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  1. Woz sues YouTube over “bitcoin giveaway” scam videos using his name Section 230 gives platforms like YouTube broad immunity for user content. Enlarge / A screenshot from Wozniak's lawsuit shows a typical "Bitcoin giveaway" scam video on YouTube. YouTube / Wozniak et al 66 with 50 posters participating, including story author Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has sued YouTube over the proliferation of "bitcoin giveaway" scam videos on the YouTube platform. The videos falsely use the names of Wozniak and other celebrities—including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin—to give the scams legitimacy. Scammers hijack popular YouTube accounts and change their names so that they appear to be the official accounts of celebrities like Wozniak or companies like Apple. They then broadcast a "live" video showing old footage of the celebrity discussing cryptocurrency or related topics. Alongside the footage is text claiming that if someone sends bitcoin to a particular address, the celebrity would send back double the amount. Along with Wozniak, the plaintiffs include more than a dozen individuals who were taken in by the scam, losing bitcoins worth anywhere from a few dollars to more than $40,000. In total, cryptocurrency scams like this have cost victims millions of dollars. "We take abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation," a YouTube spokesperson told Ars by email. YouTube says that in the first quarter of 2020, the company removed 2.2 million videos and disabled 1.7 million accounts for "spam, scams, deceptive practices." But the plaintiffs argue that YouTube isn't doing nearly enough to stamp out these cryptocurrency scams. Wozniak's wife, Janet, says that she has contacted YouTube numerous times since May about the scams. The plaintiffs point out that YouTube has sophisticated tools for identifying objectionable activity. Yet they don't seem to be taking even obvious steps like filtering out videos that use terms like "bitcoin giveaway." The lawsuit also points to the example of Twitter, which had been plagued by these kinds of scams in the past but has taken steps to stamp them out in recent years. The plaintiffs argue that the Twitter crackdown pushed scammers to YouTube, where they have thrived for the last couple of years. YouTube has a powerful defense Ultimately, it may not matter how much YouTube has done to stamp out these videos. That's because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides online platforms with broad immunity for user-submitted content. Sites have immunity even if they do little or nothing to combat objectionable content posted by users. Anticipating this defense, the plaintiffs try to distinguish their lawsuit from run-of-the-mill Section 230 cases. But it's not obvious those arguments will be successful. For example, Woz's lawyers argue that the scam videos are "blatant criminal conduct that is not even arguably protected by the First Amendment." That might be true, but it isn't likely to save the lawsuit. After all, the courts have upheld Section 230 immunity even in cases where users were distributing child pornography. The plaintiffs argue that YouTube did more than passively host the videos. YouTube's recommendation algorithms promoted the videos to cryptocurrency enthusiasts and sold ads against the videos—directly profiting from the scams. But that could also be a hard sell; courts have repeatedly held that sites enjoy Section 230 protections even when they deliberately promote problematic third-party content. But while Woz's lawsuit is on shaky ground legally, it could still be significant in the court of public opinion. Being sued by one of Silicon Valley's most beloved figures could pressure YouTube into taking the problem of cryptocurrency scams more seriously. Woz sues YouTube over “bitcoin giveaway” scam videos using his name
  2. 13 YouTube Channels We Geek Out Over From flying a plane to restoring art, YouTubers can truly teach you anything. Here are the best shows that have sparked our curiosity during quarantine. Sheltering in place for several months has led me to explore the vast caverns of YouTube to find entertaining videos to watch—after all, it feels like I've exhausted all my movie and TV options on Netflix, Hulu, and all the other streaming platforms. In my YouTube searches, I've come across a few real gems. Some of these YouTube channels revolve around hobbies that I love, where I can put their tips and knowledge into practice. Others not so much, but they still make some riveting content. These are my favorite YouTube channels that hone in on one particular area of expertise. Happy streaming! Urban Gardening Gardening is a deep rabbit hole and it's easy to, well, get lost in the weeds when you're trying to figure out how to keep alive a bunch of complicated organic machines that need exacting levels of sunlight, soil nutrients, watering, and space. Mohit Kumar Singh Rajput has two decades of experience in gardening, and he explains all the nitty-gritty details in videos that usually run under 10 minutes. Unlike a lot of YouTube gardening hosts, most of his advice doesn't revolve around having an enormous backyard and a wheelbarrow full of power tools. You can put all his advice into practice whether you live in an apartment or a detached house, like how to grow plants in kitchen waste, how to grow new plants from cuttings of other ones, and how to grow vegetables in pots indoors. My favorite is a primer on growing a corn plant in a container. Simone Giertz Photograph: Simone Giertz Remember when she built the Truckla, a production-looking custom Tesla pickup? Giertz has made a lot of whimsical inventions, like a drone that carries babies and a lipstick-applying robot that made Stephen Colbert pretty when she was a guest on The Late Show. WIRED's interview wizard Lauren Goode hung out with Giertz throughout the summer of 2019, which is how we learned that Truckla became a turning point for Giertz as an inventor. Look for her creations to become more grand and ambitious as she's committed to pushing her limits. The LockPickingLawyer Car boots. Home safes. Bike locks. Padlocks. Nothing seems to stop this guy. He won't reveal his identity, but he claims to be a lawyer from the Washington, DC, area who picked up lockpicking as a hobby. In his videos, he picks open both common and strange locks, from modern ones to the antique kind, and explains how different locks attempt to foil lockpickers (and why almost all of them can be beaten). Sometimes he uses a prop, such as a magnet, a pair of open-ended wrenches, or a Red Bull can. Once he used a Lego astronaut. He doesn't water down his words with niceties when the locks are trash, such as in an AmazonBasics bike lock review titled "As Bad As You'd Think" and a Brinks cable lock review titled "A Security Joke". The takeaway here is that basically all locks are bad if a knowledgeable lockpicker wants your stuff. Some are just crappier than others. That Pedal Show Right now is the best time in history for a guitar player who's into effects pedals. Everyone's making a million varieties and doing some really out-there stuff with them that wasn't possible when we were all kids. For all the juicy tones and valuable guitar gear information, this YouTube channel from Dan Steinhardt, head honcho of pedalboard component maker The GigRig, and Mick Taylor, former editor in chief of Guitarist magazine, really clicks as the duo play off each other so well. I've been an off-and-on guitar player for 18 years, and I learn new things about pedal effects on this channel all the time. Not just how they sound but why they sound like they do. So why does a fuzz box sound so different from an overdrive pedal and a distortion pedal (ignoring the vague distinction between the latter two, for the moment)? That Pedal Show will talk about how their wavelengths clip differently from each other, which affects the sound you hear through the amp speaker. Not to mention the amusing demonstrations of things like phasers versus flangers and reviews of rare, new handmade pedals. What's that, you say? You've never bothered with all these pedal effects, and you're more of a straight-into-the-amp kind of player? That was me until I dove into this channel. Steinhardt and Taylor's chemistry makes their show just as much entertainment as it is useful information. Dutch Pilot Girl Michelle Gooris is my favorite airline pilot channel on YouTube because she doesn't hide the fact that piloting an airliner is one of the most difficult jobs on earth. Watching her videos, you never lose the sense that an extraordinarily complicated machine requires a mental decathlon of skills to land, fly, taxi, and maintain. Gooris explains how piloting is done and pairs it with video footage that lets the audience peek into the blades of a jet turbine engine, or follow along with her engine startup sequence in the cockpit. Each video tears into a specific subject to explain in-depth how it works, such as how tailwinds affect the angle of approach on a short, difficult runway and what all that jargon means when pilots are talking to air traffic controllers as they depart and approach airports. You have to watch to find out her answer to the age-old rivalry of which is better to fly: Boeing or Airbus. The 8-Bit Guy There seem to be a million YouTubers unboxing the latest and greatest consumer tech, but if you ask me, it's the older hardware that's more interesting. The 8-Bit Guy is devoted to '80s and '90s—and sometimes early 2000s—tech that got left behind, long before anyone thought those early machines would be worth preserving. Folks like the 8-Bit Guy help show us rare old tech, like digital cameras that used full-size floppy disks. His videos show him unboxing rare, old computers and the occasional robot, taking apart and refurbishing old Bell & Howell and Compaq PCs, plus breaking down how vintage videogame controllers worked. Want to find out what telephone phreaking was? Head over to his channel. Potato Jet Gene Nagata has been a professional videographer for more than a decade, but it's the cheaper equipment that seems to get him the most excited. Like he often says, you don't need premium-priced gear anymore to shoot good footage. Filmmaking and vlogging are more democratic these days than ever. But his best videos tend toward the extremes, from enormous professional cameras that could be used as battering rams on a castle to handheld gimbals for making movies with an iPhone. And then there are the peeks into the industry, such as how Hollywood films car chases. He's a relaxed natural in front of the camera, and you can tell he's always having a good time. It's infectious. The Food Lab A part of Serious Eats' channel, the Food Lab's Katie Quinn and J. Kenji Alt-López take a scientific approach toward cooking methods, such as whether searing a steak actually locks in its juices. And then there are how-to videos for kitchen equipment, including how to sharpen a kitchen knife on a whetstone, a skill that trips up a lot of home chefs if they even know that it's a part of regular maintenance. Plus, you get a few of their favorite recipes to break things up once in a while. Why did it take this long for someone to invent a Nutella-and-brie grilled cheese? Baumgartner Restoration You'd think people would take better care of fancy, old paintings, but