October 7, 2007
I'm a big YouTube fan.
We can thank YouTube for cutting the gordian knot of video codecs. Instead of futzing around with codecs and media players, YouTube's universal, Flash-based web video "just works". After all this time, it turns out the killer app for Flash wasn't advertising or web games. It was video. It's a cross-platform model Microsoft is aping with Silverlight, and for good reason.
YouTube feels like a web institution already, even though the site is less than 2 years old. I love the fact that (almost) any video ephemera I can think of can be found on YouTube, and instantly shared with anyone in the world using nothing more than a web browser and a hyperlink. It's a beautiful thing.
But one thing bugs me about YouTube. On their upload page, you'll find this disclaimer:
Do not upload any TV shows, music videos, music concerts, or commercials without permission unless they consist entirely of content you created yourself. Please refer to our Copyright Tips page for some guidelines and links to help you determine whether your video infringes someone else's copyright.
Take a minute to read YouTube's copyright tips page. I'm serious. Read it. It's full of gems like this:
- It doesn't matter how long or short the clip is, or exactly how it got to YouTube. If you taped it off cable, videotaped your TV screen, or downloaded it from some other website, it is still copyrighted, and requires the copyright owner's permission to distribute.
- It doesn't matter whether or not you give credit to the owner/author/songwriter -- it is still copyrighted.
- It doesn't matter that you are not selling the video for money -- it is still copyrighted.
- It doesn't matter whether or not the video contains a copyright notice -- it is still copyrighted.
- It doesn't matter whether other similar videos appear on our site -- it is still copyrighted.
- It doesn't matter if you created a video made of short clips of copyrighted content -- even though you edited it together, the content is still copyrighted.
Now think back through all the videos you've watched on YouTube. How many of them contained any original content? Let's see. Recently I've linked to the faux Machete trailer from Grindhouse, a classic Kids in the Hall skit (and another one), a surreal computer animated skit called Bingo the Clown-O, and the Writer's Award intro from the 2007 Emmys. Notice anything in common here? That's right. Virtually everything of interest on YouTube is copyrighted content.
It's perhaps the ultimate case of cognitive dissonance: by YouTube's own rules, YouTube cannot exist. And yet it does.
How do we reconcile YouTube's official hard-line position on copyright with the reality that 90% of the content on their site is clearly copyrighted and clearly used without permission? It seems YouTube has an awfully convenient "don't ask, don't tell" policy-- they make no effort to verify that the uploaded content is either original content or fair use. The copyrighted content stays up until the copyright owner complains. Then, and only then, is it removed.
Anytime we become aware that a video or any part of a video on our site infringes the copyrights of a third party, we will take it down from the site. We are required to do so by law. If you believe that a video on the site infringes your copyright, send us a copyright notice and we will take it down.
It's completely glossed over on the YouTube copyright page in favor of 100% original content, but the loophole in copyright is fair use. Under the banner of fair use, you could legally upload a video without the copyright holder's permission. Anyone who contributes anything to the web should have the four factors of fair use commited to memory by now:
- the purpose of the use
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- the relative amount of the portion used
- the market effect of the use on the copyrighted work
These are the four factors courts use to determine if something is fair use. It's worth digging a little deeper to see how these could potentially apply to a typical YouTube video clip.
1. Was it transformative? Uploading a 2 minute clip from Kids in the Hall isn't transformative in the least. Nothing new was added. No context was provided. It's not a parody, it's not research, it's not commentary. It's a small segment of the original content, transplanted to the web. It's only "transformative" in the sense that it's much more readily available to the public.
2. What is the nature of the source material? The majority of clips on YouTube are there to amuse; they draw their source material from works of entertainment. Entertainment is an enjoyable pastime, but it's not a public good. Dissemenation of facts or information benefits the public; video clips of man getting hit in the groin with football.. not so much.
3. How much was taken? YouTube instituted a 10 minute length limit, probably to prevent excessive use claims from taking root. It's a policy that seems to work. Most clips tend to be fairly small, even after factoring in the 10 minute limit.
4. What's the market effect? I find it very difficult to believe that the short, grainy, low-resolution clips on YouTube could have any kind of measurable negative financial effect on content providers. This is one case where YouTube's below-the-bottom-of-the-barrel video quality works in their favor.
The typical YouTube clip does well on the last two factors of the fair use test, but utterly fails the first two. This is not good, because the factors are listed in order of importance; the transformative and nature tests are considered the most significant factors by courts. It is not possible to make a supportable fair use case for most video clips using copyrighted material on YouTube.
I'm not attacking YouTube here. I think having access to all this copyrighted content in bite-size embeddable form is ultimately a net good for both consumers and creators. What I don't understand is why YouTube continues to get away with the big copyright lie they've perpetuated from day one. They pay lip service to copyright, while building their business on an empire of unauthorized, copyrighted content. It's so brazen-- so blatant.
You can argue that copyright law is broken. I won't disagree with you. But I still dislike YouTube's massive hypocrisy in this area, and I wonder why other people and companies don't get the free ride from the hyper-litigious entertainment industry that YouTube seems to enjoy.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Let's just say I know of someone intimately familiar with the issues involved from youtube's side and what she told me about this issue as I understand it:
youtube does not delete videos with potentially copyrighted material for one simple reason. If they took proactive steps to remove, say, a Daily Show clip, but then failed to remove a copyrighted commercial from the 80s they would be liable under the DCMA for failure to pro actively remove other copyrighted content. Therefore, youtube instead takes the approach of removing no content unless the copyright owner asks (and they also provide tools to make this easier).
