment. Channel Four offers no such option, there is no comment space offered for the show and they have no forum or similar space for viewers to talk back to them.

What is particularly sad/appalling about Channel Four's actions is that all online video from the extensive Daily Show online archive is now being blocked for UK - yet Channel Four is only showing the past week's shows online! Do they even have rights to episodes from before they started showing the Daily Show, because I can't watch clips from 2000.

What is so stupid about this (and it has multiple layers of stupid) is that I have been posting clips on my blog which promotes the show Channel Four have rights to! Now none of those embedded clips work and so the show gets no (free) promotion from me or the many others who embed clips.

When the Daily Show's sister program The Colbert Report was being shown on a UK cable channel you couldn't watch clips on their website - but you could watch clips embedded on other websites. This makes complete sense as if you liked what you saw it promoted the cable channel's show and made it far more likely that you'd bother to subscribe to it. It also makes it appear that C4's block request included blocking embedded clips.

At the same time that one bit of C4 takes this completely stupid action another makes clips from C4 news freely available, even ad free!

Here's another stupidity. I have watched clips from US shows which have served up country specific ads. On sites like HuffPost I get UK ads. So if you can recognise I'm from the UK you can monetise it to the benefit of the UK license holder. Hardly rocket science.
 What C4 are doing is tragic for the Daily Show itself as it is going to lose a significant chunk of its UK audience. All - one would assume - in the name of driving viewers back to watching the show on More4 ON TV!

I hope that the show's resident Brit, the hugely popular John Oliver, learns about it and tells Channel Four to stop behaving like idiots.

Of course people can watch Daily Show clips if they know how to get around the block by hiding their computer's ip address. This means C4 lose out on any hope of ad revenue. I won't even bother linking to how because a simple Google (or a look on the Daily Show's forums where they allow comments explaining how) will tell you what to do. So not only are C4 idiots but they think the rest of us UK fans of the show are too.

Addendum: Tony Lee has commented on the cross-post of this on the Online Journalism blog that:
Channel 4 denies the above.  I wrote them and got the following response:

Thank you for contacting us regarding THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART.

We would advise that although we do indeed hold UK broadcast rights for the series, the overall rights to the series are owned by Comedy Central themselves. Content on their website, as with other American networks, is blocked to residents not in the US. These blocks are placed by the channel themselves, not Channel 4.

It is the same with content on UK broadcasters website being blocked to those outside the UK. The reason for this is copyright and broadcasting licence terms.

We would suggest that you therefore direct your complaint on this issue to Comedy Central. You can do so via the following link:

Channel 4 is not responsible for third-party websites.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us here at Channel 4 and for your interest in our programming.


Rachel Salinger
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries
This is the exact opposite of what Comedy Central say on their forum - so I will post this statement there and see what they have to say for themselves.

There is an actly petition:
petition @ComedyCentral to  lift the IP block for #dailyshow video online UK RT to sign #actly
Addendum two

A fix has been posted on the Daily Show fan forum (ironically) (and it works)

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Wednesday, September 30

Video: Convergence and technology - Did You Know

The latest version of the "Shift happens" videos updated for autumn 2009, developed by XPLANE in partnership with The Economist. This 'Did You Know' video focuses on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology.

There are a lot of these videos out there which throw stats at you, this is the best one I've seen yet.

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Tuesday, September 29

The Eight Stages of Genocide

Crossposted from my new outlet, Cosmodaddy

How can we predict and prevent genocides? Greg Stanton outlines his groundbreaking theory on the eight stages of genocide: classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and denial.

Genocide in Darfur, he argues, has proceeded through these stages before our eyes. Genocide could have been prevented by means of intervention at any one of a number of critical points in the past, but the international response has amounted to too little, too late.

This has always been the case and I don't see this changing anytime soon, despite the best efforts of fantastic groups like Avaaz though groups like them remain our best hope, as does the work of people like Stanton who help people understand that - yes - things can be done and that genocide is not some 'natural, unstoppable force' like an earthquake or a tornado.

One starting point would be for those responsible for doing nothing to be seen to learn lessons and admit their errors. For 'never again!' to mean anything, it's essential. This is why the campaign around Belgium, for example, to own up to its horrific history in the Congo is so important, as important as for Serbia to own up to its role in the Balkan's genocides in the 90s.

It's also close - very close - to home. This is from a post of mine last year about Hillary Clinton's claim that she tried to stop the Rwandan genocide.

Rewriting history over Rwanda

The Americans weren't alone. The British, the French, the Belgians and much of the rest of Africa all either didn't do anything or actively stopped aid. They all looked for their own interests and none had any interest in stopping genocide.

It was Britain's ambassador to the UN, Sir David Hannay, who proposed that the UN reduce its force. A year after the slaughter, the Foreign Office sent a letter to an international inquiry saying that it still did not accept the term genocide, seeing discussion on whether the massacres constituted genocide as "sterile". Then Ministers John Major, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind and Lynda Chalker have never even been asked about their role.

Virtually no-one emerges heroically (Canadian peacekeeper Roméo Dallaire is one and his view on Clinton's claims would be interesting to hear). In fact I would urge anyone to make themselves read the harrowing background as an object lesson in international power politics and its victims - a million of them in Rwanda. There's a blog which covers the 100 days before and during the slaughter in detail. 'A People Betrayed' by Linda Melvern is very good.

For Hillary to now try to adopt that heroic mantle is, as commentators have noted, worse than 'monstrous'.
Almost - almost - as monstrous as this comment from Gordon Brown:
"You cannot have Rwanda again because information would come out far more quickly about what is actually going on and the public opinion would grow to the point where action would need to be taken."
Where is Twitter on the genocides happening right now in the DR of Congo? Or the slaughter of indigenous people in Peru? Where is Brown? Where is Sarah Brown!?

Here is a list of the genocides taking place now in the world.

The media doesn't give a damn and, unfortunate but true, neither do most Twitter users.

HT: Domino

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