YouTube Rant

Ok, here’s the story. Say you are perusing a blog and someone in the comments drops in a link to a music video. And they happen to not even mention who it is so you just get the link and the fact that it is “cool.” So you click on the link, like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ2cEc_TCH8

If you happen to be in the United States when you click that link you are most likely directed to YouTube where you watch the interesting video by Squeeze for the song Cool for Cats, which has been uploaded to YouTube by Vevo.  If you aren’t in the US, or at least if, like me, you are in Norway, you get this message:

This video contains content from Vevo, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

Well.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on copyright law, but this just seems nutty.  I get that the copyright holder in the US, the record company most likely, has licensed or given permission to Vevo (which I think is just a front for a bunch of record companies) to show this video on YouTube.  And I get that the copyright holder of this song is probably different in Norway than in the US, and apparently has not given permission to Vevo to show that video to me, in Norway.

But here is what I don’t understand.  No one in the US is paying for the privilege of watching this video, and by showing it to me in Norway no one is losing anything.  What I further don’t understand is when music videos became products to protect rather than advertisements for the bands and the songs.  Record companies basically paid MTV to air videos and spent a fortune to make them in order to get the bands and those songs out there, generating interest in buying records and concert tickets.  Now, apparently, they are products to be protected and for the eyes of special people only, but not for money apparently.  This makes no sense.

Here is what will happen.  Someone will post a video link to YouTube or Vevo or whatever.  That person will rave about the awesome new band they want everyone to know about.  I will click that link and get directed to a notice that says I can’t watch it because I am in Norway.  Most likely, I will forget about it and never know how awesome that band is, never buy their record, never go see them in concert.  If I had been able to see that video, I might have fallen in love with the band, bought everything they ever did and find out where to see them in concert the next time they are on tour.  Everyone loses in that scenario.  How does this make sense?

I get copyrights, but the record companies are shooting themselves in the foot protecting what is in essence advertising, and free advertising at that.  I suppose worrying about some dude in the small country of Norway and his music purchasing habits is a mote in the eye of the record companies.   But the question remains: What are you protecting and why?

I happen to own the Squeeze album that has Cool for Cats, and I did a search for the video and watched it (again, but not since forever ago) on Dailymotion.  Which makes the whole copyright problem just frustrating rather than daunting.  But I guess the entire RIAA modus operandi for the last decade or so as been creating frustrated and pissed off consumers.

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