Very good points -- but YouTube is also a href="http://troyschneider.com/blog/56/youtube-amp-copyright-lie-two-levels"dropping the ball/a by not actively educating its users about fair use and helping them put that doctrine to work in a constructive way. Which is odd, given that Google is trying to shape that debate in a href="http://defendfairuse.org/"other venues/a right now.
Go search for 'glassblowing' on YouTube. If you are a glassblower, you may be interested in all the sample videos of Italians doing weird stuff and the Bristol Blue Glass guys doing cups. (not GREAT cups, but cups... This is not an ad for their stuff.)
Here I was thinking that Viacom suing YouTube for ONE BILLION DOLLARS counted as 'not skating by'. Forget that one sparky?
The reason is both simple and clearly laid out in copyright law:
It's NOT YouTube that's breaking copyright law, but the person who is doing the uploading. It is not YouTube's responsibility to police it, any more than it's AOL's responsibility to make sure you're not downloading unauthorized content. YouTube is simply the platform.
On top of that YouTube simply has no way of knowing what's authorized and what is not. There *are* content creators out there who *want* people to share their stuff on YouTube, knowing that it helps get them more attention -- and there's simply no way for the folks at YouTube to know which stuff is approved and which is not.
I've never liked YouTube, myself.
Fragile content, line-noise link names, and low-quality video I can't save?
(And, Jesus, the Comments. Save us all from the comments, Jebus. YouTube comments, for the most part, make Last.fm comments and AOL chat rooms look like academic discussion.)
[ edit: so true, see this XKCD comic http://xkcd.com/202/ ]
Why on Earth would I want to bother with that? No thanks.
The copyright infringement is blatantly obvious, but since most of the copyrighted material being viewed is benefiting the the source, via increased recognition and/or sales, the number of claims against YouTube is relatively non-existent. Ironic.
The flip side is that YouTube responds to even frivolous DMCA complaints in a darn hurry. The long and short of YouTube is the DMCA: as long as there are not a pile of Viacom like lawsuits (which argues pretty what you argue) they will continue to exist in the space between the DMCA safe harbor and the complaint.
If you really feel that using the safe harbor in this manner is abuse (and avoiding becoming an editor is a great excuse for doing so; otherwise they become liable for *all* content) then throw in with companies like Viacom and sue them for all the content they used of yours without permission. I'm not aware of any though, so I guess you will have to simply stare at them with righteous indignation for the legal hack they have performed.
The sad thing is that if Viacom has a full victory in the courts, the DMCA safe harbor will become a thing of the past and we will all be liable for anything our users post. This will lead to most sites prohibiting user contributions. So, I'm hoping that Viacom loses or wins on a very narrow ruling that avoids that outcome.
Everything you say is correct (although it's probably worth pointing out that copyright law gets even more complicated if you don't live in the US and upload to YouTube).
However it seems pretty clear to me that YouTube enjoys legal protection under the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA. That's got more to do with YouTube's legality than fair-use (IANAL, etc, etc).
It's less clear what the alternative is. I don't think there's a good technical solution for identifying copyright content, so the alternatives to the notification regime are either banning all uploads, or strong identification of uploaders.
There's also the international-law-and-the-web thing that makes things interesting for lawyers. All these contributing factors mean that it is very hard for copyright holders to pin YouTube to the wall, as much as they would want to.
They pay lip service to copyright, while building their business on an empire of unauthorized, copyrighted content
What I’ve never understood is what YouTube’s business model actually is. The Wikipedia page says they make $15 million a month on advertising (or did at some point last year).
Where are the adverts? I’ve found one advert on YouTube, right at the bottom of their “YouChoose ’08” page:
"Now think back through all the videos you've watched on YouTube. How many of them contained any original content?"
While I understand your overall point, IMO you have overemphasized the idea that YouTube only stores copyright-infringing content. For that question I quoted I could promptly say I've seen quite a lot of original content. Remember that many people got their minutes of fame because of YouTube, like funtwo ("Canon Rock"), Lasse Gjertsen and The Blindfolded Pianist (who now tours worldwide with the Video Games Live crew). There's also some professional artists that publish their own works for promotion, so it would also count as original.
Oh, also I often watch videos of kittens and stuff on YouTube. They tend to be original.
YouTube hasn't been completely left alone by the entertainment industry, a quick search on Google will show that they've had at least a couple of lawsuits come their way.
On the other hand, I think the length limit is probably the biggest thing keeping them from getting slapped with a major lawsuit from the major hollywood studios. They're still so worried about people downloading full movies through P2P software in the days before (and right after) the movie is released in the theater that they probably don't have a lot of time to think about YouTube users posting 3 minute clips of the movie, especially when they can just send a copyright notice and have the movie removed (though they have to keep doing it over and over again).
There are still a lot of protections in place for sites like YouTube, but in the end they're still subject to some judge deciding there's no legitimate use for their site and shutting them down. I think the movie and TV industries are still trying to figure out if a move to make that happen would backfire on them the way shutting Napster down backfired on the music industry.
"...they make no effort to verify that the uploaded content is either original content or fair use."
As far as Europe is concerned you must refrain from any editorial actions if you wish to enjoy such exemptions. The fact that they are agnostic toward the content makes their position comparable to ISP's. This means they just need to comply with take-down procedures and not be in violation of copyright.
