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Old October 10th, 2006, 03:00 PM   #1
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YouTube & Copyright

So by now everyone has heard that Google has acquired YouTube for more than $1.6 Billion buckaroos. They see all those eyeballs, more than 40 million/month (I believe), and they're ready to revolutionize on-line video.

But wait...what about the huge breaches of copyright that I see all over the place on this site(YouTube). I know that the music companies have worked out a deal for revenue sharing, but what about broadcast television/movies/ games etc.. I mean I see people posting, re-edited versions of the Daily Show with their own psuedo production company bugs actually covering Comedy Centrals. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

You cannot do that, it's a blatant plagerized breach against a copyrighted show.

I think Google has made a huge mistake. The potential for huge pile-on litigation from the broadcasters and then stock holders is very apparant to me.

I don't think most people realize that individuals may also be liable for "reproduction" breaches of copyright.
Copyright suits are defended and awarded to the plaintiff and copyright holders 98% of the time. Huge legal precident is involved.

What do you guys think???
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Old October 10th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #2
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David,

I agree with you 100%. Just browse thru about a dozen random videos on either youtube or google video and several will probably have copyright issues and blatant ones at that. I can't wait for google to get slamed just to see what happens in the courts. What they and the some of the posters are doing is very wrong. Don't get me wrong the "concept" of having a free avenue to post videos is great but with that comes the responsibility of abiding by the law. I'm just hoping that google dosen't also gobble up putfile which is my favorite place to host videos because they do not recompress what you submit.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 06:59 PM   #3
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my wishful thinking is that this may be the powerhouse combo that convinces the recording industry to re-think the ways in which they structure royalty fees. most of us would be fine paying for the privilege of using music, but gaining access to publishers is a PITA, and they charge you as if you were Dreamworks or somebody...wouldn't it be great to have an online clearing house for music rights with an equitable pay structure??
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Old October 10th, 2006, 07:12 PM   #4
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David,

Federal law protects the creators of on-line communities from infringement by it's members so long as that infringement is not the main purpose of the site. Napster and places like that got in to big trouble ultimately because it was basically the only purpose the site had. YouTube, if you listen to it's creators, is a place for people to upload their videos from their cell phones and their own productions and share them. The founders even say the idea came to them the day after a party when everyone was posting their photos to photo-sharing sites, but they had nowhere to post their videos. Hence YouTube (notice the You).

That said, certainly there is a lot of violation going on, and ultimately they do benefit from that. They are very good, however, at pulling down videos when the copyright owner protests.

Largely, the owners have had the sense not to protest. I don't know for certain, but I don't think that Comedy Central is against the posting. It is publicity for them. Certainly, they could have them all pulled down if they wanted... it would not be that tough. I know that I, for one, became a fan of Stephen Colbert because of YouTube and now I pay my $10/month to iTunes to get the whole show. Producers are working with it, not against it. The 10 minute upload limit (for non-directors) does help there.

Fox News initially asked them to remove footage of the recent Clinton interview with Wallace. After a day of thought, however, they backtracked and allowed it to be reposted. They decided that they gain more from people seeing it than they lose.

There is no place on line, and will never be a place on line, where there is 100% non-pirated material. It happens, and it will. I believe that the content owners have moved on from the RIAA's initial stop-the-wave mentality and decided that they might just ride it for a little while.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #5
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The Digital Millenium Copyright Act specifically holds sites like YouTube liable IF THEY KNOW of the infringement, or if they are asked by the copyright holder to remove it, and fail to do so.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Barry Gribble]David,

Federal law protects the creators of on-line communities from infringement by it's members so long as that infringement is not the main purpose of the site.


I'm not a lawyer, but I agree with Richard, the DMCA still doesn't seem to grant complete safe harbor to anything on-line.

In my past experience, I can tell you that companies like Disney protect their brand and intellectual property like it was their own blood. And it still leaves open the possibility of some test cases. Ultimately, it will cost Google in revenue sharing meaning reduced profits or litigation which could be worse.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 08:07 PM   #7
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I like to think of YouTube doing the same thing as iTunes when they provide a 30-second sample of a song or when Amazon.com puts the first chapter of a book on their website. It's just a free sample of a larger product. I haven't seen any complete TV shows or entire movies on YouTube, just short clips. It's free advertising for the entertainment product. The copyright holders love it! And that is why YouTube is safe from litigation.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 08:11 PM   #8
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To be clear, I'm not a lawyer either...

but I am married to a IP attorney ;)

(and no one is 'safe' from litigation :(
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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act specifically holds sites like YouTube liable IF THEY KNOW of the infringement, or if they are asked by the copyright holder to remove it, and fail to do so.
Right, but it does not require preemptive searching for infringing material. YouTube does remove things when asked, and they do it quickly. As best I know, though, DMCA does not require that they constantly search for material on their own.

