Viacom’s one billion dollar case against Google over distribution of its copyrighted video on YouTube just took a turn for the worse. Google has made the very damning accusation that Viacom actually supported in efforts to have its content put on YouTube as pirated material, only to demand from YouTube later to pull the infringing videos. If these allegations are true, they would severely case Viacom’s legitimacy in the suit that began in March 2007 against YouTube for allowing 160,000 of Viacom’s videos to be posted.
The opening briefs of the case were released on Friday, and Google posted a scathing blog entry in the Official YouTube blog about this whole case. The first portion of it is dedicated to the ideological factor of this case. It points out that when content is made, regardless of who is the maker, there is a copyright on it, and the responsibility falls on the creator to whether or not it should be legal for the video to be hosted online. The hosting service provider, in this case YouTube, does not need to make this distinction.
The earth-shattering stuff comes later on. Google begins describing a very systematic and sophisticated process used by Viacom to enhance the problem of pirated videos:
“For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.”
Already, these are pretty steep accusations which question Viacom’s rationale regarding this whole case. It gets even worse when Viacom suddenly decided to demand YouTube remove videos en masse, only to ask for some of them to be reposted. The situation is best summed up with line: “In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.” If Google can show these allegations to be true, then Viacom’s entire case might be in the trash.
This week, both YouTube and Vimeo have announced that they will be experimenting with beta video players that use HTML 5.0. Unfortunately, these beta players are only available in Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer with the ChromeFrame plugin (so anyone using Firefox is left out).
HTML 5.0 was announced in May 2009. In December 2009, Google announced that it was going to drop Google Gears in favor of HTML 5.0.
As anticipated, HTML 5.0 can be advantageous for video. It includes video as a supported tag, which allows simplified coding and no video buffering if you want to go in and out of a video stream. Unfortunately, at this point not much has been done with HTML 5.0. For example, HTML 5.0 on YouTube does not support videos with ads, captions, or annotations, and also requires a compatible browser.
Via PC Magazine.
YouTube has been cranking video quality in recent months, offering a larger screen and HD options for visitors who want a more in-depth experience. However, not all of us have that luxury on our netbooks, where high quality video can look more like a slideshow than anything else.
On the YouTube blog, the site showed that it got the problem:
“A consequence of rolling out higher quality video, HD and, more recently, 1080p, is that playbacks might suffer if bandwidth or computer processing power is low.”
For this reason, YouTube has launched a beta of the all new YouTube Feather, which ditches much of the screen clutter and simplifies the UI for more streamlined use. Video quality is dropped to standard only and only the ten most recent comments are displayed. You can sign up for the beta with your YouTube account now, though in the near future you may not need to.
“There are also a few countries where bandwidth is at a premium and videos can take several seconds to start playing. If we see adoption go up along with improvements in latency, we’ll look to roll this out of TestTube and make it more widely available.”
Amen to that.