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88% of YouTube is New and Original Content, Professor Says
Monday, August 04 2008 @ 12:28 AM EDT

Dear Viacom, and everybody who thinks like you,

I want you to watch a video that goes beyond that statistic, although it's where I found it. It's a video produced by Dr. Michael Wesch, an anthropologist at Kansas State University who teaches a class on Digital Ethnography and who studied the YouTube phenomenon. He calls it participatory observation. After studying hundreds of thousands of videos, he came up with that statistic.

This video, "An anthropological introduction to YouTube", is a presentation he gave at the Library of Congress on June 23, 2008. Aside from being fascinating, it's fun and enjoyable to watch.

If you watch it, you'll find out why fair use matters, what it makes possible, and how big media is endangering it with their closed and restricted concept of what fair use allows. Actually, they'd prefer to kill fair use altogether. It's only fair if *they* do it. Yoo hoo, Disney, where did you get the idea for Mickey Mouse? Or Cinderella? Or Snow White?

If you can watch it without dropping your litigation against YouTube, Viacom, you need to see a doctor right away. Seriously. I hope YouTube lawyers play it for the judge if you insist on going to trial.

Watch the part about the song that ended up being professionally released. It made the company some money. Cluestick: there is more than one business model, for those who can get with the new. Sooner or later, your shareholders will be furious with you if you don't course-correct and modernize. Yes. They will. Eventually, your shareholders will be YouTubers, you know. And you'll be what media used to be.

You can find more information here, for studious types like me. Here's the breakdown on what you'll find in the video, which I hope you look at first without any hints aforethought:

0:00 Introduction, YouTube's Big Numbers
2:00 Numa Numa and the Celebration of Webcams
5:53 The Machine is Us/ing Us and the New Mediascape
12:16 Introducing our Research Team
12:56 Who is on YouTube?
13:25 What's on Youtube? Charlie Bit My Finger, Soulja Boy, etc.
17:04 5% of vids are personal vlogs addressed to the YouTube community, Why?
17:30 YouTube in context. The loss of community and "networked individualism" (Wellman)
18:41 Cultural Inversion: individualism and community
19:15 Understanding new forms of community through Participant Observation
21:18 YouTube as a medium for community
23:00 Our first vlogs
25:00 The webcam: Everybody is watching where nobody is ("context collapse")
26:05 Re-cognition and new forms of self-awareness (McLuhan)
27:58 The Anonymity of Watching YouTube: Haters and Lovers
29:53 Aesthetic Arrest
30:25 Connection without Constraint
32:35 Free Hugs: A hero for our mediated culture
34:02 YouTube Drama: Striving for popularity
34:55 An early star: emokid21ohio
36:55 YouTube's Anthenticity Crisis: the story of LonelyGirl15
39:50 Reflections on Authenticity
41:54 Gaming the system / Exposing the System
43:37 Seriously Playful Participatory Media Culture (featuring Us by blimvisible:
47:32 Networked Production: The Collab. MadV's "The Message" and the message of YouTube
49:29 Poem: The Little Glass Dot, The Eyes of the World
51:15 Conclusion by bnessel1973
52:50 Dedication and Credits (Our Numa Numa dance)


88% of YouTube is New and Original Content, Professor Says | 296 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
O/T here, please...
Authored by: jbeadle on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 12:35 AM EDT
And for the benefit of others, please try to make your links clickable...



[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here
Authored by: CraigV on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 01:04 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

88% of YouTube is New but the rights belong to who?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 01:25 AM EDT
I will be watching the video from my iPod during my commute home,
but I had an interesting observation of the YouTube phenomenon today.
I video, compress, and place on a streaming server music performance
classes at a medium sized university. Students have access to their own
class work anywhere on the internet via LDAP authentication.

In today's opera class the teacher offered, after a class discussion of
each aria performance, two or three samples of the same song from
YouTube. Most appeared to have been taken with a hand camera in
the audience at a theatre. All big name singers and orchestras. Some
were obviously clips ripped from DVD. When he couldn't find one clip
which "was there yesterday" I offered that maybe it has been taken
down because of a copyright problem. Mock outrage, "They wouldn't
do that, would they?" without thinking if "they" was the Doe who
put the clip there, or YouTube management sweating under another
DMCA notice.

The class was recommended to seek the guidance of multiple
performances available on YouTube, "it's a wonderful resource,
I never had it when I was a student, I had to wait for it to come
out on videotape." I kept to myself musings of how the copyright
may have changed by transfer from videotape to YouTube.

I will be watching to see how many of our staff take notice of a talk
"Copyright vs. community" to be delivered on campus here later
this month by Richard Stallman.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mickey Mouse - Fair Use idea?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 01:28 AM EDT
I don't follow how 'Mickey Mouse' was borrowed.

