Walter Mencken 9:15 a.m., March 28
Hugo Awards snub Hugo, copyright robots shut down video feed
When the words, "Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) banned due to copyright infringement" hit the screen, Fanboys everywhere were ready to jump to their deaths. Fortunately, most viewers of the Hugo Awards either live in mom and dad's basement, or couldn't fit through their second-story bedroom window.
As reported on io9, while thousands watched via the video streaming service Ustream, the feed of this year's Hugo Awards went dead just as Neil Gaiman was accepting a screenwriting trophy for The Doctor's Wife episode of Doctor Who. Clips from the show that aired prior to Gaiman's acceptance speech confused computerized enforcement robots into thinking it was a violation of copyright laws.
io9's notes, "The digital restriction management (DRM) robots on Ustream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law."
Methinks someone needs to re-program Ustream's programmer. Author Annalee Newitz raises the point, "our ability to broadcast was entirely dependent on poorly-programmed bots. And once those bots had made their incorrect decision, there was absolutely nothing we could do to restart the signal, as it were. In case anyone still believes that copyright rules can't stop free speech or snuff out a community, the automated censorship of the Hugo Awards is a case in point."
Did Hugo take home this year's Hugo? No! The bastards nominated it for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, but the award went to some TV show called Game of Thrones. Long live the DRM!