Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Zeen - YouTube messes with copyright again?

A new magazine site called Zeen is being developed by the YouTube Founders.  It may prove to be as much of a nuisance and copyright challenge for artists and photographers as Pinterest has been.

In essence, YouTube is building some sort of magazine site.  The interesting question is where is all the content going to come from which allows people to build their own magazines - and how much of the information in the magazines is going to be shared ie published.
Adding Content to the Service. If you choose to add content to the Service, including without limitation links, images, videos, text, sound, comments, notes or tags (any and all of the foregoing “Member Content”), such content will be publicly viewable via the Service. Your username will also be publicly associated with any Member Content you add.
Sharing Member Content With Others. In certain instances you may be able to elect to share Member Content with others. In such instances, the person with whom you choose to share Member Content will receive an email notification that you wish to share Member Content with them and that email will originate from the email address associated with your account and therefore that email address will be viewable by the recipient and associated with your username.

Zeen Privacy Policy
These two articles tell all that can be found on the net about this application to date

This is the text of the email I received this morning.  The first sentence tells me that this person has not looked at my blog at all and this is a complete load of guff!
Hi Katherine,

First off, I wanted to say how much I’ve genuinely enjoyed browsing through “Making a Mark.” I’ve been researching art and your work is some of the best I’ve seen out there. That's why, after getting lost in your site, I wanted to reach out to you.

I’m working on Zeen, the new project from YouTube co-founders, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. We’re looking for a select group of content creators with unique expertise in art and would like to invite you to join our beta creator program. As a beta creator you’ll be the first to get your eyes on the still private platform, offer feedback and establish your footprint in a brand new webspace before anyone else. Sound interesting? Here’s how to get started:

1) Reserve your username at and be sure to validate your email
2) Register for the Zeen Beta Creator Program here (
3) When the beta site is ready for you, we’ll let you know and enable exclusive access to your account

Even though we’re still in stealth mode, and we have yet to do any press outreach, we’ve already received a lot of great coverage speculating about what we’re up to. It would be great to have you onboard as one of our beta creators so you could see what’s going on before anyone else.
Hope to see you on Zeen!
Their "great press coverage" links to the PC Magazine article. If you read it, it's the typical PC magazine review of an upcoming development about which they know very little.  Lots of speculation and head scratching.  It finishes thus.....
And here's hoping the general Internet population doesn't launch 6,000 different cat magazines once Zeen goes live.
The thing is - the PC Magazine articles either isn't being read by people (unlikely?) or it doesn't appear to be taking any comments.  At least there's no credible comments on the article and mine wouldn't publish this morning.  Which is odd.  How credible is that?  So is the article actually a bit of PR fluff?

My concern is the potential copyright infringement of the content which might be included on the net via this new development

So here is my comment that I tried to leave at PC Magazine again - reproduced below.
I got my beta invite this morning - with all the normal gushing up front about what a remarkable blog I have. I can't think of anything more guaranteed to make me decline to participate.

So is this going to be yet another site - like Pinterest - which says one thing in its terms of service about "all the content you upload must be your own" and, in practice allows anybody to allow copyrighted material from around the net? Photographers and artists are getting very fed up with having their work stolen.

Are they paying attention to the way that Pinterest is being clobbered with DMCA notices all the time and has had to revise its TOS?

Are YouTube paying attention to the results of the recent Court action re YouTube in Germany - which YouTube lost (see ) - where the Judge ruled that they can be held responsible for copyright infringement if they don't take effective action to stop it? YouTube now faces "a huge bill for royalties"

I predict that if these are such wonderful income generating applications that it won't be long before the invoices for fees for unauthorised publication will accompany the DMCA notices from those whose copyright has been infringed.

Maybe the rollout of this application will be a little longer than originally anticipated?
For those who are wondering about what artists and photographers - and various commentators - had to say about Pinterest and its "allowed lifting" of copyrighted content see my site - Pinterest and Copyright - for Visual Artists & Photographers.

Pinterest has got very good at removing copyrighted content - but the primary issue remains that it should not be there in the first place.  Hence there continue to be a variety of concerns about Pinterest which don't look like they're going to go away anytime soon - unless artists and photographers start serving Pinterest with invoices for the licensing fees required for publication of their content.

I wonder if I'll need to start a new site for Copyright issues re. Zeen?

One thing is for sure - there is no way that the majority of authors of copyrighted content are going to allow major  moneymaking machines like YouTube to profit off their endeavours with no "pay for view" involved.  I think it's about time for us all to get business-like about copyright theft.

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