YouTube has just broken a whopping 72 hours of uploaded video per minute. Think about that. Every minute, three days of new video is added to, arguably, the largest such centralized repository of freely available video content. That is HUGE. That also brings up a few questions given the strenuous legal climate over the past decade. How such a monument to human creativity and curiosity will continue to survive without imploding under the strain of opposing human drives is largely a guessing game at this point. On the one hand, there is the self-evident natural will to create, innovate, remix, refine, renew, and share the endeavors of ourselves and others. On the other hand, there is also the similarly well intended and quite reasonable craving to retain proof and pride in the fruits of one’s labor, either through the direct capacity to demonstrate said results or via the more abstract means of equitable exchange for other produced goods. In the latter case, money usually suits the purpose rather well. In an attempt to adequately construct a balanced framework for these natural tendencies to promote a benefit to the community, the founding fathers remained intentionally vague when they wrote the copyright clause. They left it to the people to derive the meaning of “Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” At the time of writing it was meant to imply a restricted means for disseminating the labors of the booming fields of philosophy (lest we forget science began, and remains, as natural philosophy) and mechanical innovation to the public while reserving for those who labored a brief time to adequately profit from said work. Since this time, the meaning of the clause has been reinterpreted as an automatic entitlement to the use and reuse of all created works nigh in perpetuity. The copyright term for anything created today includes the life of the creator(s) plus 70 years. (/rant)
In light of this refreshed context, YouTube’s success seems a little more intimidating. While several organizations see YouTube as a threat to be sued and/or shamed out of existence (RIAA/MPAA/etc.), there are thankfully protections in place (fair use) for the rights of those they would happily squelch to see their goals met. Under the DMCA, the notice and take down system, while not perfect, has been tempered with the power of a fair use counter notice. Beyond these steps for settling a dispute over content, the accuser sues the accused in a court of law. The determination of copyright infringement, in general, has been found to require the ruling of a judge.
Now, with all of this in mind, YouTube might reasonably be wondering how cost effective it would be to work with purported defenders of artists’ rights to accommodate for the rights of copyright holders. Well, lets begin with the rate of content being uploaded, .
Converting this to its natural dimensionless units will help when it is split up.