By Adam Pasick
It may not be quite what Steve Jobs had in mind, but an online search
engine called Guba is set to offer vast amounts of pornography and
other video files, specifically tailored for Apple's new iPods.
Guba is a subscription-only search engine that culls video files from
the Usenet newsgroups, a huge repository of online content -- much of
it mostly adult, pirated, or both.
Beginning this month, Guba will convert video files from Usenet into
the format used by the iPod, known as H.264. Apple Chief Executive
Steve Jobs launched the video-enabled iPod last month along with deals
to sell downloadable music videos and TV shows.
Although Guba offers up a wide variety of video, from the satirical
news program "The Daily Show" to Japanese animation, its "erotica"
section is likely to be the biggest draw.
"We can kid ourselves, but in the end it's probably porn that people
want," said Guba Chief Executive Thomas McInerney. He noted that the
site offers a "safe mode" to filter out adult content, but does not
expect that filter to be used very much. "People do not care about the
discussion, resesearch or news groups, it is porn they expect to get
Usenet predates the World Wide Web by more than a decade, and it has
developed alongside more mainstream file-sharing networks like Kazaa
Guba specifically searches through Usenet's multimedia content, which
is not indexed by popular search engines such as Yahoo or Google. It
also converts video into standard formats, and lets users stream small
versions from its Web site.
At a time when movie studios are hyper-vigilant about online piracy,
Guba's easily accessible videos could raise hackles among Hollywood's
Guba counters that it will strictly abide by the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, which requires search engines to take down any content
upon request of the copyright holder. It has also blocked access to
music files and videos longer than 70 minutes.
McInerney said Guba is blocking MP3 music files "because there has
been so much litigation about music, and the RIAA (Recording Industry
of America) has been so aggressive about it." However, Guba does offer
TV files, because "the TV guys seem to understand the Internet
... they seem to be the next industry after music to go online,"
A search of Guba revealed a wide range of TV shows, including Disney's
"Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," which are both sold online at Apple's
iTunes Music Store.
McInerney said that Guba, which charges $14.95 per month, is
profitable and has about 15 employees.
"What we'd really like to do, and what we'll need to do, is partner
with a large content company," he said. "They're getting wise to the
Internet, and they're understanding that they can't litigate it away."
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
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