A Vancouver company has found an ingenious way to turn illegal uploading of content into a legitimate business for content holders. Companies like EA and the NBA hire Shahrzad Rafati’s company BroadbandTV to replace illegal uploads with legal versions of the same clip. It’s more graceful and profitable than sending takedown notices:
Rafati’s algorithms scan the web for unauthorized video clips. When they find one, BroadbandTV staff screen — or “curate” — it for potential objectionable content and remove it, and then attach advertisements. A pirate clip posted on YouTube is rebranded into a revenue-generating league asset.
The ensuing ad revenue is shared among partners in the venture, including the NBA and BroadbandTV. “I consume a lot of videos online myself. I watch a lot of content on YouTube and other sites,” Rafati said in an interview at BroadbandTV’s new offices in downtown Vancouver.
“When first YouTube came around, and a lot of other video portals that might not even be around now, the majority of the content on these platforms was uploaded by users. The majority of the uploaded content was not videos of cats and dogs. It was an NBA clip, an American Idol clip.