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PeerTube. What It Is, and What I Think It's Problems Are (mrfunkedude.com)
48 points by valeg 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

I am working on the android client incase anyone wants to contribute. Any help is appreciated.


I really like the idea of peer to peer. Unfortunately, in my jurisdiction (Germany) this makes you the content provider, because you are also uploading to other peers. So wouldn't use without proper VPN or other means. I guess this makes it really hard for this kind of application to thrive, since in a lot of country these are in legal grey area.

> I’d say more then 3/4 of the videos on most of the PeerTube instances I’ve visited are taken from YouTube. [...] It’s also a glaring admission that YouTube is better.

I think it's different, it's less of an admission that YT is better and rather that all the creators are on YT at this moment.

I think PeerTube needs to find a way to watch youtube videos on the instance (YTDL maybe?) and to monetize videos (Patreon link? Paypal? etc?)

It's also an admission that your video will wind up on YouTube whether you want it to or not--so you need to put it up before anyone else.

The only question about YouTube is whether you get the money or some scammy uploader does.

I don't think we really disagree that much. What I meant was that taking YouTube's content is an admission as to where the good content is.

I'm a pretty tech savvy guy, and looking at the instructions on setting up a PeerTube instance (which I guess is required to even watch videos let alone upload) already turned me off. I can't imagine a creator wanting to film a few videos would want to learn the details of setting up and maintaining an instance.

You're kidding, right?

I'm watching a video on peertube right now and it took literally one click. Nothing to install, the user experience is just like YouTube.


For instance.

Where are you in the world? What's your connection like? I'm on a 100 megabit downstream (95 nominal) connection in Australia and there are often videos on Peertube that won't load at all for me. YouTube is peered with a local Akamai node or with my ISP and is nearly always instant. The user experience is not like YouTube.

Michigan USA, cheapest package my cable provider offers, which is 30 down, 5 up.

I'm fairly new to Peertube but I haven't found any that won't load. Sometimes they buffer a bit in the first moments, but then they're fine.

I might be missing something, but I'm not sure where you got the idea that you need to run an instance to watch videos. I did a cursory Google with very little prior knowledge of peertube, and their main site seems to have links to instances (like. Framatube.org) where you can watch videos through a web browser.

> My next problem is with theft.

Piracy is not theft. And we can't have it both ways. It's either centralization with censorship and all kinds of enforcement of rules or decentralization with resistance to censorship and piracy.

You are exactly right that piracy is not theft. I chose to use terms that the common person reading it would understand. I know that this doesn't help people understand that piracy is not theft, but I have to pick and chose my battles.

I just wanted to drop into the comments here and say "WOW". Thanks to Hacker News you guys gave me the most views my little blog has ever had in the year that it's been up.

I plan on writing more about the Fediverse in the future.

Thank you for your attention and the fun ride. I hope that you'll visit me again.

can we design a system which provably can not be manipulated by the status quo (youtube and others) to cause these issues? in theory YT could be poisoning the well with porn, some of its own lesser random videos; in order to arrange copyright violations; analyze and exploit the lack of language filtering etc...

I am not claiming the status quo is proven to be the cause of these issues, but I do claim that I know of no proof which proves the system to be resilient against such manipulation. Perhaps if one succeeds in designing a system that is provably resilient in some sense, the problems would automagically disappear?

Maybe let people create post moderated curated lists of things where anyone can post stuff and then let anyone to subscribe to those lists. If you stop being satisfied with curation of some lists, you unsubscribe and choose other lists.

> My next problem is with theft. There are a LOT of stolen YouTube videos.

That's awful. I hope Youtube will quickly find replacements for those stolen videos.

Something I also find ironic is that I think most people uploading videos to YouTube would not actually mind if their videos were shared elsewhere so long as they were given proper credit. Most people are just uploading stuff they want as many people to see as possible.

It's ironic because you already have free access to their videos, and they would give you permission to share elsewhere if you were able to ask, but in practice you can't. Getting the permission is burdensome, and the video that's displayed on YouTube is very liberally licensed to YouTube who will aggressively claim 'ownership' and reject any efforts to use it elsewhere.

It'd be interesting if sites that offer user generated content for free (and only these sites) could not force content submitters to opt-in to non-free licenses - though users could opt in to such agreements. It's their right as a company to only publish under non-free licenses, but this behavior serves no real purpose other than to be obstructionist and anti-competitive.

> Something I also find ironic is that I think most people uploading videos to YouTube would not actually mind if their videos were shared elsewhere so long as they were given proper credit.

This is the real question here. Are the creators getting proper credit? And for the ones who use it as a source of income, are they able to get paid the way they would on YouTube?

That'd be the idea of leaving it up to the content creator to decide. If somebody believes they personally benefit from a walled garden then they would certainly want to opt out of free licensing. If they're more after just getting the content out there, then they'd want to stay on a free license.

