There are literally thousands of rally videos out there, and you can spend countless hours browsing through them on the Youtube. There are videos made by well known enthusiasts and/or professionals, such as Best of Rally Live, Extremrallye or Rally Media. Then there are official sources of WRC footage, such as WRC teams and their editorial video material. Next up, fan made video material in all shapes and sizes – cameras, phones, HD quality, I-cannot-even-imagine-what-am-I-watching quality, basically huge mix of thousands different perspectives and situations. And these are all genuinely great.
On the other hand, there are thousands upon thousands of videos, created by people who never held any kind of camera in their hands. Not only that, but they never asked for permission to use said footage when they decided to create their praised and famous “Tribute to <insert favourite WRC car, driver, team>” video. They simply steal, for lack of better word, bits of footage and put it together for fun, or to express their love of the sport and it’s heroes. If almighty Google and it’s Youtube are not able to keep these “authors” under control, who am I to be bothered by it really? They certainly did not steal anything from me. Cut them some slack I shall.
Finally, there are people who are either forced, inclined to or determined to snatch footage from licensed WRC TV channels and post it on Youtube, again, sans any kind of permission or approval. So you have these WRC reports, proudly displaying logos of some big name TV network, published on Youtube by some KrazeeJohnnIE1989 individual (hopefully I was creative enough in making up this name, and no such user actually exists). Again, if networks and Youtube are not able to put an end to this, why should I worry. Especially if WRC is hard to come by these days on regular TV.
Which brings us to the well known idea of using Youtube as an alternative to the lack of WRC on proper TV channels. I assume supporters of Youtube idea are fine with the fact that there are no official WRC reports on Youtube, and that all published reports are in fact stolen from TV networks? Why do TV networks even bother then? I suppose they are paying to be able to broadcast WRC reports in their shows, but what’s the point if WRC fans and public are instead instructed to just look for the same reports on Youtube, bypassing TV networks along the way.
Perhaps, TV networks are OK with this, and let’s be honest, no matter what you do, sooner or later things are going to end up on Youtube. Sure, they can be removed, if the networks are persistent enough, but they rarely are. It’s a very odd situation, and the borders between traditional TV and modern content distribution methods are not what they used to be. Perhaps we are seeing the final years of traditional TV licensing, especially if the only thing to licence are daily reports and nothing else. I hope and feel there is much more in store, however, WRC should not be only about these reports if it’s to compete with other major sporting shows and series.
In the end, I’d like to express my support to the idea of using stolen TV footage across Youtube. As long as there is no valid alternative on national or even regional level, why not use available material and share it with the world. If you make few euros off of Youtube ads, even better. It will just close this rather bizzare circle. At least until we finally get as global coverage as possible of this magnificent sport – countries are being added to the list at a steady pace, even the UK is scheduled to land a new WRC deal soon. And any progress is progress over no progress at all!