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Social Networks The Courts Google Youtube

YouTube Was Evil, and Google Knew It 419

Posted by kdawson
from the those-darn-archives dept.
pcause writes "Silicon Alley Insider has the most damning evidence released in the Viacom/YouTube suit. It seems clear from these snippets that YouTube knew it was pirating content, and did it to grow fast and sell for a lot of money. It also seems clear that Google knew the site contained pirated content and bought it and continued the pirating."
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YouTube Was Evil, and Google Knew It

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  • Safe Harbor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by butlerm (3112) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:40PM (#31545036)

    The ethical status of doing all this notwithstanding, and especially _knowingly_ relying on it as part of one's business plan, it would appear that Youtube had safe harbor to do all this under the online copyright liability limitations enacted as part of the DMCA.

  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:54PM (#31545232)

    They probably did need that infringing content to survive. But now, they've reached a point where that's no longer the case. If you really could remove all the stuff on YouTube that's unauthorized and doesn't qualify as fair use, it almost wouldn't matter any more. Nearly all the most-viewed videos now are some type of personal video, or something that's authorized and legit.

    It's also really hard to make a claim that YouTube has hurt content providers more than it has helped them. You don't see full TV episodes or movies for instance. All you find is short clips that, if anything, function as advertising and get more people to purchase them than would have otherwise. Perhaps the same is not entirely true for audio tracks and music videos, but those have been so trivially easy to acquire illegally for years now, I'm not convinced YouTube had a net negative impact for those kinds of content providers either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:57PM (#31545260)

    Clever, but I'd like to point something out.

    Youtube tolerated the illegal hosting of copyrighted content with the intention of profiting from it. They abdicated their responsibility to moderate the site in an attempt to avoid litigation afterward. Some Google insiders initially objected, but the company's official position prior to acquiring Youtube was to focus on growth; growth that they knew was being sustained by piracy. Google continues to tolerate the presence of copyrighted content on Youtube rather accommodatingly, but with their money, reach, and prestige now backing the company, content providers are warming to the idea of using Youtube as a distribution medium. However, it's interesting to see how we've arrived at this point, and it's also a little naive to pretend that 'the pirates won' here. Youtube won, by proving that piracy can be immensely profitable, and now Google is trying to win by proving that the content distribution methods used by pirates can be profitable for content owners.

    When you download movies, do you intend to profit from them? Petty piracy and real 'dollar bills' piracy are two completely different acts deserving of their own consideration, don't you think?

  • Re:So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:12PM (#31545382)

    You missed the quote from a Google exec, stating the need to take action, no matter how evil?

    That was from one of the Youtube co-founders prior to being bought by Google. The message was sent by Steven Chen on Jan 26, 2006. Youtube wasn't acquired by Google until October of 2006. This was not a Google employee.

    Agreed. This was from the pre-Google YouTube.

    But it does bring up some questions:

    Did Google execs know of these discussions & "unwrtitten policies" when they bought YouTube?

    What actions (if any) did Google take to change these practices once they took ownership?

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:16PM (#31545428) Homepage Journal

    Google is all for "openess" with content.. as long as its not theirs..

    Google doesn't let anyone use their search results, which they claim to be their proprietary content.

    If Hollywood, the music industry and book publishers were half as open with their data as Google, I'd be a happy camper. I can re-publish Google's content (e.g. search results) to my heart's content a long as I do so using their APIs... can you please point me to the Time Warner API for re-publishing the just-released Hollywood blockbuster on my Web site? I'd like to do that.

    Also, Google makes my own data available to me to extract and use as I will at any time across a large number of services from gmail to search history to profile settings to map data. The Data Liberation Front [google.com] works hard to make sure that this data is made available to users so that they can migrate to other services, should they wish. That's something that the music industry makes easy for artists, right?

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique (173459) on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:17PM (#31545436) Homepage

    And... you know, until the end Viacom was up to buy YouTube. They just lost to Google.
    So Viacom also knew how evil YouTube was -- and they were still trying to buy it.

