Justin Kan, the original lifecaster behind Justin.tv, hyped his company on the prospects of seeing him naked or, better yet, in flagranti delicto. But if that was the draw of the site for you, forget it. Over the weekend, Justin.tv banned a would-be lifecaster after a single day of risqué broadcasting, and has since revised its community guidelines. Kan knew that appealing to the sensational side of lifecasting would draw interest, but now that the startup is attracting investors, sensationalism also brings potential controversy. And nothing chases away money like controversy. But what about the adherents to lifecasting? Won't they, too, be chased away if "lifecasting" is redefined as only including the parts of your life that would make it past network-TV censors?
The irony, of course, is that the offending lifecaster is Gawker Media video staff member Nick McGlynn, who works for Valleywag's publisher and prepares some video clips for this site. He's also responsible for the slightly less riveting, but featured, Gawker book-party broadcast.
As a result of "sexual acts" appearing in McGlynn's live stream, Justin.tv has issued new community guidelines, which try to emphasize broadcasters' freedom to police their own streams, but ends by banning a host of activities that many would consider a part of their daily life, including "documented unauthorized real-world contact." I don't know what that means but it sounds ominous.
McGlynn, however, never imagined that a lifecasting site would restrict, you know, lifecasting. He didn't see any issue with broadcasting a stream of his own nakedness or sex with his girlfriend. McGlynn, in his own words via IM:
i didn't know it wasn't allowed, who reads the TOS anyway
they should have made it more prominent, i mean if you are going to have your whole life online
half my life is spent naked
and sex is a quarter of that half
i won't do it again, but seems silly that you can't
i just started it that morning
so it wasn't a big loss for me
well they should create a section for over 18 cams
it would give a more "real view" on peoples lives if they didn't have to turn the camera away durning naked times
first of all
nobody ever read TOS
people just click agree
if there is something very imporant like "you can't be naked" then include that somewhere else
like a check box, saying "i agree to not be naked"
i just find it funny that everyone is making this much of a deal about it
people in america are so weird when it comes to sex and nudity
i haven't heard from them since, i don't know what repercussions there would be, they already closed my account so i can't broadcast
why not just up the age from 13 to 18 and say anything goes
if there are 13 year olds broadcasting there life on cam that is creepier than nudity anyday in my book
It's all kind of disillusioning. Justin.tv already offered investors negligible prospects as a successful business, considering that there anyone-can-broadcast platform came late to the party, after competitors like Ustream and Kyte were well established. Compromising the freedom of its users, in spite of all that's implied by the term "lifecasting," to cater to more mainstream viewers carries its own perils. Money may flee controversy. But it chases an audience.