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YouTube Will Pay Up To $1 Million in Legal Fees For Qualifying Users

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After a long history of strange gaffes in its copyright claim system, YouTube is finally making moves to support its lifeblood – its independent content creators who, too often for comfort, are subjected to copyright claims that actually violate their rights to fair use.

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Or, occasionally, the claims can be even more ridiculous – groups claiming public domain content as theirs and such. The worst case of false copyright claims happened earlier this year, when a video creator’s own work was claimed by Sony after he had licensed it to them.

The automated nature of the system can be blamed for this, but at the same time, it’s hard to envision it being done manually at all levels. The sheer volume of content at YouTube would allow for too much abuse in such a system.

But now YouTube has decided to stand up for some of its users, offering as much as $1 million in legal support to those defending themselves. The first four cases to receive such treatment are somewhat odd – they include a UFO debunking video and a satirical video about the former leader of the NAACP. But in each case, YouTube firmly believes that its users are within the ever-elusive bounds of “fair use,” an exception to copyright law that limits the abilities of rights holders to harass people using their work in certain ways.

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Also read: YouTube is Not Feeling Threatened by Facebook

As the Internet has grown up, YouTube has grown up with it. Ultimately, the company invented ContentID specifically to deal with copyright issues, and some believe it would have eventually been sued into the ground if it had not done so. As Mashable’s Christina Warren wrote in 2012:

YouTube started building Content ID in 2007 after it decided that video and audio fingerprinting technology could help the company in its various legal battles. The problem was that existing systems weren’t good enough for YouTube’s uses.

Speaking on the matter to the Christian Science Monitor, University of Maryland law professor James Grimmelmann said that Google could do more to educate users about when they’re actually going to end up violating the DMCA.

Google hasn’t announced any changes to its larger practices, but they’re clearly trying to position themselves as more user friendly. You could almost read this as an offering, to a group that has had reasons to feel slighted. […] They’re pointing to features that don’t always make a lot of difference, but ignoring that one that does, which is transformativeness.

Competitor video sites have come into the fold over the years, but there are several advantages that YouTube maintains, including its many millions of users to guarantee views, integration with parent company Google and other search engines, as well as what some consider superior technology.

But in the early days of web video, there were many competing efforts, including companies like Viddler, who had comparable tech for the time and were competing for the same market. If YouTube fails to look after its top content producers, then over time we could see a shift to sites which will, despite tech debt and lack of network effect.

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Jamie Dimon May Hate Bitcoin, but J.P. Morgan Is Embracing Blockchain

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J.P. Morgan Chase CEO has made it abundantly clear that he hates bitcoin, but that hasn’t stopped his firm from adopting the technology that underpins the digital currency system.

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J.P. Morgan Launches Pilot Program 

On Monday, America’s biggest bank rolls out the next phase of its blockchain pilot program. The effort will facilitate a faster, more secure transfer of cross border payments between J.P. Morgan and other banks, including Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

Although the new program will not trade cryptocurrency, it will use the landmark record-keeping technology that underpins it. The Wall Street Journal reports that J.P. Morgan will use the same blockchain technology behind digital currency Ethereum.

Despite widespread concern over cryptocurrency, financiers are enamored with blockchain. They, like many others, say the technology can significantly increase the speed of cross-border payments. The system currently in place is extremely complex, and requires multiple streams of communication between various participants. The blockchain has the potential to cut down transaction time from as much as 15 days to mere hours.

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The pilot program aims to achieve a secure distributed ledger across financial institutions, enabling banks to work together to process transactions. Connecting transaction data through a shared network will greatly reduce the number of steps it takes to verify and process transactions.

J.P.’s embrace of blockchain doesn’t mean he’s going to warm up to cryptocurrency. His latest criticism of bitcoin came on Friday when he said it had “no actual value” and that “governments are going to crush it.” He did, however, give a glowing review of blockchain.

“We actually use it. It will be useful for a lot of different things,” Dimon said at a conference in Washington, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal. “God bless the blockchain.”

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Cryptocurrency Adoption Will Lead to Free Money Transfers, According to Top Tech Investor

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The rapid adoption of cryptocurrency will soon pave the way for free global money transfers, according to a top technology investor.

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Cathie Wood, the CEO of Ark Invest, says cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are going to spearhead a system of free money transfers worldwide. She cites the already huge reduction in conversion fees from fiat currencies into crypto and back again. The current rate for those transactions is 2-3%, which is a fraction of the 7-8% money transfer services like Western Union charge.

But Wood says crypto transfer fees could soon fall to zero as companies prioritize valuable transaction information above anything else.

The cryptocurrency market approached record highs over the weekend, hitting a total value of $176.6 billion. Bitcoin’s market cap surged above $90 billion last week and reached a high of $96.7 billion recently. That surpassed the capitalization of major equities like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

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If bitcoin were a stock, it would be the 15th largest member of the Nasdaq and the 58th largest on the New York Stock Exchange.

Computing Power as a Commodity

In Wood’s view, that the growing value of cryptocurrency will lead to the commoditization of bandwidth and computing power.

“It’s interesting that you’ve got corn and oil and copper trading on the exchange but you don’t have computing power, and bandwidth, and storage,” Wood said, according to CNBC. “Well we think that’s going to happen because of blockchain technology and all of the cryptos that are coming along.”

Woods has placed special emphasis on Ethereum, a unique platform that operates more like a “cryptocommodity” than anything else.

Ark Invest is the author of the widely cited whitepaper, Bitcoin: A Disruptive Currency. In it, the firm argues that cryptocurrency has the potential to be the most disruptive development since the Internet. The investment manager controls $1.7 billion of asset funds focused exclusively on emerging technologies.

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Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Want to Talk About Bitcoin Anymore

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Jamie Dimon doesn’t have anything to say about bitcoin anymore. The head of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co has been heckled by the blockchain community since he declared cryptocurrency to be a “fraud,” and that he would fire any employee trading it for being “stupid.”

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Bitcoin’s New Record

Dimon also doesn’t think much of bitcoin’s new record high. The virtual currency spiked more than 8% on Thursday to surpass $5,200.00 for the first time.

“I wouldn’t put this high in the category of important things in the world, but I’m not going to talk about bitcoin anymore,” Dimon said Thursday, as noted by Bloomberg.

J.P. Morgan has taken a less adversarial approach to cryptocurrency. In addition to handling bitcoin-related trades – something that came to light after Dimon’s warning – the financial giant is keeping its options open. J.P. remains “very open minded” to possible uses of cryptocurrencies “if they are properly controlled and regulated,” according to Chief Financial Officer Marine Lake.

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Mainstream Appeal Growing

The growth and widespread adoption of cryptocurrency hasn’t been lost on the financial community. Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted that his firm is weighing the possibility of trading cryptocurrency.

Fidelity Investments is also mining cryptocurrency, and making a lot of money doing it. Fidelity says its chief motivation for mining isn’t profit, but learning about the growing cryptocurrency market.

Increased mainstream adoption of bitcoin is seen by many as a necessary precursor to a more stable currency. Countries like Japan are spearheading adoption by introducing favorable regulation of the cryptocurrency space. But regulatory approval has not been uniform.

Russia recently became the third major economy in the span of a month to put the clampdown on cryptocurrency trading. China and South Korea have also implemented new controls on the market, focusing heavily on initial coin offerings.

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