Should YouTube do more to discourage users from copyright infringement?

May 15, 2007

A friend of mine recently criticized YouTube for not doing more to discourage users from copyright infringement. He suggested, for example, that YouTube should allow other users to police each other for copyright infringement and send in complaints to YouTube (under the DMCA notice-and-takedown procedure, the copyright holder or agent must be the one complaining). Community policing is essentially what YouTube relies on for a whole host of inappropriate content to be flagged.  Last week, members of Congress, Chad Hurley, and Mark Cuban had a similar debate (see below).  Frankly, I thought the views on both sides were quite thoughtful (and far from the more combative accounts in the press).

What do you think about this or other ideas? This problem isn’t an easy one to solve (even putting aside the legal questions), so I’d love to hear your views.

YouTube sued for copyright infringement again

May 15, 2007

News:  Another copyright lawsuit has been filed against YouTube, bringing the total number of suits to 4.  The new case, filed in San Francisco, is:

No 4.   David Grisman, a mandolin player who performed with the Grateful Dead, along with his partner Craig Miller and company Dawg Music.  They are also seeking to certify a class action of musicians against YouTube.  Getting a class certified (if the judge determines it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23) would make the case a much bigger potential worry for YouTube, with much higher potential damages should YouTube lose.  (More)  If someone can find a copy of the complaint, please send me a comment below.

Analysis:  It’s not time for YouTube to start sweating, but certainly the two class action possibilities raise the stakes.  Because 3 of the 4 lawsuits are in different jurisdictions, it is certainly possible that different courts might interpret the DMCA safe harbor differently and the case could end up in the Supreme Court.  That’s still a long way off, though.  YouTube will likely try to file some motions to defeat the class action certification in the 2 cases.

US military stops soldiers from using MySpace + YouTube on gov’t computers

May 15, 2007

News:  The ban applies in Iraq and apparently on all defense computer networks.  The soldiers can still MySpace and YouTube and other banned social networking websites on private computers.  “These actions were taken to enhance and increase network security and protect the use of the bandwidth,” said Col. Gary Keck, a Pentagon spokesman.  Personal emails are still OK. (More)

How to cheat YouTube

May 15, 2007

News:  Mashable blog exposes how you can game the YouTube system and manufacture a “most viewed” video by apparently simply opening up several windows on Firefox and automatically refreshing them.  See the post.  This sounds way too easy.