June 08, 2008 |
I’ve been keeping my eye on Red Lasso since November 2007 when it first hit the social media news scene. It had been in various stages of closed beta and development for a while before then. The content wrangling site found rapid success and several early adopters, but quickly started to hit snags.
The premise behind Red Lasso is that users of the service can find, select and share multi media content. It is geared toward video and audio content, allowing users to find, clip and share what they find online. In that respect it reminds me of the much maligned Shyftr .
Red Lasso was adopted by some big names in blogging and citizen journalism, like The Huffington Post . It gives users a way to create their own embedded videos or audio files using content they find online. Its intent is to share interesting snippits of news, but its use basically involves what can be seen as stealing the content of others.
Apparently I’m not the only one to be bothered by the ease at which Red Lasso users are able to lift the content someone worked hard to make off of the site it came from and place it elsewhere. Not only does this create copyright issues, it creates yet another content and conversation fragmentation issue.
Red Lasso was slapped with a lawsuit for copyright infringement in May of this year. Who filed suit? In an unusual twist the lawsuit was not spearheaded by the usual suspects of the RIAA and MPAA types, but by a class action lawsuit comprised of three networks: NBC, CBS and Fox. This kind of hands on and group approach does not bode well for Red Lasso.
The idea behind Red Lasso at its inception was to share revenue with the networks it was taking content from. Since the company never put ads on the embeds it created, that obviously wasn’t happening. There was also the pesky point of not actually getting permission to use the content in the first place. Just the fact that the three networks put aside rivalries and differences to create a class action suit should let Red Lasso know they mean business.
How is Red Lasso answering the lawsuit? By hiring a top gun from one of the networks, CBS, to advise them. Effective at the end of May, the former CBS bigwig will be helping them handle the legal hot water they find themselves in. You can hireas many big names as you want and be as beloved by bloggers as you want, that doesn’t make your service any more legal. It will be interestig to see how this power play shakes out as it will have far reaching consequences for similar content aggregation and commentary sites.