“Yahoo, YouTube Car Wrecks” is the title of a new commercial that debuted on Yahoo during the week of July 10th. In this clip, posted to YouTube by one of YouTube’s most popular celebrities, Matt DiMartino, an annoyed female surfer is seeing smashing a large glass window with her skateboard. The subsequent footage shows the window shattering at the same spot where a man had been trying to do the same thing, only to end up smashing a large chain link fence (the same fence that the woman was smashing).
The commercial is very funny and showcases all the funny things about YouTube in a very entertaining way. But it is also indicative of a disturbing trend: that of taking car accidents as inspiration to commit violence against other innocent people, or even towards innocent fishing-related sites and property. The Internet can be a highly valuable resource, but it can also be a danger, and there are some real dangers to using it for the purpose of gaining online notoriety or advancing a personal agenda. (This trend, which is unfortunately becoming more common, should be of particular concern to those who frequent public and private fishing piers.)
The fact that YouTube has become such a repository for low quality footage is the subject of many conversations among online commentators. However, it bears mentioning that there are two major differences between what we see in this clip, and what happens when you actually get into an accident. Actual car wrecks cause serious injuries and fatalities, and often result in extensive damage to property. But YouTube videos are merely pictures, they do not have the same gravity as real life car crashes. As such, it is entirely possible that what is seen in the YouTube videos would actually cause far less damage if it were occurring in real life. This is why it is always recommended that anyone who wants to make their Internet video clips as entertaining as possible should avoid using copyrighted material in them.
As far as the YouTube car wrecks themselves are concerned, there are some people who are trying to use them as a way of making money from viewers. In other words, some people are trying to use YouTube as a venue for uploading illegal content. In the case of fishing videos, this may be against the terms and conditions of service of YouTube, as well as contrary to general Internet principles of fair use and proper etiquette. If it is your desire to become one of the channel’s advertisers, you can do so by seeking permission from the channel itself. But remember, you must ask for permission first!
It is important to remember that there are laws in place that protect consumers from unfair treatment when using the Internet. So while it is certainly within your legal rights to humorously point out how badly a fellow user has been pipped of their catch, you should exercise caution when doing so. For instance, if you are angling for carp and your bait has been snagged by a rogue boat, you may be open to a fine for causing the collision. Similarly, if you are fishing for salmon and you have thrown up your line into the water and it has stuck on the bottom, it may also be an offense to be able to pull the fish out of the water.
There have also been YouTube car wrecks involving trucks. When a truck has rolled over onto the highway due to bad weather, it is not the fault of the truck driver. The YouTube community, however, has responded to these incidents by suspending the account of those whose actions caused a calamity. This could have a chilling effect on the public’s use of YouTube. This is especially true in light of the rising incidents of car wrecks on YouTube, which many people believe to be caused by the poor driving skills of too many motorists on the road.
The problem lies with YouTube’s human designers and video editors who decide what is funny and what is not. One instance in which this was seen occurred when a well-known auto racing clip was aired on YouTube. In this video, a large truck was intentionally rolling through a water body and clipping several bikers, one of whom was wearing a helmet. In response to the widespread anger and media attention that the incident caused, a mass amount of negative comments were left on the YouTube video, many of which were racist and sexist in nature. This is a disturbing trend that suggests a vulnerability of YouTube’s overall value system due to the influence of advertisers, but also of YouTube’s revenue stream.
The other issue regarding YouTube being a vehicle in bringing down a member of society is more about copyright law and the issues that arise from uploaded videos that are viewed across the Internet. As one might expect, YouTube has become the go-to site for sharing video content, but it is also a site where legal issues and infringement of intellectual property are also raised. Since a car commercial is an item that is sold to the general public, YouTube should have greater concern for the content it is allowing people to post when they share videos on the channel. By taking a look at recent news footage of YouTube car wrecks in addition to general vehicle videos that have been shared on the site, it would be easier to determine if a particular car commercial is truly defamatory or legal.