And I think copyright in digital age is dangerous and useless :)
"Virtually everything of interest on YouTube is copyrighted content."
*Everything* on YouTube is copyrighted, even home made movies with kids falling off bikes. This (as I'm sure you know) is how copyright works.
I agree with most of what you say, but I do think there's enough legal material for them to survive without the rest. Apart from "independent" material uploaded by the original creator there's also thousands of movies shared by TV channels, record companies and so on.
It wouldn't be a YouTube on the same scale as today though.
Jeff - I asked some of these same questions (see signature URL) over a year ago citing specific examples of content linked. You can easily view the most current concert videos (like Van Halen's much heralded tour) on YouTube and you know the vast majority of this stuff is being taped without permission.
I've also written several times that Google is on very shaky ground with this copyrape situation, including today. It wouldn't surprise me if they lose the lawsuit and then the stock takes a tumble backwards. YouSued is Google's Achilles heel.
The biggest thing stopping the movie and TV industry from shutting YouTube down is that it would be very unpopular, would not stop what YouTube do (much like shutting down Napster did not stop P2P file sharing) and is not really a problem anyway, how many complete movies or TV shows are on YouTube? How many are in good enough quality that you would actually consider watching them?
Watching a 5 minute clip in a browser window as flash video is bearable but full screen the quality is mostly dire and appears to be limited by the format?
"The typical YouTube clip does well on the last two factors of the fair use test, but utterly fails the first two. This is not good, because the factors are listed in order of importance; the transformative and nature tests are considered the most significant factors by courts."
I think there are 2 reasons why YouTube has avoided a lot of the legal challenges that P2P networks have faced:
1. As pointed out, the length of the videos really doesn't make it worth while.
2. While the first two point are the most important to the courts, the fourth one is the *only* one that matters to the copyright owners, ie the studios. YouTube is basically one giant movie trailer repository (either the official trailers or a 5 minute montage that acts as one anyway). No-one is going to not see a movie because they saw 5 grainy minutes of it on YouTube. In fact there is a very good chance that they *will* go and see it now that they've have a brief taste of what it looks like, and seen the comments of others who have seen it.
That is of huge value to the studios, there's no real cost to them. And as long as that remains the case, there will most likely only be relatively few legal attacks.
The music movie industry perceives that P2P is hurting their bottom line. Whether it is or not is up for debate, but I don't think there is a movie company that really thinks that YouTube is costing them viewers.
I've just looked it up and it is 320 by 240 pixels and runs at 25 frames per second. The maximum data rate is 300kbit/s
NTSC and PAL are effectively 720x480/576 so this is less than Standard TV quality not exactly home cinema ...?
Perhaps they just haven't moved into the domain of the RIAA yet. If they take a step or two that way, they'll have more lawsuits than they can shake a stick at.
Hey Now Jeff!
This is so true, I've heard Howard Stern talk about this so often there sure is a lot of hypocrisy from YouTube here.
Coding Horror Fan,
Theres also that whole abysmal "vlog" scene where people practically dictate their diaries in front of a webcam.
It's a simple case of the 'golden rule'. Those who have the gold make the rules. Have you taken a look at how much google is worth right now? Like I said, the golden rule and gold rules...
Now, they don't even care if one tells them another user has uploaded a whole technical video in small portions which is copyrighted and for it's specific use fairly expensive.
When I notified them of publishing copyrighted content they wrote back telling me that I am not the owner of the copyright or his representative and therefore they will not care about it...
So much for them. Why I like the idea of their platform I do not like their views and therefore use other platforms for video sharing.
My YouTube account contains 100% me-generated content. what does yours contain? i know quite a few people who use youtube to "broadcast yourself" so there.
"When I notified them of publishing copyrighted content they wrote back telling me that I am not the owner of the copyright or his representative and therefore they will not care about it..."
They do not care because you cannot sue them, if they get a takedown notice from the copyright holder they will remove the video without asking any questions... hence the case of one YouTuber who shot a home video, sent it to a TV program, they showed it, he put the clip from the TV show on YouTube, they sent a takedown notice to YouTube, YouTube removed the video.
I'm not surprised that Youtube ignores it. US Copyright Law, as amended by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, protects them from being sued as long as they take down content when presented with a properly filled out DMCA takedown form.
From what I've heard, what Goran said about editorial actions in Europe applies in the US. As soon as a site starts taking editorial actions, they can be held accountable for any they fail to remove, as they have willfully preempted their DMCA safe harbor rights.
Definitely mixed feelings about YouTube for me. To an amazing degree, it has realized the potential to find any thinkable fragment of video -- and I think sometimes the 2-5 minute excerpt is not only the most convenient form of consumption but also a better form altogether. Entertainment value can transcend "size," at least in this arena, and I believe that people will come back to the low-quality version of that one SNL sketch that was funny versus watching the whole show in high-definition.
From a content producer's perspective however, it seems like we've traded a distribution problem for an "attribution" problem. A phenomenon I've seen repeatedly is multiple YouTube accounts posting the same clip with little or no modifications. Or re-encoding a non-YouTube video and posting it there. So now in many cases it isn't so much getting people to see one's work as much as it is trying to convince people that one is the original producer of that work. Or creating a large enough incentive for people to go somewhere besides YouTube for video or video-related material.
Consumers of the clips don't care, of course.