a lot of them arrive to new collectors in rough shape. Paint degrades under sunlight and artificial light, and throughout the centuries, misguided cheapos have paid for subpar restorations that only further ruin good art. But it can often be salvaged if the person knows how to remove degraded layers of paint and seamlessly touch up other areas so that it blends in naturally with the rest of the painting. Baumgartner Restoration shows a wide variety of methods on healing wooden split-panels, torn canvas, and masterpieces from the old masters. Primitive Technology Odds are you'll never make Polynesian arrowroot flour or build a round hut in the forest, but it's fascinating to watch what people can make out of a little more than dirt, water, and their own two hands. Everything in these videos is created from natural materials, and the creator is self-taught. The videos are shot in Far North Queensland, Australia, and although he doesn't live in the wild, by now he's got a cool collection of rather large huts of various designs, primitive agricultural fields, stoves, and kilns. Wanna Walk There's something so revealing about a walk through a big city. In these videos, there are no cuts, no dialog, and no voiceover. It's just a steady-cam walking down the streets and sidewalks of Mexico City, Buenos Aires, New York, London, Lisbon, and more in one long take. There are bits of overheard conversations from businesspeople on their morning commutes and families relaxing in the park, and it's a treat when the camera ducks off the sidewalks and into a food market or a Sunday art fair. Videos tend to run about 20 minutes, although some run more than double that. John Darko John Darko dislikes audio snobs. He hates magazine clichés. He flat-out doesn't have the money to do blind tests and measure up all those crazy statistics that audiophiles love to hear when discussing stereo equipment. And he will be the first to tell you he has a different definition of high-end audio equipment. This channel is for the person who wants better sound and is willing to pay more than a few hundred bucks for it but isn't going to go on a hunger strike to afford an uber-expensive system the size of a falafel cart. Darko doesn't mince words. If he has an opinion, he gives it to you straight, and brand names or consumer hype don't seem to hold any sway. As they shouldn't. Global Cycling Network Bikes are having a moment. Everyone is using them to commute to work and run errands so they can stay off cough-covered subways and buses. Global Cycling Network leans toward road cycling, but a lot of the advice is applicable across the spectrum of mountain bikers and commuter bikers. Yes, there are discussions over the significance of uniform colors among international racers and stories of legendary racecourses, if you're into that—and maybe after some GCN, you will be—but there are also maintenance tips and advice on cycling more safely in cities, which everybody can use. 13 YouTube Channels We Geek Out Over
  3. Microsoft acknowledges bug causing YouTube playback errors on all Edge versions Microsoft has acknowledged an issue affecting all versions of the Edge browser that results in YouTube videos failing to play when AdBlock or AdBlock Plus extensions are enabled. The Redmond giant said in a Tech Community post that it investigated the possible bug based on user feedback. The problem currently affects the browser on all operating systems. Users reported being served with an error or a blank screen when trying to play videos on the YouTube website. The issue was faced by users that had the ad-blocking extensions enabled. Currently, the only workaround for the issue for those that are facing it is to disable the extensions and reload the page to play the video. The post adds that the team is working on investigating further while working on a fix. The firm is looking for users to provide feedback on whether they are seeing the error when the extension is disabled, or even without the extension installed. You can provide feedback by pressing the Shift+Alt+I keys and providing the details, or by heading to the ellipsis menu (…) > Help and feedback > Send feedback. You can also choose to send diagnostic data to help the teams check for logs. Since the issue is known to affect all, Canary, Dev, Beta, and Stable flavors of the browser on all platforms, the company could push a hotfix to all versions when a resolution is ready. For now, though, the only way for those affected to get YouTube to work is by disabling the Adblock extensions Microsoft acknowledges bug causing YouTube playback errors on all Edge versions
  4. This Cat Betrayed His Girlfriend just funniest vid ever! If we could refrain from using quotes in replies here pls?
  5. https://www.reddit.com/r/webdev/comments/gzr3cq/fyi_you_can_bypass_youtube_ads_by_adding_a_dot/
  6. YouTube took down Michael Moore’s film attacking renewable energy The film sparked a firestorm of controversy ‘Planet of the Humans’ executive producer Michael Moore with director Jeff Gibbs and producer Ozzie Zehner at the Traverse City Film Festival. Photo: Planet of the Humans The controversial film Planet of the Humans, produced by Michael Moore, was taken down from YouTube on Monday because of a copyright infringement claim. The complaint was filed by photographer Toby Smith, who was alarmed that his work was used in a film that he doesn’t support, The Guardian reports. “I don’t agree with its message and I don’t like the misleading use of facts in its narrative,” Smith said to The Guardian. A few seconds of Smith’s video, Rare Earthenware, were used in Moore’s film, which criticizes renewable energy. In a statement to The Verge, director Jeff Gibbs denied any copyright violation in his film, which garnered more than 8 million views on YouTube. “This attempt to take down our film and prevent the public from seeing it is a blatant act of censorship by political critics of Planet of the Humans,” Gibbs wrote. “It is a misuse of copyright law to shutdown a film that has opened a serious conversation about how parts of the environmental movement have gotten into bed with Wall Street.” Although sources of archival footage are credited at the end of Gibbs’ film, makers of Rare Earthenware say it doesn’t constitute fair use because “the footage has been contorted to represent a pretty un-researched and for that reason rather dangerous narrative.” The footage depicts the Shiguai coal mine in Inner Mongolia, China, and it’s used in a montage about how solar panels and wind turbines are made. In the context of the film, it seems to be used more as stock footage than an active commentary on Rare Earthenware, which could undermine Planet of the Humans’ case for fair use. “The longer it stays offline, the better for the amazing work that the environmental movement has been doing in the last 10 years,” says Liam Young, who co-founded the studio that collaborated with Smith on Rare Earthenware. Young and Smith’s film traces the materials used in electronics back to their sources. Planet of the Humans has gotten some support from PEN America, a group that advocates for free speech. “Those who take issue with the film have every right to make their concerns and arguments heard,” PEN America senior director Summer Lopez said in an April 29th statement. “But first and foremost, the public also has the essential right to view Moore’s film and make their own judgements.” A firestorm of criticism from influential environmental advocates followed the release of Planet of the Humans in April. Among other things, the film makes the dubious claim that solar and wind power are potentially as harmful to the environment as fossil fuels and that environmentalists are essentially in the pockets of renewable energy corporations. Those claims have been torn apart by environmentalists and scientists who say that the film’s assertions are misleading. “There is no perfect solution to our energy challenges. But this film does not grapple with these thorny questions; it peddles falsehoods,” Leah Stokes, UC Santa Barbara assistant professor and author of the book on clean energy Short Circuiting Policy, wrote for Vox. “The weirdly misleading nature of this thing totally explains why it’s on YouTube, nor hosted by Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, or shown in theaters, or released in partnership with a credible news organization,” climate journalist Emily Atkin wrote in her newsletter Heated on April 27th. “YouTube, after all, is a platform that’s been shown to profit off the spread of climate misinformation.” Stokes called the film “a gift to Big Oil.” It has gotten rave reviews from climate change skeptics like the oil-funded Heartland Institute, which yesterday posted a blog to its website that called Planet of the Humans “an entertaining and educational primer on the hype, phoniness, and lies behind green energy projects.” The film has already sown distrust within environmental circles. “I have no doubt that many of the people who’ve seen the film are, at the least, disheartened … My work will be at least somewhat compromised and less effective,” Bill McKibben, one of the environmentalists called out in Moore and Gibbs’ film and a founder of the green group 350.org, wrote in Rolling Stone. Planet of the Humans was also taken down from another platform, Films for Action, because of the copyright claim. Films for Action had previously temporarily removed it following a harsh letter from filmmaker Josh Fox and notable scientists and environmental activists. The full film is still up on Gibbs’ Vimeo account. Source: YouTube took down Michael Moore’s film attacking renewable energy (The Verge)
  7. Netflix is making a bunch of documentaries free on YouTube If you were waiting for a reason to watch Our Planet Several of Netflix’s nature documentaries, including the critically acclaimed Our Planet and Babies, are streaming for free on the streamer’s YouTube page. Netflix normally allows teachers to access and stream its documentaries in classrooms for various teachings, but since schools are closed right now, the company is bringing those documentaries to YouTube. This way, teachers can assign documentaries for students to watch without worrying about whether students have access to Netflix. “Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers,” a press release reads, “and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them firsthand.” The 10 documentaries available for free include 13th, Abstract, Babies, Chasing Coral, Explained, Knock Down the House, Our Planet, Period. End of a Sentence, The White Helmets, and Zion. A couple of the documentaries focus on nature; others center on social issues, including poverty, racism, and systemic injustices. The education materials for each documentary can be found on Netflix’s blog. Although the documentaries are only available in English right now, Netflix’s blog states that subtitles “in more than a dozen languages will be available later this week.” Source: Netflix is making a bunch of documentaries free on YouTube (The Verge)
