The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 3B
YouTube sifts through legality to become video-clip Eden
By Punit Mattoo
Daily TV/New Media Editor
Rare live performances, NBA highlight reels,
obscure homemade films and even University stu-
dents dressed as Pac-man meet in what has become
a new sort of Internet video-clip heaven: YouTIbe.
More popular - yet much less publicized - than
Google Video, YouTube stands out as another Inter-
net venture accelerating the evolution of video on
demand, and Hollywood is just starting to notice.
What started as a simple way for co-founders
Chad Hurley and Steve Chen to share video after
a frustrating attempt to show dinner clips to friends
has turned into one of the most popular sites of its
kind, streaming nearly 15 million videos daily.
Hurley previously worked at PayPal - the popu-
lar Internet billing site - on a project used to beam
money wirelessly, during which he learned how
easy it is to share content along the multimedia
avenue. With an investment from venture capitalist
firm Sequoia, YouTube was born last year in Hur-
ley's garage before launching last November.
While fairly popular at the time, YouTube's
exposure among the younger set exploded overnight
after the TV premiere of "Saturday Night Live's"
"Lazy Sunday" rap late last December. The clip's
notoriety grew with each mention on blogs, e-mail
and television, cementing its place in the pop-cul-
ture lexicon and reviving interest in a show many
had long since abandoned.
Network heads at NBC Universal, however, faced
the catch-22 so many record companies faced with
Napster: Allow the sharing of copyrighted material
to generate necessary buzz, or turn your back on
those who brought you back into the limelight.
Ultimately, the network issued an order for You-
Tube to remove all versions of the clip in question
and any other copyrighted material.
You'bbe immediately complied.
With a user policy specifically disallowing visi-
tors to upload any copyrighted material, YouTube
does not claim any infringement responsibility
unless a copyright holder contacts them with a com-
plaint. They then decide if the accusation is valid
and remove the file immediately if need be.
But the process leaves room for abuse by copy-
right holders, Law Prof. Susan Kornfield said.
"Online service providers like YouTube are going
to react to a notice by just taking it down so they feel
that copyright owners have the upper hand, because
if they leave it now, they better be right," she said.
"If you're a provider, you don't want to be on the
phone with your lawyer all the time," she added.
Regardless of the ever-expanding legal issues,
media coverage and growing appreciation of the
medium for web users' personal expression has
helped the site reach astounding numbers - nearly
15 million videos streamed and 20,000 uploads per
day - quickly surpassing Google's video collec-
tion and the more established ifilm.com.
Likewise, recalling memories of Napster's evolu-
tion, corporate America has begun to take a positive
interest in new technology and its potential benefits.
YouTube spokeswoman Julie Supan even revealed
that large corporations such as Nike have secretly
posted ads in an attempt at viral marketing, confus-
ing their own legal departments.
Companies have also entered into more official
collaborations with the hope of catching even a slice
of YouTube's rapidly growing audience.
"Just as we have opened up opportunities for
people and their personal contents, we potentially
might open up for professionally produced contents
on an official basis," Hurley said.
MTV2 premiered clips from the new season of
"The Andy Milonakis Show," while various bands
and record labels have uploaded music videos with
descriptive tags (much like photo site Flickr.com),
allowing fans to locate them easily.
With Hurley's adamant position that YouTube
will remain a free service for all users, collabora-
tions have become increasingly necessary to main-
tain the expensive servers hosting videos. But will
media companies, reeling from the sting of low
ratings, lackluster sales and decreasing box-office
receipts, abandon their long-standing fear of the
Internet's uncontrollable nature?
Sites have already popped up with easy step-
by-step tutorials that teacher users to download the
videos from Google and YouTube onto their hard
drives - so what's to prevent them from becoming
a Morpheus or Limewire in disguise?
"With any open system, you're (going to) have a
small percentage of people who take advantage of
that," Hurley said. "We're constantly improving that
and putting more flags and technology in place to
control any kind of violations on our site."
YouTube has responded in part by implement-
ing a 10 minute maximum on uploaded videos and
decreasing copyright-complaint response time.
