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Broadcast 2000 Removed From Public Access 264

Posted by timothy
from the luckily-it's-gpl dept.
VRteach writes: "I see that the developers of the fine multimedia software, Broadcast 2000, have removed their main product from public access. Their web site cites a worry of potential liability." The site says that "the distribution of Broadcast 2000 enhanced to unacceptable levels the risk of an individual experiencing significant financial damage due to the extremely expensive nature of high end video production and the high risk inherent in professional video business marketing." It also says they plan to keep issuing "minor works" for now, and as liability issues are resolved to again release major programs.
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Broadcast 2000 Removed From Public Access

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  • by billn (5184) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:34PM (#2275023) Homepage Journal
    Where is the liability in writing free software that just happens to do what the ultra expensive video equipment and services does?

    Competition and underdogs come from tyrannical control of a market. What are the cost breaks across this market, and where do the huge expenses add up from?
    • by Malic (15038) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:53PM (#2275140)
      I think what is happening is this (someone correct me if I am wrong)...

      The makers of Broadcast 2000 realize the people are ACTUALLY using their software for high-end (that's the "expensive" part) projects. Such users become dependent on Broadcast 2000 and have a lot to lose should the software have serious bug in it.

      The developers don't have any legal obligation to fix such a hypothetical bug (well, actually with the DMCA *THEY MAY*), though I am sure they no doubt would - eventually. But this could blow a multi-million dollar deadline for a production house.

      The DMCA insists that you always have someone you can sue (the "warrenty" issue).

      The biggest problem with this part of the DMCA is that it seeks to hide the fact that computing, by it's nature, is *a risk*. In the Peter G. Neumann sense. The use of ANY technology implies a certain amount of risk/faith - fire resistant gear as a hard example.

      The law is being made to hold responsibility beyond what is reasonable in the physical world. Sometimes things don't work out - that's life.

      Unfortunately, in the US we would like someone, anyone, to be responsible other than ourselves.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You're talking about UCITA, not DMCA. These guys are talking about the fact that the MPAA and RIAA are holding software makers liable for the actions of the users, not the fact that the users are threatening to sue. See my AC post attached to the original comment.
        • by billn (5184)
          Isn't this the same as suing Smith and Wesson because the licensed owner shot someone with it?

          Is there, as yet, a legal precedent for cases such as this?
      • by wings (27310) on Monday September 10, 2001 @05:54PM (#2275609) Homepage
        From the message posted on Sourceforge Here [sourceforge.net]("http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?forum _id=110712" for the paranoid), it appears that someone IS demanding 'compensation' for 'damages' caused by their software.

    • That's very easy to understand, it happens like that:

      Company X develops a project using Broadcast 2000. Company X has an incompetent project manager (as most other companies). Incompetent manager cannot meet deadlines and starts blaming everybody and everything. Incompetent manager manages to fire some people on the blame game but gets burned in the process and gets fired too. Incompetent director (who happened to like Incompetent Manager a lot, but is now also on the frying pan) gets a lot of pressure and looks for someone to blame, only there isn't anybody around... Incompetent Director of Incompetent Company puts the blame on the tool (who decided to use this "free" tool? After all, free is always bad...) and sues the maker of Broadcast 2000.

      It is sad, but stupidity and lawyers will destroy the world.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:03PM (#2275188)
      The problem is simple, and highlights what is to me the worst aspect of the DMCA.


      The DMCA only applies to "consumer" equipment, not "professional" equipment. What's the difference? Nobody knows.


      As we have seen in the music production arena over the last couple of decades, as pro equipment gets cheaper there becomes a "prosumer" class of equipment - professional quality, consumer prices.


      The DMCA tries to insure that this will never happen with video production. Anything cheap enough to be consumer is automatically limited in terms of the functionality it can offer.

  • So basically, are they saying that they are not releasing their free software anymore, due to the fact that it appears to do similar things as Adobe Premiere? For that reason, they are afraid they will be sued out of existence by...say...Adobe (who might just hope that a nice large settlement could help their stock price in this market)?

    Or am I totally reading this wrong? If that's the case it really sucks....unless they copied some of Adobe's functions. If it's just a "similar look and feel and does the same type of stuff" issue, didn't we settle that 10 years ago with Apple Vs. Microsoft?
    • In the same circumstance that would inspire deep-pocketed (or newly shallow pocketed) companies to sue GPL underdogs, what's to stop the underdog from returning with a hamstring countersuit for anti-competitive practices?
    • by theancient1 (134434) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:44PM (#2275095) Homepage
      It sounds more like "this software could be used for a mission-critical operation, and if our software breaks, someone might sue us." They have the standard "no warranties" disclaimer, but they're saying that such a warning doesn't seem to carry much weight in today's lawyer-happy society.

      • It sounds more like "this software could be used for a mission-critical operation, and if our software breaks, someone might sue us." They have the standard "no warranties" disclaimer, but they're saying that such a warning doesn't seem to carry much weight in today's lawyer-happy society.

