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IBM Cloud Video, formerly Ustream, is an American live video streaming and video hosting company. It is based in San Francisco and has more than 180 employees in their San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Budapest offices. Company partners include Panasonic, Samsung, Logitech, CBS News, PBS NewsHour, Viacom, and IMG Media. It received $11.1 million in Series A funding for new product development from DCM (Doll Capital Management) and investors Labrador Ventures and Band of Angels.
Since 2016, it has been a subsidiary of IBM. On April 1, 2018, two years after its purchase, Ustream changed its name to reflect its new ownership.
Ustream was born when the founders (John Ham, Brad Hunstable, and Dr. Gyula Feher) wanted a way for their friends in the Army, who were deployed overseas in Iraq during the war, to be able to communicate with their families. A product like Ustream would provide them with a way to talk to all of their relatives at once when free time in the war zone was limited.
Ustream has witnessed many notable people streaming from politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, to artists like Tori Amos and the Plain White T's. Notable lifecasters such as iJustine and E-TARD The LifeCaster have made their mark on Ustream as well. The technology community has also adopted Ustream to include Robert Scoble, Leo Laporte, Klasic Kumputerz, and Chris Pirillo.
Early investors included DCM Ventures and Softbank, the latter of which invested $20 million in 2010 with an option to invest additional capital. On January 21, 2016, IBM acquired Ustream for up to US$150 million. It was combined with Aspera, Clearleap, and Cleversafe to form IBM's Cloud Video unit. IBM envisioned the use of its technology as part of an enterprise video offering.
IBM Cloud Video uses a copyright enforcement service provided by Vobile, which uses a proprietary fingerprinting system to automatically detect copyrighted content. This system has been known to generate false positives, blocking content that should fall under fair use, or which has been specifically licensed by the stream originator. In one such incident, the official livecast of the 2012 Hugo Award ceremony was terminated because it incorporated authorized clips of nominated television shows and movies, causing "a flood of livid Twitter messages". The following day, Ustream apologized for the incident and temporarily disabled automatic blocking while they adjusted the system to "better balance the needs of broadcasters, viewers, and copyright holders".