December 31, 2006
YouTube will be celebrating the New Year with videos of your New Year’s celebrations. Start uploading your videos. Chevrolet and Warner Music are sponsoring the promotion. There will be videos from YouTube users, like Boh3m3, Renetto, Chad Vadar, The Winekone, and YourTube News. Also, according to a press release, there will be “almost live” New Year’s eve concert video from The Flaming Lips, the Goo Goo Dolls, My Chemical Romance, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others. And you can post your own videos. For more New Year’s videos, go here or the homepage.
Be safe, everyone. See ya next year!
December 28, 2006
So Esmee Denters is starting to hit it big, at least on YouTube. Today, YouTube selected Esmee’s new video of her original song as its top-of-the-page featured video. Unfortunately, the video quality is pretty shoddy, and it appears to stop every few seconds at least on my computer. (The video didn’t run smoothly for me, so I have no opinion on her latest song.) Hopefully, the New Year will bring better technology for Esmee’s music career.
UPDATE: According to one user of YouTube (who posted a video), the huge number of hits and comments on Esmee’s video on the front page of YouTube today shortly after YouTube posted it caused YouTube’s servers to become overloaded (even causing the site to go down for 5 minutes). I haven’t verified this claim, but I did see the message posted by YouTube this afternoon that some functions were temporarily unavailable (which is unusual for a weekday afternoon — most maintenance takes place late at night). And the views on Esmee’s video did go from 50,000 plus when posted to 236,000 plus right now, so there certainly was a lot of traffic to the video. But the even bigger story may be that it appears that a number of YouTube users are making videos of Esmee and her videos. Now that’s buzz, if not a bit overboard.
December 28, 2006
News: First, John Kerry had a “botched” joke. Now his former running mate John Edwards had a “botched” website, which announced his presidential candidacy a day BEFORE it was supposed to. So the Edwards people tried to salvage the day by sticking a video on YouTube pre-announcing the official announcement tomorrow. Confused?
December 27, 2006
Esmee Denters, the YouTube singing sensation from the Netherlands, posts videos of herself singing on her low tech webcam. The sound quality on the webcam leaves a lot to be desired, so you can never really tell just how good Esmee is.
Well, now — finally!!– there are two new videos of Esmee singing parts of her original song, “Figure it out,” on professional equipment. The sound quality is worlds better. Esmee’s never had singing lessons, so just imagine her potential.
Video 1 of Esmee singing on Dutch radio
Video 2 of Esmee singing on Dutch TV
December 21, 2006
News: Hamilton police in Canada posted on YouTube security footage taken at a bar where a murder occurred, in order to have a suspect identified. The clip received tens of thousands of views. Eventually a guy turned himself in. (more from the Chronicle Herald)
Analysis: Pretty incredible — YouTube is now a law enforcement tool Will YouTube need to add a category for videos of “suspected criminals” to its menu of choices? I’m very intrigued about this use of YouTube and will be asking some of my criminal law colleagues what they think.
December 20, 2006
As promised, I wanted to say a few more thoughts about making my first YouTube video (see below). I had fun doing it, but I won’t be giving up my day job just yet.
Old tech: Even before I could start editing, I consumed a lot of time. As I said before, I don’t own a video camera and the one I borrowed was an old High 8 camera. (I’ll spare you the details of how I got it converted to an editable digital format.) Also, I shopped around for a video editing program and asked a number of different people for advice, so that took some more time. I couldn’t figure out how to work the iMovies program on my old iMac, and was just about to plunk down some money to buy a Windows application when — lo and behold — I discovered I already own Windows Movie Maker on my new laptop.
Windows Movie Maker: A very easy program to use. I knew nothing about editing before using it. WMM did the trick.
Telling a story: Once I got the hang of editing, I had a lot of fun trying to tell a story from the raw video and photos taken by my students. It also helped to have an amazing original song from one of my students that I really liked. My goal was to make a very short, tightly strung video. My long version was over 5 minutes, the shorter version a little over 3 minutes. Still a little long by YouTube standards, but I needed to get in as many of my students in the footage.
