Those YOOTOON Submission Requirements in Detail

So I was all set to write a post on the YOOTOON channel in general but Amid Amidi took care of that for me so instead, let’s take a closer look at those submission requirements shall we?

From the Tumblr submission page:

    1. Have fun! We want to see your style shine through your video.
    2. Make sure your video is set to UNLISTED on YouTube. Your video must be brand spanking new, not one you’ve previously uploaded.
    3. Videos should be 10 seconds to 2 minutes long.
    4. Only use licensed music or music that you’ve created. You can find free music online! If you use licensed music, we will need a copy of that license agreement.
    5. Please keep your video kid friendly to be eligible for submission. Get creative, but no nudity, swearing, bad stuff, you get the picture.
    6. Only submit your own original videos. If accepted, this video will be posted on the YOOTOON channel EXCLUSIVELY and CAN NOT be live on the internet ANYWHERE else, including your own Youtube channel.
    7. You must be over 13. If you are not over 13, please have your parent or guardian submit the video for you or have them contact us at: joinyootoon@gmail.com

Let’s break these down one by one:

1. Have fun! We want to see your style shine through your video.

Okie dokie, seems fair enough.

2. Make sure your video is set to UNLISTED on YouTube. Your video must be brand spanking new, not one you’ve previously uploaded.

So the video must not have been shown before. That’s OK too. A lot of few film festivals generally require that your film not be available online in order to be eligible to enter. In other words, it’s not a deal-breaker.

3. Videos should be 10 seconds to 2 minutes long.

Again, a straight-forward request.

4. Only use licensed music or music that you’ve created. You can find free music online! If you use licensed music, we will need a copy of that license agreement.

This is pretty much an indemnity clause. As you may well know, record companies love crawling YT looking for their unlicensed use of their content. Besides a quick DCMA takedown to YT, they also love to send legal nastygrams, sometimes extorting money in exchange for not suing you. With this, YOOTOON is basically saying that they won’t even consider a video without the proper licensing in place becaues of the potential legal pratfalls. Again, this is fairly standard.

5. Please keep your video kid friendly to be eligible for submission. Get creative, but no nudity, swearing, bad stuff, you get the picture.

OK, we get it; no boobies and F words.

6. Only submit your own original videos. If accepted, this video will be posted on the YOOTOON channel EXCLUSIVELY and CAN NOT be live on the internet ANYWHERE else, including your own Youtube channel.

OK, so this basically reiterates what was said above in addition to stating that the video can’t have been hosted anywhere else either.

7. You must be over 13. If you are not over 13, please have your parent or guardian submit the video for you or have them contact us at: joinyootoon@gmail.com

Fair enough.

Now, this is where it gets interesting because below those requirements, is another statement:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!

Now IANAL (I am not a lawyer) but this is most definitely an ill-drafted legal agreement if ever I’ve seen one. Let’s break this one down too:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit.

Any lawyer worth his salt could find fault with this. Who is “YOO”, he is not “you” because legal documents love specifc language. “YOO” is not specific, and could even be construed as being short for “YOOTOON”, thus making this clause a bait-n-switch kind of deal.

If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos.

In other words, if the video is good, we’ll fund the promotion of it to an extent that we think is OK. Not sure why this is in the agreement, YT has the same basic thing in their agreement because that’s how YT makes money too! Surely no reason to call it out specifically for a channel, right?

If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series!

Let’s isolate the key words here:

YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator

What is a “best effort deal”? Well, what that means in the context of YOOTOON is that they will make you an offer with the best intentions of hoping you’ll accept it. The gist is that “best intentions” can translate into “we hope you accept this offer, but if not, then we tried really hard to make it so that you would, and now that you don’t like it, we’re not going to offer you a different one”. In other words, we’ve fulfilled our side, you can take it or leave it.

That’s an awful lot of trust right there, because chances are, the agreement will be skewed in YOOTOON’s favour and there is little you can do about it.

Some of the particulars that aren’t described or mentioned include copyright. You can’t sign away your copyright unless the agreement specifically states so. I therefore find it hard to believe that the above agreement, where YOOTOON claims to own your video, would stand up very well (if at all) in court.

