Having read a bit more around the topic it seems to be shaping up into an interesting-ish debate. There seems to be a few camps forming, broadly lovers, doubters and haters. I think I’m a lover / doubter fence-sitter. And here’s why:
I love YouTube because…
- It’s made online video easy and accessible. No hassle with special software.
- It’s easy to upload stuff in almost any format.
- It’s set the bar for quality at an attainable level for most people.
- Access to amazing things that have been languishing in archives.
- As far as I’m aware they were one of the champions of portable video (i.e. you can take it and embed it anywhere you like).
- The community is there (if you want to engage with it), you can almost ignore it if not and just use it to host your clips.
- It feels like it ‘gets’ its place on the web.
I doubt YouTube because…
- There’s a lot of complicated rights issues that make my head hurt.
- Lots of big established companies feel threatened, even if they do deals with many of them, there’ll still be plenty left out in the cold, looking for their payout.
- Lawyers like making money.
A thought: Assuming that the YouTube community is a big part of its value. How much do YouTube users (viewers and publishers) love YouTube? If it came to a massive legal battle how much would people pay to save it? What’s the perception of value of unlimited (arguably low-grade) video entertainment?
Would people chip-in $5 each, $10 or $50? Or would we hear the plops of millions of video-rats diving into the sea as the good ship YouTube sinks? (And I’m not saying it will, just to be clear…)
Communities didn’t really act in any meaningful way when Napster and Audiogalaxy were shut down a few years ago. But in those cases the legalities were much more obvious. And the communities far more niche, and (from memory) smaller.
I’d quite like to see ‘The Entertainment Industries of the World’ vs ‘The People of YouTube’ as a court case.