Was this just your way to link to some funny stuff on You Tube? :)
No one can fight Google, which is why it was a smart thing for the founders to sell, as they would have run afoul of the law.
Google is embedded into, and part of, the "club" of the NWO.
First off, I hate the flash player. I like the Divx site much better. Second, to answer your question, most of the content I watch has been uploaded by the owner/author. I very seldom watch anything that I could watch on TV or DVD simply due to the quality.
The state of copyright right now is abysmal. Do you remember why folks thought copyright could be useful? The right of restricting copying large integer numbers?
Well, copyright could be abolished, and we all would be better off for it.
That's what YouTube is trying to tell you.
What does this have to do with coding?
YouTube is like Napster, just a provider of a service. The people uploading the content are the ones that don't understand the law, and break the law. You can't hold CodingHorror responsible for this comment if I submitted it with copyrighted content and it stayed up for 30 minutes. Would YouTube exist without copyrighted content? Sure, look at all the independent artists now. It may not be as popular, but it would exist.
On the whole subject of copyright, here's a great summary of the current problem: http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9792175-38.html?tag=nefd.pulse. McCullagh's point is that copyright law has been drastically distorted by special interests.
We've got a huge disconnect between the law and technology, where copyright holders are attempting to substitute legal barriers for now non-existent technical barriers. And while they're at it, they're trying to redefine the nature of copyright from a limited right granted to the producer of "content" into a limited right granted to the consumer, i.e. the public. It won't work, the only question is how much damage gets done in the meantime.
"I wonder why other people and companies don't get the free ride from the hyper-litigious entertainment industry that YouTube seems to enjoy."
Because all the corporate copyright lawyers are too busy looking for "unfrozen caveman lawyer" skits on YouTube.
But I still dislike YouTube's massive hypocrisy in this area, and I wonder why other people and companies don't get the free ride from the hyper-litigious entertainment industry that YouTube seems to enjoy.
Hmmm... is that the problem? What do you mean by "free ride"? Most of the changes in YouTube were driven by the legal issues. My humble opinion is that they do not sell out their users: they comply with the law but do their best not to cripple the system in the process.
It's impossible to have humans approving each upload, not to mention you become vulnerable to a special kind of DoS attack: a competitor could hire people to submit copyrighted material over and over again with tiny changes, so humans are required and the time until the user's real content gets approved rises beyond acceptable.
By the way, Flickr uses the same principle. There are a few successful services that deal constantly with copyright violations and do it well. The law sucks, but it's clear in respect to what constitutes promotion of piracy (Napster) and what isn't. In this big lie, who's being lied to?
"Now think back through all the videos you've watched on YouTube. How many of them contained any original content?"
Very true, and the SAD part is that every bit of that "original" content is copyrighted. Not in YouTube's list of examples is the case. I shoot a video. IT IS COPYRIGHT. I own the copyright, and so I am allowed to upload it to youtube. But it is still copyright unless I explicitly release it into the public domain.
http://free-culture.cc for more information and in particular I recommend Lessig's OSCON 2002 keynote: http://www.eff.org/IP/freeculture/free.html
If YouTube really wanted to stop people from uploading copyrighted material all they really need to do is to force people to identify who they are and hold them accountable. Heck, they could use PayPal to validate the user and establish terms of service that would allow content owners to go directly after abusers. This could also be extended to foreign users in countries where contract law is respected with the USA. Hardly rocket science.
How much was taken? YouTube instituted a 10 minute
length limit, probably to prevent excessive use claims
from taking root. It's a policy that seems to work.
You mention yourself above that it's about "the relative amount of the portion used," so in that sense, a time limitation on your videos may be detrimental to them being fair use. Imagine a 1 hour documentary you shot yourself which is a debate of "movie XYZ," and it includes 2 minutes of movie XYZ in the first 8 minutes. Thanks to the 10 minutes time limit, your usage of the clip on YouTube now became less fair use, because you show 2 minutes out of 10 (20%) instead of 2 minutes out of 60 (3.3%).
But yes, agreed, the YouTube policy is total hypocrisy.
When I have time to go to a movie, I usually have to sit through several short movie clips (usually less than 10 min) before the movie starts. The makers of the full length versions of these movies have to pay to get their clips in the movie.
In my opinion, YouTube does not get shutdown because many of their clips are free advertising. If I go to YouTube and watch a funny clip of the Simpson's movie, I am not more inclined to pay to go see the full thing.
Same holds for TV Shows. If I see a clip I like, I now want to see the whole thing, something that YouTube cannot conveniently offer. This leads me to the normal commercial channels to purchase the content.
If Napster had only offered short segments of songs at sub digital quality (similar to what YouTube does), I think they would still be around today (though no one would really be interested in a site like that).
In short, they don't get shutdown because it is free advertising. In the case were the advertising is negative they send a copyright notice and get it removed.
Welcome to internet law and copyrights. You have a good write-up here... But really, YouTube is just a more solid and seeable instance of what has been happening across the entire internet in regard to copyright laws and such. The difference being that most institutions don't even bother with such a copyright exception.
The "hypocrisy" makes perfect sense if you read the DMCA safe harbor provisions—YouTube gets a free ride because of the terms of the DMCA, which says that if the online provider _doesn't know_ about the copyright infringement, then they basically are safe from being sued as long as they take it down when requested to by the copyright hoder.