  8. A California federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against YouTube over 'retaliatory' copyright strikes. DJ Short-E accused YouTube of failing to process DMCA counternotices after he threatened legal action. The court, however, concluded that YouTube rightfully terminated the DJ's account as it is not required to process counter-notices under the agreed terms of service. For many content creators of YouTube, copyright strikes are a major problem. When users receive three ‘strikes’, YouTube can remove all videos, take down the channel permanently, and prevent the creator from making any new ones. This is a significant threat for those who make a decent living off the video platform including Erik Mishiyev, aka DJ Short-E, who ran two popular YouTube channels totaling over 250,000 subscribers. This achievement earned him a “Silver Creator Award” and generated $310,000 in revenue over a period of five years. However, Mishiyev’s relationship with the video platform was far from rosy. Despite having over a quarter million subscribers, the DJ felt that the views of his videos were low when compared to similar channels. When some subscribers informed him that they received no alerts for new uploads, Mishiyev contacted YouTube support. This inquiry didn’t go well and ultimately resulted in the creator supposedly threatening to take legal action against the video giant. Soon after that happened, he reported being bombarded by copyright takedowns and strikes, which effectively shut down his channels. Mishiyev believes that these takedowns were retaliation for his legal threats. And when YouTube chose not to accept his DMCA counter-notices – which he sent in an attempt to get rid of the strikes – he took YouTube to court. In a complaint filed at a federal court in California last summer, the YouTuber demanded $720,000 in compensation for lost income, among other things. In addition, he wanted to prevent YouTube from ever banning him again. At the center of the lawsuit is a breach of contract claim. Mishiyev argued that YouTube failed to live up to its duties as it failed to process his DMCA counter-notices, a point contested by the video giant. In a response filed a few weeks ago, YouTube noted that its Terms of Service allows the company to remove any content “without prior notice” and “in its sole discretion.” This agreement allows the company not to restore a video following a copyright claim, even when it is challenged. “YouTube has no obligation to ever restore that material to its service, even when a user protests, and the agreement expressly highlights its discretion not to do so,” YouTube informed the court. In other words, YouTube doesn’t have to restore content after it receives a counter-notice. It can simply ignore it, based on the agreed terms of service. This is also the conclusion reached by the court. In an order released last month, US District Court Judge William Alsup notes that users are given the opportunity to submit counter-notifications but Google is not required to act on them. “[O]nce a user submitted a counter-notice, the agreement reserved to YouTube’s sole discretion the decision to take any further action, including whether to restore the videos or even to send the counternotice to the purported copyright owner,” Judge Alsup wrote. “Thus, YouTube did not agree to act as a neutral processor of notices and counter-notices. YouTube retained control to evaluate counter-notices and infringement on its own.” Mishiyev didn’t go into detail on what grounds the notices were inaccurate. The main claim was that the videos were ‘struck’ by YouTube as retaliation. However, even if that’s true, YouTube is still not in the wrong for terminating the account. “Even taking the retaliation allegations as true, however, the complaint fails to overcome YouTube’s express right to terminate plaintiff’s account for repeat copyright infringement,” Judge Alsup notes. Based on these and several other arguments, the Judge granted YouTube’s request to dismiss the complaint. While that’s good news for the video service, the legal battle isn’t completely over yet. As highlighted by Reclaim The Net, Mishiyev, aka DJ Short-E, has appealed the decision at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Here is a copy of US District Court Judge William Alsup’s order to dismiss Mishiyev’s complaint against YouTube.. Source
  9. YouTube finally begins rolling out the Explore tab to its Android and iOS apps YouTube began testing an ‘Explore’ tab for its iOS app to improve content discovery back in July 2018. However, that feature never made it out of testing for the mobile app. That changes today as the video streaming platform announced via a Support page (spotted by AndroidPolice) that it is rolling out a change to the Android and iOS apps, that replaces the ‘Trending’ tab with the ‘Explore’ tab. The update is rolling to all users widely. In addition to the default trending videos, the ‘Explore’ tab also provides users with “destination pages” at the top of the screen. This contains links to videos for topics such as Music, Gaming, News, Movies & Shows, Fashion & Beauty, and Learning. Interestingly, there is also a ‘Trending’ page for displaying just the trending videos, similar to the trending tab that was present earlier. While scrolling through the Explore feed, users will also see sections such as “Creator on the Rise” and “Artist on the Rise”. The firm says that this section features new creators and emerging artists for users to discover. The update seems to be a server-side change and should not require a separate app update. Since the feature just began rolling out to iOS and Android users, it may be a while till all users see the update to the Trending tab. Source: YouTube finally begins rolling out the Explore tab to its Android and iOS apps (Neowin)
  10. YouTube will resume monetization for coronavirus-related content after all YouTube started demonetizing videos related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a few weeks ago in compliance with its sensitive events policy, which forbids advertising for topics that talk about "a loss of life, typically as a result of a pre-planned malicious attack". This type of content is not considered advertiser-friendly by that policy, but that's changing soon. Today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post that the service will restore ads for coronavirus-related content in the coming days. However, content monetization will be limited only to a number of channels including some news organizations and creators who make their content reporting transparent in accordance with YouTube's advertiser-friendly guidelines. Regarding the platform's change of heart, Wojcicki explains: "We know many of you have had questions about our sensitive events policy, which currently does not allow monetization if a video includes more than a passing mention of the coronavirus. Our sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of significant magnitude, like a natural disaster. It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way." YouTube will also expand this kind of monetization to more creators over the coming weeks as it's working to finalize the policies and enforcement processes. Wojcicki also addressed the spread of misinformation around the virus, saying that YouTube will continue removing videos that violate its policy including "those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits". Source: YouTube will resume monetization for coronavirus-related content after all (Neowin)
  11. It’s easy if you try Fifteen years ago this month, one of the most important web domains in history was registered: youtube.com. Today’s teenagers have never known an internet that couldn’t host as much video as they want for free, server costs be damned. YouTube has helped elect politicians, create entire industries, and taught millions of people how to use eyeliner. It’s not a stretch to say it shaped the internet as we know it. But what if YouTube had failed? Would we have missed out on decades of cultural phenomena and innovative ideas? Would we have avoided a wave of dystopian propaganda and misinformation? Or would the internet have simply spiraled into new — yet strangely familiar — shapes, with their own joys and disasters? Here’s one idea of what it might have looked like, tracing the line from why YouTube might have failed to what the world would have looked like without it. It’s far from the only option — but if you’re struggling to imagine a world without YouTube, it may not be as hard as you think. This is a creative work of fiction. Any references to real-life companies, persons, or historical events have been fictionalized for the purposes of furthering this narrative story. Other names, characters, places, companies, and events are imagined, and any resemblance to actual companies, events, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. 2005–2006: The False Start A video platform fights copyright law (and copyright law wins) It’s 2005, and three guys named Steve Chen, Jawed Karim, and Chad Hurley have just launched a dating website called YouTube. While nobody accepts YouTube’s invitation to “Tune In, Hook Up,” people do love sharing pop culture clips and little videos about their lives. By 2006, YouTube’s viewership has exploded, but reporters raise ominous questions about its financial strategy and legal risks. NPR, for example, declares that “YouTube does for video what Napster did for audio” — and that, like Napster, its days might be numbered. YouTube discusses an acquisition offer with Google, Microsoft, and Oracle, but all three deals fall through, and growing server costs threaten to eat through the company’s funding. YouTube has its first viral hit in early 2006 with a bootleg upload of SNL’s “Lazy Sunday” (also known as the “Narnia rap”). Faced with an obvious copyright violation, NBC must decide whether to sign an ad deal with YouTube or try to destroy it. The network chooses the path of war, filing aggressive legal requests and rushing the launch of Hulu, which is soon available through popular websites like Microsoft’s MSN portal and News Corp’s social network Myspace. With Hulu established as a legitimate content source, networks view YouTube as a piracy vector for valuable movie and TV clips at a time when the music industry and internet service providers are aggressively pursuing copyright infringers. Companies file lawsuits against YouTube instead of signing deals, and a flood of legal challenges from content-holders threatens to damage the platform’s safe harbor status under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Without YouTube, Google focuses on its existing Google Video service. It shifts focus to expanding a recently acquired stake in AOL, reviving plans for a joint venture with Comcast. Focusing on search and advertising services for other web portals, it’s largely seen as a web software and infrastructure company. Facing high bandwidth costs and no revenue stream, YouTube declares bankruptcy. Apple quietly hires most of its talent, assigning them to an iPhone video chat system codenamed 2006–2007: The Power Vacuum Old media giants meet the influencer economy As YouTube descends into bankruptcy, media companies start buying up lower-profile video sites. Instead of letting anyone immediately post a video, these companies implement a review process and focus on nurturing stables of internet stars often poached from YouTube — including a teenage singer named Justin Bieber. The resulting services often look more like the Sony-acquired platform Grouper than the chaos of YouTube. Some leverage user-generated content into new business models, particularly NBCUniversal, which acquires a life-streaming platform called Justin.tv in 2007. Results are mixed. Sponsorship deals with “lifecasters” offer 24/7 exposure for brands but create an ongoing trickle of PR gaffes, including a Law & Order ad campaign that derails when viewers provoke a police raid on the broadcaster’s apartment. (The incident is dramatized three months later in a Law & Order episode.) Similarly, a licensing process for cosplay live streams earns criticism from fans who object to a prudish dress code and sweeping contract agreement. The incident fuels a broader discussion of the relationship between fandom and corporate media, alienating many potential streamers. NBCUniversal nudges the platform toward semi-curated reality and talent show formats. 