The UpStream

YouTube Addresses Gameplay Issues, But Not Well

posted Friday Dec 20, 2013 by Scott Ertz

YouTube Addresses Gameplay Issues, But Not Well

After last week's ContentID disaster, it was expected that we would hear from YouTube regarding the issue. We expected that we would hear an apology for over-regulating content, though a strong protection statement for their process. We also expected to have a bit of an explanation about the nature of the sweeping flags.

What we got was different, however. There is no apology, there is no direct explanation about the higher-than-average flag rate for gaming content, nor the odd nature of the seemingly unrelated content ownership claims. What we got, instead, was a detailed explanation of what ContentID is, which we already knew, and a few possible suggestions on who might own the content you are being flagged for, even though the content owners have already given full privileges for monetized videos.

For example, did you know you might have music on in the room in the background? Or that, possibly, the music which is licensed for the game might be your problem? You might want to turn off your game soundtrack to make the gameplay videos, because that will be natural, organic content that people will want to watch.

How to explain a video with only original music created by the same person who uploaded the video being flagged for copyright violation is still at question, even after reading YouTube's message, which is available for you right here.

Hi from YouTube,

You might have heard about, or been impacted by an increase in copyright claims made on videos over the past week. We're getting in touch to explain what's happening and how you can get back to creating and monetizing great videos.

What's happening

Content ID is YouTube's system for scanning videos for copyrighted content and giving content owners choices on what they want us to do with them. Last week, we expanded the system to scan more channels, including those affiliated with a multi-channel network ("MCN"). As a result, some channels, including many gaming channels, saw claims appear against their videos from audio or video copyright holders.

Understanding Content ID claims

Keep in mind one video may contain multiple copyrighted works, any of which could potentially result in a claim. For example a record label may own music playing in the video (even in the background), a music distributor may own a game's soundtrack, or a game publisher may own in-game cinematic content.

Also, online rights are often resold to companies like music labels and aggregators. While you might not recognize the owner, this doesn't necessarily mean their claims are invalid.

Deciding what to do

When a claim is made, you'll see what's been claimed, who's claimed it, what type of claim it is (audio or video), and you can play back the part of your video that it matched. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to act on Content ID claims, and you can find out all your next steps, dispute options, and other troubleshooting resources here.

It's also important to know that most claims won't impact your account standing.

Tips for new videos

If you're creating videos with content from other people, remember that rights ownership can be complicated and different owners have different policies. Be aware of music. Many games allow you to turn off background music, while leaving sound effects enabled. And if you're looking for music you can freely use (and monetize!), check out our Audio Library.

Whether gaming, music or comedy is your passion, know that we love what you do. We've worked hard to design Content ID and other tools to give everyone - from individual creators to media companies - the opportunity to make great videos and earn money. As YouTube grows, we want to make sure we're providing the right product features to ensure that everyone continues to thrive.


The YouTube team

So, is this a confused company making excuses about a huge mistake, or does Google truly believe that a person creating a video about their own videogame doesn't have the right to monetize said video? Let us know in the comments below.

LG to Debut Open webOS TV at CES 2013 2014 [Rumor]

posted Friday Dec 20, 2013 by Scott Ertz

LG to Debut Open webOS TV at CES 2013 2014 [Rumor]

I can't quite believe I am writing this article again, but here it is. After last year's rumors of an LG webOS Smart TV at CES 2013 didn't pan out exactly as expected, LG decided to one-up the rumors. Rather than licensing webOS for their Smart TV line, they decided to buy the former mobile operating system outright.

Obviously, the belief was always that LG would use webOS to power their TVs, but little has been heard about the project since the purchase in February. All of that changed this week, however, with a few comments from LG researcher Hong Sung-pyo. We now know, unofficially, that LG has a webOS television that will be unveiled at CES 2014.

In addition to resurrecting the Palm project, the television will have a 2.2GHz dual-core processor and sport 1.5GB of memory. Other than that, we have no clear information, though it is easy to speculate that LG will try and make webOS's entry into televisions an inexpensive one, seeing as the TouchPad sold best on clearance.

To accomplish this, I expect an LCD display, as opposed to the more expensive OLED, though I would suspect that we will see the television premier larger, so as to gain attention on the CES show floor. It won't quite be the 105-inch 4K television LG has already confirmed will be on display in their booth, but it should be large enough to make its mark.

