Copyright infringement mecca?

That term, courtesy of the MBA’s Andie Schwartz (who sent the link) could apply to the whole Internet, but it seems particularly appropriate for describing this development:  The elimination of the ten-minute limit on videos posted to YouTube:

“YouTube is a clip culture,” says Jordan Hoffner, YouTube’s director of content partnerships. “But we saw that there was a demand for longer form, and a market that’s growing, so we decided to try it.”

YouTube last week showed its first full-length Hollywood “studio” film on its Screening Room channel for independent filmmakers. Director Wayne Wang’s (The Joy Luck Club) two-hour The Princess of Nebraska, from Magnolia Pictures, has attracted over 150,000 views already.

It is funny how people will just coin terms and use them as if they were already part of the language.  “A clip culture”?  Sounds like a barbershop!  Anyway, how about copyright?

When YouTube began, Hollywood was infuriated that so many unauthorized clips ran next to homemade videos. Viacom, owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central, responded with a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube that has yet to go to trial.

Leigh ties the absence of NBC, Fox and ABC from YouTube to the lawsuit. “The networks are waiting to see what happens,” he says.

In late 2007, YouTube tried to deal with Hollywood’s concern by launching a system to deal with fan clips. Once the copyright holder identifies the clip and contacts Google, they are offered two choices: have the material taken down, or let YouTube place ads on the clip, and split the revenue. YouTube says 90% choose the revenue option.

Got that last part?  That’s “what about copyright.”

UPDATE:  They’re enabling “deep linking” too — you can send linkers to a specific point in a YouTube video.  Come on, that is cool!

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

5 thoughts on “Copyright infringement mecca?”
  1. Google is definitely going to change (some would say “modernize”) copyright law – I give it 10 years at the outside before some major legislative changes and/or Supreme Court rulings shake things up significantly. Google, as the aggregator of small (non studio) content developers) has the power to overcome the collective action problem. They also the money to litigate principles most of us simply can’t afford to litigate alone. They will probably win the lobbying battles too. It’ll be an interesting few years.

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