EPISODE 16   |   FEBRUARY 18, 2019
THE VIRTUAL ORGANISM
How have so many Big Tech companies become monopolies? And perhaps more importantly, should anything be done to stop them? To find the answer, we follow the untold origin story of YouTube and how the founders of Vimeo impacted the worldwide development of online video.
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EPISODE 16   |   FEBRUARY 18, 2019
THE VIRTUAL ORGANISM
How have so many Big Tech companies become monopolies? And perhaps more importantly, should anything be done to stop them? To find the answer, we follow the untold origin story of YouTube and how the founders of Vimeo impacted the worldwide development of online video.
Share this Post
Red Pilled America is designed to be listened to, not read. Please reference and use the audio version for exact quotes.
Patrick Courrielche: Something’s happening and we all feel it. America is waking up to the awesome
power of Silicon Valley.
Tucker Carlson: Well Google beyond doubt is one of the most powerful companies in the world. Is it a monopoly?
Stuart Varney: People are asking if Amazon is a monopoly, or acting
CNBC Commentator: Facebook Amazon Alphabet Apple and Microsoft. These companies now have virtual monopolies. In fact, they’ve figured out how to game the
Scott Galloway: Well, it’s awesome to be a monopoly in a growing economy.
Alan Patricof: Facebook is addictive today. Google is
addictive. They’re virtual monopolies.
Patrick Courrielche: Everywhere you look you see Silicon Valley monopolies. How did so many Big Tech companies become monopolies? And perhaps more importantly, should anything be
done about it?
I’m Patrick Courrielche and this is Red Pilled America, a storytelling show. This is not another talk show covering the day news. We are Welcome to Red Pilled America. ** Something entirely new is happening in our world. Big Tech Take for example YouTube. It is one of the most massive So I began to dig in and what I found was a group of guys I want to take you on a bit of a journey, starting with the ** Part Internet visionary, part eccentric artist, Jake Lodwick was born in Baltimore, Maryland and was introduced Jake Lodwick: I don't really have many memories of the time Patrick Courrielche: Jake Lodwick: Well my family business on my mom's side was a Patrick Courrielche: Jake Lodwick: I had a P.C. that I got to use this like a Patrick Courrielche: Jake Lodwick: I was a freshman at RIT in Rochester and then I was doing Patrick Courrielche: Josh Patrick Courrielche: Josh Patrick Courrielche: Josh Abramson: When we Patrick Courrielche: Going to college at the turn of the century was a unique Again, Josh Abramson. Josh Patrick Courrielche: If you were an adult around this time, you can no doubt CNN Patrick Courrielche: Josh Patrick Courrielche: Again, Jake. Jake Lodwick: And so the dot com Patrick Courrielche: Jake Lodwick: we figured out a way to get you know a significant amount We had this Patrick Courrielche: Jake Lodwick: So you know Josh really wanted to move to Josh Patrick Courrielche: Josh Abramson: living in I think we Jake Lodwick: Yeah. But yeah we moved there and just found that. I mean Patrick Courrielche: Josh Patrick Courrielche: More after the break. Adryana Cortez: Welcome back. I’m Adryana Cortez. So when Jake was first introduced to computers in the late Jake Lodwick: And so from age 7 I'm making little videos you Adryana Cortez: So from a very young age, Jake Jake Lodwick: And it was my first time living on the West Coast and I Adryana Cortez: Josh remembers Jake’s early interest Josh Adryana Cortez: It was the perfect idea at the Jake Lodwick: Then my partners go Jake wake up. You're the CTO of College Adryana Cortez: In the about section of an Jake introduced the initial beta version of Vimeo to a small room of roughly sixty people at a video blogging Jake Lodwick: Ok, I’m actually nervous… Adryana Cortez: The site originally functioned A few days later, The New Yorker published an article on The show host interviewed the guys. Rocket Boom host: So what do you do Jake Lodwick: I work for Connected Ventures, which is a Zach Jake Lodwick: And then she comes up and it's me and Zach making the Vimeo beta the new Adryana Cortez: Jake introduced his brainchild Jake Lodwick: Vimeo. Ok, well, I Patrick Courrielche: Now the first thought that that date might bring to mind is Patrick Courrielche: Patrick Courrielche: Do you remember Josh Abramson: Yep. Patrick Josh Patrick Josh Patrick Josh Patrick Josh Jake Lodwick: Josh asked me if I had known that and I didn't know that. And Patrick Patrick Courrielche: Chad Hurley: We knew nothing about video Patrick Courrielche: Charlie Steve Patrick Courrielche: The Chad Patrick Courrielche: You Tube. Me Video. It’s When he introduced it to the world, Jake Lodwick Jake Lodwick: Patrick Courrielche: The YouTube guys Jawed Jake Lodwick: Now to be clear Flickr for video not like If it's true We're humans and there are Patrick Courrielche: The reason why YouTube won is much simpler and gets to the The YouTube founders posted their first video on April 23, Jawed Chad Steve Chad Patrick Courrielche: However, at some point, the site miraculously exploded into In an interview with Charlie Rose, one of the founders Steve Charlie Patrick Courrielche: Steve Charlie Steve Patrick Courrielche: As