What just happened? YouTube raise the ire of content creators and the community on Christmas when it freebooted a YouTuber’s video for a Christmas greeting without giving the user credit.
Yesterday YouTube tweeted on its official account, “That moment when everything falls into place. Merry Christmas!”
A video accompanied the post showing a very elaborate Christmas-themed domino montage. The video was originally created by YouTube user Lily Hevesh. Hevesh is a self-described “Domino Artist,” and uses the video-sharing platform as a form of advertising for her work.
That moment when everything falls into place. Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/g43Ph7RMUd— YouTube (@YouTube) December 25, 2018
Freebooting video is when a user re-uploads someone else’s content without permission or credit. YouTube took it a step further by stripping out Hevesh’s introduction in the original video. So not only did it not give her credit, it intentionally took out the only part in the video that would have linked it back to her.
Had this been done by anyone else, there would have been potentially harsh consequences. Freebooting is against YouTube's terms of service and is technically against copyright law.
However, the company reserves the right to re-use video posted to the platform. It is something that users agree to when creating an account. That does not mean that it is ethical though, it just indemnifies YouTube from legal repercussions.
In light of that, other content creators and the community at large spoke out against the Christmas faux pas. The tweet was bombarded with thousands of comments criticizing YouTube for the blunder.
Super cool stolen video!— DreamcastGuy (@DreamcastGuy) December 26, 2018
It wasn’t until Wednesday that YouTube finally got the hint and posted a retweet saying it “forgot” to credit the video’s creator.
The tweet seemed a little lame and fell short of an apology. One follower even replied, “‘Forgot’ is a funny way to spell ‘completely missed rule one of our own website.’”
However, in the spirit of Christmas, Hevesh forgave YouTube, thanking it for re-tweeting with a credit and link to her channel. It has undoubtedly helped her in the long run. The original video had only received around 60,000 views as of Christmas Eve. The re-upload now has nearly 400,000 and has brought attention to her channel.