16 November 2006

YoogleTube and the Approach of Evil

I, like countless millions of others, am a great fan of YouTube. The idea that people can post video clips of all sorts, from the sublime to the truly ridiculous, that are subsequently streamed in a common, browser-accessible format, is a clear example of the consumer-becomes-producer reversal that characterizes culture production in a UCaPP [ubiquitously connected and pervasively proximate] age. But now that YouTube has been bought by the "do no evil" company, Google, there are a number of actions that cause one to lift an eyebrow.

The latest is a cease-and-desist letter, received by TechCrunch, to take down a little utility that allows you to save a YouTube stream to your own computer. And, when it is pointed out to YouTube's lawyers that there is nothing in the YouTube terms of use that would preclude saving video to your harddisk, they say, in effect, "Right-o! We'll get on that and update the terms of use!" Such chutzpah, especially since they, like the big music industry, are pissing off the very people that both made them successful, and who supply the content that feeds their value.

As for me, I happen to like the VideoDownloader Firefox extension, combined with the Democracy Video Player.

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