As a webOS fan from the beginning myself (sitting at my desk at this moment I can see 3 phones and a tablet) I really look forward to seeing how LG has taken the OS to the larger screen and how much of the original application catalog will be available on the revamped platform. For example, will owners be able to download the PLuGHiTz Live app, or will we have to recreate it for the newer platform? I suppose we will have to wait a few more weeks to find out.

Non-Human Internet Traffic Up 20 Percent in Past Year

posted Sunday Dec 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Non-Human Internet Traffic Up 20 Percent in Past Year

If 95 percent of the Internet is pornography, you'd assume that at least half of the traffic on the 'Net would be humans. Sadly, that is just not the case. A new report from security content delivery network Incapsula has informed us that robots rule the tubes, by a lot.

According to the new report, of all the website traffic across the Internet, 61.5 percent of it is made up by non-human entities. This leaves 38.5 percent of the traffic to the robot's carbon-based counterparts. A similar study was done in March and since that time, the amount of non-human traffic has gone up by 10 percent and is up over 20 percent year-over-year.

Now, Incapsula breaks down all of this "non-human" activity. 31 percent of the traffic is from search engines and "other good bots." This of course leaves 5 percent to scrapers, 4.5 percent to hacking tools - down 10 percent YOY, .5 percent to spammers - down 75% YOY and 20.5 percent to "other impersonators" - up 8 percent YOY. Incapsula described other impersonators as marketing intelligence gathering and things like DDoS and other Internet attacks.

Incapsula also warns that (by no surprise) 31 percent of bots are still malicious and that people need to take precautions when surfing the Internet.

While the relative percentage of malicious bots remains unchanged, there is a noticeable reduction in Spam Bot activity, which decreased from 2% in 2012 to 0.5% in 2013. The most plausible explanation for this steep decrease is Google's anti-spam campaign, which includes the recent Penguin 2.0 and 2.1 updates.

SEO link building was always a major motivation for automated link spamming. With its latest Penguin updates Google managed to increase the perceivable risk for comment spamming SEO techniques, while also driving down their actual effectiveness.

Based on our figures, it looks like Google was able to discourage link spamming practices, causing a 75% decrease in automated link spamming activity.

DDoS attacks were on the rise and Incapsula also warns about users ending up on impersonation search engines, downloading malicious toolbars and other activity you usually yell at your grandparents for doing. New to the list however was the introduction to Bitcoin botnets. These are sites that end up installing programs on your computer than run in the background, causing your electric bill to skyrocket, your PC performance to drop and the creator of the program to profit off of it all. I, for one, do not welcome that type of Internet overlord.

VR Goggle Oculus Rift Picks Up $75 Million in Round of Funding

posted Sunday Dec 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

VR Goggle Oculus Rift Picks Up $75 Million in Round of Funding

I know we haven't really talked about the Oculus Rift much, but better late than never, right? Oculus VR, the virtual-reality goggle maker, has raised another $75 million of funding for their gadget that was announced at CES 2012, Oculus Rift. Netscape founder Marc Andreessen's investment group was the majority backer in the round. Other players in the funding were Spark Capital, Matrix Partners and Formation 8, who were all in on the $16 million fundraising session in June.

Sources are reporting valuation of Oculus VR at $250 million so far, with this last influx of cash being the largest in the history of the company. For those unaware, Oculus Rift is a pair of goggles that links up with your controller or mouse and keyboard to truly enhance your gaming experience. In a first-person shooter, it gives you an ability to move your head and look around, while keeping your weapon pointed in a completely different direction. Some who have tried it say that it really immerses you in the experience, to the point where a roller coaster simulator program on Oculus Rift actually got one tester sick.

Originally on Kickstarter, with sets of the goggles being sent out to developers for around $300, the buzz has become pretty intense for the virtual reality gadget. And the amount of success that Oculus has experienced is something that 19-year-old founder Palmer Luckey couldn't have predicted when he presented the Rift as a duct-tape prototype.

On the $75 million of investment capital to the company, CEO of Oculus, Brendan Iribe, said that Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen's firm, is a perfect partner in a situation like this, especially when you have so many demands to meet.

The challenge of hardware companies is you have to be able to buy the goods. And to be able to float tens of millions of dollars when you're a startup is virtually impossible. You cant go from zero to organic launch without tens of millions of preorders, and you have to take them years ahead, so we're trying to balance that. Andreessen Horowitz has a significant staff that really engages with you and helps you solve those kinds of problems.

This will be the last round of funding for quite some time. Iribe added that, "We're certainly planning for this to be it as far as funding until the consumer version launches."

As a person who has played a round of Team Fortress 2 in a custom lobby optimized for Oculus Rift, I'm really excited to see the product progress so quickly and head to production beyond just dev kits. There's still a few details to iron out before it hits the manufacturing plant but Oculus is looking to launch the Rift by holiday of 2014. Check out the link below for a full interview with Brendan Iribe.

Microsoft to Offer a Full Lineup of Original Programming in the New Year

posted Sunday Dec 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft to Offer a Full Lineup of Original Programming in the New Year

If you want more proof that Microsoft's Xbox One is truly meant for all walks of life, we have it this week. Microsoft announced that the company will be launching its first batch of original programming on the Xbox One and also the Xbox 360 sometime in early 2014. This would put the next-gen console in direct competition with Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and Netflix, which all currently offer original content on their services. The difference here is that both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One will have content on a platform that Microsoft has complete control over.

Nancy Tellem, president of entertainment and digital for Microsoft, headed up an effort to create content for Xbox back in 2012, so the fact that we're already coming close to a potential launch is impressive. About the news, she said,

I'm incredibly ambitious and impatient. We're hoping we will be able to put something up in the first quarter, at minimum second quarter.

Of course, we saw a beginning glimpse of this back at E3 when Steven Spielberg teamed up with Xbox to start production on a Halo project. But it appears that's just the tip of the original programming iceberg for the center of all family entertainment in the living room. Given that Microsoft currently has 48 million Xbox Live subscribers, adding a lineup of appealing content to different demographics on the platform could give more reason for users to stay committed to the service, especially when the PlayStation Network and other companies are trying to detract customers from the Xbox hive.

Tellem is a bit disappointed it took this long, but promised that the delivery will be worth the wait. She also said that this isn't just another Netflix competitor launching a service to the masses, noting that it was hard for her to explain to production companies just exactly what Xbox was and how it plays in the market space.

We aren't Netflix, we aren't Amazon, we're a different animal. We're neither or we're a little like them. It all depends. The lack of black and white and this is the template and this is what we're following is very difficult. As we continue to do deals everyone's going to get more comfortable.

No details yet on exactly what kind of shows or movies we'll see, but we have heard we might get some word of that on or around the time of the International Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Spotify Goes Completely Free for Mobile and Tablets

posted Sunday Dec 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Spotify Goes Completely Free for Mobile and Tablets

While Beats might be just looking to enter the music-streaming space, Spotify is looking to enhance its presence. The company that is actually trying to change how much streaming services get paid by the music labels is now adding to its offerings with an announcement this week that streaming has now been added as a free service to mobile devices and tablets.

Spotify, now available in 55 markets worldwide by launching an additional 20 new markets along with the announcement, will be giving users everywhere access to the entire catalog of music from any compatible smartphone or tablet for free. Here's what free-streaming on mobile devices with Spotify looks like:

  • Your music: Listen to all the playlists you've created and playlists from the people you follow. Spotify lets you discover new music, save, shuffle and share.
  • Your favourite artists: Want to listen to a certain artist? Just hit shuffle play, sit back and listen to their entire catalogue. Don't settle for something similar. Don't settle for just one track from the artist you want to hear every 20 minutes.
  • Discover great new playlists: Going for a jog or to the gym? We've got the playlist to help you go the extra mile. We know you just want the perfect music for a specific moment in time - and we've got you covered. There's something for every mood, genre or moment.

Spotify said that the company understands more and more people are using their tablets instead of their desktops to steam music, so it was a natural next-step to take. CEO and Founder Daniel Ek said,

Today we're giving people the best free music experience in the history of the smartphone and the tablet. Whether you're going to the gym, or having a party with friends. Just sit back and let Spotify serve you great music for every moment of your life.

Unfortunately, Spotify's free music experience on the tablet side of things is only available on iOS and Android. This technically means only Windows 8 RT devices are currently out of the running for free music from Spotify, as the desktop app runs perfectly on Windows 8/8.1. The good news is that there is a rumor of a Windows 8 app from Spotify, so hopefully we'll see that sooner rather than later.

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