Monthly Archives: February 2010

Peerpex needs a friend

Two years ago, Peerpex.com was born. The idea was to tap into the increasing trend for smaller companies to use outsourcing, especially to search for overseas partners. That trend has increased and there is an increasing need for a tool such as Peerpex to connect smaller firms together, but the founders are struggling to make it happen.

Why? Because we are all really busy working on the things we need to do to keep the lights on at home.

Stephen Page runs Sapphire Group, and a number of other companies, including the ideas incubator Ortegra along with Jay Shah. Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is a well-known blogger and media commentator with several new books in production.

Since Peerpex was born we have built a strong technology platform and search engine. You can see the draft site at www.peerpex.com, which does work, but is not representative of the final product as there isn’t much data there.

Peerpex is not designed to replace Linked In – it’s unlikely anyone will do that for some time. It’s designed to be an international community for smaller companies interested in working together, to promote and facilitate a community of small and medium-sized outsourcing.

We originally planned a business model focused on the sale of qualified leads, but that idea cooled when we felt it presents Peerpex in the same light as the many sites that allow individual contractors and freelancers to pitch for work. Some of those sites work really well, but we want Peerpex to sit in a niche where it supports smaller companies, not just individual freelancers.

So, we think the idea is still good. P2P is a proven model. Outsourcing is expanding to be used by smaller firms. And there is no simple network helping smaller companies to find each other. Plus there is some strong technology that has been developed for Peerpex, along with a lot of ideas about how to make it work.

But Mark and Stephen don’t have the time each day to make this a success – we need an executive manager to take charge and redefine the business model, strip out the technology that’s not going to work, and to give the project some focus. It’s a success waiting to happen.

In return, you will get a significant share of the company. If you don’t have the time to do it personally, but you are interested in investing so we can hire a manager, that’s another option we could explore together.

Get in touch.

stephenp@sapphiregroup.com

mail@markhillary.com

Google responds to my messages – at last!

The press team at Google finally got in touch with me. I lost my Youtube account on Monday and it’s taken me a week, blogs, tweets, and introductions from various journalists and PRs to get a response….
——
Hi Mark
Amy passed on your email about your YouTube account and the story you’re writing for Computer Weekly. I checked out your blog to see the latest and I apologise for the fact you’ve found it frustrating to get hold of the press team. I also see that you’re in touch directly with YouTube’s copyright team and are planning to file counter-notices, and I’m glad that at least that process has started.
I understand your frustration at our repeat infringer policy, and wanted to provide a statement that explains the background to why we have one and why it operates as it does:
“Under the DMCA, the relevant law, service providers like YouTube are required to adopt and implement a policy to terminate the accounts of repeat copyright infringers.  YouTube implements its repeat infringer policy in a way that has become the industry standard, and the courts have confirmed that other companies with similar policies adequately implement this legal requirement.
“Of course, we do everything we can to help our users avoid being in the position of being accused of repeat infringement and losing their accounts.  We have clear copyright warnings when people sign up for accounts and when they upload videos; we have a copyright tips section in the Help Centre; we make it easy to file counter-notices if users feel they’ve been falsely accused; and we provide clear notice to our users when a video taken down for infringement that we will close down their account if they continue to post infringing content.  Also, we make it easy for rights holders to use our Content ID system so that their matched content can be monetised instead of taken down under the DMCA removal process if they so choose.”
If there’s anything else I can provide in the way of statements or answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Best wishes
Oliver
——

Youtube responds… I am a repeat offender…

I *finally* got an email this morning from youtube about my deleted account.

—–

Hi markhillary,

Thanks for your email. We received multiple notifications from various
content owners regarding unauthorized content that has been uploaded by
your account(s). When we’re notified that a particular video uploaded to
our site infringes another’s copyright, we remove the material as the law
requires. Federal law requires that we terminate accounts when they are
found to repeatedly infringe copyright. Because you have had other videos
rejected in the past, we are unable to reinstate your account. Users with
suspended or terminated accounts are prohibited from creating new accounts
or accessing YouTube’s community. You will need to resolve at least one of
these penalties before your account can be reinstated. You may be able to
resolve at least one of the following video removals by filing a
counter-notification.

