Downloading Youtube videos has been a piece of cake for quite sometime now, though Youtube never expressly gave its assent to downloading until last month, when it made it possible for users to download videos from Barack Obama’s Youtube channel. As it turns out now, the company was just testing waters by allowing Obama’s videos to be downloaded.
Now, the video sharing website has formally approved downloading. Not all videos will be free to download, however, as users will have to pay a fee to download some of the videos. Youtube is testing an option that will let video publishers make their content available offline for free or for a price they deem fit. All payments will be processed by Youtube’s cognate company Google Checkout.
It is strange that Youtube expects users will actually be interested in paying for videos when they can be download for free through the large number of online tools available for that purpose.
Sony Music Entertainment became the first of the four largest recording companies to renew their music licensing deal with YouTube.
The renewal has ensured that Sony artists will remain on the video-sharing site exclusively. Deals such as this allow YouTube users to not only view the artist’s music videos, but to also use the label’s songs in their clips.
It’s been reported that Universal Music Group is close to breaking a deal with YouTube, and if they signed it would leave only EMI and Warner Music Group. Though, talk between EMI and YouTube ran into some trouble last month, and since then their content has been removed from the site.
Four Google employees have been slapped with criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in Italy. Their legal woes began when an Italian organization complained against a video on Google Video – uploaded a couple of years ago – that shows four imbeciles tormenting a disabled person.
Although Google removed the video as soon as the complaint was made, Italian prosecutors decided to persist with personal criminal charges – an unprecedented move - against the four Google executives. Their trial will begin on Tuesday in Milan, Italy. These Google execs may even be consigned to an Italian prison for up to three years, if the charges against them are upheld.
It has vowed to “vigorously defend” its employees. "Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet" a spokeswoman for Google argued.
B-list actors and Hollywood washouts taking refuge on YouTube may soon find competition from more talented (or at least more popular) A-list actors. According to The New York Times, the social video site is close to inking a deal with the William Morris Agency that would have the Hollywod talent agency putting its clients in made-for-web shoots.
The deal is not yet complete and neither YouTube or the William Morris Agency are commenting on the situation, but The New York Times claims to have talked with people close to the situation who say this is YouTube's most ambitious attempt to date to expand its video library with professional level content.
Should the deal go through, it remains to be seen how many prominent actors will show an interest in acting for YouTube, but it should be noted that the William Morris Agency represents the likes of Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Quentin Tarantino, and more, as well as famous producers and musicians.
Online scammers have contrived an ingenuous way to ride Obama’s rampant wave of popularity. According to Websense Security Labs, certain unscrupulous elements have registered several accounts on my.barackobama.com, the social network on Obama’s website that affords all standard social networking features to users, including personal profiles, groups and blogs.
The charlatans created various accounts on the website and planted a hideous Youtube image with the message, “click here to see movie.” Users who click on the image mistaking it for a Youtube video are redirected instead to a website, which resembles Youtube, but appears to be fraught with pornographic content.
However, when a user proceeds to view one of the videos the website asks the user to download a missing video codec. In its stead is downloaded a Trojan. Further proof of Obama's widespread popularity.
There are numerous websites that allow you to download Youtube videos – and videos hosted on other sites – directly to your desktop. All of them have capitalized on the lack of a downloading feature on Youtube. However, they might just have to conceive a superb contingency plan as Youtube has jeopardized their very existence by inaugurating an indigenous download feature.
The feature is currently only available on President Obama’s Youtube channel as Google appears to be testing waters. You can check it out at this link.
If you're trying to watch a YouTube video and can't get the sound to work, it could be by design. The Google-owned video sharing site has just implemented a new policy which won't remove a user's videos containing copyrighted audio, but it will mute the audio stream, allowing the offending video to play on sans sound.
The new policy comes as a result of YouTube's ongoing dispute with Warner Music Group. Last month, Warner forced YouTube to cut off access to videos containing copyrighted music, following a breakdown in talks over licensing agreements. The video sharing site appears to have found a workaround until those talks come to a conclusion.
"Music licensing can get very complicated, but we try to make your experience as simple as possible," YouTube wrote in a blog post. "We want you to have options when uploading videos with music in them. And if your video is subject to a copyright claim, you should have some choices too."
YouTube recommends that anyone whose videos have been flagged and muted to check out Audioswap, which is a library of pre-cleared music.
Both Senators and Congressmen now have a dedicated Youtube hub each that will make it easier for people to browse all their videos. Each hub allows the user to choose his area using Google Maps and subsequently points him to the Senator or Congressman from that region.
But there is a question mark against the worth of this whole exercise. Many of these channels have been in oblivion having garnered handful of viewers. Perhaps if they begin to post parodies of themselves they might become more popular.
It seems inevitable that ISPs currently training their guns at p2p traffic will soon start fretting over video sharing websites, which are gaining in popularity and gradually conquering more internet bandwidth. November 2008 proved to be another prolific month for online video websites. According to data released by comScore Video Metrix service, there was a 34% year-over-year increase in online viewership in the US in November. A staggering 12.7 billion online videos kept online viewers riveted to their computer screens.
Google websites accounted for 40% of the total views in that month. Google obviously has its Youtube juggernaut to thank for being in the ascendancy. Youtube contributed 98% of Google’s market share. Google websites also triumphed as far as total number of viewers goes with 98 million viewers in November.
One website that has come up by leaps and bounds is Hulu, which retained the 6th spot in the high-stakes online video market in November 2008. Hulu scored a major victory over its competitors by emerging as the website with most riveting videos as the average duration of each video viewed at Hulu was 11.9 minutes – way higher than the industry average of 3.1 minutes.
Blu-ray might not be cheap, but LG is doing everything it can to make the high-definition technology more appealing to consumers still feeling burned over HD-DVD's seemingly untimely demise. LG's BD300 already integrates Netflix-streaming capability, and not only will that carry over to LG's upcoming Blu-ray players in the first half of 2009, but the company says it will also add CinemaNow and YouTube functionality to its new decks.
"As millions of U.S. consumers view and download movies or TV shows through the Internet, they are demanding easier ways to access content and more home entertainment options," said Tim Alessi, director of product development, LG Electronics USA. "From Blu-ray to instant streaming from Netflix to CinemaNow and YouTube, LG is bridging the gap between packaged media and video-on-demand services to provide entertainment solutions for consumers' demand for content."
Blu-ray sales haven't exactly been scorching since HD-DVD's kicked the bucket, with consumers seemingly content to make do with upconverting DVD players. But as broadband service continues to get faster, streaming media has started to emerge as a viable contender in the high definition movie market, leaving many to wonder if digital downloads can co-exist with Blu-ray. It appears so, if LG's upcoming lineup is any indication.
No pricing or availabilty information on the new players has yet been mentioned.