As I wrote in a previous article, while I follow a number of channels on YouTube offering commentary on political and cultural matters, I have no real desire to use the platform for that purpose myself. Though I maintain a branded channel on the website, it is dedicated to contemporary or historical video clips illustrating pieces that I have published for An Sionnach Fionn. In my own work, I much prefer the written word to the spoken one since this allows me to articulate my opinions in a more considered and concise manner (or at least, I hope so). That said, I do admire those who can use the Google site in a professional and engaging manner. Which is why I would be delighted to see an Irish republican vlogging community take root there. And why, every now and again, I’m slightly tempted to start the process myself.
If I were to do so, I would most certainly be mindful of the innumerable legal implications and potential penalties that come with video publishing. Ones which have a less immediate impact in the more staid world of online writing (as long as you abide by the traditional rules and ethics of print journalism, which I strive to do). So the channel run by the tech-lawyer Lior Leser, YouTuber Law, is well worth following for all would-be content producers thinking of using the online platform.
The clips below highlight the celebrity case of Carl Benjamin, the controversial right-libertarian YouTube user who publishes video diatribes in the United Kingdom under the nom de plume of Sargon of Akkad. Last year, he got himself into trouble over a copyright claim made against him by Akilah Hughes, a rival centre-left YouTuber based in the United States. Simply put, the British vlogger used a snippet from the American user’s channel, and she is now contesting the usage in a New York court. This has raised all sorts of interesting technological and extraterritorial questions, while also illustrating the tendency of US courts to engage in judicial overreach on matters outside the country’s borders.
The first video is from Tim Pool, introducing the background to the case and the theory of fair use. That is followed by some opinion pieces from YouTuber Law examining broader issues of online copyright. If you are thinking of becoming the next vlogging star these discussions are worth a careful watch.