Yesterday it was discovered by a number of videobloggers that their content was appearing, without their consent and wrapped in copious advertising, on MyHeavy.com. Shows like Geek Entertainment Television had been indexed by MyHeavy’s search, and the resulting pages had no link to the source of the content — but they did have a branded player, a pre-roll ad and a myheavy.com watermark.
The search index has since been purged as a result of blip.tv’s Mike Hudack calling and talking directly to the CFO Edward Van Sanders and co-CEO David Carson of Heavy. MyHeavy was using deeplinks to FLV files hosted on blip.tv and Google to place the content directly in their own Flash player.
This was originally noticed by Galacticast‘s Casey Mickinnon, who posted a note to the Yahoo videoblogging group. In the comment thread on Digg’s link to Spread the Media’s post about the controversy, Heavy responded to say that they were simply working on a new cross-site search feature, and will disable it for now. But by copying and pasting a deeplink into the query string on a MyHeavy player URL, it’s still possible to view any FLV content on the web in the MyHeavy player. Heavy has not yet responded to our queries.
As Momentshowing’s Jay Dedman pointed out, a similar abuse of deeplinks has happened in the past with Veoh. According to Hudack, “I think that this is going to continue to be an issue, and that we need a set of standards outlining best practices for aggregation.” Such a protocol of best practices was developed in response to the Veoh case.