Secondly, it’s interesting to note about this channel is that it’s based on YouTube but accepts submissions through Tumblr. Yup, I haven’t quite figured that one out either because presumably, submitter’s videos will be on YT too. This adds an extra murky aspect to the whole scenario. Which license supersedes the others? YouTube because that’s where the videos are hosted? Tumblr because that’s where they were submitted? Or YOOTOON, because they are the channel’s owners?

It’s all a bit too much for a Tuesday morning before the first cup of coffee. So grab a cup and share your thoughts in the comments below.

And don’t forget:

Let’s be honest, this makes me think that Butch is siumply the frontman for the operation.

Disney? Partnering with YouTube?

 Via: Animation Magazine

As was announced yesterday (although I can’t find the press release because, well, their a wee bit behind on updating their website) Disney has agreed to partner with YouTube to create custom content for the streaming website. This is interesting on a couple of fronts but mainly because it seems to run counter to what the company as a whole has been saying in regards to the internet.

The main media outlets have discussed the deal and what it will cover but what about the details, the nitty gritty. There’s a lot of talk about “interactive content”, “family-friendly videos”, “user-generated” and so forth but at the end of the day, what does that get you?

This is where animators need to pay attention because it’s easy to get swept up in the rush to interact with your customers. There’s no right way to do it, but there are plenty of false leads out there.

For Disney, sure, this interactive partnership is a great idea, but unfortunately its likely to be dead in the water if it can’t get other divisions of the company behind it. Case in point, the film studio. If the company is trying to engage fans, they would be much better off to allow fans to use the original source material but as we all know, Disney videos get yanked from YouTube barely after they make it up.

This seems to send a mixed message. On the one hand the company is attempting to engage with consumers but on the other, its trying to push them away. This is the unfortunate result of a large conglomerate having different parts moving in different directions.

Animators need to look at such behaviour and be able to do so in an objective manner. Which direction would you choose? Is it better to trust your fans or lock up your content? Plenty of you out there are extremely reluctant to put your films on YouTube. That’s grand, but unless you’re Bill Plympton, you’re only hurting yourself in the end.

As for the Disney/YouTube deal, expect to see a bit of content come out but it will be hamstrung by the former’s corporate guys from ever using some of the more valuable material. Expect the entire thing to die a quiet death in a few years (or not).

All in all, it seems YouTube is the big winner here. Having a name like Disney attached is sure to give them the leverage they need to strike more deals. Keep an eye on them.

An Open Letter To Mr. Tom Lowe

Not that I want to keep coming back to the same topic, but waaaay down in the comments for Amid’s recent post on Cartoon Brew about making money from your short film, are some responses from a Mr. Tom Lowe who would seem to be involved in Bob Gofrey’s official website.

In case you’re curious, here are his comments:

Each video on YouTube had around 4000 hits, and there were around 5 videos up, so around 20,000 hits in total. Not much by YouTube terms.

We are looking in to DVD-to-download options, as the inital cost of DVD mastering would be way too much at the moment.

As for the films initially being free, can I ask where you got that information from, or have you just made it up?

As for free and extra content, we have an interview with Bob talking about Henry 9 ’til 5 which is free before the paywall for the film. More films will include these interviews with Bob, for free.

As for an iPad app, I’m not going with a closed-system run by Apple. As for services like Netflix or LoveFilm, they only deal with distributors, finding one of those isn’t something I have any inclination to do, as we would lose control and certain rights. It may generate more revenue, but it’s simply not an option for us.

As for a better designed site, we’re working on it. We are trying to perfect it and make it as user friendly as possible, so please keep comments coming, we are listening.

In the mean time, if you do want to use the site, we offer weekly subscriptions from £2.99 (around $5) a week.

And here’s his response to a few other comments which pointed out where you could still watch the shorts online.

Here’s his final comment after all of the above:

Amid, I must say it’s a shame that you want to rubish our Pay-per-view site and break copyright law, rather than contact us, talk to us about it and maybe come to some agreement about giving your readers a discount, maybe even giving you a percentage. This would be far more constructive for everyone involved.

