14.Mar.2011 Should We Steal Baseball Feeds?

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Eric Gleske, director of Oregon State baseball games, wrote me an email last night, and he brought up some good points. I'm on the fence. I played devil's advocate with him, but at the same time I understand why he's upset. I'll post the dialogue, and look forward to hearing some opinions on this. His original email is posted first, followed by my response (in the blockquote), and then his final retort.

Angry,

First, let me say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your thoughtful writing about OSU athletics. I agree – there are issues inside of Gill that need to be addressed in many programs; it can be hard some times to be a fan. Your insights and passion combine to create a voice that needs to be heard, by fans, coaches, and administrators. All too often, these groups spend more time hearing each other inside their own echo chamber, which can lead to many often unfortunate results.

That said, I have a bone to pick with. I find it rather duplicitous of you to claim your "Angry" moniker from the position that as a fan you want what's best, or at least better, for OSU, while at the same time actively aiding and abetting those who would take away the ability of other fans to experience, appreciate, and support one of their sports.

I speak of baseball.

I find it ironic, in a manner unflattering to you, that the page on which I found your e-mail address contains the following message: "This site is and will always remain both free and ad free. Donations to help with hosting fees are welcome but never required." You must therefore agree that it takes some level of resources to provide streaming video coverage of the baseball games at OSU, and yet you have, for every home game, provided your readers with a link to see the games for free.

Disgusting.

Full disclosure: I'm the guy who sits in OSU's video truck and directs the coverage. I am not an employee of athletics, but elsewhere on campus, hired in for live game day video production work; and, it should be noted, I write this on my own time, in my own words, and for myself.

I direct a crew of interns and others who work very hard – and in today's game against VMI, in almost dangerous weather conditions for the camera operators – to provide coverage of each home game, coverage that has received good reviews from people who watch it. With limited resources, it's perhaps not the coverage I wish we could do, but we do what we can, as the department does not have enough money to support even incremental improvements I would like to see us bring to our coverage. One thing that has helped is that the positive feedback of folks who have subscribed – OSU fans who understand the value we provide and commit to a subscription for the baseball season; if subscriptions fall, it would into be beyond the realm of possibility that the level of coverage would fall in the future – if not go away completely.

For you to espouse from one side of your keyboard your wish for OSU to be greater while on the other side kicking one of the legs out from under their table is a notion disingenuous at its best, and that notion's best should nevertheless be beneath anyone who professes to be a true OSU fan.

I, for one, would appreciate it if you would quit aiding abetting those who are thieves of OSU's products. Speaking only for myself, my crew works hard for the fans of OSU baseball, and I feel our efforts deserve your respect, not theft.

If you feel you have a compelling argument to promote reduced revenues from the baseball video stream, please — enlighten me. I really, really want to know how your repeated support of content thieves will improve things for Baseball, for Athletics, for OSU.

Finally, let me add that I can't wait for the return of Mike Parker, either.

Yours without anonymity,

Eric Gleske

Directing the baseball stream since 2008=

Personally, I listen to the radio feed because I have an unreliable internet connection.

Maybe your note will hit home with the fans who do use the video and they'll either subscribe or move to radio.

My counterargument would be this: the people who are streaming video very likely don't have the money to pay for a subscription, so if they weren't streaming, they wouldn't be subscribing, either. Also, I haven't looked into the legality of that site. Sometimes if the host is located offshores it's legal to stream. A loophole, but still not illegal. Again, I don't know in this case. A reader actually posted that link in the comment area originally; I didn't go searching for it.

I think a bigger fish to fry would be the person hosting the link, not someone sharing the link. How do OSU fans know if they want to support the baseball team if they can't see it? We pay $60+ a month for cable, many of us add sports packages, and yet we can't get a single game on FSN. And I'm an adult with income. Imagine a student living off loans trying to catch what the new team looks like…bad economy, depressed wages, etc.

I don't run the stream; I just link to it. Last year was the first year in my eight of following OSU athletics that I donated, and I can say a lot of it had to do with finally being able to watch all the teams, including baseball and OOC basketball (via streams). I think you need to realize the people who rely on streams do so because they have to, for financial reasons. 99% of them would move to radio streams before purchasing streams off the official site.

