Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The wrong side of copyright

Viacom latest to bully YouTube

(No article text cited, lest BBC tries to shut me down)

This post may wind up almost identical to another one I recently did on the same topic; but it really needs to be said again.

I'm sick of this crackdown on YouTube videos! Not because I don't respect copyright, but because the way its being done suggests that Viacom and similar companies are more interested in flexing lawyer muscle than learning to co-exist with a form of media that's here to stay.

Videos (including music videos) make a peculiar target, because they're essentially commercials. And in this advertising-saturated world, even high-school football teams can't have an instant replay without whoring for some sponsor. "Let's look at that grab again on our Pete's Moss instant replay!" So I don't understand why some advertisement, particularly a poor-quality video for some long-deleted '80s song, is such a problem. Especially since viral marketing is turning out to be such a bonanza for products currently on the market.

And I'm still absolutely steamed at the NFL for removing virtually every video with even a trace of its footage. Fan videos are some of the best promotional material the NFL has, and many incorporate footage that is not readily available even on NFL.com's premium service. Not only are they depriving us of some creative entertainment, the league is also sending the message that it can, and will, assert absolute domination just because it can. It's part of the trend among professional sports leagues to apply corporate-boardroom measures to the field and to the fans. At this point next year, referees will begin flagging teams for excessive celebration--among fans! But I digress.

Viacom is making a mistake with this lawsuit. Not only is it a blunder on principle for one of the fattest media giants in the world to scapegoat YouTube as a competitor, it's also a poor business move. CBS and other titans long ago reached deals with YouTube to broadcast promotional snippets on the site. The result has been good for both parties involved. Why can't Viacom, with all of its stellar offerings, do the same?

On the other hand, if YouTube is going to drop all copyrighted material, then let's do the same from libraries, the Internet, TV channels, radio-station shelves, personal shelves and refrigerators across America. After all, everything ever created is technically copyrighted to somebody, and we must ensure that everyone who creates anything (or appears in something made by someone else) gets a royalty anytime anyone ever lays eyes (or ears) on their work.

Oh, wait...this applies only to a few mega-billion media conglomerates more interested in making a buck than in tapping a huge market. And only when some combination of music or videos are involved. Never mind.

7 comments:

Leigh C. said...

Actually, it's affecting the "Kids in the Hall" clip I posted recently, damn it!

Horrific lawyers, acting like they are Hans and Franz...Grrrr...

Cajun Tiger said...

That's a first...liberals hating on lawyers...what is the world coming to!!!

Leigh C. said...

Hey, you didn't see the clip I linked to...

The lawyers need to be forced to watch ALL of the KITH episodes in one fell swoop. Lock 'em in the courtroom with a TV and ask 'em to please let YouTube share this stuff with the world until they scream, "Okay, OKAY! Just get us outta here!!!"

Ian McGibboney said...

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Viacom International, Inc."

I sense some spite there. Nice.

Oh, and CT, it's not that liberals don't hate excessive litigation as much as conservatives. It's just that our idea of such isn't in protecting citizens from corporations.

Leigh C. said...

Yep, they plunked it out there in bright red letters so that everyone can know EXACTLY who's spoiling their fun.

Cajun Tiger said...

Maybe it's just b/c I'm not completely awake yet, but I don't understand your comment...can you explain better what you mean by that.

Ian McGibboney said...

Yeah, I see I cocked that one up pretty badly...

I think everyone, regardless of political stance, can agree that there are plenty of frivolous lawsuits in this country. And that lawyers take the fun out of a lot of things.

You, Cajun Tiger, seem to be expressing surprise that I would ever say anything bad about a lawyer. Which, of course, reflects your own sense of generalization about liberals. We all love bilking those big, bad corporations for all they're worth!

Which is where my last comment comes in. I think that you and I can agree on the over-prevalence of lawyers in America...just for different reasons. And, as I see now, I fudged that previous comment...I should have said that the conservative's idea of "excessive litigation" is anything that holds corporations accountable for their actions. Of course, I disagree.