At the end of the year, Time Magazine traditionally publishes “The Top 10 of Everything” online. Many of those lists contain videos and some lists, such as “Viral Videos“, “Talented Web Videos” or “Songs“, are exclusively composed out of web videos.
As discussed before on this blog (“This Post is Not Available in Your Country” and “Private Negotation of Public Goods: Collateral Damage(s)“), many user created videos that remix existing works are not available in certain areas of the world due to intervention of large rights holders such as SonyMusic or Warner Music Group. Looking at the three top 10 lists mentioned above, I put together the following graph showing how many of these videos were blocked in Germany:
Interesting detail: the 3 blocked videos in the category “Talented Web Videos” are ranked 1, 3 and 4 in the Times top 10 list. In other words: the most creative videos – at least according to Time Magazine – are blocked. In the description of the category, Time wrote the following:
“As this year’s list of the top viral videos clearly shows, not all that goes viral is great. The flipside is also sadly true: not all great videos go viral.”
One of the reasons for the latter might be the lack of availability: all top ten “Viral Videos” are available in Germany. The music industry’s blocking policies seem to be a major obstacle for creative web videos to go viral. That blocking might even be self-damaging for the rights holders was argued by Google’s senior copyright counsel Fred von Lohmann in a talk he gave earlier this week in Berlin, where he presented the example of “JK’s wedding entrance dance” video (of course, also not available in Germany via YouTube but only at myvideo.de). With over 60 million viewers, the unorthodox wedding ceremony is one of the most watched web videos of all time. The funny thing is that the song “Forever” by Chris Brown, which is featured in the video, got a “second commercial life” after the video had gone viral, making it a greater – also: commercial – success than before.
Taking this into account, blocking 5 out of 10 songs listed by Time in the respective category does not seem to neither be reasonable nor in the interest of the artists. What is more, I heavily doubt that Time even would have included songs in its top 10 list, of which no web video had been available in the US.
PS: While being blocked at YouTube, I found an accessible version of Time’s no. 1 “Talented Web Video” at Dailymotion.com: