Gootube – The End of DRM ?

Power to the People ! The union of Google and Youtube has been described as a triumph of the consumer’s interests over corporate control. The big media entities, as evidenced by all the deals cut with Google and Youtube, CBS, WMG, Universal, et al, really gets it this time. That Mark Cuban is moronic, and this time its different.

Let me be the first to get in the moron line if this means the end of DRM on content.. I have no financial interest in Google or YouTube, but their union and their combined avoidance of DRM certainly saved me money this morning and will for a long time to come.

I decided to go “shopping” for music. Pre GooTube I would have gone to Itunes and skipped around looking for new music. Sample it and if i like it , buy it. I usually start at the top of the Top Songs List and if I like it , I buy it. So for this shopping trip, as I write this, I have ITunes Store open, I have open, open, all in tabs in my firefox brower. I also have the unplug extension installed. I could just have easily used or any number of others that work as easily. A simple search on google finds a ton of options for Google Video or Youtube

Oops. That video is converted and in my ipod already. Total Video Converter is a kick ass program. It can combine files, it can extract just the audio into an MP3. That is coming in handy right now because I just got to have Sexy Back from Justin, and I dont really want the video, and you can get kick ass quality audio from the videos. Boom. Its in my Ipod.

But wait there’s more. This quicklist feature is kickass from Youtube ! From the YouTube Homepage i got to Scarface Crunk, Which has the Say Hello to my Little Friend scene. Cool, perfect for my Ipod. But wait, whats this ? The beauty of Youtube !

In related videos , here is scarface sliced into 17 nice little pieces. Not Al Pacino, the movie itself. Just quicklist them into 2 lists, grab em, and then use Total Video Converter to combine them into 1 Movie File for my Ipod. The quality is good enough for my Ipod, no sweat. Then it dawns on me. With this quicklist feature. I dont have to download these songs 1 at a time. I can quicklist them and batch load them to my Ipod…It doesnt take much if any time longer than buying from Itunes. Am I a smart consumer or what.

DAMN, something just occured to me. I can move the money I spend from the Ipod Music budget over to the Dairy Queen Blizzard budget i had previous decimated to fill my Ipod. ! I really miss Heath and Reese Cup Blizzards, thank you Gootube !!!…

Wait a minute, whats that ? Is that my conscience ???

The little angel on my left shoulder says “Dont you remember all those RIAA and MPAA commercials you saw ?? Downloading this music and movie is a crime. Dont do it.”

The Devil on my right says..”Go for it . You know they want you to just take it. Thats why its there. Thats why its free. Thats why Google bought YouTube. Thats why none of these sites are getting sued. Bbecause its all different now . Repeat after me, music is free from now on !”

Wait a minute, who is the little guy hovering in front of me ? Dang, it looks like a Google lawyer ! Is he using a juet propulsion pack to fly ? No, its a floating Segway. Wow ! He is saying “No problem mark. You didnt crack any DRM, we dont use any !. You just downloaded a file from one of the most popular sites in the world and converted it to a format that works for your Ipod. We put it up there for you to take, so take it ! If copyright owners didnt want it there, they would have sent us a Take Down Notice !. I must be right because millions of people do it every day ! You wonder how I can fly with this Segway ? Its the DMCA Safe Harbor laws keeping me safe and floating. Take all the music, movies and videos you want, our users will upload more ! Enjoy , enjoy, enjoy !”

Thank goodness for hallucinations, they make things so clear sometimes.

45 thoughts on “Gootube – The End of DRM ?

  1. This is an upcoming issue. I am anti DRM but dont think their should be an open market for everything digital. Im not sure where that leaves me. If I wasnt to buy a product I dont want DRM on it so I can play it where and when i want.

    There has to be a way for all this video traffic to make everone happy. If people are watching music videos isnt that good? Why dont we open up the market for low quality digital media for free and make the good stuff available for pay. Thats fine with me and probably keeps everyone happy.

    Comment by Manager Assistant -

  2. Have you ever heard of urban storytelling? Theres this group in NYC called the Moth, and they put on storytelling events there. Right now, theyve teamed up with the TV network TNT (we know drama) for some reason, and are doing a contest on Myspace called Whats Your Story?. Basically, you submit a video of yourself telling the story of the most risky thing youve ever done, and you can win a trip to New York and other cool stuff. Its actually really interesting and I strongly suggest everyone check it out: . They show a few videos on the myspace page that are worth watching if youre confused by what they do It will be interesting to see the different video submissions of people telling their risky stories.

