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Google, You Tube & Dark Side Of Online Video

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Online video is hot, and you can judge that from the break neck growth of You Tube. The San Mateo, California company was founded in February 2005, and a year later it is serving more than 3 million video views a day, receiving about 8,000 video uploads a day from users and transferring 16 terabytes of data a day. Add to the mix Google video and half-a-dozen others, and you get the idea that video-sharing is the hottest thing on the Internet. But many of these videos that are being shared are infringing on copyrights of some content creators.

Google Video, thanks to its massive infrastructure has become a repository for all sort of foreign films. I have personally watched dozens of Bollywood movies, many of them released recently. Here is a little sampling. Since the time I got in touch with Google last week, a lot of material has been taken off their site, but some Bollywood songs etc still remain. I guess, this is going to be a policing issue going forward for Google and everyone else. You Tube still features a lot of Bollywood content like this and this. Its not just fare from overseas markets, but I found a lot of music videos and television show clips, which make me wonder about how these video sharing services are going to protect against copy right infringements. I pinged Google and asked them about the said copyright infringements. A spokesperson emailed me this response.

As for infringement, Google respects the rights of copyright holders … For all of the content we host – whether from premium content providers or creative end users – we require the content provider to hold all necessary rights to the material. We work to identify and remove any infringing content that may appear on Google Video using the process set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). If we receive a notice or otherwise have reason to believe that content submitted by a particular user infringes another person’s copyright, their account may be terminated.

You Tube in an email statement pretty much said the same thing.

“All of the content on YouTube — including videos, comments, and ratings — is posted at the direction of users. We take copyright issues very seriously. Our terms of use make it clear that
users should own or have permission from copyright holders to post any videos. We encourage copyright holders to contact us appropriately if they have any objections about specific postings.”

The news of Bollywood movies being shared on Google video hit the news wires this morning in India. Sunil Thakur, founder of WahIndia!, a website that syndicates its entertainment segments online to sites like Sify and Planetguru told IANS news service, that “he received a response in which Google suggest(s) he “contact the user directly”, to remove content, or “file a complaint” using standard form to contact Google Video. These users (that Google asks us to contact) are usually untraceable and could be from anywhere in the world. While one waits for the issue to resolve, the filmmaker could be losing real money as new releases are downloaded and passed around on PC, iPOD, Sony PSP.”

I am not sure if this is a problem that is going to go away. Online video companies will have to figure out a policing mechanism… after all if CSI shows start showing up on Google video (not the store), Google’s partners at Viacom are not going to be too thrilled. Similarly SNL videos now for sale on iTunes store, available for free are going to become a headache of sorts for folks at You Tube.

Archives: Did MySpace Censor You Tube?
Hat Tip, Manthan

71 Responses to “Google, You Tube & Dark Side Of Online Video”

  1. downloader

    I wonder why youtube doesn’t have download feature ;)
    Heres what I found:
    You can download YouTube video from that site.
    Unlike all other download service out there, the downloaded files from this site are in .flv format BY DEFAULT so you don’t have to rename or change extension or anything. It also named your file according to the clip name at YouTube :)
    Give it a shot.

  2. harnish

    what i meant by the last comment If someone puts up Child Porn or Private Videos like soo many freaks out there I think those need to goto Jail.
    Cheers …

  3. harnish

    I found Full episodes of Sopranos on YouTube and Google Videos. No one seems to stop these people who download and upload stuff but gives a guy a parking ticket cause he/she parked near the exit door. Personaly i dont care if someone downloads as long as it doesnt hurt someone emmotionaly.

  4. youtube is the one website that can keep you laughing… even when you are the one putting the video up… in fact me and my sister put one up of my mom getting stepped on by the cat.. it was hilarious… check it out… it is called Pam and stink… and then it says OWWWW somewhere in it

  5. The government lies. YouTube will be the only portal freemen will have. Was it worth it? Now as I sit here in this stinking hoval, i think it was. As i wrestled with the issue I could feel my muscles tearing away from my very bones. No pain was felt. I was in the zone. I ripped it limb from limb. Yes…it was worth it. I cleaned myself up. Yes youtube will be the only outlet for whats left of free thought. Those SHILLS at Google won’t laugh when the final hour comes. But thats another story. They see me. In the tower. DON’T BLINK.

  6. I am against uploading full-length features to video sharing services. But from what I have seen, Bollywood content is especially being targeted by none other than Indians themselves, especially those living abroad such as Om here.

    But this is doing no service to neither Bollywood, the content owners or the fans. Matter of fact, I have seen Google taking down almost 95% of Bollywood content that I was aware of until 4 days ago; including movie previews and song clips which are legal and available elsewhere on legit Bollywood-related websites.

    Thanks for your help Om!

  7. John Smythe

    It is worth pointing out that Revver ( have a zero-tolerence policy towards copyright infringement – and as a result the tone of that video site is very different to the likes of YouTube (in addition to the other significant distinction which is that they share revenue with video creators). That is not to say that there is no infringing material on Revver, but they are doing far more than their competitors.

  8. Shakir Razak

    It’s a comment on out times of the emperor’s new cloths that believe’s that somehow google can get away with wrong-doing.

