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Federal Officials and YouTube Nearing a Deal 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the watching-the-watchers dept.
GovTechGuy writes "The federal government is on the verge of reaching an agreement with YouTube that would allow agencies to make official use of the popular video-sharing service. A coalition of federal agencies led by the General Service Administration's Office of Citizen Services has been negotiating with Google, YouTube's parent company, since summer 2008 on new terms that would allow agencies to establish their own channels on the site. Agencies have not been [allowed] to post videos to YouTube (although many already have) because under the current terms of service, people who post content are subject to their state's libel laws. Federal agencies must adhere to federal law. On Tuesday, government officials said the negotiations were 'very close' to being completed."
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Federal Officials and YouTube Nearing a Deal

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  • Oh joy (Score:5, Funny)

    by rockNme2349 (1414329) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @09:28PM (#26822465)
    Wait, you mean it will be like C-Span, but whenever i want? I don't know if youtube has the bandwidth.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      Wait, you mean it will be like C-Span, but whenever i want?

      I don't know if youtube has the bandwidth.

      Like C-Span, but with people linking directly to the good bits.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by rockNme2349 (1414329)

        the good bits.

        Think about what you just said.... Let it sink in.... Apology accepted.

        • the good bits.

          Think about what you just said....

          Let it sink in....

          Apology accepted.

          The hissyfits, the nose picking, the really good zingers.
          You'd be amazed how much fun it is to have a montage of someone ranting against lazy people on welfare and then snoozing at work.

          Let them film themselves long enough to forget the cameras are there. It'll be fun.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        And the feds will post videos from surveillance cameras and then start to watch the comments to see if they can identify the guilty.

        Sure - we may see a lot of more videos of people walking into lamp posts or stepping into dog poo too...

    • Re:Oh joy (Score:5, Informative)

      by nsolon (1064682) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @11:33PM (#26823267)

      Wait, you mean it will be like C-Span, but whenever i want? I don't know if youtube has the bandwidth.

      Believe it or not, that site already exists. http://cspanjunkie.org/ [cspanjunkie.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The United States could just have its government employees post videos from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Solves the having to adhere to State's laws moot. And solves the problem of having to adhere to Federal law to boot.

    • by mookiemu (1268090)

      The United States could just have its government employees post videos from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Solves the having to adhere to State's laws moot. And solves the problem of having to adhere to Federal law to boot.

      Good idea! Guantanamo bay is considered US soil, but they been able to circumvent the constitution there. So breaking a few Federal laws should be easy!

  • Not Engrish (Score:5, Funny)

    by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @09:36PM (#26822537) Homepage Journal

    Agencies have not been able to post videos to YouTube (although many already have) because, under the current terms of service, people who post content is subject to their state's liable laws.

    I notice this story has already been tagged "Engrish". But the submitter's issue is not so much poor ESL (I think he might even be a native speaker!) as poor self expression. They can't but they already have? What do the "liable laws" have to do with this?

    You know, since the editors never do any actual editing, maybe it's time to call them something else.

    • by Ian Alexander (997430) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @09:47PM (#26822623)

      You know, since the editors never do any actual editing, maybe it's time to call them something else.

      I already do. However, it's not polite so I won't repeat it here. ;)

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You know, since the editors never do any actual editing, maybe it's time to call them something else.

      Enablers?

    • by nsolon (1064682)
      Indeed, you can highlight and copy and paste text these days. Even five-letter words like "libel."
    • You know, since the editors never do any actual editing, maybe it's time to call them something else.

      Last I checked, they were called trolls. Anyone that can't edit a post where "applicable" has been wrongly written as "liable" also falls into that category, especially when they offer nothing to the argument.

      Fortunately I can (hopefully) avoid the "pot-kettle-black" retorts by pointing out that this is a prime example of what we can expect of the government-approved YouTube content in election years!

      [You will be taken to your video after this short diatribe sponsored by the political party you hate]

      • by fm6 (162816)

        Was the intended word "applicable"? I thought it was "liability" and somebody else thought they meant "libel".

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I like to think of the editors as first posters who usually make something worthwhile, but with about as many spelling mistakes and factual inaccuracies as most other first posts.

  • Many of us are still enjoying the warm weather of summer 2008; so how long have these negotiations been going on?

  • by enoz (1181117) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @09:59PM (#26822719)

    Agencies have not been able to post videos to YouTube (although many already have)

    So the many agencies that have posted videos when they have not been able to post videos have ignored that they cannot post videos or have bypassed the problem that was having them unable to post videos?

    • by owlnation (858981)

      So the many agencies that have posted videos when they have not been able to post videos have ignored that they cannot post videos or have bypassed the problem that was having them unable to post videos?