I'd like to post this for discussion though, because maybe I am wrong. Either way, it's a good point.

-Angry

Angry,

Last night I used strong words, and I need to be sure that you are clear on one thing: I am taking you to task for posting the links; I am not suggesting that you are affiliated with the pirates. "Aiding and abetting" was a bit harsh…but it certainly gets your attention. 

From reading your wonderful posts this past year, I think you would appreciate my choice of modus operandi.

No, I don't mind you sharing my thoughts with others. In fact, I truly believe we create a video stream that is worth the money that a subscription costs. It would be nice if it were free, but that's far above my pay grade – I'm not even in that chain of command or decision making. The kids I train work hard, and provide excellent results given the constraints under which we work. It's a far cry from Fenway Park*, where I used to do production with the the best in the business, but we've got a good little system that works to tell the story of each game for those who can't be at Goss. For those with a crappy connection, the stream will look crappy whether it's paid for or not – still, the subscriptions help bring it to the world.  

Although, to be fair, my understanding is that the stream is something of a loss leader, which would make sense, as I can't imagine the subscriber count pays for production costs, as minimal as those are.

Regardless, the individual who is re-streaming the content is in violation of the law. Again, let me be clear: I realize it's not you, you are just providing a link. The pirate streamer is the thief. If they are offshore and hard to get to, it's still theft, and anyone watching the stream from the pirate needs to understand that they are participating in the theft. It is analogous to buying stolen goods from off the back of a truck. If you want to see the stream, go to OSUbeavers.com and sign up. This tells the powers that be that the content is valuable to the fan base, and that resources, in a resource- challenged department, should continue to be allocated for the production of the streaming baseball games.

Again, I speak for myself, and not for athletics. I do know, from being on site in the truck at each game, that the pirate site has been reported and CBS, who is OSU's partner in the streaming side, is looking into shutting it down. That bigger fish is, indeed, being angled for. I do know that in the past there have been issues with the streams as far as quality; basketball, for example. looked rather poor before we stopped streaming when TV coverage kicked in (OSU doesn't stream anything on television, as part of he TV deals). and last year the streaming services were, quite frankly, not working, for the first part of baseball season. But, in large part due to complaints from subscribers, efforts have been made behind the scenes, to improve the IT end of things so that the streams work.  So let's give Athletics a hand and make them work on the other side of the equation. That's only fair, don't you think?

Perhaps my comments are rooted in selfishness: I love baseball – it's the best game – and I love being able to bring it to the world via my skills and give the kids a wonderful opportunity to learn about production as much as learning what makes baseball the best game. I would hate for my opportunity to do this is future seasons to erode because the bean counters decide to give up in the face of piracy. 

Quite frankly, if it were up to me, it would be a more secure stream, but at the same time totally free, so there would be no incentive to go anywhere but OSUBeavers.com to see the content, and they could probably make up the difference with advertising on the website since they would have all the eyeballs going there for free. But it's not up to me, rather, that's a discussion for those inside the athletics marketing brains…

Meanwhile, keep up the good work.

Thanks for listening,

Eric

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  • angry angry says:
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    Just want to say one more thing before I let go of this: I find it ironic that Eric reads and enjoys my site, yet has never given a donation.

    • BeavGirl BeavGirl says:
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      haha. too true

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      Good point.

      -GWH
      Second Donator in Angrybeavs.com history. ($3.50)

    • Opus says:
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      “I find it ironic that Eric reads and enjoys my site, yet has never given a donation.”

      Wow, really? What don’t you understand about an OSU employee who gives of himself and his time that this is not enough of a donation? Seriously, It’s a bit incredulous to ask that of an ’employee’ (of sorts) of athletics to fork over his cash to the department with the same money they are paying him! ooops, haha you meant your site…In either case, just because someone asks for a donation doesn’t mean there is irony in not receiving it while enjoying the “free” content. Free is Free or at least it should be (without making inappropriate suggestions).
      Here’s to hoping the PAC12 makes all their streams ‘free’ to current employees and students of their respective institutions (as this is only Proper and Ethical)!

      As for the osu marketing department, they are truly missing the technology social bandwagon! Free the video from it’s Flash integration and make it truly cross-platform!!! Ah well, there’s always next year…

      • angry angry says:
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        Yet another person who does not understand irony. The internet seems to be loaded with them.

        a. Person A complains I am not paying for his content.
        b. Person A does not pay for my content.

