Copyright laws threaten online video kingpins

By Jennifer Davis
November 17, 2006

Adults, teens and even children scramble to their computers for the instant online access to popular video clips. Video sharing is a popular way for anyone to store short videos for public or private viewing.

Well known services such as Google Video, Myspace and YouTube all provide access for free video sharing. According to a statement YouTube made at a public hearing, “YouTube is a service provider that complies with all provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

The DMCA was passed in 1998 to protect copyright holders. This also offered protection to Web service providers. Their liability was limited in cases where their customers were found guilty of copyright violation.

A guy walks into a convenience store. Without notice he steals a pencil and places it in his pocket. According to history professor Dr. Jolyon Girard, “Easy accessibility does not excuse theft.”

A variation in opinions arose from excusing people from the illegal copyright consequences.

Earlier this year, a skit from “Saturday Night Live,” called “Lazy Sunday” attracted a large audience to YouTube’s site. Generating vast media attention the company pulled the clip at the request of NBC. YouTube claims that they forbid the uploading of such material.

Freshman marketing major Gina Nicotera commented on the Saturday Night Live scandal. “People persist for advancements in technology. Once that happens, there is an outbreak. Ironically, the family and friends of the “Saturday Night Live” stars are most likely watching the videos themselves,” Nicotera said.

The recording industry has a goal to expand through advertisement, to ensure that business moves forward. Through the sharing of popular videos at Google Video, the purchases of foreign films have expanded throughout the United States.

Both Youtube and Google Video state that they take copyright policies very seriously. Both require that the provider must hold necessary rights to the material. Video sharing supervisors are in the process of devising a way to police the content of these videos.

“Distribution of these videos is not right, it is their money and it is their work,” junior social work major Amanda Avena said.

This controversial issue has created a topic in which large corporations will continue to explore. In the meantime video sharing providers such as YouTube, Google Video and Myspace will move along.

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Jennifer Davis

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