YouTube adds automatic captions and automatic timing

November 23, 2009

Very cool.

U2 to stream Sunday LA concert live on YouTube

October 19, 2009

Awesome!!! Sunday, October 25 at 8:30 p.m. (PT)

Has YouTube sold out to become like Hulu?

April 17, 2009

News: This has been coming for some time, but its arrival is no less jarring. YouTube has announced today that its launching a new destination to air TV shows, and beefing up its site for movies.

The move is one of many that YT has made in recent months to generate more advertising revenue on content that corporations are more likely to feel comfortable in using, compared to the edgier user-generated content. In a different deal, YouTube has partnered with Universal Music to create a music video site called Vevo. (more)

Analysis: YouTube is copying the business strategy of the popular Hulu, a joint venture of NBC Universal and FOX. Hulu has TV shows and movies, but no user-generated content. I think Hulu is fantastic, and thought so when it first came out. But now it appears to becoming the “YouTube killer” that it was first touted to be.

It will be very interesting to see if YouTube focuses even less on user-generated content in the future. And whether YouTubers revolt. It may be that the fascination with amateur videos has died down (along with the number of brilliant UGC videos or new talent). If so, YouTube does not to be sustaining its business somehow, in order to subsidize all the millions of amateur videos stored on YT servers.

Why has YouTube screwed up the video still images with clunky titles?

February 5, 2009

News: Sometimes YouTube does things that are so stupid. All of sudden, every video embedded from YouTube has a cheap, tacky looking title that appears at the top of the still image for the video. Ugly.

Analysis: If YouTube changes things in such a major way, it shouldn’t apply those changes retroactively, giving users no choice of the matter, especially when the changes look terrible.

Jet Li @ Davos @ YouTube booth

January 31, 2009

Decoding the DMCA Safe Harbors

January 27, 2009

I have just finished writing a draft of an essay titled “Decoding the DMCA Safe Harbors.

The Essay analyzes some of the key uncertainties about the DMCA safe harbors that may figure into the copyright lawsuits against YouTube.

The Abstract:

The DMCA is a decade old, which, in Internet time, may well be closer to a century. Although the DMCA safe harbors have helped to foster tremendous growth in web applications in our Web 2.0 world, several very basic aspects of the DMCA safe harbors remain uncertain. These uncertainties, along with the relative lack of litigation over the DMCA in the past ten years, have threatened to undermine the whole purpose of the DMCA safe harbors by failing to inform the public and technology companies of what steps they need to undertake to fall within the safe harbors. In several high profile cases against MySpace, YouTube, and other Internet sites, the clarification of the DMCA safe harbors could prove to be just as important to the Internet as their enactment in 1998. This Essay has attempted to clear up two of the biggest uncertainties regarding the DMCA’s relationship to vicarious liability, and the so-called “red flags” theory of knowledge on the part of the Internet service provider. Specifically, under a proper interpretation of the DMCA, courts should (i) reject the “loophole” theory that posits that the DMCA safe harbors provide no immunity from vicarious liability at all, and (ii) require a high burden for proving a “red flags” theory by requiring knowledge of facts that show specific and “obvious” or “blatant” infringement. This Essay offers five principles for courts and Congress to consider in applying or amending the DMCA safe harbors in the future. The DMCA safe harbors should be made truly “safe” harbors, in a way that encourages greater investment in and the development of speech technologies on the Internet, all while encouraging copyright holders to share the burden of reducing infringement by utilizing the DMCA notice and take-down procedure.

You can download a copy from SSRN by clicking on this link and clicking from there the “Download” button.

Is YouTube the next big search engine?

January 18, 2009

News: YouTube is now No.2 in search, surpassing even Yahoo! Google, of course, is 1st. NYT has a fascinating article about the growing use of YouTube as a reference tool, especially among kids. Alex Iskold blogged about this topic under the arresting title, “Is YouTube the next Google?”

YouTube allows free downloads of Obama videos (+ more)

January 16, 2009

News: Lessig reports that YouTube is now allowing free downloads of President Obama’s videos (and, I think, other videos).

YouTube launches HD videos with HUGE video player

December 19, 2008

Here are the HD videos. Click on a video and then press the “watch in HD” button.

Here’s what YT said on its blog:

“Starting today, if you click the “watch in HD” option below any HD-enabled video, the video will automatically play in widescreen – so you can find out where the hell Matt is in glorious HD, if you so wish. As part of this launch, we have created an HD Videos area where you can browse videos uploaded in the HD format. In anticipation of your questions – including how to encode your videos to take advantage of this new feature and how to avoid the dreaded “windowboxing” – we have prepared an FAQ in the Help Center. Hopefully you’ll find any technical information you need there, but feel free to post follow-up questions to the YouTube Community Help Forums.”

Analysis: Wow. The video quality is fantastic. An YouTube has the LARGEST video player I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, my broadband connection can’t really handle the file size, so it starts and stops. But this does make my HD camera more useful!!

YouTube to launch widescreen videos for embedding?

December 10, 2008

: YouTube recently switched to a widescreen video player on its site. On YTs own blog, it appears that the embeddable videos will also preserve the widescreen format. The function doesn’t work yet for users, but take a look at how YT has embedded this video on its blog in widescreen.

YouTube selectively rolls out HD (high def)

December 6, 2008

News: YouTube has lagged behind other video sites in terms of the quality of their videos. For 3 years, YT has preferred to have grainy video quality, which can download more quickly and thus be viewed very quickly. As others have reported, YT has now started selectively allowing some videos on HD. For example, you can select “Watch in HD” for President Obama’s video here.