2008–2011: The Divergence Peer-to-peer video turns the internet upside-down HostingHosting a giant streaming repository is expensive and legally risky. But there’s a free alternative: peer-to-peer sharing. Without YouTube, decentralized streaming services are developed and popularized earlier. What these systems lack in user-friendliness, they recover in anarchic fun (and a fair amount of pirated content, especially when The Pirate Bay builds a YouTube-style landing page for discovering original videos). Their distributed design makes videos easy to create and difficult to fully erase, and dedicated local networks also spring up on college campuses and high schools. As Apple’s recently released iPhone grows in popularity, the company launches FaceTime: a video calling service that supports both one-on-one chats and small-scale broadcasting. It promotes the feature with a series of heartwarming ads, including an estranged family that reconnects over a shared viewing of a high-school musical. Somewhat unpredictably, the appetite for group broadcasting drives performers and audiences to hold events in massively multiplayer games and virtual worlds, particularly Second Life, which is acquired by Microsoft in 2010. Major telecoms respond by attacking peer-to-peer systems at the network level. Some internet service providers block peer-to-peer streaming in a violation of fledgling net neutrality rules, setting up a conflict between ISPs and the Federal Communications Commission. These services find an unlikely ally in Apple, whose own FaceTime app runs into similar problems. And rampant copyright infringement alarms Hollywood and record labels, which begin lobbying Congress for stricter intellectual property laws. 2011–2012: The Crackdown Congress takes down the video underground By 2011, legitimate online video services have seen moderate success. Their submission review process, powered by a combination of automated tools and human moderators, drastically slows the posting of videos. But it heads off some serious problems, quickly stemming the growth of child abuse material and disturbing videos aimed at kids. Small-scale group broadcasting has also taken off. Public figures regularly use Apple’s group broadcasting options to host intimate discussions — including a variety of streaming stars and noted iPhone fan President Barack Obama who kicks off a virtual tour of American classrooms using FaceTime. Microsoft integrates Skype support into Second Life, letting webcam users “dial in” to virtual book readings and other live events. These systems create an expectation of intimacy and personalization as well as a certain level of privacy from outside eyes. By contrast, decentralized streaming is a free-for-all. Its openness creates a wellspring of creativity, but also persistent problems with harassment and quasi-ironic bigotry. One peer-to-peer streaming subculture is devoted almost entirely to “griefing” mainstream video sites and virtual worlds — clogging submission queues with nonsensical meme videos, launching raids on Second Life, and running elaborate hoaxes to trick celebrities into personal FaceTime and Skype broadcasts. Pirated content continues to circulate, including rips of legitimate video sites’ biggest shows. The combination of lobbyist pressure and increasingly aggressive trolling eventually spurs Congress to crack down. Lawmakers begin debating a sweeping bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which requires ISPs to block any foreign sites that host illegal copies of photos, videos, or music. This includes any peer-to-peer services with users outside the US. Internet advocacy groups protest SOPA, holding an online “blackout” in protest. But they lack the support of web giants like Google — its partner, Comcast, staunchly supports the bill — and peer-to-peer platforms’ reputation for unsavory content makes them easy targets for lawmakers. The law passes in 2012, and ISPs quickly block P2P streaming systems without the threat of FCC censure. The resulting crackdown scuttles some innovative projects, including a popular Lego-like game called Minecraft, which had integrated a peer-to-peer streaming system for players. And it galvanizes young voters into political awareness. Some of their enthusiasm is captured by a growing right-wing extremist movement, which has operated under the radar, thanks to decentralized video. 2013–2015: The Backlash The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it Peer-to-peer video is increasingly inaccessible, alongside foreign streaming services like DailyMotion and Tudou, and people flock to services like FaceTime, Hulu, and Justin.tv. This sudden growth adds both technical and social pressure. Users submit swathes of popular videos like the peer-to-peer hit “Charlie Bit My Finger,” offering welcome ad revenue but requiring arduous hunts for the original creators. Griefers launch all-out swatting campaigns against live performers. AT&T attempts to justify blocking Apple’s FaceTime under SOPA, making the service unavailable to many iPhone users on its network. And as mainstream platforms face more scrutiny, disturbing reports suggest that conglomerates like Sony and NBCUniversal turned a blind eye toward streamers accused of sexual misconduct, or even offered help by suppressing rumors on their platforms. It’s especially troubling because kids’ content is thriving on the services. Children’s channels are filtered to remove disturbing content, but they’re also filled with product placement, free from the requirements placed on broadcast TV. And while their young stars have the support of a studio system, it also places strict rules on their conduct — which, combined with the always-on ethos of streaming, can prove psychologically damaging. Peer-to-peer video devotees take increasingly extreme measures to stay online. They respond to the ISP bans by developing local mesh networks that can stream video across limited ranges, creating pocket subcultures split along geographical lines. Some popular videos make the leap between meshnets. Re-edited versions of a 9/11 conspiracy documentary called Loose Change becomes a rare national hit across the meshnets, circulating throughout California and across the northern Appalachian region. Aspiring streamers flock to dense urban centers like New York and Los Angeles whose networks are still closely watched by mainstream sites’ talent scouts. (Similar scouts watch international sites, poaching stars like DailyMotion streamer Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg to host Comedy Central’s Pew.0.) Others gather in smaller cities like Kansas City, Missouri, and Akron, Ohio, creating regional media hubs colloquially known as “streamtowns.” Streamers from isolated areas with a strong survivalist tradition are often lured into a burgeoning network of far-right media compounds, intermittently monitored by the FBI. Non-video social media becomes more atomized, regionalized, and personal. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg puts a premium on encryption, declaring in 2013 that “the future is private.” (Encryption and limited virality make Facebook less attractive for both pirates and anti-piracy enforcers.) In 2014, public micro-blogging platform Twitter becomes a wire news service for verified businesses and journalists, following a widely criticized public shaming frenzy on the site. Microsoft acquires a buzzy VR startup called Oculus and integrates its technology into Second Life, offering a virtual world anchored by persistent identities and a real-money economy, although its crackdown on sexual content — particularly quirky subcultures like furries — draws some criticism. To fight griefers, mainline sites downrank and demonetize most political discussion, limiting divisive topics like vaccine denial and climate change to a handful of carefully vetted channels. Movements like Occupy Wall Street, organized through a local New York meshnet, have earned little mainstream attention. Private networks can avoid censorship but breed unverified rumors and conspiracy theories, which incubate with little outside awareness or intervention. Streaming sites begin adopting sophisticated machine learning systems and mining sensitive user data gathered by ISPs, which is made possible by consolidation deals like the 2011 merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal. Drawing on Google’s AI research, Comcast-NBCUniversal’s juggernaut Justin.tv carefully parses the most minor shifts in video performance to set advertising rates and surface content, leaving streamers at the mercy of an unknowable algorithm. 2016–2020: The Calm The internet’s immune system is weaker than we think The internet of 2016 has its critics. Media theorists question the “mind-numbing wasteland of sanitized, algorithm-driven monocultures” in which a few media gatekeepers produce limited quantities of web television for the broadest possible audience, padded with some superficially personalized elements like custom title cards that look different for each user. A housing bubble within Second Life has made the thriving virtual world inaccessible to many lower-income Americans, leading to accusations of “virtual gentrification” and debilitating digital mortgages for some unlucky residents. Even so, it’s seen as widely superior to the chaos of the meshnet, which becomes a persistent target for law enforcement after a series of violent inter-network clashes and domestic extremist attacks. With no centralized point of attack, hacking and misinformation campaigns by meshnet griefers and Russian cyber-operatives fail to land, and Hillary Clinton defeats opponent Ted Cruz by a narrow margin in the 2016 presidential election. President Clinton leads a meshnet compound crackdown with bipartisan congressional support — although ardent progressives see it as a cynical gift to the telecom industry and a substitute for meaningful gun control, while populist conservatives decry the advent of a “Waco 2.0.” The newly merged Comcast-Google-AOL-NBCUniversal offers glowing coverage and algorithmically tailored promotion of the campaign. (Disclosure: Comcast-Google-AOL-NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Vox Media.) While aimed at violent extremists, the crackdown embitters many local streamtowns, and large networks grow paranoid over fears of police infiltration. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones rallies political support from the local Austin meshnet, running for state Congress on a platform of Texan independence. Political concerns leave other networks nearly untouched — including the Miami meshnet, a hotbed for organized crime in the swing state of Florida. Some small networks are repurposed as honeypot operations by small-time blackmailers who trawl their nodes for nude photos and other embarrassing material. Clinton’s FCC starts a massive push for municipal internet development, hoping to unify a geographically polarized country. But powerful telecom-internet-media conglomerates immediately mire the plan in litigation. As the 2020 election approaches, a superficial national calm belies a series of brewing secessionist campaigns and potent localized conspiracy theories. A DC-area network plays host to a supposed Department of Energy operative codenamed “Q” who offers dire warnings about President Clinton and a network of baby-eating satanists — warnings that Fox News promotes on the popular web version of its news channel. A grassroots “Occupy Airwaves” movement is spreading open-source plans for a long-wave transmitter that can bridge the gaps between networks, creating a full-scale decentralized alternative internet. Conversely, the wealthy Mercer family is building networks that offer the illusion of a local meshnet, laced with propaganda for their preferred candidate: Donald Trump. Amid all of this, Apple adds an extra feature to its popular FaceTime application, capitalizing on the app’s widespread popularity. It’s a geolocation-based dating tool where users can “pin” short videos to participating bars and restaurants, hoping to attract another patron on a date. It’s called FaceTime Dating. Source
