YouTube and MySpace clear the decks for copyright

[5 November 2006]

By Jason Gross

Ain’t it interesting that the two hottest new media sites around are now looking to crack down on illegal content (some of which makes them so popular)?  Even weirder is that the process is going to help the places that the record industry and movie industry are fighting the hardest again in the digital world.

These two articles detail the circumstances:

MySpace takes steps against copyright infringement

YouTube Is Purging Copyrighted Clips

The question now is, will these sites still thrive?  In the case of MySpace, plenty of artists post their own music but plenty of fan and tribute pages also take some liberties for out of print or reluctant artists and use it to spread the word.  If Uncle Rupert wants them to be all nice and totally legal and legit, it will mean an end to these sites, which is a shame.  Nevertheless, a lot of big names (and small names) will still host their music there themselves so the effect might not be enormously crippling though it will take away some of the hep credibility of the site and open the door for another hub where these fan/tribute sites will then pop up.

The same might be true for YouTube.  As Howard Kurtz noted on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Comedy Central is insane for purging its clips from YT and giving up all the free publicity, even if it means that it costs them web traffic otherwise and thus some ad buys.  The mess that YouTube will now have to go through to make all of its clips legit and legal is mind-boggling even with the tons of Google money that’s now being pumped in there- this fine Wall Street Journal article details all of the legal tanglements and headaches that happen with a single video clip that has to be cleared for the artists, record company and publishers.

Though he might not have all the answers, mega-manger Peter Jenner at least has the framework of an answer.  Clearances and rights need to be streamlined somehow.  As long as it stays a lengthy complicated mess, a lot of revenue is going to be missed out on by not just labels but also publishers and artists.  That’s because not only will many rogue sites pop up to post videos and music without going through the proper channels but many others who WANT to post the material legit won’t be able to because it’s too much of a lengthy and costly process.  And who does that benefit?  The same sites that record companies and movie companies are trying to shut down.  Doesn’t make much sense now, does it…?

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/youtube-and-myspace-clear-the-decks-for-copyright/