The following videos have been removed from your account:

Penalty 1:
“Oxygene (Part VI) Jean Michel Jarre” formerly at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GFnKXa6PU
Removed due to a copyright claim by FRANCIS DREYFUS MUSIC on 04/03/2008

Penalty 2:
“Jager Yoga – CSS Shepherds Bush Empire London – Oct 6 2008” formerly at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jQVE_JP4hE
Removed due to a copyright claim by Stage Three Music on 09/04/2009

Penalty 3:
“Jimmy Carr – Bath Pavilion – 20 Feb 2010” formerly at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a65IMh2ynzo
Removed due to a copyright claim by Chambers Management on 02/22/2010

IMPORTANT: If you feel a content owner has misidentified your content as
infringing, you may be able to resolve one or more of these penalties by
filing a counter-notification. For more information, please visit our Help
Center article about counter-notifications at
http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=59826.

Regards,

The YouTube Team

—–

That’s three complaints against me over the past two years. I wouldn’t say that makes me a persistent offender, but Youtube seems to have a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy – deleting my account and all the content without notice.

But, look more closely at these complaints. Jean-Michel Jarre in April 2008. I went to see him in March 2008 and I filmed some of the show, then credited it to him on the video. Take a look at what he asked his fans to do, back in March 2008… I saw this video before I went to the show. I knew that Jarre *wanted* his fans to film him and distribute the content. He even offered a reward for the best video from the tour! Yet, his record company came along and deleted my video on youtube.

The second one, CSS in Shepherd’s Bush in 2008, isn’t really something I can defend. I filmed the opening of the concert and put it online – clearly the band didn’t like it and deleted the video. I would argue that some shaky hand-held mobile phone footage from the audience is not going to prevent people buying music by CSS, or going to their gigs. In fact, quite the opposite. Someone seeing this might actively look out for their shows in future. But I can’t really argue against this penalty – if the copyright holder wants to remove the video then they have the right.

And then, the third one just recently in 2010, where I filmed some of the audience waiting to see Jimmy Carr in Bath. It didn’t feature Jimmy, or his material… there was nothing stolen, just some happy fans in a packed venue waiting to see Jimmy. Obviously I don’t agree with this one being banned, but Jimmy’s management have informed me they have a policy of no filming at the gigs – even if Jimmy is not on stage.

So in the five years I have been uploading content to Youtube, all 900 or so videos, I’ve broken the rules once. That’s 0.1% of the content I’ve uploaded that has caused an issue with a copyright holder. Is that consistent with the behaviour of a pirate, or a persistent copyright thief?

Jimmy Carr’s management have offered to withdraw their copyright violation claim, if it means I get my videos back. That’s a nice gesture by them and I hope it does allow my account to be restored.

I’ve sent a counter-claim against Jean-Michel Jarre’s record company. I never complained about it before, but if there really is a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy, and I do manage to get my videos back, then it will still mean I am one complaint away from losing all my video again. One more incorrect claim I might stress, because I’m not sitting at home with DVD copies of ‘House’, uploading every episode.

More to follow, but I have not heard anything from Google’s press team yet. I’m writing the entire saga up for Computer Weekly and talking to some other journalists about what it means for those using Youtube as a video storage facility. But Google don’t seem to want to comment.

Google, Down’s Syndrome, and Jimmy Carr

Yesterday an Italian court convicted three Google executives of a privacy violation. Their crime? To not take action for several months after a video was uploaded to YouTube featuring a boy with Down’s syndrome being bullied.

Many technology commentators are outraged. The question is, how can Google be expected to possibly monitor every piece of content they publish?