        That is ironic.

        Whether you want to put stipulations on it like “you don’t ask outright, he does” that’s your problem. The bottom line is it’s ironic.

  • Afghanbeav Afghanbeav says:
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    He is really upset with the streaming games, call me naïve but i thought the stream was legit and free…i mean who would play for streaming access to OSUbeavs. Every time i have seen something from that sight it has been total garbage. Either A) the audio was off sync VERY badly like 10-15 seconds… or B) it didn’t work at all.

    Sorry but I will continue to watch the games online as long as they are up.

  • Geoff Whittier says:
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    let’s see here, given a choice between paying for a service (BNO, and a crappy one at that) or getting a stream for free? I know what I’d pick. And do.

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    Oregon is a fairly spread out state. Alot of people in Portland have few chances to make baseball games. It isn’t football even with two national championships. I am always glad when Oregon State has more fans. I feel they all buy clothing and are more likley to attend football or basketball and be a lifetime fan. I guess maybe it should just be free on osubeavers.com and they can try to get some advertsing money. This is where Larry Scott needs to come in with a 190 million dollar TV contract and Pac-12 Network that can have alot more baseball games broadcasted. OSU baseball is a solid product but we always have to encourage our fans to be the type who really get excited about a high level of success, because it takes ravid fans to drive lasting success. The new TV deal can’t come soon enough and here’s to a GREAT and LUCRATIVE PAC-12 for OREGON STATE!! GO BEAVS!!

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I’m sorry, but this product is not polished nor professional enough be worth paying for. I have noticed that some mid-major universities (i.e Big Sky and Horizon League) have on occassion offered streams free of charge. NBA D-League does not charge. Interesting that OSU feels compelled to charge.

  • osbeavs says:
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    You know that the RIAA went after Napster hard because they were “losing money”. It was later pointed out that album sales were still on par with pervious numbers and smaller bands were selling more records due to increased exposure. Sometimes the result is not what it seems. Free streaming to baseball games may be the difference to many people between watching the game and even passively paying attention. I certainly don’t have the cash nor would I pay (unless I had a lot of expendable income) to watch Beaver Baseball unless there was a high standard of broadcasting (better broadcasters than those featured on any FSN sporting event). Now, I only gamecast the games because I am work but imagine this same situation for other fans. If a fan isn’t paying attention to a sport, will they buy gear/memorablia?

  • angry angry says:
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    Very interesting piece of work. I figure a lot of you don’t have the attention span for all of it. At the end of the video the narrator gives his conclusion. I’ve transcribed the following directly from audio but you should listen to the whole thing.
    quote:

    “Why do I bring any of this up? What is significant about the Amen Break? I’m talking about it here because I think it’s story is a good example illustrating the rise and subsequent problematic of digital sampling in relation to today’s increasingly stringent copyright and trademark laws. To trace the history of the Amen Break is to trace the history of a brief period of time when it seemed digital tools offered a potentially unlimited amount of new forms of expression. Where cultural production, at least musically, was full of possibilities by virtue of being able to freely appropriate from the musical past, to make new combinations, and thus new meanings. The story demonstrates that a society, ‘free to borrow and build upon the past is culturally richer than a controlled one.’ To use the words of Lawrence Lessig, Standford Law professor, copyright reform advocate, and confounder of Creative Commons – an organization offering a legal alternative to copyright control.

    As we go forward, examples like the Amen Break will become more and more rare, if nonexistent. A 6th circuit appeals court ruled in September of this year, that recording artists must pay for every sample they use not in the public domain, regardless of the length or recognizability of the samples in question. But because of various changes of U.S. copyright laws, for example the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998, which extend copyrights into the mid 21st century, virtually all 20th century cultural output has been locked away from the public domain – barred from sampling unless one has deep pockets and expensive lawyers. So it seems that companies like Zero G, with its attempt at regulating the use of and profiting from the use of the Amen Break, is helping to secure the supremacy of copyright laws while the company’s very success itself occured because of a lack of strict copyright control surrounding break beat sampling. In other words, not only does the innovation within culture grow when copyright is flexible – so do its markets and capital. New trends are developed, new sounds are sought after, new releases are anticipated and become hugely popular – perhaps even selling out, new stars are born, and new fan bases are created. Money is exchanged. All in the pursuit of new forms of experiences of potentials for new connections and meanings.

