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Copyright Axe To Fall On YouTube? 295

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the calm-before-the-storm dept.
theoddball writes "In what should come as no great surprise, Universal Music Group is preparing to file suit against YouTube for copyright infringement, the AP reports. Discussions with the site's owners have broken down (although talks are apparently still progressing with Myspace / News Corp over similar issues). From the article: 'We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars,' Universal Music CEO Doug Morris told investors Wednesday at a conference in Pasadena. This development follows last month's announcement that YouTube is negotiating with labels to legally host videos. While the primary complaint is against music videos, one cannot help but wonder if this will also impact the many, many homemade videos using copyrighted UMG songs as a soundtrack (or — *shudder* — a lipsync.)"
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Copyright Axe To Fall On YouTube?

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  • Tens of millions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:00AM (#16111112) Journal
    With the various lawsuits going on, and settlements seeming to arise regularly... I wonder whether they're actually making more profit for these various companies than some of their CD/movie sales. Certainly the lawyers are munching on a fair chunk... but how much are the studios taking in as profit?

    Truely a sad business model... especially when they're going after companies that are actually trying to negotiate legitimate mutually-beneficial deals.
    • Re:Tens of millions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dilby (725275) on Friday September 15, 2006 @02:53AM (#16111457) Journal
      What I don't understand is why the hell youtube is talking to a record company in the first place. Why aren't they dealing with a Copyright collection society [wikipedia.org]? (I don't know the name of the US one). They are an orginisation attempting to make money with content including copyrighted material, which the copyright holders are legally entitled to recompense. But their business model is more like the modern day equivalent of a tv station, so they should be paying in a similar way to how tv stations pay for their use of copyrighted material.
      • My guess is that the copyright holders don't want to. Suing is more profitable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IAmTheDave (746256)

          My guess is that the copyright holders don't want to. Suing is more profitable.

          I don't have a lot of hope for YouTube's future.

          We (us below 30 people, and yes, some of you above 30) are a generation built on mashups, personalized media, and borrowing from the acheivments of the past to further our own pursuits.

          Those sitting on the bench won't get that a suit against YouTube (especially if it's on the grounds of lipsync videos or peronal video soundtracks) is really stifiling millions of young filmma

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by FridayBob (619244)
        What I don't understand is why the hell youtube is talking to a record company in the first place. ...
        It sounds to me like YouTube has been forced to talk to them. It's called a lawsuit... :-)
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:00AM (#16111113)
    In a horse race, you don't want the rider to come in before your horse. YouTube seemed like they were desperately hoping that their horse would get bought up by a big media conglomerate before the litigation rider came calling.

    If they don't get acquired right quick, it will be a sad day for all of us YouTube lovers.
    • by daspriest (904701) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:32AM (#16111232)
      Why buy youtube, when you can sue youtube and take the site as a settlement instead.
      • by MMaestro (585010) on Friday September 15, 2006 @02:10AM (#16111334)
        The site itself is worthless. Other than maybe the name (which would be destroyed once they win), YouTube is worthless. It makes no profit (the bandwidth used to stream videos on the front page alone is mind boggling) and lets be serious, the moment they win, every OTHER group will demand the site more or less be brought down completely.

        This is more or less the same way Napster was destroyed and why is never reclaimed the crown as a music distributing software. By the time Napster was re-released it was too little, too late. And then of course there would be the copycat sites, the backlash against the industry and the grassroots attempt to stop this. (Remember the publicity Napster got before they brought it down?)

        • by MisterSquid (231834) on Friday September 15, 2006 @06:14AM (#16111943)

          (Remember the publicity Napster got before they brought it down?)

          Part of the reason for the publicity of the Napster case is that it happened in the days of Web 1.0 and many people, heck the entire world, were watching to see what would happen. It wasn't exactly clear that Napster would lose. In fact, early public opinion of Judge Patel's ruling was that she didn't know enough about technology to generate a sensible ruling.

          When (not if) YouTube goes down, it's gonna do so lickety split because it has the pathway (I'm not sure it's precedent) of Napster to take. This is gonna be fast, folks. Allowing users to violate copyright on a mass scale using centralized servers is entrepreneurial suicide.

