Re: Assorted videos / YouTube thread
Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:44 am
Pretty far out.
Bringing drummers together since 1999
YouTube was developed in February, 2005, by the three founders of PayPal: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The beta version launched April 23. Emails cited by Viacom and Google show that almost from the beginning, despite YouTube's often-stated focus on personal videos, and despite terms of service that forbade uploading unauthorized copyrighted material, the founders were aware that most of the site's traffic came from copyrighted material, which they apparently assumed was all illegitimately loaded.
Tension among the founders developed. Chen and Karim wanted to leave up as much copyrighted material as possible -- Karim even stole and posted some himself -- while Hurley fretted over the potential liability. Some of the sample emails:
• On June 15, 2005, Chen emailed the other founders that YouTube's Internet service provider was complaining that YouTube was violating the service agreement, and Chen thought YouTube's hosting of copyrighted material might be the problem. Noting "i'm not about to take down content because our ISP is giving us shit," Chen proposed YouTube consider changing ISPs.
• A July 4 email from Hurley noted Bud Light commercials on YouTube, saying "we need to reject these too." The other founders pushed back, suggesting they leave them up for "a couple more weeks." A July 10 email discussion of leaving some copyrighted material up while rejecting other copyrighted material included Hurley's comment: "ok man, save your meal money for lawsuits! no really, I guess we'll just see what happens." Another July 10 email among the three included Hurley's admission that, "Yup, we need views. I'm a little concerned with the recent Supreme Court decision on copyrighted material though," referring to the Grokster case.
• On July 19, Chen wrote to Hurley and Karim: "Jawed, please stop putting stolen videos on the site. We're going to have a tough time defending the fact that we're not liable for the copyrighted material on the site because we didn't put it up when one of the co-founders is blatantly stealing content from from other sites and trying to get everyone to see it." Four days later, Karim sent a link to the other founders, and Hurley told him that if they rejected it, they needed to reject all copyrighted material. Karim's reply: "I say we reject this one but not the others. This one is totally blatant."
• A July 29 email conversation about competing video sites laid out the importance to YouTube of continuing to use the copyrighted material. "Steal it!" Chen said , and got a reply from Hurley, "hmmm, steal the movies?" Chen's answer: "we have to keep in mind that we need to attract traffic. how much traffic will we get from personal videos? remember, the only reason our traffic surged was due to a video of this type."
• In early August, Hurley sent a couple of emails pushing to get the copyrighted material off the site, explaining that the risk in copyright infringement was that it might anger potential suitors, scuttling a deal to buy YouTube. (The founders wanted to sell out as quickly as possible.) Hurley used the example of a CNN clip of the Space Shuttle. Chen said the copyrighted material should stay: "I really don't see what will happen. what? someone from cnn sees it? he happens to be someone with power? he happens to want to take it down right away, he get in touch with cnn legal. 2 weeks later, we get a cease & desist letter. we take the video down." Karim chimes in the next day, "lets remove stuff like movies/tv shows. lets keep short news clips for now. we can get stricter over time, just not overnight."
• On Sept. 3, Hurley emailed the other two founders re: "copyright material!!! "aaahhh, the site is starting to get out of control with copyrighted material." During the course of the email conversation, Karim reiterated his suggestion of taking down movies and TV, and leaving the rest; Chen replied that if it did so, YouTube would go from about 100,000 views a day to 20,000; Jawed disagreed, saying his proposed policy was so lax he didn't think the site's traffic would decrease at all. On Sept. 4, a user emailed Karim and others at YouTube, pointing out clips from Chappelle's Show, and asking if they were worried about getting sued like Napster; Karim replied "ahaha."