    I think the history of the use of the Amen Break demonstrates this. To cite Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski, in a copyright ruling last year, ‘Over protecting intellectual property is as harmful as under protecting it. Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, like nothing since we tamed fire, is geniually new. Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion – each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Over protection stifles the very creative forces its supposed to nurture.’ End of recording.”

    Basically the narrator is using the history of the Amen Break to demonstrate the direction copyright laws and intellectual property protection worries are taking us. If you’ve ever wondered where all the great music has gone and where all the legendary musicians are and why all the corporate cookie-cutter crap dominates the airwaves, you should take a knee and listen.

  • Quatre Quatre says:
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    I’m not breaking any laws by watching an illegally streamed event and until law is passed that makes such a thing illegal, I will continue to do so.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    So, in re-reading this my takeaway is that he is scolding you for posting the link, but basically saying if he had any influence it would be free?

    • angry angry says:
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      Yes.

      I mean, I told him I won’t post the link anymore since that’s the etiquette with intellectual property. But in that event I guess I should IP ban him so he can’t read my site for free.

      • Afghanbeav Afghanbeav says:
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        Can we make sure someone keeps posting the links comments when we have home games? I didn’t bookmark 🙁

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I thought it was interesting that he picked you as a target. I mean, the couple of times I have been able to post during a game, there were maybe 10 others chatting with us and not everyone could even get a decent stream or was trying. If we are talking CBS and money, my sense is that it would be very minimal unless there are “hundreds” who lurk on this site, but our to shy to post.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Get the info necessary to contact the OSU marketing gurus. Many here might not be willing to to pay the university’s fees for their online streams, but we can make the video department solvent with targeted donations.

    I know that the argument would be that simply subscribing to the official site makes this point, but it sounds like the online content is of a lesser quality before the offshore entities filter it. Is this the case?

    If the quality is now the same as the offshore feeds (or vice versa), then I would gladly give more than the subscription amount without subscribing, and I would stipulate in my donation to the AD that the money go to the video department with the express wish to make all OSU video content free to the public.

    The model is already tried and true with OPB and PBS. The university need only to set a target amount for making these feeds free at the beginning of each year. I’m assuming many of us would rather have the option of seeing our teams play even if we don’t feel compelled to give to the BASF or any one team after seeing them play. So the product that we can say we care about universally is video access.

    And the models set forth by public television can be improved upon in the revenue department. Private, targeted gifts do not preclude ad dollars as they do in the others cited. We don’t even need a marketing plan to increase viewership. I imagine that numbers will increase by simply breathing on the plan. Increased viewership means increased ad dollars. And even a semi-savvy marketing department can get the word out to Beav faithful as well as to our opponents for each sport in order to sell the product–and, indirectly, the ad counts.

    As always, I spurn the pay wall. I feel open and free access under an ad-pay structure is the model which should be followed if third party monies are to be gained. I prefer ad free to this, but I understand why it’s done. I feel that the official site would benefit from free access more than they are willing to envision, and they would beat the pirates at their own game. More eyes on the official product means that marketing dollars spent on that product would be returned in whole number ratios rather than the fractions they must now be striving to gain.

    So I understand cost constraints, but I do not support squeezing blood from this turnip simply because it’s another turnip which can be squeezed. OSU has been progressive with its ecampus product, and the world has responded by rating it among the industry leaders. So I know there are some tech savvy people at the school working hard to provide online services in another arena. So I need info on how to make our sports streams free to everyone. I want our online streaming to be the envy of our opponents as well as a great service for our fans.

    If you don’t feel compelled to give anything to the AD for football, basketball or whatever, maybe you would give to the department in order to support this cause.

    ?

    When I send a check to the AD, I need to know where I need to target my donation in order to provide such a service. I think we should also look into the private funding for free content angle. Perhaps ad revenue would be unnecessary if corporate or small business donations could be obtained with tax breaks as incentives? I’m shooting from the hip on this, but the ideas keep coming in the whole ten minutes I’ve spent on the subject. Imagine what someone with a clue could do in ten minutes.

