Monday, April 25, 2011

Shoot First, Apologize Never, Then Offer a Pop Quiz With a Get Out of Jail Free Card

YouTube seems to be in a position similar to Baidu. Facing a potential appeal and negative campaign in terms of its copyright policy, YouTube is now turning its policy to making violators go back to school. (Yes, back to school.)
YouTube has a three strikes and you’re out policy regarding DMCA notices. Following the third strike, a user is suspended. (Circumventing this suspension can be as simple as opening a new account.) However, YouTube is now offering a new method to remove strikes – take a copyright class and pass a test. (YouTube insists that these users must then maintain a clean record.)

YouTube is also trying to self-regulate, pledging to build on its copyright policy including a 24 hour takedown policy, improving responses and system for DMCA takedown requests and improve its anti-piracy review.

A campaign by YouTube to show its improvements in assisting and taking seriously copyright complaints….is YouTube hedging its bets about its chances of reversal in the Viacom case? (Previous coverage of YouTube v. Viacom can be found here.)

Maybe the decision involving parent company Google in the book settlement case has YouTube a little more concerned. (That is a blog post for another day.)

There is an irony here. Clearly, YouTube knew that its site attracts copyright infringement. Viacom would argue that YouTube encouraged and profited from copyright infringement. Now, YouTube will be providing a course on copyright.
Now that YouTube is clearly the market leader in video content posting on the web and the website that most people would quickly go to first if looking for a video, YouTube seems to now want to not only clean up its image. A new startup for video web content would likely have to follow the YouTube model to allow significant amounts of infringing material to be posted to direct traffic to its site. Now YouTube can try the corporate responsibility routine and keep competitors at bay with all things – copyright.

YouTube, like Baidu maintains that the content that appears on its website is the uploader’s responsibility.

What effect do you think the school will have?

Is YouTube similar to Baidu trying to self-regulate fearing government intervention? Is it too late? Will the government step in? What happens (either way) in the Viacom case may determine if (or when) the government takes action?

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