Is it hypocrisy? How so? They put up the requisite "we don't condone copyright infringement" messages, but everyone knows that's a nod towards the courts. You might as well criticize the company for making q-tips as hypocritical because they say not to use them to clean your ears (and give dozens of examples of other potential uses people might have for them, when of course everyone uses them to clean their ears).
They don't get any more or less of a free ride than anyone else. It has to do with them being a big system that hosts user content. If you set up something similar you'd be covered by the same laws.
(As for fair use, it doesn't really matter here. It's a defensive activity; YouTube would never want to rely on it because it would mean they'd have to be in front of a judge to defend it. Why would they allow themselves to get into such a position over a Muppets clip? They'd rather just take it down.)
YouTube's approach isn't as bad as Imageshack's terse summary of their ToS.
'Short version of the ImageShack Terms of Service: Don't upload anything that can be even remotely construed as porn, copyrighted material, harassment, or spam. If you do, we will ban you, delete all your images, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on ImageShack.'
Yes, they really do tell you copyrighted material is forbidden full stop, without any reference to permission or even the possibility that you might hold the copyright yourself.
Heck, they could use PayPal to validate the user and establish terms of
service that would allow content owners to go directly after abusers.
This could also be extended to foreign users in countries where
contract law is respected with the USA. Hardly rocket science.
This would significantly decrease the number of videos on the site and with them Google's advertising revenue. Anyways, users wouldn't end up getting sued; why bother when Google has all the money? Selling out their users to big content would violate Don't Be Evil, alienate users, and destroy safe harbor immunity, with almost no practical benefit besides a better relationship with content. Plus, it's completely infeasible, especially the part about foreign users.
You misunderstand the "Fair Use" part of the law. It's not that YouTube doesn't care, it can't care. Any attempt to edit what users post before they post it makes YouTube liable for content since they are no longer a common carrier, but a publisher and editor.
If YouTube caught 99% of the copyright infringement, but the last 1% slipped through, YouTube and Google would be directly liable for copy right infringement -- even though they are taking steps to stop it, and stopped almost all of it. If you're playing publisher, you've become responsible for everything you publish.
By simply being a common carrier, YouTube can avoid the headaches associated with filtering content.
The problem is that the Fair Use provision didn't anticipate a YouTube. The fair use provision imagined a CompuServe and its forums. If someone on some forum published copyrighted material, CompuServe couldn't be held liable.
YouTube, however, isn't just some forum. All the CompuServe forums put together may have had 100,000 active posters (if that many) spread across thousands of forums. CompuServe forums were also pretty much text based, so the copyright infringement was someone posting copyrighted works. YouTube is one big forum with hundreds of millions of users. It includes media like songs and video and all users are pretty much on a single "forum", so all have access to that content. And, the content is much more attractive to users. If someone published a copy righted story on CompuServe, maybe 100 people might read it. Post yesterday's Daily Show, and you'll have 100 million downloads.
I don't know what the "solution" would be. YouTube cannot act as editor without actually incurring legal obligations. At the same time, it is unfair for Viacom and others to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each day scouring YouTube for copyrighted material and requesting that it get taken down.
Of course, you could argue that Viacom has to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars anyway scouring the entire Internet for copy right infringement, and maybe YouTube actually makes their job easier because it is your one stop copyright infringement place. A simple query on YouTube will bring up all of your copyright infringed material. No more surfing from website to website looking for copyright infringed stuff.
- Don't single out YouTube. Every video sharing site has the same issues. At least YouTube makes an effort to tell you what you shouldn't upload.
- They don't have the man power (they can't do this technically) to watch every single video uploaded to make sure it's not copyrighted before they post it.
- Amazon let's you listen to music clips for songs they sell. I think it's OK to do the same for video.
- What's YouTube's business model from day one? I think they expected people to put their own personal videos and not stuff taped from copyright materials.
So, just to get this straight, if I create something then I have no right to expect a say in what happens to it after I create it?
I think that is a great idea.
If you don't like the TOS don't use the service. It's pretty simple. Just create your own service with TOS that you do agree with.
What free ride? They were hit with a billion-dollar lawsuit:
YouTube's hypocrisy is there because it's easier to build something that demonstrates the law is BS than it is to fight to change the law armed only with hypotheticals. They needed to lie in order to build it.
Copyright law is corrupt, corruption breeds hypocrisy, exposing hypocrisy sometimes leads to change, and sometimes leads to further corruption. It's a cycle. You have to attack the root corruption to get any results.
You should consider becoming a vlogger on YouTube. Text blogging is so old media. Vloggers produce original content and have made YouTube the most significant social networking site on the Internet. YouTube vloggers have a very strong sense of community. You should also check out the Stickam web site where YouTube vloggers hold web conferences and stay up late.
WARNING: Stickam is like Internet crack and has been known to cause mental breakdowns when used 72 hours straight.
As an independent user who has created 20 useful youtube videos (I make software tutorials for music producers) I believe you have it wrong. You, sir, may watch copyrighted videos as a majority of your youtube views, but I only submit that you are missing out. Behind the front page of youtube you will find countless informational videos, live performances of real, original and uncopyrighted music, and interviews with true personalities. To say that Youtube based it's business model on Copyrighted works only indicates that you have skimmed through only the videos you have familiarity with. Kids in the hall, Tarantino, etc. Try stepping outside of your box and you will find vibrant communities at work within youtube, collaborating, innovating, and thriving. My videos may not be as popular as the movie trailers, or every single episode of Family Guy on youtube, but I get to interact and collaborate with real people, and I know from the private comments that I recieve, that I am making a real difference in someone's career.
