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How Major Film Studios Manipulate YouTube Users

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the velvet-glove-cast-in-iron dept.

Movies 120

An anonymous reader writes "A year before the major movie companies were offered the chance by YouTube to 'block, monetize or track' uploaded copyrighted material, studios such as Disney were already commissioning PR companies to create bogus YouTube users — complete with authentically 'trendy' semi-literate user-profiles, on accounts that appeared to be set up by young and 'edgy' teenagers. These faux 'users' were able to post high-definition videos from copyrighted movies without being penalised or impeded by YouTube's Content ID algorithms, and their posts, deliberately crammed with piracy-related search terms and timed (even to the day, in one case) to coincide with related DVD and Blu-ray releases, sometimes accrue a million and a half hits or more, whilst those of genuine YouTube uploaders fall at the site's Content ID firewall. This article looks at how the major studios have reacted to YouTube in the last four years, and also examines in-depth three such examples of apparent 'astroturfing' involving the theatrical or disc releases of Toy Story 2, Speed Racer and Spider-Man 3."

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Only me (1)

BlkRb0t (1610449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187266)

Only I got to play bad, not you, 'cause if you do.............

Re:Only me (4, Insightful)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187518)

Not that I'm a big supporter of copyright, but it's IMHO entirely logical: the studios do it (via hired astroturfers) with *their own* content. You are free to upload hi-def content as long as it's yours, so no hypocrisy here.

Re:Only me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187584)

Yes its logical and legal but it should also be marked as an advertisement.

Re:Only me (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187846)

I don't think that everything that serves as an advertisement should be marked as such.

Re:Only me (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188120)

If it's being funded or run by the product owner or retailer then it should be. It's an easy way to fraudulently pass a product marketing off as an unbiased community review.

Re:Only me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188642)

Everyone keeps going on about how impressionable the young are.

Wont somebody please think of the children (in a non-pedo way).

Re:Only me (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188970)

So what? If the content in question is fiction (and it's made clear), then it can't be fraudulent as such. If it's non-fiction, then it's not fraudulent if it doesn't make false assertions regarding the product. Everything else is strictly viewer's problem.

Re:Only me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189576)

It's fraudulent because it's an advertisment that is being treated as if it wasn't.
The fraud is commited by the company funding such accounts.

That is what I got from the gp

Re:Only me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187928)

Why? A movie clip is a movie clip. If the content is somehow less appealing to you because it's been placed there by the copyright owner and not some 13-year-old in her bedroom, then your enjoyment of media is predicated on whether or not you're depriving someone of something they have full right to, be it reimbursement or simply the free exercise of their copyright. Either way, the problem doesn't lie with the studios. It's you.

Re:Only me (2)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188280)

The content is not the problem , the fake users who write positive comments are : it can give the impression that something is a lot better than it actually is.

Offcourse, on Youtube they have to go to the trouble of creating new accounts. Here , they could just post as an AC , and no one would notice.

Re:Only me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188442)

Another winning comment by kdemetter! +1000!!!

Re:Only me (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189326)

And maybe you are kdemetter posting AC?

Re:Only me (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189004)

Depends of the nature of the positive comments.
If these are purely statements of opinion, then frankly, your impression is your problem.
Yes, posting as many different people is committing a lie. No, it's not necessarily a lie about the product.

Re:Only me (2)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188334)

I guess every film trailer has accurately reflected the film it's advertising,perhaps not. I'd rather hear from people who saw the film and are enthusiastic about it because it really is a good film. No film studio is ever going to admit its made a stinker of a film or that the second or third sequel of a successful initial film just ran out of plot.

Re:Only me (2)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188890)

It's not the fact that they place the clips out there, or even that they create a fake account to do so. It's their content, they can do what they want with it. What bothers me is that these fake accounts are doing exactly what they don't want real, normal everyday users to do - posting their HD content out there for everybody to see. This tells real thirteen year old kids that its OK to do so - after all, this thirteen year old, "FakeusewrID", got away with it...

If you don't want people doing this, don't do it yourself.

Re:Only me (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189352)

Not exactly, they don't want people posting part of their movies without permission. It's the studios' content and they are free to post it on their own terms - their terms being that only they may post parts of the movie.
For example, if you buy a DVD of a movie, you may watch it, but you may not take some parts of the movie, edit them together, add some titles and overdub it in an ominous voice. The studio may do it (and we call it a trailer). The only problem I can see is that they do it under false usernames, thus giving the impression that the video are posted by independent parties. But even that is not such a big deal, IMHO.

Re:Only me (2)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189474)

The problem is this entire thing is them pretending that people are doing exactly that. You can't claim you don't want people doing something and then secretly pay people to do (at least what is purposefully designed to LOOK like) exactly that. It's like the police claiming they don't want people jaywalking and then constantly paying people to jaywalk all the time all over the place.

