IF it’s not possible to post a YouTube video on a blog or other site without the sure and certain knowledge that you’re not breaking the law, then we’re all in trouble.
The recent debate sparked on this site by an intervention by one “wibbler” late last night is very relevant for those of us with a vested interest in the future of blogging. At the moment, this site can only use YouTube video, and I am currently unable to embed any other form of video (this will change with And another thing… Version 4.0, due along soon).
If I can’t legally post something as inoccuous as Christmas music videos, then that really is incredibly – and unnecessarily – restrictive. “Wibble” insists it is illegal, while another commenter, Mike Rouse, claims the onus is on the person who uploaded the video to YouTube in the first place to make sure that all copyright permissions have been obtained. I certainly haven’t seen any disclaimer on YouTube that watching or posting any of its videos might incur legal action.
And anyway, is posting a YouTube video on a third party site technically distribution at all? YouTube videos can’t be stored, only watched online. So when I “embed” one, all it is is a link to the original video over at YouTube. Hardly the same as a file-sharing programme like Kazaa which allows MP3 and other file formats to be actually copied from one computer to another across a network.
I understand what people are saying about MPs’ responsibilty for reviewing the law on copyright, and I accept that as a blogging MP, I’m an obvious target for criticism in this respect. Yet changes in copyright laws are not going to happen quickly, and even if copyright extended for only 25 years instead of 70 or 50 years, it wouldn’t remove the immediate problem we have with most videos on YouTube (and certainly wouldn’t affect the current legal status of Ms Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”).
(And yes, Labour Matters, my immediate response to legal action is to try to cover myself by removing the offendig video – sorry if that disappoints you, but I have no interest in becoming bankrupt or , indeed, of breaking the law once made aware of a possible infringement.)
Are there any lawyers out there who would care to offer some free advice, not just to me but to everyone else interested in this area?