anyone that’s ever worked with a content heavy website In internal emails, Steve Chen claimed it was copyright The But Vimeo had a different approach Josh Abramson: You know I Patrick Courrielche: Jake Lodwick: I mean just you know growing up in a family Patrick Courrielche: As YouTube chugged along in the early days, they identified Vimeo as one of their primary competitors. Moderator: Chad Patrick Courrielche: Josh recently recalled the moment that that he realized YouTube’s Josh I can remember the moment that it was clear Patrick Courrielche: Google bought YouTube in October 2006. Chad Hurley: Hi YouTube…today we have some exciting Patrick Courrielche: CBC Chad Patrick Courrielche: [PBS Patrick Courrielche: In 1998, Bill Clinton signed a bill into law that would help Al Patrick Courrielche: The law included a provision, a favor code, But what it created was a massive loophole for Silicon Valley The DMCA was likely one of the biggest wealth transfers in Google purchased YouTube, then used The case between Viacom and Google never got fully By allowing all of this copyright infringement material on YouTube is now the #2 trafficked website in the world, second Jake Lodwick: They don't care about the individual videos or Patrick Courrielche: There is a phenomenon that explains the rise of monopolies Donald Patrick Courrielche: **
all about telling stories. Stories Hollywood doesn’t want you to hear. Stories the media mocks. Stories from everyday Americans that the
elites ignore. You can think of Red Pilled America as audio documentaries and we promise only one thing. The truth.
appears to be growing in power at a pace we’ve never scene in human history.
Companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have virtual monopolies that have
completely changed how we live our lives – in some ways for the better,
in other ways not so much.
companies to have ever been created. It was founded in 2005 and in less than a
year, it appeared to have just come from out of nowhere. When I first started
delving into YouTube about four years ago, something struck me. It was
YouTube’s origin story. The founders couldn’t seem to get it straight. As
someone that has started many businesses – it was suspicious.
that you probably never heard of before…a talented team of young entrepreneurs
that should go down as some of the most influential men in the history of the
Internet…because it was their innovation and ingenuity that, in my humble
opinion, gave birth to all that is good about YouTube.
untold story of YouTube. There is a reason why the company can’t get their
origin story straight. The company touches your life in ways you probably
aren’t even aware of. Understanding how and why it has become an online
monopoly will help you understand more about how the world works – and
will shed some light on one of the biggest challenges facing America today.
to the intersection of culture and technology at a very young age.
before I had access to computers and I'm 37 now.
music and video distributor so they would buy US CDs, records, tapes stuff like that from record labels or buy movies from
movie studios and then distribute them to retailers. So like as a kid I got the
benefits of having like this you know almost like Internet sized pipeline of
content moving through the house all the time…So it's surrounded by that stuff
and then also computers would make their way home every now and then.
At around the age of six he got access to one he could tinker with.
386. You know DOS machine in nineteen eighty eight or nine. So I was very hands-on
with computers like from a very early age. But of course back then was pre-Internet
so it's like you would just do on the computer whatever came with that are you
know you buy some software from time to time. So I found that it had this thing
called QBasic on it which was a you know very simple
programming language. QBasic came with some programs built in so you could kind
of open up the programs and alter them or create your own programs. And so I
would one of my favorite things to make was like little Choose Your Own
Adventure games or I would make a little like sounds synthesizers stuff like
that. Just you know fun little stuff.
Jakob graduated from high school in the Baltimore
area and eventually entered college in New York for computer science.
like this I.T. new media major where they give us art classes and also tech
classes and so just as part of the class assignments I was making stuff in the
medium of the web you know making videos and weird web pages and putting them
online. And then on the same the same weekend someone told me about College Humor
and then someone else told the College Humor guys about me.
College Humor was one of the earliest websites that aggregated funny pictures
and videos of youthful hijinks. They published what we’d now refer to as funny memes.
Abramson: I mean it was like a black page with white text…
That’s Josh Abramson, the co-founder of College Humor dot com
on the early days of the website.
Abramson: And we were you know uploading funny pictures you know I guess
articles came a little bit later but was really funny
pictures and funny videos. And at that point in time you know this is five
years before Vimeo and YouTube started. So there
really weren't any places that you would go online to find tons of videos.
