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Has YouTube Gone TOO Bigtime?

By RD Heldenfels Published: January 6, 2007

You may have read about the latest YouTube controversy, involving the attempts to keep a voyeuristic Brazilian video off the site. When I read about YouTube's problems, I went to the site to see if the video had been posted yet again. No such luck. But it just took a Google of ''Cicarelli video'' to find it on other sites including, conveniently, Video

I'm not about to declare that that makes Video Google a scrappy underground source of video. But I am feeling increasingly that YouTube's high profile and big corporate connections are making it seem a lot less scrappy and a lot more above-ground -- anti-viral, if you will.

For one thing, there are plenty of other places, corporate and non-corporate to find amusing and envelope-pushing video. Look how quickly NBC, on its own site, put up the unbleeped version of the Christmas ''box'' song.

For another, YouTube's rep was based largely on the idea that it was a huge democracy where anyone could post -- and anyone could become, at least briefly, an online star. While I'm not keen on defending the posting of a video that news reports keep referring to as ''steamy,'' I do want to defend whoever was posting it, and all the other people who have interesting content to provide and want to do so without having to worry about some lawyer making trouble.

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