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.