Sunday, November 21, 2010

You know I'd love to, but I can't make...The Trip

I want to watch a BBC 2 show called the Trip. These are the dark ages of internet broadcasting. As free as I am in the US to stream what I wish, I cannot legally watch the best shows and movies in the world. In these post-Chappelle times where great comedy is scarce, I like to look east to Europe. But the UK and many other mainland broadcasters and content aggregators block their content such that content or are forced to block because of rights issues that lag behind demand.

We are to blame too, I can't let my friends in Europe or Asia watch Saturday Night Live, and as a result they will likely go on not knowing what a 'dick in a box' is nor will they understand how easy it is to look like a millionaire if they'd just put a CHANDELIER in every room of their houses.

I've been thinking about this problem for a while. If you have a Sling Box and have a friend who can plant it in the country with best content you're set. Or maybe if you've got someone who'd like to watch a show with you in the country of origin you can ask them to share their screen over Skype then you've got it solved. Skype screen sharing is very romantic, and far slung Sling boxes are ideal, but not really for everyone and may even be considered to be stretching your rights. And it's not just streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon on Demand that are bound by broadcast rules to not share our most precious diplomatic assets of regionally generated comedy, but Apple's iTunes does not properly service the EU and Asia (or the rest of the world). And usually the sites that sell digital and physical formats like Holland's don't take US credit cards or don't deliver to the US and the same is true in reverse of the US online stores.

Since I don't know if broadcasters will ever fully open up internationally on a single release date I think there needs to be a different model for sharing. I think two potential options instead of free 'sharing' that might work could be:

1) Trading
2) Gifting

I would like to see a trading mechanism in place where I could 1-for-1 trade a SNL clip for a clip of the Trip. The same could work for episodes or full length films. However I think that there would need to be some form of royalties payment otherwise the broadcasters and studios would 'get very loud indeed' (see the clip from the Trip below for the reference).

How would it work? Would there need to be a fee charged to both parties using real or virtual currency (gifting)? Let me know if you'd like to figure out the details and potential legal roadblocks! I've put up a question on Quora if you have ideas that you'd like to share about this topic.

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