    • JackBeav says:
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      I know it sounds a little convoluted at first, but the point being made by directly giving donations to the university and targeting video feeds with a note tells the AD why my money is going to that target. I would give more than the annual subscription amount because I think it’s important that all content be free, and the amount they charge is just a jumping off point at this time. Any amount over that should be assumed to be proxy funds for those who can’t afford to give now.

      The argument for just subscribing to the official site removes all transparency from the process. They have set a price based on their budget and what they expect for subscriptions based on past performance. I imagine they want a profit from the price point set, but my argument is that their model is incorrect because it makes the product too exclusive. What if I only have $60 set aside for an annual entertainment budget? Don’t laugh at the amount. I’ve been there, and many more find themselves there now. If I wanted that money to go to OSU, I can buy six months of official product and pine away the other six months. On the other hand, my $60 and someone else’s $100 given to a targeted account for free video content covers the assumed price point for both, and the goodwill engendered on such occasions will bear larger donations from the $60 donor as time passes.

      Simply subscribing to the product would be a tacit approval of the set price and would exclude all who might give a small amount if possible but choose not to because of the hard line set by the price. The model says that 25,000 people giving $10 is better than 3,000 people paying $80 annually. My numbers may be contrived, but I believe the ancillary benefits to free access go beyond the video content itself. More eyes on more OSU athletics means more interest… means more fan participation… means more revenue.

      • JackBeav says:
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        And before someone asks, yes I have watched some free content online. I do like some gymnastics events (like our team, I dislike the floor routine). I simply fast forward through the content I don’t want to watch. I would watch other sports as well, but it seems the “Premium” sports are the only ones really given any consideration content-wise. In the end, I’m just waiting for a Pac 12 Network I guess.

        • angry angry says:
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          Why? It’s just going to show us how awesome USC and UCLA are at everything.
          They might as well call it the LA network.

          I wonder if an OSU live event will beat out the “Trojan Weekly Review” type content. Probably not outside of Corvallis.

          • JackBeav says:
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            Yeah, but even something as painful as that will be better than what OSU provides at the moment. So until I see some progressive thought from my school, I have to resign myself to waiting for a league network which might give us morsels between the Cali praises.

  • CraigBeav says:
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    1)
    People seem to be misunderstanding the source of the pirated stream here. The ‘offshore stream’ is the exact stream as that provided by osubeavers.com. They just have weak security, and the official stream is being redirected through the link that’s been posted here to your browser. The quality is no greater or no worse than the official stream.

    2)
    I am one of the poor students living off of financial aid that you referred to in your response, yet even I knew that the pirated stream was wrong. I paid my $10 to have access to OSUBeavers.com and get the streams from the direct source, rather than using the stream linked here. It’s just not reasonable to think that anyone who cares about OSU sports can’t pony up $10 per month (that’s less than an average lunch costs). Sure, the quality isn’t great, but if people actually subscribe and they get more revenue, that quality might increase.

    I had considered posting here in the past that people shouldn’t be using that stream, but my laziness outweighed my caring. Now that the topic has been brought up, however, I have this to say: Quit being cheap fucking beavers and support your school. $10/month is nothing, and is significantly cheaper than it probably should be.

    3)
    Angry: There is a difference between stealing a pay-service and declining to donate. It’s ridiculous to say you should ban him or anyone else for accessing your site without paying. If you feel access to this site warrants a fee, lock it down and start charging people. I’ll pay immediately because I enjoy your insights. However if the site remains open with only a solicitation for donations, don’t be expecting anything from me soon. As the first paragraph pointed out, I’m a poor college student who can’t afford to be spending frivolously on things I’m not obligated to pay for.

    CraigBeav

    • Quatre Quatre says:
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      Nobody here is misunderstanding the source of the stream.

      I already pay quite a large BASF donation on top of the cost of my football tickets, so I’m already paying OSU far more than $10 a month. I’m way over $100 a month. My BASF donation is quite large and covers baseball as well as football. They should be giving me the stream for free.

    • angry angry says:
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      I think this is completely valid.

      With regard to #3, I agree. Notice I never said it’s analogous. I just said it’s ironic. And it is.

