We loves YouTube, if you hadn't figured it out yet. But we have a nagging suspicion that YouTube, and many of its brethren, are not going to look like they do for very long. Because YouTube is that rarest of commodities -- something that arose spontaneously while no one was paying attention much. Those people not not paying attention quash such innovations, if they can. Do you think the yeoman farmers and the landed gentry in England would have allowed the Industrial Revolution to happen if they'd have seen it coming? I imagine there were lots of suits at IBM chuckling over the dorky college dropout kid selling them software for their computers twenty five years ago.
Fame and fortune of the popular entertainment kind are exactly like a teeter-totter. There is a tipping point, and there really are only two sides of the fulcrum. On the low side, where all the wannabe and never-was and trying-desperately-to-get-back-in-the-limelight has-beens live, you try anything to attract attention to yourself. Anyone that pays attention to you is great. Set your hair on fire and and play the accordion and juggle and have cellphone camera sex and post it on every possible venue you can find.
A few make it to the high side of the teeter-totter, and oh how things change. The same person who would wax your car if you'd let them borrow your movie camera wants ten dollars for an autograph now. Copyrights magically appear important, and enforceable. Look at me! becomes: Look at my lawyer!
I can't imagine that the following mash-up of Beatles song, photoshoppped pictures, and animations is legal if anybody wishes to push the matter. The Beatles haven't said "look at me for free" for forty years now. But I can tell you, the following little images yoked to that delightful song has captivated my three year old for many a pleasant moment:
I Feel Fine.
Sooner or later, it's the artists that have to ask themselves: how much is enough? And would I have the nerve to try to pry a penny from a toddler's hand, if I was on the bottom of that see-saw?