        Interesting hypothesis. But, I have to imagine that there are a lot of other free software projects which are at least as vulnerable. Pick any language like Perl or Python for that matter. Besides, it's hard to imagine someone (sane) using Broadcast 2000 in their medical life support system, or web-based passenger jet liner remote piloting system, or nuclear power plant cooling system:) So it's hard for me to swallow that explanation. Even if it were so, would it not be possible for someone like FSF or EFF to help them draft a more iron-clad disclaimer of warranty or fitness for any purpose?

        I think it's a lot more likely that they got a stern letter from some lawyers retained by parties with large financial interests that are in imminent danger of loss if continued development of Broadcast 2000 proceeds apace.

        Exactly who that might be is another matter, but I'm sure there are some likely candidates.

        • I think it's more like someone is using it for a fairly big-budget film development project and they're worried that if there is a bug in the software that holds up or screws up such a project they could be sued by the company doing the production, regardless of whatever disclaimers they attached to the use of the product. I don't think they're being paranoid either.

        • >>Besides, it's hard to imagine someone (sane) >>using Broadcast 2000 in their medical life
          >>support system, or web-based passenger jet
          >>liner remote piloting system, or nuclear power
          >>plant cooling system:) So it's hard for me to >>swallow that explanation. Even if it were so, >>would it not be possible for someone like FSF
          >>or EFF to help them draft a more iron-clad
          >>disclaimer of warranty or fitness for any purpose?

          You're being very naive.

          The problem isn't about somebody losing a life (like you comment on nuclear reactors, life support, etc). It's about money.

          I've worked in video and film production. It's very expensive and there is a lot of cash involved (i'm not talking about Timmy making a video of last weeks Show'n'Tell).

          The problem is that the authors are afraid (rightly so) that somebody may use this in their post house and it fails (data gets corrupted, screws up their computer, doesn't work as 'advertised') and then they'll get sued.

          You've got a client - you've promised a job to be done by Day X. Then your video system crashes and you lose all the work you've done. The client doesn't care. They have a contract with you for work done by a date. If it isn't done they sue you. Just like they are looking for somebody to blame, you will be to.

          Now lets be clear, I DON'T agree with the legal issue of somebody producing GPL/free code being sued because of a failure, but lets be pragmatic - it DOES/CAN happen. No matter what you pay for something, there can be 'implied fitness'. And if that level isn't met, somebody may sue you and find a sympathetic judge who is willing to compensate them for their losses, no matter what they actually paid for the tool in the first place.

          Yup. It's ugly.

          >>I think it's a lot more likely that they got a
          >>stern letter from some lawyers retained by
          >>parties with large financial interests that are
          >>in imminent danger of loss if continued
          >>development of Broadcast 2000 proceeds apace.

          Provide proof or cut the FUD. These guys are just protecting their own asses.
      • I met the the developer, Adam Williams. Met him at NAB last year. He's had a lot of problems developing Broadcast and this article sort of describes it:

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/192 45 .html

        I met the writer too. A real mean bastard who got me into a lot of trouble.

        Adam is a nice guy who needs all the support he can get.
    • Don't know if this would be Adobe, but I still find it ridiculous that companies use free software and accept the lack of warranty cover mentioned in the license and then when all hell breaks lose, totally forget that they agreed to the license and try to get money out of a stone. Duh! I think this speaks for itself. Some people just don't get the idea of free software. It's free, costs nothing except the work you put into it and this means that the authors have received no money from anyone to allow them to fight back when a warranty suit is brought against them. And that's because they are nice, hard working, hard playing people who want to innovate.

      If these companies are stupid enough to go under then the can blame themselves for bad management and not bad software, unless of course they're using MS stuff ;-)

      Here's the bit from the GPL about warranty, I'd say using the product shows acceptance of the disclaimer! Within the GPL, you are allowed to offer a warranty for a fee.

      NO WARRANTY

      11. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.


      • I believe you don't have to accept the GPL license in order to use GPLed software. I assume that in such a case there would be no warranties of any kind except those required by law. Which, I believe, is one reason everyone was so pissed off about UCITA. IIRC, it would require all software to have a warranty, and it didn't make any exception for free software.

  • Either they're trying to drum up some hype on their product or it's Yet Another Case of Landsharks^WLawyers screwing with technological advancement.

  • Mirrors? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NewbieSpaz (172080)
    Does anyone have, or know of a mirror to d/l this?
  • This is the only video editing suite for Linux. I hope I AM mistaken since I was planning on giving it a try sometime soon. Anyone know any decent replacements, if any?

    What's the betting this is somehow DMCA related...

  • Eh? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Booker (6173)
    the distribution of Broadcast 2000 enhanced to unacceptable levels the risk of an individual experiencing significant financial damage due to the extremely expensive nature of high end video production and the high risk inherent in professional video business marketing.


    Could they be more cryptic? Get your Mandrake SRPM while you can, I guess.
    • Re:Eh? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Water Paradox (231902)
      It's not cryptic. It's actually graceful and very precise:

      paraphrase: 'By distributing Broadcast 2000, we opened ourselves up to liability from someone who would claim that our software caused him expensive damage. So we stopped distributing it. Mainly because we didn't want to be blamed because somebody else took a stupid risk, used our software in the process, and was relying on attornies to look for anyone except themselves to blame.'

