Introduction and Thesis Statement
Information technology is a broad term used to refer to all the techniques used to store, recover, and manipulate data in an organization. It is the utilization of computers to manage data in a corporation. The department of information technology in an organization is held accountable for information keeping, safeguarding, processing, transmitting and finally retrieval. The information technology platform that will be discussed in this paper is YouTube; this is a current information technology platform based on an internet serving software.
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It is evident that people spend hours of free time online and in particular, people watch videos on YouTube for entertainment purposes. However, there is still a gap and blanks that need to be filled. For instance, where do those videos come from? Who uploads them and why? People may not however be aware of all of those things. They therefore need to know that they are violating content copyrights by watching those videos on YouTube while YouTube claims that this is not true. YouTube tries hard to delete videos that create copyright infringement, though there is still a considerable large number of videos that create copyright infringement (Azari 243).
While every corporation is exclusive, any organization in its daily activities is likely to stumble upon a restricted subset of threats, which is accountable for nearly all victorious and attempted interruptions against its information systems. A crucial component of a positive security programme is an evaluation and comprehension of threats to an organization. It is however unfortunate that the dialogue concerning current information technology especially YouTube is puzzled with invocations of safety clearance necessities, sound bite oratory and lack of general threat classification (Burgess & Green 122).
This paper will evaluate and deduce the benefits and risks associated with YouTube as a current Information technology platform. It will examine the moral problems associated with this information technology platform from the point of view of ethical theories. The constructivist ethical theories that will be used to support the arguments in this paper include Act and Rule Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Social Contract.
Definitions and Historical Context
According to Hurley, “You tube is a company that was founded by Steve Chen, Karim Jawed and Chad Hurley in the year 2005” (26). They were former employees of PayPal. Since then, You Tube has grown to be a global leader in sharing of original videos and online videos worldwide YouTube offers a platform that anyone can view current events, browse their vast video collection, and discover original works of artists and people (Chandra 98).
Viacom is an acronym standing for Video and Audio Communications. An American company that has vast interests in cable television and cinema though it invests in other ventures such as games. It is ranked among the largest media conglomerates.
Viacom comprises of famous networks and picture companies MTV networks, BET Networks and paramount Pictures. Through these networks and motion pictures, Viacom has penetrated the entertainment field and is a force to reckon (Tavani 387).
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Copyright infringement is termed as the unauthorized or illegal use of works that are copyrighted. This is not only limited to use but also to making of derivatives from these works. Copyright infringement activities include piracy. “After copyright law was established in Britain with the 1709 Statute of Anne, the term has been employed to refer to acts of unauthorized production and sale of copyrighted works.”(Rowell 79). Piracy has usually been used to refer to acts committed for financial gains.
The constructivist theories used in this study, which have an association with the use of You Tube, include Act and Rule utilitarianism, kantiasm and social contract. Utilitarianism is a moral theory that states that the correct course of action makes the best use of the overall good of an action. It implies that the ethical value of an action is verified by its resulting consequence. Act utilitarianism says that when organizations are faced with an alternative, then they must first put into consideration the likely results of possible actions and does what they trust will give them more pleasure. In rule Utilitarianism, people start by looking at the probable regulations of an action.
In kantiasm, all actions are done in accordance with various fundamental principles, which are distinct from one another. The ethical value of any action is criticized based on this theory. This theory tries to universalize the principle of assuming that all persons in the globe necessarily get involved in the subject matter. The theory of the social contract elucidates the appropriate affiliation between persons and the subject matter. It asserts that people come together through a process of communal consent, accepting to abide by societal rules so as to safeguard themselves from aggression and other kinds of destruction (Woog 32).
Argument 1 Statement
Though the web site is constantly monitored to check for and eradicate pirated clips, most people watch videos on You Tube for entertainment, but there are those who are paid for it. Many persons watch You Tube at their work places. Companies have been started to find materials pirated on the web and remove them. An example of these companies is BayTSP Inc. One employee of BayTSP is Joe Bersik. “He sits in front of a flat-screen monitor about eight hours a day, pulling up Internet videos. Tethered to his computer by head phones, Bersik on a recent day played the music video of R&B singer Akon’s hit song “Don’t Matter” on YouTube”.(Tavani 387). The logo of the MTV Jams TV channel was visible at the bottom of the clip. The 53-year-old Bersik watched for a minute then fired an alert to a colleague who sent an e-mail requesting that YouTube take it down. In about two hours, the video was gone (Tavani 387).
