What Can We Blame Next On YouTube? How About Unauthorized Software Copying?

from the oh-come-on dept

With YouTube still in the midst of its legal fight with Viacom over infringing videos, it seems that people are starting to look at what else can be pinned on YouTube. Someone points us to an article that highlights an interesting trend that I must admit, I was totally ignorant of before: people are posting the details of software cracks in YouTube videos, and apparently it's pretty pervasive. If you go to YouTube and start typing the names of popular software programs in the search box, the "suggestions" that pop up (which are algorithmically generated based on searches) are nearly all to videos showing you how to crack software. I did a quick look around and easily found a few, most without audio, where the explanations are simply typed into the screen with a word processor. And a lot of these videos have a large number of views.

Now, of course, it's preposterous to blame YouTube for this, but how much do people want to bet that's exactly what's going to happen? The article notes that this may be "the next big headache for YouTube," and it seems likely that sooner or later some software will try to pin the blame for such videos on YouTube, rather than the creators/uploaders of the videos.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Wesha (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Well... to begin with...

    1) How the VIDEO ITSELF is illegal again? It demonstrates how to crack software? So should we outlaw all the action movies because they demonstrate how to kill people, steal cars, rob banks, etc?

    2) So, there are videos out there demonstrating how their uploaders break the law. So rather than taking them down, shouldn't police use them in court as a proof of the said uploaders breaking the copyright law?

     

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    Spanky, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    re

    I suppose the mfgrs could watch these videos to learn how to patch their software, but then again, as Maynard G Crebbs used to say, "WORK!!!"

    Easier and more lucrative to sue. My guess is, even if you caught some of the hackers, they wouldn't be worth suing. Better to sue the entity with the money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    There are many sites which provide cracks, what is specuial about youtube ..... oh yeah $$$$$

     

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    Mark, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    1) How the VIDEO ITSELF is illegal again? It demonstrates how to crack software? So should we outlaw all the action movies because they demonstrate how to kill people, steal cars, rob banks, etc? Thank the DMCA. Not only is cracking the software illegal (as it should), showing others how to do it is illegal as well. 2) So, there are videos out there demonstrating how their uploaders break the law. So rather than taking them down, shouldn't police use them in court as a proof of the said uploaders breaking the copyright law? That would make too much sense.

     

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  5.  
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    Reason2Bitch (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    "So rather than taking them down, shouldn't police use them in court as a proof of the said uploaders breaking the copyright law?"

    Without the help of youtube it would be impossible to find the real "culprits". The greater threat is youtube releasing the info of ppl who uploaded those videos. IMHO it is worse that making youtube remove those videos.

    I agree with your first point though. Just demonstrating the fraility of the software should not be a offense.

     

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  6.  
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    Ess, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Shhhh

    Cracking software is pretty hard, and takes a lot of skill and expertise; even if it's just to think of going to YouTube to find a video once you have a copy of the software.

    I've found that the more protected software gets the fewer people use it; shocking right? In fact, if most people can't get a copy of your software for free they won't use it at all. The problem comes from, wait for it, over priced software. I have no idea why everyone wants at least $20 for some system preference pane, or calendar app. I'd buy it for $2 with out a second thought, and trash it if it turned out to be crap with only minor irritation. Wonder how many more songs would sell if they priced them at 19 cents??

    I think this is most troubling in the case of Adobe Photoshop and feel a little bad now for using pirated versions in the past when I've bought a new computer and didn't have the money to buy another Photoshop at the same time. The new CS4 extended is truly awesome and so much work must have gone into that, but again it is far too expensive at $1000, now I get an extra legal license or two from the guys who negotiate multi-license arrangements with Adobe. You can use that software to pretty much run an advertising agency or design studio, much as you can use Microsoft Office to pretty much run an office. When I found out I couldn't type in Arabic on my version though, I had to go back to using my old Middle East language versions for some things. Boo! (Search Photoshop ME: it's a different version! another $1000)

    Anyway, Adobe realized that a while ago and started making a home version that was a few steps behind it's most current, and it was still too expensive. That was fine but then Apple comes out with basic one-click photoshop in iPhoto. In the end people just don't have the money for this sort of thing and Adobe has to realize that when many new agencies are starting out, money is tight. I would make a call for expanded three month trial versions, and payment plans, get them hooked, get their email addresses, and instead of policing infringement or spending time with authorization protocols just concentrate on making the best versions you can all the time, frequently. That way if someone wants to be on the cutting edge they'll have to pay. If someone wants to just re-touch an old photo of their granddad on their home laptop and doesn't feel like logging in to their work VPN, why don't you just not worry about it.

