Japanese copyright lobby demands censor of Youtube

Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 15:31 | Posted in censorship, copyright, Freedom of speech, internet, youtube | 4 Comments

The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers wants Youtube to check all uploaded videos for possible copyright infingements before they go on line. According to the BBC, the copyright lobby wrote to Youtube:

The current system “is not functioning well due to the [continued] large volume of illegal uploads”.

I wonder if the Japanese censorship advocats have really thought about what this would mean in practical terms. It would probably take weeks before any uploaded video, copyrighted or not, would appear on the site. And this would still not stop anybody from posting copyrighted material. They would just post it elsewhere as Youtube would be blocked.

However, the practical issue is not what worries me most. The freedom of speech in a democratic society explicitly excludes censorship before publishing. If a publication (no matter if it is in text, image, audio or video) violates a third party’s rights, there are legal checks and balances to address the issue.

The key question here is why the interests of the music industry should enjoy such a heavy protection that it would even outweigh freedom of speech. Why indeed?



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  1. Hi, I have bought a camcorder for about 250 €, this was several months ago. I don’t use this camcorder, because I don’t have any good software. But I am waiting for the time to have good software and to publish my content in the Internet using peer-to-peer protocols like BitTorrent or a similar protocol. The combination of a platform like YouTube with the concept of BitTorrent would be very interesting to discuss.

    An example is the music platform Jamendo. Take a look at the truly amazing key concept:
    – free licenses, it is legal to download the music,
    -BitTorrent for full album downloads,
    -Ogg encoded audio files.

    At the moment, this concept seems not to be available for video, only for audio. But it should be only a matter of time until this concept reaches video. This will be the free world, nobody will be interested in television anymore. I don’t watch television because I watch American DVD productions (with American subtitles which is great to learn the language because German is my mother language and the subtitles give me a great support), I hate German television, but I am waiting to have peer to peer Internet television to get free programs from where ever I want.

    I am not interested in piracy, I have bought a lot of DVDs completely legal, I like this kind of entertainment, I don’t copy them, but in the future I am interested in free productions. Maybe I will become a producer myself, the costs aren’t very high, the problem is the bandwidth, I need a symmetrical Internet access. At the moment, I only have ADSL2+ which is OK for the download, but not OK for the upload. I tried Internet television, but I could only get Internet television from Asian countries like China, Taiwan or Korea, I didn’t understand a word, it wasn’t possible to get television programs from Europe or the United States. So I have to wait.

    Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait too long to express ourselves by sharing our self produced videos via BitTorrent. But at the moment, this concept is more theoretical, not for the masses.

    We should protect our future, the copyright lobby is only a lobby, our interest is in freedom of speech, and the freedom of expression and in the freedom of sharing free contents, especially free entertainment.

  2. A very good point indeed, Kai. I have so far not had any practical experience of the BitTorrent concept because I am a musical analphabet. I have occasionally spotted something interesting in YouTube and used it in my blogs, leaving others to sort out the copyright issues.
    Having said that, I realize the potential of these instruments. They can be used for so much more than spreading music (legally or illegally). At the moment, the music industry is on the spotlight because their immediate interests are challenged right now. Others will no doubt either follow suit in future or avoid making the same mistakes as they have done. It is both bizarre and arrogant that the music industry demands restrictions to freedom of speech just because they were caught with their pants down in adopting the new technology.

  3. Hello, Larko,

    BitTorrent is a possible way to share music and video. You can compare BitTorrent with HTTP. The hypertext transfer protocol is used when you publish your thoughts via WordPress.com.

    But I think it is not practicable to publish the complete content of a self produced DVD-ROM with up to 8.5 GB (or only 4.7 GB, single layer) on your WordPress-blog because this consumes too much space and bandwidth. To share those contents you need a special protocol like BitTorrent. A current typical YouTube video may need a few megabytes. But what will you do if you need a few gigabytes? Think about the future, the future is a nightmare for the traditional television market. But the future will provide us much more freedom than we have nowadays.

    At the moment, there are a lot of illegal copies in the Internet, a lot of piracy, this is a problem for the commercial music and video producers. But in the future, we will be able to share free music and free videos.


  4. Sure, for 20 years ago we could not even dream about using the Internet the way we now do on a daily basis. Since the development of technology is faster now than it has been ever, I would say that the media environment will look as different from the present in 5-10 years as the situation of today is different from that of 20 years ago.

    The music industry and traditional broadcasters have already missed the train. Print media has managed to cope with the challenge so far but I suspect they have no idea of what they are going to be facing within 10 years. And our dear politicians have not as much as a hunch of what is happening.

    The most idiotic decision I could imagine of was to spend billions of euros to build a digital terrestrial TV broadcasting network allover Finland. With that money, the broadband web could have been provided for every household and they could even have bought a computer for every Finn. The network will be outdated before even a fraction of its cost has been returned for the simple reason that people will not be watching television.

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