Josh remembers how he met Jake.
actually met Jake in ninety nine part of the reason we connected with him was
he sent us funny videos that he'd been making his on his own you know in like
98 99. So and putting them online on his Web site and you know there weren't
that many people doing that in those days.
Jake came on board initially as an employee but would eventually become a
partner, taking on the role of CTO, or chief technology officer, of College Humor
time. It’s hard for many kids to imagine this today, but at that time most
people throughout America didn’t have high-speed Internet connections – which
was necessary to watch video clips online. Without a fast connection you could
wait hours, or even days before videos would fully load. As a result, online
video wasn’t yet widespread. On the other hand, colleges by this time largely had
broadband. So most incoming college kids were experiencing high-speed connections
for the very first time – which opened up an audience for larger video
Abramson: So people came to school and I think all of our friends from high
school and you know our friend new friends and college it was like how we spent
our time is just like sharing funny videos and pictures because it was super
new thing. I mean nobody had you know if you didn't have high speed Internet
before that you weren't really doing that. So all of a sudden there are all
these kind of funny videos that and oftentimes stuff that you just hadn't
really seen before just because it was like the kind of stuff that maybe
wouldn't have been on television or wasn't on like you know America's Funniest
Home Videos. So it was just like a new new type of
entertainment. And you know people would literally just have like folders on
their desktops full of these like funny pictures and videos and we would kind
of share them. But it was very you know it's kind of difficult to share videos
unless you were on a college network in which case you could do it but so that
was really the original idea was just like let's aggregate all this stuff and
put it on a web site.
So Josh started Connected Ventures, the business entity of College Humor dot com, with a high school buddy Ricky Van Veen.
Josh primarily handled the business side, Ricky acted as editor. Jake Lodwick
came on board a few months later to handle the site programming. And a guy
named Zach Klein became a partner and handled design.
remember the incredible enthusiasm around the Internet. The economy was
soaring, in large part to enormous venture capital investments flooding into
the dotcom space. Many thought the good times would never end.
Reporter: When the ball drops on the year 2000, it will be a momentous
event for the world and for the US economy…the new economy, is it a boom
But the dotcom bubble eventually burst in 2001 taking down tech startup after
tech startup. Josh was actually motivated by the tech bust.
Abramson: So when the dot com bubble burst those ad networks that were just
writing kind of blank checks to people went away pretty quickly. And then it
was actually a very exciting time for me I think it was the first time I really
felt you know hugely energized by the potential for the business.
In a testament to their business acumen, Josh and his partners found their way
out of those rough times when the majority of dot com businesses crashed and
burned. The ad dollars may have dried up, but College Humor still had a real
audience traveling to the site in big numbers. So they monetized those visitors
through an online t-shirt company called Busted Tees.
crash for us you know could have been fatal but we were not that exposed to it.
And so now you have this period where all of these companies are dead and we're
alive and we have a growing viral audience and a novel content model.
Unlike a large traditional news organization with many layers of management,
reporters, photographers, videographers, copywriters and all the necessary
support staff that goes along with all the above – the College Humor
content model was much simpler.
of content without having to do that much work because we just let people send
it in and then we we built a system or we could go at
it and select that stuff and then feed that back to the audience.
hyper efficient business that's growing virally and we have no other investor
there's and we have no competitors because they're all dead so we just had this
bonanza where we got to grow this really fun site and be little you know media
mogul college students.
When they all graduated, instead of getting jobs, they all decided to just
focus on College Humor full time. But the young entrepreneurs didn’t want to
work out of Richmond.
Florida because I guess his parents live there and it was like Oh it's warm
there. We're kind of tired I like east coast cold I guess. And then I remember
having this one call with Ricky where he's like we were like We're like how do
we tell Josh we want to fuckin live in Florida. Who's
gonna tell him. So we
brought it up and we're like Josh I know it's really important you but like we
just kind of don't want to live there. And then he had lived in San Diego the
Abramson: I thought well we can move to San Diego and we can live on the
beach basically and which is what we did.
But in no time flat, they figured out it wasn’t the right place to be.
San Diego. We were constantly trying to make new friends and meet new people
and it was sort of a. Even though it was a very productive time it was a little
were all kind of craving meeting like you know creative entrepreneurial types
of people. And there just aren't very many. There certainly weren't
very many at the time.
Josh might've repeated his joke that if you're really really
ambitious in San Diego then you bartend three nights a week. And so we found
ourselves surrounded by people who I mean good people but we were not around
anyone who was trying to do an Internet media company.
So after about a year, on July 1, 2004 they made the move to New York City
– and it paid off immediately.
Abramson: we came to New York and it was like you know day two were going
out and getting invited to like cool parties and meeting really interesting
people that have started really interesting companies…and I can just remember you
know talking to one person singular who just in one conversation I think
probably saved me like a year of time to figure out how to build an ad sales to
you know just those types of conversations.
