YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

Summary: Google launches a program that involves schooling - and a test - to allow copyright violators back on the site.

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I like to believe that people are mostly honest and that sometimes, they just need a bit of education. Apparently, Google feels the same way.

Even though the courts ruled in Google's favor in last year's YouTube-Viacom dispute over copyright infringement, the company has taken steps to further curb copyright violations on the video site by requiring offenders to receive some education - and pass a test - if they'd like to return to the site.

Certainly, this isn't something that Google was required to do. Last year's ruling found that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was working "efficiently," noting that YouTube was complying with takedown notices from copyright holders when informed of violations.

Google noted in a post on the YouTube blog that it is committed to "protecting original creative works" and wants to promote good behavior by its users. Here's the key excerpt from the YouTube blog post:

Because copyright law can be complicated, education is critical to ensure that our users understand the rules and continue to play by them. That’s why today we’re releasing a new tutorial on copyright and a redesigned copyright help center. We’re also making two changes to our copyright process to be sure that our users understand the rules, and that users who abide by those rules can remain active on the site. If we receive a copyright notification for one of your videos, you’ll now be required to attend “YouTube Copyright School,” which involves watching a copyright tutorial and passing a quiz to show that you’ve paid attention and understood the content before uploading more content to YouTube.

Personally, I think it's a noble move on the part of Google. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to educate a few friends and family members about copyright, mostly parents who were putting themselves at legal risk because they didn't know that their kids were downloading music tracks over peer-to-peer networks.

Certainly many of those kids who were downloading music and videos from the family computer didn't know - for whatever reason - that what they were doing was illegal either. That's why Google's announcement today is so important - it's meant to educate the violators.

Instead of filing suits against parents to send a message, couldn't they have spent more money on educational campaigns that targeted families that didn't know any better?

Because, in the end, I've got to believe that people are mostly honest. And if people had known that what they were doing is wrong, maybe they wouldn't have done it. And that's really what the recording industry has been seeking all along, right?

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

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26 comments
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  • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

    Information should be free! HACK THE PLANET!!!

    But seriously, this seems like a relatively enlightened move. People can make laws until they're blue in the face, but unless those laws are actually explained, who will be able to obey them?
    Imrhien
  • A few thoughts . . .

    (1) Granted, copyright infringement is wrong. But, companies also seem to want to have their bread buttered on both sides by never allowing copyrights to expire and enter the public domain.

    (2) Artists have a right to be compensated . . . and, are compensated when someone purchases their work. Where, then, does one's right of ownership come into play? The argument is that artists lose money when someone shares a song on Napster or posts part of a movie on YouTube because then people don't need to purchase the work. But, how is that any different given the scenario if I invited people into my own home to watch a movie . . . or, shared a music CD with a friend? Are those actions copyright violations? The difference seems to be that the Internet is more ubiquitous than person-to-person contact.

    (3) The elephant in the living room for YouTube is that YouTube thrives on copyright infringement: If people could only post their own stuff or videoes that they had copyright permission for, then YouTube would decrease in relevance and importance. It would become little more than a conduit for companies and artists to "officially" promote their work. And, I don't know about you, but I don't go to YouTube to watch movie trailers or commercials.
    mwidunn
    • more

      @mwidunn
      Now google has the moral high ground to start monetizing youtube and people should start buying subscriptions to see premium content or to post their own videos.
      Linux Geek
    • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

      @mwidunn

      "Where, then, does one's right of ownership come into play?"

      During the upload. You are creating a [b]copy[/b] of the video online, and thus [b]copy[/b]right law says that if it's not yours, you shouldn't be creating a [b]copy[/b] of it on YouTube.
      CobraA1
  • A great question.

    [b]Instead of filing suits against parents to send a message, couldn?t they have spent more money on educational campaigns that targeted families that didn?t know any better?[/b]

    Perhaps it the cynic - or realist - in me but the recording and movie industries do not care about educating people about copyright laws as much as they do getting money. It would cost money to launch an educational campaign with little ROI while they can go the legal route and spend money on lawyers while recouping money back by suing those who violated copyright laws.
    athynz
    • A slight correction

      @athynz

      Try this:

      <i>Perhaps it the cynic - or realist - in me but the recording and movie industries do not care about educating people about copyright laws as much as they do <b>about extorting</b> <strike>getting</strike> money.
      fatman65535
      • Message has been deleted.

        Tim Cook
      • Deleted

        deleted
        Tim Cook
      • deleted

        deleted
        Tim Cook
      • The function of this section is inadaquate to the task.

        They should terminate the designer from his position
        Tim Cook
      • deleted

        deleted
        Tim Cook
      • These boards are poorly done

        @fatman65535 <br>it responds as though nothing has happened then it post multiple times.
        Tim Cook
      • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

        "These boards are poorly done"

        Agreed.

        ZDNet really missed the ball when it comes to designing the "talkbacks." As far as I can tell, they just rented somebody for a few days to write them.
        CobraA1
  • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

    @mwidunn

    A very well thought out post, I'll not try to improve it.

    Your point '1' is so, so dead on. Legions of IP lawyers trying to stretch the life of copyrights (and patents) into infinity, nothing I can actually think of is more detrimental to the future of societies that have embraced the western capitalistic model.

    Google/YouTube are still to be commended for this 'thoughtful' approach to a real problem.

    ;-)
    jonbfl
    • RE: ...trying to stretch the life of copyrights ...

      @jonbfl

      And we can thank Sonny Bono amongst others for that; their bit of <b>corporate welfare</b> for Disney, and others. God forbid that <i>Mickey Mouse</i> should fall into the public domain!!!!!
      fatman65535
      • Right, nothing like letting your competitors

        @fatman65535
        get to use your products you've invested years into developing, against you.

        Like allowing Universal to put Mickey into porno movies.

        You speak just like someone who has nothing copywrited to protect. For us that do, its a different perspective.
        Create something and then see how you feel.
        John Zern
      • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

        @John Zern You're missing the point. Copyright was only supposed to be granted for "limited times". What's the point if copyright keeps on being extended indefinitely? Everyone needs to accept the fact that even the sacred Mickey Mouse must eventually concede to the likes of porno or the copyright law is inherently broken. When Disney and their ilk can profit freely from the public domain and give nothing back, that is a miscarriage of justice.
        PacoBell
  • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

    The video, and their other resources, show a very poor understanding of copyright.
    proscriptus
    • RE: YouTube launches reform school for copyright violators: You're welcome, Hollywood

      @proscriptus

      Forget that - esthetically it sucks dead moose through two straws.
      fairportfan
  • Smoke and Mirrors

    most of these people know what the law is, they just choose to ignore it.

    How is a test going to instill any morals in them?
    Will Farrell