I've been thinking about this for a while. I didn't think about it really hard until I received an email from YouTube a couple of days ago saying they had reviewed my channel and considered me a "great candidate" for the YouTube Partner Program.
This could have been sent to everyone or it could have just been sent to a handful based on viewing stats. Who knows.
What would this mean? It means I can allow ads to be inserted in/around them and earn (a very small amount of) money from my videos. I would get more promotion via searches and front page promotion, and have more control over my channel designs and video settings. The money isn't really an issue, as I've heard tales of woe of how little the pay is from Google - what I AM interested in is the promotion.
Unfortunately, if I want to follow through and apply for partnership, things have to change. And for me, it's a big one. Relatively.
I'm going to have to remove a quarter of my videos.
Mostly Law Revue ones at that.
I'm not going to be one of those idiots who AngryAussie often (and quite rightly) rants about - people who put up copyrighted material and whinge incessantly when they get shut down, claiming ignorance and that they "didn't intend to" infringe. I don't claim total ignorance. There were things which were perfectly fine in terms of copyright, things which were borderline, and things which were not. In the end, I used them because 1) they suited the jokes and made the Law Revue videos work as best as they could and 2) I didn't think anyone would care about our silly little sketch show in a university theatre.
But times have changed. Back then, YouTube was still a new thing - it was known enough to have it blocked on work computers but not enough for Viacom to sue it for a billion dollars. It's now synonymous with internet video and it's much much bigger, more technical and more policed. If you couple that with the fact I'm averaging 1000 views a day across my channel, it was bound to happen. I'm just surprised it took this long.
The biggest one I'm going to have to move is March Of The Engineers - the video that a lot of people still really love, still gets favourited, is always in my top 5 rating videos on YouTube Insight, and production-wise summed up the best of the Law Revue years for me. It got me work and got my name around. If I could rescore it with new music, it could stay on the channel as March Redux, but I don't have the raw video files or the original Ross McNab audio recordings in order to rescore it with original music anymore either, so that is the final possible cut. And it has to move.
Now, I don't think it's a guarantee that I'd be made a partner. But even if I don't, in the last week, I've had one video removed (without any notification) and half a dozen others with content identified (even if they were just little snippets) and then links to iTunes as per the content sharing arrangements between YouTube and various record companies. These videos have been up for a long time - for years - and they've amassed thousands of views for me, been favourited, commented upon, forwarded around... but it really was only a matter of time, and I knew it.
My channel is still really important to me, even if they reject the partnership application. I've worked hard on it over the years. In the last year, I've uploaded more and more original content with myself, especially songs, and my subscriber count is pushing 600. I want to start promoting myself as much as possible with this channel, and promoting The Complete First Season with that YouTube channel. Is it worth jeopardizing all this progress I've made (some of which I was foolish not to back up) over a handful of vintage Law Revue videos that are now averaging maybe 10 hits a day at most? No.
So this is the plan.
One day this week (probably Monday or Tuesday), I will delete all of the videos I believe would get me kicked off. This is includes the videos on which content has already been detected but not disabled. A big content cleanse.
I'll then upload them to a new channel which will serve as a depot of sorts for said older Law Revue videos. This should leave my almostfamous83 channel relatively copyright-clean, but with three quarters of the videos left.
Will this be enough? I don't know. But like I said, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I really don't want to completely get rid of a lot of these videos because they are, well, my roots when it comes to comedy and film-making. They're a memory not just to me but to all who were involved in those videos and my channel has always been a place for them.
To be continued.
(I should clarify that I'm not deleting ALL of the Law Revue videos from my channel, just the iffy ones when it comes to copyright content. I'll post the new links here and do up a video to address where they've gone to my subscribers.)