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YouTube CEO calls EU’s proposed copyright regulation financially impossible (theverge.com)
325 points by doener 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 348 comments



I watch a decent amount of YouTube, but if it went away, I don’t think that it would be a net loss to humanity given what YT shows to children [0], and how YT radicalizes viewers [1]. It’s actually Patreon that pays my favorite creators, not YT, so they could protentially distribute videos via any other site. A new site for discovery would likely rise up, if Patreon didn’t do that themselves.

This is the entire platform vs publisher argument that tech companies have been hiding under for years. No one is responsible for content, and look what that’s gotten us. I would shed no tears if YT ended operation in the EU, where I live.

[0] https://www.wired.co.uk/article/youtube-for-kids-videos-prob...

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/10/opinion/sunday/youtube-po...

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/youtube...

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-youtubes-far-right-radi...


You're severely downplaying the amount of educational content that it has to offer. If youtube went down overnight, it -would- be a huge loss.

If you give your children unfettered access to youtube, that's your own fault as a parent. Youtube should be better about handling this but I think it's more of a communication issue.

Youtube is essentially a medium unto itself. A LOT of people use it so there's going to be good, and there's going to be bad. You can make the case of "radicalizing people" for just about any other medium that people consume.

In the end, it's basically what you make of it. You can find a wealth of diverse channels to watch and grow from, or you can watch drivel.

It isn't any different than the trash on tv or in pulp novels, except that individual people have more power and freedom to create things. If you think differently then you're just looking at older mediums with rose-tinted glasses.


I make heavy use of the educational content — 3Blue1Brown, applied science, bigclivedotcom, braincraft, CGP Grey, Computerphile, CrashCourse, … «continues alphabetically», … ViHart, Vintage Space, WDR (German language broadcaster “Westdeutscher Rundfunk”).

Most of them have other revenue streams. Patreon, or being a division of PBS, or day jobs. I’m not worried about their survival.

One of those videos was “This Video Will Make You Angry”. Meme-based economics are not your friend.

For extremist or propagandist content, unfortunately both those things mean it will continue even without YouTube or a clone.


I'm not talking about content makers' survival. I'm talking about existing content being lost. Even assuming those people had everything backed up, it would be scattered all over the place.

This Video Will Make You Angry was a good video. No idea why it specifically is being discussed here.

> For extremist or propagandist content, unfortunately both those things mean it will continue even without YouTube or a clone.

Yes, this has nothing to do with youtube. Again, you can propagate charged content via other mediums, especially on the internet.


I was giving examples of the harm side of the equation. Up two levels, “YT radicalizes viewers”, your reply (by my reading) downplayed that harm.

If your primary concern is searchability, that is a surprise: YouTube is the second largest search engine after google.com, and I didn’t perceive any suggestion that the latter would be harmed by the copyright proposal. Even if it was, even rubbish search engines like iTunes’ Podcasts doesn’t stop me getting vastly more content than I have time for even if I took early retirement and listened at double speed.


Like educational videos from the 50s, its neat to be able to go back and see them. But these subjects get continuously recovered. Sometimes just to spice it up, and sometimes the material does change. Its not the end of the world.


> If you give your children unfettered access to youtube, that's your own fault as a parent.

How do you propose to prevent the disasters described in this thread? YouTube have loose standards and virtually no demonstrated ability for enforcement. I'm specifically worried about giving locked down PC to kid with my best effort and still kids getting exposed to content that they are not yet ready to process. How does YouTube enables me to to make sure that kids are protected?


> How does YouTube enables me to to make sure that kids are protected?

It doesn't. I don't know why this expectation exists; youtube has not shown itself to be trustworthy in this sort of thing. Clearly an alternative needs to be used, like downloading youtube videos beforehand or using something else entirely.


This is basically the all-American argument of "sure, the advertising is a complete lie but it's the consumer's fault for being gullible".

YouTube Kids presents itself as specifically for kids. You don't expect weird fetish porn on daytime kids TV and it's completely reasonable to expect a similar level of moderation for an app that positions itself as an equivalent of that.

Blaming the parents really understates how much YouTube has fucked this one up. YT relies on a wonky algorithm and crowdsourcing to moderate its content at scale but their dirty little (open) secret is that this is error prone and exploitable. In a typical Google way they thought they could eliminate paid humans from the equation and still deliver quality -- they can't, and it's entirely their fault.

If a company misrepresents a product in a way that results it to cause harm when used exactly as advertised, it's the company's fault.


Daytime TV is at least somewhat regulated by the FCC. Youtube is not, to my knowledge.

> This is basically the all-American argument of "sure, the advertising is a complete lie but it's the consumer's fault for being gullible".

No, it's your fault for believing advertising in the first place. I only judge youtube through my personal knowledge and experience of using it for the last 6+ years.

Just because someone, or a PR team, says "it's for kids!" does NOT mean it's quality programming or acceptable content. That is your responsibility to determine, as a parent or guardian. Do not blame youtube when you know that it is a website where anyone can upload anything. And it's run by a company that thinks ML algorithms can filter videos adequately.

No, this is lazy parenting, just blindly trusting a corporation to actually do things right, when they're not even regulated adequately.

Nothing is stopping you from downloading videos beforehand, or finding better content platforms or content producers, like PBS. This is you throwing up your hands in the air and wanting to shift blame to a corporation when you didn't take the time or effort to screen things before putting your kids in front of a screen + opaque algorithm.


Your problem is then with YouTube kids, not YouTube.

Not everyone wants their content censored by dogmatists.


What are you even talking about?

YouTube Kids is from YouTube and is advertised as a kids-friendly filtered version of YouTube. YouTube Kids however failed to filter tons of disturbing and inappropriate content. The entire raison d'etre of YouTube Kids is to provide a filtered YouTube experience -- it failed hard.

EDIT: I can't even begin to comprehend how you think any of this is about "dogmatists censoring YouTube". YT Kids only providing kids-friendly content is no different from YT Music only providing music. It's not censorship, it's filtering. You can still go to YouTube proper and watch everything.


Your problem is still with YouTube kids and not with YouTube.

Your entire argument is the filtration they tried failed. We agree. Great.

My point is that the conclusion you draw is that everything needs more censorship. We disagree. I think parents need to take responsibility and not blame a company for providing a product they don't like.

Its the equivalent of censoring the radio because think of the children. It was a dumb idea then, it's a dumb idea now, because everyone knows that's not where it ends.


I don't see where you get the idea that that's the conclusion they draw. It seems like you arguing against something they never said.


How do you understand the arguments.


That they're unhappy with how they handled YouTube Kids, nothing about censoring the main YT product.


And I said his problem is with YouTube kids not YouTube.

Not sure what part of that you disagree with.


> My point is that the conclusion you draw is that everything needs more censorship.

That claim about their conclusion I do not understand, since I don't see where they are saying anything like that.


They believe YouTube kids is possible if only YouTube were to censor more content.

My argument is that more censorship won't help, because not everyone agrees on what is, and is not, kid friendly. So the entire enterprise is doomed to failure. The only solution I see is parents taking responsibility.



I was just going to post this. This is the answer to most people's parental problems with YouTube. I use this with my 7 year old. There is no way to do this easily and never for an average parent. Common Sense Media is my friend as a parent, but I have to lock down YouTube just to keep him from seeing something that no kid should see.

I use OpenDNS and I have a few custom scripts so I can learn how often certain sites are being used. "Too much of a good thing is still too much."

I use history on my daughters YT account with a quick script that compares her computer's history on her computer. I don't run it all the time but I tell her trust but verify a lot. She is doing her school online and our biggest issue is she will watch videos and not do here work for a few hours.


This is the same problem with "news" on the internet. There are too few places that edit themselves and vet their content and resources only to throw anything they themselves hear and read about online. News sources become unreliable and untrustworthy because you don't know who to trust as a source.


One thing that could be done is for the aggregators to require a video publisher to post a bond. This could apply not just for the EU copyright rules, but for any other weird country specific laws. If the video publisher posts something that breaks the law, then the money is removed, the regulator paid, and the publisher's license revoked.

This would allow a marketplace of editors. Someone who was making, for example, cooking videos, probably wouldn't have a couple of million dollars sitting around. Instead, their videos would be syndicated through an editor. An editor could make their own decisions on revenue share (if any at all) based on their own judgements of legal risk vs revenue opportunity. This could mean live streamers all have to go in to a closely monitored studio instead of doing it from home.

In a way this is similar to how the old network TV or print periodical marketplace worked, but adapted for the internet. Network TV had to pay big fines if someone said fuck or a nipple was broadcast live. Thus, they assumed legal liability for their guests behavior.

This still doesn't solve the core issue that the Youtube CEO described, which is when a bunch of people claim copyright on the same video. Solving that probably requires clawback provisions over lost revenue from making fake claims.

I don't think this approach would be ok in the United States, but it seems reasonable for the EU, China, and so on.


> If you give your children unfettered access to youtube, that's your own fault as a parent.

Unfettered access, or maybe you turn your head for 5 minutes and your kid clicks a recommended video next to the one you set them up to watch and now mickey mouse is running around cutting everyone's head off oh god what is happeni...


Recommended by whom? An algorithm? Why is that any guarantee of safe or quality programming for young children?

Youtube does need to address these videos, but they're not omniscient gods either. There is too much content to humanly (or algorithmically, seemingly) to police effectively.

Why do you put so much trust in random recommended videos? What makes youtube so trustworthy? I'm asking because I genuinely don't understand this mindset at all.


> Recommended by whom? An algorithm?

By YouTube; the choice to make the recommendation and the choice to use an algorithm (both in general and the specific algorithm chosen) as part of the recommendation process are human decisions made yb YouTube employees in the course of their duties.

> Youtube does need to address these videos, but they're not omniscient gods either.

While the second half is true, it magnifies rather than mitigates the firall it does is call out the hubris and irresponsibility at YouTube behind the current status quo.

> There is too much content to humanly (or algorithmically, seemingly) to police effectively.

The quantity of content on YouTube, and the fact that it is not constrained by their ability to effectively police it is also a product of human decisions made by YouTube employees in the course of job duties, not some kind for natural occurrence with which YouTube is beset. And the fact that any part of that corpus is subject to recommendation algorithms without being policed is also such a human decision.


At the end of the day, it's the parent's/guardian's fault for knowingly letting their kids browse on a platform where anyone can upload anything.

You are putting way too much trust in an opaque corporation to provide adequate content for young children. Just because it's "Youtube" does not guarantee anything. In fact it makes it much more dubious of a site, knowing exactly how youtube functions and how google manages it (very badly—at least for children's content).

No one is forcing you to put your kids in front of youtube. Please stop shifting blame when it's your fault for trusting random recommendations from an opaque, broken algorithm to filter endless random content, run by an uncaring corporation.


It's not a "mindset" that there is an inviting "click here for the next recommended video" link when one is done playing.


Then don't use youtube. Download the videos offline first, etc. What's the issue here? No one is forcing you to let your kid sit unattended on a website with questionable recommended videos.


Tom and Jerry weren't far off that when I was a kid. Or the Roadrunner. I'll admit that I haven't seen any of the newer videos that people seem to be complaining about, but what is so much different about them from what we got 30 years ago?


Tom & Jerry was just a somewhat violent cartoon, but some of the mentioned videos are somewhat disturbing. You can just google elsagate. My opinion is that people exploited a captive market + youtube's positive feedback loop algorithm to create such videos.

FWIW, my brother and I grew up on old tom & jerry cartoons. I think they're great, other than the few episodes with plainly racist stereotypes.


> I'll admit that I haven't seen any of the newer videos that people seem to be complaining about

Stop right there. You have no idea what you're conflating here. If you have a strong stomach and no history of being abused, look into it. If you don't, please, read good accounts of people who did... or at least have no opinion about it, but not "meh, it's prolly fine". It's not.


That's why I asked.

I checked the wikipedia page as the other poster suggested and doesn't look that bad to me.

What do you feel is so much worse about them that the coyote being crushed under a huge rock?


What does "checked the wikipedia page" mean? Reading the linked footnotes? And what about "sexual situations, fetishes, drugs" says "Tom & Jerry" to you? Not that the overview on that WP page does it justice, at all. At one point it even said Elsagate "was" a colloquialism, heh.

It's hardly a full list of the themes that are repeated over and over and over again. It involves rape, pregnant infants, (there was one live action thing with Spiderman drugging and raping Elsa and her little child (played by an actual child, though with Elsagate you will also find plenty of adults in diapers or with pacifiers, or otherwise playing a child) as they are unconscious, then delivering both their babies in the form of plastic dolls, and Elsa and her child and Spiderman all being super happy and clapping in delight at the end), a LOT of kidnapping and bondage, children left behind, parents being evil for denying them sweets or staying up late or other things, parents getting hurt by their children or even murdered so children can get something they want, people generally murdering each other out of anger, including with automatic weapons, hands coming out of mirrors or mobile devices, children crying at a graveyard, hands coming out of graves, getting injections to get "made better" regardless of how silly that is (like eating a toy truck and getting an injection because of that), generally eating things and that having some kind of effect, a lot of binge eating, objects or people being crushed underfoot or under cars, a lot of leering at someone who is in danger, throwing people off roofs, jumping off roofs or committing suicide, a lot of confusion or anxiety about pregnancy (e.g. what gender it is, or whose kid is is), a lot of adultery, people forcing others to do things via hypnosis, drugs, violence or even poverty vs wealth, product pyramids, objects floating in swimming pools (god knows why), and of course the whole "color learning", "daddy finger" (jumping on the bed, wheels on the bus) stuff, the same song repeated 20 times while persons swap heads or colors.

All these themes repeat across various cartoon themes, live action and 3d animations, including Minecraft-style animations, and modded GTA 5.

Even all that isn't an exhaustive description, it's a joke compared to the content. But already I need to stop because hey, "who wants to read all that". Welcome to Elsagate, that's exactly what it is.

https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-in...

https://imgur.com/r/ElsaGate

https://www.reddit.com/r/elsagate (as I said in another comment, there's a lot of crap there, but historically also posts that offer real information, compilations, reports of parents, and so on)

https://i.imgur.com/MziRRQw.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/HfsdvWo.jpg

That's just thumbnails, very few in comparison to what is there, not the millions of hours of video, the countless demented 3D animations. Plenty of those involving syringes, too.

And that's not even taking the deceptive stuff into account, how they describe everything as family friendly (I remember channel names with phrases like "day care" in them), and all about learning, also offering unused social media accounts as contact address, to seem all above board to anyone who doesn't actually look. Just how the the vile content is often padded in a lot of harmless content, so parents that just take a short glance (or you) might not notice, and so on.

Who knows, if you enter "learn colors" or "minecraft monster school" and click around (and I don't just mean once or twice), you might find a lot that's currently being uploaded, or never even was deleted. I genuinely don't want to look because I've seen enough.

Among other things it's a DDOS attack on our attention, it exploits our desire to ignore such things, or rationalize them -- so that it looks fine at "first glance", or similar to something benign you already know and therefore benign, especially when watching zero of the X thousands of hours that make up the body of Elsagate; that's in the nature of the subject.


Thanks for finally linking to some stuff that demonstrates what you are talking about. Its more convincing that shouting me down and telling me i have no idea what i am talking about.


> You're severely downplaying the amount of educational content that it has to offer.

That cannout outweigh Elsagate stuff. Educational content could be on smaller platforms, and there even could be platforms to find it on those smaller platforms.

> In the end, it's basically what you make of it.

No, it's thousands of channels and hundreds thousands of videos designed to mentally abuse children, and for months and months, while parents begged YouTube to even take notice, autoplay beelined to this stuff from cartoons. That's what you get from algorithms designed to maximize "engagement".

> You can find a wealth of diverse channels to watch and grow from, or you can watch drivel.

We're talking about things aimed at toddlers. Oh, and initially also YouTube for Kids. When you talk about "unfettered access" and simply blame it on parents, it just shows you are downplaying something you might not even have looked into.

Apart from the Elsagate subreddit, which has a lot of crap but also important posts buried among it, you probably can still enter "learn colors" or "Minecraft Monster School" or a lot of other things into YouTube, and maybe click on some related videos of videos in the search results. I promise, it won't take long to find something that can ruin your day.


I have looked into it. I don't have kids, but I would never allow them access to autoplay videos on youtube. Given my knowledge of Google, Youtube, and their overall ineptitude in this regard. Just because something from them is marketed "for kids", doesn't mean it's necessarily good.

I still blame the parents, especially after Elsagate. It takes some mental gymnastics to allow children to watch random videos on a site where anyone can upload anything, and a site run by a company that thinks algorithms can work by themselves to filter content correctly. There are other platforms that have content for kids. Youtube never was a correct option, unless you yourself download videos beforehand to ensure their quality.

Please don't blindly trust things just because they say "it's aimed at children". Its still up to you, the parent/guardian, to actually make sure that it's acceptable content. Trusting an internet titan of a company to actually care or get it right is an enormously stupid idea, in my opinion.


I have yet to see an educational content provider that isn't primarily funded from Patreon, direct sponsorships ("This video is sponsored by..." lynda.com, Audible, Skillshare, etc etc) or produced by an entity that has relies on external streams of revenue (e.g. BBC, PBS).

Heck, even the "trash pop" part of YouTube (e.g. drama channels) don't seem to primarily rely on ad revenue anymore. And most of the gaming channels seem to actually prefer Twitch (but either want to editorialise their content rather than upload raw streams or only still use YT because they want a more diversified revenue stream).

YouTube's initial appeal was that it was a "marketplace of ideas" and everybody could upload videos of pretty much anything and build an audience and (eventually) earn a few bucks from advertising. Recently that marketplace has increasingly shifted to promote what's already popular and YouTube has actively brought in established content producers from TV while also algorithmically demonetizing "lesser" channels (note: this doesn't mean less-viewed channels or channels with fewer subscribers) with little to no means of appeal. The gold rush when it was actually financially viable to make a living off the ad revenue and fund your video production are long gone for the vast majority of creators.


> It isn't any different than the trash on tv or in pulp novels, except that individual people have more power and freedom to create things. If you think differently then you're just looking at older mediums with rose-tinted glasses.

What makes it different is a recommendation engine that is deliberately designed to maximize the amount of viewing time and has no moral compass about doing so.

When a kid finishes reading Ranger Rick magazine, nothing prompts them to read anything else except their own interests and the pile of books their parents have purposefully made available to them. You don't have strangers popping in the window, tempting them to read something nasty, and if you do, you get that person arrested.


You made some very good points. I wrote my comment with much less thought than I should have. I mostly consume educational videos on YT myself, but I feel like that I am not a normal user. YT does spread all kinds of good knowledge, but I was thinking the content and views taken as a whole. I am really surprised my comment got that many upvotes here. I still do stand by my original thought, but it was just that, a thought - though poorly phrased.


I don't watch children's videos, so I'll leave that factor aside. All your citations are to opinion pieces written by people with an agenda to push, i.e. not fact, not by a long shot. I watch YouTube for education and entertainment. The loss of all the educational content, by itself, would be a massive loss to humanity. If YouTube were to go down, some educators will re-upload their content to other places. Moreover, radical activists would be the among the first to adopt YouTube's replacements, thereby solving nothing.

> No one is responsible for content, and look what that’s gotten us.

I suspect your views are coloured by the kind of things you watch. YouTube's algorithms have adapted to your viewing profile. Most of my recommendations are for science, math, and music pedagogy. From where I stand, YouTube has gotten us to a great place.


Let's not forget that the CEO calling the EU's proposal impossible is also an opinion piece written by someone with an agenda to push.

At the end of the day, I can't help but atleast partially agree with the reasoning behind the proposal; copyright is broken on the internet and it's nearly impossible to have it enforced on even larger sites if you're not one of the bigger players like music labels or hollywood studios or high profile game studios. And the current DMCA process deployed by most platforms is broken as well since all of the burden of proof lands on the creator with no repercussions for those who send them if it turns out to be fraudulent.

That needs to be fixed somehow, though the EU proposal is likely not a perfect approach.


I agree completely. Copyright is badly broken, and it's broken in favour of the big players. Independent classical musicians are the most severely affected by it. A few of my favourite classical players have received copyright strikes by the likes of Sony, BMG, WB, etc. for their own live performances. And then there are cases such as the video of a guy strolling through a forest, which received copyright claims from the big bullies because of the live bird calls.

EU's proposal would only end up making the already flawed ContentID system more aggressive. Heck, I'd go in the opposite direction. I would be in favour of penalizing those who falsely claim copyright for works that they don't own the rights to.