  • Re:bickering (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macshit (157376) <milesNO@SPAMgnu.org> on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:24PM (#31545496) Homepage

    Of course.

    They had one of their secret marketing companies do the slashdot submission though.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:29PM (#31545526) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry, but after examining the internal communications myself, I cannot agree with your view. This is a plain old fashioned case of a company doing whatever it wants, regardless of the law, and history coming back to haunt it.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:32PM (#31545556) Homepage Journal
    What free speech laws of yours are being abridged? I published software under the Artistic and BSD licenses, which is my right under the law. People can use the things I create under very liberal terms because I want it that way. Others choose different licensing mechanisms; how precisely are they abridging your rights? Am I abridging your right to free speech if I take you to court for incorporating my software into a commercial product without following the license? I don't want to hear about pie in the sky philosophical "what if" scenarios, I want to hear specific references to United States law.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:47PM (#31545696) Homepage Journal
    You know, on that note I think I'll go grab a beer.
  • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:00PM (#31545824) Homepage Journal

    I'm not seeing the "evil" until they either start ignoring take down notices (which they haven't) or start actively engaging in violations themselves (Which they apparently did at one point and which may end up getting them/google nailed).

    That is exactly my point. Everything that's public now is pretty damning, and I'm certain Viacom is going to be pursuing any and all internal records at Google that have any relation at all to this matter. Depending on what they find, it could be catastrophic. If they find nothing at all, it shows that Google failed at proper due diligence prior to buying YouTube. Either way, it's bad.

  • Re:me too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jesset77 (759149) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:04PM (#31545874)

    The founding fathers supported the patent and copyright systems, to promote industrial and artistic creativity. They understood that without a way to protect the intellectual creations, such as books, music, architectural designs, inventions, et al, there would be less motivation for people to spend the time, and energy, to create them.

    I could argue against you here, but I cannot hope to be more eloquant than a founding father [uchicago.edu]. :P

    England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.

    - - Thomas Jefferson
    13 Aug. 1813

  • wtg google (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday March 19, 2010 @09:48PM (#31546538)
    Illegal and Evil are two entirely separate things. Anything that hurts the current media industrial complex is a good and righteous act as far as I'm concerned.
  • Re:me too (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:22PM (#31546714)

    And yet, Thomas Jefferson was also the first patent examiner.

  • Re:me too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <christianpinch AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 20, 2010 @12:27AM (#31547312) Journal

    What's the difference? Seriously, we live in an age where the lines are so ridiculously blurry (software patents) that they might as well not be there. Copyright and Patents are based on the same idea.

    A manuscript is as much a device as 20 lines of code are. And since the current official ruling is that that code is a patentable device what's the difference.

    Looking at esoteric languages like Shakespeare blurs the lines even more. That language produces code which is a manuscript, but, as code, is patentable. So what's the difference?

  • Re:Safe Harbor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Orestesx (629343) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @03:15AM (#31547912)
    What about pay-per-click ads on the same page as the copyrighted video? How is this not direct financial benefit?
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:11AM (#31548184) Homepage Journal

    yes. lets see, because you own the patent on induction based HID lighting, people couldnt use that technology, and instead had to innovate in leds in order to beat you. and you happily say you are already entrenched in that market.

    thank you for proving all of my points.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:41AM (#31548414) Journal

    I did RTFA, and I see how biased the article is. E.g., http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-damning-information-viacom-dug-up-on-google-and-youtube-2010-3#youtube-tries-skirting-the-law-3 [businessinsider.com] . This to me seems entirely reasonable and correct - if they try to police it themselves, it's harder to claim that they are ignorant, or that they should be treated like a common carrier. It is far better to leave it to the users, then it's their liability. If you think that's evil, then it's the law that's a problem, not Google. Similarly for http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-damning-information-viacom-dug-up-on-google-and-youtube-2010-3#youtube-was-getting-too-good-at-removing-illegal-content-which-worried-the-founders-10 [businessinsider.com] - anyone who thinks this means they supported copyright infringement is an idiot, who doesn't understand the law.

