Viacom Sues YouTube

Posted on March 14, 2007. Filed under: Main Stream Media, News, Technology |

Yesterday’s New York Times reported that Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement.

I have to admit that when I first heard about YouTube, I was pretty skeptical. I was thinking: “O.K. Short, grainy viedo clips of adolescents playing air guitar or some kinky couple boing boinging each other on a small screen? Do I really care?” At the time, I had only a dial-up connection. Then I got a broadband connection. And my eyes were opened. I was enlightened.

Yes, there are a lot of dreadful videos on YouTube. But there is a whole bunch of good stuff on there too. The problem is that a good portion of it may be copyrighted. It’s like the all-you-can-eat Beefsteak Charlie’s Shrimp Bar: when you get done piling up that tiny plate, you just go back for a second helping. In theory, you can consume until you are sick. I have seen full-length movies, cartoons, documentaries, and tv shows listed. I have to say that the selection is quite good.

YouTube is basically broken in its current form. Even if YouTube were to delete all the copyrighted content on its site that Viacom alleges is available, users might upload it again. Is there a filtering technology that could work? Would YouTube still be so popular without the copyrighted content? Will we have to tighten our belts and not consume so much web content? Would we be healthier if we did?

  • Quotes of the Day

    "Writing editorials is like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit. It feels good, but nobody really notices."

    --Jack Germond

    "Famous men and women, by the act of putting themselves on display, whether as politicians, actors, writers, painters, musicians, restaurateurs, or whatever, invite public appraisal. They are all, impressively or pathetically, acting on the presumption that their ideas, their fantasies, their music, their bodies are more original than those of, say, a plumber or a certified public accountant. They are all exercising the impulse, as Mencken put it, ‘to flap their wings in public.’ This is so obvious to the critic–and, I believe, to the ordinary reader or spectator–that it seems hardly worth saying. But resentment of the practice of criticism itself is strong among professional artists (and all Presidents of the United States). There is a psychological type among them that hates critics on principle as parasites or failed performers. This is very natural but surely very childish and, in any country claiming to be civilized, actually anti-social. The existence of critics, good, bad, or indifferent, is a firm clause in the social contract between the governors and the governed in any nation that is not a dictatorship. Public figures should accept with good grace the public response to their invitations to be admired and resist the temptation to retort, except in the face of flagrant malice."

    --Alistair Cooke

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