Brains Video Returns

ByJoCo February 10, 2007

Spiffs Re: Your Brains video is back up on YouTube – he sent them a “put back up” notice through official channels and after a few days they did it, so I guess technically the system works, kind of. A lot has been said about this incident already, so I will say two more things and then stop talking about it.

I agree that intellectual property should be protected, and I think that if a copyright holder does not want their stuff to be used on YouTube for free, there should be a way for them to get that stuff taken down. Obviously the problem here is that in this case they took down stuff that didn’t belong to them. Now, I wouldn’t quite say that Spiff and I and others have a “right” to put our stuff on YouTube but it certainly is pretty great that we have the option – places like YouTube are wonderful tools for commerce, self-expression and generally making everybody’s world a little more awesome. And while I wouldn’t argue that any serious harm has been done, I would definitely say that worldwide average awesomeness levels have dropped a tiny bit, which is a shame. I believe that both Viacom and YouTube have a responsibility, if not an obligation, to protect the rest of us from less than optimum awesomeness levels – in this case they failed.

Which brings me to the other thing. I know we were all on the cover of Time Magazine, and it’s our user-created Web 2.0 internet and everything, but we really do have to pay attention to this stuff. Think carefully about who’s displaying your photos, streaming your music, hosting your blog, etc., because they can stop any time they want to. YouTube could shut down tomorrow just for the heck of it, or they could suddenly decide to stop hosting videos with cats in them. Or they could decide that maintaining high average awesomeness levels is just not that important, and suddenly disappear a bunch of stuff that belongs to you and me and Spiff and the rest of us. It’s events like this that remind me: the internet doesn’t belong to the people who make the content, it belongs to the people who make the login pages.


Arlo says

Login pages! 'Net monkey hate manager Rob!

poor_impulse_control says

The people that make the login pages can find themselves suddenly wondering where the hell all of the people that make the content went to if they arent careful.

minimo says

A good time to remind people to look at
The powers that be would love to make the internet look just like network TV. It would be the end of awesomeness.

heathbar says

It doesn't feel good to imagine that the website I paid $150 for a permanent membership to could stop hosting my blog at any time. But you're absolutely right. That is not awesomeness.

Pat Gunn says

The second point is well-worth noting. Sometimes it's a good thing, when people start to use sites for inappropriate things, but it does seem to be a shame. I try to keep this in mind when considering everything Google does - it's at the very least a good reason to try to keep copies of all one's data and control domain names when possible.

BobCat says

I think a class action suit will make the internet safer for us all. From the DMCA:

"(f) Misrepresentations.— Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section—
(1) that material or activity is infringing, or
(2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,
shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it. "

Phallicus says

This is known, and the harsh reality is that, more often than not, those people that make the login pages, care nothing or less for the people that use said login pages. Honestly, how often have you sent an email(message, PM, whatever they use where you go) to a site administrator concerning something very important, only to be left in the dark, your question never answered.

Well it's happened to me more often than I like. But I'm rambling, so I think I'll just end this post here.

Mike says

Actually, for the really big or well known sites, the people who make the login pages don't own the sites. Their corporate masters do.

That's really why you don't get good tech support. It's a nice fiction to think that [popular web site X] is being built by a group of guys in their basement or garage, but really it was either built by such folks and sold a long time ago, or is built in offices.

The folks who made the login page don't even *see* your questions at the big sites. Maybe they'll get a defect report some time down the line, but until then it's a poor, underpaid tech support person who answers your question.

Odineye says

It's an excellent point, and brings us back to the (now) older idea that freedom of the press belongs to the owner of the press.

I had actually thought of myself as the "press" as regards my own website, but it is certainly the case that I am essentially leasing space with a webserver - similar to the way that smaller newspapers will buy press time from larger papers that own their own presses.

Joel says

If you put a gig worth of awesomeness on Flickr or YouTube, it's great that I can see your stuff, but Yahoo! (Flickr's owners) and Google (YouTube's) are in no way morally or legally beholden to maintaining my awesomeness levels.

Anyone can go out of business. Anyone can have a server failure. Anyone can decide the best way to provide value to their shareholders (the only people a corporation is legally or ethically beholden to) doesn't involve hosting all your awesomeness for free forever.

Theories about the evils of "corporations" are simplistic, and they miss the point: Always keep a backup copy of your data/awesomeness under YOUR control.