  12. In three months, YouTube received nearly 110,000 appeals from creators who were frustrated that their videos were taken down — but less than a quarter were later reinstated. The data comes from YouTube’s new community guidelines report, and it marks the first time that YouTube is sharing information on appeals. One of the more frustrating aspects of working as a YouTube creator is dealing with videos erroneously being taken down by the company and having to go through YouTube’s appeal process. Creators have asked for more transparency regarding the appeals process, and today, YouTube is sharing data for the first time. YouTube says that it removed more than 5 million videos between October 2019 and December 2019. Of those videos, around 109,000 removals were appealed. YouTube reinstated around 23,000 videos, according to the report. The vast majority of those videos were removed automatically (meaning a human did not oversee the removal), and more than 60 percent were removed before the video collected any views. YouTube’s report also states that just over 2 million channels were removed. More than 80 percent of these channels were considered spam, according to the report. YouTube reinstated approximately 23,000 videos “Our team is focused on accurately and consistently enforcing our policies, and one of the ways we hold ourselves accountable and measure our success is by making sure that users can easily appeal our decisions and monitoring the rate at which they do,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge. Creators filed appeals on “less than two percent of the videos we removed last quarter,” according to the YouTube representative. The company “overturned less than half of one percent of videos we removed last quarter.” The report doesn’t specify how many videos were removed or taken down because of copyright infringement, one of the biggest issues within the creator space. Of the videos that were removed, more than 50 percent were for spam or deceptive practices, 15 percent were removed for child safety, and 13 percent were removed for nudity or sexually explicit content. Hateful and abusive content made up 2.9 percent of all videos removed. Just under 33,000 videos (0.6 percent) of videos were removed for cyberbullying and harassment — an area where YouTube has had to answer for over the last few years. YouTube updated its policy to prohibit creator-on-creator harassment, which became a big talking point last summer. “This is just one more step towards providing transparency into the work we do to quickly and consistently enforce our policies,” the YouTube representative said. “We’re working to add more exhibits to this report over the course of 2020.” Source
  13. Free speech online — First Amendment doesn’t apply on YouTube; judges reject PragerU lawsuit YouTube can restrict PragerU videos because it is a private forum, court rules. Enlarge YouTube / Getty / Aurich Lawson YouTube is a private forum and therefore not subject to free-speech requirements under the First Amendment, a US appeals court ruled today. "Despite YouTube's ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment," the court said. PragerU, a conservative media company, sued YouTube in October 2017, claiming the Google-owned video site "unlawfully censor[ed] its educational videos and discriminat[ed] against its right to freedom of speech." PragerU said YouTube reduced its viewership and revenue with "arbitrary and capricious use of 'restricted mode' and 'demonetization' viewer restriction filters." PragerU claimed it was targeted by YouTube because of its "political identity and viewpoint as a non-profit that espouses conservative views on current and historical events." But a US District Court judge dismissed PragerU's lawsuit against Google and YouTube, and a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld that dismissal in a unanimous ruling today. "PragerU's claim that YouTube censored PragerU's speech faces a formidable threshold hurdle: YouTube is a private entity. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government—not a private party—from abridging speech," judges wrote. PragerU claimed that Google's "regulation and filtering of video content on YouTube is 'State action' subject to scrutiny under the First Amendment." While Google is obviously not a government agency, PragerU pointed to a previous appeals-court ruling to support its claim that "[t]he regulation of speech by a private party in a designated public forum is 'quintessentially an exclusive and traditional public function' sufficient to establish that a private party is a 'State actor' under the First Amendment." PragerU claims YouTube is a "public forum" because YouTube invites the public to use the site to engage in freedom of expression and because YouTube representatives called the site a "public forum" for free speech in testimony before Congress. Hosting speech doesn’t make YouTube a state actor Appeals court judges were not convinced. They pointed to a Supreme Court case from last year in which plaintiffs unsuccessfully "tested a theory that resembled PragerU's approach, claiming that a private entity becomes a state actor through its 'operation' of the private property as 'a public forum for speech.'" The case involved public access channels on a cable TV system. The Supreme Court in that case found that "merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints." "If the rule were otherwise, all private property owners and private lessees who open their property for speech would be subject to First Amendment constraints and would lose the ability to exercise what they deem to be appropriate editorial discretion within that open forum," the Supreme Court decision last year continued. Ruling against PragerU's First Amendment claim was ultimately a "straightforward" matter, the appeals-court ruling today said: Both sides say that the sky will fall if we do not adopt their position. PragerU prophesizes living under the tyranny of big-tech, possessing the power to censor any speech it does not like. YouTube and several amicus curiae, on the other hand, foretell the undoing of the Internet if online speech is regulated. While these arguments have interesting and important roles to play in policy discussions concerning the future of the Internet, they do not figure into our straightforward application of the First Amendment. Because the state action doctrine precludes constitutional scrutiny of YouTube's content moderation pursuant to its Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, we affirm the district court's dismissal of PragerU's First Amendment claim. The judges' panel also rejected PragerU's claim that YouTube was guilty of false advertising under the Lanham Act. "YouTube's statements concerning its content moderation policies do not constitute 'commercial advertising or promotion' as the Lanham Act requires," the decision said. "Nor was YouTube's designation of certain of plaintiff's videos for Restricted Mode part of an advertising or promotion or a misrepresentation as to the videos." Judges also found that "YouTube's braggadocio about its commitment to free speech constituted opinions that are not subject to the Lanham Act." Source: First Amendment doesn’t apply on YouTube; judges reject PragerU lawsuit (Ars Technica)
  14. MediaHuman YouTube Downloader (1502) Download videos and music from YouTube and many other websites, then convert them to various file formats like MP4 or MP3, by using this simple application MediaHuman YouTube Downloader simply does what it says - downloads YouTube videos. The support for 4K and 8K videos and easy integration with iTunes allows you to get any clip and watch it everywhere. Smooth downloading of videos from many services including Twitch, Vevo.com, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Facebook, UOL, VKontakte, SoundCloud, and TikTok expands your video horizons. Smart clipboard monitoring narrows the downloading to simply copying the URL with the Ctrl+C shortcut. And the ability to extract MP3 audio tracks is helpful when you only need music, not the whole clip. MediaHuman YouTube Downloader is a useful application with a user-friendly and feature-rich environment, many output formats available, minimal usage of CPU and memory, and a good response time. Downloads several videos simultaneously Supports Ultra High resolutions including 4K & 8K (with audio) Downloads entire playlists and channels YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Soundcloud and much more Extracts audio track and saves it as MP3 Supports exporting to iTunes/Music.app Works on all modern platforms (macOS, Windows and Ubuntu) Developer Homepage: https://www.mediahuman.com/youtube-downloader Download