          • by Nuskrad (740518) on Friday September 15, 2006 @07:34AM (#16112166)
            I'd say this is less clear cut than the original Napster. Despite what people claim about 'only some people used it to violate copyright', a good 90-odd% of file transfers on Napster was unauthorised copyright copying (statistic purely based on anecdotal evidence, bite me). Youtube is a lot less clear - granted a lot of stuff on there is clips from TV shows and films, music videos and stuff, but there is a LOT of original content on there (mostly unwatchable garbage, people thinking they're good on a skateboard and whatnot). Of course, it becomes hazy when people use copyrighted sound tracks to their original creation but still - I think we can all agree that a significant % of YouTube users are using it for none-copyright-violating purposes.
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        Perhaps because you see value in it and you aren't associated with businesses that feel harmed by it?

        There are more potential buyers for youtube than just the RIAA/MPAA.
      • Because it's worthless then. Remember the Napster. What happened after it got acquired and turned into a "legal" business?
    • by b0r1s (170449) on Friday September 15, 2006 @02:09AM (#16111333) Homepage
      Sad? It'll take about a month for all the users to migrate to one of the dozens of alternative sites that act in the same way and have slightly different features.

      Those that want DRM and community support will hit grouper [grouper.com]. Those that want porn will hit pornotube [pornotube.com]. The people who just want to use their webcams and view amateur clips will use vobbo [vobbo.com]. The ones that want to open license their content will use ourmedia [ourmedia.com], and the ones that want revenue sharing will use revver [revver.com].

      Dozens of alternatives, just look at The list [fileratings.com].

  • how insane (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tehwebguy (860335) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:04AM (#16111126) Homepage
    did you know that UMG just pulled their videos off of the music video station Fuse because they couldn't come to an agreement for compensation? http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=17040 3 [absolutepunk.net]

    am i alone when i say i am blown away that record labels ask stations for a penny to show their videos? i don't know how they did things in the stone age, but MY generation will NOT pay major labels to promote THEIR albums.

    • Re:how insane (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ergo98 (9391) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:14AM (#16111166) Homepage Journal
      but MY generation will NOT pay major labels to promote THEIR albums.

      Um, okay. Then what's the problem — They'll pull their "promotions" and you'll have no problem with it, right?

      Way back in the stone age when one business existed to profit largely via the work of another (see Napster, YouTube, etc. Though YouTube has far more legitimacy given the vast number of user contributed, non-pirated content), the copyright system is geared to demand compensation. Sort of like how the GPL, via the same copyright, is geared to demand its own sort of payment.
    • Re:how insane (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoralHazard (447833) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:52AM (#16111295)
      "am i alone when i say i am blown away that record labels ask stations for a penny to show their videos?"

      Why the surprise? Music videos are certainly connected to albums sales, but they're also productive as entertainment in their own right. They're shown on TV, which generates viewership and sells ads, which means that someone is paying for it. Indirectly, sure, but they're paying for it.

      That's all that UMG is trying to negotiate with Fuse. Both sides believe that UMG can charge Fuse, and Fuse can show the videos, generate viewership, and sell ads. If they didn't agree on that, they'd never have sat down to negotiate in the first place.

      I suspect that, since the phenom is relatively new as a business idea, Fuse and UMG have somewhat different assumptions about what the value of the videos actually is. If Fuse pays too much, they can't turn enough of a profit on the content to bother, but UMG wants to charge as close to that point as they can get away with. This is a classic negotiation, and it's been done for years in TV. Give it time, and they'll work out how to do business in the new medium. Maybe another year or two, maybe different companies (YouTube, perhaps?), but it'll happen.

      "...MY generation will NOT pay major labels to promote THEIR albums."

      Which generation do you mean? If you're old, sure--geriatrics don't watch music videos so much. But if you're young, your generation most certainly DOES pay. You (collectively) buy product X, which was promoted by advertising runs on a channel showing music videos, which pays for the ads.

      Simple, simple stuff, here, people.