If I'm to believe Wikipedia, it says that the inspiration for the character was
from a pet mouse Walt Disney had on his farm.

Borrowed from reality? Yes. From someone else's prior idea. No, unless I'm
missing something....

[ Reply to This | # ]

52:50 Dedication and Credits (Our Numa Numa dance)
Authored by: Pogue Mahone on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 01:51 AM EDT
Numa? Doesn't SCO own that?

I'm not afraid of receiving e-mail from strangers:

delta alpha victor echo at foxtrot echo november dash november echo tango dot
delta echo

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Creative Commons Way for YouTube
Authored by: Winter on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 02:07 AM EDT
The idea behind the FSF, in fact, RMS' original idea, was to create the complete
software stack from the bottom up under a license that ensured the four

In the end, the GNU project could inspire enough "sister" projects to
succeed. Now, you can run Free software for all your needs. The holes in the
stack only encompass some patented codecs and some specific hardware. That is,
things outside the idea of a classic "Software stack".

The Creative commons tries to do the same. Create enough of copyrighted
"art" under a Free license to allow others to become creative inside
it. (an 'ecosystem' in current PR speak)

That is the way forward for YouTube. If not, they will be killed by the
copyright laws.

However, for that to go further than the current "Copyright is mine, all
rights reserved" default approach, people must be made aware of the
necessity of putting a good license on their movies. And I am not sure all the
CC licenses are equally good for that.

Still, even 1% of illegal material can kill a project.


Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth
lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 04:08 AM EDT
You must be kidding! Why in the world would Viacom choose not to threaten a
technology and a social phenom that takes people away from Viacom's commercials
and gives up control of the program content that they want them to watch? How
do they make money doing that? Geez, isn't the existence of libraries and
movies threat enough to the entertainment industry?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tim Berners-Lee & Robert Cailliau deserve more statues
Authored by: Winter on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 06:10 AM EDT
The video linked in the main story is actually about the web, ie, HTTP + href.

I think not enough cities have statues of Tim and Robert.

And CERN has already paid for it's existence for the next 5 decades by giving us
the web.


Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth
lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Igor Stravinsky and Fantasia
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 07:42 AM EDT
When Disney started work on "Fantasia" in 1939, Stravinsky
was offered $5000 for the use of "The Rite of Spring". He
declined, saying he did not want his composition used.
The response of Disney was that his copyright was Russian,
which did not apply in the United States. They stated
that they were going to use the piece no matter what he
said, but that they were offering a payment out of
courtesy. He then accepted the payment.

(This is described in a hefty paperback called "The
Essential Canon of Classical Music", by David Dubal).

David Bruce

[ Reply to This | # ]

Surprised to see this on Groklaw
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 08:42 AM EDT
Cluestick: there is more than one business model, for those who can get with the new. Sooner or later, your shareholders will be furious with you if you don't course-correct and modernize. True. But that decision is between the company's mangement and it's shareholders. It's not a third party's place to make the decision for them. Even if the third party is in fact right. If I started a bakery that wasn't doing so well, and someone stole 2 dozen cupcakes and gave them away to passers by to drum up business for me, that doesn't make it OK to steal the cupcakes. Yes, there's a difference between intellectual property and real property. But I'm surprised to see Groklaw sidestep those notions in favor of "we did you a favor, so shut up!" I read Groklaw because it usually brings an interesting and well-researched LEGAL opinion to an argument. So tell me why "justification" is a reasonable LEGAL defense in this case. I just don't see it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Copyright Law Places a Huge Onus on the Holder
Authored by: mcinsand on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 12:58 PM EDT
In our legal system, owners of copyrights, trademarks, and patents have to
aggressively enforce the terms of ownership, or they risk losing whatever
proprietary attachments that our government recognizes. I'm not saying that
this is right, I'm just trying to point out a factor that affects the actions of
some parties. Xerox does not worry about people using their name as a verb just
to be picky; if their conduct paints a picture that they do not act when someone
misuses their tradmark, then the name could revert to the public domain. I
worked at one company where their black trademark did not look good with a dark
blue background. So, we just recolorized it as yellow. Little time passed
before the lawyers descended with instructions to cease_and_desist. To the
lawyers' credit, though, they took the time to explain why they needed for us to
stop. That companies trademark was granted with a specific definition of the
graphic, which included color, font, aspect ratio, etc. It's a big company, and
they value their market presence. So, maintaining the trademark was important.

DuPont found this out the hard way with nylon. The name (nylon) used to be
spelled with a capital 'N,' since it was a DuPont trademark. The company was
happy to see free publicity when their term supplanted the generic term
'polyamide.' Thus, they took no action when 'nylon' appeared in all sorts of
texts. As a result, Dupont lost the trademark after being legally challenged.