      Presumably also, those who were able to watch, haven't... and won't.

  • In bed with Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basementman (1475159) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @10:02PM (#26822723) Homepage
    Why does the federal government need an official video channel anyway? They should post their public domain videos on their own site and allow others to distribute them to youtube, liveleak, hulu etc. Giving youtube favoritism just adds to Google's ever growing monopoly, even if they generally act ethically. The idea of having a incredibly powerful company like google, essentially get humped by the federal government worries me.
    • by f1vlad (1253784) Works for Slashdot
      Well who knows, maybe when you watch youtube, you will start getting interrupted; like on TV channels or radio stations, when they perform scheduled emergency transmission tests.
    • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @10:22PM (#26822841) Homepage Journal

      I think I might know why: They(99% of the time) can handle the bandwidth. Any link aggregator site like fark, or even here posts a video, the website can't handle it after an hour. YouTube always rises to the video sharing occasion. YouTube now becomes a really big TV channel with lots of programs.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      From TFA:

      "She said the government is negotiating with other popular video-sharing and social media sites, including Vimeo, Blip.TV, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rts008 (812749)

      Why does the federal government need an official video channel anyway?

      How else do you suggest they set up and start the 'Ministry of Truth'?

      Just keep your eye on how comments and replies are handled on that channel...

      • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:38AM (#26823655)
        If the comments are anything like what is currently on YouTube, I very much hope they nuke those comments from orbit.
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Ministry of truth? Do you mean a propagnda machine? At least with CSPAN and their video service you get the entire story. It looks like here you will only get the tidbits they deem worthy.

        I'm waiting for one of them to only contain a half statement from a congressman or senator or something that makes them look entirely opposite of their stated positions.

      • Reminds me of the XKCD strip [xkcd.com] about the quality of youtube comments.

        So probably even if an intelligent question pops up, the easiest way -- and less of a PR problem to boot -- is to just give it 30 minutes until it's been completely buried in crap. With any luck, a fanboy posse will try to drive him away completely, or twist the whole thing into something so retarded to rally around, that you can safely answer to it without addressing the original question.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Well, this story also forgets the question of Costs and why wasn't this process bidded out?

      I mean I can sort of understand giving Haliburten a no bid contract in the early portions of the wars because of the need to have a company of their capabilities there in such short time was necessary. Granted, the no bid portion may have lasted longer then what might have been necessary but there was an initial need. I don't really know what is so pressing about time or anything on this that it couldn't undergo an op

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Even if the youtube services is free to the government, the content belongs to the people and giving Google control over it is definitely a payment because you are forced to see their adds and visit their site. There should be an open bid process just like any other government contract and the best bid should win. I wonder if this is the change we can believe in? Stacking unnecessary pork that doesn't do what it intended into a stimulus package and no bid contracts to campaign supporters. The only change he

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          I see what your saying but I'm pessimistic about the government in that they tend to half ass something and it takes either some catastrophic issue or a mass revolt and politicians running for the "cause" in order to get something changed or fixed. I have the feeling that just doing it is all that will happen.

          Seriously... I agree with everything you said... but at the same time, complaining feels a bit shrill. Like Obama signing a signing bill to shut down gaunatamo and then complaining that they just used

    • by skeeto (1138903)

      I completely agree. I was about to quote the YouTube TOS [youtube.com], but I now see that they have actually made a major change in the last couple weeks. Here is what it used to say,

      the data is intended for real-time viewing and not intended to be copied, stored, permanently downloaded, or redistributed by the user.

      Which made it entirely inappropriate for government public domain videos. These videos should be redistributable by anyone. However, check out their new wording in their new TOS,

      [...]
      Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only and may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, distributed, transmitted, broadcast, displayed, sold, licensed, or otherwise exploited for any other purposes whatsoever without the prior written consent of the respective owners.
      [...]
      You shall not copy or download any User Submission unless you see a "download" or similar link displayed by YouTube on the YouTube Website for that User Submission.
      [...]

      So if you have "written" permission of the author or the author has explicitly told YouTube they want a download button, you are allowed to download the video,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @10:12PM (#26822771)

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy (the "this is your brain on drugs" people) have been known to post their propaganda ads on YouTube. Once they discovered that the user ratings on it and user comments were not to their liking, they disabled ratings and comments. First Amendment, anyone?

    If the Federal agencies post the public's content on YouTube, Google needs to require public comments and ratings, for the sake of the public interest and the free flow of information. Wherever the Feds go, the public goes there with them. This is the only American thing to do.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Yeah right. It's vital to the well-being of our democracy that youtube viewers can barrage every video with "u suck cock lol" and "dude like pot iz ttly awesome. 420 MAN!"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First Amendment, anyone?

