I probably don’t need to go into too much detail about why it would be so damaging to have just a handful of massive video hosting sites dominating the online space. However, NewTeeVee recently published an article that highlights a real reason to fear this possibility: video fingerprinting. It drives home the importance of preserving competition between large, small and individual video publishers alike.
YouTube is busy developing video fingerprinting technology that will allow them to remove any video identified as “infringing copyright.” This is fine for Viacom, but not such good news for mashups and other creative expresions that incorporate copyrighted material.
Ironic that YouTube, which has historically been an incredibly fertile ground for free expression in video, could soon become the most restrictive environment out there. Not that YouTube will stop people from creating mashup videos.
However, once created, a video requires an audience to have any real impact. Creators shouldn’t be forced to worry about losing their audience when their videos are censored from the popular sites.
As I argue in part I of this series, treating the user as the point of aggregation levels the playing field between publishing methods. When the user is at the center, a video that is published on a small host or personal website can still reach a substantial audience. That gives creators freedom to publish the way they want to.
Vibrant and free expression in video deserves to enjoy access to the same audience that corporate-approved material does. We’re working hard to make sure that a handful of dominant publishing sites aren’t the only way to easily find and access video.