Their new home was exciting, but the detour to San Diego did provide one
interesting twist, a twist that helped change the course of online video.
80s, his family also exposed him to another piece of technology – a video
know stop motion special effects videos little hosting you know hey guys
talking. I don't think I said hey guys but you're talking to the camera and
then I'm the only one who watches it. But you know how kids are with with a pre-Internet video camera hook it up to the TV and
now you got a little little studio here.
was fluent with the video medium. As he grew older, he continued making videos,
and so when the guys made the detour to San Diego, Jake started doing something
that is common now on social media, but was really unheard of in the early
have this thought I'm going to be all the way across the country all my friends
and family are not going to know what is going on with me. I'm going to make a
video every week and put it on my Website. It's just like Hey guys what's up.
So I do that. I called him vidblogs, first vidblog talking to the camera while I'm eating a fish taco.
He's telling everyone what's going on with my new life in San Diego on my Website
friends and family watch it next week. Another vidblog
so making these things every week and then they start turning more into art
projects. Sending those to film festivals got into probably six or seven film
festivals. Got back to New York still making these long videos there's still no
videos hosting websites I'm still posting on my blog and now as an artist I'm
tired of making spending a month making these like personal Impressionistic art
films and I'm like I want to break from this, yo,
Sanyo just released a new camera a digital video camera that records onto a card.
Until now they had always recorded on the tape. What's the difference? It's
shooting on the disc. You can transfer the videos from your camera to your
computer in moments versus tape where you have to log and capture and it takes can
take two hours to get a one hour tape transferred properly. So I buy this new
camera shoot to disc start shooting all day long. I'm shooting five or six
literal clips a day manually putting on my web site. This is a lot of work.
Let's make a form. I don't even have to make one from scratch. I'm the CTO of
college humor import the upload script from College Humor, copy the database
tables over to new database setup a new server new website exists now Vimeo. You can upload videos to this website.
in this art project.
Abramson: You know the genesis for Vimeo was
really it was in his brain and it was to solve the problem of you know it was
very cumbersome to upload videos to the Internet and showed that we really
couldn't upload a video to any Web site and have it automatically come up….And it was clear that everybody was eventually going to
have these video cameras in there in their pockets.
perfect time. With pocket-sized digital video cameras just entering the market,
people needed a place to easily upload and display their videos. So in November
2004, Jake locked himself in a room to tinker with the code for his new brainchild
Vimeo, but that didn’t last long.
Humor. You're the CTO of Busted Tees. These businesses make millions of dollars
a year. Maybe you shouldn't work on your art project all day. So I’m like guys
this is going to be big. They're like we know. We believe you. But the
businesses you need to work on the businesses. And so Zach and I the the fourth partner who was a
designer he and I started working on this. Now we're gonna make a first version of Vimeo.
That's like we're gonna
treat it more like a product. It's no longer Jake's art project. It's gonna be the third Connected Ventures
startup and so we start working on that and then yeah. And
then from there on things are public.
early version of Vimeo, Jake posted that he came up
with the name by mixing the words “me” and “video”. The name was also an anagram
for the word movie…and he liked that.
panel in late January 2005.
like Instagram Stories. The user could easily upload
all of their video clips to Vimeo, and the site would
string them together to create a mini movie for the viewer.
College Humor and the article created some buzz for the young entrepreneurs. An influential website at the time
– Rocket Boom dot com – came calling. Rocket
Boom was one of the only websites posting daily video newscasts, and the site
was hot within the tech community.
company that’s been around for five years. I’ve been with it for about four and
a half. And we make websites. When I’m talking to people outside the company I
usually say something like I’m the programmer. And I would say something like
Zach is the designer.
version. There was already one live but we're making the new version and
then we showed her the new version.
Vimeo for the first time to a wide and influential
want to talk about Vimeo. That’s kinda my personal project. Vimeo
is a site for watching automatic movies. In a lot of ways it’s like the site
Flickr but for video instead of photo…this is just a rough template. Zach made
the logo. I had nothing to do with making the logo. You see that. That’s the
new Vimeo logo.
That interview was published on Rocket Boom dot com on
February 14, 2005.
Valentine’s Day. But that specific date has major significance for another
It happens to be the same day that Chad Hurley bought the domain name YouTube
Rocket Boom dot com?
Courrielche: They did an interview with you guys…
Courrielche: and they published that and you guys talked about Vimeo in that interview.
Courrielche: And the same day that that interview was published the YouTube
guys purchased the domain for YouTube dot com. Did you
Abramson: I did not know that.
Courrielche: Yeah. I thought that was very interesting. It was literally
the same day. And I remember Rocket Boom at the time they were definitely
pretty influential. There wasn’t many people doing
what they were doing. It was kind of a video newscast kind of thing. So I
thought it was an interesting connection.
