The Chemistry between Youtube and Internet Piracy


Piracy has been one of the biggest issues people are trying to tackle. Few years ago, people used peer-to-peer sharing sites and free downloading sites to gain access to these content, and since the introduction of Youtube, the number one worldwide free video sharing website, nothing has really changed except that people would prefer to stream these content rather than downloading them anymore (Bilton, 2012).

The entertainment industry are now dealing with their content being published on video-streaming site Youtube. These published content created a massive revenue loss to these companies (Bureau, 2013). According to the Hong Kong Motion Pictures Industry Association (MPIA), over 200 pirated Hong Kong films was found on Youtube, estimating a loss of over HK$ 2.4 billion (£ 190 thousand) (Chu, 2013). The total revenue from U.S music Sales and licensing went down from $12 Billion to $6.3 Billion in 2009 since the introduction of Youtube, and the decline doesn’t seem to be slowing down soon (Goldman, 2010). Every time a content went online its producer will lose around 10 percent of revenue (Bureau, 2013). It is no surprise that these companies see Youtube just as another tool for piracy.

These companies that are unhappy with their revenue being stolen went to channel their resentment to Youtube and Google (its parent company since Google bought Youtube in 2007). “YouTube (Google) has to be made responsible if copyright infringement takes place on its website,” said Berserk Media’s Holla (Bureau, 2013). Viacom filed the infamous a $1 billion lawsuit on 2007. Mediaset also filed a lawsuit looking for a $779 million in damages from the 4,643 videos found on Youtube. An LA-based video journalist, Tur, also sued Youtube in 2006 for copyright infringement after he discovered that the videos he took were accessible on the site. The English Premier League and US music publisher Bourne also launched a lawsuit on inducement and contributory copyright infringement in 2007 (Bryant, 2008). The Russian minister also wanted the Video Streaming service to be shut down since it offers pirated Russian made Movies (enigmax, 2011).

In respond to tackle these problem Youtube (Google) has developed Content ID, a system that gives copyright holders an automated way to identify, block, promote, ignore and even make money from their content. “We remove content deemed illegal or unsuitable once it is flagged by users and reviewed subsequently by our review teams and found violating our community guidelines and/or terms of service,” said the company in a statement (Bureau, 2013). And despite all the pirated content, Youtube provide artist and songwriter new ways not only to generate more audience but also make money. Robin Thicke, for instance, his “Blurred Lines” video made $ 350,000 through monetization, video that has advertisement on it get paid $2 per 1000 Youtube views. Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” that went viral in February 2013 has 400 million overall cover versions with the “Content ID” every view was paid to the company and Baauer which amounted to $ 400,000. Vevo, a partnership between Youtube and major record labels are also helping these artist by sharing the revenue between these online-video and music industries, and it has paid $200 million to video owners since 2009 (Knopper, 2013).

The existence of Youtube is actually reducing the traffic of Peer-to-Peer file sharing.  Reducing the traffic from downloading illegal music and movies. In a way Youtube is actually making piracy much easier to be controlled with for the industry.  After all piracy won’t go away, copyright holders may believe new laws will stop this,  but they will only just push people to find creative new ways of acquiring content (Bilton, 2012).


Agarwal, A. (2010) ‘Finding Pirated Software through Youtube’, Digital Inspiration. [online] 11 January 2010. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Bilton, N. (2012) ‘Internet Pirates Will Always Win’, Sunday Review. [online] 4 August 2012. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Bryant, S. (2008) ‘YouTube Lawsuits: A Roundup’, Gigaom. [online] 6 August 2012. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Bureau, E. (2013) ‘Now, pirates storm YouTube, rob film industry of revenues’, from The Economic Times. [online] 5 March 2013. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Chu, K. (2013, 4 23) ‘Hong Kong Film Piracy on YouTube Amounts to $308 Million Loss’, The Hollywood Reporter. [online] 23 April 2013. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

enigmax. (2011) ‘Russian Minister: YouTube and Google Should Be Shut Down For Copyright Infringement’, Torrent Freak. [online] 6 September 2011. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Goldman, D. (2010) ‘Music’s lost decade: Sales cut in half’, CNN Money. [online] 3 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Knopper, S. (2013) ‘Seven Ways Musicians Make Money Off YouTube’, Rolling Stone. [online] 19 September 2013. Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2013].


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