I’ve long been curious about YouTubers and their ability to put people on the internet without prior consent. Having watched a lot of videos full of people that I seriously doubt signed off on their likeness being used for public lampooning, we now witness a high-profile casualty of the modernization of YouTube. Steve Kardynal, famous for his bizarrely delightful assaults on the good people of Chatroulette posted to his Facebook account that his “Wrecking Ball” video had been flagged by YouTube for privacy reasons — i.e., someone in the video didn’t want to be in the video.
Unfortunately for Steve, that complainer — who as Steve asserts he had prior consent for — essentially cost him nearly 50 million views. He had to reupload the video without the footage of the “offended party,” which not only f**ks with his livelihood/Adsense paycheck, but also renders us unable to put the old footage next to the new footage and determine who the whiny asshole was.
Though Steve would love to see this case end up in court, it does pose an interesting question for the YouTube landscape as footage becomes more proprietary and valuable. What happens when people stop giving their consent to appear in publicly-shot videos? Would we still have a Rhubarb lady? What happens if corporations start fussing about footage shot on their premises? All those great Walmart and McDonald’s customers that make such delightful videos might have to be found on the street … What happens if you have to get every person appearing in your video to sign a waiver form? You already see shades of it where people in the background are blurred out for identification issues, but does YouTube lose its magic when the subjects of the video are all blurred out as well?
Here are some other YouTube pranksters who could be affected: