Today, I wanted to share some standup comedy with my Facebook & Twitter friends. It was a 40 second clip from the first episode of “Louie” — Louis C.K’s brilliant show that I have told everyone, repeatedly, to watch. It is a very funny clip where he talks about the “Best Case Scenario” in relationships after divorce. Cynical, wise, and… pure Louis C.K.
I searched YouTube for a clip. Couldn’t find one. So, because I had the clip on my hard drive, I thought I would upload it to share. I put a credit in the description, I linked back to the show’s website. I had no interest in using his name in any way other than to show my friends this clip, tell them how funny he is, and to watch the show.
Of course, I tried to do the right thing. I didn’t edit the clip. I gave credit. I named it accurately and was complimentary. I didn’t link back to Schematiq, or attempt to use his name in any way that would appear to indicate endorsement.
The clip was ‘blocked’ by YouTube within 30 seconds because it is owned by Fox. Going one step further, as long as I had the video up, my account was deemed to not be in good standing, despite never having uploaded a single video that breaches copyright. I thought I would be cheeky and try to upload a Facebook video. Same thing. Within a minute, it was taken down.
Aside from the fact that there are millions of videos of copyrighted material on YouTube that don’t seem to get blocked like this… I understand the legal requirements and obligations that YouTube has. I acknowledge that it is not my right to upload Copyrighted material. But it really highlighted to me how Fox, and other companies like them, just do not understand how the internet works.
If I had been able to upload that clip, and give credit back with a link, I would have been able to share a piece of comic genius with over 1000 people. They would have shared it with their friends, and so on.
I first discovered Louis C.K. via YouTube. I have discovered so many comedians this way, and then bought tickets, purchased DVDs and watched their shows.
This “Copyright Material” gave him 8 million:
Many more clips, much like the one I tried to upload, average 1 million views.
Louis C.K. can, in part, attribute his success in recent years to his “Copyright Material” going viral on YouTube. And yes, while I know Fox are renowned for being aggressive with the internet and hostile with fans (anyone who was around in the late 90s and saw just about every Simpsons fan site shut down by them… because they had a Homer Simpson gif on it will remember…!).
There needs to be some balance. Let fans link back and promote you. Go after the people that monetise, or pirate. But to penalise the people who are your biggest promoters and advocates, and actually tend to BUY FROM YOU in the long run, well… that’s just plain old bad marketing.
Fox and other “war on the internet” minded media companies need to learn to trust in the fans, and not make them feel like criminals for wanting to share something funny with their friends. Especially when I am pretty sure that Louis C.K. himself would not actually have a problem with it, because he isn’t dumb, and knows that he ultimately benefits.
Or maybe that’s the point. If I buy a DVD or go to a show, it circumvents the old model where Fox benefits. No wonder they are fighting, really. But it’d be nice if Google & Facebook would stand up to them.
So, Louis CK talks on Jimmy Kimmel Live about this very topic. He sells everything via his website (go buy the Beacon Theatre show, it’s hilarious) and is starting to circumvent the old model. Not exactly a surprise, but good to see (also, note the the 8.5 MILLION VIEWS video that I posted above is now blocked by NBC Universal. Proof. Right there. Here’s the Kimmel video: