YouTube, Where Free Hosting May Not Be Really Free

kinnon —  August 1, 2006 — 2 Comments

(Read the Update to this post at the bottom.)

NerdTV’s Robert X. Cringely asks some interesting questions around YouTube’s End User Agreement. He quotes the EUA:

…by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business…in any media formats and through any media channels.

This isn’t a huge concern for me with the Alan Roxburgh book video but I wonder how the askaninja guys might feel, when YouTube releases the Greatest YouTube Hits DVD. Note the “any media formats” line and note that the uploaded videos are normally much better quality than YouTube’s encoding shows.

Regarding the loss of rights issue, Cringely states,

Under this new license, then, it would seem that they could produce a Best of YouTube DVD and sell it on late night TV. They could take your musical performance, strip the audio from the video, and sell it to almost anyone for almost any use. They could refuse to take down your video, no matter how embarrassing. They could charge YOU for your own video. And of course they could insert ads in the video virtually anywhere.

We all might want to think again before we put our creative work up on YouTube. (Read the Cringely post for Larry Lessig’s creative workaround.)

UPDATE: Alan Herrell, the Head Lemur, smacks me upside the head with my late arrival at this understanding. Read his comment below. Also, read him here, here and here, please. (Considering the copyright battle waged between our company and then Chapter 11’d Livent in the late ’90’s- which we won – one would think I’d have had a much better handle on this.) Thanks, Alan.
Take his advice:

If you want to share, under terms that understand and value your contributions in any format, I suggest OurMedia.org as the place to share.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

kinnon

Posts

A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to YouTube, Where Free Hosting May Not Be Really Free

  1. Good Morning!!!!
    I am glad to see that you are beginning to understand this situation.
    There is no free beer on the web.
    You Tube is only the latest site with the public sharing/private acqusition routine.
    link to theheadlemur.typepad.com
    Here is another
    link to theheadlemur.typepad.com
    This is the standard T&C on every one of these sites.

    If you are a glass half full sort of guy, you probably think that this is a ‘community ‘ gesture by these companies as a pallative or ”thank you for the community doing so much for us after all these years”, blah, blah, blah….

    If you are a glass half empty sort of guy, your mind begins to look at what exactly sort of bargain you are getting.
    Here is where they shake your hand and hit you with a 2×4.

    ”you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.”

    As I mentioned in my top link, this bit of legal slight of hand is wrapped in contract language, which makes any sort of litigation regarding termination of the license problematic, due to the ”prepare deritive works”, statement which is as easy to create as renaming your submission, ‘my video’ , to 29374628912.mov, which has now created a derivitive work,(which has now spawned a shiny new set of copyrights, that you have no ownership interest or control over) which now is under the complete and total control of the company who so ‘graciously’ opended their harddrives to your creations.

    The alleged stop language canceling this arraingement when you take down your video, becomes moot, with the semantic slight of hand of ownership rights vs copyright and distribution rights, which is where the money is.

    It is only a matter of time before the DVD’s and videos, YouTube Gone Wild, volume 7, what folks do with mentos and diet soda, come out.

    This is not to say that you can’t make a case for infringement, but it is an uphill battle, and the spectre of derivitive works, will make any case a slam dunk for these sites and companies. Changing size, color depth, frame rate, format are all games that open the derivitives door, and make this sort of nonsense real live and valuable for them and painfull for you.

    Here is the current state of play regarding Copyright according to me;
    link to theheadlemur.typepad.com

    If you want to share, under terms that understand and value your contributions in any format, I suggest OurMedia.org as the place to share.

    Reply
  2. Apparently purevolume.com does the same thing, which really ticks me off because we paid for our account. Right after discovering this I thought, What about Myspace? It’s owned by a giant corporation, after all. And discover they word their legal stuff in almost the exact opposite manner. Another reason to love Myspace I guess.

    Reply

What do you think?