Abramson: That’s super interesting. I’m gonna text Jakob and tell
him that as soon as I get off the phone with you.
but what I did know is those guys never gave a straight story on how they
originated their YouTube.
Courrielche: Bingo. Bingo.
The founders of YouTube had admittedly no experience working with web video.
so we weren’t scared of getting into it.
In later interviews about the origin of YouTube, the founders had multiple
stories about how they came up with the idea. The one Steve Chen preferred to tell
was that the idea was sparked during a dinner party.
Rose: There’s this story Steve. There’s this story. Apocryphal perhaps. It
reminds me of Steve Jobs in a garage somewhere with. It is that you two went to
a dinner party. And there were people there with a camcorder. And they were all
talking about how they could see other people’s video and had no means to do
that. Is that a correct story?
Chen: Correct. It happened in January 2005. At my place
in the city in San Francisco. And we were having a dinner party and
people had digital cameras there taking normal digital photos as well as
movies. And when we tried to share the photos we found it very easy to share
the photos with one another. But when we tried to share the movies, we tried to
email it back but it kept getting rejected and bounced back…
But just a few months later, another cofounder of YouTube, Jawed Karim, said that dinner party never happened and that he
was the one that came up with the idea. He implied that the idea was first
seeded after discovering that it was hard to find a clip of Janet Jackson’s
wardrobe malfunction after the 2004 Super Bowl halftime. Steve Chen would later
admit to Time Magazine that the origin story of YouTube that he was spreading
was quote "probably
very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very
digestible." In other words…YouTube’s origin story was a fabrication.
name “YouTube” also hints at its origin coming from Vimeo.
Vimeo is a mixture of the words “me” and
“video”. Here’s Chad Hurley
explaining how he came up with the name YouTube… and don’t forget, on the same
day Vimeo was introduced to the public.
Hurley: I came up with the name. I registered the domain on February 14th.
Valentine’s Day 2005…I did a search online there was maybe one or two results
for YouTube. I didn’t know what they were referring to. There was basically no Google results and the domain was available
so it made my decision easy. And I designed the logo as well…what I was trying
to accomplish is just a friendly consumer brand that could easily, kind of
imply that people could participate and with the you
and the tube was TV.
the kind of name a non-creative person would come up with when copying someone
else’s idea. You be the
judge. But what was also interesting was the way the founders described
described Vimeo as…
In a lot of ways it’s like the site Flickr but for video.
would later use the same description for their service. Here’s Chad Hurley
describing the origin of YouTube.
Karim: At that point we became more similar to
Flickr I’d say.
the most original idea. And I'm not I'm not saying I don't want to come across
like I'm saying I had the idea of the century and it was stolen from me. But I
feel like I did have it…
that those guys saw the rocket video and then decided to make their own. But
with Silicon Valley scaling and capital that's okay. But please don't lie about
the idea coming because you were at a dinner party and you couldn't share files
or the other story that you wanted to see the Janet Jackson nipple gate video
and you couldn't like. Don't just lie about that. And
here's the thing with Silicon Valley is like they're good at certain things.
And one of them is scaling and it's totally permissible in Silicon Valley
culture to lie about your origin story.
humans in these stories who are not showing that they are on the side of
humans. And I would really love if these people could start just being held
accountable and just being honest about what they've created I know these
people they are okay with lying to you. They will lie in any context and say
anything they want because it's it's actually okay in
that culture. So we have to start getting very serious about holding people
accountable for. Let's start with their origin stories. Why did you start this. Who funded it. Did you copy. Were you inspired by some idea or was it yours. Like
we want to know where in humanity this stuff came from so we can understand it
and if we start with these false origin stories…Like we need to know what their
intentions were and what their thinking was. Because I can tell you for a fact
that the philosophy of the Creator gets embedded in the creation that your
morality your values your crazy ideas they all become part of the fabric…So if
you really want to understand these Planet spanning systems sit down the
creators and say please for once can you just tell me the fucking truth of what
happened here and hey man if you want evidence of the fact that they lie look
at Y Combinator and read about the benefits of Y Combinator and they will talk about how they have special
founder sessions where you can come and get the real story behind the startups.
Okay Y Combinator advertises access to the truth as
one of the perks of joining their program and perpetuating their truth hiding
effort to build ever more monopolistic ever more invasive inhuman systems that
are designed to exploit your resources so they can get bigger and do what I
don't know have billions of dollars. What's the fucking point.
What's the end game. I don't even know. I would love
to know what they want and what motivates them because whatever they've told us
so far doesn't seem to be true. And now we're using their
fucking platforms all day long and it's making everyone fucking anxious. That's
what I think. If I had a micro drop it.