I totally agree. Claiming copyright over other people's work and using that claim to block other people's work, is a far more serious abuse than merely violating someone's copyright, because it actually takes something away from the victim. It's much closer to actual theft, because the victim loses their 'property'.

And yet there doesn't seem to be any punishment for that. I'd rather see the EU protect the rights of independent artists and regular citizens, than those of large corporations with a tendency to abuse their rights.


Maybe what needs to be fixed is our concept of copyright.

We've spent enormous resources creating a miraculous machine that does one thing: it makes unlimited copies of any information and distributes it all over the world, almost for free. But we can't use it to its full potential because we're stuck in a mindset that dates back centuries.


There should be the distinction or at least allowances for, is X "good" and is X a "net good", which a lot of responses to the GP aren't admitting.

I've watched plenty of Youtube, even the now cliched defenses of DIY home improvement stuff (sink de-clogging and drywall patching for me). But for as good and helpful as the pedagogical content might be there is still the other side that subsidizes all that, that fosters some crazed asshole shooting up a yoga studio and killing two people (YT ref'd in first paragraph)[1].

Is YouTube good? Sure. Is YouTube a societal net good? Absolutely not.

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hot-yoga-shooting-tallahassee-f...

edit: spelling


> there is still the other side that subsidizes all that

Connect the dots for me. How is the existence of crazy people uploading videos to YouTube subsidizing educational content? Advertising is subsidizing educational content because that's how the money flows.

If you were to put everyone literally in a straitjacket, you'd cut down on the number of crazy people shooting up random strangers too. If you want to build such a society, I will help you build it, and help you move there. I'm staying out. I think freedom is a societal net good.


Absolutely not? Strong opinion. Care to justify it? I'd be surprised if anyone was convinced by what you've written so far.


Nice subjective opinion presented as fact.


Would that content be lost, or simply decentralized and demonopolized?


It would most likely to be lost, as most youtubers would not be able to set up and run streaming video servers on their own.


There are options between "one giant YouTube monopoly" and "every single individual must run their own server". There is reddit, there are blogs, but where are the forums?


Those things, none of those things, host video. They link to YouTube. Ocassionally vimeo. Once MediaFire? Mostly YouTube. Video is EXPENSIVE. And any measure of cost sharing centralization runs into the same problems that YouTube is having very quickly.


Khan academy started with YouTube videos I believe.


Khan academy could have easily started with another video service. Archive.org had a free video service at the time I believe. There were others that took it's place when it shut down, including YouTube.


> Khan academy could have easily started with another video service.

Not all video players are created equal. It's really hard to make a good video player. Case in point, look at all the crappy video players created by news sites that don't want to embed the YT player. Some can't even pause properly using the space bar or even let you select your preferred video quality.


I think it would be a huge loss. I couldn't live without the educational content on Youtube. Sure, they could move it elsewhere. But, Youtube has enabled this network to thrive. It's the single biggest library of visual edu content. Channels like Ted-Ed,Crash Course, Physics Girl,Vsauce, Engineering Explained, Khan Acad, MITOCW, a16z, freecodecamp, 3blue1brown,asapScience, SciShow,Computerphile,Numberphile,Hak5,LiveOverflow, How stuffworks, Jacob Clifford, Derek Banas, sentdex,Corey Schafer,Minute physics,Tinkernut, Tom Scott, Y Combinator, oh and 2 Minute Papers.

Youtube bascially played a major role in democratizing creation of content :educational, creative etc. And by the way, it's still not clear how much profit YT makes. The infra costs etc are huge. It's Google's $$$ which subsidizes YT content. personally, when I see the amount of value I am deriving, I think I owe a decent amount of money to YT. I am a student right now, but will start giving creators money asap.

Of course, it would have been better if Youtube had started their Donate option sooner. I think they have failed to creatively monetize users and compensate creators. (i know about ads, not creative,but it works)


The Alternative Influence Network thing is based on outright fabricated data by the way. Becca Lewis draws direct links between people who have never collaborated or appeared on eachother's channels (the criteria described for the linkages), to draw the absurd conclusion that Richard Spencer and Tim Pool are part of some conspiratorial "network".

Anyone who takes the AIN report seriously either hasn't verified the claims, or agrees that these people should be misrepresented and smeared.

Your view of YouTube is myopic, and ignores the immense cultural resource that exists there. You have no idea what would be lost if the EU chased it away, but you're willing to find out just to spite some people you resent; and you resent them based on false information you accepted because it fit your lens.


This is like saying that all the smut in libraries is ruining society and the world would be better off if all the libraries closed. Those educational books would still be available elsewhere, etc etc.

I use YouTube all the time to learn to do things around the house. My wife and I recently completed a bathroom renovation and the only thing we didn't do ourselves was the plumbing, including completely replacing the tile and patching the walls. It looks fabulous.

Sure, I could probably have eventually found that information elsewhere, but it was almost all on YouTube and very easy to find. I looked up multiple videos on each task and figured out what the best advice was and even got to see it done multiple ways.

Losing YouTube at this point would be a huge loss.


So you're saying either we can have a great resource, or we could destroy that resource entirely and let politicians get slightly less criticism ?

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/20/berkeley-may-...

This is a general problem with many public efforts. Reality is that the only way to make everyone equal is to make everyone equally miserable. And this is generally what we do.


You have seriously confused things, the EU copyright law isn't targetting YT, it's targetting all platforms that users are able to publish their own content, so you really aren't left with alternatives for content creators to switch to paid by Patreon supporters or not. Even Hacker News is targetted under the law and has to pay link tax when linking to content. So you should reconsider your nonchalant attitude.


I am not defending article 11 at large, the link tax seem ridiculous.[0] I was likely “thinking out loud” far too much for HN, and my own good. I would certainly miss YT, article 11 is a mess, but I just came to my original comment’s conclusion and it honestly surprised me.

[0] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/10/eus-link-tax-will-kill...


I understand it's just frustrating to hear dismissal of one platform or other from comments on EU copyright law when the fact is that it will govern everything that is going on the internet. It will affect everything as user interaction is a central and crucial part of what we do on the internet. GDPR did a number on what we consume for "the greater good" and while I do appreciate that I'm now more in control of what goes on with my data, I lost access to so many sources. And while I do have ways to protect myself where ever I go, I have been punished for the lack of care and awareness of internet users who simply didn't care then nor do they care now, collective punishment rarely does any great good for the whole. And yet again, I'm savvier so I can circumvent most of the blocks by VPN but the rest are now enjoying a worse experience. This ain't good in any metric, none of it is.


Not sure if this is what you meant, but if all the content disappeared today, it would be a huge loss.


YouTube is quite useful when I need an instructional video on how to repair my leaking toilet.


YouTube is basically the ‘I need to do this, how can it be done’ website. Searching for the car you are looking at buying with word repair is an interesting way to see what you might need to do.

Crown molding was an amazing thing to learn from YouTube.


Absolutely. YouTube helped me build my first PC, taught me dozens of algorithms / data structures while I was first learning to code, helped me get started with software like PyTorch, Blender, Unity, etc, exposed me to a lot of philosophical thought/thinking and random education I'd never otherwise have stumbled upon, and so much more.

It's got plenty of entertaining stuff also, but the fact that YouTube allows anyone to share anything they know with anyone in the world in a simple, visual format is amazing. Other platforms can do that too, but YouTube is obviously the biggest player in the space right now and there is value in having everything together (see: the Walmart effect).


I'm actually rather annoyed that it's getting more and more common these days that instructions can only be found in video form instead of articles. Articles you can quickly skim to see if it's doing what you need. Add to that that many of these videos have stupid intros and presenters trying to be funny.


I think that the educational content on YouTube can definitely outweigh any and all of its issues, as long as we are seeing YouTube for what it is. I am incapable of describing the breadth of knowledge that can be accessed on that site, so I will not. I can definitely see the argument that YouTube is a net-harm for children under some circumstances, but I would definitely be sad to see that amount of useful information be unavailable for everyone because it is bad for children. It is not a babysitter, and no one should trust it to be. I reject these "think of the children" arguments for something that is not designed for children to begin with.


It's like you have no respect for people's agency at all.


‘I watch a decent amount of YouTube, but if it went away, I don’t think that it would be a net loss to humanity’

That is because you haven’t watched grubby playing Warcraft 3!


Why wouldn't patron have the same problem as YouTube?


I apologize to general knowledge that this is the top comment.


Honestly, as the author of the comment, so do I.


EU copyright laws are stupid.


It's not a law yet. It's a proposal that cleared its first hurdles. Though with the overwhelming majority with which the MEPs supported it, it's not looking good.

There's an election in May. Maybe if we threaten to vote out everybody who supported this, they may change their opinion. It's going to be hard to mobilize that many people about such a complex issue, though.

Sadly, I'm unable to find a good overview of which parties or MEPs supported this and which didn't.


Most copyright laws, globally, are stupid.


> I watch a decent amount of YouTube, but if it went away, I don’t think that it would be a net loss to humanity given what YT shows to children

The good old "think of the children" argument used by authoritarian puritans.

> and how YT radicalizes viewers

As opposed to TV? Cable news? Newspapers? Or any other media?

> No one is responsible for content, and look what that’s gotten us.

Where has it gotten us?

> I would shed no tears if YT ended operation in the EU, where I live.

As an american, I feel the same way. Why don't you guys create your own youtube and stop trying to censor everyone else? Oh you can't because of the EU onerous regulations. How ironic.

I hate the pro-censorship lobby that has reared its ugly head on hacker news. Everyday, there is a barrage of comments sneakily supporting and defending censorship. Strange.

And your "sources" are highly biased at best and "fake news" at worst. It's like asking the telegram company what they think of telephones or the horse what they think of cars.


Nonsense. What we need is a good old fashioned book burning...


Even if YouTube could afford to do this, nobody else could, which would lock us into an EU-sanctioned YouTube monopoly...


Market leaders are generally in favor of regulation, for that exact reason. Sometimes they'll play the protest game in public, but privately they are happy to see regulation.

If YouTube is actually lobbying against this both in public and in private, then I would personally consider that extremely strong evidence this is really bad. However, I have no inside info on their private position.


Well, they can be, but what if the regulations substantially shrink the market as a whole? May be more profitable to have 30% of a large market than 90% of a small one.


