Feeds

Google unleashes toon squirrel on freetard uploaders

Stop. We mean it. Honest

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Copyright scofflaw Google has launched a new campaign - to educate people about respecting copyright. And as you might imagine, it has all the sincerity you could expect from David Irving's guide to the Torah.

copyrightdownvote

Popular little guy

It's aimed at YouTube users who have been flagged for copyright infringement, and includes a cartoon squirrel called Russell, who wears a Pirate's Hat.

In the cartoon, copyright is something very difficult to understand, but always malevolent. Apparently, distributing videos you've taken on your iPhone containing a musical performance you've taped without permission is "infringement". Who thought that up? What a drag!

Russell the squirrel looks mystified, then frightened, when this is explained to him.

Fair use boilerplate legalese is then read out high speed to comical music, which helps demonstrates the complexity and absurdity of this provision of copyright law. Russell the squirrel is advised to seek the advice of an attorney.

Russell the squirrel looks even more alarmed.

Apparently, copyright exists because copyright holders want "to control their content" (Rather than say, distribute it widely in return for money, so creative people can pay the rent). But sometimes copyright holders make mistakes, and you can send a counter-notification to a copyright holder disputing their claims, says Google.

Russell the squirrel

Russell the squirrel looks delighted at this, and says "Yar-har-har!".

Russell then juggles piranhas and is shot out of a cannon – don't do this at home, squirrels! – as we're told that "by singing an original song you're creating your own content. You're the owner of your own copyright and you have the right to post it to YT. Original content is what makes YT interesting."

Original content is what makes anything interesting, of course, but the value to Google plainly lies in the professional, quality stuff that's been uploaded up to its YouTube aggregation site illegally. Large internet companies desperately need lots of squirrels to continue to do this, far more than they need Russell the juggling squirrel to be educated.

With a long-term goal of reducing the value of copyright content to zero, large internet companies such as Google, BT and Amazon can accrue the value of the material in their networks, evading the cost of paying the creators, or performing the transparent accounting that usually goes with the responsibility. (Google is a master of the black box).

That's why so much more space is devoted at these new "educational pages" about "chilling effects", or explaining politically correct but useless Creative Commons licences, than there is to understanding the value of creativity. The goal is not to create better-educated squirrels, but propagandists for Google. Even when Google claims to be respecting the law, it can't help scoffing at it, and winking while it does so. ®

Bootnote

Russell the Squirrel is encouraged to create some user-generated content because, says Google, he'll help create a buzz on YouTube. But how useful is this, really?

Take the phenomenon of "rickrolling" - one of the very few internet crazes that was so popular, it became a craze in real life too. The song that inspired it, Never Going To Give You Up has notched up 47 million views on YouTube. Yet when one of the songwriters received his cheque from Google, it was for the princely sum of just £12. "Buzz" is the only currency that matters on Google's plantation.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.