July 20, 2007 |
Uh, I think not. Why would it? A video host whose only real regulatory role is to take down copyrighted content when copyright owners raise hell (and even threaten or indeed deliver lawsuits to that effect; i.e., Google vs Viacom), YouTube was one of the first of its kind in allowing creativity to flourish and continues to be a platform for many a great video clip. So why is Nick Douglas of Slate Magazine talking trash about the site?
Alright, well, not trash, per se. He’s delivered analysis to try to back up his opening assertion. No stupid one-liners about YouTube. Just some facts, hobbled together to form an argument that just so happens to be…ridiculous.
I mean, where does the guy get off claiming YouTube is doing a disservice to video creators and their viewers? (He didn’t employ the term ‘disservice’, but no matter. His point is made.)
Except, well, he really doesn’t have much of one. A point, that is.
Douglas mentions YouTube’s current hold on the online video market (60 percent, which he states is 17% greater than the site’s overall traffic count from a year prior). Apparently, to him that number alone is evidence that the site does indeed have a dark side. He believes it is a showcase example of the site’s uncompetitive nature. Pray tell, how exactly?
You know, even if 60% market share did confirm that the site is riding on an uncompetitive streak, which I strongly, strongly doubt, so what? By chasing bigger and bigger numbers, are they thus “stifling creativity”? I can’t for the life of me see how. Douglas says, “What it comes down to, then, is that if you want your video to be seen, you have to post it on YouTube.” To which I respond with: And?
Douglas then leads into several more supposedly important points, highlighting his frustration with the prominence given to the popular stuff, not the quality stuff. (To do the reverse – to give high rankings to what workers at YouTube think is the best of the uploaded – would definitely smother creativity, as the site’s users would not longer be the ones “in control”.) He also does not seem to like the exclusion of non-pornographic nudity, the absence of “the brilliant sitcom ‘Break a Leg’” from YouTube’s servers (He does happen to disclose he has a wee part in a future episode of the show), or the lack of live streaming video.
Would you like YouTube to do the laundry, drive you to the dentist, and listen intently while you complain about your mother as well, dear sir? All while cleaning up its act, of course.
We all have our issues with YouTube. Yes, the site closed its doors to any videos reaching beyond the ten-minute mark. According to the site’s maintenance crew, that’s the easiest way to ensure copyrighted movies and television programs and so forth don’t get uploaded to begin with. I don’t personally agree with the limits, or the attempt to keep a handle on copyright infringement, but it’s hardly much of a concern. There are other sites on the Web that produce a more “wholesome” experience which Mr Douglas, even mentions several of them in his piece. (I’m sure they love having him and his video blog as their own, too.)
So my suggestion to Nick Douglas is this, and it’s a simple one: Spend more time at those “other sites”, eating up that non-YouTube content, and less time writing nonsense, eh?