A lot of tech industries seem to be winner-take-all, so aiming for 30% might not be a sustainable plan in many cases.


Not really. Vimeo shows that you can corner niche markets successfully.

Profitability and growth aren't dependent on market dominance, even in tech.


YouTube Vimeo is more like 1% / 99%. By almost anybody's definition, that's winner take all.

Vimeo aims for $100mil this year: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iac-interactive-vimeo/iac...

YouTube Could be a $15 billion business this year: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/02/18/youtube-could-be-a...


Again, success isn't measured by marketshare, but profitability and growth. Vimeo has 15% of the embedded market by domain, and has managed to be profitable.

Even in your article it talks about how Youtube isn't exactly profitable, and is dragging down Google's average CPC for the business.


A massive difference indeed, but by any other standard, $100 million is not bad at all.


This isn't a good comparison. Netflix, Twitch, Snapchat, Facebook/Instagram are.


Well at least that’s what companies that are losing lots of money like to tell their investors. I’ve heard it many times and can’t think of any definite examples.


If YouTube can afford it but their competitors go out of business in the EU how would the market shrink? Regulations tend to shrink only the providers, not the consumers.


Youtube isn't really providing a necessity, it's providing an entertainment option. Consumers have lots of those. If it becomes very onerous or expensive to provide their content, then they (and other providers) may have to produce less of it, which would shrink the market.


Youtube doesn't create video content. Youtube is a video content reseller - and if it can't afford to buy people's video content, it's unlikely anyone else can. You're shrinking the size of the video provider market!


perhaps it is the common goal? less societal criticism/feedback, more top down determination of media?


I think most political commentators on YouTube that do it for money use patreon more than YouTube ads, many political subjects are demonetized automatically now. YouTube doesn't want to buy their content much regardless of if its able.


Youtube isn't really providing a necessity, it's providing an entertainment option.

I think you'd be surprised at the reach of educational resources like Khan Academy and MIT's Open Courseware. These things aren't 'necessities' only if you don't consider it important to educate yourself.


I'm aware, but entertainment is clearly where the overwhelming majority of YouTube watch hours come from. It's the same situation as with TV: educational TV exists, sure, but still nobody has a problem lumping TV watching under the "entertainment" category.


But there are public universities and many programs in Europe, curated by experts that never get anything wrong, so why would we need some solly internet videos, right?


> If YouTube can afford it but their competitors go out of business in the EU how would the market shrink?

"The market" is a statement about demand, not supply. The market can still shrink if the legislation goes through, because the legislation can have secondary effects that cause people to be less interested in consuming content on a tube-style platform.


> May be more profitable to have 30% of a large market than 90% of a small one.

Or in this case, 80% of a large market more than 100% of a small one.


> If YouTube is actually lobbying against this both in public and in private, then I would personally consider that extremely strong evidence this is really bad. However, I have no inside info on their private position.

If the proposed law actually is too expensive for them, I could see them attempting to weaken it to a sweet spot where it's affordable for them, but expensive enough to still keep others out of the market.


Or nobody online is ever able to do this, online video streaming dies and TV keeps on living on artificial life support.


I think you could make a pretty strong case that Google AdWords are even further entrenched and harder to compete with thanks to GDPR.


That's definitely the case, and the entire adtech community knows it. GDPR is another example of lawmakers having no insight or cooperation with the industry they're regulating and creating unintended consequences.


I wouldn’t say that the consequences were unintended. Lawmakers aren’t that dumb. More likely, they engineered the legislation specifically to consolidate market power and revenue in the hands of a small group of entities. They did this both because a small group is more easily controlled, and because this creates incredibly deep pockets from which they can suck out massive, headline grabbing fines. These fines serve to enrich the European governments that assess them, and help the politicians behind GDPR appear to be champions of the people who are taking money from evil capitalist American corporations.


What are these companies going to be fined for when they are following the very laws that now protect them via user-given consent and further establishing their monopolies?

If anything, these companies probably welcomed these regulations and now have more power over politicians who have used up much political capital in getting this done. It's unlikely that any corrective actions will be taken anytime soon.


What are these companies going to be fined for when they are following the very laws that now protect them via user-given consent and further establishing their monopolies?

Oh, they'll find things. There are already active formal investigations by GDPR authorities in various countries against Twitter, Facebook, and Google. The companies do like GDPR, as the fines will be nothing more than a small tax on their massive revenue. It's a win for both the companies and the politicians: the companies get a monopoly in exchange for a small tax in the form of fines, revenue hungry EU nations get multi-billion dollar windfalls, and EU politicians get to look like defenders of the people who will be tough on US companies. Everybody wins, except for would-be competitors and the consumers that don't get any choices about the services they use.


I don't fully get your statement. Why are AdWords harder to compete with due to GDPR? Care to expand please? Thanks.


Walled gardens like Google and Facebook have more personal data than any other independent companies. Because of the services they offer, they also have more direct relationships to users and are more likely to get consent from all of them for their ads.

Meanwhile, all other marketing companies are further blocked from interacting with users because of the lack of consent and direct relationships. This makes the existing monopolies even stronger, and makes it much harder for newer companies to even attempt to compete.


Generally regulation like GDPR require a fair amount of engineering to comply with, so it is easier for larger companies to comply.


While this is true, and generally true for all regulations (they tend to help the existing players as it creates a moat for new entrants), GDPR entrenches FB/Google further because a lot of the law focuses on sharing data with third parties. Google and FB already have their scripts and tracking tags loaded on a plurality of sites you visit, but since they're only sharing it with themselves, it does not impact them as much as it impacts smaller players who would have to rely on data brokers and third parties to approach similar coverage and data.


If your service already doesn't do much in terms of using excessive private data outside of providing the service, GDPR compliance is not as onerous to implement.

But of course, most adtech services do make use of a multitude of private data for profit, and that's why they are having a hard time.


Ugh, I feel like this is a common and overly simplistic take. While it's definitely true that GDPR is harder to comply with if you're doing a ton of evil shit or selling user data, it can definitely be quite onerous to comply with even if you're not.

The company I work for (Teachable) is a specialized site builder for course content. We make all of our revenue from people either paying us directly for a plan, or transaction fees on people buying from our customers, no ads or data selling. Nevertheless, complying with GDPR still took well over a month of some of our best engineers time. Even if you don't sell data, the odds you had a plan prior to GPDR for how to handle right to be forgotten - how do you delete PII (which is defined broadly, including ip addresses) from db backups without ruining their integrity? If you use something with an immutable log, like Kafka, how do you remove the data there? Etc, etc


Plus, even if you do all of those things properly, you will still need to field GDPR data requests, and when you tell users that you don't have any data, they might not believe you. You also might be falsely accused of violating the GDPR, and just saying "no we aren't violating the GDPR" without relying on legal advice is not a good approach if you care about the future of the company.


There's lots of reasons.

1 - google is the only company (bing to a much much lesser extent) with access to primary search data. If you believe that the original pagerank algorithm is too easy to fool and that it has been massively deprioritized in favor of gathering intent data created by user actions on google, this makes them a natural monopoly. Any other attempt to gather the data to make intent targeting work will be hindered by the lack of consumer touch points.

2 - see consumer touch points above -- very few companies have them. Eg the new eprivacy law (depending on which draft -- there are conflicts between Council / Commission / Parliament), will be a virtual monopoly guarantee for FB / Google / yahoo. One of the features is that company 1 can't ask for consent on behalf of company 2, so, again, only companies with an end-user touch point can get legitimate consent. Thus all 3rd party adtech dies. This seems in direct conflict with pro-competition rules in the EU.

3 - Adsense also becomes much harder to compete against. Google does intent extraction -- buttressed by the data from search -- better than anyone else. You can, of course, attempt to compete algorithmically, but you lack the data.

4 - GA allows to extract behavior post click from within the site. No one else has this. You don't even really need personal data for this to be amazingly useful; merely aggregate is very powerful.


What are they supposed to be affording that's actually required in the Directive, like explicitly. Does it say "content must be scanned" or is it more "carriers must ensure content is licensed". If it's the later what's to stop them just adding a "is this licensed" tick box [aka check-box] to the upload form; which IIRC YouTube already have?

They, YouTube, keep mentioning science videos and such but I can't work out what they mean, why would that be any more blocked than cat videos, or videos of people falling over, or whatever else YouTube is hosting -- is quality content somehow more at risk or is that just YouTube's attempt to spin/market their opposition?


The issue is that YouTube, or any other video host, becomes liable for copyright violations of their users. They lose the safe harbor of just being a middle man and must actively prevent unlicensed redistributions.

This means you not only need a ContentID system in the first place, you also need to be ready to handle the financial & legal consequences of inevitably not being perfect.


Ah OK, it was written as if it was a primarily technological cost to perform the "filtering" that was prohibitive.

They mean then they can't afford the system if their anticipated penalties are imposed && if they fail to catch unlicensed works && are subsequently sued successfully for large amounts && can't recover those costs from the uploader.

How many microseconds would it be after such a regulation passed that media mega corps would pull the trigger and kill the goose-that-laid-the-golden-eggs.

>you not only need a ContentID system //

How does the Directive specify that, I'm afraid I haven't read it yet.


> In the absence of the authorisation referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 1, Member States shall provide that an online content sharing service provider shall not be liable for acts of communication to the public or making available to the public within the meaning of this Article when:

> (a) it demonstrates that it has made best efforts to prevent the availability of specific works or other subject matter by implementing effective and proportionate measures, in accordance with paragraph 5, to prevent the availability on its services of the specific works or other subject matter identified by rightholders and for which the rightholders have provided the service with relevant and necessary information for the application of these measures;

So basically if the rightsholders can convince the courts that they could have done more to proactively prevent copyright infringement, they're liable.


A monopoly is what we have right now.


No, any regulated financial impact occurs across the board and is not anti-competitive. Regulation is good, lobbying is bad, libertarianism will destroy us all.


Video hosting sites lose money, so it's not like a contender will ever appear, unless the EU pours a ton of money into it, and not even then (just imagine how many EU funds Dailymotion has probably taken)


>Video hosting sites lose money, so it's not like a contender will ever appear,

Only if you assume YouTube's business model is the only feasible one. You could have a video hosting service that operates like a traditional web-host, letting you pay a standard rate or fee to host and list your content rather than relying on ad revenue and algorithmic curation.

Twitch has an ad driven model where the content creators get paid based on subscription counts rather than data harvesting. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if there was a big data harvesting component as well).


