Another YouTube lawsuit, more of the same

July 31, 2008

There are always two responses to this sort of thing.

One class says “Geez, <prosecution> are idiots for not recognizing the potential for new revenue and partnering with YouTube!”

The other class says “Yep, YouTube is a criminal racket hiding behind a thin veneer of flimsy, untested law — it’s amazing they’ve gotten away with it for so long.”

Granted, both could be right (they’re not strictly contradictory).  But I tend to align more with the latter camp.

This doesn’t mean I think YouTube is morally abject.  Rather, I think the law is stupid.  (Both the law they’re guilty of breaking, and the law they use as a defense.)  But the law is the law, and it’s frustrating to see YouTube profit from such blatant criminal activity** while so many others — most of who were far more creative in either trying to comply with or circumvent the law — were ground into dust.

david barrett

** Yes, I realize the jury’s out on what fraction of today’s traffic is copyright infringing.  But there’s little debate that YouTube’s founding principle was massive copyright infringement, and only through a stroke of luck and the grace of time has managed to attract a sufficiently non-criminal userbase to maintain plausible deniability.

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