To me, the answer is both yes and no. It would be foolish of anyone to state that YouTube is either completely original or totally pirated content. Pirates will find a way around algorithms one way or another, and by its very nature, YouTube makes uploading and sharing media easier and cheaper. YouTube has taken strong steps to combat piracy, though it is certainly not free of it quite yet.
It does, in the sense that YouTube has made it so simple to upload media to the web and share it with the world without any actual costs involved. This process is pretty simple, whether or not you actually own the content you’re sharing with the world. The ease of use, in terms of sharing this media, has certainly contributed to piracy.
Does this mean YouTube is causing piracy? People have been pirating media since the means of doing so have existed. Long before the days of digital bits and even the printing press, people have been copying other’s works and distributing the copies outside of the control of the content creator. YouTube isn’t the cause of piracy, but it does have a hand in making piracy easier to do.
Piracy, in this case, isn’t limited to content sold on retail shelves. This also includes someone downloading original content off one channel and uploading it to their own. This can lead to loss of income and control over something someone has created. For many content creators on YouTube and other content sharing sites, their work is their primary source of income. That income allows them to keep doing what they do.
Recently, YouTube has started allowing for Creative Commons licensing to be added to original content. This means that you can mark your videos as creative commons, which will allow other users the freedom of taking your content and reposting it on their channel.
Chris Pirillo is the founder of the tech blogging network, Lockergnome and previously served as host of TechTV’s Call for Help show. Chris’s insightful and entertaining how to videos will now be featured in the PC Pitstop newsletters and highlighted at techtalk.pcpitstop.com and pcpitstop.com.