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Rube Goldberg Machines August 15, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in general, technology.

I do not condone copyright infringement, and that is a big problem I have with the likes of YouTube, who to gain critical mass inevitably have to turn a blind eye to infringement. Of course it would be less of a problem if traditional media outlets got with the programme and understood (or at least experimented in order to try to understand) how to leverage microchunking and distribution of content in a way that reflects positively on their bottom line.

But for an engineering type like me (a kind way of saying techie nerd), the clip below is just irresistable, and I have to spread my enthusiasm. The linked clip is of a compilation of various Rube Goldberg machines which were created by Keio University professor Masahiko Sato, who is a famous advertising movie planner/director and also happens to be the creator of the brilliant game I.Q.(and its sequels). He created the machines as part of his involvement with NHK Education channel’s Pythagoraswitch, a children’s education programme.

Of course, the ultimate in Rube Goldberg machines must be the one featured in the award winning ad for Honda, called “Cog“, a two minute long, single shot effort, which took over 600 takes to get perfectly right.



1. Gaijin Biker - August 16, 2006

YouTube actually has an aggressive policy of taking content offline if the copyright holder complains. Sure, there is still a lot of copyrighted stuff on the site, but such a policy is really the best that it can do and still function in a practical manner. And by clearly indicating that it does not want copyrighted material, and by removing it when notified, it is arguably within the bounds of US copyright law as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Grokster.

2. fukumimi - August 17, 2006

I’m aware of YouTube’s stated policy in enforcing copyright, and of the fact that they have improved their response times in addressing copyright infringement. Their actions are clearly within the letter of the law, as outlined in the Grokster case you refer to.

Personally, I am not really convinced that is the best they can do though. How difficult would it be to add a “Notify potential copyright violation” button on the UI to get users to report violations? There is plenty of content which is easily identifiable as broadcast TV content, most of which is uploaded by individuals.

It is my personal opinion that for this type of mass market video/music sharing application (photography has been an exception to this rule, because of the size of the amateur photography market and the ease with which amateurs can create their own content) to hit the big time, they must rely on unauthorised content. Sites then may then attempt to transition to a less grey model. But to gain mindshare in the first place, they turn a blind eye, regardless of protestations to the contrary.

Even now, they take the position that they will respond to notifications from the copyright holder, but they do not take a more proactive stance. (I would even suggest that they are using the cluelessness of many traditional media outlets and copyright holders to their advantage, in that they are probably well aware of copyright content on their site but because they have not received a complaint they turn a blind eye.)

But by being more proactive about the situation will lead users elsewhere. So they are caught between a rock and a hard place….

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