YouTube and Copyright Claims

I’ve been going through the Internet Archive restoring lost posts to my archives, and I’ve run across a number of posts with embedded YouTube videos that no longer work. Typically they’re a funny clip from a TV show that the network has requested YouTube take down. Fine. They own the copyright and don’t want their stuff on sites they don’t own that aren’t paying them, so they have them taken down, and my links go dead. It’s not good for the Web, but I get where they’re coming from. With its acquisition by Google, maybe it’s time that YouTube become less of a site for posting videos and more of a video search engine. NBC doesn’t want SNL clips on YouTube, but why can’t I search YouTube and find the video on Hulu or NBC.com?

Think of the workflow for finding and posting a video:

  1. Load YouTube, search for video using the search box right at the top of the page.
  2. Copy embed code, paste into your site.

Then, a few hours, days, or weeks later, the corporation that holds the copyright demands YouTube remove the video, and your site’s link dies.

The way the TV network would want it to work:

  1. Think of video you want to post, remember what network the show aired on (if you can remember what network it’s on, as the concept of TV networks gets less and less relevant as DVRs become commonplace and with Web video on the rise).
  2. Go to that network’s website (find the place where it stores videos, which looks different for every site).
  3. Copy embed code, paste into your site.

And that’s for TV shows. For an ad, good luck. Maybe it’s on the website for that product (and often you remember the ad but not what the product even was). Movie trailers, Apple might have it, or Yahoo might. Or you have to find what movie studio made it and find their website.

Instead, I think YouTube, with Google as its parent, should work to index every video it can find, and provide a way to link to and embed videos no matter where they originated.