    • JackBeav says:
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      #3) You’re not so poor that you can spend $10 a month (or $80 a year) to get streams of home games… games you could attend instead. There are people out here who are truly poor. Paying for a decent lunch is out of the question, so budgeting for entertainment takes a back seat to other realities–like sandwich meat and cheese. Many people don’t even have cable due to budget constraints, but I would think that consideration would come before a once or twice a week stream available through this particular site.

      If the OSU site truly streamed all events put on by OSU, I might be inclined to pay for that product. But all they offer is what they think their fans want to see. Football and hoops are both owned by our TV partners (for the most part). So baseball is the only sport we’re really talking about for now. Where are all our other athletes? I would cheer for sports I don’t normally watch if it has an emotional tie-in for me (OSU golf anyone?). But I have yet to see those athletes in action. I can read about them in many outlets, but I would rather participate through my viewership at times… or even time-delayed.

  • beavers4life says:
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    Before I head to bed…I’ll just say a few things myself…I’ve thought about paying the $10/month, but it’s true, all you get is 1 month of baseball or 13 home games this month…..so really…I would have paid a little less than $1 to watch 1 game of baseball…Is that really too much to money to help fund an intern program for college kids that are wanting to go into production and camera work? I mean, wouldn’t we be encouraging them to do better in their work by paying to watch the crew get better as the year progresses?

    Also, this upcoming fall, I’ll be going to Western Oregon University(WOU) for 2 years to study Computer Information Systems specializing in Network Security….so perhaps if Erik wouldn’t mind taking me on as an intern next year, I’d be happy to help support them in keeping their Network Secure and safe for whomever is watching the live streams. Getting experience while in school is a great opportunity to get training and perhaps get dual credit for it?

    Also, I think there should be 1 or 2 games a month that are streamed free and advertised as such on the radio for 1 or 2 specific games so then the fans can get a feel for whether or not they wish to pay for the service of watching the games. If I didn’t have to work on Saturdays, I’d be more than happy to pay to watch the games. I’m a poor college student as well, but at the same time, I’d like to help support those who wish to make broadcasting their profession and give feedback from a paid subscriber rather than someone who is “freeloading/pirating” the stream from “Offsite”.

  • JackBeav says:
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    The “poor” monicker being thrown around means something different to me than it did when I was a poor college student who returned cans so I could get a six-pack on a Friday. Now it means I can’t spend every last penny during each pay period because I have to have something set aside for incidentals like health or things for the kids when needed. My wife and I have an entertainment budget which is swallowed from month to month on unexpected charges like a blown head gasket or a quick trip to the emergency room or just the high price of gas. So being cheap is a relative idea. When it comes to subsistence, it can’t be considered cheap.

    I could get into Bush’s objectivist monetary economy and go on about how Obama’s conservative monetary policy doesn’t do anything but continue to scratch at the walls of the hole idiot boy put us in, but that would take some time. Rest assured, people are still considered monetary units who are viewed as regrettable necessities for both policies due to their constant needs for consumption and labor. The objective reality of unemployment in both policies makes for a moral and ethical need for simple subsistence for the unemployed. By that I mean if you’re going to assume that segments of your economy are going to be under-utilized on the labor side, you can’t whine about them being non-existent on the consumption side unless you give them the tools to do so. You can’t sell a dream other than food to a starving human, and you can’t yell and scream at a nude person to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. You just look like an ignorant, unfeeling dick if you do so.

    When it comes to copyright or proprietary rights, we can see the same objectivist ass-holes leading the way. The Amen Break post above is interesting because you can technically derive every note as being a copyrighted entity since we can assume every note has been previously struck in a song. Combinations of notes and words have likely all been used before as well. I can listen to a “new country” song and tell you what 70’s or 80’s light rock hit it came from in most instances. I listen to jazz most often, and it used to be a nod of respect as well as some kind of fun to riff a well-known song in the middle of a jam. Today’s world of corporate theft doesn’t allow the common man the same luxuries it once did. Independent songwriters almost have zero possibility to avoid copyright pitfalls if someone decided to bring suit because of the rules as they have been established. A quick look at a TV schedule tells us that sport and game shows are all that are left for original programming due to these rules. Can we imagine a world in which football plays are copyrighted? Would the FBI go after high school coaches because they implement plays they see on TV?