Exactly, video hosting can be a viable business. Full disclosure, I am co-founder of Swarmify where this is our business. We provide paid video hosting at affordable prices very similarly to paid web hosting.


I really like what you have to offer. I'm impressed that you offer unlimited video/bandwidth for a reasonable price.

Just a note though, the video example on the homepage comparing YouTube with SmartVideo (SpaceX launch). I can see compression artifacts on the Smart Video. If I'm honest, that really put me off which obviously isn't your intention.


Fair point on that video. We recently changed some internal settings and it looks like that is a good example where we may need to better tune. I appreciate the feedback as it helps us see things we would have missed


In fairness, streamers in Twitch hear music on stream, which is frequently unlicensed.

So wouldn't Twitch be liable for that content under this proposed copyright thing?


I think many cases of what you hear on Twitch falls squarely under fair use.


Fair Use is an American concept. Even so, YouTube already routinely mutes videos that contain background music.

With the proposed law, the right holders can sue Twitch for hosting that video, unless Twitch ensured they have permission from said right holders to host that video.


How do you know that Youtube loses money?

(Curious. Really.)


They don't say so but people have calculated estimates and it seems there's hardly any way youtube could be _making_ money. Just google it, there's tons of articles with interesting speculations.


The advertising budgets spent on DFP (now the overwhelming majority of budgets) makes it obvious. Youtube makes money. It prints money by information trading on top of that. Subscriptions on top of that. Google covers costs. Maybe not all that money comes back to Youtube as a department, but published revenue numbers are a game for an organization of that size.

A guaranteed adserv on every CDN delivery (and again over a certain number of minutes) is more than the content and serve cost. CPMs for video are net 3$, at least. I don't know who's doing the math, but a link would be interesting with someone demonstrating how they are upside down.


Youtubes infrastructure costs are massive - well into the $1B+ per year category.

Netflix might serve more gigabytes to users, but netflix's content library is tiny in comparison, so edge caches have a near 100% hit rate keeping infrastructure costs a fraction of youtube's costs.


If YouTube has edge caches, which I would be very surprised if they didn't, I'd think their edge cache hit rate would still be pretty high. Not 100%, obviously, but still over 50%–most people watch the same set of popular videos, with a very long tail of unpopular ones that are occasionally watched.


I wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix’s entire library was under 100 terabytes. You could have 100 percent of the content served from edge caches with that.


I haven't tried to estimate the size, but I think one thing that may enlarge it is all of the extra copies of content for various resolutions, different bit rates to support bandwidth issues, and optimized versions for the different mobile devices & apps. That's a lot of different files for 1 piece of content.

Edit--Found this quote from an article[0] written in 2013, so I'm sure it's much larger now. Also, the Open Connect Appliances[1] have about 240TB capacity each, but they just tail the current popular content.

The master Neflix catalog takes up about 3.14 petabytes of cloud storage space, which is converted and compressed down to about 2.75 petabytes, consisting of 100 different versions suitable for watching on more than 1000 different devices.

[0] https://gizmodo.com/how-netflix-makes-3-14-petabytes-of-vide...

[1] https://openconnect.netflix.com/en/hardware/


Not to mention they own their infrastructure.


By the way, I suspect this means that Google is undercutting the competition:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing


I'm wondering if this is overblown, in that while it is clear that rights clearance is an issue the technical solution is essentially moderating all posts. And while that probably breaks the current YouTube business model, as I understand it from Alphabet's quarterly statements YouTube isn't even breaking even today.

I get that it would massively reduce the 'new content stream' but for their commercial clients things wouldn't change all that much. It would also eliminate unlawful video completely since everything would be pre-screened.


That reminds me of Orwell.


How so? That content is screened for copyright infringement?


That IPR is an interesting blockchain/DLT use case is well known, what is perhaps not that well known is that Google does not like permissionless blockchain solutions as it would disrupt their conceptually centralized platform model. A few years ago there was a start-up planning such a solution for handling IPR related to music, but the copyrights holders or rather their national governance agencies did not want to enlist their IPR through this system, possibly because a transparent automatic system would have replaced these governing bodies and their armies of lawyers. Hopefully the @European Commission will fund a standardization effort regarding IPR and a permissionless blockchain solution to solve the issue described in the article. The worst case scenario is that Google pushes its own ContentID solution on everyone and charges a percentage to perform the billing. This is a much larger issue than what is presented by the CEO.


I'm curious: are there any supporters of the copyright regulations around HN that can provide some thoughts on the "pro" side of this? I'm trying to get my head around both sides of the argument, and I just can't see why it might be a good idea - but I may be biased by the strong "against" views from HN posters.


A newspaper curates their content and is legally liable for any copyright violations along with civil liability in the US. Many platforms like YouTube are curating content, but don't want to have the responsibility. It gives these platforms a unfair advantage, to the detriment of media outlets and because of the pseudo monopoly status of them has a chilling effect on diverse ideas. Many, who are experts on the law also feel that it is going beyond the "good samaritan" allowance of section 230 the way they are currently being performed.


There's a fundamental difference between curating content like a newspaper does vs what Youtube and similar sites do. It's a whitelist vs blacklist approach: a newspaper approves things one by one and only has so much content, while Youtube allows anything by default and then removes thing in certain categories.

And even newspapers use the latter approach for some things. I doubt the New York Times wants to be held responsible if someone posts a link to pirated content in an article comment, for instance.


When you visit youtube.com, you are shown a small slice of all the videos in the YouTube database that YouTube thinks you should watch. Isn't that curation?

YouTube tries to automate curation with the use of algorithms that cater content to who they think their visitor is.


> Isn't that curation?

It's not the kind of curation we're talking about, no. We're talking about whether it's allowed (or at least publicly visible) on their website at all, not what is shown on the front page to each user.


Eh, there is some functional equivalence. Less than 5% of videos on YouTube have more than 10,000 views [0]. That means the vast majority of videos are functionally not published. YouTube won't promote any of those videos. They won't show up in on the Home page, let alone the Trending page. They're very unlikely to show up in recommended videos. Unless you're looking for that specific person or a very narrow topic, you're not going to find these channels, let alone these videos.

[0]: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/05/19/1-percent-youtub...


The functional equivalence isn't with curation, but ordering. Newspapers order what goes on the front page, YouTube orders what goes on the home page. The statistic on how many newspaper readers get past the front page, and first few pages, probably follows a similar power law distribution. I don't think that articles near the back are "functionally not published" just because a large % of readers never look at them, so I don't think the similar argument applies to YouTube. YouTube's advantages on this equivalence are also clear, since the newspaper's front page is the same for everyone, YouTube's isn't, and I much prefer YouTube's searching capabilities over trying to search newspapers to see if they have anything on my interest.


I don't really get what you're trying to prove here, I mean yes we can see the algorithm as a form of curation but the point here's different, newspapers have a set amount of pages and articles whereas YouTube has 400 hours of content uploaded every minute. Hence it's not fair to compare the two of them, in my opinion.


All I'm getting out of your argument if YouTube is using these arguments they are trying to say that they do so much business they should be allowed to skip rules, and that they are potentially violating orders of magnitude more copyright than other industries.

Should we allow companies to skip out on laws just because they scaled their business up?


A newspaper isn't the right metaphor. Google runs a print shopt.


It's not a metaphor. They both engage in referencing copyrighted material, but YouTube gets to skip out on the laws that appky to other industries.

This board is usually in agreement that patents that are effectively of the pattern of "were doing something that's been done before, but it's on the internet so it's different now" are complete bullshit.

Why are we giving a pass to internet based companies when it comes to copyright, just because they are making a lot of money?


No, Youtube takes a cut from the ads that are run on the videos of the creators. So they are directly profitting from the content. A print shop as metaphor would work if a creator would have to pay youtube to host his video, but all further proceeds would go solely to him.

If Youtube profits directly from whatever they are hosting it is not that farfetched to say that they might also be liable for what is shown


YouTube certainly used to be quite happy to recommend videos with less than 1000 views if its algorithms decided they were relevant. Not sure if it does that so much these days.


I don't get <1000 views videos recommended to me on the youtube homepage, but definitely get videos with as little as 80 views recommeded to me by the "related videos" feed.


Ah, good point.


> When you visit youtube.com, you are shown a small slice of all the videos in the YouTube database that YouTube thinks you should watch. Isn't that curation?

If it's Youtube's suggestions that are the problem, I suppose Youtube could be more careful in what content they suggest for you without banning other content to exist. It's just going to be harder to stumble upon when it's not what you're looking for.


> When you visit youtube.com, you are shown a small slice of all the videos in the YouTube database that YouTube thinks you should watch. Isn't that curation?

That doesn't have any effect on which videos they're hosting. All the ones that aren't featured are still there. It's not as if Hollywood would be satisfied for YouTube to be hosting infringing content just because it wasn't featured.


The law extends to videos beyond the front page


The fact that Youtube works on a blacklist is a choice of their own. It's still them hosting and publishing the videos.

I am a fan of the DMCA approach for this problem, but saying that Youtube's business model doesn't work with this rule is... kinda the point? It defnitely would be the point for sites like Megaupload


> There's a fundamental difference between curating content like a newspaper does vs what Youtube and similar sites do. It's a whitelist vs blacklist approach: a newspaper approves things one by one and only has so much content, while Youtube allows anything by default and then removes thing in certain categories.

That distinction is no solace if your copyright is being violated or you are being defamed in an unaddressable way.


> That distinction is no solace if your copyright is being violated or you are being defamed in an unaddressable way.

Then send an individual takedown notice, or file a defamation lawsuit. Why should you get a special process that bypasses the legal system?


> Then send an individual takedown notice, or file a defamation lawsuit. Why should you get a special process that bypasses the legal system?

Filing suit against the publisher is not bypassing the legal system, it is addressing the one that causes harm.


The problem with individual takedown notices is that they don't scale. The same excuse YouTube is making for why they can't police the illegal content they host, is why sending individual takedown notices similarly isn't a manageable system to remove illegal content on the platform. People can upload illegal content faster than lawyers can issue takedown notices for them.


> The problem with individual takedown notices is that they don't scale.

> People can upload illegal content faster than lawyers can issue takedown notices for them.

Why is a massive copyright-owning organization's failure to scale a problem that anyone else should help with?

