• United States

Raise your pinky to your lips and say, ‘$1 billion’

Mar 16, 20074 mins
Data CenterYouTube

As you probably read last week, that’s how much Viacom wants from Google for alleged copyright infringement by subsidiary YouTube.

What a world: Viacom gets untold amounts of free publicity for its shows on YouTube and yet goes ahead and sues anyway.

In a statement, Viacom claims: “Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws.”

As somebody who has posted content to YouTube, I’m glad it exists. The content I posted, in the greater scheme of things, is pretty trivial (and don’t get your cease-and-desist DMCA dudgeon up, Viacom — I took all the video myself, of things you have nothing to do with, such as a woolly bear caterpillar crawling across a playground). They make it easy to upload, and the ads and the YouTube logo are a small price to pay for the bandwidth and storage. Contrast all that to the annoying pain that is trying to watch video on Viacom’s Comedy Central.

So, sure, file your suit that’ll probably result in some licensing deal, because you’ll realize the value of all those “ads” you claim are really “copyright infringements,” but don’t screw it up for the rest of us — and stop assuming that everybody who uses YouTube is a vile lawbreaker.

What do you think?

Can’t blame Republicans for everything

A couple of weeks ago, somebody defaced the John Edwards “headquarters” on Second Life. The “walls” were plastered with Marxist/Lenninist posters and slogans, “visitors” were harassed with obscenity-laden abuse of Democrats and Edwards and, well, then the you-know-what literally hit the fan (or as literally as it can in a made-up world). Who would do such a thing? The Edwards camp immediately blamed juvenile Republicans, of course.

Only it turns out Republicans, at least in this case, were blameless.

A blogger named Lou Cabron discovered it was a group of Second No-Lifers who simply like going around defacing online things, no doubt because they’re too afraid to leave momma’s basement to deface real-life objects.

“This would make the Edwards attack just the latest installment in a longer history of random assaults. The page describes the group’s first attacks as griefing pranks on Second Life’s Gay Yiffy virtual nightclub – blocking the exit doors on a disco’s private rooms, and filling its dance floor with an annoyingly large box. They returned to build a wall with a swastika of American flags, and eventually acquired a Doomsday weapon that creates endlessly replicating cubes,” Cabron writes.

Read up at Cabron’s site.

Do as they say, not as they do

Over on Layer 8, Editor Michael Cooney reports on a survey that found large government agencies basically ignoring a 1991 law requiring them to make public documents easily available on their Web sites. Among the rogue’s list: the departments of Defense, Labor, Interior and Veterans Affairs; the Air Force; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the CIA; the Small Business Administration; and the Transportation Safety Administration.

The National Security Archive Knight Open Government survey says that even if the agencies don’t really care about the law, complying with it would save them something like $319 million a year in reduced costs of handling requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The report adds that some agencies did well, including the departments of Education and Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and NASA.

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Gaffin is only filling in for ‘Net Buzz this week-Buzz will be zipping back here all bright-eyed and bushy tailed next week. You can contact Gaffin at

Responsible for editorial content on this Web site, so blame him, especially when it comes to Compendium. In his spare time, he runs Boston Online, a service devoted to the Hub of the Universe. He is learning to talk wicked good.

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