Quick Question: WTF, YouTube?

I’ve had a difficult time finding remix on YouTube lately, despite it being the #2 search engine on the internet. Instead I’ve been turning to sites like tumblr where there’s a heavy female presence and almost every user is talking back to pop culture in some form. Yes there are those OCD design tumblrs where everything is white on white on white with a strategically placed gray pillow but I’d say those are in the minority.

But video hasn’t taken off as much as I had hoped here…yet. The site’s most popular feature is the ease at which one can create an image-based micro-blog, or tumblr, and scroll through other blogs, called tumbling.  Tumblr is already leading the way to becoming THE social media site with well-curated feminist content. It has the potential to share feminist and queer-friendly video content as well since it reaches a key demographic: women ages 18-40 with college experience living in either LA or New York. The beauty of tumblr is that participation is easy and valued in the community, making remix a welcome addition to the existing images and .gifs.

Until we can use Tumblr as a search engine for feminist (video) content, it’s important to think about why YouTube has begun to disappoint. Maybe it’s because:

  • 35 hours of video footage is uploaded to the site every minute. The ability to find this footage is dependent on the author’s ability to tag that content appropriately. If it’s not tagged, good luck trying to find what you want. My experience is that finding remix is like a finding a needle in a haystack. This is also proof that there’s more content out there than we can ever begin to keep track of, illustrating video’s importance in the future of online content.
  • Content ID, YouTube’s automated system that serves as a copyright-violation watchdog, scans 100 years’ worth of content every day. And it can’t differentiate between a fair use of copyright content and an infringement. As a result, remix content is removed, despite it’s eligibility for being fair use.
  • YouTube has six million reference files (over 300,000 hours of material) in the Content ID database; it’s among the most comprehensive in the world. The number has doubled in the last year making it easier and easier for them to find and remove content without acknowledging the rights of creators under copyright law.
  • More than 2,000 partners use Content ID, including every major US network broadcaster, movie studio and record label to help protect their content’s copyrights and monetize the copyright infractions of other users. While I have a vested interest in finding awesome remix, YouTube partners have a vested (monetary) interested in removing this content.

source: YouTube.

I recently encouraged a colleague to post her awesome remix to YouTube only to have it removed the next day. Have you noticed an increase in take downs, too?


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