14 February, 2005
901 Cherry Ave, San Bruno, California, United States
Type of site
YouTube is a video-sharing website where people can upload, view, and share videos.
YouTube is created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, although media corporations including CBS, BBC, VEVO, Hulu, and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for US$1.65 billion, and now operates as a subsidiary of Google.
In the past, YouTube had required the Adobe Flash Player browser plugin to be installed in order to view videos on the site. In January 2010, YouTube launched an experimental version of YouTube player that uses the built-in multimedia capabilities of web browsers supporting the HTML5 standard, which allowed for viewing videos without the proprietary Flash Player. As of January 2015, the HTML5 player is used by default in browsers that have adequate support for Media Source Extensions.
All YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes in duration. Users who have a good track record of complying with the site's Community Guidelines may be offered the ability to upload videos of unlimited length, which requires verifying the account, normally through a mobile phone. When YouTube was launched in 2005, it was possible to upload long videos, but a ten-minute limit was introduced in March 2006 after YouTube found that the majority of videos exceeding this length were unauthorised uploads of television shows and films. The 10-minute limit was increased to 15 minutes in July 2010. File size is limited to 2 GB for uploads from YouTube web page, and to 20 GB if Java-based Advanced Uploader is used.
YouTube has featured an April Fools prank on the site on April 1 of every year since 2008:
- 2008: All the links to the videos on the main page were redirected to Rick Astley's music video "Never Gonna Give You Up", a prank known as "Rickrolling".
- 2009: When clicking on a video on the main page, the whole page turned upside down. YouTube claimed that this was a new layout.
- 2010: YouTube temporarily released a "TEXTp" mode, which translated the colors in the videos to random upper case letters. YouTube claimed in a message that this was done in order to reduce bandwidth costs by $1 per second.
- 2011: The site celebrated its "100th anniversary" with a "1911 button" and a range of sepia-toned silent, early 1900s-style films, including "Flugelhorn Feline", a parody of Keyboard Cat.
- 2012: Clicking on the image of a DVD next to the site logo led to a video about "The YouTube Collection", an option to order every YouTube video for home delivery on DVD. The spoof promotional video promised "It's the complete YouTube experience completely offline.
- 2013: In YouTube's sixth April Fools prank, YouTube claims that it will be no longer been accepting new entries. In a video, YouTube claims the video-sharing website was launched as a contest which has finally come to an end. YouTube will select a winner on April 1st, 2013 and will delete everything else. YouTube will go back online in 2023 and will have a winning video and nothing else. The video features a number of YouTube celebrities.
Most (if not all) Untergangers use YouTube to upload their parodies. Prior to the DMCA crisis, it was necessary to invoke Fair Use, however, after October 2010, this is no longer necessary (except for other non-Downfall parodies or videos, or Downfall parodies that make significant use of non-Downfall content).
Interestingly, Downfall parodies with the most hits are mostly a one-timer by YouTubers not common in the Unterganging circle, except a few by major Untergangers. Due to this, without a considerable network, a lesser Unterganger will find it hard to get views. This also means that parodies by one-timers and lesser-known Untergangers could be taken down, deleted, or have their channels closed undetected.
Some efforts have been made to address this, such as the creation of the Downfall Parodies Forum by the de-facto leader in Downfall Parodies, Hitler Rants Parodies, as well as several (often failed) Unterganger-related websites. These once-independent freelance YouTubers thus formed an organized community.
YouTube has had a lot of controversies since its inception and still has, such as spam, controversial or sensitive content (i.e. conspiracy theories, animal cruelty and racism) and issues with some of its users.
Fair Use Material
Although it's permitted to use copyrighted material on YouTube as long as it is used under Fair Use, YouTube has not always played by the rules (see Downfall parody controversies).
Although many companies agree to fair use of their materials (such as Constantin Film as of October 2010), usually big Hollywood companies reject the Fair Use appeal, such as Universal Pictures (e.g. certain parodies have been blocked because they used scenes from Inglourious Basterds), MGM (like HRP's Hitler vs Inspector Clouseau) and 21st Century Fox (DictatorAntics's final episode of The Antic Menace, for example). In this case the only way to avoid the copyright is to heavily edit the video in question.
As for music companies, they rarely allow the use of their songs unmodified.
Among the minor glitches that would usually appear on any other site, in mid-February 2012 a series of strange glitches caused many Downfall parodies to be blocked. The glitch was later solved.
Around July 2013, a whole new suite of glitches plagued the native YouTube player. For starters, the player will insist on switching playback option to 'best quality', and will change any 'slow connection' setting at its whim without permission. This 'best quality' option, which have been around for a few months, also resulted in more infamy of YouTube, with the Internet citing and making fun at how buffered parts disappear when one seek to a different part of the video. Other glitches in the suite include videos stopping or cease loading at random and black bars that pushed part of the video under the control bar.
The new channel layout
Since March 2012 YouTube has implemented a new channel layout, that has caused more controversy than the other older layouts. Very few have liked the new layout.
The complains are usually the following: inability to customize the personal channel (unless you're a YouTube partner), channel comments are no longer on the front page, neither is the subscribers list, many have claimed to be lifeless as a result.
It should be noted that almost all the negative reactions are referred to the channel design, the YouTube homepage has not come under the same level of criticism (possibly because it changed more often).
Even newer channel layout
Beginning October 2012, another radical layout change sporadically crop out between page loads (sometimes you got this new layout, sometimes you don't), which has been criticized as being more flawed than ever. It removed so many features off YouTube (viewed as an attempt to 'dumb down' the website to suit it's dumb demographics) in what is viewed as another attempt to "Google+"-ify YouTube, that one cannot even view their channel and inbox without considerable tinkering and URL hacks. There is also no notice whatsoever on YouTube regarding this change.