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  16. YouTube is a $15 billion-a-year business, Google reveals for the first time We’ve never before known how much money YouTube generates YouTube generated nearly $5 billion in ad revenue in the last three months, Google revealed today as part of parent company Alphabet’s fourth quarter earnings report. This is the first report under newly instated Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who took over as the chief executive of the entire company late last year after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped back from day-to-day duties and promoted Pichai, formerly Google CEO, to the top spot. The announcement marks the first time in YouTube’s nearly 15 years as a Google-owned platform, since Google bought the website in 2006 for $1.65 billion, that the company has revealed how much money YouTube-hosted ads contribute to the search giant’s bottom line. On an annual basis, Google says YouTube generated $15 billion last year and contributed roughly 10 percent to all Google revenue. Those figures make YouTube’s ad business nearly one fifth the size of Facebook’s, and more than six times larger than all of Amazon-owned Twitch. Separately, Google says YouTube has more than 20 million subscribers across its Premium (ad-free YouTube) and Music Premium offerings, as well as more than 2 million subscribers to its paid TV service. Alphabet says revenues from those products are bundled into the “other” category, which made $5.3 billion last quarter and also includes hardware like Pixel phone and Google Home speakers. That makes it hard to gauge the specific performance of any one product bundled under that category. Overall, Alphabet made $46 billion in revenue in the quarter that ended December 31st, 2019, a 17 percent jump over 2018. Nearly $10.7 billion of that was profit, the company says. Google’s search business remains the big moneymaker of Alphabet’s sprawling empire, earning $27.2 billion for the quarter. But alongside YouTube ad revenue, Google is also disclosing the financial performance of its cloud computing division. Google Cloud made $2.6 billion in revenue for the quarter, the report reveals. That means Google massively beat Wall Street expectations on profit, but missed on revenue. That could be one reason why Google may be disclosing YouTube and Google Cloud revenues for the first time. To appease investors, it’s important for Google to remind onlookers that its business isn’t solely dependent on its search engine, and that it has fast-growing and separate businesses like YouTube and its cloud computing division to pick up the slack. Google Search generated an eye-popping $98.1 billion in 2019, the company says, but that’s just a 15 percent increase over 2018. YouTube, on the other hand, grew from $11.2 billion in 2018 to $15.15 billion last year, a 36.5 percent jump. That said, a revenue miss of this magnitude for Alphabet means investors were not pleased, and Alphabet stock is now down more than 4 percent in after-hours trading. Source: YouTube is a $15 billion-a-year business, Google reveals for the first time (The Verge)
  17. YouTube commits to remove misinformation ahead of Iowa caucus YouTube is committing to remove misinformation ahead of the Iowa caucus on Monday, reiterating its pledge to take down videos aimed at misleading or confusing voters ahead of the pivotal first nominating contest of the 2020 election cycle. The Google-owned video giant is bracing itself for an onslaught of viral falsehoods and manipulated video footage as the Democratic presidential candidates face off in the key battleground state. All of the top social media platforms, including YouTube, have spent four years building up their defenses against election interference after Russian trolls successfully used social networks like Facebook and Twitter to sow discord online, bolstering then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign for the White House in 2016. "As the 2020 election season kicks into high gear in the United States, people will visit YouTube to learn about the candidates and watch the election season unfold," Leslie Miller, YouTube's vice president of government affairs and public policy, wrote in a blog post published Monday. "Over the last few years, we’ve increased our efforts to make YouTube a more reliable source for news and information, as well as an open platform for healthy political discourse," Miller wrote. YouTube is specifying it won't allow videos that spread lies about where or when to vote, nor will it allow videos that promote misinformation about whether particular candidates are eligible to run. The company said it specifically won't allow videos that advance "claims that a candidate is not eligible to hold office based on false information about citizenship status requirements to hold office in that country" — a thinly-veiled reference to the "birther" conspiracy theory that dogged former President Obama's presidential campaign. YouTube, which has faced criticism for pushing its users towards fringe conspiracy theories and sensationalistic content, noted that it is working to direct users towards reputable and accurate information. It will be lifting up facts about the political candidates throughout the election season, the company said, and it's working to direct users away from any content that could violate its community guidelines. All of the social media platforms are on high alert on Monday as the 2020 presidential election begins in earnest, raising fresh concerns around how people will use their platforms to stoke anxieties and spread outright falsehoods in a sensitive election year. Since 2016, lawmakers and regulators alike have placed Big Tech under the microscope, blaming their powerful and far-reaching networks for intensifying divisions in a fractured country. And the companies are working overtime to prove they will react faster and defend the "public conversation" more efficiently as 2020 barrels ahead. Source
  18. CBS makes Star Trek: Picard pilot free on YouTube for a limited time CBS hasn't said when the free viewing period will end, but it's the full episode. Episode 1 of Star Trek: Picard on YouTube. CBS has made the entirety of the first episode of its new series Star Trek: Picard freely and publicly available as a YouTube video. This is an opportunity for viewers curious about the show to see if Picard is worth subscribing to the network's streaming service, CBS All Access, to watch the rest of the series. The episode on YouTube is the same as the pilot episode that premiered on CBS All Access last week. The second episode of Picard began streaming on CBS All Access yesterday, and the network plans to release episodes at a weekly cadence. CBS has not said whether it plans to make other episodes available for free on YouTube in the future, but it seems likely. The description for the video says the episode will only be available "for a limited time" and that it's presented by Geico. It does not, however, clarify how long "a limited time" is or when the video might become unavailable. Picard has received generally positive critical reviews to date, but it's early days for the series. The show takes place 20 years after 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, which was the last time actor Patrick Stewart appeared on screen as Picard in a live-action Star Trek production. It has already included some cameos from actors and characters from The Next Generation-era Star Trek. Stewart, who is also an executive producer on Picard, recently said that it's his goal to see all the principal characters of The Next Generation in Picard before the series ends its run. The series has also been renewed for a second season, set to premiere in 2021. CBS plans to bring back Star Trek: Discovery for a third season with a new showrunner, and it has plans for additional series set in the Star Trek universe, including one focused on Michelle Yeoh reprising her role as Philippa Georgiou from Discovery. We've embedded the full episode of Picard above. Listing image by CBS Source: CBS makes Star Trek: Picard pilot free on YouTube for a limited time (Ars Technica)
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  20. The FTC’s 2020 COPPA rules have YouTube creators scared YouTube creators don't have access to kids' data—but may get COPPA fines anyway. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. The other night while I was getting ready to record a podcast, a Hangouts message came beeping in from my nine-year-old son. He wanted me to watch a video—one which he believed was very important—and come discuss it with him afterward. That video turned out to be a ten-minute clip from YouTube personality Maxmello—who, along with his wife Wengie, runs the Reacticorns YouTube channel—making a heartfelt appeal to his viewers to understand some unpopular changes he'd made to the channel. Back in September, YouTube settled a pair of lawsuits from the FTC and the New York Attorney General for $170 million. The lawsuits alleged that the Google-owned YouTube has been flagrantly violating COPPA—the Childhood Privacy Protection Act. COPPA reins in the ability of websites to deliberately target and harvest personal information from children under the age of 13, and—in part—requires sites "directed to children" to "obtain verifiable parental consent" prior to collecting personal information; it also provides means for parents to review such information once collected. Although YouTube's terms of service state that users must be at least 13 years of age in the US, the reality is that millions of American children—like my kids—watch a lot of YouTube. In some cases, underage YouTubers watch content without ever logging in at all; in others, they may be using their parents' account, or they or their parents may have created an account for them that simply lies about their age. Prior to YouTube's settlement with the FTC, its position was that YouTube's TOS excludes children, and its content is all "family friendly, but general audience" rather than being explicitly child-directed. It therefore it did not need to comply with COPPA regulations. The settlement includes an acknowledgement that some YouTube content is directed toward children and therefore does fall under the regulatory scope of COPPA; Google will henceforth make an effort to identify and label such content. The $170 million in fines that YouTube paid is, compared with parent company Alphabet's staggering $38.9 billion quarterly revenue, chump change. But moving forward, the FTC has put content creators themselves directly in its sights, stating—using both boldface and italic, so we know they're super serious—"COPPA applies [to YouTube content creators] in the same way it would if the channel owner had its own website or app." FTC chairman Joseph Simons underscores how serious the agency is about targeting creators directly by describing them in a press conference as "fish in a barrel." In other words, despite never actually collecting, receiving, or having access to kids' personal information themselves, any YouTubers who post silly videos that kids might enjoy are now personally on the hook for up to $42,530 per video if they don't directly flag those videos as "made for kids." The FTC goes on to provide guidelines it uses to determine if content is directed to children: the subject matter visual content the use of animated characters or child-oriented activities and incentives the kind of music or other audio content the age of models the presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to children language or other characteristics of the site whether advertising that promotes or appears on the site is directed to children competent and reliable empirical evidence about the age of the audience So far, the solution seems obvious: if a bunch of kids like your stuff, then label it as for kids, right? So YouTube content creators like Maxmello and Wengie—who, much like YouTube itself prior to September, consider their content "family-friendly and general audience, but not child-directed"—just tag all their stuff and move on. Simple. Unfortunately, many creators fear that YouTube's handling of the new "child-directed" content largely amounts to putting said content—to quote the late, great Douglas Adams—on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory, with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard." YouTube gaming content creator Chadtronic alleges that videos marked "for kids" will have no notifications, no comments, will not be searchable, will not be suggested or recommended, and will make 90 percent less total revenue. Although