Quite. So what’s my own experience of Google and Youtube this week? My Youtube account has been entirely deleted. Why? Because I uploaded a video I shot in Bath last Saturday and Youtube received a copyright violation notice from Chambers Management. My crime? To attend a gig by Jimmy Carr and to shoot some video of his happy fans expectantly waiting for him to appear on stage. No film of Jimmy. No jokes. No stealing his material. Just a short film under a minute of the fans all waiting expectantly in the packed-out Bath pavilion.

Youtube did not even send me a message to say that Chambers were filing a copyright violation claim. They just deleted my account – so all my videos are gone. That’s around 900 videos shot over the past five years.

And were my videos typical of someone who is supposed to indulge in the theft of jokes from comedians? The last few videos I had uploaded were all about helping kids to understand globalisation. The ones before that were from a business conference I recently attended in India. Not a stolen joke in sight.

Chambers has been in touch with me. They are very apologetic. They just wanted the Jimmy Carr video removed, even if it did not actually contain any footage of Jimmy – their policy is that any film from the venue on the day of a gig also is in breach of copyright rules.

I don’t agree. It seems stupid. Some video from inside the Bath pavilion of a happy audience waiting to see a comedian is not going to ruin Jimmy Carr’s career, but then I’m not going to fight an impossible battle against their policy. I would be happy to remove that video if my other 900 videos and my account are reinstated.

Please Youtube/Google – can I have my video back?

Jimmy Carr killed my Youtube

I found out what happened to my Youtube account. [Take a look here for a blog post from yesterday that gives the backstory to this…]

I went to see the comedian Jimmy Carr at the Bath Pavilion on Saturday night. I shot a short video of the crowd waiting to see Jimmy on stage. It didn’t include any of Jimmy’s jokes or material, it was just the crowd waiting to see him.

Even so, Jimmy Carr’s management delete anything related to him. Video shot in the gigs, even in the room where the gig is taking place even if it does not include Jimmy at all in the video. I understand the need for touring comedians to protect their material. If Jimmy Carr writes 250 jokes for a show then he wants to tour that show 150-200 times before laying it to rest by releasing a DVD of the show. That’s obvious. And comedy is different to music. You can listen to the same song many times, but not the same joke.

But I only shot some video of the fans.

Jimmy’s management got in touch with me today and said it’s their policy to remove anything from inside the gig venue – which I think is over-zealous because they claim it is all manually checked and not just auto-deleted… but the main issue is that every one of my Youtube videos has been deleted because of their complaint.

I need Youtube to respond to this. How can a copyright complaint over a single video mean that Youtube deletes 900 of my videos, collected over several years?

I got Jimmy Carr’s management to respond to me and explain their views today. I’m expecting Youtube to get in touch by tomorrow to explain why they can’t reinstate my suspended account…

Where does my digital footprint go when I die?

My account on Youtube has been suspended suddenly because of a term of use violation.

I’m really not sure what I’ve done.

I got into trouble with Youtube a couple of years ago because I uploaded clips of songs from a Jean-Michel Jarre concert. The funny thing was that JMJ’s record company was deleting the clips off Youtube as JMJ himself was writing on his website that he loves to see his music shared using online forums. That never killed my entire account though – just the clips that were disputed. And even then, I can still view the clips privately when logged into my own account, it’s just that they can’t be broadcast to the wider online community.

But this is different.

Without any contact, I’ve suddenly lost access to my Youtube account. And while that might sound trivial to some, my account has over 900 of my personal videos since 2006. I don’t keep copies of that stuff. It’s filed away there on Youtube. So what happens to all my digital content now? Have they deleted it or just blocked access to my account?

I sincerely hope that this is a mistake and they will renew my access tomorrow. Perhaps an artist has complained about something I’ve uploaded, but my concern is that if that were really the case then why am I not receiving information about *why* I am locked out and *what* the complaint is about? How can I have violated the terms of use agreement when nobody at Youtube is informing me what I have done?