"Content is King", hence the success of Google's YouTube. The RIAA is going after rogue downloaders, but every music video I've ever seen on MTV is on YouTube. This makes me go "huh?". Sure, distribution is much easier, and yes if an artist exclusively sells their material themselves they make the majority of the money, but the material still gets copied around the net at an alarming rate. I think one of the other loopholes with YouTube, is that the uploaders aren't making a profit when re-distributing the content. If YouTube charged for access, they would have gotten shut down a long time ago.
You can identify copyrighted material by watermarks. They survive quite a bit these days.
I saw a presentation back in my undergrad years at Brooklyn College by a guy who was researching watermarks. Movies have lots of data into which you can embed them.
I think another reason for Youtube being alive is that it has Google backing it. Any industry will think twice before attacking Google.
Youtube has no respect for Fair Use whatsoever, and I have witnessed the bullshit often. Someone got banned for reviewing an SNES game due to a fraudulent DMCA claim by ESPN. Video game reviews are FAIR USE. If you aren't lining youtube's pockets, they don't give a shit about you.
Hate to be pedantic, but you might want to double-check that math.
320x240 is a lot less than half of 640x480.
botton line is simple, if yoiu did not make it from start to finish, it is not yours. If it is not yours, don't link or upload it.
According to the DMCA rules, Youtube is following the rules accodingly. Their website content comes from its members. If you have a beef, it should be with the users or the copyright owners, the latter who can object to the postings.
I believe information should be free and available. There isnt a viable market for the purchase of short videos, so what is your issue?
I disagree on one of your points, Youtube *is* transformative. Videos on Youtube are commented upon, remixed into playlists, and often appear on blogs, where one usually finds (more) substantial context for the video.
In general, I don't see anything theoretically different between an excerpt of "kids in the hall", which is then commented upon by the community, vs an excerpt from a book which is then commented upon by a newspaper columnist.
To take (what I think) is a clear cut example, videos from The Daily Show were usually 2-4 minutes in length (a small fraction of the whole), are typically entertaining and informative, and were usually uploaded so as to enable discussion about whatever point Jon Stewart was making. It can also safely be said that such uses only served to promote the content and keep the show in the eye of pop culture. I simply cannot imagine that that's not fair use, whatever Viacom might think.
I think your post illustrates just how broken and out of date copyright is, rather than anything wrong with youtube.
We've got a huge disconnect between the law and technology, where copyright holders are attempting to substitute legal barriers for now non-existent technical barriers
Technology has definitely helped content owners eliminate the distribution channel barriers. I would argue that technology can also help content owners keep track of where there content goes so any re-use contains a link back or at least some sort of credit.
Waiting for copyright law to catch up is a flawed strategy; instead, there needs to be a marketplace for content where the industry regulates itself
Now think back through all the videos you've watched on YouTube. How many of them contained any original content?
I regularly watch Ask a Ninja and CommunityChannel on YouTube - both creators of original content - as well as various instructional videos. I don't know how typical I am, but it does say something that vloggers Chris Crocker and Lisa Nova both became famous solely through YouTube.
You hit the issue directly square faced!
Most people don't understand copyright and really don't want to understand it.
As for GooTube? Well, they have about 500 million sitting in reserve for the law suites. Trust me, the big content companies love what YouTube has done for their copyright material. Now they are just going to try to figure out how to monitize it long term.
YouTube has agreements with BBC, EMI Group PLC, Viacom, CBS, Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture between Sony and the German media giant Bertelsmann AG. Not all the non-original contents uploaded entail copyright infringment, we have already paid in advance.
Jeff, where did you get the "90% of YouTube is copyrighted" estimate? In a a href="http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videossearch_query=%2Asearch_sort=video_view_countsearch_category=0search=Searchv=uploaded="random sampling/a of the most recently added/indexed videos on YouTube, this number looks closer to 15-20%. The majority of videos seem to be uploaded by the creator (home videos, vloggers, musicians, etc), with a smattering of shows taped from TV.
I've also written several times that Google is on very shaky ground with
this copyrape situation, including today. It wouldn't surprise me if
they lose the lawsuit and then the stock takes a tumble backwards.
YouSued is Google's Achilles heel.
Wow, You must think you're really clever...
Plenty happy with YouTube's "hypocricy". The more of us get used to not giving a s**t about the utter opportunistic insanity that is Copyright, the better off we all will be, culturally.
Did you ask permission to use youtube logo?
So long as it undermines Peer 2 Peer exchange . . .
Good article, but you've got an important point wrong. The loopho;le that youtube has driven a truck through is NOT Fair Use, it's the "Safe Harbor" provision of the digital millenium copyright act. Fair Use has absolutely no application to somebody who uploads a 100% copyrighted work to a site like youtube. But under the DMCA's fair use provision, youtube is a "common carrier," like an ISP, and as such, it is allowed a grace period for removing it's user's copyrighted works when it is notified by a copyright owner. That law could change as a result of the Viacom-Google lawsuit, but it's still on the books now.
The copyright laws are so hideously outdated and broken. Something needs to be done with them, toss them all out and rewrite them for all I care, but the industry needs to find a way to cope with losing its monopoly on information. Information is no longer a commodity, it's a basic fact of life.