      • or so you say (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ender Ryan (79406)
        Why the surprise? Music videos are certainly connected to albums sales, but they're also productive as entertainment in their own right. They're shown on TV, which generates viewership and sells ads, which means that someone is paying for it. Indirectly, sure, but they're paying for it.

        That's quite the news to me, as I haven't witnessed this being the case for at least 10 or 15 years. There is not a single time on any channel during any day that I can reliably watch music videos. As far as I can tell, the
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      Last time I checked, music video stations where playing videos in order to sell advertising. Why shouldn't they pay for the content that ultimately nets them a profit?
    • Re:how insane (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:30AM (#16111560)
      but MY generation will NOT pay major labels to promote THEIR albums.


      Your 'generation' might not, but TV companies will, as people who are watching music videos can also be shown adverts which bring in revenue above the costs of the videos, thereby producing this thing called 'profit'.

      This is a very simple concept, maybe your generation is too obsolete to understand how modern business works.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286)
      am i alone when i say i am blown away that record labels ask stations for a penny to show their videos?

      Pretty much, unless you can somehow cross the time-barrier about 15 years.

      The labels have all made it pretty clear (and the analysts have agreed) that they made a big-time mistake providing free content to MTV for as long as they did. Sure, Huey Lewis and The News and a-Ha never would have had the careers they did were it not for the freebies, but at the end of the cycle MTV (and it's johnny-come-lately r
  • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:04AM (#16111130)
    At the end of the day, these movie/song clips are just basically adverts. Its the ultimate form of Viral Advertising and the studios should be encouraging it, not trying to control it.

    If they want to make money then this sort of stuff is gold for them, it doesn't cost them anything at all and its not hard to start something.

    Its all stupid. You see them release "controlled" video's onto youtube and other blogsites when they are promoting a movie/song but if its something that wasn't thought of by them they suddenly want to sue the pants off everyone.

    You can't have it both ways.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by larry bagina (561269)
      If Microsoft (or International Chess University) stole GPL code, would you be saying the same thing? Maybe Universal is being an asshole here, but it's their right to do so.
      • by _Ludwig (86077)
        Maybe Universal is being an asshole here, but it's their right to do so.

        Who exactly are you addressing that comment to? I don't see anyone suggesting otherwise.

        But: just because you have the right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do.

      • by cgenman (325138)
        The analogy you're looking for is "What if Microsoft was bundling FireFox with Windows?" The goal of both the record companies and the Mozilla people is higher distribution as a means to higher sales (in one case albums, in the other google searches). YouTube helps achieve that goal.

        What it doesn't take into account, is that Music Videos themselves have become a valuable property. The advertising has become the message. So now not only do they want the advertising for the album to get out, but they want
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by 91degrees (207121)
        If Microsoft (or International Chess University) stole GPL code, would you be saying the same thing?

        I would. Be nice to see MS improving their products.
    • by XStylus (841577) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:00AM (#16111479)
      The problem that the studios are having is that they don't want a repeat of MTV.

      But what's that, you say? "MTV was a boon to the music industry, wasn't it?"

      And yes, indeed it was. MTV not only promoted popular hits, but it allowed lots of artists that couldn't get airtime on the radio to find an audience via MTV. But, as we all know by now, the industry can't see the forest for the trees.

      Here's a quote from this article [yahoo.com]:
      Record companies are keen to avoid repeating the mistake they believe they made when Viacom Inc.'s MTV was set up 25 years ago -- allowing their artists' music to be aired for free.

      Morris in his remarks to investors on Tuesday said MTV "built a multibillion-dollar company on our (music) ... for virtually nothing. We learned a hard lesson."


      Yes folks, this is Hollywood's way of saying thank you to MTV. That channel grew a new outlet for music, brought even MORE interest to said music, and helped the music industry make billions, and in spite of all this, the industry is pissed that they gave MTV the tools to do it for free.