I'm aware of the original lawsuits against YouTube to that effect, and the arguments are just as wrong now as they were then.

(Also, I fully believe that filing an incorrect takedown notice should have legal repercussions, which today it never seems to.)


Why is YouTube's inability to scale to meet the EU's regulation anyone else's problem but YouTube's? Your logic applies again, to YouTube as well. If YouTube can scale to ship videos, they can scale to actually be responsible for them. Shouldn't they be held responsible for the illegal activity they profit from? And be responsible to figure out how to make a business model around that basic responsibility?


You're begging the question by assuming the EU should get to define "responsible" for YouTube, or that they've done so correctly.


>The problem with individual takedown notices is that they don't scale

Ok. So how is copyright policing scalable? I argue that a general copyright filter is much harder than a copyright filter targeting your specific works.

Also, the big copyright holders have automated this process, unless you think they employ thousands of people to send individual take-down notices?


Then why not give newspapers the same protection if that is the issue, it's preferable to throwing the baby with bathwater so to speak.


If I have the choice between making Youtube more like a newspaper or making my newspaper more like Youtube, I at least know which option I would prefer.

Many people here seem to take the notion of a content loss in Europe as bad for granted. I see it as quite positive. If we can replace generic, low quality content with more space for people who do not just ride on copyright but provide genuinely new content, I would consider this to be very positive. Maybe this opens up a space to have more European content on Youtube instead of just having the same generic content dominate the website that is subject to these copyright battles.

The incentive for Youtube is clear, they want to make as much money and generate as much content as possible, with little attention paid to the fact whether the content is educational, regionally relevant, authentic, or original. It seems obvious to me that a Youtube that might be smaller, less profit or attention oriented, and less commercialized is not in their interest.

The one exception I would make here is scientific or academic content, which should be granted strong protections.


> If we can replace generic, low quality content...

When you put up guardrails (so many that people can't even keep up to date with what the automated system detects), that's exactly what you get. The words and images of countless properties would have to be filtered and pulled.

Regardless of what we would hope to happen, people simply ride whatever bland waves generate the most views. This is partly why we have streams of people eating and such, although the "newsy" channels would be hamstrung by this, you can imagine even the "food" streams would be impacted if they dared to say or show the icon of the food they are eating!

This is the technological culmination of capitalistic corruption of freedom vis a vis intellectual property.


That's a really good point. While I would like to see the online platform/publishers be held more accountable, in this instance I don't see how the EU can do that without inevitably leading to the scenario that you talk about.

matt4077 64 days ago [flagged]

> going beyond the "good samaritan" allowance of section 230 the way they are currently being performed.

These experts of yours must be illiterate, because the law couldn't be clearer. Quote:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers [obscene/harassing/otherwise objectionable/etc.]

> Many, who are experts on the law

Name one!

Here's a pretty good summary how the provision in question came about as a response to exactly your 30-year-old flawed reasoning. Plus the site design even fits with how 90s retro this debate is: http://www.cybertelecom.org/cda/samaritan.htm


A newspaper creates the content, they are not curators.


My take on the general issue of platforms and their lack of any meaningful regulation so far: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18434784

I am not particularly big on the overreach our copyright system has. Chasing down people supporting orphaned works or trying to fix stuff for personal use, or whatever else is not cool, and our copyright system has a lot of problems, mostly because of the House of Mouse.

But things like posting current, paid content does hurt the businesses that create that content, and short-term, relevant copyright is there for a reason, and beneficial. Without some form of copyright, the movie and TV industry would not exist. And YouTube channels commonly post full episodes of Game of Thrones or Last Week Tonight the same day of, and often go unchecked for months or years before YouTube takes action.


>Without some form of copyright, the movie and TV industry would not exist.

We don’t actually know if that is true. (Or if it would be a bad thing, heh)


Actually, I think we can pretty conclusively say that it is false.

The value of the medium of video is such that it would have been used no matter what type of copyright exists and people would have found ways to make money in that industry.

A different form of copyright or a complete lack of copyright would certainly result is a significantly different move and TV industry that produced different types of content, but it would almost definitely still exist.

Edit: Two clear examples of types of business models that are much less reliant on copyright are BBC and PBS.


I think it would exist, but it would be even more ad and propaganda driven than it is today and the content would be even lower quality. The goal would be to achieve literally 100% ad time by transforming even ordinary content into stealth advertising.

Basically today you have two models: paid content and ads. Without copyright there would be only one model.


>Basically today you have two models: paid content and ads. Without copyright there would be only one model.

You also have publicly funded television. There is no reason you couldn't also have crowdfunded television. Budgets would be much lower, in all likelihood, but something would be there.

It's actually hard to discuss counterfactuals like this because there is such a strong bias towards assuming that the world we got is the world we would/should have wanted. If things went differently creative outlets might have been different and our preferences would have been shaped differently.


Crowdfunding works for small scale stuff like radio shows, podcasts, and sometimes simple documentaries. Good films and TV shows are too expensive.


Like I said. Counterfactuals with learned preferences are hard. We're accustomed to extremely high production values in television, so we think "good" TV shows are expensive. But there is no reason our definition of "good" needs to correlate to that level of production value. A different equilibrium would have just had lower production values as a norm and we'd likely would have been ok with it.

For example, once upon a time it was fine to have people in all-black leotards walking around a stage production picking people up and carrying things around to simulate poltergeists. People were fine just ignoring them. Now people expect wirework in stage production to maintain the same level of suspension of disbelief. It's just about what you're used to.


Crowdfunding is already giving out in the range of $10-20M for some video games, which is enough to fund an excellent movie, and that's despite competing with the other model. If it was the only way to get new movies, I'm pretty sure people would contribute much more (though probably not nearly enough to fund at current levels).


People pay a lot more for a new video game than they do a lovie ticket.


>You also have publicly funded television.

Sort of. The accounting is complicated but public funding is something like 20% of PBS and local station revenue as I understand it. Most of it is membership, foundations, etc. So most of public TV already is crowdfunded.


Regulations become so ridiculous that we all move to decentralized and hidden web where they don't need to apply.


We won't. A few might. You will get a few hidden places here and there. But nowhere near the amount of creators and consumers (not just you and me, but everyday internet users) a platform like YouTube combines. Because once such a place becomes common enough to attract enough visitors to keep it viable for creators it must be so available it cannot be hidden. And the regulations will catch up.


I don't think many would argue that the content was in any way worse back when the internet was used by a much smaller population. At the end of the day, the content that is really useful and that you actually want is rarely created by an army of everyday internet users. It's created by the dedicated and the ingenious, and those are the types that will migrate quickly to the hidden places.


Look at how hard some of these creators are already struggling with getting enough patreons. How much do you think will survive in a hidden place? I'm not talking about the 1m channels that by now could just sign up with a publisher, but many of the sub 100k gems out there. Dedication and ingenuity will get you nowhere if you can't put bread on the table. Even with all its flaws YouTube has enabled a whole new world of creators to reach out to and be found by a crowd.


Back when the internet was decentralized as I remember it as a kid, all of the people you call "everyday internet users" weren't even on it yet. At best, they were on AOL. Usually, though, they just watched TV.

So what's wrong with creating a new space for savvy internet users who appreciate the freedom of a decentralized web?


If your going to have professional services somewhere in the system, you need to pay them. Pretty much every electronic payment and banking system in the developed world is hooked into tax & money laundering systems, which means anonymous & 'dark' money is effectively illegal.

And professional systems are simple things too like web hosting, on top of content creation.


I'd like to see a decentralized web without commercial services of any kind but I suspect I'm way too idealistic for that.

Really, I just want to see the internet of the early days recreated. I doubt it's ever going to happen, though.


Doesn't this exist already? Fire up TOR, brave the wilderness of hidden services.


Unfortunately, any site or service whose primary appeal is "we keep users hidden and accept what others don't" is going to first attract the effluvial outflux of toxic "content" that other sites reject, which then makes the service utterly unappealing to anyone else.


I'm opposed to this EU proposal, but maybe not quite as strongly as many others...

The general sense I get is that people are completely indifferent (at best) to the interests of creators. This leads, unfortunately, to rather shallow discussions. You may, for example, see complaints about "artificial scarcity", and I actually share their opinion that the deadweight losses of copyright are rather terrible.

What you won't see is any appreciation or consideration or even interest in the reason for the existence of copyright, except for lazy clichés of all politicians being corrupt.

That's a shame, because it precludes this community (and most of the wider tech community) from being a meaningful source of improvements. It also renders its opposition somewhat meaningless, because reasonable people who may be open to arguments tend to stop listening when they encounter the first platitude.

I think if people were less entrenched in this mindset, you'd see far more ideas for better solutions being generated in the comment. Just imagine a threat like this, but with an obtrusive law trying to prevent, say, lawnmower-related accidental deaths: You'd see a litany of ideas, some of which may actually not involve the blockchain.

One example very close to this copyright law is, well, this copyright law's other well-known provision establishing a new sort of IP for news publishers. It's similarly broad, and full of practical difficulties. But when/if it becomes actual law, the tech community will shoulder (part of) the blame for it. Because over the last decade or so, it has watched, or even cheered, the destruction of journalism. The early 2000s' glee of a future of independent bloggers replacing professional journalism has thankfully passed because nobody can still cling to that fantasy with straight face, except Clay Sharky (or whatever his name is; the self-appointed expert that looks like Tom Hanks). Today most seem to have adopted the alt-right's propaganda against "mainstream media", or at least lost interest in anything beyond oneself's short-term comfort.

Case in point: I think you could make an ad blocker that blocks 100% of ads that are annoying, dangerous, or tracking you, yet let unobtrusive ads pass. Something like that would likely block maybe 20% of ads, leaving 80% (and journalism's business model) intact while almost completely giving the users what they want. But the tech community sees no possible value in such a compromise, and ad blockers singularly compete on their ability to hurt creators (see, for example, the ad blocker that proudly proclaimed they would remove affiliate codes from amazon links: absolutely no difference for the reader, except possibly the joy of seeing others suffer).

It's quite obvious that the "other side" of the copyright debate isn't blameless. Perpetual extensions of copyright are a travesty, and so is the loss of appreciation of the value of "fair use". Personally, I believe copyright of maybe 5 years on movies, 10 on music, and two days on newspapers would, once again, deliver 80% of the upside (incentive to create) while also activating the potential of re-use, and generally making these works available for a far larger audience.