     

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  7.  
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    vastrightwing, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 4:55pm

    Speech should be made illegal

    If YouTube.com is liable for damage done by people describing a technique on how to get around a DRM, then perhaps we should nip this whole communication thing and make all communication illegal or require a license in order to convey any information what so ever. Your neighbor may explain how to use a rake to you. If his explanation breaks a copyright or uses some patented technique, his communication would have to be licensed and a fee paid to the license holder. Forget thought police, we’ll have communication police. And they’ll have to monitor everything we say, all the time.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    this practice actually is illegal in canada

    a few years back in BC Canada some lads started posting videos about how to hack websites. THAT got the law changed to effectively say while you can write it YOU cant video or audio the process or committing any crimes or thngs that can be then done to facilitate a crime.

    nuff said reasonable so type it up if said script kiddy cant take time to learn and read , should not be on the net.....

     

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    Dementia (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    While I understand the general point of the post, perhaps the title should reflect that the videos are showing how to crack, not copy, the software.

     

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  10.  
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    Jake, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    If YouTube doesn't start self-policing this stuff proactively -get some interns to do a bunch of keyword searches for anything that might be illegal, watch them, and email the video URLs of any that look suspect to the relevant authorities- then the authorities are going to do it themselves and send YouTube the bill in the form of a tax on local datacentres or something. Or just block them until they do start self-policing.
    Which is going to hurt their bottom line more?

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Shhhh

    "Cracking software is pretty hard, and takes a lot of skill and expertise"

    LOL ... most of the people cracking software are kids.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 8:28pm

    Re: this practice actually is illegal in canada

    > while you can write it YOU cant video or audio the process or
    > committing any crimes or thngs that can be then done to facilitate
    > a crime

    That would effectively make most Hollywood movie and TV thrillers illegal in BC.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 10:06pm

    Re:

    If the phone companies don't start self-monitoring their lines proactively -get some interns to do a bunch of spying on anyone that might be doing anything illegal, listen to them, and forward the information of any that look suspect to the relevant authorities- then the authorities are going to do it themselves and send the phone companies a bill in the form of a tax on local phonelines or something. Or just block them until they do start self-policing.
    Which is going to hurt their bottom line more?

     

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  14.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 1:28am

    Re:

    So, you'd be happy to pay the taxes for the "authorities" to look through suspicious videos? Bear in mind that if YouTube were to start doing something like this then those "interns" would be forwarding virtually everything lest something slip through the net and they become legally liable...

    Hell, why bother with interns? Just automatically forward every video dealing with Windows, Photoshop and Flash and let the authorities work out what's legal! Much better than just letting the marketplace sort itself out and getting Adobe to reduce its ridiculous prices so that an average person can actually afford to buy their software...

    "then the authorities are going to do it themselves and send YouTube the bill in the form of a tax on local datacentres or something"

    Yeah, that wouldn't make Google just offshore their datacentres to a country where said taxes are unenforcable...

    Seriously, you fools never think anything through.

     

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  15.  
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    Jake, Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re:

    That's an entirely specious argument. There is no expectation of privacy on the content of a YouTube video, and I'm not suggesting that YouTube forward any personal information along with those URLs unless they receive a subpoena for it.

