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Summary:

Heavy, the testosterone-fueled video portal with $20 million in venture capital to spend, is opening up their advertising system to anyone who can embed a video clip. The new Husky Network will surround a video player with an ad banner wraparound, and give you a share […]

Heavy, the testosterone-fueled video portal with $20 million in venture capital to spend, is opening up their advertising system to anyone who can embed a video clip. The new Husky Network will surround a video player with an ad banner wraparound, and give you a share of the revenues. It comes in feature player, pop-up and overlay flavors — and there’s no need to actually produce your own video content to start making money today!

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Something tells me this move isn’t going to be popular with content creators or, for that matter, video-sharing sites. MyHeavy faced criticism when the site started pulling content from RSS feeds and placing the clips in a remarkably similar advertising context. Technically, it seems to exploit a bit of a loophole, as the video content is hosted in one place, the ads served from another and the two just happen be to intimately entangled on a third-party site.

How easy would it be to, say, re-create the MyHeavy experience? Not difficult at all with a little server-side scripting. Generate a YouTube feed for the search “star wars,” set up a blog to create a post when new content appears, wrap embedded clips into the Husky Network banner, et voila — you’ve got a blog that constantly updates with Star Wars-themed video clips that will generate ad revenue without the need for further human intervention.

A brief tour of the Husky Network site doesn’t reveal any terms of use, and the release doesn’t give any details about the context in which the ads can be used. Signing up for the service requires a simple email, so hopefully the Heavy team will take steps to ensure that my goofy vacation video doesn’t end up surrounded by ads three times the size promoting Rush Hour 3.

For advertisers, this offers an opportunity to have your brand associated with anything from hand-holding otters to offensive hate speech, depending on which psychographic vertical you’re trying to reach — without having to cut deals with sites like YouTube, Revver, or MySpace. Since Heavy has been using the wraparound banner for years, they have a wealth of metrics on clickthroughs to prove the format’s effectiveness. “Husky Network is building unprecedented reach around video,” promises the release. Which sounds kind of dirty, but then, leveraging the work of others to generate ad revenue kind of does, too.

  1. Well Mr. Jackson West, you can bet your reserved copy of Madden 08 that I will be checking this puppy out.

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  2. Heavy is weak.. i can’t believe that they are pulling RSS content onto the site and generating revenue. Miro pulls RSS feeds, but they do not try to monetize traffic by promoting News Corp hollywood films. So, anyone could upload a producer’s content to Heavy and make money for months before the owner finds out.. sounds like Heavy is going to get some serious lawsuits very soon. The DMCA does not shelter this level of flagrant disrespect and poor business practices.

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  3. Just to clarify, Charles, the ad wraps around an embed, so the content is never hosted on Heavy’s servers. The situation I describe of automatically placing embedded clips on a blog is simply a hypothetical one.

    Certainly, as Mr. Street seems to be suggesting, creators could also do this for their own sites. My concern is enabling the less scrupulous.

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  4. Ive been pondering the whole issue of whether embedding stuff on a page is really a loophole. When MyHeavy and others misused vloggers feeds for commercial gain, I looked for any court cases that could provide a precedent.

    I mean when it comes to rehosting content, its pretty easy to point to things like creative commons and say hmm, this is commercial use, so you cant redistribute my video, because my creative commons license is non-comemrcial.

    But if people could claim that embedding stuff is not in any way copyright infringement, then creative commons is no good for protecting vloggers against these dispicabl practices.

    So anyways I didnt find many legal cases, but I thought maybe the problems google had with their image search was a fairly good match. They were embedding the fulsize images in their search results, now they dont, and they allow you to see the image in its original context. I assume this was for legal reasons, and things like whether it was a thumbnail or the full image seemed to be important. So Im presuming the same is true for video, we just need someone to actually have a court case to act as an important lesson for others.

    The video skin seems quite intrusive but is it really any different to embedding video in a blog that has some google ads on the same page?

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  5. Or another way I was thinking about it is:

    If embedding stuff isnt classed as redistributing it, then this could be seen as a potential loophole.

    But if its not redistribution, it must be something else. Public performance perhaps. If so, this sort of use is also already covered by copyright and creative commons.

    Technology has already made it quite simply to try to lever profit out of someone elses videos, and the same is certainly true of text blogs where using google blog search, and sorting by date, often reveals a lot of splogs.

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