Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Home Videos Problem

I have a problem with my home videos: I like to have them managed all in one place, in chronological order, and in a manner that allows me to search through them.
Sure, I know I can do it all on my hard drive, but I don't particularly like that solution. Hard drives break down, hard drives are not always accessible, hard drive folders are not too user friendly to search through, hard drives are not easy to share. I can continue, but what I am trying to say is that I actually prefer to keep my home videos on the cloud. I would have preferred to store them on Flickr, where my photos reside, but Flickr is not user friendly when it comes to videos; I therefore manage [most of] them as private videos on YouTube.
YouTube has its own issues. The service is not designed for managing private home videos, I can tell you that. However, the larger problem at hand is with copyright matters.
The gist of it is this: a significant number of my home videos have some music in the background. Some times, the music is a key factor in the video. For example, when my son dances to some tune, that dance is relatively meaningless without the accompanying music.
The problem is a copyright problem: once music is included, the video becomes a copyright violation no matter how benign it is. Us normal people ignore it; virtually every parent carries on their smartphone a collection of such illegal videos and none of us seems to care about it. However, YouTube does. Its algorithm searches through uploaded videos to identify just that and disqualify offending videos. Given the lawsuits YouTube has gone through, one cannot blame them for being rather precautions.
The question is, where does that leave me? Or, for that matter, where does that leave anyone who wants to manage their collection of "illegal" home videos online? It's not just YouTube; even Dropbox was recently complicated in removing copyright breaching material from its services. The problem is clear: a cloud service that wants to remain legal and above board is, by definition, unable to accept the this huge portion of home videos.
Where does this leave us, normal people, who just want to be able to recall our kids doing silly stuff? How come we allowed ourselves to get into a position where the possession of cherished family memories is illegal?

Image by Kevin, Creative Commons licence

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