It turns out that this story is both more complex and more unnerving than I present here. So while I am leaving up my original post as a historical record that I am falliable, I suggest you stop reading right now and go to my colleague Jim Jacob’s very well researched pieces:
- What really happend with Google Premium Video — Part one: DRM killed the files
- What really happend with Google Premium Video — Part Two: Why Google Video story should scare you
But the best part about Jim’s story is that it doesn’t end with hopeless fear. He suggests concrete actions you can take to ensure the gov’t will not "googlize" our info away. – Daniel
The BBC is reporting "Google is shutting down its premium video service, leaving users who have bought or rented content unable to view their videos in the future."
These people paid to access their content and now they not only can’t have it, but according to the BBC, they won’t be getting refunds, either.
If these same users had bought DVDs from a company that either went under or stopped selling them, these would be happy people watching their programs. But because they bought into an access model that assured them content would be available 24/7 on a third party server, they have nothing but their memories.
I’m positive Google didn’t start up the service with the intention of shutting it down. They had every intention of being good to their users. But that was something that for whatever reason, they could not live up to.
Can you see where I’m going with this? The Government Printing Office wants us to accept a centralized model where we point to content housed in FDSys rather than depositing digital documents with the nation’s Federal Depository Libraries. They assure us, just like Google assured their subscribers, that their servers will always be available to us on today’s usage terms. But they can’t really commit future generations of public servants any more than Google could keep its promise to its subscribers. And Google has WAY more money that GPO ever will.
Try to take some time this week to tell your Congress members that you want to see the decentralized depository system of the future, not another monolithic model that can be unplugged at will.
UPDATE: We have updated the information about this issue and its implications in a two part article:
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