Miércoles 5 de Abril de 2006, Ip nº 147

From the video vault
Por James Parker

TECHNOLOGICALLY ILLITERATE computer users like me, engaged in a constant rear-guard action against complete bewilderment, have grown used to it-the gratified but slightly menaced awe we feel when peering into this crucible of innovation, which now and then releases, like a spume or side effect, something wonderful for our amusement and convenience. The latest buzz is YouTube.com, a video site that encourages users to upload home movies, favorite TV clips, subcultural arcana, footage of great interest, slight interest, or no interest at all. It is one of the most visited video sites on the Web and another fantastic way to waste time.

Articles written about the YouTube phenomenon tend to speedily collapse into a list of the author's obsessions and soft spots, so here goes: I watched, for free, an entire episode of ''Seinfeld" and some footage of Thin Lizzy performing ''Cold Sweat" in an Irish pub in 1983, and-by typing the words ''hit in face" into the site's search engine (don't ask me why)-I found a six-second film added by a user known as ''pooper910" in which, as he succinctly explains in the video's description or ''tag," ''I hit my friend in the face! he agreed to it but wasnt ready for it! Hilarious!"

Of the above items, it is that ''Seinfeld" episode that may cause problems for YouTube. The year-old company, started by two ex-employees of PayPal, is currently mincing around copyright issues by immediately removing content if requested to do so by its owner: The immortal Will Ferrell/Christopher Walken ''Cowbell" sketch from ''Saturday Night Live," for example, is no longer viewable. For the moment, this seems to be keeping claims of infringement at bay, but as more traffic pours into the site, corporate content-owners may begin to take a less friendly view. So clickety-click, ransack the memory banks (yours and YouTube's), and enjoy it while it lasts.


  26/03/2006. Boston.com.