Legal distractions aside, YouTube is pushing
forward with new innovations to enhance the com-
munity. Networking sites like Myspace.com and
Facebook.com continue to grow in popularity at an
unprecedented rate, and YouTube looks to become
the media epicenter of the Internet.
It's a possibility Hurley attributes to company's
small size and progressive thinking: "If you have a
larger business like a Google, those guys move a lot
slower, and we're going to be able to innovate faster
and concentrate on the user," he said.
"At this point, the larger companies are copying
us - not necessarily developing for the user, just
Continued from page 1B
"The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo
We got California, we loved Luda in
Miami. But suddenly no one from the
original cast is around, and we're in the
cramped, miniature streets of one of the
most overhyped cities in the world?
And no Luda nor Tyrese?
We'd make some joke about being
stuck in neutral, but this franchise
should get jacked for parts. (June 16)
"The Devil Wears Prada" (Fox)
Based on one of chick-lit's most
widely revered volumes, "Prada"
details the exploits of Andrea (Anne
Hathaway) as she watches her dream
job become a nightmare at the hands
of one fabulously sadistic boss (Meryl
Streep). After "Brokeback Mountain,"
we know Hathaway has great ... let's
say acting skills. And the ladies love
this stuff. They love it. (June 30)
"Superman Returns" (Warner Bros.)
The Man of Steel will soar again.
Despite a supposed curse on the role
that led every recognizable actor to
shun the part, despite a costume palette
that might be more useful as a visual
aid to teach preschoolers their primary
colors - hey, even despite the incom-
prehensible casting of beachy-blonde
Kate Bosworth as a mousey-reporter
type - we've only got this to say:
Supes, welcome back. (June 30)
"The Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man's Chest" (Disney)
Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom
and Keira Knightley are all back on
deck for this sequel to the improbable
summer hit of 2003. It's the story of
Captain Jack Sparrow returning to
Port Royal along with all those zany
mannerisms the kids seem to love so
much. Yes, it's drenched in more-of-
the-same, but with a cast this good-
looking, does it matter? (July 7)
"Lady in the Water" (Warner
Austere suspense stylist M. Night
Shyamalan takes an uncharacteristic
step back from our collective nightmares
with this self-touted "bedtime story"
that follows an everyman landlord (Paul
Giamatti) who discovers a sea nymph
(rising star Bryce Dallas Howard, "The
Village") in his complex's pool. Sweet
fairy tale or dark old-school fable, the
calming trailer promises a cool, quiet
retreat in the height of a very loud, very
celluloid-bloated midsummer release
schedule. (July 21)
"Miami Vice" (Universal)
Mark July 28 on your calendars.
That day (which shall forever live in
infamy) social barriers shall be struck
down, boredom and apathy lifted and,
of course, hundreds of butts kicked
- for that day, "Miami Vice" will
open everywhere. When Jamie Foxx's
smooth meets Colin Farrell's suave, the
streets will thump with an electric vibe
and there shall be no dawn for crimi-
nals. (July 28)
"Snakes on a Plane" (New Line)
It's a geopolitical thriller with a
boldly subversive anti-authoritarian
subtext. Sorry, that's every other quasi-
literate suspense action film to hit the
screen in the past decade. Samuel L.
Jackson's latest offering cuts through
all that pretense and right to the big
sell: There's some snakes. They're on
a plane. (Aug. 18)
"The Science of Sleep" (Warner
Gael GarciaBernal (sultry star of "Y tu
mama tambien") headlines mind-trip afi-
cionado Michel Gondry's ("Eternal Sun-
shine of the Spotless Mind") expectedly
complex Sundance starter, chronicling
a man held captive by the people in his
dreams. Expect a smorgasbord of visual
camera tricks and a wildly convoluted
plot with just enough an idea of where
it's going to sustain itself through a fea-
ture film - not to mention an art-house
following that will no doubt embrace the
film as the ultra-chic hipster of summer
independent cinema. (August 4)
The biggest question mark on the
summer release schedule, Mel Gibson's
bizarre-looking followup to "The Pas-
sion of the Christ" - once again filmed
in any variety of long-dead languages
- seems destined either to be the sea-
son's big surprise or to dive with merci-
less fury into box-office infamy. Either
way, we're there, if only to discern the
inevitable monotheistic undertones the
suddenly divisive writer/director/super-
star manages to slip into his hyper-
detailed rendering of the fall of the
Mayan empire. (August 4)
"World Trade Center" (Para-
It will have been exactly five years
and 11 months since Sept. 11 when
Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" is
released. Some are wondering whether
America's had sufficient distance to
commercialize the tragic day. Still oth-
ers are wondering if Stone is the man
to frame America's memories of Sept.
