Google has for a long time enjoyed a good reputation with many Internet users. Often people point to them as an example of a company that does things “the right way” and works to maintain user freedom. It seems, however, that not everyone takes that same stance towards them. In fact, a lawyer for the Electronic Freedom Foundation has harshly criticized YouTube, one of Google's sore spots. Fred von Lohmann of the EFF claims that Google's incorporation of ContentID, a tool they provide to content owners to find copyright infringing videos, is worse than the DMCA. Though the EFF has long opposed to DMCA as well, they assert that ContentID in particular is a harsh, unforgiving and unfair tool, one that overwhelmingly favors content owners.
He claims that Content ID goes beyond what the law provides, and serves only to block what truly is fair use. This is an important concern for Google, who intends to make money off YouTube – a prospect they are still failing at
. The search giant is working to give content owners all the tools they can to restrict and remove videos. At the same time, YouTube is built on user submissions, and without those submissions, Google has no content with which to advertise and hence no chance of a revenue stream to begin with.
The EFF is trying to work with Google to ease the restrictions that ContentID puts in place. Until then, they are going so far as to ask people to boycott the site, in favor of a site with “better terms.” Google's policy for YouTube does seem to be a “cave in” one, where any content that is protested, no matter if it is far use or not, is immediately taken down with no recourse. Could these sorts of actions lead to the demise of YouTube?