Online video site YouTube.com has been busy distinguishing itself from its rivals with a recent high-profile partnership and a new piracy-blocking initiative.
YouTube, a site just barely a year old, has developed a name for itself as a service that lets users upload video clips and share them with others, much like sites DevilDucky.com, AtomFilms.com, and others.
Currently, users download about 30 million videos per day from YouTube. But YouTube is leading the way in other areas as well, giving the realm of video shorts a whole new sheen of legitimacy.
Recently, the company announced it has teamed up with E! Networks to promote a new online video channel called Cybersmack. Following the announcement of that deal, YouTube indicated that it would block pirated TV shows and movies, and will focus on enforcing copyright more intently.
As a way to spin off its series "The Soup," E! partnered with YouTube to create Cybersmack as a showcase for user-generated videos that satirize pop culture.
The network will promote the online channel through its programming and own Web site. YouTube has noted that it sees the partnership as a "sort of mash-up" between the network's audience and the site's community.
The move could prompt other studios to pursue similar partnerships in the same way that the popularity of iTunes and other music services finally convinced record studios and TV producers that digital distribution could be done legitimately.
"There's been a kind of disconnect between content creators and distributors and technology in the past," Forrester analyst Ted Schadler said in a recent interview. "It would be advantageous for film and TV producers to bring digital content to consumers rather than hold back because of piracy concerns."
If YouTube can manage to make a difference in its new antipiracy efforts, it is possible that the concerns of TV studios and filmmakers can be reduced even further.
The site began noticing that video clips longer than 10 minutes are typically pirated TV shows or movies. To crack down on this kind of piracy, YouTube has set 10 minutes as the maximum content length.
The restriction can be bypassed by legitimate creators, though, through a free content-provider program that confirms copyright before the video is put online.
"We're constantly trying to balance the rights of copyright owners with the rights of our users," the site noted in a posting that announced the antipiracy restriction.