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YouTube pros cash in on deaths with fake vids

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Last Sunday morning in Toronto there was a huge explosion at a propane storage depot which resulted in two deaths and 12,000 people being evacuated.

The dramatic mushroom-shaped fireball lit up the night sky and was filmed by several Toronto residents. A search on YouTube finds over 300 videos of the explosion. So far, so Web 2.0, but several of the videos are not quite what they seem.

Two in particular appear to show a group of people chatting in a hotel room who then hear noise outside and rush outside, while filming, and catch the explosion. The two are among the most viewed clips of the event and are from two well-known YouTube artistes.

But the fact that they're remixing someone else's footage is not immediately clear, and the fact that they get a cut of YouTube's advertising revenue, has angered some viewers.

One had been viewed over half a million times, the other over 350,000 times, and is now linked to from hundreds of sites.

Not everyone is upset, however.

Several commenters see the videos as fair use and one of the videomakers, KevJumba, posted this comment: "I want to thank Saejinoh for the footage, the video was not meant to trick you into thinking we recorded this as the gas tank exploded, the purpose was to create a Cloverfield-style video from two viewpoints."

Tip of the hat to Silicon Alley Insider for the spot. ®

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