    Comment by Drama Queen -

  3. Personally, I saw the decline of Youtube months ago and went on the search for an alternative, which I found and it’s much better IMHO. I always stop using a web service once it gets media coverage since it usually only means one thing… restricted online dictatorship! oops, that was the little devil, I meant inforced copyright protection. I really only used Youtube for watching foreign tv shows and videos, which I think was justified given that even with satellite, people from different countries arent allowed to watch foreign tv. Seems like it’d be possible nowadays, probably just not profitable enough though. Anyways, I really don’t see how watching streaming videos in highly craptastic quality is losing the RIAA or the MPAA any money…but then again, I don’t have an IPOD and I only watch stuff unvailable to me via DirectTV.

    Comment by Chalet -

  4. If your budget won’t stand the strain of buying some software to convert video to MP3, download MP3MYMP3. This gem is free and carries no malware. It takes a little getting used too but is very intuitive and versital. C/NET has it and it is popular.

    Did I say it was Free? FREE!

    Comment by Colin -

  5. While I can understand where you are coming from, your whole article could be applied to ANY DRM’d or not media out there today.

    The steps you apply to get a song or video onto your iPod, are the same steps (and even sometimes more complicated) as ripping them from a DVD, a CD, yahoo’s music service, an itunes song,, yahoo free radio, etc. etc. etc.

    Technology will always be able to provide users with a way to circumvent DRM or any other protection mechanism.

    The key is, if your new medium is going digital, you know this is inevitable, so instead you should focus on bringing high-quality content and originality to consumers and *trust* that consumers will appreciate good content.

    The day you piss on your fan-base to protect something that is impossible to protect, is the day you will loose them to someone else.

    Again, I feel your ideas, but I don’t think you have a good grasp on what it means to be in the digital world.

    Comment by Jed -

  6. Mark, You are all wrong on this one.

    The reason why GooTube will never be a player in significant revenue-hurting copyright infringement (I’m not saying it’s not infringement, rather that it doesn’t hurt the copyright owner’s bottom line) is because the steps you outlined above are entirely too much work to get a crappy 17 clip copy of Scarface.

    I know plenty of people who shy away from bittorrent and limewire because they don’t feel like learning how to use a new piece of software or two. If someone is going to have to do this much work to download a copy of a movie with poor video and audio quality, or rip a song from a youtube clip, they might as well use other methods to get higher quality content in a much easier way. They’re illegal just the same, but who wants to work hard to download low quality content illegally?

    This is why I don’t rip DVDs that I own if I’m going to watch them on a flight – it’s often faster for me to download that very movie from a p2p network, and I can still do stuff on my computer in my background without being bogged down in intensive CPU usage.

    Besides, couldn’t YOU be sued for your blog post here? Does the Grokster inducement doctrine apply when you have no financial interest in the tools being used?

    Comment by Shane -

  7. What seems to be missing from the discussions is the idea that Google just doesn’t care about harming copyrights holders, especially us “little guys.” In their view (and that of some of those who want “free” stuff), artists, musicians, authors, writers, performers, and anyone else who might need (or have a legitimate right) to a royalty check for years of practice, work, and plain old-fashioned sweat — not to mention the tears — should “go get a real job.”

    Comment by Christian Ter -

  8. I like the creative use that the creator of has found, combing the service if the two Internet giants. Check out this mashup

    Comment by john -

  9. Thanks for Total Video Converter.

    I mean someone’s got to be the moron or do I see that wrong?

    Comment by franky -

  10. Related to NBA videos in google … I still believe that verticals can win this out. Let the NBA build its own website, allowing mashups … people can win tickets for games based on some criteria … Nike, Rbk, and other would advertise on it … Then ban all NBA videos on Youtube … Same for racing … then the game changes …

    Pity is, NBA, NFL etc … are more interested in selling long-term broadcasting deals to stations …

    Comment by Chris -

  11. I’m sorry but this whole YouTube/GooTube/DRM thing you have here has jumped the shark…we get it, no need for 10 articles about the same subject…

    Comment by Leo Kennis -

  12. 2000 Euros for you if youre not convinced by Gods existence in less than 15 minutes!!

    Comment by miteny -

  13. Mark
    Just Bought The Webs Copyright Lawsuit Portal. Are you in!

    Comment by edward kepler -

  14. Let the Mavs season begin! This is why I sold my video site at the beginning of the year for a few grand after I built it. Knew there would be some sucker to buy it before all these sites hit big and begin getting sued.