Did the founders of YouTube get their idea from the creators of Vimeo. In my humble opinion – yes, probably. The coincidences
are very compelling. But they wouldn’t be the first to steal an idea. A more
important question is, why did YouTube become the
industry behemoth of video sharing if it started after Vimeo?
Some would argue that it was the early venture capital investment that YouTube
received. But many companies get big venture capital and still fail.
core question of this episode. YouTube exploited what I call a “favor code”
– a rule embedded in our system that favors a specific group.
2005. But people weren’t using the site. YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim explained the situation in the early months of the
site at a presentation at his alma mater.
Karim: At this point, by May it was quite
frustrating. The site had not really taken off. And here we are discussing the
situation in the garage.
Hurley: I think videos are gonna
be just as large.
Chen: Well I was getting pretty depressed at the end of last week. Because
dude we have like 40, 50, 60 videos on the site. But I’m like, I’m thinking ok
so if I’m actually a user of this site…because they’re not that many videos I
want to watch.
Hurley: Videos like this.
The site wasn’t taking off. So they posted an ad on Craigslist and offered to
pay hot girls to upload videos of themselves. They didn’t get a single
Chen was asked why the site became so popular.
Rose: Pull back for a second and tell me what you think. Why is it so
popular? What does it say about where we’re going and who’s gonna be using it in the future?
It was a good question. Vimeo was actually the first
in the race, and their experience with College Humor gave them an edge on
driving traffic to their site. So why did
YouTube become so popular? Steve had an answer.
Chen: I think the main attraction of the site can be probably broken down
to a couple things. I think one is being able to, not the traditional time
slot. You don’t have to be at a certain place at a certain time to catch a
show. So you can basically, anytime you want, whether it’s in the office or at
night and log into YouTube and find what you wanna see.
Rose: Find out what you wanna
see meaning what?
Chen: Oh by searching, and that’s the other thing too with just the vast
sea of content out there. I think there’s something out there for everyone. So
not just restricted to just a few channels of content. You basically search
what you wanna see. If you wanna search on stuff about what’s
happening now in Israel and Lebanon. We started to get a lot of video clips
But Steve was, well, let’s just say he wasn’t being completely forthcoming.
knows, it’s the job of a web developer to know what specific content is getting
the most views. YouTube’s founders were no different.
infringing material that was driving traffic to the site. In one email, Steve argued
quote, “if you remove the potential copyright infringements… site traffic and virality will drop to maybe 20 percent of what it is” end
quote. When another co-founder Jawed Karim proposed
they quote ‘just remove the obviously copyright infringing stuff,’ Steve
insisted that even if just the obviously copyright infringing material were
removed, the site would quote “go from 100,000 views a day down to about 20,000
views or maybe even lower.”
founders of YouTube knew copyright infringing material was being funneled
through the site. And even more revealing, co-founder Jawed Karim
was, according to internal emails, uploading videos that violated copyright
himself. And that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – he suggested he got
the idea to create the site because he couldn’t find a clip of Janet Jackson’s
halftime nipple exposure. If he was creating a site to host clips like that, he
was welcoming copyright infringement.
don't I don't like getting legal letters. I don't like you know dealing with
lawyers anymore than I have to and so I think you know and I think we also had
we had both the benefit of having been in the digital video business for four
or five years but also it was working against us because we had been sued we
had had people get upset with us for copy you know copyrighted material that
would end up on college humor and the idea of having a video free-for-all where
anybody could upload anything. Kept me up at night.
Jake was also concerned about copyright infringement.
that makes money by distributing art and culture and then being someone who
creates art and culture myself I feel that art and culture should be protected
and respected and that doesn't imply any particular copyright policy it just
means you should have a philosophy that because this whole business is based on
the work of creators we should respect them and treat them as special people.
These two founders of Vimeo came to the same
conclusion from different angles – they did not want to participate in
copyright infringement. In other words, they wanted to obey the law. So they
vigilantly deleted any video that wasn’t uploaded by the creator.
Who was your competition?
Hurley: I mean at the time, Vimeo was around…
And they began targeting Vimeo users by posting in a video
blogging chatroom that they allowed YouTube users to
upload far bigger files than Vimeo users – an
approach that appeared designed to open the site up to users uploading entire
TV shows and music albums.
approach of allowing copyright infringing material on their site had worked.
Abramson: And I can remember in the early days when we used to use Alexa to track the web traffic of our different businesses.
And I remember when Vimeo and YouTube were neck and
neck. I made the decision. We started to see a lot of people upload you know
clips from the Daily Show and things that they didn’t make. And we put a lot of
things in place to try and avoid that…
to me that we maybe missed something was when the Lazy Sunday SNL video went
viral. And that was what really brought YouTube up with it. That was the
biggest Internet video of all time at that moment.