Chadtronic does not source his claims, they're being widely shared by other content creators desperately concerned about both legal liability and the impact on their income from the new rules. Enlarge / YouTube content creator Chadtronic believes that flagging a video as "made for kids" essentially ensures that it will neither make significant money nor be widely seen. We were unable to find evidence of made-for-kids videos becoming "unsearchable"—or any reliable estimate of the exact impact on ad earnings—but an official announcement made by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki confirms that comments, notifications, and personalized ads will all be disabled on such videos. Lack of push notifications means traffic will come more slowly to newly posted videos, which in turn could lead to YouTube's AI based recommendation system deprioritizing videos from that creator because it characterizes them as "less engaging." In somewhat brighter news, Wojcicki also announced that YouTube will continue "investing in the future of quality kids, family, and educational content" by establishing a $100 million fund dedicated to the creation of "thoughtful, original children's content." Thoughts from a concerned parent Speaking as a parent, I'm glad that the FTC is taking the protection of children's data seriously, but I'm dubious of the way the agency is going about it. It's easy to write off "silly" YouTube channels as unimportant, but the reality is that people have built entire careers around the production of popular, well-loved content both for children and for "child-hearted adults"—and those people have no control over how their viewers' data is harvested and used, nor do they have enormous legal teams to beat settlements down into "pocket change" territory as YouTube did. Meanwhile, the things I genuinely do worry about regarding my kids' safety on YouTube—trolls splicing suicide instructions into videos, or making Peppa Pig drink bleach, or bizarre AI-generated content which could be subtly shaping young minds in unforeseen and unproductive ways—will be far less affected. The trolls presumably aren't making significant revenue in the first place, and the AI farms are already operating on the principle of giant swathes of cheaply produced garbage rather than directly employing humans to carefully create appealing videos. I hope that Wojcicki's $100 million fund eases the impact on clearly-for-children content creators like Blippi and the parents behind Ryan's World. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely to help creators such as Chadtronic or Maxmello and Wengie, who make "child-hearted" content for general audience consumption. Such content could easily fall afoul of the FTC's regulatory enforcement—but would likely not fit YouTube's classification of "thoughtful, original children's content" since it wasn't intended specifically for children in the first place. Listing image by Reacticorns/YouTube Source: The FTC’s 2020 COPPA rules have YouTube creators scared (Ars Technica)
  21. Skip sponsor messages in YouTube videos with SponsorBlock SponsorBlock is an open source browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox (and compatible browsers) that skips sponsored messages on YouTube automatically. YouTube publishers have several monetization options at their disposal. Most may display advertisement provided by Google on their channels and that is without doubt the most common method. Others include benefiting from YouTube Premium (does not seem to work that well for most), Super Chat to monetize live chats on YouTube, sponsored videos, and sponsored messages during regular videos. Sponsored messages are usually played after a short intro to advertise a product, e.g. hardware or services. These messages play even when ad-blockers are used in the browser of choice. The relatively new SponsorBlock extension provides a solution as it will auto-skip sponsored messages on YouTube. It is a crowd-sourced extension which means that users may submit new videos with sponsored parts to a central database. One user submits the info and everyone else benefits from the information. Sponsored parts of videos that are in the extension's database will be skipped automatically once the extension is installed. You will notice a "sponsors skipped" popup when that happens and may interact with it, e.g. to unskip and play the part or disable the popup for good. The project's GitHub page lists a little bit less than 50k submitted sponsors from over 8000 contributors. The extension comes with reporting functionality to add a new entry to the database. All it takes for that is to click on the extension icon and hit the "sponsorship starts now" button when the sponsored content begins to play. When it ends, hit the end button to complete the process and submit the data. Users may vote on a sponsor time which is used to verify data that is submitted by users. SponsorBlock keeps track of skips and displays statistics in the interface about the time saved while using the extension. An option to whitelist channels is provided as well to always keep the sponsored parts of videos of particular channels playing. Just like whitelisting in ad-blockers, it helps channels with their monetization efforts. Closing Words SponsorBlock's effectiveness depends on its database and user contributions. I checked out the extension back when it was first released but decided against a review at that time because of a lack of entries in its database. It seems likely that the extension will grow in the coming years as more and more YouTube publishers start to use sponsored messages in their videos. Source: Skip sponsor messages in YouTube videos with SponsorBlock (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  22. YouTube has restored hundreds of videos from dozens of channels that focus on crypotcurrency after they were removed earlier in the week. YouTubers like Chris Dunn report that their videos were flagged by YouTube for “harmful or dangerous content” and “sale of regulated goods.” YouTube now says that the deletions were a mistake. “With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” a YouTube spokesperson told Gizmodo via email. “When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it. We also offer uploaders the ability to appeal removals and we will re-review the content.” At least 35 cryptocurrency channels had videos affected, including ChrisDunnTV, Nugget News, Crypto Tips, and BTC Sessions, though the largest like CoinTelegraph and CNBC seemed to have been spared, according to Forbes. YouTube told Gizmodo that it has reinstated all crypto videos that were affected and has removed any penalty to their channels. But representatives from the social video company, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, did not answer follow up questions about whether the videos were flagged automatically or whether it was human error. YouTube also didn’t answer questions about the exact number of channels that had been caught up in the ban. Some cryptocurrency YouTubers have vowed to boycott the company, but it’s not clear whether they’ll follow through since YouTube has backtracked and admitted a mistake. As CoinDesk notes, some cryptocurrency channels have felt targeted lately and seem particularly concerned by a December 10 update to YouTube’s terms of service. “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable,” the latest terms of service read. To be clear, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are a volatile investment that any rational person would characterize as potentially “harmful and dangerous.” But that doesn’t mean cryptocurrency nerds shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy their dumb hobby on YouTube if they want. Banning Bitcoin videos would be like banning stamp collecting videos. Except the stamps, in this case, are completely invisible and made for suckers. Source
  23. The government is cracking down, so the rules are changing. The burden of those rules, however, is on the creators. David Graham (www.dpgatlaw.com) is a lawyer who has represented clients creating content for YouTube and other platforms since 2011, and has been a prominent commentator in the fighting game community since 2010. YouTube is an alluring place to make money, but one where power is distributed unevenly, and where the individual creator is often at the whims of corporations and policies that change on a moment’s notice. 2019 has been no different. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York Attorney General reached a landmark settlement with Google over allegations that YouTube had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In short, Google agreed to pay $170 million in fines and to make significant changes to YouTube’s content and data collection rules. These changes are real, significant, and worth understanding for anyone with a YouTube channel because of the impact they may have on advertising revenue and audience outreach. YouTube has begun requiring channel owners to classify their content as either “made for kids” or not, with anything labeled as made for kids losing access to personalized ads, comments sections, notification bells, and more. And because YouTube has provided channel owners little guidance on how to navigate these new rules, misinformation and even some panic has spread. Why You Need to Care About COPPA COPPA, passed in 1998 out of concerns that children’s data could be misused online, is a US federal law that protects the privacy of children under the age of 13 by prohibiting the unauthorized or unnecessary use of children’s personal information. Online services that are used by or are directed to children must avoid collecting, maintaining, using, and disclosing children’s personal information without parental consent. Services that merely benefit from someone else collecting or maintaining children’s data are included as well. The FTC has interpreted “personal information” to include not just names and contact information but also web “cookies” and other data that help a tracker know which websites users have visited and which products they may be interested in. That information allows advertising to be more targeted—and therefore more valuable. As a result, sites and services used by or directed to children must refrain from collecting or maintaining children’s cookies and other personalized information without parental consent. This may result in less revenue for sites and services direct to children, but it should also theoretically result in better protected kids, and that’s not nothing. The FTC is authorized to fine violators up to $42,350 per instance, although numbers that high are rare. In this case, Google and YouTube definitely have to abide by COPPA. But the FTC has interpreted the law more expansively than that: because YouTube channel owners benefit from YouTube’s collection and use of kids’ cookies, the FTC claims that they are subject to COPPA as well. YouTube offered a “YouTube Kids” section, an under-13 age category, and marketing efforts calling itself the best way to reach kids online. At the same time, it failed to provide notice of its information practices to parents and tracked cookies of users who hadn’t yet declared they were over 13. It was gunning for trouble. The Confusing New Normal Channel owners are now presented with two setting choices for their content: made