      And with that in mind, they fear YouTube will be the next MTV, and they want a piece of it. Like usual, they're shooting themselves in the foot. Again. It boggles my mind how utterly near sighted the industry is. It can't see the forest for the trees.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by montyzooooma (853414)
        Before MTV I can remember music videos turning up at the most incongruous moments on my local TV station (UTV in Northern Ireland). I mean for instance I've watched the lunchtime news and there's 5 minutes until The Sullivans are on so lets have a video from some band I've never heard of before or since. The fact I'd never heard of them makes me suspect there was a time when music companies actually PAID to have their videos shown on mainstream TV (to the influential Sullivans audience of that era.)
    • by drsquare (530038) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:35AM (#16111575)
      At the end of the day, these movie/song clips are just basically adverts. Its the ultimate form of Viral Advertising and the studios should be encouraging it, not trying to control it.


      They are encouraging it. But why shouldn't youtube pay for it like everyone else? Music videos bring in viewers which can be translated into revenue. Why should the music industry provide free revenue for youtube, MTV etc?

      You can't have it both ways.


      Actually they can, as it's their videos and they are free to release them for free or to charge for them as they wish. When you make a video you are free to do whatever the hell you want with it. But wait, that would mean work, it's much easier to sit on your arse whining at people who actually have initiative.
    • The ad effect is there already. So why not milk some extra money with a lawsuit?
    • If what you say is completely true, a new label will rise (or maybe more, or maybe individual artists) and crush the existing labels using this brilliant viral marketing.

      Actually that sounds good to me.

      Always remember if this is sych a good idea it will happen or you have to ask yourself why it doesn't/didn't (maybe reality just works slightly differently...)

      They will get it once the market shows them, or tehre was noting to "get" in the first place...
    • At the end of the day, these movie/song clips are just basically adverts. Its the ultimate form of Viral Advertising and the studios should be encouraging it, not trying to control it. If they want to make money then this sort of stuff is gold for them, it doesn't cost them anything at all and its not hard to start something.

      For a normal publisher, that would be true. A normal publisher finds and promotes excellent works in a free market. Big media is the exact opposite of all that. They are based on

  • by PatriceVignon (957563) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:07AM (#16111138)
    Of course it had to be a music company. A music company that is part of a much bigger media conglomerate, but it is the subdivision that is suing. And they are suing because someone creates a new music video for an old song. This at least involves some work by the person posting it. Yet there is so much content on youtube that is blatantly ripped from TV, but nobody sued about that yet.
    Youtube is going to become Napster 2.0: once wildly popular, then sued into oblivion.
  • Legal action is a revenue stream. This is what the Canopy Group err Universal Music Group does....
  • by Stalyn (662) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:13AM (#16111162) Homepage Journal
    The difference being Napster was unable/unwilling to remove copyrighted content. YouTube is more than able and more than willing to remove copyrighted content. The Grokster case set a nice precedent in that a company must at least try to comply with copyright law. Not only that the vast majority of media companies have embraced YouTube, Capitol Records for example has uploaded their own music videos.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``The difference being Napster was unable/unwilling to remove copyrighted content. YouTube is more than able and more than willing to remove copyrighted content. The Grokster case set a nice precedent in that a company must at least try to comply with copyright law.''

      And the strange thing about that is that, for example, ISPs are okay as long as they _don't_ try to filter unlawful content (and spam, malware, etc.), because if they did filter, they'd be responsible for anything that got through.

      FWIW, IIRC, N
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        And the strange thing about that is that, for example, ISPs are okay as long as they _don't_ try to filter unlawful content (and spam, malware, etc.), because if they did filter, they'd be responsible for anything that got through.

        That's not true, and in fact, plenty of ISPs do filter. There was no consensus as to whether ISPs are common carriers before a few laws came in to shield them regardless, such as 17 USC 512 or 47 USC 230.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773)
      The Grokster case set a nice precedent in that a company must at least try to comply with copyright law.

