A lot of things are going on that will affect user generated content. It is hard to keep up but there are a number of forces that are going to do their best to return things to the prior century mode of communication. Top down. Limited access.
The biggest news is the current handing of Net Neutrality. This the principle that Internet service providers and governments should all data on the Internet should be processed and treated the same.
There should not be companies and businesses that set tolls, extra fees and (it will come) ideological road block to access to content.
This is a video by Vi Hart that will visually explain what the deal is and how we are gonna get screwed. The phone and cable companies are gunning hard to make this happen.
Places like Netflix have already capitulated and paid access improved access fees to Comcast and Verizon. Comcast deliberately slowed down the speeds of Netflix videos to make their point about throttling access.
The hope is that the FCC has a come to Jeebus moment and regulates the Internet as a necessary public utility.
It ain't looking good.
So, what has this got to do with user generated video? Well... the phone and cable based Internet providers are busy capping how much Internet a user can access via their mobile devices and their desktop access.
For example, on my mobile Wi-Fi I pay $35 for unlimited access. If my if my service switches to 4G LTE then I will be required to pay $55 with a cap of 6GB. If I exceed the 6GBs then I have to pay extra.
For the record, I churn about 12-15GB easy. And no, I am not a gamer.
So, some of you say, get cable internet. Right, where I'll pay $60 to start with a 10GB cap.
So if you create web videos and up load them to Vimeo and YouTube that will count against your allotted usage. That is just at the consumer ISP level. What if the phone and cable companies start smiling at Vimeo and YouTube?
If you watched Vi's video you know that they will put the touch on both of those two companies and charge them fees for "taking up too much pipe."
The word I'm looking for is, um ....extortion.
YouTube might decide that it no longer wants to host cat videos or other types of non-income generating content.
Vimeo, who do not have as deep pockets like YouTube might decide to snuggle up to independent commercial content creators who put out a consistent product and churn cash.
So what to do?
You can read the official FCC Open Internet page to get their understanding on the issue. I have to say what is on that page and what was proposed by the FCC in early April 2014 seems a world apart.
You can check out Save the Internet to learn more about it or see if they have some ideas to fight it.
Common Cause has more information and a link to a form letter that can be sent to your federal representatives.
Whoa. I actually fighting for the right to access cat videos. Strange days indeed.
P.S. Nothing against cat and/or dog videos.