Summary: Internet Producers and Copyright Laws

This blog will be a response to the comments on my article ‘Internet Producers and Copyright Laws’. A comment which I received that I would like to address firstly, is in regards to the strong presence of copyright laws on youTube. Yes, youTube does have strong copyright laws, and they continue to strengthen their presence on youTube. When youTube first arrived on the internet many years ago, an individual could find any type of videos they were looking for, regardless of copyright.

A prime example I look to is videos from the popular show Saturday Night Live. When youTube first arrived, I specifically remember searching throughout youTube for various SNL sketches, and would consistently be able to find the sketches I was looking for, regardless of year. This can no longer be done on youTube as they do not have the copyright to broadcast SNL sketches. This displays the growing presence of copyright laws on youTube. At first, youTube was counterintuitive in regards to copyright laws, unwilling to ‘play fair’ and simply sought out to provide its users with the videos they wanted by any means necessary. The growth of youTube however, has put this to an abrupt end.

Another rebuttal I received that I would like to address is in regards to my involvement in fantasy sports. Some interesting points were brought forth, mainly that there seem to be little to none copyright battles in regards to fantasy sports. I believe the reason for this is that fantasy sports delivers more wanted attention to the sports, and therefore are gladly welcomed by major sport organizations such as the National Football League, among others. Whereas a website like youTube attracts attention from DVD sales, considering if there were no copyright laws you could just watch the videos on their website, fantasy sports attract more attention to the main product. When you participate in fantasy sports, you must consistently watch the games in order to be effective. Therefore, fantasy sports simply attract more viewers and increase ratings, pleasing the major sports leagues.

What I’ve learned this week is that not all people are aware of the strict copyright laws associated with youTube. This is because youTube at first was considered an underground website where people were able to upload anything, regardless of copyright laws. YouTube when on to become a massive worldwide website, and therefore copyright began to rear its ugly head, forcing the website to deal with the strict laws. All content on youTube is now controlled and monitored, and therefore must abide by the correct copyright laws.

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Internet Producers and Copyright Laws

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The Internet is a force, which is prevalent in today’s world, and will continue to be so in my lifetime. The Internet brings us many tools to use within our daily lives in addition to providing us with various new avenues for entertainment. An aspect of the Internet, which continues to grow, is that of ‘Internet communities’. Internet communities involve a webpage centered on a certain product or topic, providing a means to communicate with others and distribute your message allowing for rebuttal from your peers. This blog will focus on my own involvement on producing and consuming within Internet communities and what leads me to do so. In addition, I will look specifically into youTube, and demonstrate how they are able to be so affective in the face of strict copyright laws.

There are various different avenues in which an individual can contribute to internet communities as a producer or a consumer. There are thousands of websites one can look to in order to contribute, and have their technological voice be heard amongst the depths of the World Wide Web. Personally, the avenue where I consider myself a ‘producer’ is in regards to sports. I am an avid sports fan, and am involved heavily in the aspect known as ‘Fantasy Sports’. Fantasy sports are located on various different websites, and involve the creation and competition of a sports roster amongst your peers. The producing aspect that I partake in is through various chat rooms and forums dedicated to Fantasy Sports. I demonstrate to users my strategies when drafting a team, players I am fond, amongst many other topics all centered on fantasy sports.

The reason why I choose fantasy sports as an avenue to produce material for the Internet, is simply because it is my strongest topic area, and I have an immense passion for it. When I ‘produce’ material for fantasy sports, I am rarely met with negative feedback but merely friendly rebuttals regarding my choices, mostly positive. This is what drives me to produce online content, as it is a topic area I could discuss for hours on end, and it brings me joy.

The topic of producing on ‘online communities’ cannot be discoursed without discussing the biggest online community of all, youTube. The largest online community on the Internet today is youTube, as it receives millions of hits a day, amongst thousands of content uploaded daily by users. Although youTube is a peer produced Internet community they also “introduce new ways to regulate and deny access to content under the guise of enforcing copyright protection.” (Hilderbrand, 2007) Therefore, it is an avenue which encourages peer production, but at the same time heavily protects copyright laws. Individuals can only produce material on youTube if it obeys copyright laws, if not, the material will be removed instantly.

Considering they still abide by the strict copyright laws, youTube still finds a way to be highly productive on the Internet, receiving immense amounts of user produced material daily. The reason why youTube can be so prevalent in the face of restrictive copyright laws is because “video-sharing sites are dominated by the sense of exhibitionism including addressing the audience directly, gags and novelty acts and putting the world on display by documenting significant events.” (Rizzo, 2008) The reason youTube remains so prevalent in the face of copyright laws, is there are many other avenues it addresses which speak to peoples Internet desires. The users consumers enjoy seeing videos of exhibitionism that relate directly to the audience. Therefore, youTube continues to be amongst the worldwide leaders in Internet avenues, which allow its users to produce material for the world to see. Although users must still abide by strict copyright laws when uploading material, they are able to address many of the consumers desires without hindering any copyright laws, allowing them to remain prevalent within the Internet community.

References:

Hilderbrand, L. (2007). ‘Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge’. Film Quarterly. Vol. 61, No. 1, 48-57.

Rizzo, T. (2008). ‘YouTube: the New Cinema of Attractions SCAN’ Journal of Media Arts Culture. Vol 5, No. 1, Online Journal.

*Image Courtesy of Purchased Microsoft Office for Mac.