As we reported last weekend, the Sept. 2 livestream of the Hugo Awards was halted when copyright robots detected some Doctor Who footage in the broadcast (for the winning theatrical presentation, Neil Gaiman's "The Doctor's Wife."). The feed was taken down, for "copyright infringement," and nobody at streaming provider Ustream would reinstate it despite the fact that the clips were permitted under fair use. Now provider Ustream has issued an apology, and is going to rebroadcast the awards in their entirety, with much fanfare tomorrow night.
Photo of io9's Charlie Jane Anders accepting her Hugo via Tor.com on Facebook
The conference organizers say in a release:
Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), is pleased to announce that the 2012 Hugo Awards Ceremony will be re-broadcast in its entirety and ad-free via Ustream on Sunday, September 9, starting at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT) at www.ustream.tv/channel/hugo-awards.
The original live broadcast of the ceremony was interrupted on Sunday, September 2 when an automated infringement system detected content in the stream that it deemed copyright infringement. Although the material was cleared for Chicon 7 use, the feed could not be restored before the ceremony concluded, meaning that fans around the world were unable to enjoy the remainder of the show.
Ustream founder and CEO Brad Hunstable spoke directly to Chicon 7 Chairman Dave McCarty on Tuesday, September 4, and expressed his regret at the loss of the broadcast. Hunstable's online blog post notes "Unfortunately, we were not able to lift the ban before the broadcast ended. We had many unhappy viewers as a result, and for that I am truly sorry. As a long-time Firefly, Stargate and Game of Thrones fan among others, I am especially disheartened by this?.... ?I have suspended use of this third-party system until we are able to recalibrate the settings so that we can better balance the needs of broadcasters, viewers, and copyright holders. While we are committed to protecting copyright, we absolutely must ensure our amazing and democratizing platform allows legal broadcasters to Ustream their events and shows."
To makeup for the disruption to the original broadcast, Ustream will feature the full un-edited and bot-free ceremony on its Homepage this Sunday, September 9, starting at 7 p.m. CT. Ustream will also run the broadcast ad-free on the Worldcon Hugo Awards channel at www.ustream.tv/channel/hugo-awards, and provide additional marketing and promotional support to raise the profile of the event. The broadcast will subsequently be available from the same channel on an on-demand basis. Ustream has also offered additional support and publicity for the streaming of future Hugo Award Ceremonies for upcoming Worldcons in San Antonio, TX (2013) and London, UK (2014).
According to Dave McCarty, "this incident is just one of several that have been in the news recently, and it reflects a broader challenge faced by the industry. I welcome Brad's personal response and his commitment to review the way in which channel suspensions are triggered and controlled. And of course, we are delighted that all science fiction fans can experience a great Hugo Awards Ceremony which celebrated the best in recent science fiction literature and media and its fans. As Chair of the Hugo Award Marketing Committee, I also look forward to building this partnership with Ustream over the coming years."