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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yxHKg...
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)