Yesterday afternoon I was having an advisory meeting with the CEO of LBRY to talk about why I’ve left YouTube, and where LBRY fits into my calculations as a creator. I find myself in the odd position of wanting LBRY to succeed since I own stock (And want to buy a REALLY nice condo in South Beach), but also not caring about pie in the sky concepts because I need to pay the mortgage now. LBRY has fit into that horrible area in the tech industry where the underlying technology is mindbogglingly cool, but the actual utility of the product is a bit of a head scratcher.
To this end Jeremy told me about there new product Spee.ch. Basically this site/product/service allows anyone to upload images and videos using an open webform and then LBRY will then convert those images and videos onto the LBRY network and give you back a link or embed code to be able to access the video. This is something to get me excited as a creator. There’s nothing about mining, blockchains, cryptocurrencies or sharding. It’s a service an 8 year old can use that happens to use LBRY as the infrastructure. The whole elevator pitch is, “A way to share videos that’s easier than YouTube”. (To be clear there are a few caveats, but you get my gist.)
I was getting excited about this until Jeremy stated that anyone could use the service so long as they follow the TOS, at which point I groaned. To be clear as a content creator that pays their bills from this stuff at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how revolutionary the tech is, if the TOS sucks then the conversation is over. (I’m looking at you Vid.me) Having the TOS come up about a distributed, authorityless content delivery systems made me concerned for the actual utility of LBRY as a platform.
After I got off the Skype, I dug into Spee.ch and with a heavy heart clicked on the TOS link. To my surprise this might be LBRY’s best feature yet.
Terms of Service
This page is a stub. A full acknowledgement is coming before public launch.
In the interim, by publishing to LBRY, you affirm and acknowledge that:
- You have the right to publish what you are publishing.
- You are publishing to a decentralized, distributed network that is not controlled by LBRY, Inc.
- LBRY, Inc. offers no guarantees of any kind with regards to its protocol, applications, or services, including with regard to the security or availability of your content.
- You absolve LBRY, Inc. of any and all obligations it is legal for you to surrender.
THIS is the TOS I have been waiting for. Obviously it’s what they have for the beta product and may change to a degree, but I really hope the lawyers don’t force them to write a book. This is a TOS that says you have to have the right to upload what you’re uploading, you understand at a basic level how the system works, you won’t sue them if the system crashes, and if you do do something stupid you won’t blame LBRY.
That’s just about all any TOS should say. In the #RESIST world we have all of these Silicon Valley companies having lawyers write books worth of TOS for the specific purpose of making sure that users are always violating something so that they can be chucked at will. Creators are always at the whim of whichever executive is having a hangover at the moment. By creating dirt simple TOS it makes me as a creator feel much better about the company. (To be clear they still need to work on the product.)
Self Deplatforming should be a real concern for many of these platforms that have sprung up over the past decade. They have received a huge amount of attention and valuation because they were fancy new toys that served a purpose that couldn’t be solved before. As this tech becomes more and more trivial to implement these businesses will succeed based more and more on how they conduct business. I may not like Lauren Southern, Milo, or Daily Stormer but when as a creator you see how freely their services can be cancelled it makes you concerned. As you see YouTube’s new demonetization bot taking down a swath of YouTube videos with no consequence for YouTube for errors you really start to want a platform that you can trust. Obviously glitches will happen, but knowing that a pissed off CEO isn’t going to take out their frustration on you is a nice thought.
I hope LBRY and their contemporaries focus on the business arguments as much as they do the tech. Many of these folks start waxing lyrically about democratized access, and then forget to build a UI worth a darn. If they focus both on the business arguments as they do the technological ones I really think that that this whole movement could be changing the game within a few years.