    Modern history re-teaches us that content is king, and that no matter who you think you are, rights holders have the rights to close your business down if your infringing.

    On the other hand, people claim there’s no real competition between streamed and downloaded, what I forsee very quickly is that competition and technology (e.g. see will force parity.

    Google is not going to be able to simply use the excuse that it didn’t know, when a large number of its users systematically break copyright – new/better technology will have to be implemented, though more likely is that video will follow almost the absolute exact path that music did, almost ending with iTunes!

    What’s no ones figured out is how will the model of flickr and professional companies like getty, be applied to video with services like or in relation to the worlds video-archives.

    I believe the only solution to eminent legality and Quality-of-Service is the implimentation of content/service-charging beyond infrstructure (inc. where one subsidises the other) (when you have to pay to upload/download, watch adverts, etc, the mindset is different).

    It is evolution.

    Kind wishes,

    Shakir Razak

  9. But does the YouTube experience even comes close to approximating that of Napster or the original content? Napster gave you perfect copies of copyrighted material, not imperfect streams of amateur material.

  10. I’m really curious to see how this pans out, and wonder if the current DMCA setup lasts. The most watched video on YouTube, by a pretty big margin, is the SNL Chronic of Narnia video. I’m pretty sure that every reasonable person would “know” that the 104 year old YouTube user ‘youtubedude’ isn’t the rights holder.

    Maybe it’s not in NBC’s interest to protest at this point: it probably helps drive interest in SNL, YouTube’s content is not really being monetized now, and NBC isn’t offering any alternative. But when either of those last two factors change, things could get harder.

  11. OM, a quick question
    How it is different from what Napster did before it started their business in the legal way?
    Their stand was also same on the copyrights violation. But media biggies could not let them stand for too long.
    However Google being much stronger than some of the media brands in the world, they can play around with it for sometime to get popularity of their google video.

  12. JD Lasica has written a fantastic book, DarkNet, about the copyright and the future of ‘user-generated’ content and how ‘Hollywood’ needs to deal with it…highly recommend it…

  13. There are huge differences between Napster and Google Video: Napster never even pretended to care that it was being used for copyright infringement. Napster participated in the consumption of near-perfect versions of what was ordinarily being sold; Google Video content is seriously inferior to that that is charged for. Napster supported very little legitimate activity. Napster did not provide a way for content owners to monetize.

  14. The people who think the Google Video content is weak don’t understand that Google is supplying the marketplace, not the content. Think eBay. Think long tail. Think 30% transaction fees at 99% margins.

  15. From what I understand, the DMCA protects service providers like Google and YouTube as long as they respond to takedown notices and remove content that they “know” to be under copyright. So the burden is ultimately on the rights holder to have stuff removed. The only way to really keep up with what content is copywritten or not, is to empower the community (users) to identify stuff. I think we’ll see video services provide a method for flagging content similar to how Craig’s List uses flagging for spam or inappropriate posts.

  16. Every review of google video seems to tell me that the thing is falling flat and that the content is week. Will they get it together? Probably…it’s google…they are smart people. Will sites like youtube and continue to pressure them with better features, content and safer legal ways of downloading? Yes. Internet-TV and internet video is coming. It might take a while to even things out on the edges but who doesn’t want the on-demand lean back in your seat and be entertained experience that is on the horizon.

  17. Google Dark: Hiding under DMCA

    Om Malik has an excellent post on the Dark Side Of Online Video. In the post, he notes that he pinged Google and asked them about their policy on copyright infringement, and he got the following response:

  18. I dont think this is so much of a problem for Google on the legal front, since the content uploader is responsible for the content. But what worries me is, this is a known problem and nothings being done to take care of it.

  19. Om,
    I blogged about this problem last week here at . I believe this is a bigger problem for Google, as there are no set guidelines within the service which can distinguish legal from illegal uploads. Moreover this is very viral, as compared to other channels (Torrents…) as Google lets you start watching movies right away. No downloading no waiting etc…
    Moreover it is upto the Bollywood productions and distribution units to aggresively follow this. Thats the only way this can be resolved.

  20. Om,
    Lucky you! You get to watch all those bollywood potboilers free of cost; but we poor chaps in India still need to shell out few hundred bucks to wath’em ; coz here, Google video lets you play the video only for few seconds and then tells you to click on the video to watch the entire clip. Once you do that it says “Thanks for your interest in Google Video. Currently, the playback feature of Google Video isn’t available in your country.
    We hope to make this feature available more widely in the future, and we really appreciate your patience “. So you can’t blame Google completely; they protect copyrights in selected geographies :-)

  21. Om,
    Chill out! Nothing will happen to Google. I am sure Eric has equally smart lawyers working for him ;-). Google is a Platform and as you said, users agree that they hold all RIGHTS on the stuff they are uploading. In earlier days of Dot-Com so many fraudsters looted people on eBay, what happened ? Nothing, eBay’s growth continued… However, what is really bothering me is the POOR QoS. Google video consumes 100% of CPU time… If I sit down to test it seriously, I can log atleast 5 show stoppers but who cares as long as you are set to KILL the Evil.