The original purpose of copyright (literally the right to make copies) was to protect the British Monarchy from pamphleteers who might pull a Thomas Jefferson and recommend wholesale governmental change.
Have we outlived the original purpose of copyright?
One could make the case that the more widely an author's work is distributed, the more well-known the author becomes, the greater the benefit to the author.
Hi Andy-- thanks for stopping by. I'm a big fan of waxy.org.
Jeff, where did you get the "90% of YouTube is copyrighted" estimate?
You're absolutely right, I have no data to back up my 90% claim-- it's more hyperbole than anything else. So let's dig into a little data and see how far I am off.
If we look at YouTube's Most Viewed, All Time:
That's 20 videos. I count..
12 -- copyrighted commercial content from authorized sources
3 -- copyrighted commercial content from unauthorized users
3 -- completely non-commercial user generated content (free hugs, guitar, hahaha)
The other 2 I can't make heads or tails of, as they're foreign-- but they don't look like typical user generated content to me.
Is it unfair to characterize YouTube as 90% copyrighted content submitted by unauthorized users? Probably. I didn't realize how many companies are leveraging YouTube to promote their commercial content. But I think it's just as unfair to characterize YouTube as a giant repository of user generated content.
Lots of people here seem to have problems with copyright. I wonder if any of you hold any of your own... and are getting boned out of large amounts of money because people don't give a crap about your rights.
I have been trying to upload my own "copyrite material" onto youtube, and it wont let me, It will just sit at the upload spot for hours on end before I get an Error notice or "this is copyright material" notice thing.
Yet has anyone told me how I can get my own "copyright" stuff on there, anyone got any tips?
Im taking part in a debate in my university on the motion:
"That This House would hold YouTube responsible for the intellectual property law breaches of its users”.
What are the main arguements i should be forwarding for the propositon and opposition? I've been going throught the contributions in this forumn and been trying to pick up the snippets of arguements but they are quite sporadic.
You know what the problem is? It's close to impossible to get permission from the copyright holders anyway.
I think if you upload copyrighted material, you shouldn't be penalized. Most videos openly display a disclaimer, and admit to the fact that they have no intention of selling the material. You shouldn't have to get permission from the holders of the copyright as it would take too much time, it would be a waste. We should be allowed to watch the material.. If youtube would force the uploaders to post a disclaimer, I don't see a problem
No money has been lost. Nothing has been taken away from anyone. Tons of money has been made. Ask the founders...
I agree that copyright is cool - it's those cowboy brothers on a ranch right?
I think You Tube should be sued for all its got for copy rights violation.
This is the biggest cheat service to ever exist who has completely ignored all laws.
Billions of dollars has been lost through this illegal conduct.
What can one do?
I have a question. I took a video at a concert. it was then taken from me by a friend and uploaded to youtube, which i never said he could do. Now i see my video posted on an official website. Is that illegal of the website?
What i can't understand.. is the fact that all these companies blame YouTube for copyright infringement, yet if they did allow their material to be posted on YouTube, wouldn't that promote more people to go to the original sources thus creating more profit for the original source company? For example.. I see a Family Guy clip on YouTube. Well, I'll not only look for more clips but I'm more likely to watch Family Guy on Sunday night to see the entire episode. And that will lead me to buy the DVD episodes. Smart business is allowing things to go up on YouTube. Only if the companies would smarten up.
I Think it is ridiculous!
There are so many music videos on youtube of artists and no none of those get taken down?! I mean do youtube really think they all have permission by the company or artist or whoever actually owns the song. I've made a good few videos of what i do with different music and put them on youtube, a few the songs have been blocked it's like seriously they are all eventually going to get the songs blocked, to be honest youtube are wasting their bloody life getting this all sorted out.
Sorry for the 'essay'
grrr i really don't like the youtube people at the moment!!
1 thing i am fed up with youtube is adding music on your vid. I uploaded my cod vid like 8 times with all different music and still they tell me copyright shit. No but really like cmmn now your exagerating im just trying to entertain people!
there is a video of mine please it would be great if you can remove it...cause it is being a threat to my life..
Krs Sinhala Karaoke Krs-vol 21Go Music Video by Keroke Sinhala
Krs Sinhala Karaoke Music Video by Keroke Sinhala
these are the two videos that i mentioned about.if this gonna be there in your website for along it gonna cause my life,please consider on this .
What I am wondering is why I keep getting blocked when I try to upload material that I see on other people's channels. For instance, I once uploaded Depeche Mode's Barrel of a Gun and it had about five thousand views, then it was disabled.
A month later, I searched for barrel of a gun and, lo and behold! Someone else has uploaded it without any problem at all! I tried to reupload it, and it was blocked in all countries.
What gives man?
My David Cook Advertisement ( made by me ) got removed due to copyright claims. The video lasts for 1 minute and I used 20 secs clip each of Come Back To me and Light on video. And the main part was, I was advertising in youtube! IT GOT REMOVED THE MINUTE I UPLOADED IT. Youtube is getting old
The issue shouldn't be whether or not Youtube encourages copyright infringement and so forth, but should rather be that operative copyright laws are OUT OF TOUCH with modern society. Youtube hosts millions upon millions of users who see nothing unethical about sharing copyrighted content. Moreover, companies seen to be taking measures to protect their copyright at all costs, and at the inconvenience of their public, risk being boycotted by their public. An example of this is the recent partnership between Warner Music Group and Youtube to prevent WMG copyrighted material being uploaded to the site. Consequently thousands of youtube users have created anti-WMG videos, resulting in a loss of profit for the company I'm sure.
