It strikes me that the major element missing from this week’s debate about industrial appropriation/limitation of fan production is the self-professed mecca of user-generated content: youtube. I think the significance and groundbreaking-ness of youtube tends to be over-emphasized and over-talked, including by me, and it is certainly not the totally free and open forum for user creativity and sharing that it likes to portray itself as (witness corporations’ regular removal of copyrighted content, etc.) But it does seem to offer some kind of alternative to the protocologically-limited Battlestar Galactica Video Maker and the content regulations of AtomFilms’ Star Wars fanvid contest. Given the sheer number of videos (a search for “Battlestar Galactica” yielded 3,210 results), the industrial mechanisms in charge of purging the internet of threatening or unauthorized content would have a hard time. And since youtube functions simply as a forum, with contributors creating content using their own software, it cannot limit the tools or resources that go into fan videos.
Or can it? This is all based on my completely unauthoritative impressions of how youtube works. Just glancing through the results of the BSG search, it seems like most of them fall into the corporately-inoffensive “song video” or “parody” categories; could/does youtube censor its content according to the same criteria with which industry institutions judge the appropriateness of fan videos?
p.s. I searched “battlestar galactic slash” to see if any gay-themed fan videos were allowed on youtube (they weren’t), and happened on several tutorial videos created by Julie on “how to make characters have gay sex (in your mind).” Very relevant and very funny—check them out.