Re:Only me (1)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190120)

Bingo. It's the old "Do as I say, not as I do" shtick all over again.

Re:masquerading (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190008)

BANG.

That's the bit. It's the whole category called "Appearance of Impropriety". It's just this side of entrapment. Notice the article kept sayin "edgy". So I bet some of those profiles have comments like "Look at the movie I ripped" ... but they have a secret Shield Against Lawsuits +7.

Also, then when something goes viral, they then get to make nice cash selling the CD. But sky help us if a User posts a video! Oh gawd, he world will end! Sue him! Oh wait. It went viral too. Print the CD!

Re:Only me (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189382)

Why? A movie clip is a movie clip. If the content is somehow less appealing to you because it's been placed there by the copyright owner and not some 13-year-old in her bedroom, then your enjoyment of media is predicated on whether or not you're depriving someone of something they have full right to, be it reimbursement or simply the free exercise of their copyright. Either way, the problem doesn't lie with the studios. It's you.

Why is this moded down?

Its the most concise statement of the fact in this entire thread.

If a high quality clip posted by the rights holder is somehow inferior to a crap-quality clip posted by a hacker (all else being equal) then clearly the consumer's preference for ripped off content drives the whole equation.

Raiding the neighbors garden is more fun than being handed a hand picked washed carrot by the gardener?

Re:Only me (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187650)

The hypocrisy part only comes in when we consider the fact that the very same groups of MPAA and friends were(during the same time period) crying bitterly to anybody who would listen about how youtube was one of the four horsemen of the piratepocalypse, and(DMCA compliance to the contrary) an illegal hive of scum and villainy. I believe that there were even a number of cases where a given studio's legal arm ended up DMCA-takedowning the material that the same studio's PR arm was putting up, and then accusing youtube of a sinister role in contributory infringement...

Re:Only me (3, Informative)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187736)

I believe that there were even a number of cases where a given studio's legal arm ended up DMCA-takedowning the material that the same studio's PR arm was putting up, and then accusing youtube of a sinister role in contributory infringement...

Yes that came out recently as a result of the YouTube vs Viacom (ongoing?) court case.

Re:Only me (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187792)

This was just a way for the labels to get Google to help make them some money before the big copyright-infringement payout. Like interest payments.

Re:Only me (5, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188348)

That's the way it goes. Same with record companies releasing music out on the torrents to gather interest. Come to think of it, games and print are the only entertainment mediums I can think of that don't commonly use this tactic.

Too bad the studios and record companies don't realize that they lose something with these tactics: consumer's respect.

When a game studio or print publisher goes belly up, we feel bad for the people working in those businesses. We think of all the hard work and often times, little pay and appreciation they get back. On the other side of the aisle, the movie and music industry can run ads 24/7 showing the sound engineers and stunt men and their families and thanks to the industry's notoriously underhanded ethics, you can only think, "Man, what a manipulative group of assholes."

Re:Only me (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190804)

This reminds me of school and boomerangs.

Back in the early 80s I learnt how to make boomerangs, took them to school and during lunch breaks I threw them on the large playing field away from everyone, then some of the kids in my class purposely came closer to watch and then went and complained to a teacher I was throwing them too close to others, so I moved further away and guess what those little bastards did, yup, they purposely moved closer just so they could complain again to the teacher.

I somehow doubt kids would be allowed to throw proper wooden boomerangs in schools these days. Even when I moved schools mid-80s the new school didn't have a problem with my boomerangs.

Re:Only me (5, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187724)

It's hypocritical for at least two reasons:

1. The movie companies claim to lose money on piracy, despite their revenues continuing to increase steadily throughout most of the 2000's, and despite research showing that pirating often stimulates sales. And now it turns out they were using the marketing effect of piracy themselves - that it was "pretend" piracy doesn't make a difference to its marketing effect.
2. By pretending to pirate movies, they set a bad example and encouraged the behaviour they claim to be against, and even brand as immoral in their anti-piracy propaganda.

Re:Only me (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187826)

I stand corrected regarding your point 2.
As to the point 1 - which is somewhat entangled with 2, but we can eliminate it by considering free content uploading as such, not piracy or pretended piracy: the argument that piracy causes losses while limited and calculated free distribution of content under the owner's control boosts sales doesn't seem hypocritical to me.

Re:Only me (5, Interesting)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188332)

... The movie companies claim to lose money on piracy, despite their revenues continuing to increase steadily throughout most of the 2000's, and despite research showing that pirating often stimulates sales....

Actually, I would argue that those studies are exactly why the film industry hates piracy.

Look at it like this: they're a business. Businesses want a steady revenue stream. Ideally, entertainment becomes a machine - 1x money goes in one end, and 1.5x money comes out the other end, no matter what. If sometimes, unpredictably, when you put 1x money in 1.1x money comes out, that's bad - but so is putting 1x money in and getting 2x money out. Unpredictability in general is bad, even if it ends up working out in your favor.