    Comment by Mark -

  15. There is potentially a class suit against NBA Live 2007 for misrepresentation of product features in PC version. In the game CPU don’t sub in bench players and CPU starters dont get tire. This makes the game useless, as for 48 min. you will only be playing against CPUs five starters. There has been thousands of complaints and for someone who is well knowledge in the field of technology, can you please shine some light on this topic! Honestly Mark, would you even play this game if CPU don’t sub in any bench players. Imagine playing against the Dallas and never getting the chance to play against Stackhouse or Dampier who are two players that crucially impact the enjoyment of the game. This issue is ridiculous and Im surprise that NBA figures are just ignoring this issue!

    Comment by nextnba -

  16. I think your miff’d cause goog bought the tube, and you said it would be moronic if someone did; you’re also probably pissed cause no one is suing their ass, when if it was you or me; we’d be thrown in jail. thanks for showing everyone how to steal though…

    I think the next big model though is paying people to consume while rewarding the artist/entertainment industry…

    Comment by lemon obrien -

  17. Apple already aknowledge they are competing with “free”. So far, they are one of the few business to come up with a successful model to compete with that.

    Comment by anson -

  18. I still say and AllTunes is the best approach – great quality at a fraction of the Itunes price. I’d rather fund Vladimir Putin than the RIAA.

    Comment by Kevan Martin -

  19. Mark,
    You can’t afford to get someone to pick you up a copy of the CD at the local Best Buy? What’s the point of being worth billions if you live like a college student?
    By saying that you just freebie copied Justin’s song, you did two things: 1) pointed out that you have no connections to at least get you a promo copy of the song. 2) exposed yourself to the ridicule of everyone knowing that you’re listening to a David Bowie-lite track?.

    Bite the bullet and buy the CD.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  20. Isn’t the point of all the deals between Google/YT and the media companies that the media companies get a piece of the ad revenue? So where’s the problem here? Anyone who even LOOKS at the content (let alone goes to the trouble of downloading and converting it) has already “paid” through the act of looking at an ad.

    Comment by David -

  21. Wow Mark you hit it right on the nose. Is donald trump a complete idiot? Everything that comes out of his mouth is skeptical. He is so self promoting and a jack ass. the comments he made about you on donny duetsch(????) are such a joke how can you look at him and take anything he says for the truth. And who cares if he had a number one rated show Is that whats makes a person? does he realize tv is a life sucking time consumer and that anyone who is that dedicated to a show might be a slight loser. Has he looked in the mirror he is the one looks like a neanderthal and How about some personality he could use some of your humor and love of life. I adore you and what you stand for. Keep up the good work Becky

    Comment by Becky M -

  22. Stealing stuff sucks. If someone rips off my website or splogs with my content or rips off a song I wrote and performed that really sucks. And almost nobody actually condones this behaviour.

    Sharing stuff is cool, making stuff accessible is cool, remixing stuff is cool. Everybody wants to enjoy a movie or music track on any device, any where, and to watch or listen how they want. It is about freedom. You pay money (or watch ads) but in the end you want the freedom to enjoy what you paid for in whatever manner. For personal use. Why else would you pay for it?

    So what is going on here with Google and YouTube and DRM…

    What is going on, is, I suspect, a move towards alternative compensation schemes to cut out the legacy middleman. Google is tight lipped about this, but you can bet they will become the distribution channel, that way more people will see their ads. And their ads can pay the content provider. And the content provider gets to know exactly how popular their stuff is.

    Current media corporations have unsustainable models, because people no longer care about physical medium or a specific kind of playback technology, and DRM just doesn’t work at all. It never will. Anything which is not DRMed will outcompete DRMed media. Yeah as in make more money. Maybe not right now but it will.

    So lets wonder in the new economy if record labels and movie distributors are actually adding value anymore. They used to be about reaching people. The only way to get your message out there was radio, or TV, or magazines, or books. So you needed a publisher, distributor etc…all of whom would take a healthy cut.

    Why do you need big fat middleman promotion and distribution channel when you can reach everyone directly?

    So after the lawsuits settle and everyone gets even more pissed off at big media companies, those dinosaurs will slowly go extinct and the time they spent complaining instead of adapting during this transition period will be recognized as a reason for their eventual deaths.

    But no worries! At least they will die fat, complacent yet contented, having surpassed their usefulness to the world. There could be worse ways to go.

    Worrying about people ripping stuff is so inconseqential when eventually it will be far easier to just pay for stuff. Making it easier is what industry should focus on.

    More on DRM alternatives and where this is going here:

    Comment by Ian Rae -

  23. Gee Mark maybe I should have listened to Dad and become an intellectual property lawyer-talk about lifetime job security.

    My question is this-do I have any “rights” to the hilarious video mashup I did of Clinton/Wallace, Kruschev at the UN and Clutch Cargo lecturing Spinner and Paddlefoot with the Jay Z meets Foghat soundtrack? Should Hollywood be worried I got more viewers than the debut of “Smith”?

