Successful Content Creators Who Use YouTube To Get Around Gatekeepers Worried About Viacom Lawsuit

from the it's-all-about-the-gatekeepers dept

For the most part, reading the amici briefs in the Viacom/YouTube lawsuit has been fairly unenlightening. You have a few, of course, that present an extreme misreading of the law, but for the most part the briefs were pretty much what you'd expect. Entertainment industry giants like Disney, NBC Universal and Warner Bros., sided with Viacom that YouTube broke the law, while tech industry giants like Yahoo, Facebook and eBay warned that accepting Viacom's interpretation of the DMCA would massively stifle innovation.

Perhaps they all cancel each other out.

But reader Hephaestus alerts us to the EFF's highlighting of a brief by a group of content creators who have used YouTube to get their works seen and heard without having to go through the usual gatekeepers. The group refers to itself as the "Sideshow Coalition" in response to Viacom's rather demeaning claim that the interests of such legitimate creators was nothing more than a sideshow. But the brief (pdf) shows that they're not a sideshow at all, but people who were enabled to do great things because of YouTube, and that would be put at risk with a ruling in favor of Viacom:
The EFF summarizes some of the key points:
  • Barnett Zitron, who created "Why Tuesday," a political video blog focused increasing voter turnout that has helped register over half a million college students to vote.
  • Mehdi Saharkhiz, who created a YouTube channel to spread awareness about government human rights abuses in Iran and frequently posts videos from contacts in Iran who record the videos on their cell phones.
  • Phillip de Vellis, who created and uploaded to YouTube a video supporting President Obama's candidacy, hoping it would be viewed by a few thousand people. "Instead, millions viewed it and the San Francisco Chronicle described it as 'a watershed moment in 21st century media and political advertising.'"
  • Arin Crumley, who could not get conventional financing for a film he wanted to make, and decided instead to self-produce it and post it to YouTube. The first full length movie ever uploaded to the site, it was viewed more than a million times, and then the Independent Film Channel picked it up.
  • Dane Boedigheimer, who wanted to be a filmmaker since he was 12 years old and would spend hours each day with his parents' 8mm camera. "In the conventional media, it would have taken years before he might even have a chance to direct films. However, with YouTube, Boedigheimer was able to create a series called 'Really Annoying Orange' whose episodes have been viewed 130 million times."
As you read through it, you realize, yet again, what this is really a fight about: Hollywood has been the gatekeeper for entertainment content for ages. It doesn't like the fact that it's losing that role. This fight isn't so much about copyright as it is about Hollywood's continued need to block out alternative routes for distribution that it cannot control. I doubt that anyone in Hollywood would admit this directly (and I'd bet that many don't even realize it consciously). But it is what this fight is about. Hollywood has really always been in the distribution business. YouTube is a threat not because of the copyright issues, but because Hollywood doesn't control the distribution mechanism any more. When people can become successful content creators without going through the Hollywood process, it makes it that much harder for Hollywood to keep charging the kinds of fees it charges.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    "and I'd bet that many don't even realize it consciously"

    No, they're not stupid, they do realize it consciously, and their main goal is to restrict all competition and they're doing so consciously.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: *sigh*

    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
    -Napoleon Bonaparte

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Poor Hollywood. I feel terrible for poor Hollywood. They're always losing money on even their most profitable pictures and that has to hurt and it happens so often, poor Hollywood. Your aging actresses have to get surgery just to placate the fickle nature of the masses you try to so diligently serve. Poor Hollywood, where waitresses are discovered and turned into multi-millionaires, poor Hollywood.

    YouTube must be destroyed.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: *sigh*

    Viacomm is malicious, nefarious, and incompetent all at once. Unfortunately our legal system is equally as incompetent so Viacom might actually win since incompetent minds think alike.

     

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  5.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    copyright criminalizes competition

    Hollywood has been the gatekeeper for entertainment content for ages. It doesn't like the fact that it's losing that role. This fight isn't so much about copyright as it is about Hollywood's continued need to block out alternative routes for distribution that it cannot control.

    Yes. But it is about copyright, because that's what copyright is for: eliminating competition.

     

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  6.  
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    Progrocktv, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    EXACTLY!

    Exactly why I keep fighting You Tube about my video being removed due to "copyright reasons" even though I own the copyright!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    "This fight isn't so much about copyright as it is about Hollywood's continued need to block out alternative routes for distribution that it cannot control. I doubt that anyone in Hollywood would admit this directly (and I'd bet that many don't even realize it consciously). But it is what this fight is about."

    Ladies and Gentlemen, how about a nice round of applause for The Amazing Masnick and His Mind-Reading Extravaganza!!

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    It doesn't take mind reading skills to figure out that Viacomm wouldn't be filing these bogus suits if it weren't for the fact that they just don't like competition and that special interest groups have pretty much coerced the entire communication system outside the Internet and so it it stands to follow that they are simply attempting to do the same thing to the Internet just as well. Just some common sense after observing the evidence for a bit.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention that Viacomm pretty much admit that they wanted Youtube and couldn't get it and after reading their internal E - Mail's it becomes pretty obvious that Viacomm's motives are nefarious.