How do businesses combat unpredictability? With marketing. By molding how people perceive your product, you tune the machine; yes, you make its output higher, but you also make the output range narrower - you remove the unpredictability from the market. I bet that one of marketing's greatest victories in the modern era has been to convince people that its goal is simply to improve sales at any cost, not to stabilize them.

This is clearly very important to almost every business, but especially entertainment. I mean, just look at the budget for any major game or movie - there's quite frequently an even split in resources allocated to making the thing and advertising the thing - which, to a business, means that they think advertising is at least as important as the actual product.

So where does piracy come in? It's the equivalent of millions of dollars spent on marketing, that the business has absolutely no control over. That makes type-A CEOs flip out - not because they're losing sales, but because, in essence, they've lost control of something. And they have good reason to, a lot of the time - instead of consumers being hit with a carefully crafted marketing message that frames the product in exactly the right way, they're just exposed directly to the product itself. Remember that budget allocation? Piracy literally makes half of what the company spent on bringing the product to market useless.

So yeah. Those studies that say piracy might actually increase sales? Businesses don't give a shit. What they care about is the unauthorized marketing, which adds unpredictability to their income and makes a large part of the resources they spend meaningless.

Re:Only me (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190140)

Per your analysis, it sounds to me more like: Marketing departments, desiring to keep their well-paid jobs, are desperately trying to ensure that higher-ups don't notice that corporate marketing has been rendered obsolete by viral marketing (including "piracy").

Re:Only me (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190920)

... The movie companies claim to lose money on piracy, despite their revenues continuing to increase steadily throughout most of the 2000's, and despite research showing that pirating often stimulates sales....

Actually, I would argue that those studies are exactly why the film industry hates piracy.

Look at it like this: they're a business. Businesses want a steady revenue stream. Ideally, entertainment becomes a machine - 1x money goes in one end, and 1.5x money comes out the other end, no matter what. If sometimes, unpredictably, when you put 1x money in 1.1x money comes out, that's bad - but so is putting 1x money in and getting 2x money out. Unpredictability in general is bad, even if it ends up working out in your favor.

How do businesses combat unpredictability? With marketing. By molding how people perceive your product, you tune the machine; yes, you make its output higher, but you also make the output range narrower - you remove the unpredictability from the market. I bet that one of marketing's greatest victories in the modern era has been to convince people that its goal is simply to improve sales at any cost, not to stabilize them.

This is clearly very important to almost every business, but especially entertainment. I mean, just look at the budget for any major game or movie - there's quite frequently an even split in resources allocated to making the thing and advertising the thing - which, to a business, means that they think advertising is at least as important as the actual product.

So where does piracy come in? It's the equivalent of millions of dollars spent on marketing, that the business has absolutely no control over. That makes type-A CEOs flip out - not because they're losing sales, but because, in essence, they've lost control of something. And they have good reason to, a lot of the time - instead of consumers being hit with a carefully crafted marketing message that frames the product in exactly the right way, they're just exposed directly to the product itself. Remember that budget allocation? Piracy literally makes half of what the company spent on bringing the product to market useless.

So yeah. Those studies that say piracy might actually increase sales? Businesses don't give a shit. What they care about is the unauthorized marketing, which adds unpredictability to their income and makes a large part of the resources they spend meaningless.

That actually really makes sense. I had always thought of marketing as just advertising, but you're absolutely right. It's more about control.

second (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187346)

second?

Would you rather they... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187370)

Go to court?
Hire goons?
Shut down Youtube with DOS attacks?

They have a multi-billion dollar investment in their industry. You can hate their movies if you like. You can despise the prices of popcorn. You can't deny they have an interest in being sure that their investment pays off.

As far as actions go, it's less annoying than rick-rolling.

Re:Would you rather they... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187438)

Rick-rolling is a unique "feature" of our culture, a practical joke or graffiti, essentially. Monied manipulation of the population writ large is not the same.

Rick-rollers don't seek to manipulate my wallet/vote/behavior (aside from perhaps a little keyboard rage, though personally I find it amusing more often than not). No, these big players actions aren't annoying...but they sure as hell are insidious - it would be better for us if they were annoying, so we could be alarmed to their actions.

Re:Would you rather they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187798)

How does viewing a 30-second clip from a copyrighted film "manipulate your wallet/vote/behavior" any differently because you know the proper identity of the uploader? Does the movie suddenly become better because you know that xXLeEtViDe0zXx is a genuinely skilled hacker who knows how to use Bittorrent and everything and not just someone from the studio posting the exact same thing? Or is it because you feel special when you watch pirated films but all sad when you find out that that pirated movie was *gasp* from a legitimate source? Because if your enjoyment of the material hinges on that, then the whole "INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE!" thing turns into "I WANT STUFF TO BE FREE!" really quickly.

