HORSE RACING AND THE SINISTER ATTEMPTS AT COPYRIGHT SHAKEDOWNS

The music industry was caught with its pants down when The Digital Revolution happened overnight. It turned Copyright laws on its head by becoming irrelevant and persona non grata in the online world. Music companies huffed and puffed, stuck the chests out and wheezed, “Sue the bastards”, and tried to have videos removed from sites like YouTube with more threats of legal action, but music fans gave them the two-finger salute and did what they wanted. They still do. The lunatics have taken over all the online asylums, wikileaks has happened, and which is why YouTube, Spotify, Facebook etc have pushed their respective Panic buttons.

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Whatever they were selling, and once so readily accepted by those in the online world without any questions isn’t working anymore and which is why there are now fake “likes”, fake “views” and fake “followers”.

Those revolting peasants are even more revolting and all this “fakeness” is accepted as being “okay” in what has become a numbers game crap shoot by “marketers” in name card only.

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Once, even musicians sued other musicians for copyright infringement- remember the long drawn out Joe Satriani versus Coldplay case?- but all were “settled out of court”. Why? There are no laws in the online world, and no matter how they might have once worked in the real world, Copyright and Entertainment lawyers are an irrelevant and quaint species who can only try to bluff and play the old Corporate Shakedown card.

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None of this “stuff” works anymore. Lawyers for the other side have only one piece of advice for their clients who receive any letters threatening legal action: Ignore them.

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And so it is with horse racing, where those trying the old Corporate Shakedown, better understand that in a social media world comprising Facebook, twitter, instagram, YouTube and various legal and illegal file sharing sites, only those living in the age of Aquarius with the Flintstones, or the bluffers- and many exist, not surprisingly, in the mainstream media- would be stupid enough to think that something like “their” photographs are protected by copyright, and that those who tweet, or press “Save Image” and use this content on “free-to-air” blog posts are ever going to pay for anything that has travelled around the world and back several times over.

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It’s all about the sharing and dissemination of news. Once videos, or any content- including yours or my personal photos or videos- are shared on any other online medium, forget arguments about reading the fine print regarding “twitter laws”, or “Google laws”.

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Other than, perhaps, asking politely to please remove “the offending material” to keep the peace, try and threaten the consumer, or any other online product rocking out there in the free world with legal action while clutching at straws and picking numbers outta the air via some invisible rate card and sending out “invoices”, a David versus Goliath battle will take place with People Power having the public support.

Look at what happened in Hong Kong with Occupy Central and a scared and freaked out Hong Kong government where, basically, three student leaders held them to ransom for almost two months with the problem still at loggerheads.

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Getting back to horse racing, what content other than Broadcasting Rights do those in the sport actually own- and how much content do racing fans actually want?

One particular horse racing-related copyright issue one never quite understood was the free-to-download iPhone app called AusRacing, which was available to only those outside of Oz and NZ.

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For free, we had ‘live’ streaming of every city meeting in Australia, seven days a week- minus the commercial breaks, and where we could listen in on everything said off-air including the now classic, “We’ll have to cross over soon to that useless prick who thinks he’s god’s gift to women and broadcasting.” You know him: Horse racing’s own Ted Baxter and Anchorman rolled into one fur ball.

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All this and info on what Bernie Cooper had for dinner the night before, tipsters asking for “some numbers” and trainers laughed at after their interviews for “nonsensical riding instructions”, was heard and available for over two years.

Alas, someone got wise to it- TVN?- and this great service was stopped only a few months ago. How did it make money? No idea. Maybe it existed to be an annoyance.

However, with sling boxes available for between HK$800-$2,000, many in Hong Kong, for example, can watch any race meeting, anywhere in the world for free. It’s like Pirate Bay or any other illegal downloading site where one has a buffet of choices to smash and grab- everything from the latest television series to brand new movies.

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What’s happening now is that like music companies, horse racing’s small group of content providers, especially those who are part of big organisations and facing redundancy are desperately looking at ways where they might be able to nickel and dime third parties for some sort of payment to pad out their balance sheets.

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Too late, Einstein. The genie is out of the bottle, and going after one party will mean having to first get to the source of where this supposed copyright infringement occurred. Google? Twitter? Facebook? YouTube? Trying to harangue everyone on social media is not only laughable, it shows a mental disconnect with how the way things are today.

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More to the point, if a cash cow- even one severely deficient in vitamins B and C- it’s surely up to content providers to find ways to actually PROTECT their Intellectual Property instead of crying foul after the horse has bolted.

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Of course, there are other sinister goings on involved. Though a relatively small industry compared to other sports, politics and petty jealousies are rife and back-stabbing has taken place and continues to take place. And these are not exclusive to jockeys, trainers and horse owners. It happens between racing clubs, it happens within racing clubs, and it happens between the racing media.

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The experienced mainstream scribes mind their own business and get on with their jobs. The troublemakers are those new to racing’s mainstream media. These are not journalists, but barely reporters, who slag off their bosses behind their backs, despise their gigs, and, suffering from a severe case of penis envy, feel the need to compete with those writing without ball-busting corporate Mandingo shackles.

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This angst comes out in their “D Grade” writing, and also comes out in their petty politics where they hide behind skirts and employ bully boy corporate tactics.

As has been said many times, Jealousy Must Be Earned- and, Don’t Poke The Bear. They bite back.

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Hans Ebert

This entry was posted in Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, The horse racing industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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