Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Important Lawsuit Could Affect Bloggers

I am not sure how many of our readers embed fun YouTube videos on their blogs but thought I would write a post talking about an important Lawsuit currently happening.

Viacom VS Google Lawsuit

Below a link to a summary of the case

Ars Technica Article

And below is how I believe it will affect me and other webmasters and bloggers

Embedding Youtube Videos Possible Impact on Webmaster

It is difficult to summarize all the information, but if any of you remember the days of Napster and the outcome including those who download music from file sharing sites and are targeted by the music industry you will understand the possible impact on all of us.

This could well even effect embedding videos on places like FaceBook and other sites including School Reuinion sites

sorry for the boring non horsey post


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow...so we're all going to jail, eh? I can't think of one blogger that I read that hasn't embedded at least one You Tube video on their blog. Everyone does it. Why does You Tube make the embedding feature available if it's illegal?

Or is this just something new, and only affects future embedded videos?

This doesn't affect embedding your own personal videos I am assuming?


Cheyenne said...

And there was I, about to put in a nice video, with music on my Blog! Whats the world coming to? Next it will be,"You`re whistling one of my tunes! You need to pay me for that!!"

As if they didnt have enough money!

The People History said...

Lisa and Cheyanne
This case will set the precedent when and if it is decided .

Copyright law is one of the most complicated laws on the planet and to make it even worse it is not the same in other countries.

The reality is the traditional media companies , News and Television have put their heads in the sands and are finding it harder and harder to come to terms with the modern Internet world and their grip on the advertising dollars.
If the music industry is anything to go by they want to sell their product on the internet for the same price or make the same money as they do currently without accepting the reduced distribution and promotional costs

Lisa this is not about anybody going to jail, but about how the Internet will change and distribution of Copyright material may well be stronger enforced.

A good example may well be for years music concerts have had a no video policy due to copyright laws but never been heavily enforced because if the concert video was only used for personal use no big deal, but now with one mouse click a video can be put on Youtube or one of the other many similar sites and be seen by millions within days, and both the site hosting the video and the person who put the video online can make a decent amount of money.

Nobody knows if the Media companies will go after the ordinary man and woman but just taking what the music industry did to relative innocents they may well do to gain publicity and to make a point.

It is also possible Google and Viacom will come to a settlement out of court but I suspect Google will protect their own interests not the interests of others.

I do not have a clue how it will turn out but as a webmaster who uses Youtube videos on my site to help kids understand how life was like for parents and grandparents, I have decided to be proactive and not leave myself open to being sued so am removing embedded Youtube videos , that does not mean I have to or anyone else has to for fear of a lawsuit or jailtime , just that I would rather be safe than sorry.

The post was just my way of telling the blog readers that it is worth following this case because the long term implications may affect many of us in different ways


Michelle said...

Good point....I guess it's all the same when it comes to copyright, whether it be music, photos, or video. Thanks for bringing this to light.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Wow-That's really interesting. Good info to know.

Katharine Swan said...

I had this great comment written and then Blogger lost it for me. Yippee. I'll try to rewrite it.

First of all, Steve, great topic. As a freelance writer, it's good to see someone else who appreciates the complexities of copyright law. Like you, I can see why it's important, as I also know the frustration of seeing someone else steal my hard work. For that reason, when I make videos to be posted on YouTube, I am careful to only use my own video footage and pictures, and always use music that is either too old to be copyrighted, or is on YouTube's approved list of songs.

Just so everyone is clear, the issue here isn't really embedding videos on people's websites. It's assumed if you upload a home video and enable embedding, you are allowing the video to be syndicated. One of YouTube's main purposes is actually syndicating viral marketing videos, actually.

The issue here is people uploading videos that they don't actually have the rights to. For instance, if I were to copy my favorite clip in Black Beauty and upload it to YouTube, that would be copyright infringement because I don't own the rights to the video. There is such thing as fair use, but for the vast majority of infringing YouTube videos, that doesn't apply.