      My guess is that someone specifically threatened them with this kind of lawsuit, and they withdrew their software, kind enough to write in a manner identifying that person, without identifying that person. That's the kind of thing that makes me write like that.
  • Personally... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _LORAX_ (4790) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:36PM (#2275048) Homepage
    I think he was just upset because the program works great with itself, but it almost totally incompatible with everything else on the planet.

    The program was a neat concept, but I was unable to get it working once over the past few years of playing with it. I have 100% compatible hardware for capture.

    Liability, why does avery lee still distribute one of the most popular video edditing programs under GLP still then? http://www.virtualdub.org/

    I don't understand, and I'm personally very skeptical of this excuse to stop development and pull the program.

  • by S. Allen (5756) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:36PM (#2275049)
    how is is that Microsoft's shrinkwrap waivers of ANY liability hold water compared to equally strong-worded waivers for open source software? why isn't Microsoft getting dragged into this compensation frenzy when their products, arguably, lose/damage more data than any other single entity (outside of the government).
  • People don't plagiarize, editors do. What a load. I wonder if there was a specific "market force" that wrote B2K a letter...
  • What the...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anixamander (448308) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:40PM (#2275075) Journal
    This is one of the least understandable stories I have seen on here. I guess it is up to us to speculate what the hell that article means. There is definitely something we aren't being told here. To say they are remvoving the software because it is an expensive industry to be in (for their customers) does not make a lot of sense.

    As near as I can tell it boils down to this: They fear being sued by a customer that lost a lot of money because of their software. Sounds like a smoke screen to me.
  • Isn't it GPL'ed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:41PM (#2275077) Homepage

    Am I mistaken, or wasn't Broadcast 2000 GPL'ed? If so, why all the hubabaloo? So he doesn't want to do development anymore, I don't blame him. But anyone who is interested can always pick up where he left off.

    • Re:Isn't it GPL'ed? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Espressoman (8032)
      I suspect the developer might be wanting to concentrate on producing his Cinelerra product for commercial sale. No good selling one application and giving away another. I can't quite see the author not using any of his GPL'd Broadcast 2000 code, but that'll be something interesting for the future.


      Hopefully there will be enough enthusiasm out there in OSS communityland for a couple of forks to exist. NLE applications will only become more common as computers get more capable, so having a few viable alternatives would be a Good Thing.

    • "So where's the mirror of the source?" I would say... Does anyone have a copy?
  • by davey23sol (462701) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:44PM (#2275098) Journal
    "the distribution of Broadcast 2000 enhanced to unacceptable levels the risk of an individual experiencing significant financial damage due to the extremely expensive nature of high end video production and the high risk inherent in professional video business marketing."

    This means: "We have fewer lawers than Avid, Adobe, and Macromedia. In the current business climate, the company with the largest number of lawers wins, no matter what the law says. We are closing the project because we would like to have enough money to eat net week."

    gov't of the corp., by the corp., and for the corp.
    • Unfortunately, I suspect you're right.

      Many of the big lobby groups are all worried about Big Government and "stupid laws", whilst forgetting that there's an entire ARMY of vampire Corporations surrounding them.

      I say get the NERF cannons out!

    • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:01PM (#2275180) Journal
      Actually, how I read this is that they were worried that somebody would try to use this software for production, and something would horribly fail, causing extreme duress. In the inevitable ensuing lawsuits, the Broadcast 2000 people would end up being sued into oblivion. It's not a nice way to go.


      No amount of disclaimers and click-through agreements can keep these lawsuits from getting started, and once started they are incredible money-sinks.


      Exactly this kind of thing happened to Burt Rutan, the designer of almost every interesting airplane over the last 20 years. His VariEze, and follow-on LongEZ were spectacular designs, but a few people built them poorly, died, and Burt was sued. He defended four of five of these lawsuits, and won every one, but decided that there were better ways to spend one's life, and pulled the plans off the market. In something parallel to what will happen here; there are xeroxed versions of the LongEZ plans out there if you really want them, in a samizdat kind of operation. Burt's current company, Scaled Composits [scaled.com] continues to build exciting airplanes, but only for the corporate market.


      thad

      • Actually, how I read this is that they were worried that somebody would try to use this software for production, and something would horribly fail, causing extreme duress. In the inevitable ensuing lawsuits, the Broadcast 2000 people would end up being sued into oblivion. It's not a nice way to go.

        Yes... and the orginal comment still applies. Avid, Macromedia, and Adobe all have enough lawyers to prevent such stupid lawsuits. If someone did something stupid with Premere, would they even THINK of suing Adobe. Probably not. Would they think of suing a small project that MIGHT have one pro-bono lawyer... uh-huh.

