I see that AnyMeeting announced a new feature and a new growth milestone today. Their press release says that they are now up to 200,000 registered users. That’s nicely done for a product that came out of beta just two years ago. It shows that there is still room for new competition in the web conferencing arena.
I don’t have access to their business data, but from an outsider’s perspective, it seems like they successfully made the difficult transition from freeware to a paid licensing model that customers are actually using. It was actually pretty funny for a while to read comments coming in on their social media streams from users begging AnyMeeting to take money instead of only offering a free advertising-based delivery platform. Adding the ability to charge for events through the system was another savvy offering.
The feature announcement was that meeting presenters can now show YouTube videos in their presentations by simply linking to the appropriate URL. The presenter can pause or time-jump in the video while the viewing audience stays synchronized.
YouTube display is becoming more common in web conferencing software, with several vendors allowing broadcast of videos from the site. This brings up interesting questions regarding copyright considerations. I looked through YouTube’s pages on copyright information and found lots of things telling people not to use copyrighted material in their uploaded videos (yeah, right). But I couldn’t find a single sentence indicating that uploaded original content was protected under any sort of copyright ownership. I did find another site that said all YouTube uploaded content was automatically copyrighted to the creator/uploader, but this is anecdotal until I see a reference.
All I can say is that you should think carefully before using YouTube content in a business webinar. It seems like 90% of the content found on that site actually violates copyrights of the original creator, despite YouTube’s warnings to users. Just because it is on YouTube and therefore “in the public domain” does not automatically mean you are free to use a movie clip, celebrity appearance, music video, or other copyrighted piece of creative content. And if the previous paragraph’s assertion is correct, it might not even be technically legal to repurpose ANY YouTube video in your webinar! This is a thorny subject and I don’t even pretend to know the answer. Copyright lawyers are invited and encouraged to comment on this post.
Fair Use may cover you in certain cases. But that’s not cut and dried either. For a longer discussion of Fair Use considerations, read my post from January.
Anyway, congratulations to AnyMeeting on getting over the startup hump and becoming a viable vendor with a real user base.