So what did I learn?: Besides editing, I learned that one of the real advantages of video is that it captures a memory almost like nothing else can. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video may be worth a million. When I watch the video of my class, the memory is priceless. YouTube fits into the picture by providing an easy way for me to share the video with my class and others. That’s the original idea — sharing video — that prompted YouTube’s invention. That the YouTube founders perfected their idea so well is a blessing for innovation.
December 20, 2006
News: Zogby International took a survey of 1,203 adults. By a 2-1 margin, adults said they still preferred the news on TV over a “citizen” video of an event. But 83% said they believed 12 year olds know more about the Internet than members of Congress. 66% said the printing press was a more important invention than the Internet. (More here)
Analysis: Fascinating numbers. But Zogby apparently failed to ask the $64,000 question: how many adults prefer YouTube over TV for entertainment. That’s a more important question, in my view, than the news-related question Zogby asked. (Who in their right mind would think that YouTube today is an adequate substitute for news media?)
December 19, 2006
News: Co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen reportedly sent a letter to JASRAC, Japan’s version of ASCAP, to address its demand about alleged copyright infringement of their music and works on YouTube. In the letter, the YouTube founders are said to be preparing a Japanese warning about copyright infringement for their Japanese users and a better authentication process. Also, the founders may make a trip to Japan to discuss the issues. (More here)
Analysis: Sensible measures. But the personal trip to Japan — is that necessary? Hey, if you’re young and your company’s just been bought for $1.65 billion, why not?
December 18, 2006
I made a condensed version of my first YouTube video. I snuck in a few more pics, but took out most of the video except the cameo appearance from the Dean of our law school. The original music is “Picture of Me” by one of my students, Lee Wadlinger — for more of his music, go here: http://myspace.com/leewadlinger. I promise I’ll have more to say about what I think about the process of making your own videos.
December 17, 2006
News: YouTube didn’t win Time’s Person of the Year — you did.
Analysis: This sounds like last week’s excellent New York Times article, “2006: Brought to You by You,” which I blogged about in a post “2006: The Year of You.” Since you all won Time Magazine’s award, where do you pick up the prize?
Although YouTube did not win, Time showed the YouTube founders much love with a lengthy article about The YouTube Gurus and nice photo spread.
December 17, 2006
News: Rick Stengel of Time Magazine posted a short video asking YouTubers to nominate their choices for Time Person(s) of the Year. The distinction goes to “the person or persons, who, for better or worse, have most influenced the news the past year.” Last year, Bono, and Bill and Melinda Gates won.
Of course, several YouTubers, like the guy below, have nominated the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Jarim. (The last tech people who won for their technological contributions were Jeff Bezos for Amazon in 1999 and Andy Grove for Intel in 1997. The Google guys haven’t even won yet, so if the YouTube guys win, that would be a coup. Full list of past winners here.)
December 15, 2006
This is my first YouTube video that I put together. Please be kind. I don’t even own a video camera, and the one I borrowed is old. I’ve never edited a film, either, until now. I’m in the video, but that’s not me narrating. I’ll have more to say later, but, for now, all I want to say is something to my 1L students: Thanks!
December 14, 2006
News: The major TV networks or their parent companies reportedly (according to WSJ) are considering developing their own joint video site to compete with YouTube. Nothing’s definite yet, but at least there have been discussions.
Rick Aristotle Munarriz has doubts about such a venture’s likelihood of success, if attempted, in a wonderfully written article in the Motley Fool. One of the main criticisms is that the TV networks will have a hard time competing with truly user-created content or user-generated buzz for viral videos. The TV networks will be more of a top-down-approach, transplanting parts of their TV shows online, probably with ads that annoy users. But YouTube is more about mash-up, letting users do pretty much what their little hearts desire.
Analysis: Although I share the Motley Fool’s skepticism, I have to say that, in principle, I support the general idea of competition and letting the TV networks put out their own video website. They may be slow to the game, but they have a right to play. Let’s hope they give the fans (meaning users) something they really want.
December 12, 2006
Review: This is a great promo for a new pilot about trying to fit in at a new high school, when you are a minority (here, Asian Pacific American). The show’s directed by Eric Byler, whose done some impressive work already.
