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Web 2.0 Release Forms

Posted: February 20th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This month’s Radar magazine has an article about the ‘Prisoners of youTube‘ – all those poor folk who suddenly became famous because someone posted an embarassing video of them online. Since most of these clips are of the ‘Funniest Home Videos’ variety the people involved are generally pretty upset, since they had no idea they were being filmed and that other people would see. This does raise the question of release forms and how they are handled (or not) in a Web 2.0 world. Most online video sites say to ‘check this box if you have rights to upload this video’ but the truth is that none of them check this, it would totally destroy their models if they did. YouTube seems to be surviving a pile of lawsuits, either through taking down the content or creating partnership deals with the content owners, but that’s mainly for the big players, TV studios and the like.

So what of the individuals whose lives have been destroyed by this unwanted fame? Either they have to spend a fortune getting a lawyer together to get a cease and desist order, and to try and get financial reparation, or they can try themselves directly – but the damage has been done. The video is out. People laugh at them on the street. And even if one video service has pulled the video, someone will be uploading their copy of it somewhere else right now. Should they ignore it and hope it goes away? Or is this the time for a new Web 2.0 rights movement that protects the rights of people to mess up without being embarassed to death without their consent?

Truth is, as long as we find this stuff funny someone will find a way to get it out there. Especially if you can start to make money on it as youTube is now promising. It will be interesting to see where this goes next.

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