    That’s the same reality we find in the creative copyright world. But it’s selectively enforced. How many cover bands have we heard of that get raided by law enforcement because they sell a product created by someone else? How many Wal-Marts have we seen crushed by raids because they sell cheap knock-offs of someone else’s ideas?

    It’s all the same crap, and we put up with it because we think we have good laws set in place to cover these instances. But they’re all hypocritical laws set in place for the purpose of continuing some unsustainable economic ideology. Notice how only those who give product to the public free of charge are the ones being attacked. This has more to do with the battle between real and proprietary values than it does any moral obligation which we are sworn to uphold.

    So this goes back to my original argument. The moral and ethical existence of OSU athletic event streams is not supported by any proprietary law. Only the legal existence is covered. The moral and ethical thing to do is to provide these streams to the public free of charge. The reason OSU has a hard time being more highly rated in academic rankings is because they have an obligation to provide a service to the community at large. As a result, entrance requirements are seen as lax, and ratings decrease with what academia sees as a “watering down” of the student body. OSU is still highly rated by any ranking with a legitimate methodology (ARWU, 4icu, Leiden and Webometrics come to mind). But the thing that holds us back is that little philosophy that our university provides a service to the world at large. We don’t get bogged down in the details (and, in some cases, pretenses… ahem… USC) of exclusivity.

    So it’s not a matter of being cheap when someone doesn’t pay even a modest price for an online stream. In this world, it’s a matter of affordability. It’s not a matter of morality that people find and stream pirated events either. Because the real value of the product combined with the mission of the creator makes that argument moot. And statistics have consistently shown that exclusive access simply decreases interest in the product anyway. Whether it be a sense of sour grapes, or resentment or a deeper wont for truly ethical internet access, people tune out when the product becomes exclusive. And even those who are a part of the contrived club of exclusivity become irrationally combative toward those who just want to be a part of the OSU community.

    The reality of cost constraints muddles the argument somewhat. But cost of production doesn’t add any real value to the product. It’s just a reality of production. And by real value, I don’t mean to give the product a price. In my life, the things that are free are the most valuable things I have. Hiking in the forests and playing on the beach with my kids are two things I will never give up. I don’t pay directly for these luxuries. But there are cost constraints like time and transportation to and from these places. My moral and ethical argument for OSU athletic streams is that they should be free to all who want to see them. But the right thing to do is to give what you can to the provider when you can give it so that all can see and enjoy what you are seeing and enjoying. Simply purchasing a product which should be a service from a site with a hard price point tells the provider that you value the exclusivity of the market more than you value the product itself. Send your money with a note to the AD telling them that you value free access of this service for all. Ask them how we can make this service better. Tell everyone that the service is available. Suggest they do the right thing when they can afford to do so.

    Perhaps OSU will see the real value of their product and suggest the same. Perhaps they will take the hint and provide a more comprehensive service as well.

  • ean says:
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    uggggggggggghhhhhhhhh…..
    O-line has been shuffled around… seems like a dumb move to me.

  • tim318 says:
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    Angry – I think Eric has a legitimate and reasonable argument. Just because you/we aren’t doing the “stealing” of the broadcast doesn’t mean we don’t have a part in it. Not only are the broadcast for paying subscribers, but they are copyrighted. Most of us could rattle of the NFL’s copyright disclaimer because we’ve heard it so many times.

    I see at the bottom of this webpage that angrybeavs.com is copyrighted. Would you be OK with a reader copying your words (that you put a lot of time and thought into) and re-posting them on other website? It would probably bother you some – unless there was something to be gained. What if you made your blog for paying subscribers only and someone did this? Now it’s actually taking away from you income.

    The web is wonderful, but has many gray areas in terms of legal and moral dilemmas. Whether you/we agree with Eric or not, his words should be heard and considered. Thanks for publishing his letter. Thank you Eric for offering up the debate.

    Full disclosure – I live in an area where I can receive legal and free radio broadcasts of OSU games (which I love), so I have not been faced with the dilemma of having to find online, streaming (video or audio).

    Perhaps OSU should offer free subscriptions for people who make a donation of a certain amount or to those who live in areas that cannot get radio broadcasts. Send comments to the AD.

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