Spiff says

What the heck are you guys bitching about? If YouTube won't maintain the world's awesomeness level, then we go find someone else who will. And if no one else will, then we make our own site with our own login page called (I should go get that URL now) where we post our message out to the world. You want freedom of the press? The Internet is a million billion tiny presses, each of which can be used to distribute the most awesome pamphlets to the masses for nearly free.

Whew. That was a lot of wide-eyed liberal raving. I need to go lie down now...

Daljo says

I've got to say that the Electronic Freedom Foundation is the best source for Intellectual Property (IP) info that I've found. They've got an entire section for bloggers exclusively.

Zac says

JC, are you still reading this? I noticed at least one of Hodgman's videos on got pulled as well.
As much as it isn't a big deal vis a vis the fact that the book has been out for a while, you should get him to counterclaim.

Allen Combs says

Hey, have you all REALLY listened to "Code Monkey," or what? "...maybe manager want to write G*d damned login page himself"...

Managers will never write the login page. Only smart people can do that (I must say - people smarter than I...I'm just a simple musician...)

The message I take from this debate is not so much that we (individually or corporeally) have ANY control whatsoever over this vast, scary and hugely entertaining and enlightening entity we call "The Internets" (oh, wait...that's what W calls it - I meant "The Internet" [singular]) but that we need to find our awesomness in actual real life.

The first thing I heard from JC (Jonathan Coulton, not the "other" JC) was the NPR piece a few months ago. I caught it just as "You Ruined Everything" was beginning, and I was totally hooked ("Shop Vac" was just a gimme after that!) I had just dropped my daughter off at school. My twenty-year-old daughter. I wept unabashedly to know that someone had so precisely distilled the feelings I had held so closely for so long.

THIS is the message of Jonathan Coulton (IMHO) - that real life is always better than any readily available alternative. Grow up. Have kids. Revel in glowing sunsets. If the Internets were to suddenly die, what would most of us do? I, for one, would probably have some sort of hissy - and eventually just get on with the life I have had for many wonderful years, and hope to have for many more to come.

I hold a fond hope that all of you (and the fab JC himself) would do the same. Hey, we could always trade cassettes, right? :-)



JoCo says

In response to Joel - yes, I think it's overstating it to say that YouTube has an obligation to create an environment for maximum awesomeness. But it's part of the service they're providing - they're only as obligated to do that as they are to keep their servers from crashing and provide enough bandwidth to make the site enjoyable to use. Less than maximum awesomeness is bad for business. As for Viacon, they certainly have an obligation: see BobCat's comment above, but false take down notices are a violation of the DMCA, whose very protection they are enjoying even now.

Zac - yes, I alerted the Hoj, and his book publisher is looking into it.

Allen - amen brother. Everyone shut off your computer and go take a walk.

JY says

This may be none of my business, but, speaking of intellectual property, presumably you went the legitmate route and obtained a mechanical license for your cover version of Baby Got Back. (Especially since you're including it on one of the albums) If not, then you likely should consider obtaining one. Here is an article which talks about an easy way to obtain one:


JY says

Same for We Are the Champions. It would require licensing if, by any chance, you didn't already take care of that. JY

Maggie says

And speaking of the EFF, did you see that they're using YouTube to get back at Viacom? MediaPost ran this on Friday:

"The civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation appears to be mulling some sort of legal action against Viacom stemming from its recent demand that YouTube remove 100,000 clips -- including clips with no connection to Viacom -- from the site.

" 'Were You Caught in the Viacom Takedown?' the EFF asks in its own video [], quietly uploaded to YouTube late last week. In the clip, the EFF says it wants to hear from any innocent parties caught in the recent dragnet. 'If your video was taken down after complaints from Viacom, but contained either no viacom content at all, or fair use extracts, the Electronic Frontier Foundation would like to hear from you,' the company wrote in comments posted with the clip -- viewed nearly 9,000 times as of Friday morning.

"When Viacom served Google/YouTube with a list of videos to be expunged, Viacom included some clips that were entirely non-infringing. For instance, Viacom asked YouTube to take down a video of a group of friends having dinner at Redbones in Somerville, Mass."

I hope you ate at Redbones when you were up here to play at Johnny D's in December! Anyway, talk to the EFF; they've got your back.