        It's ALL about who has the lawyers...
      • In the last chapter of Steven Levy's excellent book, Hackers, he talks about the first software to include a license with such disclaimers. I want to say it was Lotus 1-2-3, but since I don't have my copy here at work, I can't be sure. People were pretty outraged at the concept. Lotus justified it by saying they were concerned that someone would design a bridge with their software, it would collapse, and they would get sued. Levy summed up by saying that no bridge designed with Lotus software ever collapsed, but now just about every piece of software you can get, no matter how trivial its purpose, comes with disclaimers.
    • But if they have no money, then why would somebody sue them? Only an idiot is going to sue a company with no money. What the hell could you gain? Probably not enough to pay your own damn lawyers. So not only is it morally wrong to file a lawsuit against a small, penniless company... it's also fiscally stupid as well.
  • by Compulawyer (318018) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:44PM (#2275101)
    Although the site says the liability concerns are with the "warranty" exemptions and the GPL, I suspect that these proffered reasons, although valid in and of themselves, are not the primary reasons for this move.

    Generally, the warranty provisions with which a software maker must be concerned are these three:

    1. Express Warranties - any factual statement the manufacturer makes about the quality/features of the product;
    2. Implied Warranty of Merchantability - implied by law warranty that the software is of "fair average quality"; and
    3. Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose -- implied by law when a manufacturer supplies software that it represents is adequate or designed for a particular use or need.

    4. Generally, the 2 implied warranties can be disclaimed by reciting the magic disclaimer words. (NOTE: I AM a lawyer and this is NOT legal advice to ANYONE - thus I am not reprinting the magic words here so no one can rely on any supposed "advice" they may claim I am giving.)

      What I suspect is happening here (and this is close to pure conjecture) is that the company is spooked by recent lawsuits (i.e. - Napster, DeCSS, Felton, et al.) and decided that it would take the safe route rather than be accused of providing a tool to infringe copyrights in authored works.

      Of course this is my opinion alone and is based on current events in the legal world combined with the statements on the Broadcast 2000 website. I may be completely wrong about this. Only the people at Broadcast 2000 can say for sure.

  • by JCMay (158033) <JeffMayNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:46PM (#2275111) Homepage
    From the press release it almost sounds like they're withdrawing B2K because somebody might make a film with it and then not be able to sell it (hence the "expensive video" jibberish). Well, since when do companies care about if their customers can make money or not? There's more to filmmaking than flashy equipment: first of all there's writing, which seems to have taken a back seat to technology of late. All the flash in the world won't fix a bad story.

    And where's the other players in all this? Between the Video Toaster and Personal Animation Recorder this kind of stuff was done ten years ago on Amiga. Not to mention (as already was) the Mac-based Avid. another poster mentioned the similarity between B2K and an Adobe product: why would they be afraid of Adobe? If anything, Adobe is a relative newcomer to the field, not an innovator.



    There's got to be better reasons.

    • Yes, there is much more to video production than flashy equipment, but without the "flashy" equipment, one cannot produce video and make a living. There are the independent filmmakers, who may or may not be making a profit. Then there are the people who are making a living on video.

      For such a person or company, moving from video equipment (which can be VERY expensive) to computers can save a lot of money and time (except for download/rendering/upload time). Video production time costs A LOT of money. (I'm not in a major market, yet I've been called cheap for paying videographers and editors less than $30/hour!) So suppose I'm using BC2K on my systems. It's 3 am and we've been working 24 hours straight and, due to some previously unknown bug, we do something with BC2K and lose 24 hours of work. With one editor at $25/hour, that's $600 of work.

      Maybe GPL says I don't have grounds to sue, but if I can make a case and say this bug cost me 3 days work in editing, graphics work, and videography, then I might claim much more. While GPL or any other license may say I give up any claims, I can still sue. By the time it is decided I have a groundless lawsuit, the programmer and company -- who let me get the program for free -- have spent quite a chunk of change to do nothing more than get the court to rule I can't sue.

      It has nothing to do with other players. To me it makes sense. Video production costs A LOT of money and most production companies will get into quite a snit if something they expect to work screws up and ruins a lot of work.
  • So now we have developers afraid to release products because of litigation and liability? Either this is a major cop out, or we're witnessing the first death knells of our free market. I have a hard time believing things are really that bad, and I'm a bloody cynic at heart.

    Now, if this type of thing becomes more commonplace, you can really kiss that whole "land of the free" thing goodbye and replace it with "land of those who can afford lawyers". That's what keeps me awake at night, folks.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In other news, the letters A, E, I, O, and U have all been removed from the alphabet due to issues surrounding their membership as a vowel, which is recognized as being literarily different from consonants. Thus, after this line we are no longer permitted to use vowels and we will replace all vowels with "*" since it apparently belongs to the public domain.


    MP** AND R*** G* F*CK Y**S*LF!!


    Sp*c**l n*t*: Th* l*tt*r "Y" *s n*t * v*w*l *n th*s c*s*. F*ck!

  • by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:49PM (#2275123) Journal
    They're saying that because buckets of cash are spent on digital video projects, and some of those projects may fail, they're worried that the GPL won't protect them from being sued by people who claim their product is responsible for that failure. If a video project comes in late/and or over budget that uses Broadcast 2000, they're worried that they'll get sued for the damages.

