Clip Theft

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See also: Clip, Clipping, Clip Tape, Sharing Fanart
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Clip theft is a concept in vidding. It refers to getting footage for a vid from other vids rather than from the unaltered canon source. In many vidding and AMV-making communities, this is a serious breach of fannish etiquette akin to plagiarising fanfiction. Clip theft has been used to refer to borrowing footage (unaltered) from another vid as well as borrowing altered/edited footage. Clip theft was rare when vidding used analog (videotape) footage because fanvids were harder to obtain and video quality degraded sharply with each succeeding copy. And, in the early days of digital vidding, clip theft was often more tolerated:

"Back in the nineties, when I started vidding, clip theft was at least understandable - you needed a very high standard of hardware and expensive capture devices to get source, and even then the source wasn't very good. I, for one, turned a blind eye to it at that time, for that reason. But it is now quite simple to get grabs from your dvd collection - use a tool like DVDx or Audials. There is no reason in the world to use other people's vids for source anymore."[1]

Some vidders watermark their work to deter clip theft. In 2006, a Livejournal community called antiwatermark was created to report and mock clip theft.[2] A similar community dontstealvideo was created in 2008.[3]

In the mid 2000s, an "Anti-Clip Theft Union" was created:

I'm now a member in the 'Anti-Clip Theft Union'

036 - Kerstin.jpg

It's a club against clip theft obviously. If you're a member and you're also a video maker and your stuff gets stolen, you can report that there and they will deal with the person for you. They also have a 'Watch List' of people who steal stuff of others and refuse to take them down.

Just take a look and if you like join.[4]

Around the same time, some vidders added the following byline to their Youtube vids or fanvid websites:

"Member of Vidder's against clip theft. "We can make great vids and be great vidders without stealing clips, effects, ideas, or movies from others."[5]

Attitudes over clip theft have varied over the decades:

In 2007, vidders from the Livejournal community discussed clip theft in the wider context of fandom plagiarism:[6]

Within the vidding community, at least, I think this is changing. We old-skool vidders used to be all het up about "clip theft", and now most of us just can't be bothered to care."

Oh this is interesting. I do know some vidders, and I've heard how much they detest clip-theft, but I didn't know that it was sort of dissapearing. Do you think that attitudes are changing, or is it just that people are too tired to chase after every vid?

"Both actually. Most of the people I've talked to about this started out just being tired of it all, but that intersected with a growing realization that we are part of remix/mashup culture, and we should embrace that. So I'm hearing less of the "honor among thieves" argument and more of the "goddamnit, we started this YouTube party in the first place, now let's embrace the larger community".

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