If Viacom Sees This They are Going to Blow a Cow
by Turtle Jones
Or: "Come On Over and Bring a Fat Spindle of Blank DVDs: The Daily Show is On"
As you probably know, Viacom recently re-cried-like-a-little-weaning-baby about YouTube hosting clips of their properties. Personally, I see very little difference in
I went to upload a video clip to Youtube yesterday, because it was funny and I thought other people might like to see it. Youtube has at least two places before you get to the upload area where you check a box that you understand that if you are not the copyright holder you should not upload the clip. This is a disingenuous formality, of course, as the site would have the traffic of a geocities family site if it consisted entirely of babies farting and a guy spitting a tictac through an egg. I chose to not waste my time uploading a clip of the NBC comedy Scrubs, because I don't work there and haven't received permission to share the clip. Their loss, fuck them and Youtube.
If these artists and production companies were actually losing revenue rather than gaining it because of file-sharing I would give a shit, I really would. BUT, the facts of file-sharing are thiswise. Shitty music that nobody would have every heard of is being heard by people around the globe that like that particular kind of shitty music. These bands are able to tour and sell tickets and records in places they never would have because of a few of their songs getting around for free. When was the last time you bought an album you hadn't heard any of the material on? Other than a musical entity that you had heard other work from I would say never for most of us. (I sometimes pick up dollar discs out of the bin at the used place just for giggles, but I haven't found anything of value yet, and that kind of thing doesn't count, smartass.)
The same thing is true of Youtube and everyone involved is aware of it. That is, the same as there isn't a guy in Iowa churning out bootleg Kelly Clarkson CDs that he downloaded off the net, neither is there a huge black market of Daily Show clip discs being sold out of Chevy panel vans in the back alleys of Everytown USA. Hearing and viewing pieces of the whole attracts viewers and listeners to the commercially available product. It does not sate the interest, it enhances it, and since we all know better it would be a lot more respectful towards the audience were they to admit it rather than file nonsense claims and lawsuits.
I fully (ok, partially) understand the ramifications of uploading entire shows and movies to be viewed for free by thousands of people. None of the advertisers nor the intellectual property owners get anything and the viewers get free stuff. But nobody is arguing that, this is a perfect example of my understanding of a "Strawman" argument. Create a detrimental version of your opponent's viewpoint that can be easily beaten to shreds, like a figure made of straw. Since showing 90 second clips of TV shows is more likely to encourage viewing via television of the entire show it is a preposterous supposition that Youtube is impacting Viacom's properties negatively. Quite the opposite, but we all know that.
Creator's rights are one thing, but none of the plaintiffs in these situations is having bread sandwiches for dinner. Everyone loses some possible revenue to bootlegging, from "I taped my friend's record" to the Chinese factory made thousands of them, but truly, it's nothing new. I have listened to free music and then bought future releases from umpteen bands, but I never would have made any of those purchases without hearing the free stuff. Metallica wouldn't have gotten their portion of the purchase price from my three records, one tape, and one cd if I hadn't listened to my friend Scot's "bootlegged" cassettes. Which he made from vinyl records that he purchased, btw.
If I send someone a copied CD there are now one paid for and one stolen version in the world, and the property owners have seemingly lost revenue. However, since my interest in sharing my love for the property on a monetary basis falls well below the $14.98+ purchase price, (it's right around the 20-40 cents I paid for the blank cd, plus postage if any); the property owners would otherwise have lost a possible fan, possible future album sales, concert tickets, seat cushions, t-shirts, etc. The same goes for my sharing of a 13 second clip from "Scrubs", especially in the current era of selling television series on DVD. Seriously, the possibility that even one person might shell out $39.99 for a season of the show because of viewing my clip should have NBC emailing me begging me to upload clips. Let me go check my inbox for that.
[Thiswise is now a word. I coined it, you understood it, therefore it is now a valid verbal communication device that is fully acceptable henceforth.]
Somewhere on youtube is a video of Richard farting the Star Spangled Banner.
Previously by Richard