And I wouldn't just restrict this to video. Do you mind if I use your post elsewhere (with accreditation)? Probably not. I certainly don't. Yet in reality, it'd be unlawful for me to do so. It's copyrighted from the moment you write it. The only reason Hacker News can display it is because of this blurb from the terms on here:

By uploading any User Content you hereby grant and will grant Y Combinator and its affiliated companies a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty free, fully paid up, transferable, sublicensable, perpetual, irrevocable license to copy, display, upload, perform, distribute, store, modify and otherwise use your User Content for any Y Combinator-related purpose in any form, medium or technology now known or later developed.

Transitioning to a free license would in no way directly negatively affect Hacker News. It certainly wouldn't negatively affect users. I expect most don't even realize what they write is copyrighted. And in any case users who want to avoid their comments being legally shared elsewhere could easily opt out.

The question isn't whether a licensing scheme like this is possible. It's not like YouTube prevents people from attaching whatever license they want to their work. But these videos are being ripped and uploaded elsewhere today, so the idea that people who don't want their work shared elsewhere could opt out is dubious.

My question is: in the world that exists today, are people on PeerTube crediting creators of content they rip, and are those creators being paid in the same way that YouTube would pay them?

No, YouTube does prevent exactly this. This is the whole point of this idea.

When you watch videos on YouTube the license you are bound to is not the content creator's, but YouTube's. When a user uploads a video to YouTube they agree to grant YouTube a license that is extremely generous to YouTube, not dissimilar to what you agree to when posting on here. And so when you then go and watch a video on YouTube you are bound by their terms that they then attach to to access to their licensed content. This includes a prohibition on duplication. Their terms and conditions also expressly prohibit commercial solicitation of users for their content.

It creates this really weird scenario. A user wants their content to be shared as much as possible. They upload it on YouTube, now suddenly that content is effectively owned by YouTube and all lawful sharing stops there. If YouTube were required to allow users to default to free use licenses it would in no way negatively affect their content, but people would be able to continue sharing videos beyond YouTube - it would help enable competition and the freer spread of information and ideas.

From the YouTube terms of service [1]:

> For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your Content. However, by submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content

> You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service.

Which is to say, creators don't give up any rights by uploading their videos to YouTube. The license they give to YouTube is nonexclusive, meaning they can still distribute their videos however they want. (This is also how the licensing on this site works [2], as well as most other sites with user-generated content AFAIK).

YouTube's license does specifically disallow its users from ripping its videos and distributing them elsewhere. But that's fine — unless they specifically choose to license their videos in that way, the normal copyright owned by the creator doesn't allow for that either! In that case, the content creators themselves are preventing sharing, and YouTube has nothing to do with it.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/t/terms [2] https://www.ycombinator.com/legal/#tou

I don't believe you've understood the initial suggestion, so let's go back. Many people would prefer to make their contently freely available to as many people as possible. In practice this is a copyleft license. Such licenses are of the form that the licensee, such as YouTube, is granted a license allowing them to use and do anything with this content - so long as the same rights are extended to any others who are provided access to this content.

Unfortunately most sites, including e.g. YouTube, do not allow this. They require uses to agree to non-free licenses. One of the primary reasons they do this is to help prevent and obstruct competition. YouTube goes a step further by making it against their terms to contact users for licensing inquiries. This is all extremely anti-competitive.

So what can be done?

Well that's pretty easy. Free licensing would in no way meaningfully burden or, in itself, harm YouTube or other such publishers. If a site primarily generates revenue by providing free access to user generated material, then require that the users be allowed to enter into free licensing agreements with that site, if they so wish. While creators could be incentivized to agree to non-free licenses, such as by payment, the content itself would be treated identical whether a user chose to enter into a free licensing agreement, or a non-free licensing agreement.

The goal is to turn "free" into free. And in the process help spur more competition and a wider spread of information and knowledge.

Here's the point of disagreement, then: I don't think YouTube prohibits "non-free" licenses, and I don't see how their terms of service can be construed as such. I also don't see anything that would prevents users from contacting content creators for licensing inquiries. Could you point out where in the terms these exist?

YouTube itself refuses to agree to free licensing agreements with content creators. It forces them into a non-free agreement, or nothing. This is done, in no small part, to deter competition.

The term is 4H, "You agree not to solicit, for commercial purposes, any users of the Service with respect to their Content.".

That would include licensing requests. Commercial purpose does not mean e.g. only for pay. It has a broad definition that would almost certainly include a peer to peer company reaching out to content creators to try to host their content, even for free. Once again, that is their exclusively for anti-competitive purposes as I doubt even users that just want to share their content with no expectation over remuneration would opt in to having any and all proposals preemptively killed off.

Perhaps it's just my viewing tastes, but most of the content I view on YouTube includes the creator's own credits. You'd have to work fairly hard to erase all traces of the creator, in many cases destroying the content itself in the process.

Most videos on YouTube were of television and movies when they started.

The whole YouTube stars and original content came much later.

The videos were too short for piracy, they were capped at like five minutes long. I used to watch videos by a legit "youtube star" named Brookers. They also used to have reply videos, before it got clogged with spam. It used to be a lot more social.

Ironically you get Youtube videos on TV now, credited "YouTube".

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