By early 2013, the transition is complete, and users are getting the new layout outside channel pages. The buggy user navigation has also been fixed. This new site layout also tends to change often, one small part at a time. Some of these subtle changes include:
- YouTube player changes
- Change in appearance
- Pause annotation (often used to loop the video) no longer works
- Videos no longer loop through any of their traditional means (annotations as well as loop=1 and similar URL hacks)
- Ability to add channel watermark and feature a video on all videos of one's channel
- Playlist is moved to the right side of the video - a good change for once
- Video suggestions in site feed (often completely irrelevant)
Around March 2013, YouTube offers yet another new channel layout named One Channel, intended to streamline the layout across all platforms (e.g. desktop, tablet, mobile, etc.) While some users enthusiastically adopt the new layout, critics lament at yet more loss of features, among them channel backgrounds. This new channel layout also presents - for the first time - suggested channels in the channel page itself; an undesirable feature to most Untergangers as YouTube is notorious for suggesting completely irrelevant and -- for Untergangers -- neo-nazi channels.
Fusion with Google+
On 6 November 2013, YouTube implemented a new comment system that requires all YouTube users to use a Google+ account in order to comment on videos, essentially integrating Google+ into the site. This has been met with scathing reaction from the community, so much that even YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim posted a question on his YouTube channel to express his negative opinion of the change, in his second-ever YouTube post. The presentation video uploaded by YouTube to explain this system quickly became one of the most disliked videos. The new comments system restored the ability to post URLs in comments, which had previously been removed due to problems with abuse. Because of this, the spamming rate on YouTube skyrocketed, and now it's very hard if not impossible to find a popular video on YouTube that hasn't been spammed, with links to porn and scam websites being posted. The new system has also been reported to be more prone to abuse, with inappropriate imagery, obscene ASCIIs and neo-Nazi references.
The wonders of modern technology never cease to amaze me. Really.
What's really annoying is that, somewhere, someone is getting well paid for this shit.”
The interface kept getting worse, and as of Jan 2014 people complained that they've lost the ability to change the avatar, and even if they can it'd take at least three days to see if it appear on YouTube.
Google, however, had started easing on the G+ integration, signaled by the resignation of the creator and leader of Google+, Vic Gundotra, from Google. Google co-founder Sergey Brin had stated that Google+'s push was "a mistake" for him.
Some Untergangers have pointed out that typing "Hitler" in the search box will not produce any suggestions, while typing similar keywords (e.g. "Stalin"), or references to other Nazi-related symbols, such as "Führer" as well as names of other officials especially Downfall characters, does not produce the same effect. This has been viewed by some as either Internet censorship, double-standards (as pointed out with Stalin) and infringement of the freedom of expression.
False Content ID Matches
A more recent problem involves the new content ID system. Although there are veritable Content ID claims, like the ones from Constantin Film, Universal, etc, many other ID matches are false, and are either spam or mistakes.
A list of several false content ID entities includes:
- Content Lizenz Agentur
- Nextmedia Interactive Limited
- Quiz Group Music
- International E-sports Group
Disputing the claim on the basis of fair use usually works, with the claiming party withdrawing their claim. The most annoying and most of the claims come from RTI and geotv.
The automated content match system has been so criticized that in mid-October 2012, YouTube introduced a new policy in handling disputes. In the new system, when a video is disputed, the claimant must either revoke all its claims, or issue an official DMCA takedown. As of November 2012, the move has reduced the false claimant problems drastically.
Degree of content match for each parody style
|Unscratched||Content match||Worldwide block||Strike|
|Original Bunker Scene||Very rarely||Yes||Rare||-|
|Hitler Reviews / Pros and Cons||Rarely||Yes||Rare||-|
|Includes scenes from other movies||Depends on movie||Depends on movie||Depends on movie||Likely, depends on movie and length of footage used|
|Uses other scenes from Downfall||Most of the time||Sometimes||-||-|
|Headpasting||Most of the time||Sometimes||-||-|
|Chroma keying and rotoscoping||Yes||-||-||-|
|Flash / cartoon / animation / interactive||Yes||-||-||-|
|Parodies shorter than 6-7 mins||Rare||Most of the time||Rare||-|
|Parodies longer than 7 minutes||-||-||Yes|
|"Trapped" parodies and other voice-overs||Yes||-||-||-|
Direct subtitle spoof (actor parody)
|Depends on movie||Depends on movie||Depends on movie||Depends on movie|
|Music Video spoof (lip-sync)||-||Rarely||Occasionally||Very likely, depends on publisher and band|
|Dialogue as lyrics (instrumental + parody dub)||Very likely||Rarely||-||-|
|Audio-splicing and autotuning||Very likely||-||-||-|
List of common claimants
- Constantin Film
- Owns the distribution rights to Downfall. Most of the common scenes will be matched. Matched parodies longer than 5-6 minutes will be blocked worldwide.
- Distributor to several big films. Parodies containing some movie parts (e.g. Obi-Wan vs Anakin in Star Wars Episode 3) would be blocked worldwide upon matching, although some have reported successful disputes with the use of Fox-produced footage.
- Warner Bros
- Distributor to many big films, many loved by Untergangers, such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, V for Vendetta. Since late 2012, their Content ID has been upgraded, and it can detect scenes that are only a couple of seconds long, or have been FX edited, such as mirroring, zooming in or out, etc. Parodies that use Warner Bros content are sometimes blocked.