That provision was championed by groups like AOL to protect them from people posting material in their user-generated content areas. They had a lot of political muscle and they made sure that they would never be liable for some random person posting material that infringed on someone's copyright. This same protection applies to YouTube.

I would be very curious to know what percentage of material posted violates copyrights.

Right now, here are some seach results...

Probable violations:
Jon Stewart : 1,990
Colbert : 2,549
Dave Matthews : 1,584 (although they do allow concert taping)
Madonna : 11,746
I'm not cool enough to know who to search for to find more...

Probable non-violations:
Mentos: 8,120
VLOG : 7,742
lonelygirl: 829
silly: 28,971
dumb: 29,371
girl: 168,561

Obviously, there is some protected material in all of those categories, but for the ones I put in the latter category it was mostly cell phone (or simliar quality) video of people just doing stuff and posting it. I do actually believe that this makes up the majority of the content there, or at least a very sizeable chunk.

I think that the people who think YouTube is mostly made up of copyrighted material are people who are searching for that.

I do believe that I once searched for Jon Stewart and came up with 80,000+ hits, and not it's down under 2,000. That suggests to me that they are doing a pretty good job of deleting things when asked.

The fact is that society wants a place like YouTube for it's legal uses (and some want it for it's illegal uses). As long as there is a place like YouTube, someone will post copyrighted materials, and the best the owner can hope for is that they take it down quickly - like YouTube does. That's it. That's why the law exists. Otherwise there could be no online forums.

I can post copyrighted material here, and Chris can't get sued for it unless he fails to take it down when informed (and he takes it down). If he could get sued for me posting something - even though he took it down - he would probably not take the risk of hosting this place.

It's a big world, and certainly someone, some time, will sue YouTube. I think YouTube will win. And I think they should.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #10
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YouTube is being sued. By several people.

http://www.d-silence.com/story.php?h...3238&comment=1
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Old October 11th, 2006, 03:01 AM   #11
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There you go. So funny that it would be a music company. I'm pretty sure they will win, though. And apparently Google, who knows far more about the issues, the lawsuit and the law than you or I, was willing to bet $1.65B that they will.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 07:06 AM   #12
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"Winning" is a subtle word in the legal world. I'm pretty sure they will 'settle'. With both sides claiming 'victory'.

Google can afford to make a suit go away... I don't think the YouTube guys here in San Mateo could have.

Semantics 101
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Old October 11th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Wells
I like to think of YouTube doing the same thing as iTunes when they provide a 30-second sample of a song or when Amazon.com puts the first chapter of a book on their website. It's just a free sample of a larger product. I haven't seen any complete TV shows or entire movies on YouTube, just short clips. It's free advertising for the entertainment product. The copyright holders love it! And that is why YouTube is safe from litigation.
One crucial difference - I would be VERY surprised if iTunes or Amazon's postings are done without express written permission of the copyright holders. It's not that posting copyright material that's prohibited, it's posting copyright material without permission of the copyright owner. Get that permission and you can post away!
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Old October 11th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #14
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Just another completely unscientific survey....

A video of a cat sleeping:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-gW3RbJd8U&NR
(strangely compelling)
1,500,000+ views in a month and a half

Jon Stewart on Crossfire:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmZkw169xEI
(my favorite)
120,000+ views in 7 months.

This is just to say that I really do believe that the main purpose off the site self-publishing and not copyright infringement. That, combined with a system for very rapidly responding to copyright holder complaints, is going to ensure that YouTube does just fine legally. (and yes, it might still be cheaper to settle)

Again, I allow for the fact that I'm just no cool enough to find the avalanche of material in violation. It may outweigh the cat...
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Old October 11th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #15
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Barry,

From a strictly LEGAL viewpoint, and ISP can be removed from service for ONE violation. I'm not saying that's going to happen, but it is within the realm of the law.
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