With all that fresh in your mind, may I present my open letter to Mr. Tom Lowe:

Dear Mr. Lowe,

The career and legend of Bob Godfrey as an animator will never be forgotten, as long as people such as myself are alive who have fond memories of growing up on some of his greatest works (I have an affinity for Roobarb myself). His many short films and the numerous nominations he received for them solidify his place in animation history without a doubt. What I am concerned about, is that his legacy is at risk in this new, digitally connected age.

The frontier that is the internet has been drastically altering the entertainment landscape for some time now with no end in sight to the revolution we are currently going through. It has been tough on many aspects of the film and TV businesses as they have struggled to try and find their place in the new landscape. You are not alone in your attempts to preserve the legacy of Bob Godfrey for all to enjoy.

You face a considerable challenge in this regard, and I admire you for making the effort necessary to bring Bob’s films to the attention of people who may not be familiar with his works. Naturally it is desirable to do so in a profitable manner that is sustainable, yes? After all, no-one could they be expected to incur the considerable costs of providing streaming content by themselves, I know I sure wouldn’t.

However, your comments as posted to the recent Cartoon Brew posts are somewhat disheartening, especially so when considered in light of your comment on Amid’s post back in 2010 where he revealed that the shorts were online. There is a great air of optimism about it! You seem excited that fans are enjoying the YouTube channel and its videos. The comments above are such a turnaround from then, yes?

Four thousand hits on YouTube is actually pretty decent, considering the videos were only up for a couple of months. Great films such as those are lucky in that they are not constrained by the need to feel ‘new’ or ‘hip’. They are timeless and as a result, could remain on YouTube for many years without ever going stale. Twenty thousand hits overall may not be much by YouTube standards, but there are millions of videos on that site that have maybe hundreds of hits, and there are plenty with none at all!

You also mention providing free content and use the documentary as an example. While this is “extra” of the films themselves, it regrettably does not provide someone who has not seen Bob’s films with a big enough incentive to pay for them. Think about it. If the latest Harry Potter film came out and instead of a trailer, they posted a documentary about the actors instead, would half as many people want to go see the film? I doubt it very much.

People (in the US in particular) have become accustomed to most things available online having no direct cost to them. That is how things have played out over the last 15 years or so and once people know they can get stuff for free, the become extremely reluctant to being paying for it. While your plan to charge £2.99 (or $5) a week is commendable, it absolutely pales in comparison to the tens of thousands of hours of content I can view on Netflix for $8 a month. The problem is not so much how much you charge, but how little substitute services like Netflix charge in comparison. You are not so much competing for my wallet as for a combination of time and choice.

You are in a strong position, Tom. There are plenty of other avenues to pursue besides charging people to watch the films. I’m sure there are many items that could be sold instead. How about limited edition drawings, sketchings, posters, etc? Sure physical objects like these cost more, but they make more per sale too. Besides that people sometimes buy more than one. I’m sure you can figure something out, in the meantime, why not help spread the word about  Bob’s films? Cartoon Brew has already done so and introduced many more people who would otherwise not have known about Bob or his amazing films. Even this letter, which I am posting to my blog, will introduce my readers to a legendary animator who they not have known about.

Lastly, it is important to be acutely aware of the distinction between copyright and theft. If sharing copyrighted materials was theft, it would already be covered by the many laws already in place that cover physical property. Copyrighted materials do not come under such laws and in legal circles they take pains to avoid confusion. Unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials is considered infringement for this very reason.

Surely it would be much better view people who want to see Bob’s films as fans, yes? And if they want to view the films, why not let YouTube take care of the cost of hosting and streaming them? They’re willing to do it for free, why should you take on the burden and cost of doing so? Let YouTube carry take the risk!

I sincerely hope that you find a way to keep Bob’s shorts online in a way that caters to his fan’s needs and helps attracts new people to Bob’s timeless films.

Sincerely

Charles Kenny

Get Re-Educated on Copyright With The Happy Tree Friends!

So if I embed the video, is that copyright infringement?

I’m going to say no, although it is an area where the law is not exactly clear and why the video above has a some pretty serious limitations. Besides, the video preaches to the choir (and I’m sure Google knows this) and it’s quite likely to have been put out as a result of pressure from the content companies.

Want to watch a far better video? How about this one from Nina Paley (of Sita Sings the Blues fame)