back to article YouTube pros cash in on deaths with fake vids

Last Sunday morning in Toronto there was a huge explosion at a propane storage depot which resulted in two deaths and 12,000 people being evacuated. The dramatic mushroom-shaped fireball lit up the night sky and was filmed by several Toronto residents. A search on YouTube finds over 300 videos of the explosion. So far, so Web …


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  1. Dave


    "the fact that they get a cut of YouTube's advertising revenue"

    Excuse me? What revenue? Certainly no profit there, so surely even a million video-views isn't worth tuppence?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah Right!

    "the video was not meant to trick you into thinking we recorded this as the gas tank exploded"

    So why was there no disclaimer to that effect then?

  3. scarParisOdotCom
    Thumb Down


    Hooray for a sensationalist headline. There was only one death though. The other death (the fireman) had nothing to do with the explosion. It's like saying somebody died in the World Trade Center attack but not mentioning that they had a heart attack on the stairs before the events unfolded. And in the same vein, why say people are cashing in on deaths? Did Greengrass cash in on 9/11 deaths? Did Spielberg cash in on the millions of deaths during the 30's and 40's?

    There were a couple of silly videos and you sanctimonious prudes decided it was worth a story, congratulations.

  4. Antony Riley
    Thumb Down

    Pot calling kettle black?

    Crap headline, Journalists cash in on death frequently, it's exactly what is done in this article.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    A lot of people think that plagiarism is limited to writing. It's not.

  6. Jesse

    The problem

    Has nothing to do with people making money off of sensationalism, smoke,

    <-- here's a picture of a cute penguin.

    and mirrors. As someone else pointed out, the Reg is known to do this often anyway, much like Slashdot. Hell, Copperfield made a career out of it.

    The real problem is the people that keep visiting the site to prop up marketing revenue.

    Back to the Reg; essentially if the Reg is a problem, then I am the problem because I support the website and the marketing revenue is because of readers like me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is it just me

    or should that be "they're" not "their"?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    poor diddums

    People are just pissed off because they didn't think of it first. And know even if they had, they still wouldn't have the motivation or know-how anyway.

    Sucks to be poor and uncreative. Aww.

  9. Colin

    2 words sum up my opinion

    Who Cares?

  10. Adam Johnston

    @Anonymous Coward

    erm... yes. it is just you

  11. Matt

    @AC 16:34

    <quote>or should that be "they're" not "their"?</quote>

    In this sentence?

    "But the fact that their remixing of someone else's footage is not immediately clear.."


    Read again - it says "their remixing of" - the "their" implying ownership of something, the thing being the "remixing of". Had it said "remixing someone else's" they're would be more appropriate as then it would have read - "But the fact that they are remixing someone else's.."


  12. Doug


    Is this somehow related to the 2008 Olympic Games trickery?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Revenue is not profit

    If you buy something at three million and sell for one million then revenue is one million at a loss of two million.

    just thought I would clear that up :)

    And on another note don't mess with those Language Studies folk, like pit bulls I tells'ya.

    Anyway to the story, hard to form an opinion on this one, a lot of the shots are just people there at the right or perhaps wrong time depending upon proximity.

    The shot was taken of property belonging to someone other than the photographer, and it wasn't as if they had staged the particular bit of footage, well at least one hopes not. So, it was just a case of happenstance, with no outlay, they release their shots into the public domain (one cannot really call it work), and someone makes a vignette from them.

    Yes, people prefer what they see to be packaged, I think that is what we can all take from this.

  14. Jeffrey Nonken

    @ac their vs. they're

    Sorry, the sentence makes perfect sense as written.

  15. Robin

    On A Side Note

    I hated that Clovertown film; it made me feel sick. So by saying he's copying that, he's done himself no favours round these parts.

    Just sayin', like.

  16. NT


    I'm always in two minds on YouTube. I've seen incredibly artistic and creative videos on there, which of course was what it was intended for, and in that regard it's a positive and beneficial service. I suppose if you think there's merit in 'citizen journalism' then it's probably an effective tool in that way, too.

    The problem I have is that YouTube has contributed enormously to the tendency of people to revel in the misfortunes of others - and in some cases to cause the misfortunes of others (happy-slapping and cyber-bullying spring to mind as fairly modern phenomena whose growth has been greatly assisted by YouTube).

    Maybe I'm simply old-fashioned, but if I'm being told about an explosion, well, I don't need to see it in graphic detail. I can imagine what it looked like, thanks. I don't need to be taken step-by-step through the wreckage of a crashed aircraft, scrutinising every piece of personal property, and being told in breathless, dramatic terms exactly how the passengers would have been feeling in their last moments. Just tell me what happened, did anyone survive, and whether we know what caused it.

    But that's not just citizen journalists: professional reporters are turning themselves proudly into ham actors. And now that the news companies can rely on citizens to do their jobs for them for nothing - and the citizens seem happy to oblige for the promise of a few seconds' fame - perhaps it's only to be expected that the 'user-generated content' is going to be flashy and sensationalist: after all, any schmuck with a video phone and a net connection can compete in this market.

    But on balance I'd have to agree in large part with the others: this sort of thing is to be expected on YouTube - people produce and search for this kind of video for *entertainment*, not for the sake of accurate reporting. To the Web 2.0 generation, reality and Hollywood are pretty much interchangeable.

  17. Miles Hipkin

    No disclaimer

    surely it doesn't need a disclaimer cos it's really badly mixed VT and its obvious they weren't there because of it?

  18. A J Stiles

    @ AC 16:34

    What point would there be in my explaining gerunds to you?

  19. Anonymous Coward


    none, cause i don't know what a "gerund" is

    two elephants and a cymbal...

    i admit defeat.

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