I don't understand youtube sometimes. They gets paid by ads and partners don't they? If a partner of youtube posts a video what infringes someones copyright, it's okay if it gets taken down, that's understandable. But if a new innocent user post some music video or something, he doesn't get paid at all whatsoever, they take it down. Let normal users post w/e they want, not take their videos down and piss them off. My friend made this animation once, the audio was only music, he said that he paid for some kind of ticket that let him use the audio on a video once, confirmed by the band itself. He put up all the copyright info on the details page, even stating that he paid for the right to use the music. 2 days later the video got 2,789 views, the next day it got taken down. He made a complaint and youtube STILL said it infringes copyright, he gave them every last bit of evidence and they still rejected it. Youtube's community is going to backfire one day because of this.
Hypocrisy yes. Google uses their "Google Video" to feed their pig fresh copyrighted material daily. If not for this, they would have consolidated the two.
Google allows users to challenge a copyright, but leaves the content up which allows them fresh copyright material on Youtube, but the user will be suspended if enough challenges don't make it through. Why not hold the videos until it is resolved, or ignored, saving the user an ulimate suspension? Because Google places its self interest above the community as the end result is Google presenting quality copyrighted material for as long as they can, and the user getting the shaft for Google policies.
Excuse please the wording as I just got up!
The bottom line is there is only one true form of copyright infringement, which is what the concept of copyrighting was created for. It goes hand in hand with the idea of pirating content. Unless you are makeing money or creating a negative effect on the copyright-holder's profit from the material, you are not infringing on anything. Copyright means "I made this, only I can profit from it and you can't copy me because it was my idea". The same goes for pirating. If I give a copy of a CD to my friend, but I don't take any money for it, I am not stealing any profit from the artist or the record label. In fact, I am helping them by exposing their work to an individual who most likely would not be purchased it. If the person likes it, they will most likely develop an interest in that particular artist's work and buy future releases. I just created a customer for them. If they don't like it then it doesn't matter anyway. Many people have to be lured in, with a taste first. However, if I make copies of that same CD and sell them to my friends at even a fraction of the cost, then I am a media pirate. The only exception would be if I accept reimbursement for the cost of the discs, only. As long as I don't make a profit (in any way), and I don't steal their profit, I am not pirating nor infringing on anything. And I don't care who agrees with me on this, nor if it is the official standing of the law, but this is true based simply on logic, common sense, and the very definition of these terms.
Now as far as YouTube goes, you know what really grinds my gears? I throw together a 30 second footage montage of something and it gets rejected before it ever goes live. No one has had access to it and there is already a complaint? BULL**** Meanwhile other members post straight content (no modifications) of known copyrighted material (from the same company/studio) and there is no problem. And yes, some members have gone so far as to post whole episodes of TV shows with no problems. You've seen them, part 1, part 2, part 3, and so on. That 10 minute thing doesn't do anything but speed up the upload time. You can still get all of the episode, and without the commercials. And the whole don't ask don't tell does not make them Guilt-Free. Don't ask-don't tell only applies if you don't already know about something. They know, they expect it. Morally you cannot create an arena for something (for profit) that creates a huge opportunity for wrong-doing and not police the actions of said arena, and everytime someone does something wrong just look sheepishly and say "Oops, sorry about that, I told them not to do that". Oh, and by the way, all the while making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. Truthfully the only ones that can be accused of copyright infringement is YOUTUBE, not the members. The members aren't making any money, YouTube is. And they're also making coin on all of the original stuff. Thankfully there is alot of original content, but I would hazard a guess that at least 80-90% of everything on YouTube is copyrighted by someone other than the member that uploaded it.
Whew! My fingers are tired now. Well thanks for listening. You can start disagreeing with me now.
"I've just looked it up and it is 320 by 240 pixels and runs at 25 frames per second. The maximum data rate is 300kbit/s
NTSC and PAL are effectively 720x480/576 so this is less than Standard TV quality not exactly home cinema ...?"
NTSC is typically 640x480 @ 29.97FPS, 720x480 is typically referred to as DVD quality.
YouTube recommends 320x240 @ 30FPS.
So YouTube is 1/2 the resolution of SD TV display. (frame rate is similar to film(24FPS))
YouTube also restricts uploads to a 100MB file size limit which forces any decent content @ decent quality to be very short.
As Jeff said, the 10min limitation is truly the only reason YouTube remains only an annoyance.
Google is embedded into, and part of, the "club" of the NWO.
I'd just like to take a moment to point my finger at you and laugh.
Now that I'm done doing that, please keep your conspiracy crap to the fringe sites.
Good article, but your font choice makes the text hard to read in Firefox.
I do not know much if anything about copy right laws but I do know that youtube or whomever pulls the cords for the taking down of videos does not have a grasp of fair use. I uploaded a video of my cat playing fetch about a month ago and because my boyfriend had music on wile I was recording, the video got yanked for copyright infringement. You could barely here the music in the background!Yes, I can mute the video but then you would not be able to here my cat growl and make all the funny noises he does wile playing fetch. I also tried to upload a fireworks display me and my family watched on vacation and because there was music being played at the fair grounds the video was not even allowed to finish processing....You guessed it. All because of copyrights. Apparently a bell went off somewhere that said this video has .....whatever and it was yanked before it was up on the site!