A Personal Account on Youtube's Crackdown on Copyright Infringement
When I posted the entire two-part episode of The Simpsons “Who Shot Mr. Burns” on youtube.com last fall, I did not feel easy about it from the beginning. Afterall, I was violating copyright laws, and had an inkling that I would be caught in the crosshairs of 20th Century Fox, the rightful owner of the show.
One month after Google acquired Youtube for $1.65 Billion, I received emails informing me that that episode had been deleted from my account. Why did I post that episode on youtube in the first place? I would say that it was peer pressure. One youtube user (we’ll call him Vince, although that’s probably not his real name) had initially asked me if I could upload Part 2 of that episode onto youtube, after he saw clips of it on my account. Going against my better judgment, I decided to upload Part 1 as well. I’m not holding him accountable for my actions, because I could have backed down from doing it at anytime and told him no. I had seen several copyrighted videos for months, and wondered how people were getting away with it, music videos, movies, TV clips, commercials, etc. Many videos were from Nickelodeon shows, and a variety of other TV networks, which are all owned by American Media Conglomerate Viacom Inc.
The first full episode of a TV show I saw posted on youtube was from “My Brother and Me”. I suppose I was brainwashed because, on one hand, one could watch these videos, free of charge (or upload them, without receiving compensation), whether he or she has seem them for the first time, not seem them in ages, or wants to preview material before buying the DVD. On the other hand, this material that people do not own, violates the website’s policy as well as the slogan “Broadcast Yourself”.
I have also seen material from exclusive VHS and DVD releases posted on youtube that should be deleted.
I originally bought a video hub for my computer last June to connect with my VCR and copy home footage and make short films and DVDs out of them. When I discovered retrojunk.com around the same time, I had another use for it. I dug up old videos from my archives of TV recordings and found commercials to upload onto the site. Later that summer, I discovered that I could use the video hub to upload VHS clips onto youtube, whether they were original material or not. I uploaded a few clips from The Simpsons, as well as clips from old shows on Nickelodeon and MTV.
I had a tape of the entire (or almost entire) two-part episode of The Simpsons episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns” from the original 1995 broadcast. I say “almost entire” because the ending of part 2 got cut off. I used one of the computers connected to a VCR in my school computer lab because my computer at home was a little slow. The school was completely unaware of this activity too. The episode was divided into acts and parts. Over the course of a month, I got several views, as well as comments, on the “Who Shot Mr. Burns” episode.
A month after the Google acquisition, I had a "Fox Scare", meaning I had received some intimidating emails from 20th Century Fox informing me of the copyright violation on youtube. They would have threatened to take legal action against me had I not done anything about it.
Although the other copyrighted material I had on my account was not deleted, I got rid of it all anyways to eliminate myself from lawsuits from major corporations like Viacom and 20th Century Fox. Youtube had already begun to crack down on copyright infringement, and in February of this year, over 100,000 videos of material owned by Viacom were removed from the website.
So in a nutshell, I posted copyrighted material on youtube that I initially knew was wrong, but did it anyways because of what other people were doing, and was later penalized as well as other youtube users when pirated videos from their youtube accounts were deleted in response to copyright claims.
I will no longer upload copyrighted videos of any kind onto the Internet, especially youtube. I also do not want to be targeted by any of the major corporations. That is why I feel we need to continue to crack down on copyright infringement. The way I see it, life is so much more than spending our days indoors on your computer watching (or uploading) Internet Videos. Real fans of TV shows and movies would buy the DVD releases. Furthermore, I think a website should be started dedicated to classic Nickelodeon, classic Disney Channel, and so forth.
20th Century Fox Logo-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Logo_20th_century_fox.jpg
Mr. Burns Image-http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/0f/