11. We're wondering of Nicolas Cage
will play the same tired not-so-badass
he always does. (August 11)
"Clerks II" (Weinstein)
Just when you thought your inner
comic-book cynic had finally with-
ered up and died, Kevin Smith has
arrived to perform a bit of CPR.
Fresh off the crushing defeat of
"Jersey Girl," Smith is returning to
his roots by releasing "Clerks II," a
sequel to his low-budget ode to con-
venience-store malaise. Go forth, ye
snarky message-board geeks, and let
the hyping commence. (August 18)
Continued from page 1B
The Raconteurs - Broken Boy
Soldiers (Third Man / V2)
Due May 16, The Raconteurs
combine some of Detroit's finest
- garage-rocker Jack White and
power-popper Brendan Benson
- with the Greenhornes's rhythm
section to release an album that's
been in the works for years. Hope-
fully, The Raconteurs's debut will
live up to the lofty expectations
and "Steady as She Goes" will
become a summer anthem, mak-
ing this the best Detroit one-off
since that Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow
collabo. (May 16)
Fuse-In: Detroit Electronic
Movement (Detroit, MI)
Fuse-In: terrible name, great
idea. The Detroit Electronic
Music Festival returns for another
year under the new moniker and
new organizers. The fete coin-
cides with Kevin Saunderson's
20th anniversary as a house and
techno DJ, so if you like that sort
of thing, come by Hart Plaza and
celebrate with the international
electrophiles, local fans and the
homeless. (Memorial Weekend,
May 28 - 29)
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
(Superfly / AC) (Manchester, TN)
Camping on a farm. Radiohead
headlining their first American
festival since Coachella. Waf-
fle House. $200 festival passes.
Which one of these things doesn't
belong in Tennessee? Trick ques-
tion - Bonnaroo encompasses
them all. With the scheduled line-
up, cross your fingers for a Bright
Eyes/Cypress Hill duet. (June 16
Sufjan Stevens - The Ava-
lanche (Asthmatic Kitty)
On July 25, Sufjan Stevens will
release The Avalanche: Outtakes
and Extras From The Illinois
Album. Mostly leftovers from the
2005 sessions for Illinois, these
are songs about Saul Bellow,
Adlai Stevenson and Ann Land-
ers that got cut when Illinois was
pared down from a double LP to
a single disc. There's no official
word on the next state Michigan's
wandering troubadour is tackling,
but look out Oregon, New Jersey
and Rhode Island! (July 25)
Pitchfork Music Festival
(Pitchfork Media) (Union Park,
Never been to Chicago at
night? Well, the city's got it good
in terms of summer concerts/fes-
tivals. Now the permanent home
of Lollapalooza, the Pitchfork
Music Festival returns once more
at the end of July. Spoon, Silver
Jews, Diplo and more for the price
of a Dave Matthew Band concert
T-shirt - indie kids, brace your-
selves. (July 29 - 30)
Ben Harper/Damian Marley
Summer Tour (Meadow Brook
Music Festival, Rochester, MI)
Absolutely no drugs will be
consumed during this tour. None.
America's favorite pseudo-soul,
pseudo-rock son meets the actu-
al son of reggae's messiah. Wait
for the tour to come to Rochester
right smack dab in the middle of
Welcome Week. Dear frosh: Wel-
come to Jam Rock, bitches. (Sum-
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
The instant rock-slanging grati-
fication of 2000's "Lord Willin' "
cooked the Virginia duo of Pusha
T and Malice to the edge of super-
stardom. Then we waited and the
spotlight cooled. And now it's
2006, and we've been hearing for
more than five years when Hell
Hath No Fury is dropping. Thank
heavens Clipse released two gut-
ter-and-glory mixtapes in "We
Got It 4 Cheap" Vol. 1 and 2. No
official release date yet, but it's
time to get excited again. (Sum-
Continued from page 1B
So, one night, my sleepy best friend
heads upstairs to his bedroom, and the
two of us decide to stay in the basement to
watch "The Mask of Zorro." About mid-
way through (about where Catherine Zeta-
Jones looks around the wall in the low-cut
dress with her boobs all pressed together),
she grabs my hand. This is it.