    Oh, so they used the phrase "copyright bastards". So company execs use naughty words too - how "evil". I don't think that using the phrase is unreasonable, when you consider how groups like the RIAA have operated. This doesn't mean they think copyright infringement should be supported.

    On the whole, most of the emails seem to be about reducing their liability, which seems an entirely reasonable and sensible thing.

    Then there's this one - http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-damning-information-viacom-dug-up-on-google-and-youtube-2010-3#this-doesnt-necessarily-kill-them-but-boy-is-it-embarrassing-5 [businessinsider.com] . How's that embarrassing? It shows that they are against copyright infringement, as he was telling them not to do it.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-damning-information-viacom-dug-up-on-google-and-youtube-2010-3#we-have-to-make-our-site-as-entertaining-as-tv-6 [businessinsider.com] - what does this have to do with copyright? If it's entertaining, it must be infringing copyright? Nice spin there.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-damning-information-viacom-dug-up-on-google-and-youtube-2010-3#-17 [businessinsider.com] - a company is evil if an engineer calls people "a-holes"? I suspect that makes most companies evil.

    As for "evil", it's completely out of context. It comes from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-damning-information-viacom-dug-up-on-google-and-youtube-2010-3#uh-ohhowever-evil-never-sounds-good-11 [businessinsider.com] , but the "evil" does not mean copyright infringement, it means "user metrics" and "views"! This is not evil, and nothing to do with copyright, it's about spinning their publicity. I suspect "evil" is not intended seriously.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:47AM (#31548438) Journal

    As I posted in my other comment, most of the others are pointless too. Show me which one we should be looking at? And also please provide the original context for fairness.

    Last time I looked, it was innocent until proven guilty, so the burden is on you to prove it.

  • Re:me too (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2010 @07:22AM (#31548534)

    The founding fathers supported the patent and copyright systems, to promote industrial and artistic creativity. They understood that without a way to protect the intellectual creations, such as books, music, architectural designs, inventions, et al, there would be less motivation for people to spend the time, and energy, to create them.

    I could argue against you here, but I cannot hope to be more eloquant than a founding father [uchicago.edu]. :P

    England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.

    - - Thomas Jefferson

    13 Aug. 1813

    That Thomas Jefferson fellow didn't know what he was talking about. Patents was in widespread use all over Europe since the 14th century. Patents was granted by the ruler(s), usually a king, and could be the right to for instance print the Bible (the right to print a book was usually divided in two patents, one for good looking books for the aristrocacy and one for barely readable, fragile, shitty books for the common people) or production of some other commodity, or use of movable type or use of some other invention. Patents had nothing to do with who created the idea/body of work to begin with. The idea that a creator should have some kind of rights started in the Netherlands, matured in France and became widespread in Northern Europe (with the exception of Great Britain) in the late 18th century. These rights were exclusive to the creator and his immediate heirs and didn't last after their death (they occasionally got murdered because of that). The creator/heirs could license the right to print a book or use an invention for a limited period or number of copies to somebdy else, but nobody could ever buy the rights for all eternity to anything. There were also a strong protection against somebody using something in a fashion that was against the original intentions of the creator, like doing rewrites in a book.

    The English speaking countries took another path. They were obsessed by the idea of ownership. The right to use ideas/inventions/whatever could be transfered fully to somebody else or even be claimed by the person that first used the idea (like if a book publisher printed a book without the creators concent, before first print an author of a book had no rigths whatsoever and was as a rule screwed over) and the owner(s) of the idea got the exclusive right to use them long after the creator, creators heirs or the original owner was dead. There was no protection whatsoever of the creators against getting screwed by the buyers, this lead to secrecy and a very low level of technical and cultural development coming from the Anglosaxian parts of the world. On the other hand, as first use in a market almost automatically lead to ownership rights (within the Anglosaxian country), producers in GB and USA copied the inventions from the developed world, without paying any grants to the creators, and got the exclusive rights to use them inside GB or USA, this lead to a fast economic and military development of US and GB. The might of USA today wouldn't exist without extensive piracy of inventions made in the more developed parts of the world.

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