Friday, December 5, 2008

With a 100 million videos watched a day YouTube is rightfully dubbed the world’s fastest growing website. In fact, out of all the video’s watched on the internet today 60% of them are watched on YouTube. All of this is what makes YouTube such a great Web 2.0 medium, before its creation in 2005 there was no video site as easy to use as YouTube. Even though YouTube has a lot of other competing video sites today, it is still the most favored by the most users. YouTube basically allows users to watch many different kinds of videos and also allows users to comment, rate and share them. Making it a great example of how far Web 2.0 technologies have come, and how revolutionary they can be.



Chances are that anyone who is reading this has heard of or has used YouTube before, YouTube is a website that users can watch many different kinds of videos or even create their own and upload it on to the site. Once you create an account it becomes very easy for users to upload their own videos on to YouTube, with a few simple clicks of a mouse your content is online for millions of people to see. Although YouTube today has many competitors such as Yahoo Video, MySpace Video, AOL Uncut, Mega Video and Hulu, YouTube still is watched by the most people on the internet watching videos online.



Now anyone can become a producer of online content, by uploading their own videos and probably why so many people are using YouTube. This is also why there is a reported 70,000 video s uploaded per day by YouTube users, people want to produce and create their own media and uploading videos is easy on YouTube. Data also suggests that user generated content is over 80% of what makes up YouTube. But there is still plenty of other great things to watch on YouTube also, even if you’re not making your own videos. (Digital Ethnography Statistics)



From movie trailers to music videos and instructional videos, YouTube has tons of content for anyone’s enjoyment. Mathematically as of March of 2008 YouTube had 412.3 years of content on it, meaning if you were to sit down and watch every video you would be there for 412 years. So there is definitely something on YouTube for everybody to watch. The most current statistic suggests that on YouTube as of March of 2008 there were 78.3 million videos, which is an astonishing amount. Broken down by video category, the two most popular are music and entertainment which is the bulk of what users are watching the data suggests. Although there are many other video categories some examples are science, travel, pets, how to’s, news, films, autos, education, sports, comedy can all be watched with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Current demographics on YouTube suggest that the all ages of people view the site, from 12 years old to over 65 years old. The majority of users though is between the ages of 18-25 and is usually a male that uses the site regularly statistics show (chart from my presentation)



The inventors of YouTube Steven Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim all of which were PayPal employees at the time came up with the idea of creating the site at a dinner party in Silicon Valley in 2004. The reason they came up with the site is because they were all very familiar with how hard it was to share videos with your friends across the internet. Then they created a the first version of YouTube, but it was still unclear of how well the site would perform and what people would be using the site for. Then suddenly people started uploading all kinds of videos to the site such as stand up routines, police brutality videos and many more interesting things. Users began uploading breaking news stories and eyewitness footage of many conflicts around the world. YouTube as we know it had been created where a 100 million videos are streamed every day. YouTube became happiest accident to the creators ever. The sites unintentional take off and popularity of being the fastest growing site on the internet today was an instant success to the creators who then sold the site to Google for 1.65 billion dollars in stock. Then the company moved out of its 30 person office over a pizzeria in San Mateo, California to a huge headquarters in San Bruno California.



Now YouTube has become much more professional with partnerships with NBC, Sony BMG, Universal Music, CBS and Warner Music. This allows users to watch much more content on YouTube legally and serves as great advertising. YouTube users are now able to watch full movie trailers, listen to pre-released music albums and watch selected television shows , through these partnerships YouTube has with many other companies. The advertising is great for these companies on YouTube, who makes also makes a profit from this. (Time 2006)



There are many implications of YouTube on society and individuals, specifically issues of copyright materials being on the site. Secondly, the blocking of YouTube in specific countries and finally issues of user’s privacy when using the website all seem to have a large social impact. Issues of copyright have been plaguing YouTube, companies such as Viacom and English Premier League have filed lawsuits against YouTube in court. (Wikipedia). Viacom sued YouTube for an astonishing amount of 1 billion dollars, YouTube was allegedly guilty of hosting 150,000 clips of copyrighted materials that had been viewed over 1.5 billion times already. Viacom is a Media conglomerate based here in the United States and owns various television networks and deals also with movie production and distribution, specifically Paramount Pictures and Dream works Studios. The companies Viacom and YouTube finally reached a deal over the whole issue of all these copyrighted materials being present on YouTube.



“Viacom has agreed to let Google strip identifying information from YouTube viewers' data before complying with a judge's order to hand over the records as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Viacom and other parties to the litigation agreed to allow YouTube to remove user names and computer Internet protocol (IP) addresses from the data to ensure protection of users' privacy, YouTube said in a blog posting late Monday night. YouTube is a Google subsidiary.

We remain committed to protecting your privacy and we'll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work on YouTube," reads the posting.