As YouTube’s star rose, billionaire investor Mark Cuban said that YouTube was
quote “breaking the law” and quote “the only reason it hasn’t been sued yet is
because there is nobody with big money to sue.” Cuban added that only a moron
would buy YouTube. It wasn’t long before that moron showed its face.
news. We’ve been acquired by Google…
The reason they sold the company was simple. Financial resources and protection
from the massive copyright infringement their website allowed. Chad Hurley opened
up on this topic a few years ago.
Reporter: It’s amazing to think how quickly it became so successful that
you sold it for what at the time probably seemed like an enormous sum. Was that
the right time to sell YouTube?
Hurley: Uh, yeah I think so. We literally didn’t really have any other
options. And I feel there’s a pretty good chance that YouTube might not be here
today if it wasn’t for Google’s support, let alone at this size. We just needed
a lot of resources. We only had sixty-seven people within the company. We had
only raised a few million dollars. And we could have raised a lot more in terms
of what we were dealing with, being so threatening to almost every industry.
You had the traditional Internet guys seeing our growth as something
threatening. And traditional media guys basically threatening us with lawsuits
based on copyright concerns, even though we were doing the right things and continued
to do the right things. They were more or less afraid of losing control…so for
us we didn’t really have any other choice but to be acquired by a bigger
company that provided us the resources and also the protection to continue to
grow and not see this opportunity disappear for millions of users around the
After Google purchased YouTube, Viacom quickly sued
the search engine company for one billion dollars in copyright infringement.
But Google had two things working on its side. It had become an absolute
juggernaut of a company, unlike anything we’d ever seen in human history. And
it also had a legal loophole…a favor code.
create the massive Silicon Valley monopolies we have today.
Gore: As we move to encourage and invest in innovation. We must also
protest the fruits of innovation. That's why I'm so pleased to make this. Last
announcement. To strengthen America's basic rights.
And copyright protections for this information age. Two years ago we
successfully negotiated to. International treaties. To
protect intellectual property online. Original songs
and artwork that can be downloaded and stolen. Books
and articles that can be taken off the Internet. Creative material that
is so vulnerable. To online outlaws. And it's
absolutely essential that we protect intellectual property. So today I'm very
pleased and honored to announce that President Clinton will sign a new law.
That brings copyright protection. Into the digital age.
It will bring the full force of our law. To bear in
protecting copyrighted material online. At the same time it will also
offer telecommunications companies. An online service
providers. Some relief from liability so that we
protect rights and privacy. But don't choke the growth. Both of the
Internet as we do so
The law was called the Digital Millenium Copyright
Act, known by its acronym DMCA, and it was said to protect copyright in the
digital age. But it did the exact opposite of what Al Gore claimed.
that protected Internet platforms from the copyright infringement of its
users. So if someone, let’s say mass emailed a copy of a song they didn’t own,
or created a website with pictures they didn’t own – the internet platforms
hosting this content couldn’t be sued for the copyright infringement of its
users. It seemed logical in the digital age. The bill was voted unanimously in.
to benefit from copyright infringement. All they had to do was play dumb,
pretend like they didn’t know that the person uploading a music video or TV
sitcom were not the owners of that content, and if the owner comes complaining,
take it down. If someone else uploads the same clip, they just play dumb again,
then take it down for a second time if the owner
complains. This process could go on indefinitely. Copyright never looked the
modern times – the value of copyright was shifted from the content
creators to Silicon Valley…and is largely responsible for many of the Silicon
Valley monopolies we know today.
this favor code to protect themselves from Viacom’s lawsuit. The search engine claimed
YouTube was simply a platform and was protected from the copyright infringement
of its users. However, YouTube’s founders were aware of how their site was being
used – which should have removed the legal loophole that protected them
as it did with Napster.
adjudicated. After seven years, Viacom basically gave up and reportedly settled
no money exchanged hands. Even Viacom, one of the
largest media companies in the world, was no match for the virtual organism we
now know as Google.
their platforms, Google in effect held a gun to the heads of the music, TV, and
film industry. They could either work with Google and
attach ads to the content that people were pirating into their platforms, or
lose money every day to copyright infringement. It should also be noted that
Google could, with a few keystrokes, massively throttle web traffic and ad
dollars to any given website without anyone even knowing – something no
doubt every media company understood.
only to Google. YouTube is also the single biggest streamer of music in the
world – severely devaluing music for the foreseeable future. According to
a study released in October 2018 “a full 47 percent of global music consumption
is now happening on YouTube.” To illustrate just how value YouTube shifted away
from artists to their coffers, according to the same study, Spotify
pays around $20 per user in royalties. YouTube pays out less than a $1.
the artists or you can't find anything in their stories that indicates they
could. It's just that they built something that through network effects and freakin hard math was able to establish a lead that could
not be caught up with. And now there is no possible way that someone can create
a video site that would ever dethrone YouTube. You couldn't have done that in
2007 let alone 2019….I don't want anyone to read it
that I'm implying a particular political suggestion to this but I feel like if
we want artists to like have a proper place in society they cannot be dependent
on these massive monopolistic distribution platforms...I think I'm sure as a
with a physics background you know you can help people understand some of the
forces that are at play.
