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YouTube is a world-famous video streaming site that revolutionized the concept of online video and popularized it among average Internet users.
Fanvids and AMVs
Many fans host their fanvids, AMVs and MADs on YouTube. While some fans from the media fandom tradition of vidding that predates the internet may look down on YouTube as a vid site, many fandoms use the site as their main location for sharing vids and interacting with each other.
There have been several controversies over YouTube's policies of removal or partial removal of content uploaded by users. YouTube removes content when they receive a DMCA takedown notice and also makes an automated tool available to copyright holders who can choose to have content (usually audio tracks) removed if a match is made between the uploaded content and a database of copyrighted material. Because of this issue, many vidders prefer to use other sites for hosting their work, but such sites have often had only a short life. (See iMeem, Bam Video Vault)
Soap Opera fandoms are but one example of the many fandoms where most of the vids are on YouTube. A search for any of the popular Soap couples will turn up lots of hits.
Other Fan-Made Things
YouTube is also home to fan films and other video works that exist outside the main vidding, AMV or machinima traditions. The series Chad Vader is about a grocery store night manager who cosplays as Darth Vader from Star Wars at work. The Doctor Who Fan Orchestra publishes its projects on YouTube.
YouTube as Canon Resource
In some fandoms, YouTube is the main source for canon online. In some anime fandoms, the options are downloading via BitTorrent or YouTube. Soap Opera fans of shows from other countries, or fans who are only interested in one pairing, may watch compilation clips of their favourites rather than watch the entire source. Luke/Noah fans can watch dozens of clips of their appearances on As The World Turns without ever watching the rest of the show.
Other canon material for film and television fandoms is available, such as previews and trailers, popular or controversial scenes, and soundtracks. RPF canon, including interviews and convention panels, is of interest to RPF and FPF fans alike.
Web-original content such as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is also broadcast on YouTube.
YouTube as Canon
YouTube has its own thriving community, with vloggers posting original content daily. Some YouTubers have become so popular that fans make gifs and even fanfiction of them. Sometimes individual Youtube videos will receive the same treatment. One fandom whose canon is almost entirely based in original YouTube videos is Rooster Teeth.
Since negotiations between YouTube and the German GEMA broke down in May 2010, German users can't access vids that include copyrighted material by artists who are represented by GEMA. That means that almost every second or third fanvid is unavailable in Germany (unless a fan knows how to get around geoblocking). In an embedded video the preview image is shown so that the viewer knows what the vid is about, but once they click play, only a black screen with a message that usually looks something like this appears: "This video contains content from UMG. It is not available in your country." Trying to access the vid on the channel page of the vidder includes the title of the vid in the copyright message. Trying to open a direct link to the vid redirects to a version of the main page which displays the message that "This video is not available in your country." For German fans this means missing out on fannish content that is only available via YouTube.
- The EFF Guide to YouTube Removals, accessed May 3, 2010
- Luke and Noah's Story, 2,220 results when accessed May 3, 2010
- J2 Con, 456 results when accessed May 3, 2010
- See the Video Blogging & YouTube RPF tag on Archive of Our Own.
- See Octopus Steals My Video Camera and Swims off with It While It's Recording (Youtube) tag on AO3.
- Wolfgang Spahr (Billboard.biz). GEMA Talks With YouTube Break Down, 10 May 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
- YouTube vs GEMA, 18 August 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
- German battle over YouTube royalties wages on, 27 August 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
- German Court Rules Against Google in Copyright Case, 07 September 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)