Wednesday, January 03, 2007


In the past holiday weeks I took some time to take a more detailed look into YouTube. I already heard about the concept of a real two-way broadcasting experience, since you can upload your own video materials and thus create your own tube. Although, when in London be aware that the Tube has a completely different meaning, viz. the London subway system. It's really amazing how much materials can be found, varying from all kinds of home made videos, and both old and very recent concert registrations. The nice thing is that YouTube provides you with the literal code to embed a preferred video object into your webpage:

A world of easy accessible possibilities can be imagined. You can easily enrich a written conference report with live video fragments of presentations that you have attended, provide your students with your video materials, ask them to upload materials as a part of their assignments or share your holiday videos with friends and familiy even before you are back home. There is one thing that you have to take for granted, which is the sometimes very poor quality of the material. On the other hand you may find very unique materials, e.g. a lot of concerts which were never broadcasted on television are now freely accessible. At the risk of spoiling all the fun, I wondered about the legal issues that are involved here. What about copyrights and other kinds of legal warnings you can see when starting a DVD movie. You cannot simply distribute materials all over the world. But what's the issue here? It's not a P2P service such as KaZaa or LimeWire. As a private person you do not download or share a part of your diskspace (thus making yourself part of an illegal distribution network). The provider at risk seems to be YouTube, but when you read the Terms of Use it states that "YouTube expressly disclaims any and all liability in connection with User Submissions". The question is, however, how many people read these kinds of terms and upload materials that violate proprietary and/or public rights.

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