      No, that's not what it said. Of course, all copyright cases can be read as requiring that. The trick is what constitutes compliance. Grokster simply said that a party is liable if they induce others to engage in copyright infringement. Failure to thoroughly police wouldn't show inducement. That goes more toward vicarious liability, if it matters at all.
  • Is YouTube just a host or are they a content distributor? If they are just a host, how can they be liable for what others post on their site?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
      By promoting certain videos (the "director's corner" or whatever they call it), they have risen above mere shuttling bits around to actively selecting and distributing content. If they can take action to promote certain videos and remove certain other videos, not to mention restrict access to some types of videos, then they are a much more active player than a mere Napster who was only a middleman.
      • As long as the process is automated, such as 'most discussed' or 'most viewed' then they have some protection under the DMCA. It's not their responsibility to determine if all their videos are legit, only to take down ones that are not authorized when and if they find them and to take down any videos when copyright holder gives them a notice to do so. Thanks to Grokster they also can't advertise or make money off of having unlicensed content.

        This is just more evidence that the big corporations don't care
  • by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:18AM (#16111186)

    So as soon as someone posts copyrighted material on a website, the owner of the website owes money to the copyright owner. I guess it's under the impression that for a brief period of time the website owner made money off ads and the copyright owner should get that ad money. It seems a little like the patent trolls waiting until a company has a successful product. If people want to use a song they will have to wait until the copyright expires .. oh, wait...

    I don't get the tens of millions of dollars part though. I've heard of $150 million to $400 million a year in potential revenue for YouTube. I understand it from the greedy record company standpoint, but I can't see it from the actual damages perspective. I guess every single person who saw a video that had a copyrighted song copied the song and E-mailed it to their friends in the Hong Kong Triads who later distributed pirate versions of it throughout Asia.

    There is incentive for major content providers to completely destroy user content websites. After all, the content oligarchy would not want competition, even poorly made funny cat video competition.

    • IANAL, but I believe that US copyright law allows for punitive damages, that is damages that are intended to serve as a punishment.

      UMG aren't suing YouTube just for the money they made by distributing these videos, they're suing to punish them for violating their rights.

      There is incentive for major content providers to completely destroy user content websites. After all, the content oligarchy would not want competition, even poorly made funny cat video competition.

      As much as I don't like a lot of what certa
    • To me, tens of millions sounds like a gross underestimate. Every view of every video containing even a small piece of a copyrighted song is an infringement, possibly multiplied because the video could be downloaded and redistributed. Using the same math they use on P2P infringers, I could easily see the calculated damages being in the billions or trillions. The revenue YouTube actually makes is immaterial to the calculation of damages.

      The music companies want to sound reasonable so they quote a figure th
  • Dirty Play (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OverflowingBitBucket (464177) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:28AM (#16111217) Homepage Journal
    UMG are just playing dirty. They are trying to negotiate with YouTube and MySpace and things aren't going (entirely) their way, so out comes the threat of potential future lawsuits with a nice big number (tens of meeeellions of dollars!) to crash the stock value of YouTube and MySpace today. The threat is basically: "Look at what we can do to your stock with a few choice words. Accept our last offer or we hit you again."
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      Why is it that when ATT got sued by pretty much everyone at once over the NSA illegal wiretapping, their stocks didn't plummet? Why doesn't Microsoft's plummet after pretty much everything they do?
      • Because it's only people who got angry. Not companies. When people get angry, they shout and riot. When companies get angry, they sue. Which one do you think is more damaging for a company?
  • It begins... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ImaNihilist (889325) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:30AM (#16111223)
    It was ineveitable. Looks like Universal gave up waiting for YouTube to make some coin before they filled suit. I guess they realize now that YouTube will never make money.

    The reality is that more people use YouTube to view content that shouldn't be on there than to view the content that should. I'm no exception. The only thing I really use YouTube for is watching South Park and other shows off Cartoon Network. I'll also use it to watch music videos, but not even watch the video. I just want to hear the song, and I know YouTube has it.

    Sure, there are people who actually don't use YouTube for this purpose, but I'll tell you right now that they are in the minority.

    The only way YouTube can save itself is by moderating ALL videos. That is, videos will only appear on the site once they are flagged, much like Google does. If and when that day comes, all the content I want will be gone and there's really no reason for me to ever go to YouTube again.

    Did anyone really think YouTube was going to stay around? I'm amazed that investors kept pumping money into it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The reality is that more people use YouTube to view content that shouldn't be on there than to view the content that should. I'm no exception. The only thing I really use YouTube for is watching South Park and other shows off Cartoon Network. I'll also use it to watch music videos, but not even watch the video. I just want to hear the song, and I know YouTube has it.

