Commentary

'You Could Lose Your Booty': YouTube Issues Copyright Cartoon

How serious is Google/YouTube about hosting pirated content? Hard to say given the hours and hours of material that finds its way onto the system. I can locate full episodes of just about any program from TV history I enter into the query box, but I have no idea if someone gave permission for that first episode of "I Dream of Jeannie" or "Captain Nice." But YouTube surely needs to be seen making a fair effort to deter misuse of its network. Yesterday the site rolled out an anti-piracy campaign and education program. To their credit, the Google/YouTube promotional videos are getting a lot better. Gone are the lab dweebs walking us through the minutiae of new products. This time our tutorial on copyright is led by the Happy Tree Friends.

In a contemporary turn on the great driving safety and dating etiquette instructional films of the 1950s (anyone out there old enough to remember these gems being shown in "health class"?), we have the hapless protagonist. The Bunny in a pirate hat just keeps falling into copyright violations, from his handycam filming of a theatrical film to a simple mash-up with unlicensed assets, our unwitting burglar of intellectual property keeps getting YouTube "strikes" against him. Warned that he could be sued, "lose his booty," "or worse" lose his YouTube account, his creativity seems thwarted at every turn. 

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According to YouTuber Justin Green on the company blog, anyone receiving a copyright violation notice is required to watch this video and go to "YouTube Copyright School" where you have to pass a quiz involving a small handful of questions like "Giving credit to the creator in your video's description is enough to prevent copyright infringement from occurring." Well, that should do it, eh?

Actually, illustrated examples of violations might have been more effective in clarifying what is for many a confusing topic. But who are we to doubt the wisdom of invoking Happy Tree Friends?

Interestingly, the video has been watched a mere 6,000 times according to the counter last evening. More to the point, users seem to dislike it. Comments were disabled for the video but last I checked the voting was running more than two to one in favor of "dislikes."

Come to think of it I don't' recall those health class films having much of an impact either. 
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