: YouTube clearly is embarking on a different strategy aimed at professional and premium content from Hollywood and elsewhere. The change in video player to wide format was the first step. HD is the second step. One problem with HD, though, is that it takes a longer time to download, so it may not play smoothly on the typical Internet connection. Instead, the video stops and starts, while downloading.

How to synch music into YouTube videos — YT finally exands its AudioSwap program in a deal with Rumblefish

December 5, 2008

News: YouTube has just announced that it has struck a deal with Rumblefish to provide thousands of music files for free synching into YouTube videos. This builds on YT’s existing AudioSwap program, which was very thin in offerings.

YouTube googlefies video player with search bar + redesigns home page

December 4, 2008

News: Michael Arrington details here the design changes to YouTube’s homepage and the “search bar” that now pops up in the embedded YouTube video player. Arrington doesn’t like the changes, saying the search bar “uglifies” the video player and that he doesn’t love the home page changes.

You can see the search bar pop up in this video by watching it:

Analysis: I don’t like the design changes to the home page, either; looks clunkier and boxier at the top with the header. I don’t like the look of the new search bar, either, but it’s obvious what YouTube is trying to do. It’s basically making YouTube videos a portable Google search for YouTube videos. Every embedded YT video now can be used to search the entire database of YouTube. Not sure this is a moneymaker that Google covets, and I’m sure some, if not many, in the YouTube community will not like this blot on the YouTube player’s look.

DJ Mike Relm at YouTube Live — amazing remix!

November 28, 2008

Obama girl at YouTube Live

November 27, 2008

YouTube exands video player to widescreen (960 pixels)

November 25, 2008

So one of the big developments since YouTube Live is that YouTube has changed its video player to widescreen.  Wow!  Amazing.  The standard 4:3 videos on YouTube still play, but they don’t fill up the screen anymore.  Embedding a YT video on a different site still appears to be  in 4:3 format.

If you want to see a sample of the new widescreen, click here.

Esmee Denters sings “Follow My Lead” at YouTube Live

November 25, 2008

Akon closes YouTube Live

November 24, 2008

Katy Perry rocks opening for YouTube Live 08 with “Hot N Cold”

November 23, 2008

YouTube Live on Saturday, November 22 streaming, 8 ET

November 21, 2008

Click here for the live streaming

Akon,, Esmee Denters, LisaNova, Chad Vader, and others!

The Obama girl at YouTube Live

November 19, 2008

YouTube President: President-elect Obama launches first official YouTube video for weekly address

November 15, 2008

Analysis:  Barack Obama is not the first world leader to post videos on YouTube.  Tony Blair did (see below), as did German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Australian PM John Howard.

President Obama launches new “” YouTube channel

November 15, 2008

News:  President Obama has a new YouTube channel, called  It’s very barebones right now. Here’s an update video from Valerie Jarrett.

YouTube prepares for 1st Live streaming event Nov. 22, 5 pm PT

November 14, 2008

The Onion roasts YouTube with contest for video that is actually “good”

November 13, 2008

US military launches “TroopTube,” a YouTube-like site for military

November 12, 2008

News:  The US military has launched a beta site called TroopTube, which is basically a YouTube-like site for U.S. military. 

Analysis:  A nice way to keep military in touch with their families.  The use of “TroopTube” is interesting, though.  I wonder when trademark concerns becomes a problem for YouTube.  We already have “GodTube” “WeGame,” and “YouPorn.”  I wonder if a site could called itself “ITube” or “WeTube” or “MyTube,” without running into trademark problems.

Has YouTube turned Hollywood, or Google-like? — new sponsored ad video program + profressional content

November 12, 2008

News:  In the past month, YouTube has announced several major initiatives in order to generate more revenues from the business-maligned video sharing site.   YouTube has already announced several deals with Hollywood studios and content producers to feature “premium” content on YouTube, much like the FOX-NBC Universal site hulu.  YT will also deploy live event webcasting.   Today, YouTube has announced a “sponsored video” program that allows advertisers to pick videos on YouTube for their ads, with keyword searchability.  A YT user can enter search terms on YT and then “sponsored videos” will be given notice along with other entries, just as in a Google search.  (More)  YouTube even set up an Advertising channel for itself.

Analysis:  Brilliant move.  Instead of having to have your video “go viral” on YouTube, you can now just pay money and get a better chance of getting noticed.  This “sponsored video” program sounds like a moneymaker.

Chad Hurley, YouTube cofounder, delivers keynote at MIPCOM

November 11, 2008

YouTube developing its business plan; strikes deals with MGM, Lionsgate, CBS, + European Fremantle to show full length movies and shows

November 11, 2008

News:  YouTube is striking more content deals with Hollywood — MGM, Lionsgate, CBS, + European Fremantle — to show full length shows and movies on YouTube.   Rumors are that YouTube is seeking similar deals with Sony and Time Warner. (More)

Analysis:  It will be very interesting to see if YouTube settles its lawsuit with Viacom (and the class action).  As the economy tightens, YouTube may become more focused on business development and generating revenues.  On the other hand, getting a judgment on the DMCA safe harbor, if successful, would be worth a lot to YT.

YouTube home page celebrates Obama victory

November 9, 2008


News:  YouTube has converted its front page with videos of Barack Obama’s victory.