Tag Archives: bbc world

BBC film was not just a rant

I had a few comments about my appearance on BBC Click suggesting it was just a rant. There were a few unsympathetic voices by email even. It’s pretty easy to find me online, so I had to expect that.

Well, I’m not hanging my head asking for forgiveness, or ranting about how unfair it is that the big boy Google is a bully. The film on Click was a measured look at how the strict application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is essentially not going to work as we head further into the future.

Think about this for a moment. Where do you store your photo collection? I know that I have over 10,000 photos on Flickr, along with a box of old photos, but I am not taking any new photos that are going in the box – they are now all going online.

What happens if people start complaining about my photos and the host decides to delete my account? I don’t keep a local backup of all that content. And even if I did keep everything locally, what happens if the hard disk fails or goes up in flames?

The point about my YouTube account was that there were two complaints from over two years ago, then the Jimmy Carr complaint caused the account to be wiped without any notification. I just had no account anymore. Nobody told me a thing. I had to chase YouTube for several days just to find out why my account had vanished.

Google does not make the ‘three strikes’ policy clear anywhere, even in the small print. Saying repeat offenders will have their account removed is not the same as explicitly saying three-strikes-and-you’re-out.

And I never contested those earlier copyright claims – I never felt that I could. Imagine if Jean-Michel Jarre invited his fans to upload video, but his music publisher complained to YouTube. How would I think that I have any right to fight the music publisher? Because that’s the exact situation that occurred.

Naturally, when I lost my account, I did push back on these complaints – even the ones from 2008 – and as I said in the film, they were all removed as mistakes. But they were mistakes that for a period of time had cost me my entire video collection.

The whole point of this is that I agree that the law has to be followed, I agree piracy needs to be managed, but the fact is that the way the law is applied by Google at present means that many innocents will get caught up and will lose their content, even though you could not argue that they are deliberately trying to pirate material.

Advertisements

Nowt as queer as folk

When I published my first book, I remember hearing someone bitterly complain that they could write a better book on the same subject. I challenged him and said that although the poet laureate may not be scared of my work, at least I had sat down, done the research, formed an opinion, and published it for all to see. The person who grumbles that they can do better should recognise that and go away and write their own book.

Of course, there is some real trash published by writers or musicians. Sometimes you do wonder how on earth it does ever see the light of day, but even those who publish trash have worked hard to get that book or album out into the world. The critics who claim to be better need to demonstrate that, rather than just criticise. At least I could talk to my own book critics and find out what they propose could have been done better. And I do think that I’ve improved what I have written over time.

I was on TV all over the world this weekend, presenting a part of the BBC ‘Click’ TV show. I cannot tell you how many abusive and unfriendly emails I have had. Very strange indeed. I have had lots of texts and mails from people who liked what I said, but why do people send emails saying ‘I hate you’ or ‘I don’t like the way you walk!’

The funny thing is that I suspect these people are not just critics. They are a couple of kings short of a full deck of cards. How do you engage and argue with boneheads like that?
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary Speaking at the Oxford Bookstore, Bangalore - Aug 2004

BBC Click is now online

At last! The BBC Click TV show where I present an entire package on Google is online and being broadcast all over the world this week on BBC World TV. It went out on BBC1 this morning in the UK and my sister was texting me, surprised to get messages from her friends telling her to switch on!

Click here to go and watch it on the BB iPlayer…

Me on BBC Click

BBC Click – this week!

I went down to the BBC TV Centre in Shepherd’s Bush today to record some final voiceovers for the package I am presenting on the BBC Click TV show. It will be broadcast on Friday this week.

It will go out first on BBC World and BBC Online – at about 3.30pm – then later in the evening on BBC News 24 and the following day on BBC1 in the UK.

BBC TV Centre

It’s been a lot of fun putting this together with Dan and Spencer and the rest of the BBC team. I saw a rough cut of the package today and it looks great – we had such a nice day filming in Bath so those sections look really good.

I’d guess we are looking at 5 or 6 minutes of TV here, but it needed a day of filming in Bath, a few hours filming in London, a session in the recording studio doing voiceovers, and a further voiceover session today – and today I got everything right first time. Maybe I’m getting better at this presenting stuff eh? Add to that all the effort editing it together and you start getting an idea just how much effort goes into keeping a weekly show on the road.

Click is the flagship tech programme for the BBC and has a massive global audience so I’m looking forward to hearing from a few of the viewers once it goes out.

Filming 'Click' in Bath

Filming with the BBC in Bath

I spent all day on Tuesday filming in Bath with Dan Simmons for the BBC ‘Click’ programme. It’s the biggest technology show on the BBC, being broadcast on BBC World, BBC1, and online. Even the Twitter stream for the programme has nearly two million followers.

Filming 'Click' in Bath

This was following up on my recent experience with Google and their decision to delete my entire Youtube account. I have got my videos back now, but only by appealing to everyone who had ever complained about me and getting them to withdraw the complaints.

I haven’t been out doing TV work in a public place before. I’ve done lots of talking heads work in TV studios, getting wheeled in to speak on the news as an expert in this or that, but shooting all over Bath over an entire day with Dan was great fun. We had kids desperate to get on TV without even knowing what the show was about. We had someone in a Manchester Utd shirt who insisted we should cover the story of his work with children’s football teams in Bath. We had people asking if it was ‘candid camera’. We had people laughing as I was getting my make-up done in the street.

It was certainly an experience to see how people react to a BBC camera out in the street. We certainly do live within a celebrity-obsessed culture. One woman outside Bath sports centre insisted that she already knew me because I am ‘famous and off the telly…’ even after I protested that there was no way she could know who I was, she just insisted!

I had assumed the hardest thing about doing pieces to camera in the street would be to remember my lines, but Dan had all kinds of ideas about how to take different shots, meaning I had to not only remember my lines, but also look in the right direction, walk in the right way, hit my spot on the pavement… then assuming I got all my stuff right we could still foul up a take if a bus had just gone past or some kids were screaming nearby. And even if there was no noise and I got my lines right, there were times when the camera-work could have been better. So you really do need to repeat the lines over and over until everything falls into place.

We spent the entire day filming in Bath, plus I still need to go to TV Centre in London to record some pieces in front of TVC and some voiceovers. Then there is a lot of editing to be done. It’s a lot of work for 4 or 5 minutes of television, but I hope you like it when it comes out.