     

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  16.  
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    Jake, Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, there'll almost certainly be false positives, and false negatives as well, but the point isn't to catch every scrote who uses YouTube to break the law, or to brag about it. It's to deter them from misusing it and forcing them into other, less effective platforms.
    And I'm pretty sure there are plenty of police and security agencies already trawling YouTube for incriminating videos, mostly concerned with terrorism; all I'm suggesting is that since they're earning ad revenue from every hit on said videos, perhaps YouTube ought to shoulder some of the responsibility -and I said responsibility, not blame, though Mike seems to have trouble making that distinction- for keeping their site compliant with local law.

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, here's the thing. As soon as YouTube started doing that, they'd be putting themselves in the line of fire - their DMCA exception from liability by virtue of being a service provider would be jeopardised. No longer a passive platform, they would be legally liable for everything that passed through. I'm not a fan of slippery slope arguments, but it's not hard to see where that would lead and the negative effects it would have on all service providers.

    The irony of this, of course, is that these are public videos. Therefore (as you rightly noted), the authorities *already* have access to all the evidence they require - why should Google duplicate those efforts and act as a private police force? Doesn't this just confuse the issue and overload the authorities, especially since Google would necessarily be overzealous in order to stave off lawsuits regarding anything it missed?

    "all I'm suggesting is that since they're earning ad revenue from every hit on said videos, perhaps YouTube ought to shoulder some of the responsibility"

    Imagine your statement framed differently:

    "all I'm suggesting is that since they're earning revenue from every delivery of said parcels of counterfeit software, perhaps the postal service ought to shoulder some of the responsibility"

    Would you be OK with the postal service/UPS/DHL/whoever pre-emptively opening every parcel? What about:

    "all I'm suggesting is that since they're earning revenue from every abusive or terrorist-related call made on said phones, perhaps AT&T ought to shoulder some of the responsibility"

    Would you be OK with AT&T monitoring all phone calls to avoid gaining revenue in this way?

    If you're OK with those statements, I feel you have some dangerous ideas that would be fatal for true freedom of speech. If not, why should one standard hold for those companies and another for YouTube?

     

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  18.  
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    DanVan (profile), Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    YouTube needs to first hire about 10k more people to deal with the comments section of most videos.

    It is juvenile lunatics run wild

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, your argument is specious. Move along.

     

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  20.  
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    Frosty840, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 2:10am

    One thing I don't think has been pointed out enough, here, is that the vast majority of these videos are fakes and scams which encourage you to click on a link which will send you to either a phishing scam or an ad-heavy, zero-content page, or which encouraged you to download a virus.

    I did a couple of searches for games I know can only be activated through registration with Valve's Steam service. None of the returned results convinced me that they were providing working cracking methods. I didn't see any that even pretended to show the game working after the "crack" had been applied. I certainly didn't see any that showed the user what to do with the codes that it claimed were being provided.

    I did notice, however, that there were only five or six different videos, and that most were simply repeats of the same video, providing links to the same scam/phishing/virus download.

    Furthermore, if the DRM attached to these programs is awful enough to be circumvented by a YouTube video, of all things, then what the hell is the point of it in the first place.

     

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  21.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:38am

    Re:

    "While I understand the general point of the post, perhaps the title should reflect that the videos are showing how to crack, not copy, the software."

    I wouldn't even call it cracking, unless they're telling you the process by which to crack. More likely showing someone how to apply a pre-made crack.

    Regardless of semantics, it's an interesting point because without the DMCA copyright would have no jurisdiction over this sort of thing.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "That's an entirely specious argument. There is no expectation of privacy on the content of a YouTube video, and I'm not suggesting that YouTube forward any personal information along with those URLs unless they receive a subpoena for it."

    While I disagree that this sort of thing should be unlawful in the first place, I agree with the distinction between YouTube and a phone company.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:42am

    Re:

    Or just come up with better filters. Perhaps letting people enable comments only for subscribers to a channel, for example.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:48am

    Re:

    "I did a couple of searches for games I know can only be activated through registration with Valve's Steam service"

    I'm unaware of any Valve games that aren't cracked for single player, though I am guessing that you mean fully working when you say activated.

    It makes sense that these would be scams, it seems weird for anyone who publishes genuine cracks to do so via YouTube.

     

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