BayTSP offers its services to large companies such as Viacom Inc. During the legal battle between You Tube and Viacom, BayTSP requested You Tube to remove 100,000 clips that Viacom alleged were infringed. Other companies are employing automated technology to search infringing contents on the web. One company executive said that there would always be things that fall into gray areas and would be hard to classify as infringed or not. The constructivist theory of utilitarianism was used (Tavani 387).
Argument 2 Statement
After You Tube was launched, one of the founders by the name Chen wrote a letter to fellow co-founders on July 19 2005 asking them to stop using stolen videos on their site. He continued by pointing out that they would have a hard time explaining how they were free of liability of infringed materials. He also noted it was getting hard to manage the copyrighted materials.
After Google Inc. acquired the company, Viacom slapped them with a 1 billion dollar lawsuit. Viacom demanded $1 billion for damages. Viacom also sought for an injunction to stop the copyright infringement alleged. The complainant contended that close to 160,000 unauthorized files of Viacom had been made available on You Tube and had over 1.5 billion views (Burgess & Green 122). You Tube owners know that they are creating copyright infringement with their videos. “YouTube executives were aware early on in the video-sharing website’s history that large numbers of copyrighted videos were being uploaded to it, with even one of its founders blatantly stealing videos from other sources, according to internal evidence unsealed by a US court”.
The lawsuit represented a serious rise in the quarrel with You Tube and was the most significant legal fight over rights on intellectual-property with the largest video sharing web site. You Tube was seen as a company that was challenging traditional businesses by providing audiences with a platform to share their own contents. The lawsuit thus highlighted the murky issues and unresolved areas that copy rights control and ownership was facing. As industrial players noted, this was putting media businesses at loggerheads with this types of sites as they claimed copyrights infringement was becoming rampant (Woog 32).
Viacom had identified clips from its popular shows and movies that had been provided on You Tube. These included South Park, Sponge Bob an MTV Unplugged. Viacom contended that they could not protect episodes or films which appeared on You Tube as soon as they were aired. The complainant also pointed to an article that was publicized by New York Times in which, You Tube co-founder and CEO, Chad was quoted saying that it was allowed to use filtering technology. This to be used in the identification and removal of copyrighted materials after it had obtained licenses from copyright owners.
Viacom claimed that You Tube had shown their disregards to copyright laws. It pointed out that what You Tube was suggesting, that is, obtaining licenses from copyright owners placed a lot of burden on the owners to find infringing files. This would force large companies to dedicate many resources to search for infringing clips. It further said that You Tube committed the infringing public display of its works, which were copyrighted, on its site. It was, therefore, a crime that You Tube committed and not the users. The theory of Kantiasm was used (Burgess & Green 122).
Argument 3 Statement
You Tube only protects and monitors American and European copyrighted works. In this argument, the theory of the social contract is relevant. However, there are Arabic and Indian TV shows with full seasons and episodes, movies, and music being uploaded every day on YouTube by random users without being deleted. An example of this argument is the fact that there are many Arabic TV shows and Indian movies with full HD uploaded on YouTube. The opinion that a restrictive copyright is advantageous to persons has been disputed. Copyright laws have permitted British printers to publish books only in small numbers for very high prices.
You Tube insisted that it had no way of knowing copyright status by simply looking at it, and needed copy rights owners to assist in identifying infringed works. You tube also added that it complied with the Digital Millennium copyright Law.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Law is a copyright law in United States. It criminalizes dissemination and production of technology or services applied to dodge measures that limit copyrighted works access. It was passed in 1998 into law by the president. The DCMA extends or empowers copyright at the same time protecting on-line service providers from liabilities arising from copyright infringement by their clients (Woog 32).
If a person, posts a material, which infringes on a copyright the site, is immune from claims. During the legal battle, You Tube, the website owner, was protected from the claims Viacom was seeking. The court noted that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protected operators of websites from claims of infringement even if they had knowledge that infringement was taking place. It further noted that sites operators or owners are not mandated to monitor infringement on their sites, and only thing they can do is remove identified files that infringe copyrights. The legal stand off the court tackled in the ruling was whether Digital millennium Copyright law protected You Tube from paying damages to the complainant Viacom. The ruling was utter importance as it cited the foundation of DMCA which does not require websites to monitor the sites or identify infringed materials. They have to remove the identified materials and act responsibly. It further identifies situations that a service provider (web site owner) would be liable as in cases where the provider has prior knowledge of a material that is infringing and fails to remove it.