    It's similar to someone refusing to post any more legal opinions on Slashdot because they don't think IANAL will protect them if someone actually takes their legal advice, and loses money/realizes damages because of it.

    This is bad news, if it's an accurate assesment because one of the key benefits of the GPL is a release from liability. If you just put something in the public domain then someone can still sue you if using it damages them, but if they use it under the terms of the GPL there's no explicit or implied warranty. So, let's just hope these guys are wrong!

    • Anyone can sue you for anything at any time. If the lawsuite is completely absurd, then the judge will throw it out right away, but you still need to hire a lawyer and go to court. Fortunately, for cases in small-claims court (like those TV shows), you don't need a lawyer, but you still need to go to court.
    • The disclaimer of warrenty is not a GPL invention. I don't think I have ever seen a piece of software (commercial, gpl, public domain, shareware, etc) that did not have this.

      If this disclaimer is not legally valid all software development would stop. I don't think even MicroSoft could withstand the lawsuits. The only way software would work is users would have to "steal" it, and the people writing it would have to carefully hide their identities through many layers of encryption so that the users could never find them. I doubt this would be a good thing for software quality!

  • Liability extremes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is a issue that effects all software, whether Free or not. If lawyers are able to get around the software licensing's restrictions of liability and software that is produced by someone does not perform as expected, and perhaps causes damages either by not performing as expected or by harming hardware, then the programmer could be held liable for damages that, in at lesat some cases, could go into the millions of dollars.

    Just imagine what would happen if a class action was taken by IIS users against MS for the CodeRed exploit. We might laugh for a while and figure they had it coming to them, but then there are other issues... like the remote exploit in fetchmail, wsftpd, and others. They too could be faced with users who have experienced real costs associated with bugs in their code. If producers are to be held liable for these exploits despite the limits of liability worlding in their licenses it will have a devestating effect on the production of code and will seriously hamper the release early, release often mantra of Free software.

    In the case of Broadcast 2000 they may be over reacting or they may just be among the first to react to the potential liability. Time will tell.
  • by pbryan (83482) <email@pbryan.net> on Monday September 10, 2001 @03:51PM (#2275133) Homepage
    It's beyond me how essentially what is the exercise of free speech can incur a liability of warranty, especially with explicit notices disclaiming all liability for any and all damage and/or loss incurred through the use of the software.
    Of course, getting in trouble with commercial organizations because you are encroaching on their "intellectual property rights" seems to be a near daily event these days, but warranty liabilities?

    Will scientists be sued next for disclosing scientific principles, algorithms and processes for breach of warranty if some experiment backfires? I must conclude that the precident of suing people for releasing their source code into the public domain could have a chilling effect on the open source community, perhaps starting with HeroineWarrior.com.

    Closing down B2000 represents a significant blow to the Linux-based Video Editing segment. As I recall, commercial organizations were bundling B2000 in a turnkey video editing hardware solution. I guess they'll be looking for alternatives, none of which are as mature or advanced as B2000.

    IANAL, but IMHO free (speech) software should be handled rather like free advice. Take it for what it's worth.

  • What does this software do? All their website says is that they're no longer letting people download it. What did this software do that could potentially be illegal/cause liability?

    They mentioned warranties, which would appear to mean that the software might damage hardware, or they were worried about being sued over bugs or something... but I can't imagine that could be an issue. It's almost impossible to damage hardware on PCs programicaly, and almost all software has bugs.

    Was it something else? Did the software allow broadcasting (possibly copyrighted content) over the net? That's what the name would imply, but from the screenshots and other comments it sounded like a premiere type Non-linear video editor. How could they get sued over that?
  • by trongey (21550) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:13PM (#2275242) Homepage
    And it will cost them money whether they win or lose.

    Anyone can sue anyone else for anything at any time. All that's needed is a lawyer who will take the case on contingency. Then it doesn't matter whether the suit has any merit at all, because the defendant will still be out the cost of a lawyer just to get the suit thrown out, and the plaintiff has zero risk in many cases. (Fortunately, some states have frivolous lawsuit laws that provide some protection from totally bogus suits)

    I think I'll sue them now. I've always wanted to make an expensive video production, and they've taken away my ability to do that - along with all of the money I would have made from the project.

    Of course IANAL but IAMANAL
  • by mrAgreeable (47829) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:16PM (#2275254)
    They are still distributing Cinelerra (see their sourceforge page, linked from their main site), and it seems to be very much along the same lines as Broadcast. If they were so worried, why keep distributing Cinelerra?

    Here:
    http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?thread_id =9 4322&forum_id=42723
    they mention makine Cinelerra a commercial program, but the message itself looks like it was either a joke or written by someone high at the time. Cinelerra is GPLed, by the way.

    From their docs (manual.ps in the Cinerella distro):
    "In mid 2000 designs for a Broadcast 2000 replacement were drafted. The Broadcast name was officially retired from the series and the software would now be called Cinelerra."
    • Broadcast 2000 never supported DV-out, so while you could grab from a DV camera, you couldn't save back to tape.

