How Google could make Youtube better

I’ve been a Youtube user for many years now and have been around the site long enough to see many changes come and go. I’ve seen changes for the better and for the worst. But today I want to address three issues I have with Youtube that it shocks me that Google has no desire to fix or improve. Now this list is mostly exclusive for Youtube users but I’m sure one day when I finally get around to doing regular Youtube videos, I’ll have a few more things to rant about, maybe. So without further adue here is my top three things Google could do to make Youtube better.

3. Deleted and Private Videos

Youtube Point #3
So this is my least issue with Youtube but it is decently an annoying one. So what am I talking about? Well, let give the example that you go on Youtube and create a playlist listing your favorite My Little Pony music videos and for examples sake I’m only adding original fan made songs. Three months later I return to my playlist and find that around 3 videos have been deleted or made private. Now I’m not upset with the video uploader or youtube for making the video unavailable, my problem is this, “Why in the name of all things holy, can youtube not show me the original video title nor the video uploader?” This honestly does not make any sense to me and my wife claims she remembers once being able to click on a video from one of these playlists and seeing the title but last I checked this is no longer the case. Honestly, this can not be a hard implementation, for example, eBay has saved auction titles for feedback for years later now, so why can’t Youtube? So you might ask why do I need to see the title, well, to elaborate, some youtubers decide make tweaks to their videos and have reuploaded them, in which case I would go over to their channel and try finding it again. Or in some rarer cases, there are others who’ve uploaded the same video.

2. Channel Subscriptions

My number two most important thing Google can do to improve Youtube is the need to address is channel subscriptions. I know some of you think I might be referring to the awful problem that many people are no longer seeing notifications for videos they actually care about and frankly, I agree. But this is not my complaint since there is a workaround that lets you enable on all notices once again. instead my complaint is about channels that upload one good series and everything else is not worth my time or is just not tasteful. There are many youtubers who have started sharing channels, which makes this complaint even more true. Now, let’s add back in the previous issue I brought up, this only gets worse because if I avoid watching one video I don’t care to see, Youtube assumes I must no longer be interested in this channel’s content, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. My solution Youtube, allow channels to start subdividing uploads into playlists and let people only subscribe to each playlist. And if youtubers refuse to use this feature then let users further customize their subscriptions by inputting advanced search queries like video title or you could start tracking what people watch not only based on the channel, but also group similar video titles together, if another video with a similar title is uploaded then send notice on that instead.

1. Copyright – Fair Use and Content ID

Sorry About That

So finally to finish my list, let’s talk copyright! Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the copyright system but what I don’t support is corporations bullying people just because they have millions of lawyers at their disposal. On a side note, I understand that some people were in support of such laws as SOPA or PIPA because it had clauses to give people legal aid who don’t have the income to put up a fair defence. Sure this sounds great but obviously as a whole the law was total BS. Personally I think we should instead be making laws that more fairly favor the individual versus the corporation, such as limiting how much money a corporation can spend fighting a case against such person.

Anyways, the copyright issue I’m referring to is when a corporation like Viacom, Universal or Sony gets Youtube to take down a video without any consideration that it might be a false claim. Where this problem rings the loudest is when Youtube’s content id system finds a possible match and sends an e-mail the company that holds the copyright to verify the match and this is where it gets sad, these companies don’t care if it’s a mistake or not and hire some minimum wage employee to sit in a basement and basically click “reinstate claim” on each and every one of these e-mails without even watching the video… Sigh* Youtube, obviously these companies don’t care to check for a legit match, so why can’t you have a department of employees check first. It should not be rocket science for a third-party person to watch the video and determine if it was infringement or was protected by the fair use section of copyright law. You could even force these corporations to pay a fee if they wish to use your content id system.

To elaborate further on this,  I want reference a major copyright issue from 2 years ago, the Youtuber CaptainSparklez encountered and from what I hear he almost went as far as hiring a lawyer to defend his case. What did he do, you may ask? Well, he made a parody of the music video Gangnam Style by PSY, his own video named Minecraft Style used NO video clips from the original nor any of the original lyrics, if any part of said claim was legit, it should have been protected under the fair use clauses. On top of this false claim, I want to highlight a couple things I find unfair about Youtube’s copyright dispute process.

  1. Youtube does not provide this content id matching to small time media creators, it seems to be only a mechanism to help huge corporations sue the crap out of youtubers.
  2. Youtube gives the company 30 days to reinstate a claim.
  3. Youtube does not give their youtubers the benefit of the doubt. Basically without any solid evidence, they are saying,  “You are guilty until proven innocent”.

[Minecraft Style Status Update And Stuff] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrPHsJN09fo
[Bringin’ Back Minecraft Style] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWJAbN62yxg
[And, Minecraft Style is Down… Again] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGA7sM4iGEg

Putting aside fail copyright claims, I want to touch on Fair Use. If you are not familiar with Fair Use, it’s a clause of the copyright law that allows users to parody or criticize a creator’s media. The people who make up the largest part of this group are movie critics. One channel that seems to deal with this issue often is the Nostalgic Clitic. He uploads some really great movie reviews and in the end has many of them taken down. In any court case, his videos would be classified under the fair use law and like CaptainSparklez, ends up promoting more views of the original. But because the Youtube’s copyright system is not a legal system, Youtube takes them down without even considering this. Anyways, all I’d like to see Youtube do is not let corporations walk all over their content creators, many Youtubers have already tried to go elsewhere over issues like these and because Youtube relies on advertisement revenue so much why don’t they care to improve this system. I bet if this continues, it will mark the beginning of the end for Youtube and this does not include Youtube’s bad support I hear they have. And if you don’t believe me when I say Youtube will one day come to an end, let me ask you, do you remember Myspace? What about Friendster? Or even getting older GeoCities, AngelFire or what about Hamster Dance? Overall, all great sites come to an end and Facebook is already seeing this happen.

So that was my list, I know it’s not going to change Youtube anytime soon but it’s a start. Maybe, just maybe, it will fuel the demand for change.

[What is Fair Use] http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/