Whitebear Sez

I’m going to take a wild shot in the dark, fair reader, and assume that you have heard of a small, little known site called YouTube. This website is where many people can go to upload videos of various topics; from prom dates to people breaking bottles over their own heads. Some people, however, go so far as to upload television shows so others can watch them without having to wait for reruns. While this is a fantastic thing to do, there is something that prevents one from doing such things, and it is called Copyright Infringement. When you upload a video there is a very large, noticeable disclaimer warning you about the dangers of copyright infringement, and what happens to you when you do it.Recently, a couple of videos were taken down from YouTube because of copyright infringement, or so that’s what is claimed. The fact is the videos that were pulled were satire pieces of the “Yu-Gi-Oh” animated series, in which the director (whose online handle is “LittleKuriboh”) took bits and pieces from each episode and put in his own dialogue and soundtracks. He called his version “Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series,” because basically, each episode was compressed into five to eight minute versions of their former selves. Although I’m not the biggest fan of “Yu-Gi-Oh,” this series that “LittleKuriboh” has done is very funny and is pretty clever as well.When the first episode was taken down, there was an uproar from “LittleKuriboh’s” fan base. People wondered why, and I have to admit I wondered why as well. It was then I was reminded of a somewhat similar situation regarding a web-comic I used to frequent called “Life of Wily.” The premise of the comic was basically taking sprites from the Mega Man video game series and putting them into comical situations. Capcom, the owners of Mega Man, tried to get the comic taken down for copyright infringement, but the comic’s creator was protected by Parody Law, which permits limited use of copyrighted materials for the sake of satire or comedy.Now why hasn’t the Parody Law been used to help “LittleKuriboh” keep his videos on YouTube? I’m not sure why, exactly. Perhaps it’s because no one is fully aware of it? Or maybe it’s because people aren’t courageous enough to stand up to fight. Or maybe it’s because no one has the money to get legal help (that’s the one I’m banking on). Whatever the case, “LittleKuriboh” has indeed moved his series to other sites, and has them listed on his main YouTube page. To me, this is a huge mistake on YouTube’s part, but I suppose that YouTube can’t be blamed for cracking down on “copyrighted materials.” After all, when you get sued by Viacom for one billion dollars, you kind of have to take these sorts of things seriously, don’t you think?