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SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2016
 
A month ago, I received an email concerning an awful - just plain awful - "movie" I had made that I posted on YouTube.

The movie is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VGRl2CGHII

But in case you don't care to watch it, I'll give you a brief summary. The video, titled quite wittily "The Bear Naked Truth" features two bears, one which confesses a secret (I won't be a spoiler. There was good writing in this movie...)

Backing the video is the Jackson 5's I Want You Back, and it was pertaining to this audio backing that the email was sent to me.

The email was sent from Universal Records, the company which owns all rights to the song. And they weren't so pleased that I had used this song in a video that has a 2 star rating (from only 3 votes... 2 of which were mine. I didn't even give myself a 5 star rating) and less than 300 views. This video was posted in Sept. 2006, which means in 2 years it hasn't managed to obtain the wild success of internet videos such as always popular "Rick Roll" of Rick Astley's music video.

The email told me, quite briefly, that while I was not going to be sued or fined for using their song in my personal Opus, that Universal would now have full access to view all the usage statisics of that movie. Wherever you are, whoever you are, Universal would know that you too, enjoyed the fine craft of my cinematography, and detailed stop-motion animation.

Moreover, they let me know that they would feature ads within the video. Perhaps to recoup the costs from the damage I had cost them from featuring 51 seconds of one of their songs.

But hey, I respect their position. I can understand why they wouldn't want someone making money or using their products, free of charge. Though, I personally haven't made any money off this film (no one would come to the nightly screenings I've been having since it's original filming), YouTube has. And while they've forced YouTube to allow them to do this, it is *my* art that has been compromised.

Anyhow, I had forgotten all about this peculiar set of events until today I read this:

A jude has declared that YouTube must release all Username/IP addresses for every single YouTube video that was watched. ( http://gizmodo.com/5021838/youtube-forced-to-reveal-username-and-ip-address-of-every-video-watched )

That's right. Your IP, or if you have an account on YouTube, will now by linked to every single video you've ever looked at. And you have no control over it. Meaning, if you've got an odd fascination for the various Emo video-bloggers, who like to read their depressed poems, "they" will know. If you've enjoyed countless ball/bar/bat/animal/fist/other solid object smashes into man's groin, "they" will know. "They" will know about your love for mentos being dropped into coke, your passion for "banned commercials," then endless number of Voyeur videos, the bizarre japanese game shows, and of course - the many many "reaction" blogs.

The breach privacy portion of it doesn't bother me too much. Usage statistics are important. They help you decide what direction to take your product in. Even if it's not anonymous, and they see that my account has been watching the Discover Channel's I Love The Whole World ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8fzNwr9Z3w ) on an endless loop, I'm not bothered.

What I'm bothered by is... why do they care? All this has come about because companies like Viacom and Universal are annoyed that their content is appearing on YouTube, free of charge (in fact, YouTube makes the money through advertising on the site, while they receive no money at all). That's fine, like I said - I understand the position Viacom has been put in. But anonymous usage statistics is one thing... why do they need to put a name to the number? They can find out where I live through the usage stats, they can find out my age through the stats. The fact that they need to know my username and/or my IP puzzles me.

It only makes me wonder if I'm going to be contacted the next time I watch a clip of the Colbert Report.

Clearly, they're in a long battle against YouTube/Google over all this. One that could be a drawn out case, that will take too long to resolve. An easier tactic would be to consider the users of YouTube as no different than those who buy bootlegs. In other words, go after the consumers, not the producers. Scare them off, drive YouTube's usership down - particularly as other sites pop up that have formed argreements with Viacom et. al, that stream higher quality videos that - sure, may have commercial breaks, or otherwise will just display banners on the side.

Before I make this long story longer, I'll make it shorter by just saying: This is another time when Google has angered large sets of companies. Google's approach has - arguably - been about having the user in mind. Giving the user what they want, and as such has side stepped or ignored various copyright laws, privacy laws, and more. Maybe it gains loyalty amongst the users, in fact I'm certain it does, because then Google Corp. will look less like a corporation and more like a band of anarchistic teenagers.

I've noted that other companies though have taken good note of Google's missteps, and are taking safer steps. Partnering up with the massive companies that produce the shows and songs we love oh-so-much.

It all just leaves me wondering... how well will YouTube be doing when they don't have the content? I'm leaning towards it becoming just another site that has silly videos a-la Ebaums World (notorious for having stolen content itself)

The end.


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