Re:Would you rather they... (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188728)

It's because the guy who posted it is supposed to be someone who actually cares enough about the movie to edit and upload it, when in fact he's just a marketing shill making a buck.

Re:Would you rather they... (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188736)

Rick-rolling is a unique "feature" of our culture, a practical joke or graffiti, essentially. Monied manipulation of the population writ large is not the same.

Rick-rollers don't seek to manipulate my wallet/vote/behavior (aside from perhaps a little keyboard rage, though personally I find it amusing more often than not).

I still find it amusing myself (personally very late to the RR meme myself), but I'm still finding new ways to inflict Astley on people. And as an aside, it looks like even Konami jumped onto the Rickroll bandwagon with Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3 [youtube.com] .

Then again, does it count as a Rickroll if you already know the song is one of the selections in the game?

Re:Would you rather they... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187450)

Go to court?
Hire goons?
Shut down Youtube with DOS attacks?

They have a multi-billion dollar investment in their industry. You can hate their movies if you like. You can despise the prices of popcorn. You can't deny they have an interest in being sure that their investment pays off.

As far as actions go, it's less annoying than rick-rolling.

It's less antagonistic than some of their methods but it is still an indicator of their core dishonesty. They are saying "doing this hurts us", trying to prevent us from doing it, then doing it themselves because it actually helps their business. What's good for the goose should be good for the average youtube user.

Re:Would you rather they... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187504)

Even more - they dare to print their movies on disks and sell them! And if I tried to do the same with their movies I'd be in jail pretty soon. What dishonesty!

Re:Would you rather they... (2)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187558)

The difference is that the bogus users do it with a proper authorization from the studios, therefore no copyright infrigement occurs. And copyright infringement is the issue here, not uploading as such.

Re:Would you rather they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188284)

But it looks like infringement. These look like any other youtube user out there, and their stuff isn't being flagged, nor is there any apparent permission listed on the video page.

It's dishonest and misleading.

Re:Would you rather they... (1)

Fiduciary (1605801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189342)

But it looks like infringement. These look like any other youtube user out there, and their stuff isn't being flagged, nor is there any apparent permission listed on the video page.

It's dishonest and misleading.

Nobody ever promised you honesty and fair dealing. If they did they were lying to you.

Re:Would you rather they... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188996)

Copyright infringement is not the issue here, dishonest, contradictory business practice is. It is a hugely conflicting message when studios pretend to be average users to upload their own videos then chase after, interfere with and block real users doing the same thing, when they have already acknowledge by their actions that people uploading to youtube makes them more money. It's not a matter of who owns the copyright, because obviously that is the studio, it is that the studio's actions belie the idea that they actually give a crap about people seeing and uploading their stuff on youtube. They are basically saying "copyright infringement is good for us but don't do it anyway, while we pretend that some people are doing it!" which, naturally, leaves users peeved. Whether infringement occurs or not should not really matter when the same ends occur that everybody wants, but naturally the studios are such control freaks they cannot stand their patrons getting in on the act.

Re:Would you rather they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188426)

It's less antagonistic than some of their methods but it is still an indicator of their core dishonesty. They are saying "doing this hurts us", trying to prevent us from doing it, then doing it themselves because it actually helps their business. What's good for the goose should be good for the average youtube user.

I don't see the dishonesty being at the core per se. It might reflect their being overzealous regarding clips from their works, but that's not the core of the whole problem, it's actually a pretty superficial one which we can eventually resolve with a little moderation.

Unfortunately, you don't seem to want to moderate, as your own criticism is serving to escalate instead. You'd be better off with a more conciliatory tactic.

Re:Would you rather they... (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188868)

you can shut down youtube with a DOS attack? silly me, here i was thinking you needed a distributed denial of service

how do you do it with a DOS attack?

format a: /q:youtube ?

deltree c:\windows\youtube ?

ipconfig /flushdns /youtube?

Re:Would you rather they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189512)

you can shut down youtube with a DOS attack? silly me, here i was thinking you needed a distributed denial of service

how do you do it with a DOS attack?

format a: /q:youtube ?

deltree c:\windows\youtube ?

ipconfig /flushdns /youtube?

Is a DDOS any less a denial of service because it is distributed? Absurd. Clearly any site which has suffered a DDOS has also suffered a DOS. We say that DDOS is a member of the set DOS.

Perhaps you intentionally confused the term with DOS or Disk Operating System for IBM compatible PCs because you did not consider other forms of denial of service that could successfully shut down youtube. DOS represents all forms of denial of service that would successfully shut down youtube as well as those that would fail. Likewise DDOS represents all of the distributed denial of service attacks that would both succeed and fail to shut down youtube.