You Tube states that it has helped in promoting many people through its site and the most famous is the story of Chris Brown. Thanks to You Tube, Chris Brown’s song by the name “forever” was added and, within a week, it topped music charts though it was more than a year old. His label company Sony inserted a link to buy the song on iTunes and Amazon.com selling over a million copies. In this counter argument, utilitarianism and kantiasm were used (Burgess & Green 122).
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Rebuttal to counter arguments
Though You Tube won the case against the media giant Viacom, some issues need to be addressed. “There will always be something that falls into the gray area,” (Woog 32). Some of the issues that they called, “a gray area” should be considered illegal and necessary actions taken. These areas cannot be reason enough to protect them from copyright infringement (Woog 32).
The digital Millennium Copyright Act protects content providers (websites) against copyright infringement arising from their user activities. It, however, states that content providers will at instances lose this protection. The first instance comes when the content provider has prior knowledge about a material that has been copyrighted. The second is when the content provider gets a financial gain which can be attributed to the infringed material.” Many videos are now swapped by You tube users every day. In reaction, to numerous copyright infringement cases filed besides You Tube, it affirms that its deeds to decrease infringement surpass the necessities in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act” (Azari 243).
You tube has currently publicized its plans to execute a digital expertise aimed at decreasing copyright infringement of clips posted by customers on its website.“This technology is expected to be implemented and should be as good as FBI fingerprint technology in identifying videos that include content that is copyrighted. The video recognition technology will allow those holding copyrights on videos to provide a digital fingerprint, so that if anyone tries to share a copyrighted video, the system will shut it down within a minute or so” (Rowell 79).
A chart showing Fair Use of copyrighted materials.
|Factors to Consider||Possible Fair Use||Probably Need Permission|
|Purpose and Character of Work||Noncommercial, Educational, Scholarly, Newsworthy||Commercial, Entertainment|
|Nature of the Work||Factual, Based on Public Documents||Creative|
|Degree of Use||Small Portion of Work Copied||Entire Work copied|
|Portion Used Compared to Length of Work||Small % used||Large % used|
|Exposure||Single Use, Small Audience||Multiple Use, Large Public Audience|
|Honesty of Use||Good Faith, Credit to Owner||Deception, Dishonesty|
Source: Adapted from (Burgess & Green, 2009).
Today’s improvements in information technology and especially over the internet, there is a need for an assessment program. This is to assess the threats associated with increasing use of IT is necessary. This should account for a broad variety of risks and should be founded on reasonable threat information for the organization’s future. The capacity of an organization to counter current information technology threats is a crucial element to an industrious information safety programme. This illustration of diligence also offers protection in opposition to the upcoming threat of permissible liability related to IT safety posture. Case studies are playing a substantial role especially where courts are acting against the development of IT infrastructures. Organizations should be hold responsible for their current Information security laxity. Best practices for general risks associated with the use of You Tube should be dynamically defined. Corporations must also take the right actions to help ensure conformity. Threat evaluations concerning You Tube must be carried out to balance susceptibility assessments and allow organizations to make knowledgeable verdicts to direct their safety programmes (Azari 243).
Azari, Rasool. Current security management & ethical issues of information. Hershey: Chocolate Avenue, 2003. Print.
Burgess, Elizabeth & Green, Benjamin. YouTube: online video and participatory culture. Cambridge: Polity, 2009.Print.
Chandra, Foote. Constructivist strategies: meeting standards and engaging adolescent minds. Larchmont: Eye on Education, 2001. Print.
Hurley, Chad. You Tube: List of YouTube Personalities, Criticism of You Tube, YouTube Censorship, Social Impact of You Tube, YouTube Awards. Edina: Pennsylvania, 2003. Print.
Rowell, Rebecca. You Tube: The Company and Its Founders. Minnesota : ABDO Publishing Company, 2011. Print.
Tavani, Herman. Ethics and Technology: Controversies, Questions, and Strategies for Ethical Computing. Hoboken: Wiley, 2011. Print.
Woog, Adam. YouTube. Chicago: Norwood House Press, 2009. Print.