      One of the reasons given was something along the line of "DV is old and going to be replaced soon".

      I never successfully got BC2000 to work. Though I started playing in earnest 2 weeks ago. I d/led the source for just about everything they had on the site: BC2000, firehose, some MPEG conversion utility and others.

      Mmmmm...fresh code.
      • I d/led the source for just about everything they had on the site: BC2000, firehose, some MPEG conversion utility and others

        It's GPL, right? Would you consider putting it up on a sourceforge page?

    • they mention making Cinelerra a commercial program, but the message itself looks like it was either a joke or written by someone high at the time.

      ...And anything else he writes isn't? Ever looked at the MPEG2-Movie source code, for instance?

      I envy the guy - getting so much high quality smoke in this economic climate is truly a blessing.

    • The reason that the developers dropped this project may have been given by a developer from Heroine Virtual at the sourceforge forum link [sourceforge.net]. The problem looks to be one of financing the project:

      With this in mind you should realize what is involved in ensuring the software you use doesn't have to be paid for. The only reason you can use any software at all is because the developers are able to pay for it through day jobs which today don't exist. The GPL requires software to be paid for by the developer before it can be released to the public.

      • #1 Most of the computer scientists who once contributed to open source projects moved to different careers.

        #2 Writing large applications is an undesirable hobby for anyone not interested or able to make a career out of software.

      What a dilemma. Great goddamned software, and no way to even provide a micropayment for it??? All someone would have to do is threaten to sue these guys to break their bank. I guess I'm being offtopic but I can see why they took their toys and went home.
  • B2000 may have made a hasty exit. But remember that higher-end video software developers are looking seriously at X86 Linux as an alternative to the financially shaky sgi.


    I know. I know. SGI systems kick serious butt for high-end applications (I've personally run demos of an Octane2 running 2 streams of HD in real time w/ effects). But an over-muscled X86 Linux box could get performance in the same zip code for an order of magnitude less cash. Lower hardware price tag = higher margins for software developers = happy software developers.


    [flamebait]
    Who wants a Premiere knock-off, anyway? Wouldn't you rather see Discreet, Jaleo, or Softimage/Avid move to Linux?
    [/flamebait]

  • This [sourceforge.net] was in the Heroine Virtual forum on Sourceforge and is dated 4 days ago. It certainly isn't "the reason" but it's amusing to see that it was a consideration that recently (when a fresh copy of source to Cinelerra, the successor to Broadcast, was uploaded to Sourceforge)
  • Isn't that the same thing that happened to Axagon Composer?? it was written by a couple of students but was seriously capable of going up against Adobe After Effects. They then decided to stop giving it away free, and start selling.. basically they were sellouts. Is B2K a sellout too? its GPL'ed though... so the source is still good, so who cares if they've stopped developing - just carry on developing a new fork.

    If on the other hand, they've been warned to stop Mafia style. The people doing the warning are basically saying "we don't mind you producing software that competes with ours or is even better, as long as you flog it for a sh*t load of cash so we can flog ours for a sh*t load of cash too. But, if you have the f*cking nerve to write great software and actually dare to give it away free, your gonna put us out of business 'cos we're flogging it for squid, and your not and we're crap etc.. etc.. so either charge money for your software like a Ferengi (spelling?) or drop it, else big dave here's gonna do you in. CAPISH?!!

    If the above is the case, then there is something pretty wrong. That, the DMCA, and the SSSCA proves with out a doubt that all the politicians in your government are actually the owners/major-shareholders of all your biggest corporations. So, as big dave would say: your all well and truly ****ed.

    -tfga
  • Total Confusion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fanatic (86657) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:38PM (#2275342)
    We've already seen several organizations win lawsuits against GPL/warranty free
    software writers because of damage that software caused to the organization. Several
    involved the RIAA vs mp3/p2p software writers. Several involved the MPAA vs media
    player authors. You might say that warranty exemption has become quite
    meaningless in today's economy.


    The first and third sentences appear to deal with liability to someone who used the software and lost time/money/product because of it. But the soecnd sentence sounds much more like copyright/DMCA issues, with RIAA vs. p2p sounding suspiciously like the Naptster suit. What is the deal here anyhow? If it's IP issues, warranty exemption is the wrong way to go. If it's warranty issues, what in the world do MPAA/RIAA/p2p issues have to do with it? When something makes this little sense, there's something fishy going on. These folks aren't saying everything they know.
  • Essentially video editors are your typical clueless user that know a lot about what they do (movie making) and not a lot about technology. The idea that these people operate under is "time is money and it better work dammit because I just paid a lot of money for this tool!" They want to "get someone on the phone now!" when a tool doesn't work. I'm generalizing this user to make a point--a user that expects this kind of handholding doesn't fit well with the do-it-yourself-fix-it-yourself way of Linux.

    Applications like Final Cut (Apple) and AfterEffects (Adobe) work so well that you'd have a tough time arguing that free is better (based on the time is money theory) with those tools than something free or open.