     

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  10.  
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    jdub (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    "it makes it that much harder for Hollywood to keep charging the kinds of fees it charges."

    I think thats the key point here. With the state of the world economically getting worse, and the distance widening between the rich versus the poor, "piracy" as they call it is only going spread.

    I'm surprised that no one has looked at the wallets of the consumer much. (At least I haven't seen anything in the posts when I've looked, it usualy revolves around morality on the one end, and changing business models on the other) With over 5 billion people on the planet that make 10 dollars a day and less(http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats), is it any wonder why people are gravitating towards lower cost/free alternatives in the media they consume?

    The black market, counterfeiting, and filesharing, is nothing more then a demographic that is not being served, and nothing more. If your making 10 dollars a day, would you buy a dvd for 3 days wages, to watch one movie over and over again, or would you spend that on a internet connection and be able to watch/download a variety of content?

    Lets face it, a lot of us dont make a million dollars a year and live in penthouses, as Hollywood serves up in its movies, or the Pop stars continually spew in their lyrics!

     

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  11.  
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    I know stuff...., Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    A small YouTube

    Wow, after reading that amicus, YouTube is really a clique.

    The names of the channels their citing pretty much includes about half of the top 100 subscribed channels (those not blatantly corporate) on youtube.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re:

    If they "just don't like competition," and this isn't really about copyright infringement, then why isn't Viacom suing one of its many other competitors that aren't (at least arguably) infringing its copyrights?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Obviously because that would make it too obvious, they can't win a lawsuit based on non infringing material or even come close or have a judge even consider the case, and because Google is the biggest competitor that offers non infringing copyright material and because just about all competitors that offer user generated competing content offers infringing material to some degree because it's almost impossible to control.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They need some grounds to sue, so they try the infringement card, even though it's a false card and they ignore the laws and safe harbors they choose the pathway that will lead to the most likely success or at least the most money spent by the opponents on litigation.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, you guys sure are in the know on what's "really" going down.

     

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  16.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    Re: A small YouTube

    " ... about half of the top 100 subscribed channels (those not blatantly corporate) ... "

    Why do you think every "Professional" media company on earth (overkill with the word "every") is filing a friend of the court brief? The numbers of views on individual videos is going up. The YouTube channels are gaining strength and people are beginning to cut the cord on cable TV. The trend for a disruption is there, based on just YouTube.com this wont be a Catastrophic failure of the media production houses it will be a slow erosion. Combine it with infringement, competition from other forms of entertainment, and people communicating and collaborating more its an industry killer.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When Viacom and Hollywood make it obvious and when our government makes it obvious by the fact that the laws make it practically impossible for newcomers to enter the market outside the Internet unless Hollywood et al get an unfairly huge cut, and when Viacom's complain amounts to, "any startup at the time would have been infringing in some way or another unless ridiculously unaffordable resources are placed to ensure filters" then yeah, we can reasonably conclude why they're doing what they're doing. It's called reasoning and logic and mostly just common sense.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 9:40pm

    Re: copyright criminalizes competition

    Yes. But it is about copyright, because that's what copyright is for: eliminating competition.


    No, copyright is designed to eliminate UNFAIR competition.

    By the way, when is your next movie coming out?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    DH's Love Child, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: copyright criminalizes competition

    "No, copyright is designed to eliminate UNFAIR competition. "

    No, copyright is designed to promote the progress of arts and useful sciences. It has devolved into a control mechanism to eliminate legitimate competition.

    FTFY

     

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  20.  
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    Jupiter (profile), Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    "Institutions will seek to preserve the problem for which they are the solution."

    Problem: Distributing your film.
    Solution: Big Hollywood studios.

    They're fighting to stay at the center of the universe.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: copyright criminalizes competition

    I'm going to go ahead and give you the benefit of the doubt, in assuming that you're not an idiot and would therefore not refer to piracy as "legitimate competition".

    Also, no one in Hollywood is scared of "Annoying Tomato" or whatever-the-fuck. The day may come when serious talent flourishes on youtube but we aren't there yet.

    I'll admit I was surprised to learn there are a handful of youtubers making okay money with profit sharing. Anyone know what percentage of ad revenue google is throwing them?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    go youtube, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 4:18pm

    youtube

    OK Hollywood is losing money thats business should we shut down all video providers on the internet no that will cause billions in losses YouTube worth 1 billion in 06 and who knows how many jobs will be lost instead of suying them move on this is what technology is and the record player moved on when the tape came out and on just move on

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Alex Cox, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Hollywood Studios vs. You Tube

    I am the writer and director of a film called REPO MAN. Last year Universal Pictures released a film called REPO MEN. It was a blatant rip-off of the people who had enjoyed my film, and imagined this was a sequal, and of my inalienable rights
    as the author of REPO MAN.
    Hollywood can shut down tomorrow as far as I am concerned. They are a cartel of illegal enterprises engaged in racketeering. You Tube, and the more aesthetically appealing Vimeo, are - whether we like it or not - the future of independent film.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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