I can think of several forms of DDOS that would fail to shutdown youtube. One such attack might attempt to shut down youtube by instructing a group of people to watch videos via the site until youtube is no longer able to support the load. The attack would likely fail despite its distributed nature. Likewise there are non-distributed attacks that would likely succeed. One might start the apocalypse. Technological infrastructure is not likely to last long after such an event. Either zombies or asteroids would do the trick nicely I think. It could be argued that zombies represents a distributed attack but in any case the point has been illustrated.

I hope I did not criticize you over-harshly. My only hope is that you consider all the possibilities before commenting in the future to spare yourself any embarrassment that may arise from a hasty conclusion.

p.s. Remember, never discount the zombie apocalypse!

Re:Would you rather they... (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189066)

You can't deny they have an interest in being sure that their investment pays off.

"Having an interest", financial or otherwise, is not a justification for unethical behavior. Ever.

---

Astroturfing "marketers" [wikipedia.org] are liars, fraudulently misrepresenting company propaganda as objective third party opinion. Anonymous commercial speech should be illegal.

Re:Would you rather they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190742)

Ethics? Ethics are based on such slippery foundations that I don't know know why you think they aren't justified by circumstances all the time.

Wasn't it a law... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187396)

That if you advertise or support a company, and are paid for by the company - you had to declare it?

This is an honest question...

Re:Wasn't it a law... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187436)

If there is such a law, it'd completely destroy the Viral Marketing industry. There are such laws in political advertising. But I know of several older ad campaigns that didn't declare what they were for (for viral purposes) until weeks after they launched (creating "internet buzz" in advance).
Plus they kinda are showing us who they are advertising for...whether or not they are being paid shouldn't be an issue since the intent of the advertiser can't be fully taken into consideration. Even if they are being compensated, we don't know whether or not they themselves are such fans of the company they work for that they wouldn't enjoy doing this irregardless.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187830)

If there is such a law, it'd completely destroy the Viral Marketing industry

Wow, what a fucking tragedy that would be

Re:Wasn't it a law... (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189016)

Plus they kinda are showing us who they are advertising for...whether or not they are being paid shouldn't be an issue

Would consumers behavior change if they knew it was paid for? Yes? Well then it damn well is an issue. Whatever the viral marketing parasites would like to believe. Bunch of lowlifes stealing millions (billions?) of hours of peoples' time and attention for nothing in return.

Even if they are being compensated, we don't know whether or not they themselves are such fans of the company they work for that they wouldn't enjoy doing this irregardless.

Don't make us laugh. Pretty much nobody advertises other people's companies for fun.

---

Marketing in a saturated market is a zero-sum game. When one player wins another must lose. In a saturated market; marketing = un-marketing = arms race = parasites.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190188)

"Don't make us laugh. Pretty much nobody advertises other people's companies for fun."

People will pay their own money to advertise other people's companies for fun.... It's called "Wearing a T-shirt".

Re:Wasn't it a law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191628)

I know several billion people with a Nike, Adidas or Puma logo on their clothing; a Tux, Apple or Windows logo on their electronic device; a Nintendo, Playstation or Xbox poster on their wall; or a Gundam, Star Trek, Stargate or DeLorean model on their shelf who'd like to disagree with you.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187470)

That if you advertise or support a company, and are paid for by the company - you had to declare it?

Probably depends on your jurisdiction. In Germany, yes (Telemediengesetz 6, IANAL).

CC.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187520)

if you advertise or support a company, and are paid for by the company - you had to declare it?

In some government positions there is a legal requirement.

In some jobs there is a company requirement.

But in general, no.

In fact it has been a major part of the PR industry since well before computers and the internet.

Though, more and more companies are developing their own in house teams for, what are essentially, PSYOP missions.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187536)

The FTC has said that if you write a review of a product, you have to disclose [wired.com] if you received the product for free. I don't know if that regulation is applicable in this context.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187924)

But even then there are loopholes. For example, many gaming magazines get a budget of x amount of advertising dollars above and beyond the actual advertisements they have. Those extra dollars are used to purchase copies of games for review. In that sense they didn't get it for free even though they really did.

Re:Wasn't it a law... (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187592)

That if you advertise or support a company, and are paid for by the company - you had to declare it?

This is an honest question...

Which Youtube posts are paid advertisements.
Thanks, I'm here all day.

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187432)

If you post good videos, they're still good regardless of who you are, your agenda, or if everything in your profile is made up. I don't see how they're manipulating anyone.

Re:Who cares? (1, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187484)

I very much agree. The movie studios should have been posting trailer and excerpts from movies on youtube since the beginning. We shouldn't need to watch the trailers that were taken via cell phone camera at the local cinema posted by Joe the Pirate in glorious 120p. It's sad that they've only recently started to come around in this. Think about how much they pay to get a TV commercial with the trailer to show during prime time. And they could get the same number of people to watch the ad for free Youtube. They'd be crazy not to post trailers on youtube.