      Sure, there are people who actually don't use YouTube for this purpose, but I'll tell you right now that they are in the minority.

      Fuck that cop

    • Looks like Universal gave up waiting for YouTube to make some coin before they filled suit.

      More like they want to put pressure on YouTube to sweeten the eventual settlement. TFA said it best:

      "To drive the negotiations in the directions they want, they're starting to make it clear there are legal alternatives for not complying with what Universal wants done," he said.
    • Re:It begins... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:59AM (#16111636) Homepage
      Thinking back a month... Things I've watched recently on You Tube:

      Trailer for Transformers [youtube.com] - Legalish
      Transforming Robot Beetle [youtube.com] - Legal
      Playing With Electricity Video [youtube.com] - Legal
      Metalocalypse [youtube.com] - Not Legal
      Ask a Ninja [askaninja.com] - Legal
      Street Running [youtube.com] - Legal
      ZeFrank talking at a convention - Legal
      Some guy blowing the whistle on faulty helicopter design - Legal
      Quake 3 Rocket Jump super skillz video - Legal

      I know there are a lot of illegal uses for YouTube. But it seems like unlike a lot of P2P apps, the non-infringing uses are substantial. If YouTube could successfully filter out all of the illegal content, it would still have a lot of uses

      • by Kjella (173770)
        I know there are a lot of illegal uses for YouTube. But it seems like unlike a lot of P2P apps, the non-infringing uses are substantial.

        If I recall reading my stats correctly, the illegal content on P2P networks was found to be close to 90%, which would make slightly over 10% legal. I don't know the legal definition of substantial, but it's certainly not negliable. Plus, if you take the broader view of "P2P" to including anything up to and including the Internet itself, the picture changes dramatically. It'
  • Okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:30AM (#16111225)
    "We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars"

    Fair enough. Please direct us to the site where we can see Universal Music Group artists' music videos.

    Okay. Please direct us to the television--

    Okay. Please direct us to the DVD--

    Oh, you mean nobody would ever see these videos otherwise? So if there's no market for these videos, how can it be established there were tens of millions in damages?

    BZZZT. Thanks for playing.

    • by MikeXpop (614167)
      Step One: Go to the iTunes Music Store
      Step Two: Bend over and pay $2 for a 3 minute 320x240 video with DRM
      Step Three: Profit! (Well, not for you. But someone.)

      So yeah, basically they are available. It's just simply rediculous for what they're charging. While some videos are really good and might be worth buying to own (Hurt by Johnny Cash is an example, though iTunes doesn't even sell that one), the vast majority of them I'd like to see once and then really never watch again. The industry doesn't really get
  • well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ImTheDarkcyde (759406) <ImTheDarkcyde@hotmail.com> on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:38AM (#16111252) Journal
    Copyright Axe hasn't hit Ebaumsworld yet, and they have plenty of content ripped straight from DVDs. And hell, they even get a TV show out of it.
  • by Sathias (884801) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:40AM (#16111259)
    I was going to buy the latest Metallica album, then I realised that I could get all their film clips to be viewed in a blurry little window, with near-radio quality sound! Not to mention that a series of YouTube links doesn't take up valuable space on my CD rack! Chalk that up as one lost sale *cha-ching*
    • by Modeski (1002388)
      This is a very good point. Youtube doesn't pose any realistic threat to UMG. Can anyone honestly say they've seen or heard something on Youtube in preference to buying it? I see YT as the latest incarnation of friends swapping tapes amongst each other. I think they're just bitter because they've missed the boat.
      • by McFadden (809368)

        Youtube doesn't pose any realistic threat to UMG.

        I agree, but you missed the word "yet" from the end of your sentence. What happens a few years down the line when the technology has the capacity for the small blurry video and radio quality sound to turn into a full screen, high bitrate, perfect copy of what was uploaded. At that point, Youtube becomes nothing more than a centralized file sharing network for getting any media you want. Companies like UMG aren't so stupid that they can't see this coming,

  • by TheoreticalString (1002915) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:40AM (#16111262)
    For the RIAA, this is about far more than money. This is about control. Consider the high-profile members who are so much more than music companies. Sony. Warner Brothers.