> What you won't see is any appreciation or consideration or even interest in the reason for the existence of copyright

Sure you will. In the US, at least, copyright exists for the sole stated purpose of encouraging the production of more works by temporarily granting some exclusive rights over those works. In other words, the public wants both more works and a rich public domain; that's a tradeoff. Now, how much exclusivity, for how long, do you need to grant to generate more than enough revenue to justify almost any work ever produced? What incremental additional works will be produced by the umpteenth new expansion of copyright?

As you said: > Personally, I believe copyright of maybe 5 years on movies, 10 on music

If that, yes. And no more than 5 years on software, either, possibly less.

> I think if people were less entrenched in this mindset, you'd see far more ideas for better solutions being generated in the comment.

I've seen many good ideas, not least of which: make copyright shorter (5-10 years), and permit all non-commercial usage from day 1, limiting only commercial use for that duration. The problem is not in having ideas, it's in getting those ideas adopted.

> Case in point: I think you could make an ad blocker that blocks 100% of ads that are annoying, dangerous, or tracking you, yet let unobtrusive ads pass. Something like that would likely block maybe 20% of ads

You have a very different conception of what "annoying" means than many users of adblockers.

If my adblocker is blocking less than 100% of ads, it has a bug and will be fixed or replaced.


You run a site. On this site, copyright infringing material is available and distributed. This is criminal. Is the excuse "Someone else put it there" valid? No, because you allowed them to put it there. Essentially, it is exactly the same legal issue that has already been settled my The Pirate Bay trial. Note that there is nothing like the DMCA nor the Fair Use Act in the EU.


>You run a site. On this site, copyright infringing material is available and distributed. This is criminal. //

Tortuous not criminal. It's not an offense against people in general it's an offense against the creator to not seek their license to duplicate or modify the work. Why is it an offense, because we the demos (or our predecessors) have supposedly agreed to grant that right in exchange for works eventually entering the public domain.

This deal has been supremely perverted by lengthening copyright terms in the face of ever lower costs of publication and dissemination. _That_ is criminal.

[Aside: what's the Fair Use Act you mention? The only USC of that name I know of wasn't passed.]


Tort doesn't exist in civil law systems. I meant the Fair Use exemption in American law. Nothing as far reaching exist in European law.


> Note that there is nothing like the DMCA nor the Fair Use Act in the EU.

Yes, there is, the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000.

Article 13 of the new proposed regulations specifically strips the "mere conduit" regulations of that directive.


You are making it seem like there is active acceptance of the posting of infringing material, when in fact it is very hard to prevent this material from being posted in the first place.


Then why is porn so hard to find on YouTube? :p I agree that it is hard to prevent the material from being posted, but identifying it as infringing isn't. The trick is for YouTube to only analyze those videos garnering millions of view. Doesn't matter if those with <10 views are infringing because no one watches them anyway.


> Then why is porn so hard to find on YouTube?

because detecting nudity is a much much easier problem.


Pray tell, why on earth would detecting porn be easier than copyrigtht infringement?


Nudity is visually detectable, it's in front of the camera. Attributing ownership of content the same way is like trying to guess the CEO of a cereal company by looking at the cartoon characters on the box.


You're flailing wildly. YouTube of course contains lots and lots of nudity, it is porn that it doesn't feature.


Flailing wildly?! Ha! What is it, exactly you think their algorithms do besides detecting sexually explicit imagery? You know it's mostly machines that are flagging videos for review before a human decides whether it's porn or not, right?


Because there's billions of copyright materials without any common point, even some of them where the ownership is unknown or hard to trace whereas detecting porn is a mostly solved machine learning problem you can even build yourself.


The legislators in the EU are an example of what happens when the clueless, make law. Their GDPR has apparently only benefitted Google, with Facebook taking the smallest hit of the rest.

Many want these behemoths to get less power but these EU guys give them more.

Now this.

One answer it to ghettoise Europe and block them from receiving your content. For one thing that would get rid of those stupid "we use cookies things".


I so hate the cookies thing. It's led me to have to actually read popups rather than immediately close them, and sometimes I end up accepting something that I thought was a cookie popup but was something else.

Absolutely infuriating. Most every site uses cookies, I know that, I don't need to be told that, and your average user doesn't even care.


I just want my browser to know how to manage my cookies.

And to some extent, my browser already does that: I refuse third-party cookies. Only now I get popups telling me to accept third-party cookies because otherwise they won't be able to remember my choice to reject their cookies.

It's a mess. I want smarter browsers that give me more control over this stuff.


You can install Ublock Origin and add cookie notification blocker list, then you will see much less those annoying boxes.


What everyone implements has nothing to do with what the "cookie law" actually requires. You are supposed to be able to reject tracking cookies and it does not affect other cookies (e.g. for logging in) at all.

The problem is that the law is not being enforced.


Some sites are doing this. I logged into my Slickdeals account on vacation and they had an automated system that locked my account and forced me to affirm that I didn't live in Europe or else they would close my account.


I regularly see a number of videos of clearly copyrighted content that have been up for years, with several million views, for fairly mainstream search terms and that would be relatively easy to filter algorythmically (real example - via the characteristic sound & image of the HBO intro in a pirated tv episode). Hard to look at that and believe that Google is doing everything it can to bring them down. That they reject copyright violation reports that come from anyone other than the actual rightsholders (sure, they’d have to make sure someone is not reporting by mistake - it is not a perfect, but still a valuable signal, and if they really wanted to they could encourage it) is further evidence. Further, where these specific videos are not monetized via ads, they bring traffic to YT which is then monetized in other videos, therefore this pirated content is being used commercially, even if indirectly. Like many here I’m no fan of copyright law, but that is no excuse for a multi-billion listed company to make a fortune deliberately flaunting it and then play coy.


I'm not following. By your example, HBO content is being shared and Content ID can trivially determine it's HBO content. Do you have evidence that HBO wants those videos gone, but isn't capable of filing the request? Isn't it just more likely they are getting royalties instead?


No, I don’t have evidence. But I find it unlikely that HBO wants grainy versions of full TV episodes (eg filmed from a VHS recording playing on a TV) on the page of some random YT uploader (not an HBO page or influencer or etc) even if somehow in exchange for tiny CPM royalties. That is only one of several examples I have seen. Perhaps in the case of HBO they could be doing a better job given their size & resources, but for smaller creators it would be a challenge and why should the burden be on them anyway?


Can you link to one of these videos filmed from a VHS recording playing on a TV which has several million views?


1yo Brazilian full feature length film that had a cinema release. 52k views - example of a professional but small creator being pirated. https://youtu.be/ZvQljiVg-xU

Another Brazilian feature film about 6yo - 3.4M views on a profile whose name translates to “watch films online”, with a FOX intro at the beginning. https://youtu.be/r8KGMyfXXHo

1h old Showtime comedy special taken from TV, 1M views - https://youtu.be/Wo27OxaEB3w

If this is above board, what am I missing?


Individually they don't get million views as beyond a certain view count youtube will flag and remove.

However I have seen plenty of shows get constantly reuploaded with new accounts. They usually crop or put some padding animation etc to get through content ID. With HBO' content you can search for example John Oliver's non free segments which are not available on the official channel


Right, but that's not what alanlamm was talking about. The claim was that there were videos with millions of views that were trivially detectable, and that Google simply didn't care.



So a bunch of twenty year old movies (not actually by HBO for the most part, but whatever) that probably didn't sell even at the time.

My guess is that those companies didn't even bother to submit them to Content-ID, considering that Google had no problem detecting a bunch of copyright songs in those movies, for which they're paying royalties.

If submitting stuff to Content-ID is the "challenge" that alanlamm was talking about, then fine, color me unconcerned.


It's trivial to find obviously pirated content, and Google does not care (since it generates views). Being legally forced to react to complaints, and HBO not caring, are each separate from that. Which, admittedly, isn't what the original claim was, that HBO probably cares but that Google doesn't react. But Google doesn't care.


How do you know the copy-write holder has not claimed the revenue for that video? Taking the video down is only one of the options for copy-write holders.


Good luck with filtering algorithmically. There was a recent stupidity that Sony was claiming all to rights, to all performances of the work of long dead, famous composers. Now if they got hit with a few billion bucks for such blatant nonsense this thing might work... or just have little guys publish their own, decent laws about fair use and no Internet behemoths getting in the way.


YouTube's objection seems to be primarily a business model problem - they assume consent and then provide original content creators with a share of YouTube's profit from that work. It's no surprise that they wouldn't want to have to get permission first.

What stops YouTube from doing cursory scans and then relying on a user agreement to protect themselves from liabilities, like "you agree to pay to us sums sufficient to cover all legal costs including any copyright charges, fines, etc., arising as a result of uploading this work"??

However, the Wikipedia page on the Directive [1] mentions that Art.13 :

>"extends any licenses granted to content hosts to their users, as long as those users are not acting "on a commercial basis".

That would be massive as videos uploaded to YouTube would then be able to be downloaded, and even shared, as works for [personal] non-commercial use. This would be a huge change in favour of the people and against copyright rights holders -- perhaps Wikipedia editors misinterpreted?

The article mentions the "Fair Use Act", what's that a reference too? The para it's in is about EU, and the USA Fair Use Act never survived. We don't have a Fair Use in Europe.

It would really help to know which companies are trying to push this and what specifically they're trying to protect from??

---

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_on_Copyright_in_the_...


Europe just can't stop making dumb regulations to punish American Tech giants. They created the stupid cookie law and now half the sites have an annoying cookie notice ... and nothing got better. GDPR is shaping up as a boondgle that is either going to be (is) ignored or result in blacklisting Europeans. And now this poorly thought out regulations will continue this 'winning' streak.


What I love most about the EU and Europeans on this site is that they think that all these regulations will mostly hurt companies like Google and Facebook, and sure they'll be hurt. But the US is the largest market for most US companies, so they're unable to really hurt them like they want to. Instead, the people most affected are European companies that become successful enough for those onerous regulations to apply.

There was a Hacker News thread about a new research paper that showed that GDPR is hurting European investment, and there were plenty of Europeans in that thread saying "Good, stop using my data." Like really? Wouldn't it be better to stop data usage without hurting investment? It's such a self own.


> What I love most about the EU and Europeans on this site is that they think that all these regulations will mostly hurt companies like Google and Facebook

On which site? HN? Many Europeans here are well aware this will mostly hurt smaller sites and independent content creators. Many MEPs seem to hope that European newspapers will get some of Google's money, but I honestly don't see how that's going to happen.