I’ve long wondered what ever happened to serious films or TV shows about high school students. When I was growing up, John Hughes made a series of really incredible films about high school that seriously explored the ups and downs of being a teenager. My favorite was the Breakfast Club, which I hope still touches the hearts of teenagers today. It’s a lot more substantial than seeing American Pie 5, the O.C., or reruns of Dawson’s Creek. Perhaps the MySpace phenomenon among teenagers can be explained in part by the lack of good television shows teenagers can relate to.
So please email PBS here (who is thinking picking up this show) to support this effort!
December 12, 2006
I tried to play this video discussion of net neutrality by Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the Web, but I couldn’t get past 13 seconds without the video shutting down. At first, I thought this might be a prank, but now I think it’s probably not. Anyway, there’s a certain irony to a computer glitch for the guy who invented the Web. Or maybe it’s just my computer, and the joke’s on me.
December 11, 2006
News: Jon Pareles has written an article in today’s New York Times titled “2006, Brought to You by You.” In it he analyzes the growing phenomenon of YouTube, MySpace, and other sites that allow users to create content of their own, sometimes mixed in and mashed up with the content of others. This is the so-called “user created” content or peer production. Pareles goes with the classic First Amendment description: “self-expression.” I like that.
Analysis: Hands down, this is the best news article I have read about the YouTube phenomenon. The article deserves several readings. I will try to write several posts about this article over the next few weeks. Today’s post will focus on this wonderfully written paragraph of Pareles:
“It’s often inept, but every so often it’s inspired, or at least worth a mouse click. It has made stars, at least momentarily, of characters like the video diarist Lonelygirl (who turned out to be a fictional creation) and the power-pop band OK Go (whose treadmill choreography earned far more plays than its albums). And now that Web entrepreneurs have recognized the potential for profit, it’s also a sweet deal: amateurs, and some calculating professionals, supply the raw material free. Private individuals aren’t private anymore; everyone wants to preen.”
I think Pareles is exactly right. Most of the “user created” content on YouTube probably would not make anyone’s Top 1,000 list of favorite material, or Top 100,000 list, for that matter. Many of the videos are silly, bordering on inane. But creativity should not always or usually be expected to produce gems. Once in a while, it does. And that’s when you hope that someone in a position to do so can find the “gems” on YouTube or MySpace, and shine the light of public attention on them. Undiscovered talent becomes discovered, all through the Internet.
December 8, 2006
This video really gets moving after 30 seconds — look for the buses!
December 7, 2006
News: In response to the letter sent by JASRAC, Japan’s equivalent of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), YouTube reportedly issued the following statement: “We have received the letter and are reviewing it. Meanwhile we will continue to provide content companies in Japan and elsewhere with tools to easily notify us of unauthorised uses of their content so we can promptly remove it, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.” (More here)
Analysis: As I’ve said before, a lurking copyright time bomb for Internet sites like YouTube is the potential liability under foreign copyright laws that do not have DMCA safe harbors or their equivalent. YouTube refers to DMCA in its response, but other countries are under no obligation to follow U.S. law for conduct that occurs within their borders. Having said that, U.S. law can be influential among other countries, especially developed countries like Japan. I do not know whether Japan has a safe harbor comparable to the DMCA., but I am checking.
December 7, 2006
News: Rocky first came out in 1976; not only was it a box office success, it won the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year. Well, it’s hard to imagine that some 30 years later, Rocky is still fighting. But he is.
December 6, 2006
News: The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers sent a demand letter to YouTube complaining about infringement of copyrighted Japanese material. If you remember, last month YouTube pulled down 30,000 videos that may have infringed Japanese shows or music.
JASRAC doesn’t like the current “notice and take down” policy of YouTube. Instead, it wants YouTube to be more proactive in policing its site before content is posted. According to one report, “The Japanese group also demanded that until YouTube implements proactive anti-copyright technology, the video sharing site should post a message in Japanese warning users that they may be prosecuted for posting copyright infringing videos, keep a register of names and addresses and terminate accounts of illegal posters.” (More from Stan Beer)
Analysis: This is a recurring question in the Internet context — how much should websites or service providers be expected to “filter” or prescreen content of third parties before it gets posted on the site. The DMCA safe harbor provision, which applies in the U.S., attempts to strike a balance between stopping copyright infringement and not overburdening websites to screen every single piece of third party content before it is posted. The “notice and take down” policy is one that DMCA adopts.