    Comment by Dick Deluxe -

  24. Mark, you are clearly more wise of a person than the rest of us mortals. Thanks for helping save money for those of us that don’t have millions.

    Buy the Bucs!

    Comment by James -

  25. i say everyone migrate to our site. we have copyrighted content that we actually acquire rights for. and you can still see it for free.

    Comment by paul -


    Good post Mark. I figure eventually you won’t need other programs to convert files or merge them. If it’s all allowed, then why not make them built-in features?

    Comment by Shan -

  27. Mac users can rock Tubesock to get videos from Youtube into their ipods.

    Comment by H -

  28. What if they started putting up video from Mavericks games?

    I guess some people already have some NBA video, like this mix of Jordan and LeBron accompanying Jay-Z and Linkin Park.

    Here’s your ticket Mark, have the NBA sue.

    Comment by mba -

  29. As the old saying goes, where there’s a will there’s a way. These days, where there’s a will there’s a way… and a program to help you do it.

    Comment by Rebeccalee Coventry -

  30. JT Sexy Back??……..Come on man!

    Comment by nick -

  31. Why all the hassle when you can get the album for free or the movie by just typing it in the search engine of Ares, or Emule ?

    Comment by Balde -

  32. What seems to be missing from the discussions is the idea that Google just doesn’t care about harming copyrights holders, especially us “little guys.” In their view (and that of some of those who want “free” stuff), artists, musicians, authors, writers, performers, and anyone else who might need (or have a legitimate right) to a royalty check for years of practice, work, and plain old-fashioned sweat — not to mention the tears — should “go get a real job.”

    As to “taking down material when the legitimate rights-holder complains, — just try to get them to do it. ha! They have a staff of lawyers which they pay handsomely to make life miserable for any creative who complains. The process is cost prohibitive for any but the wealthy — and golly gosh, without those royalty checks, there wouldn’t be any “wealthy artists.”

    On that note, I would like to invite all of those who would like to have “free” music and movies to copy and share with their friends to donate generously at my upcoming rent party. Ooops, my landlord is howling at the door! … got to run!

    Comment by Terri M. -

  33. I decided to go “shopping” for music. Pre radio, I would have gone to the record store and skipped around looking for new music. Sample it and if i like it , buy it. I usually start at the top of the Top Songs record pile and if I like it , I buy it. So for this shopping trip, as I write this, I hope in my car, to drive to the store, and I have FM radio on. All in buttons in my dashboard. It’s in stereo, not like that crummy AM, it sounds great! Even better, in my home I have a stereo with a boss new tapedeck hooked up. With wires! I could just have easily used a boombox that has a tapedeck built into it, or any number of others that work as easily. A simple spin of the dial finds a ton of options for all different genres of music.

    Oops. That audio is taped and in my tape deck already. Tape recorders are a kick ass technology. It can combine bits of audio, it can record only when I want. That is coming in handy right now because I just got to have Sexy Back from Justin, and it just came on Clear Channel radio. Boom. Its in my tapedeck.

    But wait there’s more. This satellite radio is kickass from Sirius or FM ! They have these stations that play nothing but music in the style I like, no interruptions. Just press record, and I’ve got a kick ass mix tape. The beauty of satellite radio! Am I a smart consumer or what.

    DAMN, something just occured to me. I can move the money I spend from the music budget over to the Dairy Queen Blizzard budget i had previous decimated to fill my cd and record bins. ! I really miss Heath and Reese Cup Blizzards, thank you radio and audio tapes!!!…

    Comment by James Cooney -

  34. I find it interesting that Google chose to acquire Youtube (about which many copyright issues have been raised) when it is also getting sued by book publishers for digitizing whole books.

    Makes you wonder whether Google is trying to turn the copyright law onto its head.

    Comment by Anonymous -

  35. Mark, do you run a SAN at home?

    Comment by Mark McKenney -

  36. Uh yeah-except the quality of your resulting movie and sound files are awful. You could tape them from the radio and probably get better quality. Really-there has always been an analog hole or a quality hole available. If you are satisfied with watching and listening to junk then lots of junk is available to you.

    Comment by Rodolfo -

  37. “the operation you described to scrape music from Videos – is a difficult one for the average joe. 80% of your readers on this blog could do it, but 90% of the people in the U.S. aren’t literate enough to!”

    How long will it take for someone to write a freeware program that makes quicklisting a click ‘n drag operation, and then automates the whole extraction and transfer process? Is that a 2-day job, or only 1-day?

