Michael Geist Analyzes “Clip Culture”
Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa, has penned an interesting column on the rise of “clip culture.” As I understand it, “clip culture” is a term that describes the rise and pervasiveness of image and video sharing. Presumably, Flickr and YouTube are two of the Web sites that best manifest the rise in “clip culture.”
Most of the videos on Youtube and other video sharing services are not full-length features. Instead, taking their cue from the movie studios and sports networks, the overwhelming majority of videos are shorter clips running anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
The clips themselves fall into three broad categories. Homegrown or “amateur” clips constitute a significant percentage of the collection as the mushrooming of user-generated content moves from blog postings to innovative multimedia featuring audio and video. Montage videos, which represent the next-generation of protest and fan sites, constitute the second category. A Youtube search for President George Bush yields hundreds of videos, many of which bring together multiple clips to make powerful political statements. Meanwhile, a similar search for NHL rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin produces dozens of compilations of highlight reel goals.
The third category — clips of network television shows — has generated the most controversy. Video sharing sites contain thousands of clips that previously aired on television. In some instances, the clips appear with the approval of the broadcaster either because the clip is available for a fee (some Google Video clips are available for purchase) or because the broadcaster has embraced the benefits of free publicity and cost-free distribution.
Geist acknowledges the thorny legal implications inherent in the third category, which CopyCense has covered elsewhere. But instead of challenging the legality of the third category of clip culture, Geist sagely calls for a reexamination and reaffirmation of the fair use doctrine.
Michael Geist. The Rise of the Clip Culture. March 19, 2006.
CopyCense. Comparing YouTube & Napster. March 16, 2006.
CopyCense. YouTube’s Questionable Copyright Business Model. Feb. 7, 2006.
CopyCense™: K. Matthew Dames on the law, business, and technology of digital content. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.