    This is about control over entertainment. You Tube is a form of entertainment that they simply don't control. They don't produce it. They don't write it. And they don't make money off it. Theoretically, a band could make a hit song that never passed through any of their doors. A person could make a You Tube video so famous that he could achieve status as a director without ever setting foot in one of their offices.

    You Tube has the ability to deliver content to every person with an internet connection. Statistically, it is inevitable that eventually a breakout new band or director will arrive through You Tube without any member of the big corporations having their claws in them. For the RIAA this is about the fact that they want to retain control over every note of music you hear. It assures them they will never be caught by surprise. It allows them to stay in the forfront of new trends. It lets them juggle bands, hits, and artists with impunity. It lets them create restrictive contracts that give the vast majority of money from CD sales to them, instead of the artist. It lets them artificially inflate prices and manipulate the market.

    That's worth infinitely more than $1 million in proprietary content that they might be losing, if we take the highest number imaginable. That's why they care.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dfghjk (711126)
      "Statistically, it is inevitable that eventually a breakout new band or director will arrive through You Tube without any member of the big corporations having their claws in them."

      No it's not inevitable. Not even likely.

      "For the RIAA this is about the fact that they want to retain control over every note of music you hear."

      That has never been the case.
    • "They don't produce it."

      They DO produce it. They made the product, and somebody else is selling, illegally, it for profit. That is why they are suing.

      Don't complain that the RIAA/MPAA are taking legal action to protect their legal rights. If you don't think there should be laws against what YouTube is doing, complain about the laws and the lawmakers.

      Don't complain that I'm impeding the advance of traffic flow because I'm doing 60 in a 65; complain that the speed limit is only 65.

      note: Don't start ranting ab
  • think profits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by troll -1 (956834) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:52AM (#16111293)
    We must never forget the purpose of copyright laws. They are there to promote the useful arts. Ask yourself: how is suing youtube accomplishing this?

    The idea that no one will create anything if youtube users are allowed to use it in their homemade videos is absurd. But don't blame Universal. Blame congress for favoring promotion over profits and allowing the recording industry to make massive campaign contributions in what would *appear* to be an exchange for legislation.

    The entertainment gives our elected officials about $30 million/year [opensecrets.org] to make sure they can bring lawsuits like this one.
  • This is stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GoatPigSheep (525460) on Friday September 15, 2006 @01:52AM (#16111294) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone noticed videos on youtube don't even have sound in stereo? They are all in mono.

    You can't even listen to music properly using the videos on that site, the quality is too low.

    As for the lip-syncing and dancing videos, it's free advertising. I bet "numa numa" sold a lot more records since that fat dude posted a video dancing to it, in fact they are using that to market a new version of that song now...
    • by anagama (611277)
      Without having seen Brolsma (sp?) lip sync the Numa Numa song, I would never have bought it on iTunes. So in certain circumstances, it is true that distributing the song without permission will benefit the artist. On the other hand, if something already is very popular -- the chances of an infringing use generating a sale are probably low.
  • Sue'm All (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    YouTube Legal Strategy:

    We seem to be liable for 'contribuatory infringement'; aka we make it possible (knowingly?) for others to violate copyright (even though we respond to requests to remove copyrighted material).

    The RIAA, etc, want their 'pound of flesh', and we don't think they deserve it.

    If we are liable, for contributing to the violations, then necessarily, others must be as well. While we provide the service to share, the individual users must knowingly violate, as well as everyone between t

  • that believes they honestly deserve money because someone lipsynced to their video should be boycotted until they are back stocking shelves at walmart. they are not artists in any way shape or form, they are money grubbing whores and that is it. fuck them
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dfghjk (711126)
      It's not about lipsyncing videos, although anyone song that gets the lipsync treatment is popular enough to matter.

