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YouTube wades through legal sewage water

A few years ago, Google bought YouTube for a nice sum of money: roughly $1.65 billion.  Since then, YouTube has grown and flourished, with the backing of Google and its hideously effective viral campaign and easy-to-use embedding.  With its addition of a flash re-render to increase compatibility across systems, YouTube set the bar for what all Internet video dump sites would strive to achieve in order to even be considered legitimate.

Even with the massive success that YouTube has brought Google, and the billions in revenue that Google’s shareholders have reaped benefits, it hasn’t been without its rough patches in the road, with some of those rough patches being six-foot pot holes.  

To start, many wouldn’t imagine seeing Google sued by England’s Football Association Premier League.  Yet, in 2007, the association threw litigation against the Internet video giant, seeking damages for use of its game film that found its way onto the site.  

It took a few years and a team of lawyers to wage a war of paperwork across the pond, all while more lawsuits loaded up in queue to take a crack at YouTube pending the outcome of this trial.

Unfortunately for Viacom, which owns Comedy Central and MTV, the judge has set precedent in favor of Google, making the long wait in line just a little bit longer.

The judge ruled that punitive damages under the Copyright Act of 1976 don’t exist, and that there are no circumstances by which they can be justified.  

As in many copyright infringement lawsuits as of late, the justice system has now come to the realization that the copyright laws are indeed too vague, since at the time of conception, the Internet wasn’t even a blip in the mind of Al Gore, our former Vice President, who is also known for claiming to invent our wonderful Worldwide Web.

With YouTube’s legal victory, avenues have opened for Google to start planning to fight other cases that have been made.  It also sheds light on the problem with copyright laws in general: copyrighting is stupid.  The fact that an entity that has no impact whatsoever on the creative process or actual production of the material can claim ownership of said material, even though ownership belongs to the individual who created the product (like artist’s selling the rights to their songs for commercials, and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) doesn’t have an argument against it).  

Most of the time, the videos that make their way onto sites like YouTube are fan videos not available anywhere else, by anyone else, including the people who supposedly own the material.  You won’t find videos like “Real Madrid’s Greatest Goals in 2008” from FIFA (International Football Federation Association, roughly translated), or “Ray Lewis’s All-Time Greatest Tackles from the NFL.”  Fans will piece together footage from all of their favorite games and make tributes to their athlete idols.  

If anything, the organizations should look at this as free advertisement, and an obvious testimony to the dedication (or fanaticism) the fans have for the sport(s) they love.

But if spending millions in legal fees over 3-minute clips on YouTube is the best way they find to demonstrate the greatness of their sport, I would reconsider all of the useless lessons taught during the joke that is the MBA degree.

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