Editorial: Idiocy by some YouTube users

People who’ve been to this site several times might very occasionally notice a video that is marked ’embedding disabled by request’ or ‘video removed by user’. Both these actions are plain stupid.

In the first case it means you can watch the video but you have to click through to YouTube to see it. What’s the point of that? The purpose of putting music videos on video sites is to promote the artists and their work – as a means of selling albums, tickcets and downloads. So if a YouTube music video gets put on another site, it’s free publicity for the artist and copyright owner. So why disable embedding, why cut off your nose to spite your face?

Copyright fundamentalists will say people get to listen without paying – yes, just like they do when they hear a track on the radio. A limited amount of free listening is a necessary form of publicity. How many people would buy music by an artist whose music they’d never heard a sample of?

Even more astonishing is the removal of  tracks from YouTube altogether. Now EMI did this with a ‘Viva la Vida’/’If I could fly’  mash up – that had some logic from their point of view since it was overwhelming evidence for Joe Satriani’s claim of plagiarism against Cold Play. But recently the Paul Butterfield/Mike Bloomfield version of  ‘Work Song’ was removed from YouTube altogether.  If that was done by the copyright owners, it was petty and irrational. How many sites actively promote the Paul Butterfield Blues Band? And why hamper those that do?

The attempt to ratchet up every sinmgle penny that could possibly be generated by copyright claims is irrational. Sensible artists like Steve Vie, Joe Satriani and their publicity people actively promote their stuff on YouTube. They take a (rational) view. More people buy their stuff and go to their concerts by seeing it on video sites, and seeing it embedded on sites like this.

Another bad sign is YouTube killing off one of the main downloaders, in preparation for charging for downloads using their own software.  Charging for everything doesn’t necessarily mean that you make more money. Thousands of Internet content providers know this is true, which is why they have developed alternative ways of generating income streams using other business models.


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