It was eight years ago today that YouTube's first video, Me at the Zoo, was uploaded by Jawed Karim on April 23, 2005. Karim had co-founded YouTube with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen just a few months earlier as a way to share videos with friends and family far away. The video is only 20 seconds long and was shot by Yakov Lapitsky at the San Diego Zoo, and little did the video creators know that it marked the dawn of the UGC (User-Generated Content) online video age. YouTube wasn't the first video sharing site, but since Google purchased it in November 2006 for $1.65 billion, it has revolutionized video sharing across the Internet and has become the top online video content property, with more than 1 billion unique users visiting the site each month.
Just last week, YouTube won its second legal battle against Viacom in federal court with the dismissal of Viacom's $1 billion copyright lawsuit. The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton in New York stated that Viacom had never proved that YouTube was aware of copyright infringement by its users, and upheld his original ruling from June 2010 which leaves in place the current understanding of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Stanton also ruled that YouTube didn't act with "willful blindness" and had previously responded to Viacom's requests back in 2007 by removing 100,000 copyrighted videos a day after Viacom notified YouTube of the infringement.
Google Senior Vice President & General Counsel Kent Walker said that the ruling marked an important day for the Internet.
"This is a win not just for YouTube, but for the billions of people worldwide who depend on the web to freely exchange ideas and information."
Happy birthday to the first video uploaded to YouTube! While you're not too exciting, you started an exciting online video revolution.