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Google’s YouTube to show some charity?

Monday, 6 August 2007 — by

I’m not often moved by local affairs. I don’t even read the local papers all that often. But if there’s something of note, my dad will read aloud, and we’ll either laugh and rage. So what do Google’s YouTube, a singer from Barnsley and a charity have in common that got me thinking?

Sat in his armchair, my dad read out a news story from the Barnsley Chronicle about a singer helping to raise money for a local charity.

Local singer Dave Cherry wrote a song which he sold on DVD for £4 a pop, the proceeds of which going to the Barnsley Hospice.

The problem is, the contents of this DVD have been uploaded onto YouTube.

Based on the sales of the DVD, the Barnsley Hospice has thus far raised £6,000.00, which is a decent amount of money.

Having seen that over 6,000 people have viewed the video on-line, Dave calculates that the charity has lost out to the tune of £24,000.00. A not inconsiderable amount of money.

“It’s taking money out of the bloody poor box” fumed the “incandescent with rage” Dave Cherry when he discovered the video had been put on YouTube by a local guy.

Now, for me, this goes beyond mere copyright infringement – which this incident clearly involves – but the principle concern is that of lost charitable income, an issue probably not considered previously.

If we remove large music labels and movie studios form the equation and instead consider regular people and maybe even UGC (User-Generated Content), content created for the purpose of raising money for a good cause, we have ourselves a very unique problem.

No longer are we talking about people who upload video illegally, givin’ a finger to the man, but they’re also taking money out of ‘the poor box’, which for me at least is ultra bad.

Making a song & dance?

But in reality, one could argue that the song would have never got that kind of exposure it has, if left to just Dave Cherry et al.

Which isn’t to dismiss their efforts. It’s just that YouTube probably has a bigger audience than the entire population of the whole of the Barnsley borough.

However, it’s unlikely that those six thousand odd people who tuned into to watch the video clip on YouTube would think to send donations via PayPal, even if that had been an option.

I don’t expect this story to move many people. And I’d be a fool if I thought for a second that it would even pique the interest of those that regularly upload copyrighted materials onto the likes of YouTube.

But what we have is an issue that quite monumentally muddies the already very dirty waters of copyright infringement.

At the very least, Google ought to make a donation to the Barnsley Hospice commensurate with the donations lost.

We could argue all day until we’re blue in the face about where the blame lies, but Google would be putting their ‘do no evil’ mantra to some very good use if they were to dig deep and make a donation to the Barnsley Hospice, and give Dave Cherry a good reason to sing with joy…

BTW, if ever an article of mine deserved a Digg or a StumbleUpon, this is it. I’d like to think a ground swell of interest by my fellow ‘Netizens could prompt Google to look into this as a matter of urgency.

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Steve Parker → Tuesday, 7 August 2007 @ 17:17 BDT

I’m not sure that the charitable aspect changes much. The model of artificially restricting access to digital goods is losing a lot of its meaning in an environment where high speed internet access is the norm.

Tickets to a show, now that’s a different matter…

Brian Heys → Tuesday, 7 August 2007 @ 18:56 BDT

I agree Wayne. Google should dig into their pockets and root out some slummy to stump up for this. They can afford it, and it’s the least they could do.

Wayne Smallman → Tuesday, 7 August 2007 @ 20:33 BDT

@Steve: First off, thanks for your comments! Always appreciated. DRM is on its way out. It’s inevitable, which the labels knew from the start.

They’ve had their fun, got their profits and now it’s time for the next trick.

The labels think it’s stupidly high resolution content, but they got that one wrong, too.

@Brian: Yes, I know it looks like I’m being harsh, and maybe I am.

It’s not directly Google’s fault, but the “do no evil” mantra of theirs wouldn’t be up to much if they didn’t.

Thanks for the comments, guys!

Aaron Bassett → Tuesday, 7 August 2007 @ 23:47 BDT

The question you must ask though is out of those 6000 how many would have watched the video if it hadn’t been free?

Wayne Smallman → Wednesday, 8 August 2007 @ 8:33 BDT

Hi Aaron, good question.

But to confuse matters further (and I’ve not seen the video myself, more out of protest I suppose) if it had been made clear it was a charity video and a donation would a good thing, of that 6,000 how many would have made a donation?

Sueblimely → Thursday, 9 August 2007 @ 6:17 BDT

Perhaps you could post details of how we could make donations to the hospice.I agree with aaron that those who may have watched the YouTube video may not have bought the DVD anyway but some money may have been lost. If enough attention is brought because of your post then maybe you can turn the YouTube video into a good thing after all.

Wayne Smallman → Thursday, 9 August 2007 @ 9:03 BDT

Hi Sue and thanks for the comments!

I’ve not been in contact with either Dave Cherry or the hospice, so I’d be loathed to act on their behalf.

But what you mention does touch upon an idea that I had.

With such things as this, maybe Google could add in support for making payments via PayPal or even their own Google Checkout thingy, so people can make donations before, during or after watching something like this on YouTube…

Alex Ross → Thursday, 19 June 2008 @ 12:56 BDT

Hello!

I’m the webmaster for Dave’s website, he emailed me your page today so we have seen it.

We’re considering putting the video up on Youtube in full and adding a link for donations as you suggested!

Dave is sick of seeing it bootlegged so I think it’s a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ and hopefully it will help raise extra funds.

There is an outtakes and extras on the DVD so maybe it will still sell a few!

Do you mind if I link to this page on the website? We have a press page and this could fit in nicely!

Contact us through the Dave Cherry website.

Cheers!

Wayne Smallman → Thursday, 19 June 2008 @ 13:07 BDT

Alex, I’d be more than happy, mate!

And all the best, too…

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