Actually, I think I can.
like Google and YouTube – and for some reason this phenomenon is largely
ignored by the science community. Understanding it will completely change your
view of how the world works. This omnipresent force can literally be seen at
every level of existence and not only explains the rise of the Silicon Valley
tech giants, but also explains why now, why at this particular moment in time,
a movement appears to be rising.
Trump: Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt
socialism in our country.
I’ll introduce you to that force in Part Two.
I’m Patrick Courrielche and this is Red Pilled America, a storytelling show. This is not another talk show covering the day news. We are
Welcome to Red Pilled America.
Something entirely new is happening in our world. Big Tech
Take for example YouTube. It is one of the most massive
So I began to dig in and what I found was a group of guys
I want to take you on a bit of a journey, starting with the
Part Internet visionary, part eccentric artist, Jake Lodwick was born in Baltimore, Maryland and was introduced
Jake Lodwick: I don't really have many memories of the time
Jake Lodwick: Well my family business on my mom's side was a
Jake Lodwick: I had a P.C. that I got to use this like a
Jake Lodwick: I was a freshman at RIT in Rochester and then I was doing
Josh Abramson: When we
Going to college at the turn of the century was a unique
Again, Josh Abramson.
If you were an adult around this time, you can no doubt
Jake Lodwick: And so the dot com
Jake Lodwick: we figured out a way to get you know a significant amount
We had this
Jake Lodwick: So you know Josh really wanted to move to
Josh Abramson: living in
I think we
Jake Lodwick: Yeah. But yeah we moved there and just found that. I mean
More after the break.
Adryana Cortez: Welcome back. I’m Adryana Cortez.
So when Jake was first introduced to computers in the late
Jake Lodwick: And so from age 7 I'm making little videos you
Adryana Cortez: So from a very young age, Jake
Jake Lodwick: And it was my first time living on the West Coast and I
Adryana Cortez: Josh remembers Jake’s early interest
Adryana Cortez: It was the perfect idea at the
Jake Lodwick: Then my partners go Jake wake up. You're the CTO of College
Adryana Cortez: In the about section of an
Jake introduced the initial beta version of Vimeo to a small room of roughly sixty people at a video blogging
Jake Lodwick: Ok, I’m actually nervous…
Adryana Cortez: The site originally functioned
A few days later, The New Yorker published an article on
The show host interviewed the guys.
Rocket Boom host: So what do you do
Jake Lodwick: I work for Connected Ventures, which is a
Jake Lodwick: And then she comes up and it's me and Zach making the Vimeo beta the new
Adryana Cortez: Jake introduced his brainchild
Jake Lodwick: Vimeo. Ok, well, I
Now the first thought that that date might bring to mind is
Patrick Courrielche: Do you remember
Josh Abramson: Yep.
Jake Lodwick: Josh asked me if I had known that and I didn't know that. And
Chad Hurley: We knew nothing about video
Patrick Courrielche: You Tube. Me Video. It’s
When he introduced it to the world, Jake Lodwick
Patrick Courrielche: The YouTube guys
Jake Lodwick: Now to be clear Flickr for video not like
If it's true
We're humans and there are
The reason why YouTube won is much simpler and gets to the
The YouTube founders posted their first video on April 23,
However, at some point, the site miraculously exploded into
In an interview with Charlie Rose, one of the founders Steve
As anyone that’s ever worked with a content heavy website
In internal emails, Steve Chen claimed it was copyright
But Vimeo had a different approach
Josh Abramson: You know I
Jake Lodwick: I mean just you know growing up in a family
As YouTube chugged along in the early days, they identified Vimeo as one of their primary competitors.
Josh recently recalled the moment that that he realized YouTube’s
I can remember the moment that it was clear
Google bought YouTube in October 2006.
Chad Hurley: Hi YouTube…today we have some exciting
In 1998, Bill Clinton signed a bill into law that would help
The law included a provision, a favor code,
But what it created was a massive loophole for Silicon Valley
The DMCA was likely one of the biggest wealth transfers in
Google purchased YouTube, then used
The case between Viacom and Google never got fully
By allowing all of this copyright infringement material on
YouTube is now the #2 trafficked website in the world, second
Jake Lodwick: They don't care about the individual videos or
There is a phenomenon that explains the rise of monopolies