A while back I wrote a blog rant about the Youtube Partnership Program that I thought - at the time - was pretty insightful and intelligent and, dare I say? Prescient, even...
Yeah well it turns out I was only half right. Or, as a sensible person might put it, WRONG.
Basically the gist of my post was that there was some strange doins' afoot down at the YouTube, in the form of a ridiculous amount of ads being shown on videos with content that clearly was not owned by the person who uploaded it. Some of these videos had disclaimers citing non ownership and Fair Use policy, which aggravated me even more to see an ad in conjunction with such a statement (more on that point later).
My theory was that YouTube was using the Pirates for profit, allowing them to qualify for Partnership, in spite of clear violations, while giving them only a tiny fraction of the proceeds. Visions of conniving yet gullible uploaders ripping off everything in sight for a 2% share were bouncing through my head, with the additional gripe being that honest artists like myself were being lumped in to the same deal that these non copyright owners were getting - basically, chump change for everyone that isn't a large media corporation.
Well it turns out I was only partly right. YouTube was using non copyright holders to make cash. But they weren't pirates. They were, and are, for the most part, Fair Users.
This is something I realized when I finally came across this article, which explains that YouTube's Copyright Infringement policy gives, amongst other options, those who claim infringement the right to slap an ad right onto the video in question. A video on someone else's channel, without their knowledge or consent.
This changes the issue entirely. So let me make my first of two apologies to Whom It May Concern which is probably maybe three people (SHARE THIS POST!).
I'm sorry that I ranted against the uploaders as Pirates. To me, a Pirate is someone who steals your shit for personal profit, not just because they think it's cool and want to share it with their friends. A pirate will either resell your work, or claim credit for it, or both. Someone who shares for the simple love of it is a Fair User. Now those claims of Non Ownership and Fair Use Policy make much more sense in this light. You weren't trying to talk your way around selling ads illegally! You were trying to STOP an ad from being slapped on something you loved! Maybe. I don't really know, I'm not you, but anyways.
My second apology goes to Google, the owners of YouTube. I'm sorry I suggested you were engaged in what would clearly be criminal activity, both in the sense of deliberately facilitating, for - profit, copyright infringement, and in the sense of short changing legitimate content creators who participate in the Partnership Program. You weren't doing either of those things! You were just exercising your legal right in such a manner as to add to the overall commercialization of Fair Use. No biggie, that! My bad. I'm sorry.
Now some of you may be thinking, "What, has this guy never heard of Due Diligence? It's the internet, fool, do some research before you type a bunch of shit!"
Well, I seem to remember doing just that and finding nothing at the time. I think I searched with words like "Adsense Abuse" "Partnership Infringement" "Selling ads on videos with shit you don't own", and it wasn't until I recently typed "youtube copyright ads" that this news article came up.
And I know that the article is from 2008, and that's pretty embarrassing, but again, not easy to find, at least in my experience. Maybe the articles' ranking has changed recently and it pops up for other keywords now. On prchecker.info it has a Page Rank of 2 out of 10, which seems pretty bad. I'm just making excuses, I guess, but it still points to the general opacity to YouTube's policies on this issue.
So, YouTube. I really am sorry, and I want to make it up to you in the only way that I know how. I want to show my support for your Partnership Program by monetizing my videos.
The only problem with this option is that my views currently suck. And that's where you come in, Google. All you have to do is wave your magic Google wand over my videos and up my views to, say, 100 000 plus, and I will be glad to make amends for this personal gaffe by allowing you to sell vacuum cleaners and cars and air fresheners and any old thing you want to, really. On my videos.
Because I know that even though you are a giant mutlinational corporation with more power than my little brain could ever conceive of, at the end of the day you are also a family, of human beings with real feeling that I know have hurt. I am sorry. Up my views. LETS GET RICH, BABAY!
Updates, works in progress, perhaps the occasional manifesto or two...