And there is a wider issue regarding the digital footprint of an individual. If those videos, and my blogs, and my photos on Flickr, and my tweet record on Twitter are all owned by those companies then what do I do if they withdraw the service without notice. That could mean all my personal photographs are suddenly lost. It would never happen if I had them stored in a shoe-box.

And what happens when I die? Is it possible to “inherit” a Flickr account so the thousands of pictures I have taken over many years are not lost… through some automated account clearance because it has not been logged into for a period of time.

Is anyone addressing these issues of digital ownership? And by the way, to the guys at Youtube… please get in touch. I’m not sure what button I have pushed to upset you, but how about letting me have my videos back thanks?

Lucy Parker at Durham with Prudhoe Community High School

Lucy Parker, chair of the talent and enterprise task force was in Durham yesterday speaking to delegates at the Northeast Economic Forum about the FutureStory programme.

FutureStory shows how real people on the front-line of globalisation are adapting to and succeeding in the new global economy. Everywhere across the UK today, the work that we do, the way that we live and the places we live in are changing.

FutureStory helps us to see how this change is affecting us, in our towns and cities. The FutureStory of each location brings together a set of case studies of real people in real organisations, who tell us about how they are experiencing that change. Through their words, we can see what the building blocks of success in the global economy are – and where the jobs and industries of the future will come from.

Lucy is the real champion of FutureStory, but what was really good to see at this event was some real young people who have been involved in the project at Prudhoe Community High School, a school located just to the west of Newcastle.

One of the teachers, Tim Smith, talked about the architecture of the school: “We needed to create a new building recently and were initially concerned about how feasible it would be to build on top of an old mine, there is a 10cm seam of coal running under the school field. Eventually it was discovered that there was a section of solid rock allowing the building to be safely constructed. The architects used dark materials so the building looks as if it was created from the coal – shining out into the future.”

The metaphor is appropriate as regions like the northeast have seen traditional industries decimated and many are asking where the new jobs will come from. Technology is one suggestion and Jonny McGuigan, a pupil at the school, had made a short video for the conference.

Unfortunately, the technology fell apart at the conference venue and the film stopped! Jonny was undeterred and spoke to the audience instead, really rolling up his sleeves and telling it as it is for someone less than half the age of most conference delegates: “New media is just media to us… we grew up with it. We don’t need to read an instruction manual. Industry has so many closed doors – I want to be able to get some work experience.”

This was an impressive impromptu speech from someone of just 14-years, standing up in front of the most important business leaders in the northeast and basically telling them that they need to wake up to a changing world and the insights younger people can offer.

Jonny made some interesting final observations that apply to both younger and older: “We shouldn’t underestimate ourselves… we need to explore what we can really do in future. I want to learn, but the door is so often shut – not everyone is the media stereotype of a young person.”

Jonny was like a youthful Chris Evans. In fact, he is already working on community radio projects, so you might hear him berating business leaders on air sometime soon. It should have been a hard act to follow, but another Prudhoe pupil, Mark Churchill, talked about his own experience.

Mark was very insightful about how he sees a problem in schools trying to connect creative and academic functions: “I’m in the sixth form, taking subjects like maths, chemistry, and physics. I could just keep on studying these courses and not thinking about the fact that the courses have probably not changed for decades, but I like painting, and Photoshop, and writing, and other creative activities.”

Mark told the audience how all these other activities were considered to be just a hobby by the school, which focuses naturally on the examination subjects. He showed the conference one of his Photoshop montages, which created an impressive murmur of approval from the audience – until Mark said he just “knocked out that picture quickly last night.” He might want to keep the people more impressed by telling less of the truth now and then!

The important question Mark asked was how he can find a career that combines his abilities in science and technology with his love of art and creativity. That needs mentors and advice from people who have done it and found a path into a career that combines those skills.

And that’s really what FutureStory is all about. Helping young people to see that the future of work is changing and that new opportunities are being created all the time, as well as getting businesses to open their doors to young people who want even more advice than ever before.