    There are many, many resources for these tools--trouble shooting, advice, even users groups are active it places like LA and SF. I applaud the effort that the developers of Broadcast 2000 made and I support their decision to exit the market.
    • It's not smart to generalize like this. You statements are not 100% correct.

      Dreamworks is a TOTALLY open source shop. They don't have "anyone to call" when something goes wrong.

      They don't care.

      • right...because they have a tech staff to support the artists. Just like Lucasfilms, PDI, Warner and all the other shops using *nix computers as a major part of the work flow.

        Dreamworks and the like are not the typical "problem customer" mentioned by the Broadcast 2000 folks.
  • by x mani x (21412) <mghase@nospAM.cs.mcgill.ca> on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:53PM (#2275387) Homepage
    From the page describing one of their utilities, called FIREHOSE (it stripes network data accross different NICs as a means of increasing bandwidth):


    The FIREHOSE package contains a simple library allowing any application wishing to stream data across striped networks to do so with just a few function calls. Also included is a file transfer utility and a pipe utility. Pipe gigabytes of uncompressed video, CD-R images, scientific data, tar archives, and porn all with the greatest of ease.
    • Although the "and porn" reference might make you think:

      "Pipe gigabytes of ripped uncompressed video, warez CD-R images", etc...

      I think in the context of video production it means something completely different.

      Until I got smarter with my (non-porn, sorry) video "production", I had a firewire card on one system and my CD burner on another system. I would transfer the uncompressed video from my camcorder onto one system. Each file was maybe 12-14gig (maybe an hour?). Then I would edit it and create an MPEG-1 video image. Then I would transfer the 600+mb images to the other system to burn on CD-R (vcd actually).

      I couldn't use the first system until the second system was done with the transfer, and it could take a while (though not too long).

      I eventually put a newer CD burner on the same system that I captured and edited with. I couldn't overlap the burning and capturing, but
      the new CD burner was faster, so I didn't sweat it so much.

      However, if I was doing DVD's, I would think that a separate system to burn would make sense - the burn times would be long. Heck, maybe another separate system to render the mpeg-2. And with this utility, you could buy (or reuse) a couple of el-cheapo ethernet cards for a lot less than gig ethernet cards and transfer the 4+gig files a lot faster. Or maybe even a couple of gig cards (though I wonder what it would take for the machines to fill up the pipes)

      Anyway, this utility sounds like what a lot of people (legitimately) working with large video files need. Maybe even some "legitimate" (low-budget?) porn...
  • I am fairly confused as to what is going on here..

    This company that provides 'broadcast 2000' is worried that some other big company will use or purchase said software, and when a bug arrises that makes the purchasing company lose money, they dont want to be sued.

    Why cant the company that provides the broadcast 2000 say that they dont have a warranty on the program, and if you use it, its used as is, any any costs that arrise from something bad that happens from using the software will have to be paid by the user of the software, not the software maker?

    Its a fairly common thing to see in liscense agreements, or warranties or whatever.. Did they get sued recently or what?
  • The reason that they give for withdrawing Broadcast 2000 is certainly plausible, but after reading through the documentation and following the links to other sites, I have to wonder if this is just an excuse to re-release the product under a different license.

    What is their relationship with Linux Media Labs and Linux Media Arts? Linux Media Labs offers for $599.00 [linuxmedialabs.com] Broadcast for LINUX, "a fully supported LINUX video edit[or]", which looks exactly like Broadcast 2000 to me.

    Now, this could very well just be a case of a company taking GPLed software and selling support for it. It's somewhat surprising that they don't mention Heroine Virtual at all, but they're not required to do so. (Last week, a story here about Linux office suites linked to a company that was clearly just selling KOffice... they hadn't even bothered to change the names of the applications in the screenshots!) Cygnus had a profitable and very reputable business doing similar, before being consumed by RedHat.

    What's the relationship between these companies?

  • by starseeker (141897) on Monday September 10, 2001 @05:23PM (#2275492) Homepage
    "We've already seen several organizations win lawsuits against GPL/warranty free software writers because of damage that software caused to the organization."

    Does anyone know what they are talking about? They mention some RIAA stuff and mp3 people, but I can't think of a case where people doing ordinary end user stuff went and sued. The RIAA is trying to keep their death grip on their industry, and ditto MPAA. Broadcast 2000 wasn't using DeCSS, to the best of my knowledge, and anyone who uses free software knows (or had better figure out) that they have no right to sue the writers! That's like bringing me your computer, me saying very clearly I'll be happy to try and fix it at no cost but I can't guarantee anything, and then you suing me because I couldn't make it work and you lost too much time while I was trying! At this rate no one will be willing to help anyone do anything ever for fear of being sued! Free software is a gift to the world. If you want to use something where you have the right to sue someone, you'd better find a commercial company and pay them some money. Insurance companies don't give out free insurance - you pay them to assume the risk that you are going to get large sums of money from them in the future. These people seem to be treating free software like free insurance. I doubt the law will accept that. If so, I wouldn't be surprised if the technical people desert this country and move somewhere where people don't try and use generosity as a way to blame people and force them to pay for their generosity with cash. Talk about screwed up...
  • Their references to other companies being sued by the MPAA/RIAA/Other Monopolies indicates they are worried about being sued by somebody that feels their software is somehow being used as a circumvention device. i.e. You might use it to fix video that had deliberately been broken by, say for example, a DVD player that detected you were piping its output to a VCR or other device.

