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April 21, 2011

6

TRON on YouTube?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2011

On April 18, YouTube user Hanspirot uploaded to said video sharing website the film TRON: Legacy.  In its entirety.  A bold move, to be sure, but what’s even more surprising is that, three days later, it’s still up.  Accompanying the upload is the following message (his/her/its quotes):

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

What’s going on here? 

Hanspirot has, to date, uploaded a total of 22 videos.  Beginning with his first post nine months ago, most pertain to gaming.  In the past five days, however, Hanspirot has uploaded episodes of “The Simpsons”, “Deadliest Catch”, “MythBusters”, and (nbd) TRON.  All of these posts bear the above disclaimer.  The TRON post also directs users to Hanspirot’s new YouTube channel which, as of now, has no uploads.

Although Hanspirot’s motivations remain unclear, it’s YouTube’s response (or lack thereof) which I find most interesting.  Has Hanspirot found a glitch in The Grid?  I would like to echo the sentiments of YouTube user nebu8989 in my belief that “Hanspirot fights for the users”.  What do you think?

End of Line.

  • Let’s get an over/under going on how long it stays up. I don’t think it makes it to Monday.

    …Which means I’m watching it tonight.

    • Well that didn’t take long. Already down, and the user “has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s Copyright Policy.” Luckily I buffered the video first.

      • Tom

        Seconded.

  • Jon

    I think its gone by Saturday evening.

    Also, as awesome as it is that Tron in its entirety is free on youtube (I also will probably watch tonight), I’m gonna go ahead and have to disagree with ya there, Tom. If I made a sickhouse movie and someone posted it for free on youtube and 27,000 + people viewed it, that’s a ton of money lost – money that was rightfully earned. I don’t think he is fighting for users, I think he is giving users free ‘ish. Free stuff is great, but the old saying ‘nothing in this world is free’ has some validity to it. Someone always pays. In this case, the creators. They must be livid, and rightfully so.

    • Tom

      Unfortunately, I think it depends on how you define “creator”. Hollywood is notorious for its “creative accounting” practices, and the people involved in the actual production (actors, writers, directors, crew) usually get the short end of that stick. The formulae used to compute (for example) an actor’s pay can become quite complex:

      http://gawker.com/#!5196154/how-movie-stars-get-paid

      Now, factor in all the complications involved in post-theater distribution (DVD/Bluray, streaming services like Hulu and NetFlix, etc.), and the opportunity for some of the creators to get screwed by production companies increases significantly:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/business/media/27movie.html, and
      http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6024677.ece

      Additionally, what’s good for a company (ex. exclusive rights) isn’t always good for an artist (ex. exposure). The Lonely Island launched its three members to jobs on SNL via the popularity of their free online videos. Andy Samberg, in a recent interview, bemoaned the fact that once they started working with a studio many of their videos were taken down:

      http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/ff_samberg_qa/

      Although NBC had a deal with Hulu (and thus did not want The Lonely Island videos on YouTube), for a significant period of time NBC/Hulu had yet to actually make those videos available. So, no one could actually watch them. Consequently, The Lonely Island (and, consequently, SNL viewership and, consequently, NBC itself) suffered.

      While I firmly believe in supporting the arts (especially the arts as awesome as the Tron), I appreciated the humor it Hanspirot’s act. I hope everyone involved in finally giving us a Tron sequel made a bunch of money. But, when the opening scene of your movie shows the hero uploading copyrighted material to the internet for all to enjoy freely, you can’t be too surprised when someone does it to you.

  • Jon

    Well said Tomcat. I realize that this is most definitely NOT a black and white cookie cutter issue,. And it is very true that free content that leads to significant exposure is often more important than profits made from copyrighted/protected material. I also did enjoy the humor in Hanspirot’s act, and specifically her quote of the copyright act. Very well played. And yes, if the Tron people got upset and are pressing charges, they need to rewatch their own opening scene.

    However, despite how evil and corrupt some of these big companies are with their screwing over of the writers, directors, and cast, they did follow the copyright rules. Does their behavior warrant people like Hanspirot to disregard the lawful copyright claim and distribute their material to whoever can type the ‘youtube’ into their browser? I think an argument can easily be made for both sides here. Regardless, I am still planning on watching Tron this wkend, and I will probably have to pay for it now (unless Hanspirot or one of her buddies can post it again). Is that good or bad? Both; depending on which side you stand.