Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious about dragging weird stuff back to the tribe. This is one of those times. Please know that when I drag weird stuff in, it’s always with good intent and the desire to help others…
(Also, there is a very short time-limited “flash sale” for $99/year instead of $249/year, expires March 6. Read on for more context.)
Anyway, this is a new service from entrepreneur Michael Robertson.
He builds interesting hacks on existing popular technology as a business, often with some subversion of the dominant IP paradigm. Read/skim the Wikipedia page for details. I think he is generally of good intent. He also doesn’t mind getting in legal hot water as he builds a business.
When he builds stuff, it works. It’s also got a barebones visual aesthetic, but again, it’s always functional and well-thought out.
So it is that I can take his latest offering seriously:
The idea is that you record yourself pretending to attend a Zoom call, and then in the future, Zoomcorder can attend Zoom calls on your behalf. Using a virtual computer, it plays the recording of you (or Snoop Dogg, if you so desire), so as long as you’re not called on to be interactive, it will look like you’re attending. At the same time, it will be recording the meeting (with no intervention or help from the host), and you can later download that recording at your leisure.
Some IP-ish related thoughts right away:
- Some calls will start to ban virtual attendees, either from the whole call, or will kick out virtual attendees ad hoc.
- Zoom itself might try to ban Zoomcorder’s virtual attendees (Robertson’s probably already thought about that).
- A kerfuffle around state recording (wiretapping) consent laws is to be expected.
- You might look rude if your recording isn’t interactive with the call.
- A minor but interesting one: Zoom might sue Zoomcorder for trademark infringement, and force it to at least change its name. Robertson isn’t afraid of this sort of thing; rather, he appreciates provoking it and benefiting from the publicity.
- If Zoomcorder goes poof, any pre-payments to Zoomcorder may not be refunded. That’s just business, not malice, I think; caveat emptor.
Pricing and other details:
- There is currently a free tier, with audio recording and previews of video recording. Not sure if this will last.
- Pro tier is $49/month or $249/year. A “flash sale” for $99/year expires March 6.
- “Record 5 meetings at a time”. This right here might make it worth it for people who are interested in lots of Zoom calls where they can be non-interactive.