Viacom vs YouTube vs Viacom

Back in 2006 US media powerhouse (wooh that sounds impressive!) Viacom was poised to buy YouTube. But they were beaten to the punch by omnipotent Internet majordomo (I’m on a roll!) Google who paid US$1.65bn for the video sharing site.

Big fat hairy deal…..

Well it would be if Viacom hadn’t immediately sued YouTube/Google for US$1bn for copyright infringement. It’s quite ironic as Viacom’s whole aim of acquiring YouTube was to seed it with it’s own shows and videos to raise profiles and profits galore. So you could argue that it was sour grapes.

You’d think that would be that and “see you in court bozos!” would be the end of it. But it would appear that Viacom forgot one very important fact about Google. That fact? Google is practically The Internet! What Google don’t know about the tinterwebs is only because they haven’t invented it yet. So when they check their logs you can be pretty sure that they are sure that the IP adresses used to upload copyrighted Viacom shows are actually Viacom related IP addresses…..

Funny how it is alleged by Google that those same Viacom related IPs continued to upload copyrighted Viacom material AFTER filing the suit for copyright infringement. Surely that’s tantamount to complaining about your neighbour’s dog, then covering yourself in dog food and doing star jumps in their garden while making cat noises…..

I had thought that dirty tricks went out the window with the last millenium, but it would seem that some people are incredibly hard of learning. But ho-hum, it takes all sorts.

Here’s two links (out of many, many links) reporting the shenanigans:

New Statesman
The Guardian (UK Press)

But what has that to do with me (or you)? Quite a lot actually. Or nothing. It depends on what you do and how you do it. I watch videos on YouTube and I also put videos on YouTube. The videos I put up technically infringe copyright, despite the fair use argument. The intro bits are safe – I created them and so hold complete copyright over that….but the rest…..

Well there lies a grey area. In my first video I used the song ‘Macarena’ by Los Lobos (because it’s the best song every made – that’s why!) as there was no in-game sound. YouTube picked that up, marked it as copyrighted and due to restrictions placed by the copyright holders it is currently blocked in Germany. So no Spanish-esque pop mayhem for my little knödel chums.

The real grey area is the gameplay – and all gameplay videos on YouTube. Unless you have specific permission from the game copyright holder (normally the publisher) then you are technically breaching copyright law if you subsequently upload a gameplay video. Thankfully most publishers have a relaxed and/or forward looking view of the subject and take no action as gameplay videos undoubtedly help their sales. I’m sure that if you uploaded a video absolutely slating a game and the publisher got wind of it they would soon take it down though.

There have been rumours recently on YouTube about gameplay being taken down due to copyright issues. Ken Burton mentioned it in one of his videos and stated that he will only be uploading gameplay to Machinima from now on. However, from my perspective, the removed videos have probably breached copyright via their soundtrack rather than the gameplay content. The music copyright police are much keener on infringement than the game publishers. For this reason I think that montage makers are generally digging their own graves unless they use their own music or that to which they have been granted permission.

In general you are most likely to have gameplay videos taken down if the title is not yet released or is from a demo of the game. If you ever pay attention to the load screens on many demos they do go on about it being verbotten to record and distribute the gameplay which is fair enough as in many cases the demo is pre-release and subject to change.

Hopefully common sense will prevail and we’ll all be able to continue pretty much as we are now without the threat of the FBI kicking the door in because we decided to share our gaming experiences with others.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

One thought on “Viacom vs YouTube vs Viacom

  1. Pingback: Weekly-ish Update #6 « evaDlivE Blog

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s