Re:Who cares? ... It is called lying. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187858)

If you really can't see how they are manipulating anyone, perhaps you should get your conscience checked.

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187970)

If you post good videos, they're still good regardless of who you are, your agenda, or if everything in your profile is made up. I don't see how they're manipulating anyone.

Well, if they don't accurately and honestly identify themselves then how are others who upload supposed to know that the videos by the movie companies are not violating any copyrights? If it's OK for some random people (aka the movie studios hiding behind fake personas) who's to say other videos of the same movie aren't allowed?

BTW, if it isn't clear that they have something to hide by doing it this way then ask yourself: Why are they hiding behind many fake YouTube accounts in order to post their content? If they weren't trying to pull a fast one then why not just post it as themselves/their company?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188304)

> Well, if they don't accurately and honestly identify themselves then how are others who upload supposed to know that the videos by the movie companies are not violating any copyrights?

Why does it matter? The person who wants to upload their video should have the following conversation with the little voice of reason in their head:

I want to upload this episode of "Super-Happy Wacky Tsuki-Dechi Girls #127."

- Do you have the right to?

No.

- Then don't.

But AnimePonyCheerGurl672 uploaded #126! That makes it legal!

- No it doesn't.

But we found out later that she was really working for the company!

- So?

That makes it right for ME to do it!

- No it fucking doesn't.

But what they did was WROONNG! And it hurt my FEEEEEEELINGS!

- I hate you.

Stupid companies. Always doing what they want with the stuff that they created and not letting me do the exact same thing.

- I'm going to kill myself now.

I'm going to learn how to use Limewire and stick it to... THE MAN!

- *bang* *plop*

Re:Who cares? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189780)

I agree with you, though not everyone thinks about this the same way we do.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188946)

Well, if they don't accurately and honestly identify themselves then how are others who upload supposed to know that the videos by the movie companies are not violating any copyrights? If it's OK for some random people (aka the movie studios hiding behind fake personas) who's to say other videos of the same movie aren't allowed?

So since you believe it's wrong for companies to hide behind anonymous personas on the grounds that it's dishonest and inaccurate, I take it you also believe it's wrong for regular people to hide behind anonymous personas?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189248)

Wouldn't that depend on whether "regular people" are using a particular avenue to generate large amounts of money under the guise of being regular people? In other words, wouldn't that depend on whether those "regular people" are actually a business?

Re:Who cares? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189808)

It depends on what they are doing. People have the right to privacy and anonymity in most circumstances. But, I don't want to do business with someone who is pretending to be someone else, and I don't to read news/blogs/fill-in-the-blank by someone who is pretending to be someone they are not (which is different from a blogger, etc using a pseudonym) or is being paid/sponsored by an undisclosed company.

If they aren't being upfront about what they're doing then there's a reason to suspect they're hiding something. It's different when someone is posting using a username or AC on a place like /.

Re:Who cares? (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190800)

Anonymous and false are entirely different. Creating a false persona is never done for the benefit of those who are deceived - just ask any pedophile who thought he was e-chatting with a 13 year old girl that was really the FBI. The Nigerian internet scams rely on this same deception. Neither deception could be perpetrated by anonymous. There is no persona behind anonymous, those interacting with anonymous know that the individual they are dealing with is not forthcoming and may not be reliable.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191040)

You kind of missed the point. Ok, let's put forth this scenario:

Let's say the movie companies put a copy of a movie up on youtube. It's popular, lots of people watch it, and so forth. It's legitimately their material so they're allowed to post it and it isn't taken down by youtube because of this, but it's presented as some 12 year old kid's post.

Now *your* 12 year old kid watches the video, sees that it's been up for a year with no problem and has millions of views. He thinks to himself "gee, although lots of videos on youtube get pulled because of content, this one didn't... this particular movie company must not go after people for that", and decides that he wants a video with millions of views too. You know, just for the luls.

So he rips a copy of the movie off of youtube and reposts it. Hey, if it's popular then his video will get hits too, right? Movie company sees this, and suddenly your 12 year old kid is on the receiving end of a bajillion dollar lawsuit because five thousand people viewed it before it was taken down and the movie company values it's IP at $15,000 per view.

That's just one problem with it. I'm sure we could find others.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191438)

I think your reply misses the mark- a fair assessment would be (in the context of the summary):

If a company can hide behind a anonymous persona, a person should be able to hide behind a company persona AND not be blocked or impeded by Content ID for uploading content, and deliberately cram it with a lot of piracy-related search terms.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191498)

I for one am perfectly happy to apply different standards to people and companies. I care about people. I don't give a toss about companies (other than the fact they employ people).