In addition to seeking damages, Viacom said it wants an injunction prohibiting Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and YouTube from further copyright infringement.”(Frayter 2008)




In this court case YouTube was ordered to turn over all these records to Viacom, but the data contained sensitive material, like user IP addresses. So in turn Viacom could see what users watched which videos, which is an enormous invasion of privacy. Users should not have to worry if it will ever be known if they watched a copyrighted video clip online, now it seems though that you have to be more careful of what you watch. You never know when a website might have their records of users accounts and information subpoenaed and you might be at risk for a law suit. Users activities online, especially on a site like YouTube should be only know to the user but today it seems that everything we do online is be tracked more.



In the end Viacom filed for an injunction preventing this kind of thing from happening again, and now YouTube employs software that checks for copyright infringement on everything users upload. I think Chad Hurley put it best when had this to say on copyright issues--



"The real challenge old media face isn't protecting their precious copyrighted material. It's figuring out what to do when the rest of us make something better. As Hurley puts it, "How do you stay relevant when people can entertain themselves?" He and his partners may have started YouTube, but the rest of us, in our basements and bedrooms, with our broadband and our webcams, invented it."(Time 2008)


Hurley obviously realizes that copyrighted matieral is not the problem on YouTube, its keeping up with all the various kinds of content people put up on the site and their ideas of whats entertaining and funny and what's not, which is always changing.


Also the issue of YouTube being blocked in certain countries seems to have a social impact, that says maybe some cultures don’t want our fancy new technologies or for their people to protest. Specifically, the instance in Tibet where the government blocked online news coverage on multiple websites and blocked out YouTube completely.



“Reporters Without Borders on Monday said that YouTube has been censored since March 16, after videos of street demonstrations in Lhasa were posted on the site. The press advocacy group also said that the BBC, CNN, andYahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) News have been inaccessible over the past few days.

Reporters Without Borders also decried Chinese authorities' refusal to allow foreign correspondents into the country and the expulsion of some 25 journalists already there.

"The freedom of movement for foreign journalists had been one of the few positive developments ahead of the Olympic Games, but this is now being flouted by the Chinese government facing Tibetan protests," the press freedom group said. "Yet again the Chinese government is trampling on the promises it made linked to the Olympics and has [been] preparing the ground to crack down on the Tibetan revolt in the absence of witnesses."

YouTube has been blocked before by countries like Burma, Brazil, China, Iran, Morocco, Thailand, and Turkey. Last month, Pakistan's effort to censor the site for showing allegedly anti-Islamic material inadvertently disrupted access to the site around the globe” (Claburn 2008)



Everyone should have the right to view YouTube, these countries that are blocking access to the site are trying to suppress their own people. The site in its own way is making a major impact around the world on people, unfortunately some negative impact is associated with YouTube in these instances. Not everyone wants to see our great American way of life, some foreign governments are trying to suppress this as much as possible. Blocking access to news sites and coverage by the government is wrong and attempts to spread government domination. People should be allowed to view whatever they want, and not have to worry about the government blocking out sites, that is pure Communism. YouTube is a great new technology and people from all around the world are already enjoying it. YouTube has its own sites in 20 different countries, including France, Spain, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Italy, Spain, India and many more. Unfortunately, not everyone sees YouTube as a great and here it has had a big impact and made some people angry with the site. Differnet culutres expect differnt things and our way of culture is very open to a web site like YouTube. In these middle eastearn cultures, they dont have the same sense of humor we have here in America so YouTube would not be very funny to them. There is a shift in news coverage latley, people want raw unfiltered or censored news and information from people who actually live there instead of news jouranalists. Thats why these sites are becoming so popular because people can make their own content.



YouTube is a great example to a new and exciting Web 2.0 technology, and it just shows how if you have a good website people are going to use it. YouTube in a sense revolutionized the way we watch videos online and how we share them, making both so easy to do. When you think of all the great things YouTube has to offer us in its full 412 hours comprehensive library the possibilities are endless. With the revolution of many more Web 2.0 technologies we will see many more amazing things in the years to come.




Sources



Clayburn, T (2008 March ). YouTube Blocked by China. Information Week, Retrieved Dec 2, 2008, from http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/ebusiness/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206904218

Digital Ethnography YouTube Statistics. Retrieved December 5, 2008, from Digital Ethnography Web site: http://ksudigg.wetpaint.com/page/YouTube+Statistics?t=anon

Frayter, T (2008 March ). Google, Viacom Reach Data Deal. CNN Money, Retrieved Dec 2, 2008, from http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/15/technology/google_youtube/index.htm

Grossman, l (2006). Best Inventions 2006. Time Magazine, Retrieved Dec 2, 2008, from http://www.time.com/time/2006/techguide/bestinventions/inventions/youtube2.html

Wikipedia. Retrieved December 5, 2008, from YouTube Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube

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