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Tuesday
Mar282006

YouTube stepping on toes but Youf love it

If you don't know what YouTube is the chances are you are over 40 or stuck in Deepest Darkest Africa or somewhere. It's going off on the Internet all over the planet. More than 20,000 new video clips are sent in to YouTube every day and it attracts 15 million plays every 24 hours - although I just saw a C.N.N. report that said it had 30 Million users a day and 30,000 clips sent in per day. But whatever the true figure is, this much is for sure - thousands of amateur video clips, rare footage of music concerts, classic advertisements and homemade film spoofs are now being uploaded every day to the video-sharing Website YouTube for the enjoyment of millions of Web users around the world.

You watch for free and can download the clips to your site, like I do. I love it. And there is all sorts of stuff there - you just do a Search on what you're interested in.

However, music labels, film studios and television bosses are now starting to spit the dummy saying YouTube is encouraging piracy of copyright material.

They reckon video sharing is being used to dodge regulations designed to stop music and films being distributed over the Internet after sites such as Napster were forced to charge for downloads by the courts.

Bootleg footage from concerts by top artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and Franz Ferdinand are available by the thousands along with recordings of pop videos and band interviews. A simple keyword search can unearth a wealth of classic clips featuring Kate Bush, Jimi Hendrix, The Smiths and Take That.

Some films have attained cult status, spreading around the Internet faster than computer viruses. Long-forgotten footage has re-emerged as hugely popular entertainment after being posted by users.

The killjoys from The British Phonographic Industry insists all these videos breach copyright law and says they will "rigorously" seek to have them removed from Web sites with the threat of legal action against service providers who refuse.

One YouTube favorite is the Rice Krispies advertisement from 1964, below, featuring a jingle by The Rolling Stones. At the time it was made, the band asked not to be identified as being involved.

(UPDATE: YouTube removed the vid fro a "copyright claim from third party")

Last time I looked this clip had been played 43,500 times!

Hollywood studios are concerned that clips from current movies are available along with segments from popular TV shows.

Earlier this month, NBC Universal forced YouTube to remove hundreds of clips from the site of a sketch from its "Saturday Night Live" show, and CBS News did the same in relation to a clip that had become popular.

The music industry has been leading the fight against illegal sharing since it took Napster, who produced one of the first file-sharing programs, to court two years ago and forced it to charge for legal downloads, but experts claim the music and film industry may struggle to have other more "creative" films removed.

Filmmakers have made mashups of music videos while others have spliced sections of different films together to create new plots.

In one example, called "Brokeback to the Future" a pair of college students from Boston have combined scenes from Hollywood hit "Brokeback Mountain" with 1980s favorite "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox.

The parody has attracted worldwide attention and spawned a series of copycat spoofs from films as diverse as "Top Gun" and "The Shawshank Redemption."

If videos and films have been spliced, dubbed and remixed, then it becomes extremely difficult for the original makers to claim copyright infringement. The music industry has already been through this.

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