Anyway, I don't think webmasters are going to see any retaliation in this matter. For one thing, that's not where the money is -- which is why they are going after Google in the first place. (Also because going after Google ensures all videos will get taken down -- much easier than going after every offending YouTube member individually.) But also, I don't think they can find fault with the people whose only connection is embedding a video. When Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarized in her novel, bookstores weren't held accountable for selling the book -- the publisher just recalled the copies that were left. I think Google bears the same responsibility here, and will simply remove all of the offending videos so that they no longer show up on anyone's websites.

The People History said...

Katherine I think your right , there is very little money in the small webmaster community , but if you recall when the music industry decided they wanted a lot of publicity about pirate music they chose with care relatively innocent mum with 2 kids etc. so the news would pick it up , not for the money they could get out of her but to 1.prove a point and 2. show no one was immune.

I suspect the same thing will happen this time a couple of cases in each state that local media will pick up and give big publicity to.

The whole thing of Copyright law is extremely complicated, as a webmaster who spent over 30,000 man hours working on The People History, it is very frustrating to see much of my hard work on not only small websites where the publisher knows no better but also on places like Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, About etc. etc. , and it is OK saying I could issue a DCMA but it could be a full time job between issuing a DCMA to the innocents in addition to the tens of thousands of scraper sites out there.

Google in general ( IN GENERAL ) ( possibly one of the reasons G is coming out with new backend infrastructure codename Caffeine to improve original creator info) does look kindly on the creator of the content first as far as SERPS is concerned but take it from me I do a lot of work before I publish anything to ensure Google and other SE's will read my work first.

A more interesting case in the first of many is how much content a Search Engine can show from a webmasters page to be considered fair use ( Check current copyright law pretty vague currently ), this will include the News organisations who believe rightly or wrongly that any more than the headline is not fair use .

Copyright on the Internet is a problem waiting for a solution and for rulings , but the biggest issue will be the copying of work by webmasters in countries where no Copyright laws exist.

sorry to blabber on but this is a much larger issue than just this case


Katharine Swan said...

Oh, I agree, Steve, it is a HUGE issue and even more complicated when you think about how the Internet is global, and copyright laws are not (though many of the countries do try to work together).

Regarding the YouTube issue, I think there is a big difference between downloading stolen music and embedding a video someone else stole. Downloading stolen music IS a crime, and there isn't really a defense there, but when you embed a video you are assuming the person who uploaded it had permission to do so. After all, they told YouTube they did! I don't think webmasters can be held accountable for the person who uploaded the video having lied -- not to mention for Google not policing the uploads.

Now if they decide to generate some publicity like with the pirated music case, they may decide to go after some of the people who have been uploading these videos, but I do not believe they will go after anyone for embedding the videos.

The People History said...

Katherine you might be correct , but also remember most Youtube Uploaders hide behind pseudo logins with no contact information ( Websites registration even if you use privacy setting info is still available ).

The other reason I have decided to make them links is so when all the pirate stuff is identified I will just drop the dead links

Whatever else happens I believe the Internet will change and force nearly all companies and websites to CYA just in case


Katharine Swan said...

True, they do -- but because the account is usually linked to your Google account, they can find someone who has their payment information in there for AdSense, and voila, they've got ya! And anyway, remember, they only have to make an example out of a few if we're talking about a situation like with the pirated music.

I'll still embed videos, but I suppose I should probably go through and make sure none of them are corporate videos, only ones that individuals have made and uploaded themselves.

JeniQ said...

Hay Callie I've left you an award! Come on over and get it!:

John and Regina Zdravich said...

Thanks for the warning...I guess it is best to just stick with photos and videos you take yourself, huh? I hate to admit it, but I don't even know how to post a You Tube video....

John and Regina Zdravich said...

P.S. LOVE the Scottish music!

Merri said...

good to know, thanks for posting.
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Midlife Mom said...

Oh my goodness Steve, I just want to pull a blanket over my head! I was just getting ready to start putting YouTubes into my blogs for some change of pace but I guess not.

Am back blogging again after losing my pony Skip. Had to take a few weeks to get myself under control. It's the pits but I know all things happen for a reason so that kind of helps.

Sean said...

It's interesting stuff for sure. I recently made a video of our farrier goofing around and I used some songs from my mp3 collection. When I posted the video to youtube, the songs names were included into the video as well as a link to buy them off of amazon. I was impressed that they had those options. I hope that they leave it to that!