Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Who Says the Hugo Awards Are Unimportant?

As most of you know, the UStream coverage of the 2012 Hugo Awards on Saturday night (Chicago time) was knocked off the air by a UStream copyright 'bot. This ignited a storm of protests, probably given more steam when Neil Gaiman posted about it. Late Monday, the founder and CEO of UStream posted an apology on the company's official blog. Now I see that this hasn't really pleased a lot of people, who are calling it a non-apology, but actually, I think we're on the right track. Not speaking for WSFS officially, I'm personally happy to see that UStream realized that something went wrong and apologized, although it's of course disappointing that they couldn't fix things immediately when the problem happened. OTOH, late at night on a holiday weekend isn't necessarily the time I would expect front-line experts in place to fix a problem at UStream, either. So I think we need to take a balanced approach here.

WSFS has been using the free UStream service, which means interrupting ads and also means that we're not necessarily going to get everything we want. What we have to determine is whether Worldcons can afford what it costs to get more professional support. As Cheryl pointed out, we set out to try and live-stream the Hugos in 2005 and ran aground on the four-figure costs quoted to us. Although it's easier to do now, I think it's still likely that to do this fully professionally in a way that is less subject to the problems we faced this year is a four-figure sum of money, and Worldcons have to make decisions about how important it is to provide this service.

I want to encourage people to not rush to a quick judgement here. There's another year before we'll be on the air again with another Hugo Awards ceremony, and between now and then Chicon 7, LoneStarCon 3, and the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee will be working with all of the affected parties to see if we can bring people uninterrupted coverage of the Hugo Awards in 2013.
Tags: chicon, hugo awards, worldcon
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