Humanity, meet your new robot overlords, who apparently don’t think much of our award-winning science fiction:
In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctor’s Wife.” Where Gaiman’s face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?
Turns out Ustream hires a third-party service (Vobile) to police its streams for copyright infringement. Their bots realized a couple of Dr. Who snippets were being played, and — sensing that people might be having a good time — immediately shut down the stream.
Well played, robots!
Sure, those clips were played legally, but how’s a robot to know?
Now Ustream and online attack dog vendor Vobile are lobbing contradictory accusations back and forth like giant blame-filled beach balls.
Underlying all this is the certainty that pissing off the SF psychographic online is a bad, bad idea.
(Note: I would have reprinted the Ustream CEO’s somewhat weaselly apology here in its entirety, but I noticed it contained the words “third-party system,” which I hold the copyright on, so I’m forced to suspend his statement. That’s some tough luck, Ustream.)
Keep writing (even as our robot overlords shut you down), Tom Chandler.