Sites that tout user-generated content, like YouTube, Google Video, and iFilm, are now under the gun from music industry labels for piracy concerns. This time it's not MP3 or wav files being shared illegally; it's music videos that are the problem.
It seems that users of these sites are capturing videos using things like TiVo, downloading them, and passing them along to other users. The problem here is the fact that it's illegal, and, well, just downright wrong.
From the Washington Post:
In recent weeks the Recording Industry Association of America has been stepping up its efforts to stop sharing of popular videos on such sites, particularly on the rapidly expanding YouTube. The site, which now claims more than 6 million visitors and 40 million streams daily, has become a haven for unlicensed music videos, which users are capturing with TiVo and other digital video recorders and then posting the files to the Web. Much of the material is coming from recorded MTV broadcasts.
The RIAA recently issued cease-and-desist letters to YouTube users sharing videos from the likes of Nelly Furtado, Beyonce and Rihanna.
While it does seem as if sites like YouTube are taking notice and trying to remove the illegal videos, the users themselves should know better. Everything from actual sound bytes of songs to the videos themselves are licensed materials that are protected. This amounts to piracy, which is illegal, and even worse, unethical.
The same bands whose music users of sites like Google Video want to share make their money from the sale of songs and the paid advertisements that go along with their videos. When sales don't happen, record labels don't make money, their employees don't make it, and the bands the fans profess to love don't make it either.
It's kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face. If fans love the music and the videos, they should support the artists by buying their works. It's that simple.
Individuals who share these videos are getting into trouble, too, although it's pretty minor right now. The Post is reporting they're getting notices to stop sharing music videos illegally. But it's not out of the realm of possibility for the record labels to push more stringent measures.