      It would be interesting to see your change in perspective if you ever produced anything worthy of being lipsynced on youtube.
  • While I dislike ham-handed copyright suits, at least this might serve to get rid of the gajillions of Backdorm Boys ripoffs by pimply American college kids.

    I mean, the originals [youtube.com] were pretty funny, at least Da Da Da, Peking Opera and Don't Lie made me laugh, but aside from that, Go Get'em Universal!
  • UMG seems to think that they can just haul up to this site and drive away with truckloads of cash. What they don't get, and what everyone seems to be glossing over, is that the Internet isn't a truckload of cash. It's a series of YouTubes.
  • by SQLz (564901)
    Someone else to hate besides Sony.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday September 15, 2006 @02:46AM (#16111444)
    I shudder to say it, but isn't this what DMCA takedown notices are for? If someone puts some music they don't own on the web space that their local ISP gives them, then the copyright holder's recourse is to send a DMCA takedown notice. The ISP handles it, problem solved.

    Why should YouTube be any different? Send them a DMCA takedown notice, and surprise surprise, they'll happily remove the offending content. Problem solved.

    There's only one reason why YouTube is getting treated differently. UMG sees a cash cow that they don't own, and they want desperately to milk it.

  • I hope they dont (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Private.Tucker (843252) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:05AM (#16111487)
    Seriously, it is coming to the point that you can't even whistle your favorite song without being sued for copyright infringement.

    Isn't that what YouTube basically does? User posted content? A person plays their favorite song, a person dances to their favorite song, a person posts a music video thats already available on MTV/VH1 (when those stations actually play music 1 hour a week).

    Mark this, the end of cover bands, the end of whistling while you work, and the end of free speech.
  • Evanescence AMVs (Score:2, Interesting)

    Actually, this happened a long time ago. Websites with AMVs to Evanescence songs were told to cease distribution of the videos or face legal action. The RIAA already made up its mind a long time ago on this...
  • I believe these copyright holders have wasted my time and owe me tens of dollars.
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday September 15, 2006 @04:18AM (#16111683)
    You can't buy pop videos so no loss of revenue there.
    You can download the video from YouTube, think 'I like that' and go out and buy the CD. Money made there.
    I can't think of any downside to free pop videos online unless someone wants to rip the mega low quality sound off the video stream but frankly you'd be pretty desperate to do that.
    Sounds like record company is shooting itself in the foot to me.
  • When will the music industry learn that producing the same trash while using Mafia-style business tactics against their customers just increases their problems of low sales?

    What are they trying to do? Will they wind up becoming a government subsidized industry because they have alienated all but the true Hollywood-loving sheep and can't afford to pay their employees? Now I hate corporate welfare, but I'd be REALLY pissed off if I had to subsidize the Music Mafia.

    All I know is I have not bought a CD (except
  • took this long? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pbjones (315127) on Friday September 15, 2006 @04:28AM (#16111705)
    I'm surprised that it took this long for a legal battle to start. YouTube was becoming the Napster of video and it had to be a target sooner or later.
  • I don't mean to sound like an old coot, but I liked the web better when people couldn't put little YouTube players on their websites and blogs. Previously, they actually had to write something. Now its just, watch the video.

    That said, YouTube, like most p2p sharing sites is a great place to learn about bands (and other entertainment) you've never heard of before. Example: The Wildhearts [youtube.com].

    Though, as its been said better above, maybe that kind of decentralized information sharing is what large cartels

  • ... of Copyright Law as we know it.

    Face it guys, when something becomes habitual, natural, for millions of people, rights and wrongs get swapped.

    People are finally starting to realize that information wants to be free, they are literally enjoying the pleasure of creating their own content, even if based upon the creation of others, and someone can't just come along and tell them they're not allowed to do it.

    I forecast a revolution of some sort.
  • Well, maybe what YouTube should argue is that they have no special liability beyond any hosting service -- that if Universal and or any other copyright thug has a problem, they can submit a takedown notice, same as any other copyright holder. Maybe YouTube could offer Universal a mechanism to do it easily, like maybe e-mail.

    So when YouTube has received one of these notices, they can replace the video with one that's basically just a banner:

    This video has been banned by the alleged copyright owner, Univ

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

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