    The paid version of the program could automate the search, compare audio quality if multiple sources are found, and then do the extraction and transfer.

    If 90% of the people can’t do something, that’s a market.

    Comment by Michael Murphy -

  38. As a 3L studying IP, I’m very interested in this particular sequence of blogs. In a post-napster/grokster world there hasn’t been a juicy marketplace for infringement that right holders could attack in litigation. I believe the trend was, and still is, going to be going after individual users in order to create a chilling effect. However, with google, i’m not convinced they NEED to have a viable business model in order to be sued (DMCA allows rights holders to forgo calculating damages in favor of a preset statutory fine). So Ballmer, who is also somewhat incredulous that there is an actual long term plan here,,
    may have understated it when he said that they will incur short term losses. I look forward to reading that SEC filing as well.

    Comment by justin brown -

  39. Mark:

    Great comments and observations It still amazes me that Silicon Valley does not understand Hollywoods concern about DRM and copyright ownership. I started my career in Hollywood and understand royalties, residual checks and copyright issues due to fact you spend a majority of your time clearing music and films rights and working with the WGA, AFTRA, SAG etc. Wait until they get fully involved in this that is another time bomb waiting to explode.

    Silicon Valley is built on software licensing which basically follows the same business model (i.e., royalties / licensing fees etc.). You would think they would understand the issue. Likewise, Ive witnessed the same pig headed myopic thinking coming from Hollywood. (you are doing a great job trying to change that thinking). I agree with you, once the copyright holders bring the hammer down and enforce basic copyright protection laws. The majority of Video Portals like Gootube will see a huge drop in viewers.

    Question: Why is it that is not blowing the doors off the other Video Portals due to the fact that they split the revenue with the author. . I would rather host my video on and get a cut of the profits. Could it be that there really is not that much free and cleared / Public Domain video out there?

    Matt Cook

    Comment by Matt Cook -

  40. Thanks Mark, why I don’t always agree with you, but I do always enjoy your posts, and unlike previous commnetators I think the impact from this will be huge.

    The comment by Richard Bowles that few people have the ‘know how’ to scrape music from the videos is true, so in the short term there will be very little impact. However people will start to figure it out it is amazing what people, even the not so bright among us, can figure out when it comes to getting things for free. So over the long term the impact to music industry will be huge. I will be interested to see how they deal with it, as they will not be able to ignore it for to long.

    As more people start to download tunes for free, the music industry will need to either find a way to enforce copyright, or find alternative ways to generate revenue from their content.

    Comment by Lach -

  41. this becomes interesting when people start posting videos in stereo with audio compression that is better than a bad cassette tape.

    your point about dodging DRM and RIAA is valid, it’s something that all the press is avoiding. A C&D letter or offer to take down a video is the moral equivalence of “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is permission.”

    GooTube’s legal position–that hey, they’re just a service provider, no different than the ISPs who are trafficing terabytes of copyrighted material 24/7 is going to be tested. Bet your bank on it.

    Comment by John Davidson -

  42. Thanks Mark…I’ve been wanting to get Sexy Back too

    Comment by Wes -

  43. Understand that as a consumer I hate DRM. I hate the fact I just can’t rip my CD’s to MP3’s via WMP and then copy the MP3 over to my iQue M5 to play on there. I have to sync it, which is slower, I’m not talking Dirk Nowitzki slow I’m talking Shaq slow. I understand the point of DRM, but it surely isn’t around to help me.

    BTW: I agree with Karl on this point: Go Pistons.

    Comment by Justin Young -

  44. Mark you are right, but I think the effect of people doing this is minimal – IF we could see the decrease in sales of ITunes music since GooTube… I bet it would be minimal and that we couldn’t even determine it was becuase of GooTube-

    – The thing is the Squeaky wheel gets the grease; GooTube and the operation you described to scrape music from Videos – is a difficult one for the average joe. 80% of your readers on this blog could do it, but 90% of the people in the U.S. aren’t literate enough to!

    – The only noise GooTube is making is the media noise- If they make it 5-6 months without a major lawsuit, they will start seeing little ones in which they will easily defeat then they will be free and clear. They made major deals with everyone, Google – before the deal and YT – before the deal made deals with 3 companies each! – Therefore there won’t be any suits from anyone with enough power to stump Google.

    Google is set – to dominate the internet; they will be acquiring 2 more major companies within the next 3 years! –

    Thanks for the discussion, Richard Bowles

    Comment by tech blog -

  45. A link you might want to read relative to all this. You’ve probably seen it already, but I thought I’d pass it on.

    Go Mavericks.

    Comment by Joe Siegler -

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