Nathan Weinberg who writes the Inside Google blog has a blog entry entitled Screw YouTube where he writes
Miel’s quit YouTube. Considering he introduced me to the service, which I began to
love, contribute to, and trumpet as the next great success story, you’d
think I’d be surprised. Not even a little.
See, I got kicked
off YouTube over two months ago. The reason? Contributing to the
success of their service. I uploaded a good number of videos to
YouTube, almost none of which I owned the copyright to, all of which I
got from other sources on the internet. My first video, the “banned”
Xbox 360 ad, was for a time the second most watched video on YouTube,
with close to two million viewings.
On February 24, I received
two emails, detailing how a video I had posted, a Saturday Night Live
sketch in which President Bush asks a Santa Dick Cheney for an Xbox
360, had been rejected due to a third party notification of
Anyway, I’m done with YouTube, almost. It is clear they have no
interest in preserving a digital archive of video content for the
future, and that I cannot rely on them for posterity...I
do have one thing left to do: Ruin YouTube. Since it is so easy to get
someone kicked from YouTube, I am going to launch an assault on the
service...Every day, I will destroy at least one
account. I will only target those with copyright infringing content.
When I am done, the only popular videos on YouTube will be those with
zero commercial value. We will see how well the service does without
the Daily Show and South Park entire episodes that are its real bread
I am extremely surprised at such a vindictive and destructive response by Nathan Weinberg to what I see as a reasonable act on the part of YouTube. From my perspective, YouTube is a video sharing service which is likely to make a bunch of money [via ads] serving content that doesn't belong to them. Even if it wasn't illegal I personally think this is unethical. YouTube shouldn't be making money off of TV shows like Daily Show and South Park instead of the creators and/or owners of the copyright on these shows. I find it commendable that the folks at YouTube are trying to make sure they don't become a leech on the system and instead are a way to provide an avenue for long tail content which you cannot find via traditional broadcast media. Of course, this is just common sense on the part of the YouTube folks since they want to avoid the same mistakes made by Napster.
On the flip side I can't help but remember Danah Boyd's excellent paper, Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad? which argues that one of the reasons that Friendster lost steam is that it failed to recognize and bow down to the wishes of core members of its user base. This lead to alienation and outright hostility from users who were once major users and proponents of the service. Reading Nathan Weinberg's post, I wonder of YouTube is going down the same path.