      Nope. You're proposing a false dichotomy. US citizens are free (at least, still free) to criticize the government's videos elsewhere. However, I do agree with your comment's point, just not the argument it uses as support.

    • First Amendment, anyone?

      No.

      You're free to say whatever you want about the videos. They don't have to provide the paper and pen, the megaphone, or the bandwidth for you to do so.

      The government has passed no law impinging your right to comment on or criticize the videos or the agencies themselves; you have no Amend. I cause of action. If a government office set up a Wordpress blog for updates, they don't have to enable comments so you can use it to piggyback your ramblings. Fire up your own Wordpress blog, or post your own video res

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by htnmmo (1454573)

      There are idiots that actually care to read the Youtube comments besides the idiots that reply to them?

    • First Amendment, anyone?

      The First Amendment guarantees your right to say/write what you'd like. It doesn't give you the right to say/write it in any private location you'd like.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @10:18PM (#26822817)

    And I will support Microsoft in its complaint if it ever materializes. Why should my tax dollars be used to purposefully enrich a private corporation? Microsoft no longer gets the limelight. Was there any bidding done in order to select YouTube? What's wrong with our public officials? I wonder what Steve Ballmer is thinking right now.

    • most likely about chairs, more specifically flying ones

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Microsoft will probably ask Youtube to switch over to silverlight, just to make it fair and all.
    • Why should my tax dollars be used to purposefully enrich a private corporation? Microsoft no longer gets the limelight. Was there any bidding done in order to select YouTube? What's wrong with our public officials? I wonder what Steve Ballmer is thinking right now.

      How much does it cost to post videos on YouTube?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sumdumass (711423)

        How much does it cost? Currently you can't grab the videos from youtube and do anything with them without violating the youtube TOS. So the videos are effectivly theirs and not the publics unless your wanting to face felony computer trespass charges like the chick who caused the girl to commit suicide.

        So how much does it cost to produce videos of government and give them away to a company that supported the current administration's election so that company can end up with exclusive control over them and ser

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Plutonite (999141)

      By that logic, any company that wins a government contract (e.g Lockheed Martin) can be sued by another potential contractor (e.g Northrup Grumman). Clearly the government can enrich any private corporation in exchange for services and products, based on its needs, yes? One would be more worried about the government enriching failed CEO's with multi-million dollar goodbye packages out of honest taxpayer money, but that's another story.

      I hope Google says no, or at least manages this wisely. If the government

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        By that logic, any company that wins a government contract (e.g Lockheed Martin) can be sued by another potential contractor (e.g Northrup Grumman).

        If there is an open bidding contract and the execs of Lockheed Martin didn't back the president's election [latimes.com] just to be rewarded with the contract, then no. If it's a no bid contract rewarding supporters and donors, then I would say yes just like Farms can sue other farms for using illegal labor and other outlawed farming practices for compete unfairly.

        Clearly

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      And I will support Microsoft in its complaint if it ever materializes. Why should my tax dollars be used to purposefully enrich a private corporation?

      In case you haven't noticed - the government buys goods and services from private corporations on a daily basis.

      • by bogaboga (793279)

        In such instances there is *serious* bidding/competition but not *secret* negotiations, right?

        • The answer is: It depends.
           
          *Most* goods/services the government buys goes out under open bids, but there are a lot of exceptions. Even under open bids, not all will have serious bidding/competition because of the limited number of companies capable of carrying out the contract.
           
          And all contract negotiations are secret, even under open bid.

    • And I will support Microsoft in its complaint if it ever materializes. Why should my tax dollars be used to purposefully enrich a private corporation?

      Would you be saying that if your tax dollars went to enriching Red Hat, Novell, or Canonical?

    • At first I agree - but then, how do you have a bid when someone already offers the requested service for $0?
    • "Where's my chair??"
  • Propaganda Time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Government plans on saturating the internet with propaganda, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Why the hell is the government begging permission to post on YouTube? They should be asking "Why is official government business on YouTube, instead of being hosted on an official .gov website?"
  • YouTube will now become the offical governmetn propoganda channel... They know millions of people go to YouTube to watch video's. What better way to put out their propoganda than to use YouTube. Now they can brainwash the masses. They can tell people more and biggier lies. "Yes, it's safe to go to to the FEMA camps." "Just go when your told." "No, the banker bailout itsn't really a bankeer bailout - it's an 'economic simulus'." "Accept the New World Order. It will SAVE you."

    Read about this stuff for yoursel

  • the whitehouse has to make a special exception to their principals because they wanted to post youtube.

    federal sites have had a long-standing rule against persistent cookies and youtube has them, where is the discussion on flash persistent flash cookies? persistent browser cookies?

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