Tech & society

Incredible street performance (and a word about sharing)

A friend shared the Thai clip on Facebook. I failed to “like” it, so when I wanted to show it to my husband, I couldn’t find it.

Thus began the journey that led to my discovering this video. I channeled my inner terrier, but it was “search” that I had my teeth sunk into, not a squirrel or a rat or a bone.

Asian Vitruvian Man” was shot in Taipei and uploaded October 28, 2011. Knock-offs are spreading like wildfire [1]. Not a single one that I’ve seen credits the source.

Here’s the relevant info from the standard YouTube license:

6. Your Content and Conduct

B. … You affirm, represent, and warrant that you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to publish Content you submit; and you license to YouTube all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to such Content for publication on the Service pursuant to these Terms of Service.

C. For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your Content. However, by submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license…

That’s clear, right? You’re free to share (embed, link to) a YouTube clip but unless the poster changes the terms, you can’t duplicate it.

Sharing content

In fact, YouTube makes it pretty damn easy to share content. That’s how it got traction in its youth (as well as its solving the “what format video should I upload” problem).

Why doesn’t Google police its own content farm (YouTube) and protect rank-and-file members from encroachment with the same vigor that it uses when faced with questionable take-down notices? Oh, I know the answer. Lawyers.

Funny, though. At least two purveyors of copied video are profit-making entities — one of them owned by Clear Channel!

You and I both know that appropriating digital content isn’t the same as theft in the real world. Atoms aren’t easily duplicated, which makes them less sharable. But sharing without credit is still intellectual theft. Appropriating someone’s video is not unlike plagiarism. And it’s also real theft if the source is making money on YouTube clip views.

Two take-aways

First, share original content. Use your head! Sometimes that’s as simple as clicking a “via” or “reblogged from” link.

Second, don’t appropriate someone else’s content, fail to give credit. If the site makes it easy to embed, then embed. Don’t download a copy and re-upload it as though it’s your own stuff.

Aside: my standard mantra — if it seems too good or too bad to be true, double-check before posting — always stands.

A final note: Facebook and Google are both evil

I try to avoid the “war” metaphor but both companies have engaged in competitive behavior that feels a lot like a battle to the death.

I hate how Facebook privileges its video over YouTube video. And how Google hides FB video on Google+.

What do I mean? Look at this comparison in presentation. There’s a conflict of interest at work.

Facebook video embed comparison
Credit: @kegill, 17 March 2014
Google privileges YouTube video
Credit: @kegill, 17 March 2014


[1] The original YouTube clip has 399,544 views (in 2.5 years) as of this writing. These knock-offs have exceeded that in about a week.

  1. 8 March 2014: 294,356 shares; 27 likes.
    Name not replicable; Bangkok, via Facebook.
  2. 13 March 2014: 58 shares
    Daily Motion. Dailymotion is the most popular European web site, period. They know better. And they’re making money on their site.
  3. 15 March 2014: 109,994 shares; 14,986 likes.
    KJR 95.7 radio, Seattle, via Facebook video. KRJ is owned by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. They know better.

[2] Other videos of the same performer

  1. 20 January 2010: 2,147
    burunggakgak, YouTube
  2. 6 May 2010: 967,677 views
    Victor W, YouTube
  3. 6 Oct 2011: 311 views
    ?????, YouTube
  4. 15 April 2013: 591 views
    ali hassan , YouTube – lifted from Victor W
  5. 22 Feb 2013: 1,093 views
    Roan Angeli, YouTube – appears to have been lifted from Victor W

Cross-posted at The Moderate Voicecomment thread there.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

3 replies on “Incredible street performance (and a word about sharing)”

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