for kids or not made for kids. Channels and videos listed as made for kids will most likely see substantial reductions in both YouTube advertising revenue and in viewer participation and retention, which can reduce a channel’s ability to find more direct sponsorships. YouTube is also creating an algorithm to identify channels and videos that are, as YouTube’s official announcement video tries to clarify, “clearly” made for kids. If channel owners don’t choose whether their content is made for kids or not, this algorithm will choose instead. Despite the many false positives and other issues that content creators have faced from other YouTube algorithms, the only appeals process available is hitting the “send feedback” button. That’s no surprise. YouTube’s entire implementation of this new system seems to place as much responsibility on channel owners as possible. Many channels serve mixed audiences of both children and adults without intentionally directing their content to children, and the FTC knows this. And yet, instead of giving channel owners a fuller set of choices, including a mixed audience designation, YouTube has limited these options to an unrealistic binary that increases confusion and liability concerns for content creators who are not actually targeting children directly. As a result, channel owners are left to decide on their own what “made for kids” means with what many of my friends and clients have worried could be a $42,350 sword hanging over their necks. What Does “Made for Kids” Even Mean Is content that may be appropriate for kids the same as content that is made for kids? What about cases where child and adult interests intersect? Like YouTube, I can’t give specific legal advice. Issues that come up for channels stuck in the gray area may be too complex to discuss as generalities. But I can at least do a little better than YouTube did. First, keep in mind that the real legal standard is not YouTube’s “made for kids” but COPPA’s “directed to children.” My reading of those two phrases is that “made for kids” has more wiggle room, with credible readings ranging from content made at a child’s direct request to content that wouldn’t be objectionable for kids; it can easily be read to include mixed audiences. The COPPA rule is a bit more forthright. Is a video actually directed toward children? Are such children its target? The settlement and complaint can help us understand what types of content the FTC considers directed to children. In the settlement, the FTC looks at “subject matter, visual content, use of animated characters or child-oriented activities and incentives, music or other audio content, age of models, presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to children,” among other factors. The complaint’s examples of child-directed channels are more concrete. Two are famous toy brands Mattel and Hasbro, each of which have multiple channels dedicated to their toys and related animated videos. Two are Cartoon Network and Dreamworks TV, both of which show cartoons that are primarily popular with children. One features animated videos about a girl and her bear friend. Two more feature family-friendly skits with parents and children. Two show product reviews and unboxing videos for toys, games, and other products popular with kids, one starring a child. Two are dedicated to nursery rhymes. And the last one has both nursery rhymes and toy unboxings. These channels had content that regularly appeared on YouTube Kids and “About” sections that specifically said they’re for kids. Although the FTC may consider other types of content to be directed to children as well, it seemed to focus on channels that were pretty clearly, well, “directed to children.” In the case of a video game-related channel, for example, this may depend on the game involved, how the player acts and talks, what the player talks about, how the footage is edited, and so on. A Minecraft video telling a cute story about two characters with child-like voices will probably be treated differently from a Dota 2 video featuring competitive play and technical in-depth commentary, and should definitely be treated differently from a Mortal Kombat video with a foul-mouthed adult showing off bone crunching fatalities. What Comes Next The FTC says it’ll conduct future sweeps of YouTube channels to verify compliance, implying that, in at least the most egregious cases, channel owners themselves may end up busted, too. That said, judging from the focus of the complaint, I’m not sure that the FTC is likely to fine many individual channel owners any time soon. In addition, the FTC has asked for community feedback and may continue to update its rules in the future. In any case, YouTube is placing a lot of responsibility for complying with COPPA on users’ shoulders, taking away substantial revenue for some and creating additional confusion and liability for others. And as usual in new legal regimes, the biggest concerns are for those who fall into the gray area. In these cases, the safest play is to contact and work with an experienced YouTube-focused attorney to make sure that videos and channels are categorized correctly on a case by case basis. The FTC says it’ll conduct future sweeps of YouTube channels to verify compliance, perhaps implying that, in at least the most egregious cases, channel owners themselves may end up busted, too. That said, judging from the focus of the complaint, I’m not sure that the FTC is likely to fine many individual channel owners any time soon. The FTC has asked for community feedback and may continue to update its rules in the future, and YouTube itself recently asked the FGC for additional clarification. My fervent hope is that the FTC will continue to look to the platform level as the proper place to levy any substantial fines. Source
  24. In an update to its harassment policy, YouTube said it will no longer allow anyone to post content that "maliciously insults" others based on protected traits like race, gender expression and sexual orientation. In May, YouTube faced a public outcry after a journalist who identifies as gay spoke out about repeated harassment he said he experienced from a conservative host. YouTube will also allow creators to moderate some potentially inappropriate comments and suspend monetization for creators who "repeatedly brush up against our harassment policy." Google-owned YouTube will no longer allow anyone on its platform to post content that "maliciously insults" others based on protected traits including race, gender expression and sexual orientation, the company announced Wednesday. The change, which was issued as part of YouTube's regular harassment policy update, comes after the company was forced to publicly address a harassment claim one of its creators lodged against another. In late May, Vox journalist Carlos Maza, who identifies as gay, spoke out about repeated harassment he said he experienced from conservative YouTube host Steven Crowder, who regularly made fun of Maza's race and sexual orientation. Maza's story sparked a public outcry against YouTube, urging the company to take action against Crowder. YouTube initially said Crowder's comments didn't violate its policies, although they were "hurtful." Shortly after, YouTube flip-flopped and decided to suspend Crowder's monetization on the platform. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the LGBTQ community at a tech conference in June but said it was still "the right decision" to conclude the videos did not violate the company's policies. The backlash from LGBTQ creators continued through the summer however, with a group of eight complainants filing a discrimination suit against the company in August. YouTube's policy updates address other harassment behaviors as well. The company will now suspend members of its YouTube Partner Program for channels "that repeatedly brush up against our harassment policy," meaning they will no longer be able to make money off the platform. YouTube may also consider removing content from the channel and potentially terminating the channel if the behavior continues. YouTube will also continue to roll out a feature that lets creators choose to review comments that YouTube flags as potentially inappropriate. Source
  25. YouTube and Google are liable for infringing the copyrights of Indian filmmaker Suneel Darshan, a local court has ruled. The video platform was ordered to pay compensation and must prevent similar infringements going forward. In its defense, YouTube argued that it's a neutral intermediary which responds to takedown notices, but that's not enough, the court concluded. Every week, YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content. YouTube tackles this problem by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content. However, according to copyright holders, this is not good enough. That includes Bollywood filmmaker Suneel Darshan, who filed a lawsuit against YouTube and Google India in 2011. Now, eight years later, a local court has ruled in his favor. A few days ago, the District Court of Gurgaon held that the video platform did indeed infringe on the rights of the filmmaker. The Court issued an injunction preventing YouTube from violating his copyrights going forward and awarded roughly $700 in compensation. The ‘damages’ amount is relatively low, especially after a prolonged legal battle, but Darshan says that he is planning to file a separate case to claim his full losses. A copy of the verdict has not been published online, as far as we know. According to local media reports, YouTube and Google’s lawyers argued that the video platform was merely an intermediary, which should not be held directly liable. In addition, the companies pointed out that they have a functional DMCA takedown policy that allows any copyright holder to request the removal in infringing content by pointing out specific URLs. This is something the filmmaker failed to do. Darshan and his legal team held that YouTube and Google profited from the “unauthorized exploitation” of copyrighted works by sharing ad-revenue with the user who uploaded the content. As a result, the filmmaker lost part of his income. The Court eventually sided with the copyright holder ruling that if Google and YouTube were aware of the content, they could have located the URLs to remove the infringing videos. While the ruling is a setback for the video platform, the case is likely to be appealed. For now, however, the filmmaker is happy with the victory which he describes as an “encouraging judgment.” That said, the journey towards this victory has been prolonged and difficult. YouTube and Google pushed back hard, Darshan says, quoted by the Free Press Journal. “We faced many challenges while fighting this case. They made so many claims that it is not their jurisdiction and then they told me that I don’t hold the right to this content. So I had to prove my ownership, it is like parents proving that it is their child,” Darshan says. YouTube hasn’t commented publicly on the case yet. The company is currently involved in several copyright infringement cases, including two that are with the European Court of Justice, which are expected to have a broad impact. Similar to the Indian case, the top EU court will have to decide whether YouTube can be expected to go beyond responding to takedown notices that detail specific URLs. Source
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