It was 1999 and the world of sharing music changed forever when Napster came into the scene and we all suddenly had FREE MUSIC! Napster was the first ‘peer-to-peer’ distribution program online to share media from mp3s to videos.
When you think of Napster now, one person and one band comes to mind. Lars Ulrich, the drummer from legendary heavy metal band Metallica filed suit and that’s when it all went downhill for Napster. While many consumers hated Lars and Metallica for this downfall, the music industry while hesitant to speak out somewhat (as there was footage of people burning Metallica CDs on the street) backed his statements as it was THEIR music and an infraction in use of intellectual property. In July 2001, Napster closed its ‘doors.’
According to Wikipedia, the music industry made the following claims against Napster:
- That its users were directly infringing the plaintiffs’ copyrights.
- That Napster was liable for contributory infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrights.
- That Napster was liable for vicarious infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrights.
It’s now 2010 and YouTube has won a landmark case against Viacom which filed suit for infringements of intellectual property. The basics of YouTube is a video sharing website from a babys first steps to MTVs clip of an awards show. Every minute, 24 hours of video are being uploaded and much of that is copyright material from movie clips, show clips, or simply just music.
YouTube has changed the face of online video sharing. It’s one of the most visited websites in the world. While individuals make up most of the content uploaded on the website, many companies such as CBS and BBC has partnership programs with YouTube.
This brings me to the question, how is YouTube different than Napster? When was it decided that a company owning a website that allows individuals to share music for free would be illegal but now video would be legal?
As reported by USATODAY:
“Entertainment companies may find it harder to keep movie and TV show clips from circulating for free online after a federal judge on Wednesday threw out Viacom’s hotly contested $1 billion copyright infringement suit against Google’s YouTube.
U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton said that the popular video website could not be held responsible when people post clips from productions such as Viacom’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Reportwithout the entertainment giant’s approval.
He rejected Viacom’s argument that YouTube’s business model depended on a sleight of hand: It attracts millions of visitors who want to see hit entertainment for free. Viacom said the site ensures that there’s plenty to see, without paying a license fee, by making it easy for users to post clips and hard for copyright owners to keep track of those posted without permission.”
What are your thoughts?