Although I have no doubt that there is the motivations assigned to RIAA and
Viacom are essentially accurate, the fans are flamed by our legal system that
punishes copyright/patent/trademark holders for not aggressively enforcing
potential infringements. (This by no means justifies SCO's extortion scam,
particularly since it has been well-documented that they knew that they held
nothing infringable.)

On the topic of patents, to extend this into a rant/ramble. The problem with
the software side is that it grays the line between mathematics, research, and
antiquated technology models. If an organization pays to develop an idea into
something commercializable, I can see the desire to keep it proprietary, if that
fits their business model, and I can see why they would want to have the rights
to decide how to best use the idea. We have decided, however, that basic math
is not patentable... supposedly. Also, our patent system did work well to
encourage technology development in the old days when development cycles were
much longer. It used to be that 17 years was not so long. In exchange for
publishing whatever invention to feed other ideas, a company was granted a
temporary set of exclusive rights. Now, that period is an eternity! The only
piece of software that I can think of having any value after that much time is
Hack/Nethack ;>) So, we've blurred our own restrictions on what is
patentable to apply that blurring in a timeframe that is completely unrealistic
for the industry in question.

When we do apply the old 17 year model (yeah, I know the period is now extended
to 20 years) to a mathematically-oriented field that develops much faster (6
months for Linux, 3-5 years for MS), we have a nightmare. Exclusivity goes
unrealistically long in an area where most have recognized that patents are
iffy, anyway. Then, we compound this with a legal structure where the holders
are punished for not acting like jerks.

Some fine mess we've got here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks
Authored by: Illiander on Monday, August 04 2008 @ 01:34 PM EDT
Really surprised to not see this out yet.

Maybe I'm being blind today though...

All companies are ammoral.
They only do good deeds to make you forget the last time they did bad ones.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is no surprise
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Tuesday, August 05 2008 @ 09:11 PM EDT

As I've stated before, I have never seen anything on Youtube that wasn't


[ Reply to This | # ]

88% of YouTube is New and Original Content, Professor Says
Authored by: Toon Moene on Wednesday, August 06 2008 @ 02:48 PM EDT
I have understood (from a lecture Lawrence Lessig gave at USENIX 2002) that a
medium (a manner of distribution of content) is legal when it can (and is) used
to distribute copyrighted material legally (i.e., by its owners) *regardless* of
how much illegal distribution occurs.

Is this indeed the law - or is it how the law should be, given the constitution

Toon Moene (A GNU Fortran maintainer and physicist at large)

[ Reply to This | # ]

New and Original Content, and every bit of it covered by Copyright
Authored by: jpvlsmv on Wednesday, August 06 2008 @ 08:46 PM EDT
Yes, that's right nearly every bit of video hosted on YouTube is protected by
the exclusive rights granted to the Copyright holder under US and International
Copyright Law.

These protections are granted automatically as soon as a creative work is
expressed in fixed form, such as a video recording. There is no registration
step, no (C) label required, nothing. As soon as you record the video, it is
your exclusive right to make copies and derivative works.

One option you have, as the holder of the copyrights in your original work, is
to grant a license to YouTube to display this work through its website and
through other linked websites. If you choose to do this, click the
"Accept" button on the YouTube Uploader's Terms of Service, and upload
your video.

If you have done this, YouTube has a strong defense against you suing them for
copyright infringement, since you gave them a license to copy and distribute
your video. In most cases, a lawyer would not allow you to file such a
frivolous case against YouTube.

On the other hand, there are creative works in my possession that I did not
create, and did not place in a fixed form, and for which I have no exclusive
rights under copyright law. I have books written by other people, I have DVDs
which I purchased, I have music CDs and even iTunes downloads. I have the
ability to (but choose not to) click "Accept" on the YouTube
Uploader's Terms of Service, and upload some of those creative works to YouTube.
This would be a lie on my part, because one of the terms includes claiming that
I am authorized to grant YouTube a license for the work I upload. No one other
than the copyright holder is authorized to grant that license.

But how can YouTube tell the difference between me and a legitimate copyright
holder for the work that has been uploaded? How can YouTube know that for some
works I upload, they have a legitimate license from the copyright holder, and
some not?

From a technical perspective, it can not. There is no way to distinguish
between the "home-movie" to which I have the rights, from my brother's
"home-movie" to which I do not have rights. There is no way
technologically to distinguish between a CG-animated video clip that I have
created and rendered myself, from a clip from "Toy Story".

The only way for YouTube to know is for the copyright holder to complain about a
specific work that has been uploaded. And even that is difficult to rely on,
since for many of the works, the copyright holder(s) may not be clearly obvious
from the work in question. (Consider a video I have of a choreographed routine
danced to a recording of the song "Happy Birthday". There are at
least 4 copyrights protecting that combined work: that of the songwriter, the
song performer (and potentially the song recorder), the dance choreographer, and
the videographer.)

Just something to think about.


[ Reply to This | # ]

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