I don't see any reason why companies should have the same freedoms as people. It makes no sense.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191138)

To venture a guess, it's dishonest on their part: Why is these ordinary youtubers can get this clip past the filters and I can't? Also, there's an air of hypocrisy about it. On the one hand the industry screams that clips from movies or televisions shows cause a real tangible harm to the business, but then with the exact same usage, that complaint is invalidated; yet, the industry refuses to drop the claims of injury. Obviously, it's well within the rights of the copyright holder to be a hypocritical dick.

As for hiding behind fake profiles, it's about generating buzz for a product using a stealth tactic. The industry wants to make it look like people are talking about the movie, people who aren't part of the business. This is similar to the use of made-up critical reviews.

Re:Who cares? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188302)

Whatever you say, guy who works for Columbia's PR firm writing bullshit on internet message boards for minimum wage.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188928)

Gimme a flipping break. I don't agree with the "who cares" guy because it means honest citizens are getting cease and desists on their YouTube while companies post the exact same content for the exact same price (free). BUT, not every time someone disagrees with you on the internet means they're "working for the man". This opinion is ridiculous. It's the same "STUDIO PLANT STUDIO PLANT!" bullshit that dominates when anyone posts a positive review of a movie that is generally disliked. People have differing opinions. Deal.

Re:Who cares? (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189038)

If you post good videos, they're still good regardless of who you are, your agenda, or if everything in your profile is made up. I don't see how they're manipulating anyone.

WTF? They are doing the whole thing to manipulate, in this case deliberately diverting people from possibly better alternatives. And because it's advertising drivel it's sure to be content free and emotionally manipulative.

---

Marketing in a saturated market is a zero-sum game. When one player wins another must lose. In a saturated market; marketing = un-marketing = arms race = parasites.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189132)

A suspiciously rational post with +5 telling us to not worry... He's one of them!

Re:Who cares? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190780)

I agree that a big part of the attraction of the Youtube astroturf we're talking about is that it has content real users don't have access to, but I see two objections to what the studios are doing here.

The first is that what they are ultimately up to is fabricating outright falsehoods in order to obtain money from consumers. I realize that finding this ethically objectionable puts one pretty far out of the mainstream when it comes to what passes for business ethics today. We've decided as a culture to look upon things like presenting one sided information or concocting misleadingly vague "four out of five dentists" statements as harmless little tarradiddles. It's just marketing, after all. We seem to regard a lie as less harmless the more widely disseminated it is. If I told you I saw a movie and it was great, you might be a little put out with me when you discovered I made that up in order to trick you. But if tens of thousands of people were deceived along with you, the lie has less of a personal sting. Still, crossing the line into outright fabrication has consequences in this case greater than deceiving some teenager into miscalculating the hedonic value of a movie ticket.

The second objection is much more obviously serious. The movie studios are intentionally profiting from a cultural phenomenon which they condemn in very strong terms as harmful to society. If a real fan does what these fictional fans supposedly are doing, the studios would undertake harsh legal reprisals *in order to make an example of him*. But the fan is merely copying the example the studios themselves set.

I think shows that the first objection is worth some serious consideration. People who are habitually honest needn't worry about trailing the stink of hypocrisy wherever they go.

looking in the wrong place (2)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187472)

Why would anyone look on YouTube for high-quality videos?

They are looking in the wrong place.

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187516)

Depends on your definitions of both quality and video.

CC.

Re:looking in the wrong place (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Showered (1443719) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187554)

Because YouTube offers 720p, 1080p and now 4K [slashdot.org] ?

Re:looking in the wrong place (3, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187640)

Video resolution and quality are inependent (see "10 megapixel" cameras in mobile phones...). At the low bitrates youtube is encoding the HD resolutions, the quality is rather mediocre.

Re:looking in the wrong place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187564)

Why would anyone look on YouTube for high-quality videos?
They are looking in the wrong place.

You're an apple.

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187594)

You jest, but there are some really good short films which are shared on YouTube. A few random examples:

Schwarzfahrer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFQXcv1k9OM [youtube.com]
Validation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao [youtube.com]
Complete History of the Soviet Union: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWTFG3J1CP8 [youtube.com]

And yes, I know that's a different definition of "quality" from the one used in the summary. I'm responding to a joke :P

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

RooftopActivity (1991792) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188500)

+1 good links, I watched the first two. The English subtitles on the first video are hard to read - small white text that blends with the background. -1 bad quality :P

Re:looking in the wrong place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190802)

also
Advanced Cat Yodeling (if you're a cat person)
Vadrum (user) if you're percussion enthusiast
Maru (if again you're a cat person)
HOPE (security)
any demoscene video if you don't have a compatible or $2000 computer
BBC for random clips... ...random amateur films from the Egypt protests...

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187628)

On the off chance that a shill for the movie industry posts a high-quality video?

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187692)

Cause it's easy and people are used to it.

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187942)

God how I miss Stage6...

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188472)

even if there were high quality videos they would........buffering.......

Next up (2)

thomp (56629) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187704)

How breakfast cereal companies manipulate breakfast cereal eaters with hip characters in commercials during kids' TV shows.

