Service appears to have been restored after about a half-hour period during which visitors to the popular video site found a “500 Internal Service Error” headline followed by text that said: “Sorry, something went wrong. A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with the situation.” No word yet on what happened. Here’s the statement from a YouTube spokesperson: “Some people encountered errors, or a slower than normal experience on YouTube today. We worked quickly to address the issue and fixed the problem. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”
The second season will begin on October 17. It’s noteworthy after the initial 11 episodes last year became stand-out performers for YouTube, where it’s often hard to separate hits from shows that are merely supported by hype. The series …
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
That’s the intriguing notion floated by Kelly Day, who headed online video distributor Blip.TV before it was bought by Maker Studios, the even bigger creator and distributor of online content based in Culver City. Day, still an adviser to Maker, was keynote speaker as the WestDoc conference for documentary, nonfiction and reality-show makers opened this morning. Online pundits have been griping lately about the 45% cut of ad revenue that Google takes for video it distributes on YouTube, up from a 70-30 split early in the platform’s life. While Day acknowledged it’s expensive and technically complicated for Google to host and distribute the massive amounts of video it makes available on YouTube, show creators have a sense that, because YouTube has so much content, “for the most part there hasn’t been a lot of sophistication about how to monetize the best of that content.” For companies such as Maker that operate so-called Multi-Channel Networks, or MCNs, that represent dozens or even thousands of individual online creators, “there is a great opportunity to think about how to package and monetize that content better,” Day said. And Google might not even mind, she said, given its previous pronouncements and how it allowed a similar ecology of outside companies to grow and thrive atop its core search-engine business.
The lives of producers tasked with finding fluffy upbeat videos to sprinkle into TV newscasts has become a living hell since Jimmy Kimmel punked a whole industry with his Twerk Fail YouTube prank. That’s particularly true for those working under the watchful eye of Matt “Disappointed By The Laziness Of The Media” Lauer at the Today show. This morning, Today dove into the ratings catnip that is Jason Mortensen – star of a funny YouTube video that has nearly as many views as had Kimmel’s funny Twerk Fail before Kimmel revealed it was a prank – 6 million and growing in just one week. In the video, Mortensen is seen allegedly coming out from under anesthesia after surgery, being fed crackers by some very pretty woman who, he discovers, is his wife of several years, which causes him to exclaim, “I hit the jackpot!” and note she has perfect teeth. He withholds judgment on her twerkside, requesting she turn around, but she politely declines — because, of course, she’s documenting their whole renewed acquaintance to post on YouTube, “so he can see how he acts, and so I can show people,” she explained sweetly to the Today on-air panel of non-lazy journalists.
Controversy over a comedy short helped Russell Simmons launch his new YouTube channel All Def Digital yesterday. But a firestorm of complaints over Harriet Tubman Sex Tape, in which the abolitionist has sex with her master in order to blackmail him into creating the Underground Railroad, led Simmons to pull the video today and issue an apology. “In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian,” said Simmons in a statement. “When my buddies from the NAACP called and asked me to take down the Harriet Tubman video from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and apologize, I agreed.”
“I’m a very liberal person with thick skin,” he continues. “My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.”
YouTube was designed to make it easy for people to share videos, but its co-founder Chad Hurley tells me that “we were never able to provide tools for people to create better content.” He and fellow co-founder Steve …
UPDATED, 11:14 PM: YouTube today dismissed the support that IATSE, the DGA, AFM and SAG-AFTRA has shown for Viacom’s efforts to get another day in court with its $1 billion copyright infringement suit. Not only does the Google-owned company say in a statement that the unions’ brief “recycles” a previous filing from 2010 in the suit but that they “don’t seem to have followed developments in the case.” Read the statement YouTube issued via a spokesperson late Monday below:
The brief filed by entertainment industry unions recycles their brief from the first appeal in 2010. They don’t seem to have followed developments in the case or recognized the changes to YouTube’s place in the entertainment ecosystem. The Court has twice rejected Viacom’s unfounded copyright infringement claims. And even Viacom has conceded it doesn’t object to how YouTube has operated for the last five years. YouTube has signed licensing agreements with every major movie studio and record label, has developed an industry-leading Content Identification system used by 4,000 media partners, and does more to prevent piracy than any other major video hosting provider.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:33 PM: Despite another recent court loss, Viacom’s latest attempt to revive its billion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube has just gotten some very vocal support again from some old friends. “YouTube’s role in the rampant, systematic distribution of content in violation of the exclusive rights of copyright holders caused and continues to cause harm to the entertainment industries and the members of the Guilds and Unions working in those industries,” said a joint brief filed late last week by lawyers for the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the American Federation of Musicians. “We urge the Court to consider the full ramifications of YouTube’s actions, and request that the Court reverse the lower court’s decision.” The unions offered similar such support as they did last week back in 2010. Filed on August 2 this year, the quartet’s new 28-page brief (read it here) comes after Viacom filed materials on July 30 with the 2nd Court of Appeals asking for a new judge in the long-running case. That expected legal move against Judge Louis Stanton followed the NY-based U.S. District Court judge granting YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment in the matter on April 18. That was the second such decision for the Google-owned entity in the case. Viacom first launched the $1B action in 2007.
UPDATE, 11:35 AM: The social network company wasn’t making a judgment about Kirk Cameron‘s upcoming religious movie Unstoppable last week when it blocked links to the promo site. “To protect the hundreds of millions of people who connect and share on Facebook every day, we have automated systems that work in the background to maintain a trusted environment and protect our users from bad actors who often use links to spread spam and malware,” Facebook says today. But “in rare instances they make mistakes.” And this was one of them: The link “was blocked for a very short period of time after being misidentified as a potential spam or malware site. We learn from rare cases such as these to make our systems even better.”
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY AM: Former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron‘s upcoming movie Unstoppable vows to answer the question “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?” But considering that theaters
Must-watch political drama unfolded Tuesday night in Texas as more than 182K viewers simultaneously tuned in to follow Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) attempt a 13-hour anti-abortion filibuster on the floor of the Texas Senate. Unfortunately for TV networks, those viewers were all live-streaming it on YouTube via …
Listen to (and share) episode 34 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman as Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at out-of-whack CEO pay; a Washington threat to the Pay TV oligopoly; YouTube goes subscription with 30 new channels; and why Time-Warner’s Jeff Bewkes thinks blockbusters make sense financially.