SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube has brought a new meaning to ‘freedom of speech’ with its unfettered creative content that has in recent months flooded cyberspace, much to the delight of net addicts. And now by launching its version of the film-industry’s People’s Choice Awards it would allow the popular video-sharing website’s community to decide the top clips made by users in 2006.
According to an announcement made on 19 March, 2007, YouTube Video Awards will be given for original content in the categories of Most Creative; Most Inspirational; Best Series; Best Comedy; Musician of the Year; Best Commentary and Most Adorable Video Ever.
“Our community was at the forefront of the most creative and popular user-generated content in 2006,” said YouTube director of programming Mia Quagliarello. “We want to honour and celebrate those who helped foster the community through their creativity.”
Videos were nominated in-house based on how popular they were. Among the nominees in the first of what YouTube hopes will be an annual awards event were Lonely Girl 15 and Chad Vader for best series; Geriatric 1927 for commentary and Lisa Nova for comedy.
A breakout year for user-created original content, the Internet community is expected to respond enthusiastically tp this initiative. Voting will take place through the week starting 19 March at the website www.youtube.com/YTAwards and the winners will be announced online on March 25.
Prizes include trophies and winning videos featuring prominently on YouTube and if the awards are a hit, Google-owned YouTube might even expand the event to include a real-world ceremony.
Readers will recall the recent controversy that YouTube got embroiled in. It is defending itself against accusations that it has condoned piracy by not better filtering user clips containing copyrighted film, television and music clips.
Earlier this month US entertainment giant Viacom filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Google and its unit YouTube, accusing the video-sharing website of “massive” copyright infringement. Google said it was confident the courts would take its side against Viacom, whose empire includes youth-oriented television networks like MTV and VH1 along with Paramount and DreamWorks movie studios.
For those who are not in the know, YouTube is a popular free video sharing website which lets users upload, view and share video clips. Videos can be rated and the average rating and number of times a video that has been watched are both published. Owned by Google, all its content is searchable from Google Video.
Founded in February 2005 by three former employees of PayPal, the San Bruno-based service utilizes Adobe Flash technology to display video. The wide variety of site content includes movie and TV clips and music videos, as well as amateur content such as videoblogging and short original videos.The company was named TIME magazine’s ”Invention of the Year” for 2006. ]