Thursday 18th January 2018,

Investigating YouTube at Hacktivision

We’ve had a great couple of weeks over at Hacktivision! Of particular interest to our writers have been recent developments with YouTube as a cultural, legal and industrial entity. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve been talking about.

 Two Kinds of Piracy – Tarleton Gillespie

I’m not in the business of writing laws, but as a start, my sense of it is that there are two kinds of infringement: first, there are underground sites and networks dedicated to trading copyrighted music, software, games, and movies; they are determined to elude regulations, they often move offshore or spread their resources across national jurisdictions to make prosecution harder, and they are technologically sophisticated enough to work just with numerical IP addresses, set up mirror sites, and move when one site gets shut down. The second kind of infringement is when some fan, who may not know or appreciate the rules of copyright, uploads a clip to YouTube.

YouTube 2012 – Alexandra Juhasz

Most critically, there is now a large and worthy body of YouTube studies, both scholarlyand journalistic (including my own “video-book“), that my students and I must account for. When we began, we were writing the stuff, but now we must play the role of dutiful learners. This quick consolidation of expertise runs against the common understanding of the Internet (and its studies) as a flat playing field where all users and uses are equal.

YouTube as a platform for quality content? Perhaps. – Brett Orzechowski

The days of talking cats (plenty of those), mediocre comedians (too many of those) and self-serving video diatribes will still exist but they will fall further down the pecking order of views. When money is involved, competition increases and so does the level of creativity. The same thinking will continue to exist—be better than the others—but the next four years will welcome a new level of content with an extra level of interactivity that we have yet to see.

Outsiders After Viral Video – Aymar Jean Christian

Therein lies the conundrum. If you are an outsider trying to get “in” – to an industry for a sustainable career as performer or producer – how many options do you have creatively, especially as the market coalesces around a few large networks/companies? And what kinds of representational sacrifices must you make? At this specific moment in history the answers for web video might be “not too many” and “quite a few.”

YOU-ser Generated Movie – Jamie Cohen

Crowd scouting may be a growing trend for the Hollywood industry to locate and discover talent among the vast community of auteurs using the web. Last summer, Ron Howard and Canon crowd-sourced Project Imagin8ion, a photo competition to create a Hollywood short film. The competition was fierce: Ron Howard chose just eight photographs from nearly 100,000 submissions.  And, of course, it was great publicity for Canon and Howard both.

This is What a Broken Internet Feels Like – Kevin Driscoll

YouTube’s Content ID system provides an all-too-real example of internet regulation enacted in running code (with disastrous consequences for free speech.) Flickr’s software-assisted protest of SOPA/PIPA suggests that simulation might provide a powerful tactic for engaging with proposed media regulation in the future. By producing software that simulates the effect of a given piece of legislation, critics can move past vague hyperbole (“SOPA will break the internet”) to demonstrate how it will actually feel to use the internet under the proposed regulatory regime.



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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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