As we enter 2018 a stark reminder of the power of online service providers and the restrictive software on their own devices has come to our attention.
The Amazon Fire TV is a device that a user plugs into the TV to get all sorts of streaming video content. The device is proprietary and as such you are entirely at the will of the parent company, Amazon, in regards to what content you can watch and what programs you can run. Amazon does a lot of nasty things to people on the service from login everyone purchases, tracking what people are reading through to large scale tax dodging and poor worker treatment and this latest issue is just another damning issue for the company. Amazon and Google are currently engaging in a corporate battle for living room video streaming services. The battle is between allowing Amazon content on the Google devices and the Google content allowed on the Amazon devices. This initially started with Amazon not allowing people to buy Google products via their online store as a means to push their online video platform. Google has responded by removing support for their own platform - YouTube - to run on Amazon based devices. This is a case of abuse of power by both companies involved with the users losing out. Both companies are to blame.
Google by disallowing their service on a competitor device, and Amazon for disallowing the users from using their own programs to continue access to these service. With Free software, the users would still be in control of the programs that dictate what can be accessed. With the users in control, those that provide the service have to support the many that wish to use the service.
If the people control the access point, the companies will support the access of the data from their services. The power in the hands of the many not the few. Without this setup these services almost always mistreat the user in a power grab. To begin with by not allowing the user to make copies and share the content they receive on the devices they own through to a combination of proprietary software, even on websites via non-free Java Script/Plugins, in combination with proprietary video formats locked up with DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) means that you are entirely under control by an external entity.
Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Video – all these services and many similar all mistreat the users and you should say “No way!” if offered to view or host video on these sites. The convenience they provide is merely a trap to get you sucked into their structure of mistreatment.
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