GDPR is a different issue. It's less unreasonable and better intentioned, but the implementation is incredibly annoying. I'd rather see browsers handle this for me in a way I can easily control.

EU data protection laws are excellent. Far better than those of the US, which do pretty much the complete opposite.


>Many MEPs seem to hope that European newspapers will get some of Google's money,

I'm surprised Google News doesn't stick ads on news results and do some sort of 70/30 profit sharing like YouTube. That's the best way for newspapers to profit from a Google Listing. Instead Google News sidesteps copyright issues by not monetizing news results at all.

>EU data protection laws are excellent. Far better than those of the US, which do pretty much the complete opposite

Forget laws. Are things better in practice? Because people tend to get enamoured with regulations because they sound great (I mean, who doesn't want low emission, high efficiency cars in 5 years) that are disconnected with reality.


Ironically, in the US pressure is mounting for content platforms to police "fake news" which is a moralistic mission, rather than enforce something fairly obvious like massive content piracy and systemic copyright violation as a service.

Even in 2018 it seems that Youtube is being funded by the "Napster model" of allowing de facto circumvention of copyright law.

Or, put another way, Youtube is profitable mainly because of vastly imperfect enforcement of laws.


I feel like this criticism of YouTube is about 5 years out of date. At this point most of their traffic is original content by content creators. It's not the Napster model so much as hoodwinking young creatives into shouldering all the risks of producing a service for YouTube's users and using their monopoly power to freeze them out of being able to make anything resembling a decent cut of the revenues for their efforts.

Call it the "Uber" model.


>At this point most of their traffic is original content by content creators.

That’s not my experience. Name me a non-obscure movie, show, or song and I’ll bet I find it on YouTube. Except of course YouTube’s paid content...good luck finding a pirate version of say YouTube original series Kobra Kai, They seemed to have figured out a way to police their own content without issue.


>Name me a non-obscure movie, show, or song and I’ll bet I find it on YouTube.

With songs, at least, most of the time it's posted there by Vevo, so the recording industry put it there themselves. It's unlikely to be a big driver of their traffic or revenue. The incentives aren't even there, they're so quick to demonetize or send DMCA takedowns that anything people are likely to search for are at high risk of being taken down. You really only see the flowering of pirated content in the early days after live events, like when a new movie trailer drops.


> Name me a non-obscure movie, show, or song and I’ll bet I find it on YouTube.

Heavily distorted to the point that you wouldn't really want to watch it in that format if you had any alternative.


>Name me a non-obscure movie, show, or song and I’ll bet I find it on YouTube.

I agree that this criticism is about five years out of date. When I was younger, I used to happily go to Youtube to watch free versions of TV shows and cartoons. However, they've gradually become good enough at enforcing copyright that while you can absolutely still find anything you like on there, the degree to which it must be munged to escape the copyright filters means it's utterly unwatchable. It's actually really annoying, because you can no longer even find short clips of particular moments reliably, as they've often been taken down.


Name me a non-obscure movie, show, or song and I’ll bet I find it on YouTube.

Sure: Kill Bill (vol 1).


Well I did disclaim except for their paid content. Yes you won’t find the full movie on YouTube but I did a search for Kill Bill and scrolled the first hundred results and about 80% are illegally pirated scenes, the full kill bill volumes 1 and 2 soundtracks were available in playlist form, hell there was even the family guy kill bill parody (another illegal copyright violation). With all the songs that’s easily over 100 copyright violations but be damed if you take away from YouTubes Movie subscriptions.


Fair enough, it hadn't show up to buy, so I thought it wasn't on YT Movies. A better example is Mulholland Drive - not sold on YT, as far as a I can tell.

Yes, there are illegally pirated scenes and soundtracks, but you're assuming that companies actually wish to get them off, when in reality they upload it themselves (see the Movieclips account, which is owned by Fandango, which is itself owned by NBC and Warner). Pirated scenes and sountracks are ads for the movies, it's not in their interest to take them down.


https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9D10D8B604D6B7EC

Not quite the full movie, but a substantial portion and its certainly not being used under fair use doctrine like using these clips as examples to discuss film techniques or a parody. This took all of 5 seconds to find copyrighted content on youtube


Uh, those were uploaded by Fandango, a company that sells movie tickets, and which is itself owned by NBC and Warner. It's authorized content.

All you've proven is that detecting copyright infringement is actually hard and not obvious as people here are claiming.


ah, well there you go


It's just extracts of 3min, you cannot compare that to a full movie.


I'm not comparing it to a full movie. I am demonstrating that it is trivially easy to find copyrighted content on YouTube's platform. A list of clips like this is something that other industries/companies get sued over. If I steal your money 2% at a time, I don't get to claim that it doesn't count because each chunk wasn't the whole thing.

Personally I wouldn't actually care about stuff like this, and accept the DMCA safe harbor as a valid argument to protect YouTube and similar sites. However, all of them have started to, or already been deep into, do content curation. Once you take an active role in the content available on your service I dont think you should be able to argue that you can't help what users upload. They are trying to have their cake and eat it too


> I'm not comparing it to a full movie. I am demonstrating that it is trivially easy to find copyrighted content on YouTube's platform. A list of clips like this is something that other industries/companies get sued over. If I steal your money 2% at a time, I don't get to claim that it doesn't count because each chunk wasn't the whole thing.

And how do you know exactly these short clips aren't just allowed and monetized by the copyright owners?

> Personally I wouldn't actually care about stuff like this, and accept the DMCA safe harbor as a valid argument to protect YouTube and similar sites. However, all of them have started to, or already been deep into, do content curation. Once you take an active role in the content available on your service I dont think you should be able to argue that you can't help what users upload. They are trying to have their cake and eat it too

It's exactly what they are doing now, it's called ContentID and it sucks (as expected).


I can't find most Beatles songs nowadays. A few years ago I was able to, but now it seems to be close to impossible.


Actually I find it's the obscure movies that stay up. ;)


You think Uber is not giving the drivers a decent cut of the revenue?


If you search sports highlight such as NBA or NFL, you'll find plenty of copyrighted videos.


Probably because piracy is not an issue in the USA, due to strict enforcement/good alternatives.

Piracy is rampant in Europe. Ironic, considering that EU seems to be up in arms about it:

https://torrentfreak.com/europe-has-the-highest-online-pirac...

(anecdotally, none of the videos i watched last month had anything to do with pirated content. those days gone)


I wonder how much of the higher piracy outside the USA is being caused by a lot of USA content being desirable, but not being released (or much later) on broadcast TV outside the USA.

Sitcoms like Big Bang theory... I'm not sure if they're worth paying for for a lot of people, but it'll take a long time before you can watch it for free (well, except for the advertisements) outside the USA.


And also Netflix only really exist in terms of content in the US/UK, outside of that their library drops so much it's basically useless. Why would anyone pay for Netflix if they also have to torrent as well anyway?


You really think the main way YouTube profits is from illegally posted material? That doesn't seem likely to me.


If that weren't the case, not sure why it would be so costly to comply with the EU laws. Doubly true because of ContentID.


> If that weren't the case, not sure why it would be so costly to comply with the EU laws. Doubly true because of ContentID.

Because the costs are determined not by the number of true positives, but by the degree of difficulty in identifying those true positives with both high precision and high recall, and by the level of risk that false negatives provide.

This is why SESTA forced Craigslist to shut down their personals section in the US. No, the overwhelming majority of posts were not by sex workers, but the liability that SESTA imposed was so high that there was no way for them to operate it in a manner that wouldn't expose them to massive legal risk.


Because the compliance cost is not caused by losing revenue from having to remove infringing content.

And ContentID is useless because it's full of false positives and false negatives, so it only creates problems for honest customers without even removing all of the infringing material.


The article and the comments here make it clear YouTube is saying the cost of following the law, not the cost of breaking it, is the thing that would be too expensive.

Following the law being the cost of following up on the copyright owners of every piece of content before allowing it to be viewed, unlike now where they let it upload and only take action if there is an infringement reported.


And yet rights holders have made no effort to adjust their content offerings to take into account the obvious deficiencies in their own offerings.

To put it another way - why aren't the rights holders even attempting to provide their content in the way their audience wants it? Even if they were failing to compete it would go a long way to strengthening their claims that YouTube is abusing the system.

If enforcement became perfect overnight I don't doubt there would be nothing learnt and nothing would change.


They do, that's what VEVO is for the music industry.

The problem is copyright law allows for copyright of every different aspect of a performance, recording, composition, rendition, video, audio, translation, etc, all to be owned by different people/groups/organizations (and it's different for TV/Radio, even for the same audio recording too).

The glaring deficiency is the copyright system is held together by ducttape and gum, and was never built for a system that allowed perfect reproductions to be transmitted instantaneously. It was designed for selling sheet music to 18th century orchestras.


> why aren't the rights holders even attempting to provide their content in the way their audience wants it?

Define that because I feel like everyone who complains about this is just mad they cannot pay netflix prices and get ad-free content to everything everyone has ever produced. News flash: that content costs a lot of money to product and at least in the US, I don't know of any content I have ever been interested in consuming that wasn't available for rent/buying on places like itunes. Is it more expensive than netflix, yes, but that's because it costs a lot to make. I bet I could make and license a streaming service that had all content ever produced but you would then complain about how it would cost like $200 a month to afford all of those licenses.


That might have been true in the beginning but not anymore. Youtube's Content ID system is the best of its kind, and very effective at taking down copyrighted material. Most of the content at this point is original videos or protected by fair use.


Most of the videos perhaps. But I bet most of the views are for copyrighted material. For example, this supposedly pirated video of the Wilder vs Ortiz fight has garnered 3.5 million views in eight months. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IaBL_pmG_A The original content usually doesn't attract that kind of viewership.


Where are you watching that link from? It says it is blocked in the US on copyright grounds, which makes me think that if you are watching it from outside the US, it's because the copyright holder is explicitly allowing it.


If ContentID works so well, why would it be costly for Youtube to comply with the EU laws?


The issue is it can only identify things it already knows are copyrighted. What happens when a new song comes out? Does the uploader actually own it or not?

It's impossible to say until after someone claims a copyright violation, at which point it might already be too late.


Because this is about liability, not tech. Nothing is 100% perfect.

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