    Basically, they're saying they don't have the money to fight big corporations who to all apparent purposes are ready to resort to any and all legal witch hunts to keep media content production expensive and in their control.

    In corporate law, the one with the money wins. We are fast approaching a era where innovation becomes is cripled into stagnation because of all the intellectual property claims the 'idea brokers' will have against every new idea. Since our progression as a species is predicated on the formulation of newer/better ideas based on previous ones, it stands to reason that we will progress faster the more those previous ideas are freely available. When the use of previous ideas , even the most mundane ones, begins to require huge expendures in legal fees and licensing, innovation cannot but ramp down to a slower pace as the freedom to innovate becomes solely the realm of entities with deep pockets... it is a question whether it might bring about total stagnation.

    It is also a viscious circle. As innovation becomes more and more expensive, companies will argue their right to hold onto their discoveries for longer and longer. This will further increase the cost of any future discoveries to the point where perhaps one day newer discoveries in some areas will become impossible because of the expense incurred in licensing the previous ones.

    The founders thought of tomorrow... apparently few people in congress do now. I would argue that the right of a society to progress and evolve belongs in the Charter of Rights/Constitution of every country in the world as an expression that knowledge is a thing that can never be possessed, only used. Such a statement does not discriminate against worthy research receiving privileges with respect to exploiting an idea for a period of time.
  • , from what I'd guess, about people buying some really expensive video gear and then hinging it on their software.

    And, although there are no guarantees, and it's OSS, etc........ they are worried that someone will sue their ass off for bugs, or for the software not performing.

    Sounds like a load of crap.
  • Well, software innovation may be taking a hit, but don't forget, it's a small price to pay for the wonderful innovation we see in the recording industries today... :)

    ...Oh wait a second...
  • I don't see the problem. There have been very few successful warranty claims against software companies that disclamed warranties, and they generally were in situations involving gross misrepresentation. If they're worried about warranty claims, they should sell an extended warranty, or get one of the remaining Linux companies to do so.
  • Looking at the release doesn't click. What would the RIAA or MPAA have to do with Warrenty? I think Patent infringement and reverse engineering a product when it's shrink wrap lic. forbids it is far more likely.

    Something smells. You have a developer who work for Pioneer on the project. Wierd statements that aren't logical. My guess is that someone shot a warning shot across the bow, and that someone seems to have learned something from the RIAA not to put it in writting.
  • by dmaxwell (43234) on Monday September 10, 2001 @10:28PM (#2276254)
    I haven't used it lately but when XCDRoast used to be a Tk frontend to gcombust it displayed this really ridiculous disclaimer when executed. I'm paraphrasing but it went something like this:

    I understand that this software will probably erase my hard drive, kill my pets, make California sink into the Pacific Ocean and the Earth to crash into the sun.

    I think a good approach to any bonehead that would sue a Free/Open project is take the ridiculous disclaimer to the ridiculous extreme:

    I understand I got this for free and have no expectation that it is fit for any purpose whatsover.

    I understand that terrible things are likely to happen if persist in running this software such as permanent damage to system components and loss of data.

    I understand that this sequence of prompts is going to look GREAT in court should I be obtuse enough to sue anybody anyway.

    I understand that there is no way in hell that I accidentally agreed to this.

    If I sue in spite of all of this, then I agree that contents of this dialog are admission that I'm bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

    If I'm still obtuse enough to sue then I agree that I'm too stupid to waste a court's time and am a vexatious litigant.

    Any version of this software lacking the click through disclaimers is not the responsibility of this Project. For that matter neither is this one.

    There should be no option to disable the disclaimers. That's the price of getting to edit video or otherwise operate a computer for free.



  • I realize part of the isssue here is the concern over attacks against GPL'd studio/production software. But this issue does als make me wonder about recording softwares, such as Cakewalk's Sonar, Motu's Performer and OpCodes CuBase ?

    Or what does this say to Real Network, who gives the Basic version of their Real Producer product away for free ?

    Either way, I find this decision disturbing and somewhat depresssing as Linux was just getting around to providing some serious multi-media production capability, at a cost that agrees with most home studio/users.
  • freshmeat.net, search for broadcast 2000.

    Even though I had left off downloading it for a while I luckily found it again.

    Seems to me that if you sign a disclaimer saying you wouldn't dream of suing them for bugs it should be okay no?

    Coming from someone who'se seen production with a custom mac premiere/raid system I can tell you crashes and such are not unknown in the commercial world.. anyway.

    Should be a nifty tool and a mother lode of knowledge for anyone who wants to learn about video programming!

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