Web-based videos can be frustrating. For one, they can be downright ugly, at horrible resolutions and inaudible sound levels. We’re not even mentioning content–some “original” videos can be utterly useless and with an artistic value of zero.
Add to this the difficulty in managing videos, and you’re in for a headache. It’s great to watch videos online on the web, but it’s even better if you could save them onto your hard disc. However, most online video-streaming services are just that. They would just let you stream the content, and not save it on your own computer (with Google Video being the exception). This tends to delay one’s enjoyment, and slow down progress, as you’d have to re-download a video clip everytime you want to watch it.
Not anymore, with Peekvid and Keepvid, sister-services designed to aggregate and index YouTube content (Peekvid), and which allows users to rip these into their own computers (Keepvid).
One concern that has arisen with this is the potential for users to find bootlegged material more easily. However, YouTube (which prohibits uploading of videos not under the copyright of an accountholder) is actually benefitting from the indexing service of Peekvid, as this way they can more easily detect and remove those copyrighted material posted on their site. From Cnet:
Thus, though YouTube prohibits anyone except legitimate rights holders–such as NBC Universal, EMI Records and many others–from uploading copyrighted content to its site, such content does get posted illegally, and these sister services make it possible to easily view, and download, a wide variety of such content. A recent survey turned up clips including World Cup highlights, Beatles and 2Pac Shakur music videos, episodes of Seinfeld, an episode of Lost and dozens of other TV shows and music videos.
One of the people who operates the service has said,
“None of the videos on Peekvid are hosted by us,” Joshua, one of two people in western Australia who run the service and sister site Keepvid, said in an instant message interview. “We do not condone uploading of copyright(ed) material by illegitimate copyright holders. Peekvid is simply a more organized index of some of YouTube’s videos.”
Yet, Joshua, who wouldn’t give his last name, also argued that without unauthorized copyrighted content, YouTube would not be a household name.
“If YouTube had no copyright(ed) content whatsoever,” he said, “I cannot really see it being the big player in video hosting that it is.”
It’s interesting to note that in all likelihood, video sharing and uploading sites would’ve indeed gone out of business without pirated content. It’s supply and demand at work. Had popular content not been accessible, YouTube, Google Video and such services would have no users to speak of.