JASRAC, however, raises a legitimate question about other alternatives. YouTube says it’s developing filtering technology to help identify potentially infringing files. At least JASRAC has not (yet!) suggested that YouTube should hire employees whose job would be to censor out any file they suspect could infringe someone’s copyright. That would be a herculean task. Over 65,000 videos are posted a day on YouTube, and that number is only growing. I would not relish the job of any person who had to sit all day flipping through videos, many of which are frivolous, if not downright stupid. I’m not sure how much you’d have to pay me to do that job.
December 5, 2006
News: At the ITU Telecom conference, Cisco CEO John Chambers predicted that businesses will follow the YouTube model in facilitating and promoting user generated content. Chambers suggested that we haven’t seen nothing yet in terms of the potential for businesses to foster user created content. “That’s our children – wait ’til we get hold of it. We will change business models on this. In the future it will be about producing it yourself” as businesses develop technologies that serve as collaboration tools. (More from CNET)
Analysis: This is a pretty bold statement from the CEO of Cisco. I would love to see what Chambers says happen. If more businesses develop technologies to promote user created content, that would be great for society. Of course, the new technologies, whatever they are, must allow for sufficient breathing room for users to create their own stuff. Otherwise, there’s a danger that a big business-driven environment for “user” created content will end up being nothing more than big business’s creation.
December 5, 2006
News: Internet actress Jessica Rose, who plays lonelygirl15, won the “Big Web Hit of 2006″ award on VH1 last night. Jessica beat out the following competition:
1. OK Go, Here it goes again (cool treadmill video)
2. Fergie, London Bridge
Analysis: I find it odd to be comparing music videos to a fictional movie-like vlog –they’re apples and oranges. Given the category, lonelygirl15, no doubt, deserved the award.
December 4, 2006
News: Most of the stories of YouTube videos helping catch a suspected crime on tape typically involve a camera of a bystander or a security camera. Here’s a report out of Norway, though, of a person who posted a video of himself driving 150 mph on a highway near Oslo, Norway. Wow, that’s fast. The video apparently created buzz in Norway, and eventually the police got wind of it. Using detective work, the police tracked down the individual and fined him $1,300. (More from Tuscaloosanews)
Analysis: The culture of video may not always be healthy. Let’s hope it doesn’t encourage too many people to do stupid things, like driving their cars 150 mph while taping the entire incident. That’s not smart.
December 3, 2006
News: YouTube announced the winners of the “Underground” contest sponsored by Cingular. Visit here to see the winners of Best Video, Most Creative, and Best Live Video. Below is the winner of the Best Song, “The Way It Is” by Greenland.
“The Way It Is,” by Greenland – Best Song
The ”The Way It Is” is a fun, happy-go-lucky song, but I still prefer my early selection of “Inside Out” by New Orleans band The Hush.
Inside Out, by The Hush – my favorite
December 2, 2006
Dutch teen (online) singing sensation Esmee Denters has just posted part of an original song on YouTube here. I’ve included the video below as well. It’s no exaggeration to say that Esmee (“Ez-may”) has generated tremendous buzz on the Internet. I’m just waiting to hear that some record label has signed her up — which a lot of commenters seem to want.
December 1, 2006
Related to my last post, there appear to be some technical difficulties with either YouTube videos, Internet Explorer, streaming videos over the Internet, or some combination of these.
YouTube did go down for maintenance on Tuesday. Wonder if this is related. It’s the first time I’ve experienced a glitch in using YouTube. If someone has the explanation, I’d love to know.
UPDATE: I’ve emailed both WordPress and YouTube to see if they know the problem with trying to watch embedded videos on YouTube, through Internet Explorer. WordPress just emailed me back and said they are working on the problem, which suggests the problem is with WordPress, not YouTube. (Sorry, YouTube, for suggesting otherwise.)
In the meantime, the web browser Firefox is working fine for me and is available for free here.