Monday, October 5, 2009

Hollywood Tells the Truth about the Obamas

Big Bird: Maybe you're here to finally show your husband's United States Birth Certificate?
Michelle: No, Big Bird. I'm not.
Big Bird: That's cause you can't!

(P.S. I'm not a birther)

The Saturday Night Live scene depicted Obama as doing absolutely nothing since he got into office. Obama is seen refuting critics' claims that he is leading the country into socialism. Why? Because he has done absolutely nothing in office to get there. It is a clever skit.

A Youtube page I am subscribed to uploaded these two very funny videos. Sadly, that Youtube channel I am subscribed to no longer exists today.

Unfortunately, some videos of SNL spoofing Obama's accomplishments are no longer available online. A lot of them are being restricted "due to copyright restrictions." The few videos that I've watched yesterday are no longer available today. I did manage to find this one.

I don't think it is too much of a big deal. But is very interesting considering many other Youtube pages I am subscribed to have been shut down in recent days. They also seem to be channels with a conservative bent. Of course, speculating whether this is liberal media bias is exactly that, speculating. All you have to do to disprove this is show an even amount of liberal Youtube channels being shut down (the whole feat would be hard to do anyway. Where would you begin if they are already shut down? Where is the database that records such information?).

I am familiar with the process. For example, on my Youtube page I had a video using Lauryn Hill's song behind a slide show of one of my videos. I received a warning for that. Perhaps, the accounts that were cut off were repeatedly uploading videos that they had no right to. Even the copyright page says to "Be sure that all components of your video are your original creation—even the audio portion." But if this is the case, unless there are other legal elements I am missing out on, there are plenty of videos that are not completely original. In fact, there are Youtube channels that are entirely unoriginal. I wonder what that would mean for all those accounts?

That's interesting, considering I just took screen shots of the Obama videos yesterday! Is this liberal media bias striking again? Or is Youtube just getting better at cracking down on illegal videos? Is Youtube in cahoots with the Administration (I don't think so and probably not likely) or possibly being informed by honest youtubers about infringement rights (more likely)? Maybe youtube is actually enforcing policy (most likely)? So I guess that means the millions of other videos that are violating rights are going to be restricted now too right? Perhaps Youtube is enforcing copyright policies. Although I become quite curious to why they only enforce policy when it comes to criticism of the Obama administration. Hmmm? Eh, I'd give Youtube the benefit of the doubt in some cases. Perhaps I'm seeing something that isn't there.

From this point on, shouldn't we expect every single SNL skit illegally uploaded to be closed down as well? Yes, I think we should, and hopefully it happens. If Youtube wants to call this "clamping down" on bad accounts, maybe it should start enforcing the policy across the board. This would actually help the networks that upload these videos, since it will give them incentive to create their own video channels and therefore draw more viewers to their networks. Actually networks already have. NBC has a SNL channel online.

See, consistency isn't a bad thing. Consistency should just begin with someone other than the president.

Oh and guess what. The account which uploaded the video in the second snapshot is now closed. Here's proof:

The only videos that I've seen so far even addressing the spoof are ones like these.

By the way, Youtube is not clamping down on all SNL skits. Plenty of other users still have SNL skits up. Even ones about Obama. Check out this one. If they are consistent, I'd expect to see more videos that violate copyright infringement shut down. Perhaps the very links I provide will no longer be available in a few days. I'll wait and see.

Lastly, this sketch stirred up so much controversy that Politifact fact-checked the skit. See here.

So what is the verdict? Most likely Youtube is clamping down on those bad accounts. But I wonder if all those MSNBC videos, NBC videos, full-length movies, Fox News videos, and every other video that people ripped without permission will get closed down too. If they are, it will be a lot of accounts closed down.

I'll find out the copyright information soon. Here is some more legal information:
[1] Fair Use

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