YouTube is a website that was created for sharing videos over the internet. In 2005 three former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim created the website. The domain name www.youtube.com was activated on 14 February 2005 and the website was developed over the following months. The first video “Me at the zoo” was uploaded on 23 April 2005 and can still be viewed.

In July 2006 YouTube announced that more than 65 000 videos were being uploaded and 100 million videos where being viewed each day. In 2006 YouTube was bought by Google for US $1.6 billion, allowing all Google users to log into YouTube using their existing Google credentials. It is estimated that in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in the year 2000. Alexa ranks YouTube as the third most visited website on the Internet after Google and Facebook.

YouTube has been criticized for failing to ensure copyright protection. Videos are not screened before they are published, and the copyright owner should issue a complaint personally. Viacom, Mediaset, and the English Premier League have filed lawsuits against YouTube, claiming that it has done too little to prevent copyrighted infringement. YouTube has since introduced a system called Video ID, which checks uploaded videos against a database of copyrighted content with the aim of reducing violations.

Intellectual Property in South Africa

Copyright does NOT have to be registered in South Africa. Copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form. In South Africa, the term for copyright protection is 50 years, either from the end of the year in which it was created or made publicly available.

A South African patent may be granted for an invention or idea that is new, inventive and useful. Obtaining a patent in South Africa is a two-step process, with the two steps being spaced 12 months apart. A provisional patent application is filed in order to obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights.

A registered design protects the appearance of an object. Aesthetic designs protect the appearance of an object irrespective of the aesthetic value thereof. Functional designs protect the appearance of an article in as far as its appearance is necessitated by the function that the object is to perform.

A trademark distinguishes your goods or services from the goods or services of others.  Once a trademark is registered in South Africa it needs to be renewed every 10 years to stay in force. A trademark may be registered forever.  Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, Motions, Positions, Gestures, scents, Sounds, Textures.