Then, after Zorro has done his thing -
after all the swordplay and the flipping and
the swinging, with the credits rolling and
the flame-bursts bursting and a Latin guy
crooning about how he wants to spend his
lifetime loving "you"- she turns to look
at me. And she says "you know, I don't
bite." How nice it is of her to reassure me,
I think, and she jams her rubbery tongue
into my unsuspecting mouth.
For years prior, at idle times of the day,
I'd been making out with the back of my
hand in anticipation of this moment. But
I'd never used tongue. I'd romantically pre-
sumed my first kiss would be soft and slow
- with warm, moist lips that would stick a
little bit when you would pull away like the
caramel strands of a broken Twix. Well,
kind of like that.
Yeah. I know. Too much "Saved By
But this is nothing like Twix. This feels
as if someone has shoved a pink handheld
eraser in my mouth with a sweaty palm.
We never kissed again.
As it turned out, I could've simply
waited another month or so. Because then
I kissed a girl whom I'd bumbled after for
more than a year, and that was everything
I'd ever expected - goose bumps and
shit - and I staggered back to my Bra-
vada in the moonlight, dizzy from what
had just happened.
So there's this desire to hold off for
something "special," as womanly as it may
seem to some people. That's why I don't
want to "go to a frat party and point." I'm
convinced I could wait a little and do bet-
ter, as I should have done for the kiss.
However, the "holding off"thing doesn't
really qualify as an excuse, because I did
find myself legitimately in love - twice
- and I refused to apply any pressure. And
by "apply pressure," I mean ask. Why?
I don't know. Fear of rejection? Maybe.
One girl was profoundly frightened of get-
ting pregnant. The other girl was just as
frightened about pregnancy and also not
too excited about the pain involved for the
female party (she was also a virgin). And I
didn't want a "Yeah, I guess. If that would
make you happy" response. I was look-
ing for a "Yes. Please do me." I guess that
Girls aren't the only ones who feel pres-
sure. Males are bombarded, too, with pres-
sure to lose our virginities - mostly from
the media. Virility, like it or not, is directly
correlated with number of times laid.There
are movies. There are TV programs. There
are Snoop Dogg albums. Often, watching
something like "Springer Break," I feel as
if there are very few of us left.
But I take comfort in the few. In fact, I
live in an apartment in which seven of nine
people are virgins. And we are a happy
bunch for the most part. Nothing is wrong
with us - well, you know, nothing major.
We're all a little weird. One of us doesn't
like cheese. Another farts frequently.
Another writes biographies of cross-coun-
try runners he's never met. But we're all
happy. And we're all seniors. And we're all
virgins. So I'm not completely alone.
Maybe it's a perceptual thing, then.
Maybe not everyone on the street has
reached this supposed culminating act
of adolescence. Maybe those guys chor-
tling at orientation were just the same as
me. Maybe there'd been no floozy and no
hammock and no obscuring foliage, and
maybe those guys were laughing with ner-
vous eyes and turning stomachs just as I
was - with reddening cheeks in warm-
ing rain. Maybe I'm not weird. Maybe it
doesn't even matter.
Some will read this and think it's laud-
able. Some will read this and think it's
lamentable. Some will read this and think
it's a thinly disguised personal ad. But no
matter what they think, I'll know that col-
lege has been an awesome ride for me.
Maybe it could've been better with some
sex thrown in, but I can't worry about that.
The pumas outside the Natural Science
Museum can growl all they want. That is,
after all, what pumas do.
- This column, in different form,
was originally written as an essay for
John Rubadeau's English 425 course.
E-mail Eicke at email@example.com.