Blog Post

YouTube’s Copyrighted Past Still a Part of Its Lofty Future

The Google Blog is running an op-ed today by YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, who dreams of a future where uploading an online video is as simple as making a phone call, and anyone can watch YouTube from any screen, from TVs in their living rooms to phones in their pockets.

But despite all the progress YouTube has made as a place for personal and original content rather than ripped-off TV clips, today’s most-viewed list tells a different story than Hurley’s post. Even after a barrage of copyright claims by NBC Universal, clips of Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression from Saturday Night Live persist on the site. Like, really persist.

Check out today’s YouTube most-viewed list. Three days after the sketch aired, nine of the top 16 are Fey/Palin videos, each with over 100,000 views. And most of those are from short bits that aired as an aside on Fox News. (The full sketch was 5-and-a-half minutes.)

So, these videos are ripped from TV, overlaid with talk show host banter, and drastically shortened. But NBC doesn’t have an official YouTube channel anymore. At time of writing, the top-most-viewed video of today was one of the Fox News clips, with 1,128,205 views. NBC’s official (and embeddable version) had 2,825,096. Clearly, YouTube is where people are going to find this skit, even if it’s barely available. When Chad Hurley talks about ease of uploads I’m not sure this is what he has in mind.

In the future, everyone will be able to upload and watch video. And people will still want to see Tina Fey.

3 Responses to “YouTube’s Copyrighted Past Still a Part of Its Lofty Future”

  1. Great reads on the videos and other, but social media is not new, it is just evolving into a more mainstream and accesible avenue of communication. An avenue that small and big business needs to take advantage of. And CNN use of Twitter is only the beginning, but with Twitter you are limited, other sites such as allows more text/ which means a bit more info can given without so many tweets. and by the way i’m not one of the technologically hip youth as you put it, i’m of the baby boomer over 50 that says, “Older people tweet too, and not just for fun.”