Astroturfing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187738)

Cosmic colossal astroturfing. 'This is an unpaid ad'. Of course the major studios are gaming the system. If it was on a 'YouTube' channel dedicated to them, then people would know clearly that posts are contrived. Since they have legal sticks that they like to beat YouTube with "Draconian Monetary Crimminals Association (DMCA)" blah blah, they can game the system to suit themselves. A double whammy is if they 1) get their own people to post illegal content that they want uploaded onto YouTube 2) Generate buzz by having a few thousand of their anonymous account holders astro-turf pre-determined content about how great it is, at least enough to get the local tv stations commenting about 'a youtube video' 3) After the set period for maximum ad penetration has passed, threaten to sue Google over DMCA violations, generating more buzz about how kids are sharing files illegally on the internets and how we all need to elect Dracos to enact laws where users have to insert currency into their keyboard before going online, insert currency prior to using google, insert currency prior to seeing their preview ads, and insert currency even if you aren't on the internet 'just for spite'. More than once groups of people have asserted that the MPAA/RIAA are fancy new names for the Black Hand.

it would have been so much easier (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188290)

and far more effective to identify their actual fans on Youtube and offer incentives to keep posting excerpts. There is a legitimate way to do viral marketing.

The quantum state of piracy (1)

gwslyon (1678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188466)

Apparently it exists in two states at once. On the one hand, pirates are unlikely to ever buy their products when they have access to pirated content On the other, pirates are likely to buy their products if presented with "fake" pirated content to whet their appetites. But no no, its not "advertising"...

What this means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35188896)

The MPAA could easily put the videos up themselves and still astroturf.

We know any video period containing praise may be astroturf.

What are the studios trying to make us think by hiding the POSTER of the video?

We know trailers are not a good representation of a movie, with some movies every worth watching appears in the trailer. Presumably a pirate would make a more balanced trailer. (Although if you stop to think about it, if the pirate wants you to see the movie... then no.)

Perhaps the message is that a pirate considered the movie worth endorsing as opposed to just posting about how much the movie stinks w/o uploading footage.

When your marketing campaign is explicitly built around the fact that your consumers hold known criminals in higher regard than you it's probably time for the FTC to shut you down. (Then again, as much criminal activity as Hollywood as been involved in, bribery, fraudulent lawsuits, I'm fairly sure region encoding is probably an anti-trust violation in that it violates the doctrine of first sale AND prevents competition) this is likely potential consumers listening to the lesser of the two evils.

WTF cares? (-1, Troll)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188940)

If you're a fan of content like Toy Story 2, Speed Racer and Spider-Man 3; Why would you care if they're astroturfing you? The content itself is bland, corporate and worse than the astroturf.

No, I'm guessing if that's the type of shit that you like (along with boy bands, American idol, Britney etc), you're already a 'consumer' and not a free thinking human being anyway. You can go eat your preserved McDonald’s chemicals and get your genetically diseased, roundup ready $8 popcorn and gallon of high fructose corn syrup when you watch your Hollywood consensus filth.

My guess is you'll end up a fat, boring, shallow, cancerous diabetic fuck who won't realize on their deathbed you've wasted your life away being stupid and getting poisoned and taken advantage of while having atrocities committed in the name of your cunt-numbing agnostic imbecility.

Most of you are the scum of the earth and nothing but impediments to my goal of exploring the knowable universe and sharing the experience with people who matter. You should just crawl in a corner and die now.

Wow, I just realized I need to go put a new nicotine patch in.

good point . . . zzzzzzzzzz (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189124)

That was a very long FA to say that studios may be using their own copyrighted materials to promote their own copyrighted materials via a "free" ad medium.

It was boring too.

True point(-s) though.

Somebody ought to do something.

RTFA, hate YouTube (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189426)

Now I feel like YouTube is evil. I hate advertising masquerading as normal content. It seems like YouTube is party to this; maybe this was their Faustian pact, put up with this crap or we'll sue you for every violation we ever find. People who *try* to make a "viral" video are the epitome of uncool. Especially the fake ones; cellphones cooking popcorn, etc etc. I thought marketing departments were supposed to "get" people. Overpaid idiots.

'Genuine'? (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189464)

How is a studio uploading a video any less 'genuine' than anyone else?

Re:'Genuine'? (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190810)

The studios are likely to make you think that movies like "Gigli" are good, anyone else is unlikely to have access to the clips that show how bad it is until it is out on DVD.

Youtube = You Boob. (1)

dogzdik (1700552) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191050)

Google and the movie studios are are a pack of fucking arseholes anyway...

"Advertisements sir? I wouldn't go so far as to call them that, no quite the contrary - these are brief appearances of socially enlightening entertainment, to guide our reckless youth on the path to a better life - between character building promotions sir".

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