The Hugo Awards are basically the Academy Awards for SciFi and Fantasy. Every year the best of the best of our favorite genres are honored, and this year’s took place over the weekend at Worldcon. i09 was involved in the live broadcast of the event, which was being streamed on Ustream. Unfortunately the automatic copyright infringement software Ustream uses decided that clips of Doctor Who were being illegally streamed, and they shut down the broadcast permanently:
This was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadn’t, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management (DRM) robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.
Sure, it may sound like SciFi, but we now live in a country where people are guilty until proven innocent. Judge Dredd will be coming true next.